Thursday, August 23, 2018

Cleaning and Repacking Your Trailer's Wheel Bearings

Cleaning and Repacking Your Travel Trailer (or boat trailer)'s Wheel Bearings is a pretty simple process.  Most trailer manufactures recommend replacing the grease in the bearings every 12 months or 12,000 miles (give or take depending on manufacturer). 

Changing the grease (called re-packing) extends the life of your wheel bearings and prevents major damage from heat buildup as you tow a lot of weight down the road.

To be honest, my trailer has 10,000 miles on it or so but I haven't changed the grease in the nearly 3 years we've owned it so I figured I better get to it before we take a nearly 1,000 mile trip this summer.

First and foremost is safety.  Let's cover this topic real quick.  You'll have a LOT of weight jacked up during this process and even the smallest of pop up trailers falling on you could cause serious injury or worse... or at the very least damage your rig.  It's recommended you should always be sure to chock the opposite side tires before jacking up the rig.

While it's highly unlikely that your jack would fail, it might accidentally gets bumped and give way, so I recommend using jack stands or some other brace to support the axle or trailer frame before it comes crashing to the ground.

Second, let's cover the items you'll need for this project:

  • Bottle or Floor Jack - I used two and recommend it if you have more than one available
  • Jack Stands and Tire Chocks
  • Rubber Gloves and clean rags or Shop TowelsYou'll go through quite a few pairs doing this
  • Brake Cleaner -  Not necessary but very helpful in cleaning the old grease off
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Flat head screw driver or thin straight edge blade
  • Grease - You can use any wheel bearing grease you'd like as long as it meets the speed and temperature requirements of your rig's tires.  I used Mag 1 brand "720 Red High Temp Disc Break Wheel Bearing Multi Purpose Grease" available at auto stores and Amazon
  • Cotter Pins - I don't recommend re-using the old ones
  • Grease Seals - This is important because the old ones are difficult to remove and will likely bend or get severely damaged during removal.  There will be more on the saga of the grease seals later.  I ordered mine off E-Trailer.Com and they came 3 days later.  
  • Piece of 2x4 lumber - This makes putting the new grease seal in very easy.
  • Pliers - You'll probably want either needle nose or linesmen pliers to remove and insert the cotter pin.  You'll also need tongue-and-groove pliers to loosen or tighten the castle nut.
Let's get started!  If you are even attempting this project, I'll assume you know the basics of jacking up your rig and removing the tire (don't forget to loosen the lugs before jacking it up!)  

Now that the tire is off, it should look something like this:

Next, insert a flat head screw driver or small blade in between the dust cap and the brake hub and pry it off.  Be careful to keep the dust cap clean so be ready to catch it when you pry it off.  Mine had a ton of dirty used grease inside it.  Clean it out and then set it aside.

Pry Off the Dust Cap

My Dirty Dust Cap

Next, clean off the castle nut so you can see it what you've got to work with.  Then, remove the cotter pin and unscrew the castle nut.  On some of my tires the washer was stuck to the castle nut so be careful it doesn't drop when you take off the nut and you don't know it's gone missing.  On most of my tires it was stuck to the bearings.  Either way, be careful you don't drop it and it gets dirty or lost.

 Clean Off The Castle Nut

 Remove the Cotter Pin

 Unscrew the Castle Nut

Cleaned Castle Nut

Next comes time to pull off the brake hub.  I covered up the front bearings with a rag so they didn't fall off into the dirt and get junk in them.  The rag thing is up to you, just keep the bearings clean and be aware they may fall when you pull the hub off.  Once the hub is off, place it on a nice clean surface. 

 Pulling off the hub. 

The front bearings once the hub was off

The brakes... exposed!

Ready?  Here comes the hardest part of this whole process!  Removing the grease cap from inside the hub is a little tricky.  I've read online or watched youtube videos of people prying, cutting, slicing, hammering... none of that seemed too appealing to me.  I found the best thing to do was insert the claw end of my every day all purpose hammer, hold down the hub, and pry off the grease cap.  It popped off after just a bit of force but it came out in one piece. 

So, I promised more to the "Grease Seal Saga" above and here it is.  I was dumb enough to look into new grease seals until I took off my first tire.  I had read they were readily available at auto parts stores and I figured I'd pull one off and take it to the store to get a matching part. 

Let me tell you, on Long Island here in New York, stores like Autozone and Advanced AutoParts do NOT sell them.  I guess travel trailers just aren't popular here in the North East enough to warrant them being in stock.  They sell seals that would fit but are for a different axle type and after close inspection they only have ONE rubber seal when the ones off my trailer are DUAL sealed with a metal braided coil band. 

So, I took to the internet and purchased mine from and with some extra cost on my end for expedited shipping (D'oh!) they arrived two days later and fit perfectly.  At about $6 per seal they are certainly cheap enough. 

Some people try to save and reuse their old ones but the general consensus is this is not a good idea.  It's hard to get them out as it is and they surely will get damaged during removal and likely not hold the new grease well or at all.  Just buy new and save the jump over a dollar to save a dime.

I'd imagine you could find your particular seal and pre-order it after searching online or a helpful member of a message board like or something similar to the Jayco Owner's Message Board who has previous experience. 

For the record, the seals on my 2016 Jayco Jay Flight 23RB were the RG06-050 found here. 

I don't make any money or get free stuff from etrailer, but... I'm willing!  :) 

New Seals from eTrailer

Note the double rubber seal and braided coil band on the new grease seal

Old seal vs new

Alright, enough about the grease seals.  Take everything apart and clean it up nicely.  I used brake cleaner and a metric ton of rags cleaning up the bearings and all parts involved. 

All the parts cleaned up.  The grease seal in the picture was NOT used again.

Let's get greasy!  Now comes the fun part!  I used the palm method.  That being said, I took a glob of the new grease in my left palm and used my right palm to feed the new grease into the bearing seals.  The old grease will get pushed out through the top and just occasionally wipe off with a clean rag.  

This is the grease I used.  Feel free to use any appropriate wheel bearing grease.

 Using the "Palm" method to inject grease into the bearings.

 A little messy but more grease is more better.

It's ok to get things a little messy as long as that grease gets up into the bearings.  I live by the motto that more grease is much better than less grease.

While the bearings are out, it's a good time to inspect the races and the hub itself.  If you find any scarring, rust, scratches, or any other signs of damage it's a good time to take your trailer in to a mechanic for a thorough inspection as to why.  I put a dab of grease on my index finger and lube up both sides (inside and out) of the hub and races to add extra lubrication for the bearings.


Next, insert your freshly greased up interior bearings back into the hub.  Take your new grease seal and evenly seat it in the hub but it's not going to go in on it's own so this is where a nice piece of 2x4 lumber and a rubber mallet some in.  Make sure the wood is evenly pressed on the seal and tap it down using the mallet until flush.  Look at the photos down below for a better idea of what I'm trying to describe.

Freshly greased reinserted interior bearings

 Make sure the new grease seal is seated evenly in the hub

Use the 2x4 (or any wood that fits) and gently knock in place with a rubber mallet

Make Sure the New Grease Seal is Flush

On to the last step!  Replace the hub back onto the axle and then slide in the exterior bearings, the washer, and the castle nut.  

In tightening the castle nut, be careful not to over tighten.  The way I discovered how "tight" was "too tight" was to hand tighten the castle nut until I couldn't move it any more and then give it a half turn with a wrench.  Then I'd spin the hub and see how freely it moved.  

Most likely you'd have to slightly back off the castle nut.  The key is to have the castle nut tight enough that it doesn't have any play (can't be loosened by hand) but the hub spins freely.  It's a delicate balance but some playing with it and you'll figure it out.

Reinsert the Exterior Bearings

 The hub and bearings on the axle

 Reinsert the Washer

 Tighten the Castle Nut then Insert a New Cotter Pin

Insert a new cotter pin and bend the ends down.  Replace the dust cap with a few taps of your rubber mallet and you're all set!  You did it!  

This took about 35 or 40 minutes on my first tire and about 25 on the remaining three once I had figured out what I was looking for and what I was doing.  Not bad for a day's project, I might say!  Since completing this, we towed the trailer about 900 miles back and forth from Long Island to Buffalo, New York and did not have a problem with our brakes or hub temperatures.  

Another project is in in the books.  Thanks for reading!

 The Dust Cap is Back On and We're All Done!  3 Tires to Go!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Niagara Falls... or Bust! (We Went BUST!)

Get comfortable, VERY long post incoming!

Each year, we plan one big vacation and a few smaller ones.  In January, we went on a Caribbean Cruise along with Jeff's parents.  That was a really fun time, and we love cruising just as much as RVing, but since then we've been waiting all year for our next vacation.  We decided since we took a cruise in the beginning of the year, we'd take a trip in the RV.

As we've discussed before here on the blog, there isn't much local camping here on Long Island, and, we wouldn't really enjoy it anyway.  To sum it up, we RV for the destination and exploring, not just sitting in the woods on a weekend.  With that in mind, this vacation in the fall would be the only trip we took in the RV this year since we don't want to use it locally.

After some discussion, it was decided we would go somewhere fairly close to home so as not to deal with long driving days and short nights in loud roadside campgrounds only to spend one or two short days wherever we decided to go.

So with all of that in our minds, we decided that we'd go see Niagara Falls in September.  We picked September so crowds would be light, temperatures would be favorable, and vacation time at work was easy to come by.

We were set to leave on Sunday, September 24th and not return until the following Sunday.  It's about 10 hours driving time from Long Island to Niagara Falls and we had decided to break up the trip up the New York State Thruway with a stop in Verona, NY at the highly rated and recommended "Villages at Turning Stone Casino RV Park."  That would give us only 3 hours drive-time on day two to slowly make our way to Buffalo and Niagara Falls.  We made reservations for the KOA in Grand Island, New York, just minutes from Niagara.  We'd spend 4 nights there to take our time sightseeing, then two more nights on the journey home.  We even splurged on the large private "patio" spot at the KOA.

Lauren has never been to the area before so while there we planned for her to eat her first real Buffalo Wings from Duffs or Anchor Bar (Jeff prefers Duffs.)  As BIG fans of I Love Lucy, we planned to also make a visit to Jamestown to see the Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz museum to see props and some recreated sets from one of our favorite shows and television's funniest woman ever.

As an added bonus, we had also planned a stop in Syracuse, NY to stop in and see Jeff's 98 year old Grandfather.  The New York State Thruway runs right through Syracuse and it would be a less than 5 minute detour off our route to see him. We planned to stop in for a late breakfast and lunch before heading on our way to our destination.

All summer long Jeff cleaned and prepared the trailer getting her ready while Lauren came up with the meal plan and prepped the supplies we'd need.

A month out we upgraded our tires from the cheap Chinese "Rainier" brand that came with the Jayco to the American made Goodyear Endurance tires.  A higher PSI and temperature rating along with stiffer sidewalls made for a noticeable smoother tow and added peace of mind.

A week out we started packing.  Clothes, supplies, tools, and all of our other RV goodies were set up and moved into the trailer.  Jeff changed the oil and transmission fluid in the truck and made sure all systems were go.

The day before we got the dogs bathed and ready.  Jeff hitched up the trailer and towed her from the backyard.  Lauren wasn't feeling that well but was still excited to go.

Sunday morning we awoke early to hit the road.  The truck was packed.  The dogs were excited.  I started the truck right at 6:30 AM and asked Lauren to check the brake lights one last time before we departed.

I couldn't believe it when a big thumbs down came from behind the trailer.  She came up to the driver window and explained that the left brake light and turn signal worked fine but the right light was out completely.  Fighting the sudden anxiety of "this is going to mess with our vacation," I went through my mental Rolodex of what could potentially be wrong and how I could fix it.

I hoped for the best thinking "maybe it's just a bad bulb." We towed the rig to the Walmart in town in hopes we could just replace it and be on our way.  We were a half hour early for them to open, so we sat silently in the parking lot waiting.  Looking back now, I could have saved myself time and energy just swapping the left bulb with the right one.  At the time however, my mind was racing with the possibility of electrical issues while fighting my Type A mentality of "complete the mission" and our now delayed vacation... or worse.

So, of course, Walmart opens, I grab a new bulb, run out to the parking lot, and PRESTO!  Wait, no... it still doesn't work.

Knowing several people that would "just go anyway," I just didn't feel comfortable towing across New York state without a turn signal or brake light and Lauren agreed so we towed it the 5 minutes home and parked in front of the house.  Lauren took the dogs in to go lay down (she still wasn't feeling well) and I took apart the brake lights to see if my basic electrical knowledge could help anything.
Working on the trailer.  Several lights were removed while I tried to figure out how the wiring worked.

After cleaning the plug from the truck and trailer cable, re-cleaning, and cleaning it again , taking apart both of the rear brake lights and the top running lights trying to trace the wires, testing and re-splicing wires, and a host of other things I had discovered the following:
  1. The right brake/turn light would work if the truck's headlights and trailer's running lights were off, albeit much dimmer than the left.  
  2. The wires for each light disappeared into the back wall of the trailer and none of them seemed connected in an area I could fix myself. 
  3. If you held the running light wire (the brown/green wire) to the frame of the trailer the lights would work fine, although the wires would spark continuously while being held against the trailer.
  4. Using a voltmeter, the light was only receiving 2-3 volts with the headlights/running lights on (no light), and 8-10 volts (dim light) with the headlights off.
  5. Using said voltmeter, the 7 pin truck plug was providing the correct 12 volts on each pin. 
  6. Every trailer repair shop on Long Island is closed on Sundays.  Really?!
Clearly we had a ground issue based on the fact if you touched the wires to the frame the lights would work.  
You can see the tail lights dangling by the wires while I took a break.

I also found that the internet and YouTube, although normally EXTREMELY helpful, provided ZERO help for our particular situation.  Maybe someone with this issue will find this blog and therefor be helped through it.  I always say I'm thankful to the people that usually post issues like this on the internet, so here I am giving back.

Everything I read said "check the ground" but never really explained how the light was grounded.  None of the lights had ground lines connected to the frame.  The ground on the truck plug worked when I checked.  I had vague recollection of reading that the ball hitch receiver was a source of ground and thought  I may have greased the ball too much when I hitched up so I cleaned that off and roughed it up a bit with sandpaper but that didn't work either.

By now it was 4pm.  By the way, those cool end-of-September temperatures turned out to be 94 degrees.  I was on my 3rd sweat soaked t-shirt by the time I had to admit we weren't going anywhere so I gave up for the day.  

I closed up the lights, resealed them with Dicor Sealant since it was expected to rain over night (lesson learned, don't use self leveling sealant on vertical surfaces in 94 degree heat... WHAT A MESS!) and headed inside.

The next morning I got up early and fiddled with the lights some more.  I was desperate enough to make a run to Walmart and buy a LED light (since it uses less power than a regular incandescent bulb) but that didn't work either.  It was worth a shot and we returned the light at Walmart for a refund.  

I pride myself on taking care of my things and being able to fix stuff but at 9am when the trailer repair facility opened, we called and asked for help.  They told us to bring it in but warned us that it could take up to 2 weeks with the end-of-season rush for people to fix or winterize their trailer.  

2 weeks?!  Our trip was off.  

Since it was daylight I kept the truck headlights off so, that while dim, at least the turn signal and brake light would at least work and be visible to other motorists.  We towed her 30 minutes east on the Long Island Expressway and dropped her off.  They had a special tester and verified it wasn't my truck before we left.  It wasn't a total loss, we checked out the Class C's on the lot before leaving.  That Jayco Melbourne looks right up our alley... anyone have $75k they want to loan us!?  :-)

We headed home and went back to bed.  I was mentally exhausted from the stress and disappointment (and from working in the heat on the trailer all day) and Lauren was feeling worse and I began to think perhaps it wasn't a bad thing we weren't going on our trip.  I felt terrible we couldn't go but was glad Lauren could get some rest.  I was upset that I wouldn't get to see my Grandfather either, especially since it had been nearly 2 years since I last saw him and at 98... well, let's not think of that.

Laying in bed with Lauren rested, I was watching a Monk marathon on The Hallmark Channel.  Sometimes I have to wonder just how old are we?!  I'm 33, Lauren's 32.  Anyway, I thought to myself... "You're an airline pilot and we get to fly for free as long as there are seats available on the flight."  Just fly up and see Gramps! 

So I decided that on Wednesday I would fly up in the morning, spend the day, and fly home that night.  I could easily stay longer but at his age he gets tired very easily especially with visitors and my Dad said that just a few hours was more than enough.  

Tuesday was spent lounging around the house but Lauren was feeling better so she decided she'd like to see Grandpa too.  Wednesday morning came and we dropped the dogs off at her parents house on the way to the airport.  The flight had some spare seats and we were in Syracuse by 11AM.  

I kid you not, the plane was just pushing back from the gate when I felt my phone buzz from a call.  It was the trailer facility!!  When we landed I checked my voicemail and they said it was all fixed!  So much for 2 weeks!  It was not even 2 days!  I called and asked what was wrong with it and the kid that answered the phone didn't know but read to me what the tech had written on our work slip.  It said that they removed the light, repaired the ground, and reinstalled the light.  I asked what the ground was that he repaired but the kid said he just answered the phone and didn't know and speak with the tech when I picked it up.  Oh well, I'd ask when we got there.

Gramps looked great.  He's still mobile and fully with it.  He gets tired easily and some of his memory is fuzzy but I pray that I am as good as he is at 98 when I'm half that age.  

Our flight home was at 6pm so we had plenty of time to visit. In the afternoon during his nap I checked on our flight and found that the flight was full and there wouldn't be any available seats for us to get home.  Almost at the same time Lauren and I had the same thought.  She said "you know, we have the rental car and we're right here.  Let's just drive to Buffalo tonight, see Niagara Falls in the morning and then fly home tomorrow!"

Only one problem.. we had NO clothes and NO toiletries.  This was supposed to be a day trip!  But, we'll figure it out, right? 

We drove the 3 hours to Buffalo and booked a hotel on Priceline while we were on the way.  Before setting up for the night at the hotel we stopped in at Duff's Famous Buffalo Wings so Lauren could get a taste for herself.  Delicious!  We google mapped a Walmart (which happened to be less than 2 miles away) and picked up some toiletries and some fresh underwear for the the next day!  

We got up early and headed to Niagara Falls.  It was absolutely gorgeous... but cold!  It went from 90 to 60 degrees overnight!!  We had to wait for the gift shop to open just to purchase sweatshirts since we were unprepared to even be there, let alone for such a temperature change.  We arrived around 8am and the attractions didn't open until 9 so we had the place practically to ourselves.  We were able to take a bunch of photos in front of the Falls together that would guarantee that we'll have at least one good one to use as our Christmas card this year.

From the famous "Maid of the Mist"

The Cave of the Wind with the "Hurricane Deck" was our favorite.  It's amazing that they build and tear down that deck every year to avoid damage over the winter when the Falls freeze.  The Hurricane Deck is the top level where you can get hit with Hurricane force winds and water from the falls.  I loved it even though it was so cold.  Lauren was brave enough to try it too!

 Jeff getting soaked on the "Hurricane Deck"

Lauren was brave enough to try, too!

The Maid of the Mist was fun, and we're glad we did it since it's so iconic, but we don't think it would be worth it to go again.  Since we hadn't planned on even being there, we unfortunately didn't have our passports with us and couldn't cross the rainbow bridge over to Canada to see it from the Canadian side.  Lesson learned, always bring your passport!  

We planned to drive back to Rochester for the 7pm flight home to New York.  It sounds crazy even though we were right there in Buffalo but the flights were full in Buffalo and Rochester had more empty seats than full... so Rochester it was!  

It was only 11am at that time and we had an afternoon to why not drive down and see the Lucy/Desi museum like we had originally planned?  A quick 2 hours later, we arrived in Jamestown, NY (birthplace to Lucille Ball) and got to see props and other memorabilia from "I Love Lucy" along with some recreated sets of their famous New York City apartment at 623 E 68th Street (a fictitious address... it would be in the middle of the East River if it existed!) and the set for Room 315 at the Beverly Palms Hotel in Hollywood, California from the 4th season when the show moved to Hollywood for Ricky's movie. 

Fans of "I Love Lucy" will recognize these sets from the show.   A mix of original and re-created artifacts, it was funny to see them in living color!

The other section of the Museum was dedicated to the real lives of the people Lucille and Desi and we learned many interesting things, some new to even big fans like ourselves.  There were very few people at the museum (ok, it was a Thursday at noon) and we were certainly the youngest people there but we were greeted warmly by the staff and found the information to be nicely presented and the grounds clean and well cared for.  

After truly enjoying ourselves, we headed an hour and a half back to Buffalo and ate an early dinner at Duffs again (I guess Lauren enjoyed it just as much as I do!) and then drove the rest of the way to Rochester.  We returned the rental car, flew home, got our puppies from "Grandma and Grandpa's" and were in our own beds by 9:30pm.  Phew!  What a trip!  

PHEW!  You made it this far!  Thanks for reading, I know this was a long one.  I'll keep the conclusion short, I promise!

We made an appointment to pick up the trailer on Saturday morning, and with the day in between I was able to do something I had been wanting to do for a long time:  Lay down crushed stone in the yard for the trailer to rest on. 

We had brick paver stones for under the tires but it was difficult to keep the grass short underneath the trailer and the grass was unattractive, spotty, full of weeds, and would often get muddy.  We had the stones delivered and a few hours later we were happy with our work.

 Piper and Rocky approve of our work.

Saturday morning we went and picked up the trailer.  I got to speak to the tech VERY briefly about what was wrong with it.  He said the 4 screws that held the backing frame of the light to the trailer were what grounded it.  After I was home I questioned that since the light frame was plastic and the electrical wiring just ran through a hole in the plastic to a clip that held the light in place and wasn't connected to those screws or the frame in any way.  I couldn't see how screws that held the plastic to the frame grounded anything, but, that's what the technician who worked on the trailer told me and all I have to go off of. 

He was in a hurry and wanted to make sure he also admonished me for my "liberal use" of the sealant and told me to not use that again on the frame saying it was a mess (it was) and that it made his job harder (it might have).  It was slightly embarrassing to be called out like that but I had already learned my lesson the other day on my own when it made such a mess.  Oh well.  

An hour later the trailer was home and it all worked.  Everything was covered under warranty so all it cost us was $6.00 for an updated New York Inspection.

What a week!  While it wasn't in our trailer like we originally planned, we were happy to have at least been able to make something of our week off.  We got to see everything we originally planned to see, along with my Grandfather, and the trailer was fixed.

Back in the yard, all fixed.

Until next spring... we have plans that might take the trailer south!

Get ready Uncle Mickey and Aunt Minnie, here we come!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Explaining Ourselves, Again!

Ok, so it's August.  We've been missing for another few months.  Life's busy, what can I say?  We haven't pulled the trigger on a Class C yet, although we've looked at quite a few of them.  I really think it's the direction we're headed, but, not quite yet.

So, what's next?

Well, I FINALLY (towards the end of summer) got around to posting our "De-Winterizing" How-To blog.  You can read that directly below this post or click on the "RV'ing Tips" link to the right.

I also finally have to get the "RV'ing with Dogs" blog post finished.  I think that might be the most helpful post to our readers of the few that I'm currently working on.  I've also got to get the Trip Reports for The Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore and Black Hills, Devil's Tower National Monument, and 1880's Town blog posts finished.

I've just uploaded some photos to the photos page, so you can at least view those while I get my typing fingers all warmed up.  

We've made plans for our "annual" big trip this year!  We're headed to Niagara Falls this September once the weather cools and the busy summer flying season (for Jeff) is over!  Part of the problem with us not getting the most enjoyment out of our big trip out west was the constant go-go-go in the high heat of August.  This will be a nice leisurely trip, no driving legs over 4 hours.  We plan on getting to the campgrounds early in the day so we can relax, build a campfire, and enjoy the journey.

We don't have any plans other than seeing the Falls, so it will be nice to just take things as they come.  At the end of September we should also have nice cooler weather that will make using the trailer a much more enjoyable experience compared to the 100+ degree days last summer.  You can bet I'll be taking photos and will (eventually) get around to posting a trip report about that as well!

That's what we have in store for this site.  Thank you for still reading (if anyone is out there.)  We hope you're enjoying your summer RV season like we are!

How to De-Winterize Your Trailer or MotorHome

Happily, it's that time of year again!  It's time to awaken the beast from it's winter slumber!  It's time to DE-WINTERIZE your Travel Trailer or Motor Home!  

If your like us, relative new-comers to the RV world or maybe you're an old timer that's a bit rusty or just wants a refresher, you head to the internet for a reminder of all the steps needed.  There's an awful lot of information out there about how to WINTERIZE your trailer or motor home, but not really that much about DE-WINTERIZING!  Here's a quick photo step-by-step about how I de-winterized our Jayco Travel Trailer earlier this spring!  


I store my batteries in the garage over the winter to keep them from the freezing cold New York winter.  Using my battery charger a few days earlier, I brought them up to full charge and lugged them around back.  During the fall when we winterized our trailer, Each wire was removed, bundled together, and labeled for ease of use.  Since these wires were exposed all winter, I wrapped them in plastic shopping bags to protect them from any winter weather.

Now, looking at the picture I know it looks like a bird's nest of wires, but, trust that there is a method to my madness!  

All hooked up, just have to finish putting the battery covers on, so let's head inside to check the gauges!

Full batteries... I like what I see!

My solar panels are putting out 18.7 V, this will keep my batteries topped off while she sits in the backyard.  

The solar panels will keep the batteries topped off while our Jayco sits in the backyard, but to be honest, we stayed plugged into the house at all times.  I actually had to replace my Progressive Industries Surge Protector this year as it apparently had done it's job during a power surge and had blown itself.  I'll write a blog post about that next and come back and link to that here.

STEP TWO:  CLEAN THOSE PIPES!  (De-Winterize Your Water System)

For those of you who don't use the pink RV/Marine Anti-Freeze liquid and blow out your pipes, you can ignore this step and go right to sanitizing your tanks.  For folks like us, there's a few more steps involved.

Step 2.1:  I hooked up my water hose to our city water inlet.  That way we had positive water pressure without filling my 80 gallon fresh water tanks and having to run the water pump.  

Step 2.2:  With the water line open, I went to each individual faucet or shower head and opened up both the hot and cold lines until the water turned from pink to clear.  

What starts out as pink anti-freeze...

Eventually turns clear.

Same goes for the kitchen sink....

And the bathroom sink!  

Don't forget the toilet, shower, or any outdoor showers or kitchens you might have!  

Step 2.3:  Next up, it's time to sanitize your water system!  You should do this two or three times a year to make sure your water is safe to drink and use.  We previously did a blog on this, so I'm not going to repeat myself.  Just click the photo down below to read about SANITIZING YOUR FRESH TANKS!


Step 2.4:  Get that hot water heater going again!  Before the winter came, I had opened the drain plug and relief valves.  I made sure the plug was in tight and shut the over-pressure relief valve.  I also fired it up to make sure it worked.  

The pressure relief valve looks similar to your home's water heater.  Here it's open...

And here it's closed.  

The drain plug on the bottom left is in tightly.  I left the panel open to make sure the heater fired up using both the propane and electric starters.


Now that we've accomplished some of the more time consuming tasks, it's time to take care of all of the little (but still important!) items.  I changed the batteries in my smoke alarms.  Then I tested the propane/CO2 leak detector.  Next, I made sure the on board fire extinguisher was still serviceable and good for another year.  I opened the propane and made sure that the oven, cook top range, and the propane hot water heater ignition still worked.  I also tested the fridge but ultimately chose to leave it off once I could tell that it cooled slightly.  I then shut off the propane so it would be full when we needed it (no need to run the fridge for weeks when it's not being used!)

 New batteries and a quick test to make sure it still works.  

Press the test button on the top right and you should see all lights and a tone.

 We carry a much larger name brand Halon fire extinguisher when we go on trips but this is the one that came with the Jayco and stays onboard year-round.

Oven and range light right up!  

And that's about it!  A few days later I went up on the roof and inspected all the seals.  There was some spots where, even under the custom cover to the RV, the seals had dried and cracked.  I covered with Dicor Lap Sealant and covered some seals around our skylights and antennas with my favorite sealant of all, EternaBond sealant tape, for a nice clean look.  

After that, I added air to the tires and gave our trailer a nice wash and wax.  Now, you're ready for a fun season of RV'ing!