April 2023
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April 2023
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April 2023
Volume 3, Number 4
trailer parked in the woods while it's snowing
Powering Off-Road — and Off-Grid — Adventures
Heading off to the boondocks? You’d best be carrying enough onboard battery storage to last through your journey. More and more, that translates into lithium-ion battery banks. Yes, they are initially expensive, but lithium cells offer RVers a host of benefits not available in their lead-acid counterparts, from substantial weight savings to having more usable power on tap.
man using a flashlight to look near the plumbing of his trailer
Flushing Troubles Away
Thoroughly cleaning the holding tanks on your RV during each dumping session is essential to maintaining a properly working sanitation system. Not only will flushing the tanks prevent nasty content build-up, but odors also can be eliminated. Unfortunately, in many cases the flow of water is so sluggish it barely budges the contents. Here’s how we solved the dilemma.
RV convention
2023’s Hottest Parts & Accessories
Everybody likes to know about the latest and greatest RV components coming through the pipeline — but since they tend to debut at annual distributor shows closed to the public, you don’t always know about them until they show up on a parts shelf. That’s where we can help. Here’s a look at nearly six dozen new and popular parts and accessories you can find a home for.
3D black question marks scattered everywhere with two bright orange question marks
RVers take a serious approach to accessorizing their rigs. Fortunately, there are plenty of aftermarket products out there to fulfill their needs. Three popular segments include parts that help get you where you’re going safely, help energy independence and keep you connected.
flatbed trailer frame
Got an idea for building a one-off travel trailer? Boreas Campers now makes its popular overlander chassis available. Meanwhile, Living Vehicle debuted its HD model for 2024, while Harvest Hosts introduced CampersCard, a unique new campground discount program.
working on an air conditioner on top of an RV
A few of the frustrations that encouraged our readers to seek advice this month: fogged-up dual-pane windows, a 32-foot fifth wheel with one air-conditioner that can’t keep the rig cooled, maintaining a fiberglass roof, and Technical Director Bill Gehr’s thoughts on vacuum cleaners.
April 2023 cover
The rugged 2023 Imperial Outdoors XploreRV X145 four-season overland trailer is representative of RVs made to live off the grid for extended periods. Photo by Bruce W. Smith.
hand working on a programmer board
Keeping Tabs on Your Workhorse
There once was a time when Ford wasn’t the only gas chassis game in town. In fact, Workhorse Custom Chassis underpinnings were used throughout the industry. As they age, however, small things start going awry — like the LCD screen in the instrument cluster. Brazel’s RV Performance has come up with an easily installed, inexpensive and attractive replacement.
man working on an RV A/C unit from the inside
Rapid Cooling
Summertime brings hot weather, and most RVers try to keep it at bay with rooftop air-conditioners. However, sometimes inefficient mating to the roof ducting can compromise airflow and cooling capacity. Fortunately, RV Airflow Systems offers a kit that improves efficiency dramatically, increasing air velocity while also substantially reducing the noise level.
red truck towing a trailer
Ready to Tow
This might be rudimentary to some folks, but anyone who’s incorrectly installed a weight-distributing hitch should know it doesn’t have to be hit or miss. We assisted a friend during the installation of an Equal-i-zer Sway Control Hitch, which combines weight distribution and sway control, and marveled at its ability to keep stomach butterflies at bay in adverse weather.
PUBLISHER – Bob Livingston
(805) 320-6909
[email protected]

EDITOR – Bruce Hampson
(574) 584-4616
[email protected]

(805) 340-5015
[email protected]

[email protected]

Business Office
26362 Douglas ave., Elkhart, in 46514
Advertising Director
Sue Seidlitz
(805) 816-8759
[email protected]
To subscribe electronically, log onto: www.rventhusiastmagazine.com, click on the “subscribe” icon and follow the prompts to add subscriber and payment information. Alternately, you may also mail to: RV Enthusiast Subscriptions, 26362 Douglas Ave., Elkhart, IN 46514. Subscription rates: Subscriptions for U.S. and Canada: $9.99/one year, $18.99/two years. Premier membership subscription rates available upon request.
Correspondence is invited from subscribers and readers of RV Enthusiast. Technical inquiries relating to RV function, maintenance, repairs and/or upgrades should be directed to Technical Director Bill Gehr at the above email addresses. Letters to the Editor should be directed to Editor Bruce Hampson at the above email address. Personal replies cannot be sent due to the volume of mail received. By forwarding letters to RV Enthusiast magazine, the author consents to allow letters to be published at the discretion of RV Enthusiast editors. Letters may be edited for brevity and clarification.
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Publisher’s Report
By Bob Livingston
Upgrading Your RV Has Never Been Easier

V ownership is an adventure — and it’s not solely driven by the travel and social aspects, but also from the experience of setting up a home away from home. Leaving the humdrums of daily life is certainly a major factor, while most people want to see new places and partake in outdoor activities without giving up the niceties associated with living in a stationary home. Today, RVs are well equipped, and owners can augment livability — and the fun factor — by turning to the accessory aftermarket to purchase the items needed to customize and personalize their RVs.

And they do it with gusto. Ever watch how RV owners — and sometimes even those looking to get into the lifestyle — grab a cart in big parts and accessory stores like Camping World or those at dealerships and peruse the aisles with passion? Many times, these enthusiasts have no clue why they went shopping — they just knew they would find something to “use” in their RV. I can remember doing just that numerous times myself…and have always found something to throw in the cart.

Those people who take a more serious approach to accessorizing usually target systems and products that will fit the bill for their particular lifestyle. I can probably safely say that there are three segments that are among the most popular these days: Accessories to get RVers to their destinations safely without creating disharmony in the family; the ability to have energy independence while on the road and in camp; and staying in touch with family, friends and the world via good Internet access.

Attention Ford F53 Chassis Owners!
Steering Stabilizers
Anti-Sway Bars
…designed and built by ROADMASTER for Ford F53 and other chassis.
Attention Ford F53 Chassis Owners!
Steering Stabilizers
Anti-Sway Bars
…designed and built by ROADMASTER for Ford F53 and other chassis.
reflex steering stabilizer
anti-sway bar
The BEST Solutions for Handling
Gives motorhomes a planted, lower center-of-gravity feel.
Reduces driver fatigue, increases driver confidence.
Improves handling, decreases wander.
More control in evasive maneuvers or tire blow-outs.
five star rating
“After installing the sway bar, the difference was immediate. The sway back and forth was night and day better. — John
five star rating
“Sway on turns very much reduced. Sway due to passing trucks reduced also. My RV handles like our car. Very smooth.” — A. Dunham
five star rating
“Ruts, bumps and hairpin curves are no problem. My steering wheel doesn’t belong to potholes any more — it belongs to me.— Brian D.
Click to Learn More
and Find Your Fit!
Built-in Quality | Outstanding Customer Support | Award-Winning Design
Time Tested – Time Proven
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News & Notes

Boreas Campers Offer Off-Road Chassis to D-I-Y RVers
the Boreas Campers Off-Road Chassis

Spend any amount of time in most any RV and you can find yourself wondering “why did they do that?” We’ve all been there. RVs are built for mass consumption; it’s just a matter of finding one that closest fits your lifestyle and wallet.

If you’re really handy, though, you can build your own — and to lend a bit of help, Boreas Campers now offers the same chassis used for its XT Overland camper trailer as a standalone product for backyard builders.

The heavy-duty, powder-coated, laser-cut frame (1/8-inch by 4 x 2 and 3 x 2 tube steel) is 16 feet long and 60 inches wide. The rolling chassis includes a Cruisemaster CRS2 independent suspension and DO35 articulating hitch, BFGoodrich AT tires and Pro Comp wheels, front and rear 2-inch hitch receivers, tail and marker lights, 7-pin and a Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin.

Up On the Roof
If using Eternabond, remove the backing from just one end of the tape and, while keeping the backing in one hand, continue to push the tape into place as you pull the backing from underneath. The company also sells a weighted roller to help with this process.
If using Eternabond, remove the backing from just one end of the tape and, while keeping the backing in one hand, continue to push the tape into place as you pull the backing from underneath. The company also sells a weighted roller to help with this process.

I have a 24-foot Winnebago Class C motorhome with a fiberglass roof. I noticed that it’s showing its age with some of the fiberglass thread showing. I would like to take care of the problem before it gets too big, since the motorhome otherwise is still in perfect shape. During my research, I have seen a lot of suggestions on how to fix the fiberglass and would like to know the best way to approach this repair.
—Rafael Sanchez

Fiberglass does get a little rough over time, especially if the roof has not been maintained properly. It’s best to keep it clean and treated to a coat of wax or other surface conditioner at least twice a year if the rig is exposed to sun and other outside conditions. Having said that, even though it’s not looking great it’s still going to last a long time.

If you’d like to bring it back to life, professional detailers will cut the surface with a buffing compound and add a coat of wax to bring it back to life — but it’s going to be slippery and potentially unsafe to walk on to service rooftop accessories and inspect for breaches in the caulking/sealant. Depending on the extent of the damaged area, you can consider painting the roof with a high-quality marine paint; with the proper primer and preparation, the paint will last for many years. If you want to provide safer footing, consider adding some sand or an anti-slip material in the paint.

Powering Off-Road —
and Off-Grid — Adventures

Powering Off-Road — and Off-Grid — Adventures
the 2023 Imperial Outdoors XploreRV X145 four-season overland trailer towed behind a parked white truck in a snowy forested area
The 2023 Imperial Outdoors XploreRV X145 four-season overland trailer is built to be totally self-sufficient. Photo by Bruce W. Smith
Heading off into the boondocks? You’d best be carrying enough battery storage to last through your adventure.
By Bruce Hampson

t’s one of the great conundrums of the RV industry: As manufacturers continue to ship motorized and towable units to dealers at a record pace, ever-greater numbers of RV owners vie for a finite number of campsites where they can enjoy them.

Rather than being perceived as a brake on RV sales, however, the scarcity of campsites — especially on popular holiday dates and weekends — has given wings to an RV lifestyle nearly as old as the industry itself: off-grid and off-road camping.

“It’s something that a lot of us in the industry have been concerned about for a handful of years — how do we create a product that the consumer doesn’t have to use in a campground?” said Cody Schade, product manager for Forest River Inc.’s No Boundaries and IBEX “adventure trailer” lines. “Having those conversations is what led us to develop No Boundaries, and now we’re adapting some of its traits to other (Forest River) products. I think you’re going to see this topic take on greater significance.”

Flushing Troubles Away
man cleaning the holding tanks thoroughly during each dumping session
Cleaning the holding tanks thoroughly during each dumping session is essential to maintaining a properly working sanitation system. Not only will flushing the tanks prevent nasty content build-up but odors can also be controlled.
By Bob Livingston / Photos by the author

eeping an RV’s holding tanks clean is essential for two reasons: You need to reduce the chances of developing nasty odors — both inside and outside the RV — and it’s important to prevent build-ups that can impede the velocity of the contents when dumping. Consequently, most RV manufacturers provide some method of introducing a strong flow of clean water into the tank during the dumping session. Without such a provision, build-up is all but certain, but in many cases the flow of water is so sluggish the extra water barely budges the contents.

Case in point: The tank flush fitting installed in the side of the black holding tank in my fifth wheel. Watching the sluggish flow of water move out of the tank (via a clear fitting on the termination valve) was painful. The solution was to add a more robust flushing system that can actually do some good. After studying the available products on the market, Technical Director Bill Gehr and I settled on Camco’s RV Quickie Flush, which has a multi-directional spray head, high-quality fittings and a hose. (Amazon sells the Camco 40123 Quickie Flush w/Backflow Preventer for $28.)

2023’s Hottest Parts & Accessories
Dealers turned out in force for the 2023 NTP-STAG Expo in Aurora, Colorado — the place where many new parts and accessories are revealed.
Dealers turned out in force for the 2023 NTP-STAG Expo in Aurora, Colorado — the place where many new parts and accessories are revealed.
By RVBusiness / Photos by Shawn Spence

sk a gearhead what part of his favorite car magazine is the most anticipated each month, and the answer might surprise you.

New products.

Sure, the story lines highlighted on the cover tend to provide all the impetus for sticking the publication in the grocery basket — but most do-it-yourselfers are nonetheless extremely interested in “the next big thing” they can integrate into their favorite ride.

Anyone spinning wrenches on RVs is likewise prone to ferreting out the latest products that can make life easier, more comfortable or simply more interesting and enjoyable while on the road. Plus, let’s face it: we all like to be on the cutting edge of new technology.

"Keeping Tabs on Your Workhorse"
Installing new LCD panel on gauge cluster PCB
Not being able to read the LCD instrumentation overseeing your motorhome’s operation can have dire consequences. Fortunately, Brazel’s RV Performance has a cure for this common ailment.
By Bruce Hampson

uring an all-too-brief span during between 1999 and model year 2012, the Workhorse Custom Chassis — the successor to Chevrolet’s P-30/P-32 chassis — proved to be a popular choice for manufacturers and owners of gas-powered Class A motorhomes. Not surprisingly, while the now-Workhorse Group Inc. has turned its attentions to other venues, a large number of motorhomes built on Workhorse underpinnings still travel the highways — although not without the occasional hiccup.

As Jon Brazel pointed out, one component that tends to give Workhorse owners trouble as their vehicles age is the motorhome’s instrument cluster.

“Back when Workhorse was still building motorhome chassis, they would just replace the entire panel,” he said. “The problem was, owners were just getting the same product that would fail again in a few years.”

Pile of ice cubes
Screwing in new rooftop AC cover
Modifying an existing rooftop air-conditioner with a RV Airflow System’s patented foam plenum insert takes cold-air velocity to a new high — and inside temperatures to a new low.
By Bill Gehr / Photos by Bob Livingston

ummertime brings hot weather — and most RVers venturing into regions where the temperature soars must rely on their rooftop air-conditioners to be comfortable. Most RVs have one or two air-conditioners, and many are now outfitted with three to keep the inside temperatures cool. While the Btu ratings of these air-conditioners suggest that they are capable of getting the job done, inefficient mating to the roof ducting can compromise the flow and cooling capacity. RV Airflow Systems (rvairflow.com) has designed an aftermarket modification kit that improves efficiency dramatically, while taking the noise level down substantially.

I fight the heat frequently with my 36-foot fifth wheel, where I elected to have only one air-conditioner to make way for a power roof vent in the bedroom to exhaust the hot air when boondocking. In an attempt to improve air flow — in an admittedly underrated system for the size of the fifth wheel — I modified the plenum with 1-inch waterproof foam to force more cold air through the ducted ceiling registers. This upped the ante quite a bit, but there was still room for improvement. As I realized afterward, I should have gone with the RV Airflow Systems solution in the first place — and probably still will.

Ready to Tow title
red truck towing a trailer
Setting up a weight-distributing hitch does not have to be hit or miss. Installing an Equal-i-zer Sway Control Hitch will keep the stomach butterflies in check when adverse weather and/or big trucks impact stability.
By Bob Livingston / Photos by the author

owing travel trailers is wildly popular these days. Actually, more travel trailers are built every year than in any other segment of the RV industry. That makes sense, since just about anything on wheels these days can tow a trailer. In this arena, though, the “half-ton” pickup has become a staple. Heck, the best-selling vehicle in the country is the F-150, which has become a super capable tow vehicle, with tow ratings up to 14,000 pounds.

The Ford was, in fact, a friend’s choice of trucks when he decided that he needed a smaller RV to travel during the summer. In this instance, the truck was purchased first — he was smitten, perhaps, with all the bells and whistles Ford has to offer for this model pickup. Almost $80,000 later, the shiny red F-150 was sitting in his driveway. And, it was loaded with top-notch towing features — except for the proper mirrors, which was puzzling since my friend made it clear to the salesperson that he was going to tow a trailer, but they were a simple (albeit expensive) addition afterwards. The search for a trailer ended with a 29-footer that maxed out the limits of the truck and, as such, required precise equipment to hitch it up. That’s when we turned to the Equal-i-zer Sway Control Hitch (equalizerhitch.com).

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