Since we’re stationary here in Bandon for the next 2 months I thought it would be nice to share some of the things we did to prepare “the beast” for downtime. RV’s like ours, especially Class A motorhomes are really meant to be driven. The engines, tires and just about everything else don’t really “like” to sit still. Our two months at Bandon is really not that long, but we still wanted to prepare our girl for the best time we could. Here’s three simple things I would recommend to anyone who plans to be stationary for a while:
1/ Add A Fuel Stabilizer Or Biocide To Your Tank
One of the big issues with engines that sit around is fuel problems. Both gas and diesel have their individual problems:
-> Gasoline degrades with time and can become “stale”. Ironically the newer gasolines, especially the “cleaner” fuels with oxygenate additives degrade even faster than the old formulas. Heat and moisture accelerate the process. Slightly old gas won’t cause too many issues other than somewhat reduced engine performance, but the longer you leave it the more likely you are to see more serious problems such as gumming, varnish, rust, and corrosion.
-> Diesel doesn’t degrade in the same way that gasoline does, but it does have another troubling issue which is microbial growth, sometimes commonly known as “diesel algae”. The growth is caused by specialized bacteria, yeasts & molds which consume diesel and form a dangerous slimy goo in your tank. They are most ferocious in moist and hot environments. Once you get these in your engine you are in big doo-doo. It’s a thing to be avoided at all costs.
So, what to do? One of the best things you can do anytime you leave a tank is to fill it completely, thereby leaving no room for moisture. Parking your RV somewhere cool is also helpful, but not always possible for fulltimers. After that your next best insurance is a good fuel additive. For gas engines, look for fuel stabilizers such as STA-BIL 22214 Fuel Stabilizer. For diesel, STA-BIL does make a Marine Version of their product, but it’s really just same as the gas version with extra detergents. Since I’m more worried about microbial growth in diesel I much prefer the biocides such as Biobor JF Diesel Treatment or Power Service Bio-Clean. This is what the marine guys use and they know this stuff.
We filled our tank 20 miles before we got to Bandon, added a few oz of Biobor JF and also ran the generator for an hour to get the additive distributed through the whole system. For a few $$ we’re certain our diesel will be perfectly fine for the next 3 months. Peace of mind, baby!
2/ Clean, Protect & Cover Your Tires
One of the worst things you can do for your tires is to let them sit around, especially in the sun. Not only does sitting start to dry out the natural oils, but UV degrades the rubber in a big way. An easy fix for tires is to use them, but if you’re sitting still for several months that’s not much of an option. The next best option is to clean off road grime with mild soap & water and protect the rubber with a good UV protector (my absolute favorite and pretty much the only one I recommend is Aerospace 303 -> it contains NO petroleum distillates which is super important for tire health) and/or a simple tire cover. We do both and feel it’s cheap protection for a big $$ item. Totally worth it!
3/ “Lube” Internal Slide Seals
Ever try to pull-in the slide and hear a”sticking” sound? Often when slides sit in the “out” position for longer periods, especially in warmer weather the internal rubber seals will start to “stick” to the frame of your RV. A super-easy way to prevent this is to “dust” all your internal seals with talcum or baby powder before you run out your slides. Get an old sock, tap some talcum powder onto it and run the sock along the inside wall on all your seals. Easy peasy and no more sticky! We’ve used this method for years and have been very happy with it.
You can use the same product on the outer seals too, but we prefer Aerospace 303 here because it’ll protect against cracking/deterioration too.
This excellent video by RV Geeks shows exactly how to do it:
While we’re “sitting” we will also do some general on-going maintenance such as exercising our generator (once a month), and cleaning/lubing up the jacks which can get grimy & sticky (we like T9 Lubricant since it also has protects against salt corrosion). Ideally we’ll also wax our rig (always a good general idea, especially near the ocean -> our go-to wax for many years have been RejeX, very slick stuff!), but we haven’t gotten around to it yet. Always something to do on an RV!
Those are our key steps. Do YOU have any juicy “downtime” tips to share? Do comment and discuss below!
P.S. I’ve experimented with a few Amazon links in this post. If you love ‘em, feel free to use ‘em and we’ll get a few cents in gas. Share the love, baby
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