MotorHome Magazine Motorhome Reviews, RV How-To, Dinghy Towing and RV News 2019-04-21T20:01:05Z http://www.motorhome.com/feed/atom/ WordPress Mary Zalmanek <![CDATA[Motorhomes, Museums and The Music Man]]> http://www.motorhome.com/?p=41835 2019-04-15T20:35:56Z 2019-04-21T20:01:05Z

Exploring Forest City and Mason City, Iowa, right in Winnebago’s backyard

On June 2, 2018, my husband, Jim, and I drove to La Mesa RV in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to take possession of our brand-new 2019 Winnebago Vista LX 30T. I got teary eyed as I watched it being driven onto the lot for our walk through. It was love at first sight.

As we got to know our new motorhome better, we found a few things that needed repair, which we fully expected. The first destination on our upcoming three-month-long motorhome trip was to be Forest City, Iowa, home of Winnebago. On YouTube, I watched people talking about the dreaded factory visit, but we were excited about it. This was a chance to see where our baby was born, and to check out a new area of our country. Cool!
When we arrived in Forest City, we thought our list was long enough to keep a customer-service representative busy for a day or two. We had a hydraulic jack with a faulty seal, various squeaks and rattles, and a few cosmetic items. On the afternoon before our scheduled appointment, we checked in at the Customer Service Center. It has a nice lobby, perfect for reading, watching TV, knitting, or making new friends.

Afinished motorhome undergoes a high-pressure water test, with 250 spray holes simulating 50 inches of rain per hour.
All finished motorhomes undergo a high-pressure water test, with 250 spray holes simulating 50 inches of rain per hour.

At the Winnebago Visitors Center, we reserved spots for the factory tour the next morning, and then settled in at the Winnebago Service Campground at the nearby fairgrounds. The RV sites have electric hookups only, but there is an on-site dump station.

Our afternoon was free to check out local sites. We started at Pilot Knob State Park. Dedicated in 1923, the 700-acre park is one of the oldest state parks in Iowa. Pilot Knob, the second-highest point in Iowa, got its name from pioneers traveling west in covered wagons who used this isolated hill as a guide. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps built an observation tower on the park’s high point, which is accessible via a short hike on a trail through lush, green forest. From the top of the observation tower, we had a spectacular view of the surrounding farmland. Pilot Knob Lake, a man-made, 15-acre lake, is stocked with bass and bluegill, and is popular for fishing and boating (electric motors only).

Early the next morning we joined the exodus of Winnebagos returning to the Service Center. There were close to 20 people standing outside when the doors opened at 7 a.m. Since most of us had checked in the day before, we simply waited for our names to be called. Our customer service rep, Beto, went through our list with us. He assured us he could probably get it done in one day.

Pilot Knob State Park, the second-highest point in Iowa, got its name from pioneers traveling west in covered wagons who used this isolated hill as a guide.
Pilot Knob State Park, the second-highest point in Iowa, got its name from pioneers traveling west in covered wagons who used this isolated hill as a guide.

At 9 a.m., we started the factory tour, where we found at least a dozen new reasons to love our motorhome. In the 20-minute film, we learned about Winnebago’s commitment to safety and quality. The company builds a steel cab superstructure for durability, strength and safety. Vertical integration is key to Winnebago’s ability to make quality products that are long lasting. According to Sam Jefson, Winnebago public relations specialist, nearly 80 percent of components are manufactured in-house. Water and dump tanks are custom built to take advantage of every square inch. We were also impressed by the testing each prototype undergoes before mass production: a “shaker machine” that simulates the equivalent of 40,000 road miles in one week, and a proprietary test track that subjects models to a 30 percent grade, 2-inch cobblestones, 4-inch chuckholes and 6-inch bumps. All finished motorhomes undergo a high-pressure water test, with 250 spray holes simulating 50 inches of rain per hour.

A bus shuttled us to the factory that spreads across 60 acres. On the two-hour tour, we were able to watch the coach assembly line from catwalks in “Big Bertha,” the largest production facility. In the Stitchcraft building, we got a closer view of the machines that make upholstered furniture, bedspreads and pillows.

Locator map of Forest City, Iowa
Getting There
Forest City is about 120 miles north of Iowa’s capital, Des Moines. From Des Moines, take Interstate 235 East for about 5 miles. Keep straight onto Interstate 35 North. Continue for about 110 miles. At Exit 197, take the ramp on the right and follow the signs to CR-B20. Turn left onto 300th Street/CR-B20 and continue for about 1.6 miles. Turn right onto Grouse Avenue/CR-S28, then continue for 5 miles. Turn right onto Balsam Avenue/CR-S14, then left onto IA-9 after a mile. Follow the signs to Forest City.

Since we needed to be nearby to pick up our motorhome by 3 p.m., we figured we had time for at least nine holes of golf. Bear Creek Golf Course is just five minutes away. It’s a nice course, with manicured fairways and greens. Just as we were finishing up, wondering if we could squeeze in nine more, we got a call from Beto saying our motorhome would be ready for a test drive at 2 p.m.

Jim drove our motorhome on the rural roads near the factory, while I listened for the squeaks and rattles that had plagued us in the past few months. Nothing. Nada. Just normal road noise we’d expect to hear while driving a car. Not only had Beto quieted all the racket, he’d fixed all our other complaints, too, in less than five hours.

That left us three full days to discover what else the area had to offer. The next morning we had a tour of Heritage Park of North Iowa, a 91-acre site within walking distance of the fairgrounds where our motorhome was parked. In 1999, the Winnebago Historical Society created the park, dedicated to the preservation of America’s rural heritage. Ron Holland gave us a tour through the Antique Transportation Museum. Many of the old cars, trucks and bicycles are owned by Ron. We were enchanted by the 1936 Ford that employees gave to John K. Hanson, founder of Winnebago, on his 50th wedding anniversary. It was a replica of the car that John K. and his wife, Luise, drove after their wedding. The fact that employees took up a collection to buy this car for their boss is a testament to how beloved this man was.

Horses pull a house in the Horse and Mule Event, one of several special events held at Heritage Park of North Iowa.
The Horse and Mule Event is one of several special events held at Heritage Park of North Iowa throughout the year.

Heritage Park hosts several events throughout the year. We attended the Horse and Mule Event, which is an opportunity to see farm animals at work in the fields or while moving a house. This event also includes a Civil War re-enactment. The Annual Heritage Festival is held in conjunction with the Winnebago International Travelers (WIT) Club’s National Rally in July.

The Mansion Museum, in the heart of Forest City, is another place to learn about the area’s history. Built for Charley Thompson, a banker, in 1899, the building was restored by the Winnebago Historical Society in 1977. I had a greater appreciation of life in the 19th century when I saw a dress made by a woman in 1873. A sign on the dress said, “She raised the sheep, sheared, carded and spun the wool, dyed the yarn, wove the cloth and made the dress.”

For the next two days, we explored sites in nearby Mason City and learned about the influence Frank Lloyd Wright, “America’s greatest architect,” had on the area. In 1907, a banker, James Markley, asked Wright to build a bank. Wright convinced him it should include a hotel and law offices, too. A local physician, Dr. George Stockman, also asked him to build a house. Several other families wanted Prairie School homes. In the middle of all this, Wright ran off to Europe with his mistress. Three of Wright’s associates stepped in to finish the bank, hotel and eight homes. We heard these basic facts on three different tours, each with a different emphasis depending on which sites we were admiring.

The Stockman House, an iteration of the house Frank Lloyd Wright introduced in a Ladies’ Home Journal article in 1907 entitled “A Fireproof Home for $5,000.”
The Stockman House is an iteration of the house Frank Lloyd Wright introduced in a Ladies’ Home Journal article in 1907 entitled “A Fireproof Home for $5,000.”

At the Historic Park Inn, we learned that after Wright’s associate, William Drummond, completed the hotel, it opened on September 10, 1910. After that, the multi-use building with a bank, hotel and law office went though some tough times. The farm crisis forced the bank into bankruptcy in 1921. The bank was remodeled into retail and office space in 1926.
The law firm moved to a new location. The hotel’s 43 rooms, each 10-by-10 feet with shared bathrooms, lost their commercial appeal in 1922 when another hotel with larger rooms and private baths opened nearby. The historic building continued to deteriorate until a group of concerned citizens formed Wright on the Park Inc. in 2005. The nonprofit group’s mission is “to own, preserve and maintain The Historic Park Inn Hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and to provide continuing education to the public about its place in the context of architectural history.” Construction started in 2010 and the grand reopening was in 2011, 101 years after its original completion. It is the “last remaining Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built hotel in the world,” according to the inn’s website (www.stoneycreek
hotels.com/hotel/travel/masoncity-parkinn/home.do). You might well ask, what about the Arizona Biltmore Hotel? Wright was a consultant for that project, but not the architect of record.

One of the founding members of Wright on the Park was our tour guide, Robert “Chip” Kinsey. He showed us photos of a few of the 27 spacious remodeled rooms, including the “honeymoon suite” with a view of the park, art glass on three sides and a whirlpool tub. As we toured the property, Kinsey pointed out some of the original items that were returned to the hotel after at least 85 years of absence. The 25 art-glass panels in the Skylight Room were recovered from one of the Prairie School homes in the city. After serving as part of a fence and surviving many Iowa winters, 14 of the grilles over the clerestory windows were donated to the restoration effort.

The Sound of Music’s “The Lonely Goatherd” puppets, created by master puppeteer Bil Baird, on display at the MacNider Art Museum.
The Sound of Music’s “The Lonely Goatherd” puppets, created by master puppeteer Bil Baird, are on display at the MacNider Art Museum.

On the Historic Architectural Walking Tour, we learned that Mason City has the largest cluster of Prairie School homes. Tour guide Edith Blanchard told our group the history behind the homes on the tour. The first house belonged to James Markley, the man who brought Wright to Mason City. His house is a Neoclassical Revival home, a far cry from the Prairie School homes on the tour. From there, we walked across the Music Man Footbridge to see a house designed by Wrights’ associate, Drummond. The Yelland House has an open floorplan similar to a house Wright introduced in a Ladies’ Home Journal article in 1907 entitled “A Fireproof Home for $5,000.” In an odd twist of fate, the house burned in 2008. It sat vacant for two years and was slated for demolition, but then a local developer restored it to look like a classic 1909 Prairie School house with modern conveniences. There were 10 houses on our tour, all with interesting stories.

On a separate tour, we saw the Stockman House, designed by Wright. This house was also an iteration of the Fireproof Home. In 1989 the home was moved several blocks to its new location just north of the Rock Glen Historic District.

The Historic Architectural Walking Tour (now known as the Rock Crest-Rock Glen Historic District Walking Tour) started and ended at the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum. It features a permanent collection of American art, which includes 18 Grant Wood lithographs, blown glass by Dale Chihuly and the largest collection of Bil Baird marionettes.
Baird was raised in Mason City. For more than 60 years, he was a master puppeteer who entertained millions around the world. Remember that scene in the 1965 classic,“The Sound of Music,” where Maria and the von Trapp children entertained the Captain with “The Lonely Goatherd” puppet show? Bil Baird and his wife, Cora, were pulling the strings. Outside the museum, big blue blocks are available for kids to build forts, castles or whatever sparks their imagination.

We got another dose of musical nostalgia at Music Man Square. The 1962 film, “The Music Man,” was set in River City, Iowa. The movie was based on Mason City, the hometown of playwright Meredith Willson. The characters in the story are based on people he knew. While the movie was filmed at Warner Brothers studio in California, Music Man Square contains a 1912 replica streetscape. One glance at the ceiling in the Madison Park room will have you singing the lyrics to the most recognizable song from the movie, “76 Trombones.” Meredith Willson’s Boyhood Home is located next to the museum.

Winnebago motorhomes. Architectural wonders. Classic musicals. These are a few of my favorite things.

For More Information

Bear Creek Golf Course | 641-323-8822
Charles H. MacNider Art Museum | 641-421-3666
Heritage Park of North Iowa | 641-596-0527
Historic Architectural Walking Tour | 641-423-0689
Mansion Museum | 866-585-2092
Music Man Square | 641-424-2852
Stockman House | 641-423-1923
Visit Mason City | 800-423-5724
Winnebago Industries Inc. | 641-585-3535
Wright on the Park | 641-423-0689


 

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Motorhome Staff <![CDATA[Flex Charging]]> http://www.motorhome.com/?p=41832 2019-04-15T19:54:55Z 2019-04-20T19:47:24Z

Seems like we’re always looking for an open outlet to charge our phones or tablets. SalVinCo introduces a way to charge an electronic device and offer a versatile reading light with the USB LED Reading Light with Flex Neck and Night Light. And while that may seem like a mouthful, the design is simple yet efficient. A flexible tube neck allows for multi-directional focus with even lighting from an acrylic lens, while the built-in night light offers subtle blue or white LED lighting. The fixture operates with soft-touch switch function, which allows for easy control of night light only, reading light and night light, or both lights off. The compact satin-nickel metal fixture comes with hardware and a decorative cover plate. Light output is 160 lumens, using only 2 watts. USB port is rated at 5 volts, 2.1 amps, and is suitable for most USB devices. MSRP: $59.

SalVinCo LLC | 941-378-9727 | www.salvinco.com


 

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<![CDATA[Battery of Skills: REDARC Manager30]]> http://www.motorhome.com/?p=41911 2019-04-18T18:33:51Z 2019-04-18T18:33:51Z

Australia-based REDARC Electronics has launched The Manager30 battery-management system. The system, which has been available Down Under since 2014, is designed to charge and maintain auxiliary batteries by incorporating AC-, DC- and solar-power inputs, making it suitable for motorhome owners when camping off-grid or while plugged in to shorepower. REDARC claims that one of the key features of the 30-amp The Manager30 is its ability to power share, meaning it can charge an auxiliary battery from multiple power sources simultaneously. REDARC adds: “And, with ‘Green Power Priority,’ if solar is available it will charge using the maximum available solar power before topping up from another power source.” The system is compatible with lead-acid, gel, calcium, AGM or lithium iron phosphate batteries. The Manager30 also includes a remote battery monitor and a load-disconnect controller. MSRP: $1,193.99.

REDARC | 704-247-5150


 

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Sponsored Content <![CDATA[Sponsored Content: Furrion Chill Rooftop Air Conditioner]]> http://www.motorhome.com/?p=41931 2019-04-18T18:33:50Z 2019-04-18T18:33:50Z

Stay cool this summer with the new Furrion Chill rooftop air conditioner

Furrion, a global leader of innovative products and solutions for the specialty-vehicle market, launched the Furrion Chill air-conditioning series. This revolutionary line offers consumers unsurpassed cooling performance combined with high-energy efficiency to keep everyone cool this summer. The series is comprised of a rooftop air-conditioner unit, a slim air-distribution box and a smart thermostat capable of controlling multizones throughout the RV.

Airstream trailer being towed by SUV in desert backcountry setting“RV travel peaks during the summer, and our new Furrion Chill line ensures everyone will stay cool despite the heat,” said Matt Fidler, cofounder and chief marketing officer for Furrion. “We designed and tested the system repeatedly until we were certain it was the best solution on the market. In testing, the Furrion Chill cools down faster and is quieter than competitor models, and its sleek aerodynamic design is actually nice to look at rather than the standard huge boxes you see on the road today.”

The Furrion Chill rooftop unit comes in three capacity models available in stylish jet black or white finish to blend in with the RV exterior. Offering superior cooling performance, the Furrion Chill utilizes dual fans to run more efficiently, cool down the RV faster and reduce operating noise so you barely know it is on. The air filters are able to be cleaned or replaced based on user preference. Careful consideration was put into the design to ensure easy installation and the ability to upgrade existing standard A/C systems to a Furrion Chill system. These units are designed to fit both ducted and non-ducted cooling systems.

The aerodynamic design features a UV coating to protect it from fading, and base and rear grilles to expel the hot air. Like most Furrion products designed for recreation, the Furrion Chill features Vibrationsmart technology that allows it to withstand the vibration from a traveling RV so the performance is never compromised. Furrion’s proprietary Climatesmart technology protects the unit in the winter months, protecting the components in extreme temperatures even down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

FURRION CHILL ROOFTOP AIR CONDITIONERThe Furrion Chill pairs with a single-zone or multizone Furrion Chill thermostat. Both offer a sleek, compact design with an intuitive touch display. The digital LCD display features a blue backlight, rather than the traditional white, because blue is easier to read at night and is easier on the eyes. They offer temperature control for the A/C, heat and control the fan for air circulation. Advanced features, including auto fan operation, auto restart and sleep mode, allow the consumer to tailor the output to their individual needs. The multizone Furrion Chill gives consumers the freedom to program the thermostat with two programmable timers and can control up to four zones.

The Furrion Chill system is complete with the air-distribution box. Ultra-thin, these boxes are easily mounted and blend into the ceiling. They are compatible with the the single-zone or multizone Furrion Chill thermostat. They offer two-way airflow for more circulation efficiency and are compatible with both ducted and non-ducted RVs. The detachable filter is easy to clean and pop back in, reducing waste.

Furrion, www.furrion.com


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http://www.jeremypelder.com <![CDATA[Breath Easy at Home and on the Road: The RV Air Mega Purifier]]> http://www.motorhome.com/?p=41171 2019-04-18T21:15:52Z 2019-04-18T17:15:21Z

Indescribably Cleaner Air and Smell for Your RV

We all know that our RVs can become, how shall we say, funky smelling from time to time.  Whether it be the atmosphere of where you are traveling, trash or toilet issues, bad water, dirty clothes, dirt, smoke, or any of the many other things that can change the quality of the air inside of your motorhome, it can create a rather foul traveling scenario.

Air Purifiers can be an expensive investment, but the outcome cannot be overstated.  The unit we selected was intentional so that we may test it in a home-based environment and in a traveling RV environment, but many of you will find that one of Coway’s smaller models will be a better solution for the RV.  Or, you may want something to take care of both needs as we did. It is worth mentioning though that the smaller units are just as unique, effective, and sleek as the largest.  Here is a quick photo of the more RV only units:

Promotional photo of Coway Might Air Purifier Unit Promotional photo of black Coway Airmega 200 Air Purifier

With this in mind, I set out to find a way to purify the air in my RV and my home, and help with the allergens, smell, and particles in the air and found the Coway Air Mega Air Purifier and never looked back.  The Air Mega unit comes in several different models that cater to different square footage needs and some of the higher-end have integrated smart features.  We conducted our reviews using their largest model, the 400S with WiFi and It changed our rig and our home.

The Airmega 400s was designed to ensure that your indoor air is cleaner, with fewer harmful particulates and unpleasant odors.  In addition to the many features we will cover below, I’d like to start by saying that for the price, there simply is not a better Air Purifier that we have ever tested.  In fact, the Air Mega performs better than many of the higher priced Air Purifiers we have tested and used in the past.  For an MSRP of only $749 for their largest model, you get the picture very quickly just how affordable these little powerhouses can be.  Especially when you consider that the 400s model is WiFi connected, works with Alexa, is entirely automatic, has four different filters and purifies up to 1500+ square feet.  Now, granted, this is a bit overkill for an RV, but we wanted to test the best they had.  After using the unit for over two months in both our RV and in our home setting, I can confidently say we would be hard-pressed to consider any other purifier now.  For your RV needs, we would recommend the 200 (which has VERY different features) or 300s.

Automatic Purification At Its Best

Father and Daughter using Coway app on phone to operate their AirMega Air Purifier As soon as you take the Air Mega out of the box you can’t help but be truly impressed, and almost overwhelmed, by its beautiful design.  It has clean lines, easy access to the filters, “no press” buttons on the top, and it looks sleek and modern.  It really is a nice piece in the house.  It comes in graphite, and a white model and each looks simply stunning.  It’s strange to say that an air purifier can look “sexy” per se, but it really does look great.

While it’s a stylish piece, it’s even more impressive in functionality.  The 300 and 400 models connect to the Coway mobile app for iOS or Android that allows you real-time air quality monitoring, alerts, and the ability to control your purifier from anywhere.  The 300 model will cover 1200+ sq ft, and each of them can connect to WiFi to implement control with Amazon Alexa and offer you “smart” cleaning mode.  In “smart” mode, the Air Mega will automatically adjust itself to handle the current air condition.  For example, when we had the demo unit set up in our home and my wife would begin cooking, the unit would automatically turn itself to a higher strength to combat the new contaminants in the air.  It has a colored ring in the front of the unit that will also display real-world monitoring (See Below)

Color ring to identify mode on the Coway Air MEga

Filters

Be advised heading into this purchase that the filters are …expensive.  There is just no other way to put it.  The filters last anywhere from 3-6 months and cost $130 to replace.  So even at only twice a year, this costs you a bare minimum of $260 a year to own.  There are in fact four filters on these.  Two HEPA filters which can be rinsed with sink water very easily, and then very large heavy-duty filters behind that.  (Those are the pricey ones mentioned above.). If you are wanting a purifier that will honestly and truly change your allergy severities in and make indoor allergy battles almost non-existent, then that is, of course, worth $260 a year to you.  If you are a smoker, have pets in the house, cook international foods frequently, camp near beaches or deserts then this thing is absolutely perfect for you.  You can purchase one unit and use it at home when you are not out adventuring, and then throw it into the RV when you hit the road.

Conclusion

All-in-all, there is nothing but positive to say about this.  Visually stunning. Functionally incredible. Very reasonable prices.  Expensive filters but worth every penny. We have slept better, our colds have lasted significantly shorter, our home smells better and our dog never bothers my friends’ kids who had to take a Benadryl every time they came to my home before we powered Air Mega up.  We even tested this for a week in an older RV from the mid-’90s that had what was perceived to be a permanent stench to it.  The Air Mega had that unit cleared out and fresh as new in a weekend!

Photos Courtesy: Coway, Digital Trends

Author, podcast host, and outdoorsman Jeremy P. Elder

Jeremy P. Elder is an award-winning podcast producer and host, as well as the author of Topics of Heroes and its sequel, Topics Too, and also serves as Digital Product Manager for Good Sam Enterprises.

Jeremy writes several blog series’ for Good Sam and conducts new product reviews, which can be found in the blog here.

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Motorhome Staff <![CDATA[MotorHome’s Ultimate Guide to Getting RV Ready for Spring]]> http://www.motorhome.com/?p=41775 2019-04-12T17:33:57Z 2019-04-15T09:00:00Z

From the RV storage lot to heading out on the open road, these reference lists will keep you confident and worry-free through all your travels

Before Moving Motorhome Out of Storage

Inspect the motorhome’s tires. Inflate tires to proper levels, and check tire surfaces for uneven wear, cuts or chunks of rubber missing. Note the ages of the tires, and confirm they have not timed out (7-10 years, depending on care).
Confirm operation of the tire-pressure monitoring system, if so equipped.
Check brake-, tail-, signal- and clearance lights for proper operation, and replace any bulbs (or LEDs) that have burned out.
Secure interior doors, including those on the refrigerator and cabinets.
Secure exterior doors, including those on storage compartments.
Make sure antennas are down, and the awning has been retracted.
As with any motor vehicle, ensure the vehicle registration and license plate tags are current.
Download “Before Moving Motorhome Out of Storage” Checklist as PDF
DOWNLOAD ALL CHECKLISTS AS SINGLE PDF


Body/Exterior Inspection/Service

Inspect the roof’s condition and the security of the ladder to the motorhome. Check sealant integrity around vents, the TV antenna, the satellite dish and all other accessories.
Check sealant/caulking integrity at all seams on the motorhome’s exterior. Look for cracks or tears that can lead to water intrusion. Closely inspect the caulking around window frames, clearance- and taillights, and around compartment doors and other accessories.
Make sure the compartment doors securely latch.
Inspect the condition of the hardware for the awnings and windows; clean and lubricate as needed. Also check the tension on any slide toppers, and verify the fabrics and materials are in good condition.
Extend all awnings and ensure the fabrics and materials are in good condition; clean if necessary.
Lubricate entry and baggage door locks with the appropriate solutions, and also lubricate the entry-door step using dry lube.
Ensure the entry-door step is working properly, including the engine-switch on/off feature; clean the entry-door step.
Clean and treat EPDM or TPO roof materials with protectant. This is a good time to check on the integrity of the roof vent lids/covers, and to clean them, if necessary. While you’re on the roof, make sure the antennas are in good condition and working properly.
Wash and wax the exterior with the appropriate materials for the surfaces involved.

Download “Body/Exterior Inspection/Service” Checklist as PDF
DOWNLOAD ALL CHECKLISTS AS SINGLE PDF


Chassis Inspection (use a bright flashlight)

Thoroughly check for any signs of fluid and/or oil leaks.
Look for cracked or fatigued metal components, including excessive rust on frame, metal parts and the LP-gas tank.
Inspect the condition of the LP-gas-tank’s mounting brackets, hoses and regulator. Make sure there is enough LP-gas in the tank for your plans.
Inspect the condition of suspension components. Confirm the shock absorbers are not leaking and that mounting hardware is secure. Check the condition of air springs (bags) and air lines/fittings.
Run the chassis engine to confirm proper air pressure is reached. Drain the air tanks of moisture.
Check for hydraulic fluid leaks at leveling jacks/hoses. Operate leveling jacks to ensure proper function. Check the hydraulic fluid level in leveling-jack system reservoir.
Look for signs of oil on wheels, hubs or brake components. Also check the level of oil-filled hubs, if so equipped.
Look carefully for any evidence of rodents or unwanted critters.
Inspect the hitch receiver for rust or missing bolts.

Download “Chassis Inspection” Checklist as PDF
DOWNLOAD ALL CHECKLISTS AS SINGLE PDF


Engine Inspection/Service

Look for evidence of chewed wiring due to rodents.
Thoroughly search for any signs of oil leaks.
Check the coolant level/integrity of the overflow tank.
Inspect the conditions of the coolant hoses and radiator cap, and replace if necessary.
Test the diesel engine coolant with test strips (if diesel). Flush the coolant if required by mileage/date.
Check the condition of the air cleaner.
For diesels, the air-dryer filter should be replaced at least every 3 years.
Maintain the fuel filter(s)/separator per service dates and mileage.
Get the oil changed if required by mileage/date.
Check the level of the windshield-washer fluid reservoir, and ensure the integrity of the rubber lines running to the pump and to the windshield.
Check all fluid levels, even if a flush/change is not required by mileage or service date. This includes engine oil and transmission fluid.
Check the condition of the battery. Inspect the battery for integrity, age, corrosion or loose cables. Charge, if needed. If the battery water needs to be topped off, now is a good time.

Download “Engine Inspection/Service” Checklist as PDF
DOWNLOAD ALL CHECKLISTS AS SINGLE PDF


House Inspection

Examine the LP-gas regulator.
Have an LP-gas leak-down and pressure test performed by a certified technician.
Check and/or replace batteries in all the safety detectors.
Test the smoke, carbon monoxide and LP-gas detectors; replace any detectors that are out of date.
Operate and clean the manual and/or power roof vents.
Inspect the ceiling for leaks and mildew. Also check the ceiling condition inside the overhead cabinets.
Test all the blinds for proper operation and replace broken strings or lifting mechanisms if necessary.
Check the windows for proper operation and potentially defective latches.
Operate all emergency exits.

Download “House Inspection” Checklist as PDF
DOWNLOAD ALL CHECKLISTS AS SINGLE PDF


System/Appliance Inspection

If you winterized the freshwater system, purge the RV antifreeze.
Pressurize the water system and test the faucets, showerhead(s), toilet(s), washer and dishwasher (if so equipped), and icemaker for proper operation and to check for leaks. Also check low-point drains, and inspect P-traps under all the sinks and the shower pan.
Flush the freshwater tank and sanitize the water system. Test the demand-pump operation. Pressurize the water system with the demand pump and listen for cycling (which would indicate a possible water leak in the system).
Test the air conditioner(s) and service the filter(s). Inspect the evaporator and condenser for debris/excessive dirt.
Operate the refrigerator and check refrigerator vents for debris, rodents or any obstructions. Also check the refrigerator burner for excessive rust, and service as necessary.
Check the condition of sewer hose(s), fittings and gaskets. Operate the dump valves at a proper facility and check the integrity of the tank-flushing components.
Check the condition of the anode rod in the hot-water tank and replace if necessary.
Deploy and retract all slideout rooms.
Check the stovetop/oven condition and operation, and clean the kitchen exhaust fan filter.
Check all interior lights and replace bulbs/fixtures as necessary. If the motorhome has a fireplace, remove any dust buildup.
Test all the entertainment and communication components. Activate the broadcast antenna (if so equipped) and make sure it is functioning properly. Install (or activate) the satellite receiver.

Download “System/Appliance Inspection” Checklist as PDF
DOWNLOAD ALL CHECKLISTS AS SINGLE PDF





Generator Inspection and Service

Service the generator based on run hours and the date.
Clean any debris in the generator compartment, including signs of rodent infestation.
Check the oil level.
Check/service the air filter.
Check/service the fuel filter.
Check the coolant level, if needed.
Run the generator under 50% load for about 30 minutes.

Download “Generator Inspection and Service” Checklist as PDF
DOWNLOAD ALL CHECKLISTS AS SINGLE PDF


Dinghy Towing

Inspect the tow bar for wear and/or missing parts.
Inspect the dinghy power-cable plug and receptacle.
Hook-up the dinghy and check tail- and clearance lights.
Install/set-up the dinghy braking system to confirm operation.

Download “Dinghy Towing” Checklist as PDF
DOWNLOAD ALL CHECKLISTS AS SINGLE PDF


Cockpit Inspection

Check the backup and sideview cameras.
Adjust the mirrors and make sure they are functioning properly.
Make sure the instrumentation and gauges are working.
Check the fuel level.
Take a close look at the windshield for any signs of cracks or chips.
Test the sunshade operation.
Run the windshield wipers/washer; check the condition of the wipers and replace if necessary.
Turn on the headlights at night to check alignment.
Road test the motorhome before loading it for a trip.

Camping season is upon us, so make sure your home on wheels is fully stocked and ready for the road. Whether you’re new to RV camping or a veteran roadtripper, keep this printable checklist in your rig. Spend a little time with our comprehensive spring RV maintenance checklist and kickoff your RV adventures!

Download “Cockpit Inspection” Checklist as PDF
DOWNLOAD ALL CHECKLISTS AS SINGLE PDF

Camping season is here and that means it’s time to make sure your home on wheels is ready for the road. This printable checklist is a valuable resource you’ll use year after year, whether you’re new to the motorhome lifestyle or a seasoned veteran. Simply download and print the list, check off the boxes and kick off your RV adventures!


 

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Bob Livingston <![CDATA[Marathon H3-45: You’ll Be Traveling in High Style]]> http://www.motorhome.com/?p=41617 2019-03-15T17:27:07Z 2019-03-26T16:31:52Z

Beyond driving nirvana, the Marathon H3-45 motor coach activates one’s senses and feeds the desire for pure luxury

There’s a certain mystique about bus conversions. After all, they are the rides of choice for the rich and famous, including entertainers and bands that trek over the highways from gig to gig. So it only makes sense that the general populace can only daydream about what it’s like to travel in ultimate, or maybe more accurately, opulent, comfort and luxury.

Coaches built within a Prevost shell are most common in this high-end segment, and with budgets seemingly inconsequential, loading these roving palaces with the best appliances, materials and accessories money can buy is the norm. One of the most recognizable names in the bus conversion market is Marathon Coach, a company based in Eugene, Oregon, that excels in building coaches that will require owners to part with almost $2.5 million during acquisition.

Marathon H3-45 main parlor with 78-inch couch and two tvs
Main parlor features a 78-inch couch that can be converted to sleep two guests and is upholstered in high-end fabric. Primary TV folds down from the ceiling in the cockpit, which drops down from the main floor. Smaller TV is placed at the end of the couch.
Photos: Bob Livingston and Marathon Coach

Obviously, these are not cookie-cutter motorhomes with factory-designed floorplans, so potential owners play an active role in developing the interior décor, overall styling and theme. Since all sales are factory-direct, Marathon assembled a new show coach, the 45-foot H3-45, featuring four slideouts and a number of popular livability elements, which was targeted for this evaluation.

OK. What’s not to like? If you are one of the lucky few who can afford such a mobile palace and something is not exactly to your liking, the culprit for such missteps is likely staring at you in the mirror. Marathon has made a science of successfully planning and executing coaches that exceeds expectations, and provides a foundation for travel that is almost impossible to beat. The company prides itself in working closely with clients to ensure perfection is achieved.

Right from the get-go, owning a Marathon and the process to become an owner is usually driven (literally) by the person in the family who thrives on piloting the ultimate machine on eight wheels. Those who drive fancy cars and enjoy the finer things in life are attracted to piloting a vehicle that exhibits precise road manners and provides enough fodder to feed an insatiable ego.Marathon H3-45 floorplan

The key to driving prowess is the Prevost bus, which is solid, heavy and provides exhilarating performance, even when propelling 55,000 pounds of coach down the highway. This Marathon is powered by a Volvo D13, 500-hp commercial-grade diesel engine tied to a six-speed Allison transmission. Like all Prevost-based motor coaches, the Marathon is no slouch when it comes to ripping down the highway and gobbling up grades with alacrity. It’s quite a spirited machine, relatively speaking, that stimulates one’s senses into a feeling of driving nirvana that makes long stints on the road about as pleasant as they can be.

Obviously, the machine quotient brings out the macho in any driver, especially those who are used to piloting expensive vehicles wrapped in luxury and performance, but the livability experience can be catapulted into the stratosphere, only dependent on your bank account. The H3-45 is an exercise in opulence, considering the conversion and option costs will reach $1.7 million; the rest is the cost of the Prevost shell.

Inside, the elegance will have those not indoctrinated in the luxury motor coach lifestyle rolling their eyes. For those experienced with this level of motorhome travel, the H3-45 is a prime example of how luxury materials, high-end appliances and high-tech electronics meld into a motor coach that provides exceptional comfort and convenience. The bottom line: Marathon’s long experience in the field makes it easy to create living quarters that reflect the personalities of the buyers.

Marathon H3-45 interior view of parlor and galley
Ceiling sculpture may not have the expected bling of a bus conversion, but works well in this plan, especially in the front parlor. Slideout on right side fits flush with stately wood flooring.

The front entry leads to the cockpit. In true tour-bus fashion, the driver and passenger seats are mounted lower than the main floor, which is accessed via steps and a curved handrail. Surrounded by well-placed instrumentation and controls, the driver has an acute command of the road, and is planted on an ISRI air seat that provides plenty of tush and back support. This seat is the world standard for bus drivers and is upholstered by Marathon. There’s no fatigue when piloting the coach down the road for long stints — something to which entertainers who travel from city to city can attest.

Interestingly, Prevost has resisted the temptation to replace the two-piece windshield with a single glass counterpart, something that usually begs the question “why?” from prospective buyers. The glass is still plenty big and really doesn’t restrict the view of the road, and there is a method to the company’s madness. These buses see millions of miles on the road and the odds of getting damaged by flying rocks are much greater. Typically, only one glass panel has to be replaced at time, and is much less expensive than having to buy an expansive, one-piece windshield. That thought brought a chuckle considering the financial status of the owners.

Behind the cockpit seats is a parlor that exudes the highest level of luxury. While the show floorplan is one chosen by the company, it represents a strong platform for customers to work with when designing their own coach. Of note in coaches on the H-shell is the lower roofline. At 83 inches, it actually has a much warmer look, and since the ceiling sculpture is not overstated, the room is a magnet for lounging and enjoying the wonderful view out the generous placement of windows. The big benefit of the H-shell is the more spacious storage lockers; buyers can get 6 more inches of headroom with the X-shell option.

Marathon H3-45 exterior photoWhat’s Hot

Prevost shell, flush slideouts, full-body paint, custom interiors, air-pocket doors, luxury appliances, entertainment system

What’s Not

Other than the price, what’s not to like?

Taking advantage of four slides, manufactured and installed by Valid Slide Co. in British Columbia, Canada, the Marathon is as spacious as a motor coach can get. In the front parlor, opposing slides disappear in to the interior landscape when extended, and the floor on the passenger slide is flush with the beautiful wood flooring; the lip on the driver’s side slide is carefully concealed by the furniture. Outside, the slides blend into the painted surface as if they were not there.

While no floorplan/décor package is alike, the show coach sports elements that appeal to typical buyers looking for a high-line motor coach. Outsiders of the luxury bus conversion fraternity tend to imagine these interiors are flashy, which is quite the opposite here. The interior is classy and the materials are obviously high-end, but, for example, the ceiling is not gaudy and outlandish. Maybe the lower ceiling height demands a statelier look, but in any case, it works incredibly well, especially in the front parlor.

Blend in the elements that exude pure comfort and owners will relish hanging out inside — and entertaining guests. Of course, many of the owners don’t cook elaborate meals, so the galley will be considered on the small side when compared to some mainstream diesel pushers. Stove and sink inserts extend the versatility of the solid-surface countertop and a practical selection of drawers and cabinets handles storage for a well-equipped kitchen.
Cabinetry is made from laminates supplied by Laminart, Formica, Polyrey and DuPont, and built using birch plywood, which is straight, strong, lightweight and non-porous. All the drawers are made of stranded bamboo and are lined with a nice fabric — as are the cabinet shelves. The end result is a network of radius-corner laminates that scream “high-end” luxury and look very clean. Add in the touches of glass doors, strategic lighting and stunning décor, and it becomes clear that these items are usually reserved for high-priced custom homes. Most of the interiors feature a two-tone laminate look that contrasts nicely with the wood floor.

The galley shares the front streetside slideout with the couch. It’s well equipped, although just about everything is concealed behind laminate cabinetry. A Fisher & Paykel dishwasher is built into a drawer and the same brand refrigerator is virtually undetectable behind laminated doors adjacent to the galley. It’s all part of that mystique of a luxury bus and is further represented by a newly conceived convenience center across from the galley. Here an air-pocket door opens with a push of a button (think spaceship stuff) revealing a coffee/espresso machine, a steam oven and wine cooler, all made by Miele, of course.
Sharing the same wall is another air-pocket door that leads to the half-bath. The pocket doors, other than being sexy and fun, keep the aisle uncluttered and visually open, even when in use.

Establishing a focal point inside is a process that takes time when deciding on elements to meet the customer’s lifestyle. In the show coach, it’s the living room, which is rather understated intentionally because the trend seems to be going toward keeping things uncluttered. Make no mistake, this understatement is still highly luxurious, but there’s not a lot of bling here — something that really works well.

Seating arrangements are fairly conventional, albeit the upholstery is top notch and beautiful to look at, not to mention comfortable. Behind the driver’s compartment is a 78-inch sofa that converts into a bed for guests. Across is a Danish-made recliner next to an occasional table that doubles as a desk when the extension is pulled out. The adjacent L-shaped dinette is really comfy for two people, but can handle two more guests in a pinch. And the table is controlled by a motor, so it can be positioned easily for dining or when working on a computer or other projects.

Specifications

Chassis
Model Prevost H3-45
Engine Volvo D13
SAE hp 500 @ 1,500-1,800 rpm
Torque 1,750 lb-ft @ 1,050 rpm
Transmission Allison 6-speed
Axle Ratio 3.91:1-4.10:1
Front Tires 365/70R22.5
Drive Axle Tires 315/80R22.5
Tag Axle Tires 365/70R22.5
Wheelbase 316″
Brakes Air disc
Suspension Air, outboard shocks
Fuel Capacity 235 gal
Fuel Economy 6.5 mpg
Warranty 24 months bumper-to-bumper/5 years engine/transmission

Coach
Exterior Length 45′
Exterior Width 8′ 6″
Exterior Height 12′ 5″ with A/C
Interior Width 8′ 0″
Interior Height 6′ 11″
Construction Fiber composite shell,
303 surgical-grade stainless-steel
monocoque structure
Freshwater Capacity 158 gal
Black-water Capacity 70 gal
Gray-water Capacity 91 gal
Water-heater Capacity 22 gal
LP-gas Capacity N/A
Air Conditioner (4) 15,000 Btu
Furnace Espar Hydronic 55,000 Btu
Refrigerator 17 cubic-foot
Inverter/Charger (2) 4,000 watt/33 amp
Batteries (4) 24-volt AGM chassis,
(6) 4D AGM coach
AC Generator 20 kW
MSRP as tested $2,433,569
Warranty 24 months bumper-to-bumper

Wet Weight
(Water & heater, fuel, LP-gas tanks full; no supplies or passengers)
Front Axle Custom
Drive Axle Custom
Tag Axle Custom
Total Custom

Chassis Ratings
GAWR, F/Drive 19,000 lbs/22,500 lbs
Tag Axle 14,000 lbs
GVWR/GCWR 55,000 lbs/75,000 lbs
ROCCC Custom
GAWR Gross Axle Weight Rating
GVWR Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
GCWR Gross Combination Weight Rating
ROCCC Realistic Occupant and Cargo Carrying Capacity (full water, no passengers)

Marathon Coach
800-234-9991

Large windows surrounding the parlor provide an almost panoramic view to the outside and are dark tinted so peeking inside during the day is nearly impossible. To darken the room, day/night duet shades can be employed with a touch of a button on the iPads mounted on magnetic launch pads in the bedroom, living room and outside entertainment bay. Just about everything is integrated through Crestron Electronics programming, which makes operating the TV screens, blinds, AV gear and HVAC touch-screen simple in a wireless environment. The iPad functions are mirrored on a hardwired screen in the cockpit allowing redundant operation of the coach accessories should the iPads develop a glitch, or the driver wants to make adjustments.

As expected, entertainment equipment is audiophile quality. The main TV screen flips down from the ceiling in the cockpit and a second screen is positioned on the wall behind the driver’s seat. High-end AV components are mounted in a rack positioned in the outside bay and are cooled by their own air conditioner. There’s a TV in the bedroom and one (50-inch) in the entertainment bay that can be articulated on its mounting bracket.

The back living area is devoted to a grand master bedroom and the rear bathroom. According to Marathon, the bathroom in this model is the biggest in the market, featuring an additional 16 inches of space. Beautiful appointments in the tiled shower stall lure owners to luxuriate under the water for longer periods of time. There’s a double vanity and a Thetford Tecma toilet — and plenty of closet space. Push a button and an air-pocket door slides open to reveal the rear wardrobe. And, of course, the pocket door to the bathroom is also controlled by air. The door here is almost all glass, and becomes opaque when pushing another button, affording privacy.

Step into the bedroom and you’ll see a king bed that occupies much of the space, surrounded by copious closet and drawer placement. Viewing the big 49-inch TV from bed is nearly perfect, especially when another button is pushed and the back portion of the mattress raises. One of the iPad control tablets is mounted above the nightstand on the forward side of the bed, as is the multiplex switching panel, which can also be found positioned on walls throughout the interior.

Although a lower roofline can reduce the visual perception inside the coach, the four slides do a marvelous job of countering any lack of spaciousness. Larger storage bays are the beneficiaries of the H-model shell. Five bays can be accessed from between the axles and two have a pass-through configuration. This bus was actually developed in the early 1990s and the bays are a foot taller, which allows for storing a great amount of supplies.

A huge utility bay is quite a sight. All the components are organized neatly and user-friendly. There’s even a disposable-glove dispenser. Interestingly, as complex as this coach is, access to service points are better than those in most gas-powered and diesel-pusher motorhomes. That theme is carried throughout many areas inside and outside the coach. Not surprisingly, the electrical and plumbing systems are patented, and everything is assembled by hand over many hours — and documented precisely.

Overall, there is not much to want when owning a Marathon 45-foot motor coach, and the build process, which can take up six months, is quite exciting. Those people with the financial wherewithal to purchase such a motorhome can be as creative as they like, and the company is not shy about encouraging opulence and sheer convenience. Throw in a driving machine with masterful handling characteristics, and the Marathon ranks right up there with the best the industry can offer.

Driving into an RV park just about always turns heads, and when on display in shows, people wait in long lines to take a peek. If you’re a Marathon owner, you just have to get used to all that attention.


 

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Motorhome Staff <![CDATA[Give Cell Signals a Boost]]> http://www.motorhome.com/?p=41607 2019-03-14T23:42:17Z 2019-03-23T23:12:37Z

Can you hear me now? If not, you may need a cellular signal booster in your motorhome. The Drive 4G-X RV cellular signal booster from weBoost is specifically designed for RV use in remote areas. The Drive 4G-X RV boosts voice and data with the maximum FCC-allowed 50-dB system gain, enhancing 4G LTE, as well as 3G network cell signals, up to 32 times, according to the company. The booster is designed to be compatible with all cellular carriers and boosts cellular signals for multiple users, so everyone can stay connected while traveling. The Drive 4G-X RV comes with a full kit and simple instructions so RVers can easily install the booster and instantly get connected. The kit includes the booster, an omni-directional antenna, desktop antenna, wall power supply and cables. MSRP: $499.99.

More Information

weBoost, a division of Wilson Electronics | 866-294-1660


 

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Ken Freund <![CDATA[Rv Tech Savvy: Will There Be Hybrid Or Electric Motorhomes?]]> http://www.motorhome.com/?p=41586 2019-03-20T20:39:21Z 2019-03-23T03:44:09Z

I haven’t seen this topic discussed much, but I can’t wait for it to happen: Diesels and gas engines may be going by the wayside. I have always thought that the motorhome platform would be perfect for hybrid propulsion; lots of space for batteries without an engine, lots of space for solar panels on the roof, and it already comes with a generator to provide power for the long haul. Tesla made a big splash with its reveal of the company’s electric semi-truck, and now Freightliner and others are rolling out their own. The semis claim a range of 200-400 miles on a charge, and with a diesel generator as an extender, long trips are possible. I’ve had a coach with eight 6-volt batteries and 4,000 watts of inverter power, and no propane, and I really liked it. Just think of it, roll into or out of your campsite silently. No engine to maintain, no fluids, no hoses to burst, just low-maintenance electric motors. I suspect floorplans would also improve as a lower profile is possible if the engines are gone. I, for one, look forward to the first one appearing at RV shows.

Gerry Parij | via email

There are many challenges that must be solved before motorhomes go full electric; the main one is cost. The expense of developing hybrid and/or electric drivetrains in automobiles was helped along with government subsidies, and the costs of research and development were spread out across tens of millions of vehicles. This isn’t the case with motorhomes because of the smaller sales numbers.

Screenshot of Hybrid Motorhome concept videoYou mention hybrids as not having engines, but by definition a hybrid powertrain includes both an engine and electric drive. As long as the coaches have an internal combustion engine, either gas or diesel, they’re going to need fluids, hoses, etc. The gensets in current motorhomes don’t have anywhere near the capacity to drive a heavy coach, so if they were to be incorporated into a hybrid drivetrain, they would have to be much larger, heavier and costlier. A straight electric motorhome would require higher capacity charging stations due to the power requirements, which exceed automobile needs by several fold.

Winnebago announced a hybrid Adventurer model concept vehicle back in 2009. It was on a Freightliner ecoFREDchassis, with Eaton hybrid power components. This chassis went away with the recession and the subsequent loss of cash flow in the industry. It was a bad time to introduce a hybrid motorhome chassis with high cost and only modest economic benefits. There are some niche hybrid products already available, such as Craftsman Coaches (503-897-0284). Winnebago Industries has also signed a deal with Motiv Power Systems, which converts medium-duty truck chassis to electric power. Winnebago is selling stripped down electric versions of its Class A motorhomes from its custom Commercial Shell division. Available on 33- and 38-foot Class A commercial platforms, this groundbreaking vehicle claims to deliver 85-125 miles on a full charge, limiting it to short-range, fixed-base applications. The most likely scenario going forward for straight electric motorhomes is that we will get a trickle-down effect from truck chassis manufacturers as new systems are developed.

Have a tech question?In general, people have been predicting the end of gasoline or diesel engines for decades. Better bring a lunch, and a tent, if you plan on waiting for that to happen — but it does seem likely that hybrid and/or electric motorhomes will be available at some point in the future.

 


 

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Chris Hemer <![CDATA[Get the Picture: The Definitive Motorhome Upgrade]]> http://www.motorhome.com/?p=41537 2019-03-12T21:28:45Z 2019-03-22T20:54:19Z

Dave and LJ’s RV Interior Design can upgrade your motorhome’s TV, entertainment system and more

As RVs morph into an extension of our homes, rather than a getaway from them, the entertainment system(s) a motorhome offers has become an increasingly important purchase consideration. Where our parents or grandparents used the family RV as a way to distract us from the evils of TV and even radio, nearly every motorhome on dealer lots today is equipped with at least one TV, and an audio/video head unit with a wide range of entertainment capabilities. Indeed, there are times when we’re camping off the grid and just want to soak in Mother Nature’s abundant beauty, but most of us enjoy a favorite television show or movie as part of the RV experience.

Technology changes rapidly, however. In the course of a decade, we’ve seen motorhomes move from using heavy tube-type CRT TVs to plasma and LCD flat screens, DVD to Blu-ray, and now LED “smart” TVs that can stream a variety of entertainment choices from platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Vudu, YouTube and more. Unlike your home, however, updating an entertainment system in an RV isn’t a simple “plug and play” proposition; TVs and their associated equipment are usually built into one or more cabinets, so stepping up to a better/larger TV can require not just electrical savvy, but skillful fabrication to make the new system look factory-installed.

Dave and LJ’s RV Interior Design of Woodland, Washington, is more than up to the task. Brothers Dave and LJ Ast have been in business for 13 years performing all types of RV interior upgrades, from flooring and furniture to cabinetry work. The two learned their craft growing up in their father’s interior shop so their combined experience actually spans more than 60 years. In that time, they’ve seen and done it all, but to this day, TV upgrades are still the most popular with their customers. “New TVs not only offer higher definition, but are equipped with digital tuners for over-the-air broadcasts, so a converter box isn’t required,” explained Dave Ast. “You can receive HDTV with your existing antenna.” Another advantage, said Dave, is that new TVs are equipped with one or more HDMI ports so you can easily connect a Blu-ray player, gaming console or other device. “It really opens up a lot of options,” he says. “Plus, today’s flat screens are so much lighter and better looking.”
Though each case is different, a TV upgrade in the main area of a motorhome takes between 10 and 20 hours of labor, and typically ranges in cost from $1,000 to $2,500, depending on the size of the TV and work involved to fit it correctly. Dave and LJ’s consults with its customers first to determine what size TV is desired, and what will fit in a given space. For example, if a customer wants to make the largest possible TV a priority, the quote will include labor for building a completely new cabinet as well. In most instances the existing cabinet is modified to fit the new TV and then finished so that it looks like a factory installation. The customer can supply the TV of their choosing, or Dave and LJ’s can provide its recommendations and purchase one on the customer’s behalf.

Dave and LJ’s was recently visited by a customer with a Class A motorhome that was in beautiful original condition, but was equipped with small, heavy CRT TVs in both the living area and bedroom. We followed along with the Ast brothers and their team as they installed new, larger flat-screen LED TVs and completed typical modifications to the respective cabinets for a clean installation. The whole job was completed in a single day, and the results, as you’ll see, were quite impressive.

If an old TV is detracting from your RVing experiences, Dave and LJ’s can make movie time something to look forward to again.

More Information: Dave and LJ’s RV Interior Design | 360-225-7700


 

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