RV Tech Savvy: Fueling Problem

graphic of diesel fuel nozel

I have a 2006 Winnebago Tour diesel pusher with a 360 CAT engine. Refueling this motorhome can take as long as 30 minutes, and normally I can’t even get it on the first catch of the fuel nozzle. I’ve tried fueling from both sides, leaving the opposite cap off and even putting the jacks down on the pump side, all with the same results. Whether I’m fueling at a truck pump or at a car pump, it doesn’t make any difference. I talked to Winnebago and all their service people had me check was to make sure the vent line isn’t kinked and is above the filler line, and that all looks good. I know that most RVs are slow-fueling, but this one is very frustrating because I have to manually hold the nozzle during fueling. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Rick Roper | Rock Springs, Wyoming

Make sure that both filler and vent lines (not just the vent line) don’t have a low spot in them that may collect fuel and block flow. The flexible hose that connects the filler neck to the tank may have a kink in it, or some other obstruction. If you are unable to find the problem, Your local CAT dealer (Wyoming Machinery in Rock Springs, 307-362-6500) may be able to inspect and fix the fuel filler and vent lines, but you’ll likely be better off going to a Winnebago dealer that specializes in diesel pushers, and that is familiar with the coach.


Chevy Equinox Not Tracking Properly

We have a 2000 Itasca 29-foot Class C motorhome with an E-450 chassis and Ford engine. I used to tow a Ford Escort ZX2 behind it with no problems. Now I have a 2011 Chevy Equinox. I’ve put new tires on the car and motorhome, and both the motorhome and car have had a front-end alignment. It feels like the Equinox is forcing the motorhome to sway in the back. Do you have any suggestions to correct this without putting it on a trailer?

Dave Harmon | Canal Winchester, Ohio

GM has developed a revised flat-towing procedure for 2010 through 2017 Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain vehicles equipped with four-cylinder engines. GM developed the new procedures to eliminate the steering problems and wobble, which sometimes happen while flat towing behind a motorhome. A tech service bulletin (#17-NA-348) was distributed to GM dealers outlining the updated towing procedure. It states the wobble or instability may be caused by fuse 32 being removed from the instrument panel fuse block as outlined in the owner’s manual. With the revised procedure, instead of removing fuse 32, fuse 16 (note: fuse 15 only on 2010 models) in the engine compartment panel should be removed.

GM determined this fuse change should keep the electric power steering (on four-cylinder models) activated during flat towing. The removal of the #16 ABS fuse is to disable the active return feature of the electric power steering to allow the wheels to steer more freely during tight turns at low speed.

If you have never experienced the steering issues, continue to follow the original flat-towing procedure in the owner’s manual. If steering problems occur, switch to the revised procedure in the GM service bulletin. Do not mix procedures; follow either one or the other. Also, GM recommends that an auxiliary battery charging system (a charge line from the motorhome) be installed to keep the battery charged during towing because the electric power steering will be activated.


Retractable Awning Safety Issue

We own a 2007 Monaco Cayman diesel pusher. The Cayman has a Carefree of Colorado motorized retractable patio awning with a hard aluminum cover for the awning material. Recently we were at a Northern California RV park. The day was hot and there was hardly a slight breeze. To keep our rig cool we extended our patio awning to shade the right side of our motorhome. Everything seemed normal when the awning was extended. After about an hour we left the park in our towed car to do some grocery shopping. When we returned from shopping we found the awning on the ground.
Apparently the rear support arm simply fell off the coach, causing the “soft connect” to rip off the coach. The forward support arm stayed attached to the coach. The canopy roller stayed attached to the forward support arm and the rear support arm was lying on the ground. We disassembled all the parts and put them on the rack of our tow car for the trip home.

A close inspection of the awning parts showed that the rear support arm had been attached to the coach by four 1½-inch-long by 1⁄4-inch-diameter screws. The screws remained locked into the rear support arm when the arm fell off. Inspection of the holes in the coach wall revealed that the screws had only been drilled into the 1⁄4-inch-thick fiberglass exterior wall. There was no internal structural frame support for the drill screws.

Have a tech question?Apparently the two top screws had worked loose over the years and simply pulled out of the wall, causing the whole mechanism to collapse. Thankfully the event happened when the coach was parked. I shudder to think of the catastrophe that would have occurred if this had happened on the freeway. Monaco made many Caymans. All these coaches are at risk for a similar and potentially disastrous failure. Note that the forward support arm attachment was inspected. The forward arm uses similar screws, but these screws are drilled into a structural frame member.

I called Carefree of Colorado to order a new awning canopy and a new soft connect, which is the extra heavy fabric that attaches the roller cover to the coach body. During our discussion I learned that if the soft connect tears and fails, then the awning arms will fall open. The soft connect is then exposed to the elements … sun, rain and wind from sitting or driving. The fabric should be inspected regularly and replaced if there is any indication of damage or deterioration. Additionally, safety pins or straps around the awning arms should be installed to prevent accidental deployment. I suggest that all RV owners with retractable awnings do a thorough inspection of their awnings. I regularly check my awnings. But, until this incident, I did not realize that the drill screws were tight against the support arm but were not held securely to the coach frame.

John Kaehms | Lafayette, California

Thanks for sharing what could have been an even more serious problem if it happened while you were driving. This should serve as a reminder that regular inspection of the awning and other components on the motorhome is always good practice.


Retreaded Tires?

We have a 2004 40-foot Itasca Horizon and the tires are 10-plus years old. The tread looks good, but stamped on the sidewall is “Regrooved,” and the sidewalls are starting to crack. Being relatively new to motorhomes, as well as a new reader to your magazine, I would like to know your viewpoint or recommendation on using retreaded/re-grooved tires on a motorhome. Money is a concern, but we want to replace the tires before something bad happens. What is your suggestion or recommendation for us to get the most for our buck: new, retreaded or re-grooved tires?

Jay Garwood | Sierra Vista, Arizona

First of all, the tires on the coach should be replaced ASAP. Unlike commercial vehicles, motorhome tires typically “time out” before they wear out. The rubber will crack and deteriorate until it becomes a hazard, likely to disintegrate (as in a blowout) while being driven. Where you live, the sun is very strong, and the heat and ozone there raise the hazard level considerably. So, even if the treads look good, these tires should be considered a safety concern.

See Related Stories:

Motorhome Tire Basics

Are Your Motorhome Tires Overloaded?

 

To be clear, not all tire manufacturers state a specific number of years for when the tires should be replaced due to age. However, six years is a generally accepted number, subject to tire-use conditions. Tires on motorhomes stored out of the sun and weather will generally last longer, with recommendations for these conditions going to 10 years. Tires should be replaced if cracks of more than 2⁄32-inch deep are present, or if steel or fabric body plies are visible, and those in service for five or six years should be inspected by an expert annually.

Retreaded tires are illegal to use on the steering axle, which should tell you something about their safety. Buying retreaded tires almost ensures that the tire carcasses will be older, which is not how you want to start out with a set of tires. I suspect that your tires have “Regroovable” etched into the sidewalls and not “Regrooved.” This means that the tread area is thick enough to allow new grooves to be cut into the tires. It’s an old practice typically done on commercial vehicle tires to keep the tread depth on old tires within legal limits and to get more miles out of them before replacement. However, it’s not recommended for motorhomes.

The bottom line: I recommend installing only quality new tires with recent manufacture dates. The date is stamped into the sidewall; the last four numbers after the “DOT” stamp indicate the week and year of manufacture. For example 0119 indicated the first week of 2019.


“Flooded” Ford Filter

We have a 2001 Class A coach with the Ford V-10 engine. It has started a frightening habit. When it is raining, or the road is very wet (producing spray), the motorhome slows to a crawl and will not exceed about 30 mph. Do you have any suggestions on how to fix this?

Robert Veazey | via email

The engine air intake, which is located near the road surface, is ingesting water that is soaking the air-filter element. This severely reduces airflow through it, thus limiting engine power; this is a known problem with these models. I suggest you contact Banks Power for an aftermarket air inlet kit that solves the problem and can even increase power. The part number is 49190, and MSRP is $338.

Call 888-623-4373 or log on to www.bankspower.com/i-527-49190-ram-air-cold-air-intake-system-oiled-filter-for-use-with-1997-2005-ford-6-8l-class-a-motorhome.html


More RV Tech Savvy Discussion


Ken Freund has been a contributor to MotorHome magazine since 1988, and has written Coach & Powertrain and its predecessor Powertrain Q & A for two decades. He’s been a camping and travel enthusiast since he was a child.

 


 

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