Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory
By Mark Nemeth
I hope you are enjoying a summer of RVing. We’ve got a mixed bag of questions this month and some additional information submitted by readers on the battery drain problem we discussed in the May newsletter.
I have a 2008 V-10 Class A and want to know if the Banks power intake system will help with the gas and power for the cost of it.
The Banks systems can be a great addition if you are interested in increasing engine horsepower and torque for towing and hill climbing. The modifications will also help the engine perform more efficiently and may offer modest improvements in gas mileage. The overall improvements vary from vehicle to vehicle, so I suggest you contact Banks directly. They have some excellent information available for most late-model gas and diesel engines, showing the average performance and economy gains you can expect from various Banks systems. Visit their website at
. It is very well designed and easy to navigate. Banks also has a very good reputation for quality and service.
What product can I use to remove "sap" from my rubber roof and travel trailer?
Thank you, Frank.
This is a common problem, and the rubber roof complicates it a bit as you should not use petroleum solvents on it. You can always use a cleaning product that is designed for rubber roofs, such as Thetford’s rubber roof cleaner, but there are some other possible solutions. Some I have talked to report good results using rubbing alcohol (or drinking alcohol), and some folks have successfully used “Goo-Gone,” but I would suggest caution, as it is powerful stuff! You may think I’m a loony when I tell you that mayonnaise is very effective on tree sap. Really! I read about it somewhere years ago, tried it, and was amazed at how well it works. It will dissolve tree sap on skin, clothing, auto paint, and even on rubber roofs. Spread it on, let it sit for a few minutes, and wipe off. Then clean the area with soapy water to remove the residue.
My husband and I own a 1997 Ford Southwind 32-foot motorhome. We would like to be able to tow our 2001 Ford Escape behind it, but don't know where to find out any information as to what we need to do in order to accomplish this. Also, a ballpark figure on the cost would be very helpful.
Thank you in advance, Ron & Deb.
Hi, Ron & Deb:
The first thing you need to determine is whether or not your intended “toad” (towed vehicle) is capable of being towed with all four wheels down. Visit
and click on their Dinghy Towing Guides links. If your vehicle is not listed, check your owner’s manual under “towing.” Most vehicles will specify any restrictions on towing the vehicle long distances. If your Escape is safe to tow four-wheels-down, then all you need is the proper baseplate and towbar. Visit
to view some good examples of modern towbar systems. These vendors will be glad to help you choose a solution that will work the best for you. You can also find towbar manufacturer’s representatives at most large RV rallies, usually at a booth in the market area. If, by chance, your vehicle is NOT towable “four-down,” there are a number of ways to modify it to allow it to be towed. Visit
for information on driveshaft disconnects and lube pumps. Finally, if you prefer the easy way out, many RV dealers can take your motorhome and tow vehicle and set you up with a complete, ready-to-drive towing system. Just bring your checkbook! Costs vary, so shop around to find the best deal.
What is the best way to flush out the galley tank and the grey-water tank? The black tank, you can pour water down the toilet. Do you do the grey water & galley the same? It would take a while filling the two tanks that way. Also, do you put a chemical in them?
Probably the best way to effectively flush your grey tanks is to add permanently mounted tank flushers to them. These flushers are great for the black tank, too. They will simplify the flushing process greatly and keep your tanks clean. Check out
for an example. The diagram below from the Camco Quickie Flush instruction sheet shows details on how the flusher is typically installed. These are a great add-on gadget, and the kit is easily installed by the average do-it-yourselfer if you can access your holding tanks under the rig or through a compartment. You normally won't need chemicals for your grey tanks, especially if you flush them out regularly.
I have a 2008 Freedom Express Class C motorhome by Coachman. My question, Mark, is what exactly does the "battery disconnect" do? Should the light on the panel board by the battery disconnect be on? Please explain this to me in layman's terms. I am a widow and this wonderful motorhome is mine. I need to understand everything about it, but I just do not understand the battery disconnect. Thank you so much for taking time to answer my question.
The battery disconnect switch is designed to disconnect the battery system from appliances and lights in your RV. When the switch is on, the pilot light (if so equipped) will glow, and 12V power will be supplied to all of the lights, fans, and appliances inside your rig. When the switch is off, it shuts everything off, effectively isolating the battery to prevent it from being run down. Your rig may have two separate switches, one for the “house” or “coach” battery and one for the engine starting battery. They both work the same way. You would normally only turn those switches off if you were going to store the rig for several weeks or more without being plugged into AC power.
I have a 2004 Class A Scottsdale by Newmar. My problem isthat when several lights are on at the same time, they begin to flicker. We have a 30-amp service. Do I have problem with the converter?
I assume that all 12V lights show the same symptom, regardless of which ones are turned on. If so, then the converter is the most likely culprit if the more load you put on it, the worse the flicker gets. If the converter is weak or develops a problem, it can act that way. Check to make sure that the cooling fan, if the converter is equipped with one, is turning and not clogged with fuzz and dirt. Occasionally, a bad house battery will cause the converter to overheat because it cannot charge it properly. Have you checked your batteries lately? It is also possible that you may have a circuit protection device, like a breaker, that is failing. Some rigs utilize self-resetting circuit breakers on the 12V supply lines to protect the wiring. These devices, which look like the example shown below, are designed to open the circuit when their amp rating is exceeded. Sometimes these can get weak and trip and reset over and over, but you usually see the lights blink rather than flicker when these devices fail. Replacement breakers can be found at most auto parts stores or RV parts sources. If the problem continues, you need to have the converter and battery system checked out by a qualified person.
Having just read the article about short battery life reminded me of the problem I once had. Turned out the battery bank was not properly grounded to the frame, preventing adequate charging, hence, a short storage life.
I just read the article about the person who has a chassis battery that goes dead in three days if the coach is not started. Though I agree with your answer, my belief is that their battery may be reaching end of life. However, that said, there are two devices the questioner should investigate. One is by Xantrex and is called the Echo Charge. The other, less expensive, is called the TRICK-L-START and is by ISLproducts. Here is a link to more details about the L-START
system. These devices both offer the same features, an easy three-wire hookup (chassis positive, house positive, ground), and will add the missing feature that my coach has. It charges the CHASSIS battery off of the HOUSE converter when parked.
My parents havea Ford-chassis Class C motorhome and had a battery drain problem.They took the Ford in to the dealer many times because, if they let the camper sit for a couple days, the starting battery would be dead, while the house battery was just fine. After many visits to Ford and many parts replaced under warranty, a mechanic realized that the switch for the heated mirrors was in the
position.Being from Florida, my parents never realized that the coach even had heated mirrors, and once they turned it off, they never had a problem with it again. Just thought I'd share.
Thanks for sharing, y’all!
Mark Nemeth has been involved with all things RV for more than ten years, including almost 5 years on the road as a fulltimer. Nowadays, Mark is parked for a while and works on staff for the Escapees RV club as technical advisor, consumer affairs director, and instructor in the Escapees RVer's Boot Camp program.
Founded in 1978, the Escapees RV Club provides a total support network for Rvers that includes a wide variety of opportunities for fun, adventure, and education. CHAPTERS There are 51 chapters across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico that offer local luncheons and rallies within 150 miles of home. Everyone is welcome to attend. HOPs Theme–related outings and adventures held across the country. ESCAPADES Five–day events, Escapades offer over 60 seminars and workshops to educate, entertain, and enhance the fun and use of RVs. PARKS Our RV park system offers short–term, long–term, and home–base parking options. MAIL SERVICE The best mail–forwarding service in the country. Members can personalize their mail delivery receiving only the mail they want when they want. PLUS MUCH MORE! A complete listing of all Escapees events, and a comprehensive list of member benefits is found at
Some content previously printed in Escapees magazine, published by the Escapees RV Club. All material provided by Mark Nemeth, Escapees Magazine Technical Advisor and Boot Camp Instructor. For more information about the Escapees RV Club, please visit
or call 888–757–2582.
Woodalls subscribers can save $10 on a new Escapees membership! For more information, visit the Escapees website.
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Please remember, material will be edited. Because of the large volume of material and correspondence submitted, individual replies will not be possible, nor can we acknowledge receipt of your material. Selected questions will be answered in future issues of the Woodall's Wisdom newsletter in the Mark, My Words column. The Mark, My Words column also appears in Escapees magazine, a bi–monthly publication of the Escapees RV Club. For more information visit
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