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RV Engine and Chassis Maintenance

I didn't check my engine computer for best operation at first, but this winter I went to my favorite Auto mechanic whom I have known for many years.

John plugged in his expensive tester and quickly narrowed the problems down to one. The oxygen sensor was bad.
Now I wish I done that when I had gotten the motor home. It would have saved me gas, and possibly trouble on the road. 
I tried to remove the sensor myself, but found it frozen in in place.
Back to John and he  replaced it. Having an acetylene torch and special impact wrench tools really helped here.

Once installed I noticed that the idle went down to the 650 rpm instead of 950 rpm that was there.
Now I hope to get up to 15 mpg. With today's fuel prices that would be a huge improvement.

I decided to change the spark plugs and ignition wires. If your RV is older like mine the plugs and wires may be bad.

One trick to see if they are bad is hold a portable radio on the AM band and start the engine. If you get lots of static that gets worse as you gun the engine then the wires and plugs are bad.

It is best to buy brand name plugs and quality wires. An RV will get very warm underneath the hood as you drive and the heat will damage the wires. Better quality silicone type wires are a must.

A good air cleaner is a help, allowing freer flow of air into the engine. I bought a K&N air filter.
They are expensive but they are re-cleanable they last the lifetime of the RV.

It pays to look under the chassis and see if things "down under" are OK. I have found that the exhaust hangers break that hold up the exhaust pipes. The pipes are large diameter and are heavy. Once a hanger breaks the pipes will dance and sway around. The may even drag on the ground. (That happened last year and this year ,2016, a hanger broke)  Once those kind of things begin to happen the expenses will climb higher since more work needs to be done to repair it. By keeping an eye on things means that expenses are lower. Last summer I replace several 4 inch diameter exhaust pipe U bolts that rusted away on the end of my pipe. They held the heat deflectors on. I didn't want to lose them on the road. I am glad I saw that problem before they fell off.

I have also had to repair the black water and grey water tanks straps that have broken. The straps hold the tanks so they won't fall down and drag on the road. Check them every year to keep on top of that problem.

Make sure that you always check the engine oil and radiator fluid as well as power steering fluid and brake fluid are sufficient and clean. I flushed my brake fluid because I checked it and the level was good but the color was pitch black.  I had it done again on my last trip to Florida in 2015 along with the power steering fluid. I noticed some growling in the power steering as I turned the wheel and took that as a signal to have it changed.

My trip to Florida in 2016 I knew that I needed a serpentine belt that runs the water pump and alternator and the A/C compressor. I had the belt changed and the repair service said the bearings we noisy on the alternator so I had that change as well.

I also found that when I filled the fuel tank I would get fuel leaking on the round. I had replaced the fuel vent hose a long time ago but I think I used radiator hose and it quickly rotted out. I had the repair shop change that too. This is one place to keep an eye out for. I have had other vehicles of mine have rotted filler hoses and once the start to leak you may have a bad fire. Be safe and change the hoses.


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