10 essentials for your RV or is it a hundred also? Is your RV coming unglued at the seams? This is Eric Stark with the Smart RVer podcast, delivering the Smarts you need to enjoy the freedom of the RV lifestyle without the fear of breaking down. This is episode number 99. So we're going to be covering some different things today.
Essentials for RVs and RV Side Wall delamination. That's what we're talking about when your RV is coming unglued, but more importantly on Thursday, May 26th at 9:00 AM. That's mountain time in Montana. We're going to be doing a live show on YouTube. That's our hundredth episode. So we're inviting everybody to be there. We will have a link on the SmartRVer.com website with a link to the podcast, to the episode that's going to be live on YouTube.
So that'd be our hundredth episode is going to be at least an hour long. So hopefully you can come and join in on that. Then also. July is still come to Montana in July month. So we're encouraging everybody to come to Montana in July, where you can see all of Montana, see the states along the way, and also come by the store here in Victor Montana in the beautiful Bitterroot valley and visit us, meet us.
And if you need certain work done, you can certainly get that done, but you have to call us in advance for that and make an appointment to make sure it's what we do. And that we're ready for you to do that. So now let's get into living the RV life. So this is interesting. We're going to be talking about the tennis essentials for our Vien.
And as I said, in the opening remarks, or is it a hundred? So I went online out of curiosity just to see what people are coming up with. And I'm going to take two comparisons here. First, the first list I found was sewer hoses and all the appropriate fittings that go with. Then leveling blocks for leveling your RV and then wheel chocks to chalk the wheels up, you know, after you're parked you're, if it's a trailer you're disconnected, keep it from moving.
Then the water hose, and they also included a filter and water pressure regulator, a surge protector, and electrical adapters for the power cord, toilet paper and black water treatment bug screens for your water heater in your first. And a screen door bar, you know, for pushing the screen door open. Now it's probably a handy and item and the next one with the bathroom vent cover.
So in other words, the covered a close off the vent inside your bathroom, and then a good shower head. Now the next list I came along was a little bit different. In fact, there are only two things on it that matched the first list. One was a survival kit. That's not matching. That's just number one on their list.
Second was wheel chocks that matched the other one. Cooking tools, hoses, and cords. So that max matches a, the first list, if you will. And then they had ax and shovel lighter and matches a folding step, camping lights and chairs and tables. And then other miscellaneous items to consider. So they actually went into 14 items, solar panels, and a generator cans for water and fuel buckets for washing dishes and laundry hammocks, reclining chairs and mobile wifi hotspot.
Now both of these lists are good, less, but looking online, you know, everybody has their idea of what 10 essentials are. And that's my point in here with these two separate lists. I could go on all day with different. Because none of them match it all depends on what's important for you. Like, you know, I noticed none of them had food on there now food is an essential.
Yeah. You got to have food when he got RV and at least I do and propane to cook that food. So there's two essentials for me. So my list is going to look different right off the get go. And also I'm going to make sure everything in my RV works first because that should be on the top. Now the other thing is you want to just make sure that the things that make the RV work so electrical, cords and adapters, one of the lists have that on there.
And actually both of them did at some level and a water hose. If you're going to be in an RV park and pretty much water pressure regulator, that's all you need to get water to it. You might want to get a 90 degree adapter to make the water hose go straight down rather than curve out and get a kinky.
Like what happens? So there's, you know, you got to look at it, what's going to make the RV work. What's the important things now of having a TV on while you're out, camping is important, then you're going to have one of those things. You're going to have either a generator you're going to be plugged in, or you're gonna have some sort of portable power, like an Energizer arc five.
So everybody's top 10 is going to be different. So even if you talk to people, you can take their ideas, write them down, and then look at your RV and what you feel you need for those top 10 things that get checked. Every time you go out, no matter where you go and what you do, that you always have those items.
So basically you got to make the list yourself and make it revolve around you and how you are V. So you can go to our website. It's a smart RV or.com and I'll have some lists there. So you can kind of look and compare maybe three or four different lists. And then maybe the list that I feel you should have, that will be the most important one.
Of course, because I came up with it. Just kidding. All right. So now last week at this point I brought up. A new battery, a new life PO battery. That's going to be replacing Battleborn now Battleborn is not going out of business, but the new battery is the XPN 360. It's a lithium ion battery. And these things put Battleborn to shame.
So we're going to have more information on those. In fact, a hundredth episode, we're going to be having a special treat with the and the battle. We are going to physically show you the differences so you can understand this and you'll be amazed at what you're going to see. So stay tuned to this. This isn't going away.
So X beyond versus Battleborn is basically what it's going to come out to be. Now let's talk about staying on the road. So, this is where we get into the maintenance of the RV, how to maintain it to repair things. And today we're going to talk about RV sidewall de lamination. So your RV may or may not have that problem.
You might be looking for a new RV and you that's something you want to consider. There's a lot of things with sidewalls when it D laminate's, it can be some serious problems and it doesn't go away. It doesn't get bad. In most cases, sometimes it might stay the same for years, but there's still a problem there.
So first off to identify sidewall de lamination, if you were to look at the side of an RV, you know, the lighting might have to be just so depending on the color of the RV, maybe in the full sun, it might be too much in the dark, dark shade. You won't be able to see it at night. You definitely, probably.
Yeah, definitely. Probably that doesn't sound right, but you know what I mean? So when you're looking down the side of the RV, you might have to tilt your head a little bit, and you're going to look for any bubbles in the sides of the RV, in the sidewall. And we're talking about fiberglass RVs here for the most part, aluminum sided ones will do it, but we're focusing.
Fiberglass. So if you're looking down the side and you know, it might have some waves in it, and that's not what we're talking about, where it just bubbles out, it might be a small spot, you know, a three by three, it might be a, the whole side of the RV in one area, you know, five feet wide, eight feet tall.
That's what we're looking for. So now if you see that on your RV, you have a problem. Now, if you're looking at buying a new RV and you see that. Do you not buy the RV run from it no matter what kind of deal they give you, it will be a problem. And this can be very, very expensive to fix. It can be beyond repair in some cases, because it's so expensive unless you're going to do it yourself.
And that's really what we're talking about here is doing it yourself. But if you take it to a shop is going to be thousands of dollars. Your insurance company might pay for it. And if they do great, but you want to find a qualified repair shop, this is not something that you want to take it to a shop.
And they're going to take the side of your RV apart and kind of do an okay job, putting it back together unless you're dumping the RV afterwards because of his not done. Right. You're just going to have the same problem and maybe even more problems afterwards. So what causes this de lamination generally?
So they say online is from water leaks. Now I'm going to argue with that a little bit water leaks do cause it, but I would say it's more often from a problem at the factory is generally if you have water leaks, you're going to see it elsewhere in the RV. And the de lamination sometimes can be from water leaks.
I'm not saying that's not in post. But generally the factory just doesn't do a good job building the RV, and it can also come from stress of the RV, you know, different types of roads, expansion, and contraction, and hot and cold temperatures, poor engineering, depending on how they built that RV. It might just be well sayings that it's got a spot in the RV that it just comes D laminated.
I mean, I've seen fiberglass that cracks in certain spots on our. So those are things to, you know, if you're buying an RV, look for that, you know look for cracks on the fiberglass, like, especially above a slide room, if there's a crack between the top of the slide room and the roof, and that's an engineering problem, and you don't want to buy that RV.
So you have to think about these things. So look at your RV. If you have any of these, you know, de lamination, what caused it cause that's important too. What caused it? And sometimes you might not actually be able to see it until you get into it. If you're going to do that. Now, how do you fix a D laminated sidewall?
This isn't just some afternoon fix in most cases. So I'm going to have a link here as wellness episode that takes you to I found this online, a guy who did his own sidewall repair and is on a Winnebago journey. And it's kind of interesting how he did it, and I understand why he did it the way he did it.
In fact, I'll just explain it real quickly here. Cause you're gonna, you're gonna read this anyways. And also it's better that you know this. So he took a saw and literally cut up the side of his RV, made a vertical cut on it and peeled back the fiberglass in the area where it was D laminated. You know, he did it right in the center of that D laminated area.
Now he did this, you know, he didn't just have the song cut it. He was marked off. He had a guide, so that's cut was perfectly straight. Eighth inch thick blade. So, you know, he thought this out, he did a good job and what he did. So then he pulls back to fiberglass and he puts a poxy in there and he made some errors in there and he had talks about that, but basically he did a fix that way without taking the side of the RV apart.
Pretty simple that could be done in a day with a lot of planning. And that's what he did. He really planned this thing. And he even talked about how afraid he was to do it. You know, it's a big thing, having the courage to cut a big hole or a slice in the side of your arm. This is a class, a motor home, and it was a nice one, but you see the de lamination can be the entire side where you start experiencing it.
It could be just a section of your RV. Maybe it's the front cap. You have a trailer in the front is wrapped in fiberglass. Like, well, like the forest river I have and the laminate's there, there can be all sorts of things and maybe it was just never done right from the fact that. And now the problem is really becoming exposed.
So do you fix this yourself or not? You know, I would check your insurance and see if they will cover it. If insurance will do it, I would let the insurance company take care of it. You know, from experience years ago when we had a business in San Bernardino, California, we did a lot of this type of work, you know, roofs, sidewalls, you know, rebuilding frames on RV.
And it's never as straightforward as it seems, because once you pull that side off, then you see all the problems and sometimes the water damage can be so great that the wood is just completely rotted out, down the entire side or maybe half of the side. And so it was all sorts of extensive repair that comes into it after it's taken apart.
And that's one of the problems is getting into the unknown. Because the unknown can turn into thousands of more dollars and that can be a serious problem if you're paying for it yourself. Now, if insurance is paying for it, well, it can still be a problem. Cause it might get to the dollar amount where they just decide to total the RV.
Cause it's not worth putting the money into it. So then you're you find yourself, you know, getting paid off for this RV and now it's an a point where you can't even buy it back from the insurance. And do something with it because the sides all taken apart. So basically it's just junk. And the RV repair center is going to ask you to take that RV and do something with it or the insurance company, because they're not going to want it left at their place.
So it turns into a little bit more. So that can be one of the major problems when you take it apart. What you're going to run into, but de lamination is just not going to go away. You know, you have a problem and it needs to be fixed. Now, if it's a small area and you know, it's a row from a water leak up on the roof, then you can fix that and see how it goes.
You know, if you own the RV and your insurance is going to take care of it and you plan on keeping it, that's the only problem with it, then you might decide to just fix it and let it ride and see what happens. You know, that's an option too, and there's also kits that are made as well, where you can inject epoxy into the.
The laminated area and, you know, push it back and see how it works. You know, people do that with a vinyl tops on cars. You don't see that very often anymore, but we'll start lifting up and they'll get a syringe and put some glue underneath there and then pat it down and try to get it to look decent. And hopefully that'll stick.
It's done, been done with rubber roofs too, but it's not the best way of doing it. You know, it's temporary at best. You get back to this point of, do you fix it or not? And so here's where your skillset comes in. If you have the skills and you feel like taking the RV apart, the side of it and repairing it, then by all means you're going to save thousands of dollars and do it.
If the RV's worth it, you have to consider that as though is the repair going to cost more than the RV. Do you plan on keeping the RV and you love it and everything about it is perfect, except for that one. Then it's probably worth fixing. If you can do it yourself, or if insurance is going to take care of it, but keep in mind, you want to look for all the supplies that you think you're going to need before you ever tear into this thing.
Once you get that sidewall off, you don't want it sitting without a side, even if you cover it, or even if it's inside for any longer than it needs to be. You want to take care of it. If your fiberglass needs to be replaced, you need to find fiberglass before you ever start. And also be prepared to re to replace the underlayment.
If it's Luan behind the fiberglass that everything's glued to, because sometimes you can't put glue over glue, it won't work. So you might have to repair that as well. So these are things you have to do in advance. Make sure you have it lined up. Maybe you're not going to buy the fiberglass until you get it off and see what's going on, but make sure you know where you can get it.ecially right now in the year:
And I talked to other people who are in business and, you know, they're waiting two and three years to get products. Now that's how far lead times are out. Make sure it's something you can get before you take it apart. And so if the lead times a week, maybe like, you know, think about two or three weeks, maybe a month.
So plan for that in case there's an issue. If it doesn't show up in a week and it turns into two weeks, three weeks, you want to be prepared for that. So if you have to put tarps over it, remember this, thing's going to be taken apart. It's going to be exposed. So you want to make sure you can do that. You know, maybe even staple tarps on the side, then have some over that.
So there's no water getting in it whatsoever. You know, a few bucks on tarps at this point, isn't going to matter, you know, it's not gonna make or break the deal unless you're on a super, super tight budget. Hopefully you're not. When you dig into this, cause you might find a lot of wood damage and you're gonna have to start repairing wood and you might not be able to find Goodwood and you might have to buy two by fours and cut them down to size to the.
Cyrus actually fit because you can't find two by twos that are in that aren't all warped and been out. So you get the point here. There's a lot to this. It's more complex than it might appear, but yet it still is a do it. Yourself-er thing on my RV. I have some wood rot in the front and I'm going to take care of that.
I know I'm going to have to make all the wood. I can't buy it. It's not a normal size and that's fine. And then the front cap is de laminated. So I have to decide whether I want to take that off and redo that my insurance won't cover it. So this is something I'll have to pay for out of pocket, which is.
But it's just digging in doing it and making sure that what you do is going to solve the problem. You don't want to do all this work and then come back in a month and it's doing the exact same thing. You know, you really want to avoid that and you can't just put screws on the side of the RV. That doesn't look good.
I mean, you could, I guess, but you know, that's not going to look cool and it's gonna be harder to sell that RV down the road. If you want to. So D laminated sidewalls can be a very complex issue, especially if you let it go on and on and on year after year, it just keeps getting worse and worse. The minute you see it, you want to start tackling it.
And if you decide you don't want to mess with it and your insurance, isn't going to cover with it, then get rid of the RV unless you absolutely love it. And you feel that you can live with whatever it turns into down the road of his three feet by three. Is it going to turn it into nine by nine? If it does, can you live with that?
Those are things to consider. It's a, it's one of these problems. You don't see it on every RV and hopefully it's not on yours, but I'm sure some of you out there listening to this podcast have this problem. Otherwise I want to be talking about it. It's a big problem. And if you go online, be careful, you're going to get a lot of bad information.
If you're going to do it yourself, I would find a body shop who works on RV. Or specializes in RV bodywork and talk to them about it, get their opinion. And they might even be able to help you to get the glue and the fiberglass if you need it and the proper material. So you can do that, right. It might cost a little bit more than maybe trying to get it on your own, but it's well worth the money and be cautious of websites that sell stuff.
That's really cheap. Oh, you can get fiberglass for your. A dollar, a square foot, when really it should be about 10. You know, if that's what the body shops are charging you now. So you gotta be careful. Is it really a quality fiberglass? Is the siting worth? Is the adhesive good? Be cautious, do not skimp on this.
If you can avoid it because the better, the quality, the better the job, but find someone who knows about this, if you're going to tackle. And talk to them and get their opinion too, because once you get it apart, it's got to go back together and you want to make sure it goes back together, right? So you're not hating life after you do this big, giant job.
And if you get it, you could probably do this. And a couple of weekends, if you stay out at two days, you know, each weekend. So it's not gonna be a thing that should last for months, you know, it should be a couple of weeks at top. If you take some time off work, you could definitely get it done on a week on probably just about any type of job, at least getting it sealed up and workable.
You know, if it has body pain on it, then it might be a different story or decals, but at least, you know, It's sealed in the big portion of the job finished. That's going to take us into the next portion of our show, which is going to be the next stop. But as before we get into that, though, I want to remind everybody, go to our website.
And there's the link for the guy who did this on his Winnebago journey, who did the sidewall repair, and he's got some pictures and a pretty in-depth description of what he did and what he used. And so that'll be under episode 99 on the smart RV year.com. Now the next stop. Alexis is again in the building today.
Now she's here all the time though, that doesn't really count. So she's in the studio and we're going to talk about horseback riding. And I don't know how many of you have been horseback riding, but horseback riding is pretty fun. And it's one of those things too. Once you've done it, you can do it again.
It's not like relearning it every time. If you haven't ridden a horse in years, getting it now, the first few minutes is kind of getting used to it. It's like riding a bike, you know, you just get back on it and you start riding. So horseback riding is pretty cool in that respect and it's just fun. So Alexis, where in the United States could an RV or go to ride a horse, you know, you can pretty much go anywhere.
A lot of places offer it so anywhere you decide to go, just search it up online and I'm sure you'll find a place. Okay. So it's pretty much everywhere. Me personally, I would prefer a mountainous area. Then like someplace with rolling Hills, you know, I want it like the old west, you know, Ryan down the side of a mountain, going through creeks and rivers and stuff in looking where to go or you're in your area.
What kind of company would you look for for a horseback? That's a good question. I'm looking for a reputable company, maybe one that's been around for awhile. That kinda knows what they're doing is a really good bet. Also, when you're looking online, typing in keywords like stables and barns would be good.
That'll lead you to trail rides and something kind of a it's called hacker. And that means a hack means a horse that's used to walking in line. So it's used to being around people. It's docile, it's perfect for trail ride. So kind of knowing, you know, what you're searching for and what to type in. Is it good?
Okay. So if you want a boring ride, you find a hack riding horse. Yeah. That's the old horse. The back's all bent. It's Australia for the glue factory. Now just kidding. So, yeah, for if it's the first time, that's probably really what you want. And with younger kids, definitely I've been on the horseback riding where they take you through rivers and down the sides of mountains.
And you have to have some experience and for a little kid or younger kids, it could be kind of scary. Or if you're just not really comfortable on a whole. It could definitely be scary, even though you're pretty safe on a horse, you know, they don't just fall over and stuff like you'll see in the movies.
They're a little bit better than that. You're going to go horseback riding. What should you wear? Yeah, this is an important one for everyone. First things you need to wear pants, not shorts because he will change. So you don't want to be doing that. You want to be wearing long pants maybe thicker ones.
And then again, secure, close toed shoes. You don't want to wear sandals. You definitely don't want to wear heels. If you have cowboy boots, that's perfect, but tennis shoes would work just fine for that. And then of course, to check the weather before you go out there a lot of companies will ride whether it's raining or whether the sun's out.
So knowing what to bring, whether that means sunglasses or maybe a rain coat. It's good to check on that before. Okay, good. So, and the pants is important because extra said something you will chase and it will happen whether you like it or not, until you really ride a horse a lot. That's going to be one of the things.
And do not go out and buy a bunch of Cowboys stuff, thinking you're cool. You're gonna look like a fool. All right. Now, if you are a cowboy or you wear cowboy boots and have a cowboy hat, that's one thing do not go out and buy it. And Alexis brought out a good point, like don't wear high heels. All right.
So, you know, you see in the movies, how they're kicking that horse, where the high heels aren't going to be cool for that either. You know, so think about that. And the layers of clothes is good too, because I know in a lot of movies, they show the guy. Always with like jackets on and stuff. It doesn't matter what the weather is.
Like. That's not reality. That's just a look to make them look rugged and tough and all that, you know, so depending where you're at definitely dress appropriately, Alexis brought some great points here on what to do, not to do so now to ride a horse. I know we can't get into this in great detail and it's one of those things you have to experience.
Do you have any pointers for how to do this? I know they'll give it to us when we go there, when you show up, but just to start thinking that way, do you have any pointers, right? And like you said, they will guide you in that. But one good thing to remember is having good posture on a horse you know, on, be slumped over.
You need to be. Kind of active along with the horse of sitting up straight knowing where to put your hands is a good thing. And then another thing is staying calm. A horse can really tell if you're you're going to panic or you're uncomfortable. So if you're calm, the horse will be too, and that'll give the a chance to have a nicer, smoother ride.
And then one more tip. I don't know if this goes along with this, but staying hydrated is really important. It's a very active thing to do to horseback ride. So knowing your limitations and staying hydrated and eating food will make it a good ride. Okay. Very good. So there's some things here, like the good posture.
Now, if you look at the movies like the old west, They don't fake it. They're all sitting up. Right. They have good posture because you can't really fake it on a horse. It doesn't work. The horse can feel it. You can't control the horse. So that sitting up right. And having that good posture is important. And also staying hydrated.
You know, when you go to certain areas like if you're in Arizona, you might be sweating all summer long and you know, drinking tons of water. But if you come to Montana, It's cooler, but you still get dehydrated, maybe even at a higher rate and you don't realize it because you're not sweating the same way, but that hydration is important.
Especially horseback riding as similar to motorcycle, riding motorcycle riding is more physical. But horseback riding is still as physical. It wears you out. So you will need to be hydrated, even bringing some snacks. If you have you know, if you're diabetic or have problems where you need to eat. So that's things that are important and you can do that while you're riding the horse.
Doesn't care. If he gets some crumbs on his back, he's not going to complain even a little water, you know? Most states are just about anywhere in the United States, you can go horseback riding. So what about here in Montana? Are there three spots that you would recommend? Yeah. You know, in looking this up I did find three really good ones.
The first one is diamond P ranch, which is in west Yellowstone. A lot of tourists come to Yellowstone park, so that would be a one close by that people could go to. Also there's rocking Z guest ranch in Helena, and then there's bitter Creek Outfitters in billings. And those are kind of bigger ones. So if anyone's looking for that, but honestly, anywhere that you're going to be in Montana, there's going to be trail rides close by.
So no worries on that. Right. And so these are bigger places. Helena billings, west Yellowstone. And they're going to have that. And even in smaller areas, sometimes that's where you're going to find the better horseback riding. You know, let's say a husband and wife who own a ranch and they just do this kind of a hobby to bring in extra cash or, you know, cash flow.
There's sometimes going to make it a little bit longer. It's going to be more advanced, I guess, depending on where they're at, you know, there's going to be probably a fun ride. But that might be for the more experienced person or with at least a few rides under your belt, but don't just get stuck to the big place that has the hack horses, where you just ride behind each other.
That's fun, but that's the only fun for so long. Remember July that's the month. We want everybody to come to Montana. Cause when they come to Montana, Alexis, what can they do here? They can horseback ride. They can horseback ride and they can also come by highway 93 RV and see us. I almost sit Arizona RV stuck in that groove sometimes.
So, yeah, you can come to Montana, you know, in the month of July, you can come anytime you want, but we prefer July come by the store, check out what we have, get to know us. And then you can also explore the rest of the state and why you're here. You can do some horseback riding. All right. So now this takes us to the final section of the show RV envy.
So if you are the safety conscious or safety minded person, you're probably thinking of. The possibility of fires in your RV in certain areas, you know, like maybe in a battery compartment or maybe where all your electronics are or where your generator is. Well, there's this product on the market called Eli fireballs.
That might not be the official. It's Eli fire something, but we call it fireballs. Cause they're round balls. They're red and blue. Red is for the RV for the most part, two different sizes, four inch, six inch. It looks like a ball, a little kid would be playing with, you know, they got a little more weight to it, but that's what it looks like.
And they have a little rack. That'll hold them in a compartment where a fire could break. Now what's cool about these is if your RV catches on fire, let's say in your generator compartment, after about three to six seconds. The fireball will burst in extinguish the fire. And it's that quick. It's just bam.
It's done. And it's a lot better than a lot of the other fire suppression systems, because this is just a ball in a little rack. That's it? And they last about seven years before you have to replace them. So you're about 125 bucks for the bigger 100 for the smaller. Every seven years or so. So that's not really a big deal to maintain.
You probably won't even have your RV for seven years. And then when you put it in a high end, expensive fire suppression system, you know, it's there, it has to be plumbed. It has to be tested. It has to be checked. And when you sell it, you get no return on your investment in that, because the next guy buying it probably won't care like you do.
Cause we're all different. But the elide fireball. Fire suppression system is awesome. They have a video which I'm going to have all this on our website and under episode 99 links and some pictures of this because it's pretty cool. Firefighters actually use these and they show a fire where the firefighter just throws.
One is like in a container and it just puts it out like instantly. So these things really work. So if you're concerned about. Fires in your RV, your safety conscience. This is the item for you. So there'll be under episode firstname.lastname@example.org. So that takes us to the end of our show today. This is Eric Stark with the smart RV or podcast.
And I want to thank you for listening. And hanging out with us and we look forward to seeing next week, or excuse me, on our live episode at the end of the month, May 26th. And if we don't see you there, let's just connect it to smart RV or.com.