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Old 09-28-2018, 07:34 AM   #1
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Rough roads are shaking my RV apart!

I have had an issue with my microwave for a couple seasons now. The face plate that covers the cubby it rides in comes loose on the bottom. It has now broken the face plate in the top right corner. I think the mfg put the face plate to high and it is holding the weight of the microwave rather than just being a cover.

After my recent trip to Wisconsin and over the rough roads of Northern Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin I have several other issues. The bathroom mirror, frame and all, popped off and hit the floor. Fortunately it didn't brake or leave a mark on the counter top or mirror. So I will have to find a way to re-hang it on the paper thin walls.

Also, the latch for the bathroom cabinet door under the sink has come loose and now the cabinet door won't latch and stay closed. Simple fix, I just need to put a new nail or screw in the latch.

But dang, how flimsy are these things? I know they aren't the stoutest built vehicles on the road, but I feel like many more rough roads like that and nothing will be left hanging on the walls.
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Old 09-28-2018, 07:48 AM   #2
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I agree there are some really bad roads out there. Almost lost my false teeth on them.. J/K..

I try to stay on top of all the things in the RV after I reach my destination I do a quick sweep and tighten anything that needs to be tightened and fix anything that needs to be fixed asap.

2 years now and everything it still tight and smells brand new.. just stay on top of the little things and don't let them build up. It will make your experience that much better.

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Old 09-28-2018, 08:07 AM   #3
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That I 43 from the Il. state line to G.B. is a rough bugger. Just came back from Door County a couple days ago. Hasn't got appreciably better over the past couple years. Major construction from Kenosha through Racine to Milwaukee, down to 2 lanes either way.
Lost the cable cover that slides in from the bottom on my Dometic 9100 series awning from the vibration. $30 for a new kit and a couple dabs of silicone at the bottom and back in business
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Old 09-28-2018, 09:47 AM   #4
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I hit some crap on my last trip and I thought my dash panel was going to fly off.
Gotta keep up with loose stuff constantly.
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Old 09-28-2018, 09:50 AM   #5
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My TP unrolled onto the floor while driving on PA roads. Thought my DW adopted a dog and didn't tell me.
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Old 09-28-2018, 11:01 AM   #6
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Going through St. Louis, we went through an area of I55 that made us think we were going to lose it all. When we got to the camp that night we found our shower door had been knocked off. Luckily it did not break.
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Old 09-28-2018, 12:01 PM   #7
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I noted the same issue on our 2000 Four Winds unit when we purchased it used in 2010. The faceplate was supporting the entire weight of the µWave.

I removed the assembly and installed braces/boards in the bottom of the compartment for the µWave to set on, complete with notches so it would not slide out of the hole unless it was lifted a bit. I repaired the faceplace and reinstall the assembly. It never moved afterward.


This is part and parcel to owning a motorhome, unfortunately. They are poorly engineered and rapidly assembled.



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Old 09-28-2018, 01:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomAR View Post
My TP unrolled onto the floor while driving on PA roads. Thought my DW adopted a dog and didn't tell me.
LOL Any one tried I-10 in Louisiana? You can hardly have a conversation in the truck. Your voice sounds like you are talking into a fan. Like one of those annoying things I did as a kid.


Florida roads are not great, but we appreciate them after returning from our bumpy trips.
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Old 09-28-2018, 01:27 PM   #9
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Part of the problem is the suspension they use in most travel trailers. It isn't the softest riding one out there. IMHO you can't beat a torsion axle for a smooth ride, even on crappy roads. However they cost more.

I had an Airstream, which has torsion axles, and left a partial cup of coffee sitting on the table one morning and rolled out. It was still there where I left it when we stopped for lunch. And the roads that day were not particularly smooth.

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Old 09-28-2018, 01:36 PM   #10
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Small earthquake going on.
I put a go pro camera back there and had it solid mounted in a camera gimbal like shock mount.
I wanted to see how it was on different roads.
Started a stopwatch upfront to time out the roads to know where I would have been.
After seeing it I decided NO I don't want to ride back there for a nap (illegal in most states). It was amazing how things move around even on smooth roads. On a rough road, I think some sailors might get sick.
I can see now anything could get loosened over time. Now I realize not just things I have added, but every screw, hinge, glue joints, mountings are all subject to the same constant and sometimes violent movement and vibrations.
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Old 09-28-2018, 01:37 PM   #11
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I don't know if I am comforted or depressed to hear there are so many bad interstates and others having things fall off.
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Old 09-28-2018, 01:38 PM   #12
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That I 43 from the Il. state line to G.B. is a rough bugger. Just came back from Door County a couple days ago.
That's exactly where I went and got back to ATL last Saturday. Beautiful country but terrible roads.
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Old 09-28-2018, 02:06 PM   #13
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I...But dang, how flimsy are these things? ...
As you have indicated, they are pretty darn flimsy. It varies some depending on the RV and road conditions.

A few things can be done to help the situation. Correctly set tire pressures are important! (Too high is tough on the equipment. Too low and tires fail.) Too many blindly inflate to side wall or stickers. Use a truck scale, a load chart, and a quality pressure gauge.

Pin boxes and hithes can also have a significant effect. "Cushioned" units like TrailAir and MORyde pin boxes, AirSafe and TrailerSaver hitches etc. Some of these can get pricey (and heavy!). But they can work well!

Axle type/cushioned shackles/cushioned equalizers/shocks also have their place. It is very common to see cushioned equalizers on multi-axle leaf spring trailers.


And...don't shoot...slower speeds on rough roads works well!
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Old 09-28-2018, 02:40 PM   #14
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pin box

Yes the pin box can make a lot of difference. After several thousand miles pulling the 5er, I bought a flex air to use on the next trip and the ride in the truck was better and did not have as much moving of items in the 5er. Come home and hit tree. All gone!
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Old 09-28-2018, 03:26 PM   #15
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I have had an issue with my microwave for a couple seasons now. The face plate that covers the cubby it rides in comes loose on the bottom. It has now broken the face plate in the top right corner. I think the mfg put the face plate to high and it is holding the weight of the microwave rather than just being a cover.

After my recent trip to Wisconsin and over the rough roads of Northern Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin I have several other issues. The bathroom mirror, frame and all, popped off and hit the floor. Fortunately it didn't brake or leave a mark on the counter top or mirror. So I will have to find a way to re-hang it on the paper thin walls.

Also, the latch for the bathroom cabinet door under the sink has come loose and now the cabinet door won't latch and stay closed. Simple fix, I just need to put a new nail or screw in the latch.

But dang, how flimsy are these things? I know they aren't the stoutest built vehicles on the road, but I feel like many more rough roads like that and nothing will be left hanging on the walls.
I boondock exclusively...typically 11 to 20 miles down rough, washboard, gravel roads. I've passed guys with broken leaf springs!

Some suggestions:
  • Keep a good selection of screws, nuts, bolts, etc. in a divided hardware box to deal with emergencies.
  • Replace screws with longer and larger screws...just a bit bigger so they get a good bite in the "wood."
  • Use Gorilla glue on any screw you replace in wood....it's amazing, kind of a red Loctite for bonding metal and wood. Gorilla Glue stores well. You can use an open bottle over and over, but always keep a new one in the wings.
  • I keep a little "oil syringe) (Fisheries Supply is a good source) to inject water (needed with Gorilla Glue) into the screw holes.
  • If possible and cosmetically acceptable, replace screws with bolts with nylock nuts...and washers. Not always possible, but far better in cases where you can do it.
  • Keep a couple tiny bottles of paint to paint over Gorilla Glue schmoo if it oozes out of an application. Scrape off what you can when it dries, then paint the rest. Gorilla glue acts somewhat like expanding foam insulation, so if you put on a little too much, it will squeeze out.
  • When fastening to thin panels (eg. walls), use toggle bolts.
  • Most of your hardware inventory should be stainless. It's compatible with everything, including aluminum, and great for exterior use. It's not that much more expensive to have stainless, and you never need to worry about corrosion or mismatched metals decaying from being in contact with one another.

The base pedestals for my table came loose from the floor, and we don't travel with the table up, so I was a bit baffled at this problem. I suspect the screws were overtightened during installation at the factory, and the screws were already stripped and then left "finger tight" by the builder. I had a hell of a time finding the right replacements, but I believe I went with #14 x 1 1/2" long screws that went all the way through the floor. My dinette is in a slide, and I was able to determine that having the screws penetrate the floor would cause no harm. Once again, a liberal dose of Gorilla Glue locked them in place....that was about 4 years ago.

Similarly, my PUP has a hard-walled folding bathroom. After one or two trips, screws securing the back wall to the "hinge" pulled loose. Fortunately, the wood to which the hinge mounts was OK (soft-wood like pine, but intact). Replacement screws were 1/2" longer and one size larger (perhaps #10 instead of #8) and that was my first experiment with Gorilla Glue. Problem solved...in my 5th season with this camper.

Eventually, at least in my experience, far less stuff falls apart. As for that microwave mount, make sure the micro is secured behind the decorative cover, and perhaps reposition the cover to prevent further damage. I've had to stay on top of my furnace in much the same way. Bigger screws, added "tin nuts" over the stripped out tabs that hold the decorative cover, and, and, and. A pain in the ass for sure. But it all holds together now.

LAST THOUGHT:
Do not overinflate your tires. My camper calls for 50 PSI. I ran 60 PSI to be "safe." Rock hard tires produce a rock-hard ride.
In fact, when I go off-road (at low speeds 30 MPH or less) I soften the tires to 40 PSI. This 4WD trick soaks up a lot of shock. When I get to the highway, I just pull out the VIAIR and "air-em-up." If you're on the highway, you can't get away with this trick but you can be sure your tires are at the recommended pressure, because 80 PSI in a tire that calls for 60 PSI will be like riding on the stone wheels in the Flintstones.

Hope some of this was helpful.

P.S. On my last trip, the cabinet door on the largest under-sink cabinet in my kitchen was hanging by a single screw. In this case, I didn't have the tiny cabinet screw replacements in inventory, but I removed and replaced every screw and installed with Gorilla Glue. It will hold up for quite a while even without bigger screws. But I once had a cabinet door hinge just break..into two pieces. So I keep spare hinges in my kit.

Maintaining an RV ain't for sissies. Imagine what those tiny houses, all built with nails instead of screws, must do going down the road!
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Old 09-28-2018, 03:28 PM   #16
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One more thought. Add some after-market shock absorbers. An undamped suspension bounces like crazy! See eTrailer for some ideas on kits to add shocks to your suspension.
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Old 09-28-2018, 04:13 PM   #17
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The worst case I have ever seen was on a 40' Class A, one of the expensive ones. He pulled in next to me at a park near Denver. After he got setup, he invited me over to see his damage.

The entire set of cabinets above the driver and passenger's area had torn loose and completely fallen down. The only thing left up there was the TV. There was nothing but a heap of wood on the floor. The only reason the TV was ok - he just had changed out from a CRT to a flat screen at an RV service place which installed it with BIG screws.

This happened on the stretch of I-25 from Laramie, WY, south to Denver. He told me he had to slow down to 60 mph because the road was so bad. And that apparently didn't help!! He was lucky that he didn't have an accident, I don't know if I could drive my coach with wood falling all around me. He said he was lucky and was able to get off the highway safely.
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Old 09-28-2018, 04:22 PM   #18
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Our whole infrastructure is failing, most of it is fifty years old at least.
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Old 09-28-2018, 04:35 PM   #19
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We are wrapping up a month long tour of the Canadian Maritime Provinces,

You stare at the caution sign at the side of the road in disbelieve and then ask the DW,,, "did that actually say dangerous potholes next 12 miles" she replies "YES".

Thank you Newfoundland.

I'm pretty sure my left wall will be separated from the floor for the third time by the time I get back home.
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Old 09-28-2018, 05:43 PM   #20
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Use Gorilla glue on any screw you replace in wood....it's amazing, kind of a red Loctite for bonding metal and wood. Gorilla Glue stores well. You can use an open bottle over and over, but always keep a new one in the wings.

jimmoore13,

I like this idea to use Gorilla Glue, but can the screw be removed later if necessary?
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