High Temps & the RV Refrigerator

MovingOnWithMargo.comIf the refrigerator tends to heat up to over 45 degrees in the summer temperatures, don’t buy a new refrigerator or replace the cooling unit until you try this little trick.

Keep the Refrigerator Cool – Install Exterior Flue Fans

If your travel plans include an extended stay in a very hot climate (over 90 degrees F daily), the refrigerator may not stay cool enough to keep food fresh. Installing a couple of 12 V computer case fans at the top of the refrigerator flue vent helps to  temper this problem. Depending on the size of your motorhome refrigerator flue, there may only be room for one large fan.

Some refrigerator designs may require the fan to be installed at the bottom. Avoid this if possible. Some service installers may spin a tale about the best installation, but I have tried both top and bottom vent placement. The fans installed in the top of the vent far outperform the bottom location.

The top vent design is a tougher install project and may cost a few more dollars in labor, but well worth it when the temperature hits 110 degrees. If you understand 12 V schematics, it is an easy installation.

Measure the top surface opening of the flue. Buy these small computer case fans yourself at a local electronics/computer store or online (around $5 each).

Do it yourself or contact a local RV repairperson to install the fans at your RV park site. Install an on/off switch within easy reach for flexibility in colder climates.

Caution: Do not allow the RV repairperson to purchase the fans. They do not usually have the correct specifications or understand the reasoning behind using computer case fans over conventional refrigerator vent fans. Computer fans are also less expensive ($10 versus $35).

Note: Unless your motorhome is less than 20 feet long, ignore the solar-type vent fans, as they do not produce enough airflow to do the job.

Minimum specifications to ensure high airflow and low fan noise:

120 mm Computer Case Fan (5 inch):
Air Flow (FM) 44.03; Max. Noise (dBA) 23.5

80 mm Computer Case Fan (3 inch):
Air Flow (CFM) 28.89; Max Noise (dBA) 20.9

As an example, Amazon has one perfect for the job.
ARCTIC F8 PWM Rev. 2 Fluid Dynamic Bearing Case Fan, 80mm PWM Speed Control, 31CFM at 22.5dBA

For more information on this and other helpful tips, see “Conquer the Road: RV Maintenance for Travelers.

Cellphone Danger Around Gas Pumps

No CellphonesLadies, while filling up that 50-gallon gas tank on your motorhome, time seems to slow down, I know.  It seems to take forever to finish. You start thinking about all the things yet to be done today.

Please do not be tempted to use your cellphone, or even have your phone in your hand (or pocket) waiting for a call. Leave it inside the vehicle with the door shut. Cellphones that light up, when switched on or when they ring, release enough energy to provide a spark for ignition.

The Shell Oil Company recently issued a warning after three incidents in which cell phones ignited fumes during fueling operations.

In the first case, the driver placed the phone on the car’s trunk lid during fueling; it rang and the ensuing fire destroyed the car and the gasoline pump.

In the second, an individual suffered severe burns to their face when fumes ignited as they answered a call while refueling their car!

And in the third, an individual suffered burns to the thigh and groin as fumes ignited when the phone, which was in their pocket, rang while they were fueling their car.

Petroleum Equipment Institute researched 150 cases of this type of fire but not related to cellphone ignition. The results are very surprising: It is gas vapors ignited by static charges created by the human body.

  • Out of 150 cases, almost all of them were women.
  • Almost all cases involved the person getting back into their vehicle while the nozzle was still pumping gas. When finished, they went back to pull the nozzle out. The fire started because of a static spark from their bodies while sliding out of the vehicle.
  • Most had on rubber-soled shoes.
  • There were 29 fires where the vehicle was re-entered and the nozzle touched by the driver during refueling from a variety of makes and models. Some of these explosions resulted in extensive damage to the vehicle, to the station, and to the customer.
  • Seventeen fires occurred before, during or immediately after removing the gas cap and before fueling began.

The results of the research indicates that most men do not get back in their vehicle until the pumping is complete; therefore, they are seldom involved in this type of fire.

Bob Renkes, Petroleum Equipment Institute, is working on a campaign to make people aware of fires resulting from static electricity at gas pumps.

Mr. Renkes stresses you should never get back into your vehicle while filling it with gas. If you absolutely must get into your vehicle while the gas is pumping, make sure when you get out, close the door while touching any metal surface available. Now it is safe to pull the filler nozzle out.  This draws the static charge from your body before you remove the nozzle.

To sum it up, here are the Four Rules for Safe Refueling:

1) Turn off the engine.
2) Do not smoke!
3) Do not use a cell phone – leave it inside the vehicle or turn it off.
4) Do not re-enter your vehicle during fueling.


The National Highway Safety Association (NHTSA.gov) maintains a list of all RVs recalled by the manufacturer. To narrow the chances of buying a defective vehicle, check the VIN number on this website.  If you have a question about a particular make or model, enter the VIN number of the vehicle to see the details.

If you are researching a vehicle, ask the dealer or the owner for the VIN. Online, RVT.com lists the VIN in the details. Other sites may also include this information, if not, send an email to the dealer or owner for this number. Checking the recall status may also give you a clue as to the pricing of each vehicle, or bargaining power if you plan to do the repairs.

REV Recreation Group (REV) is recalling 219 2017-2018 Fleetwood Discovery and Discovery LXE, and Holiday Rambler Endeavor, Endeavor XE, and Admiral XE motorhomes, as well as 2018 Monaco Diplomat, Fleetwood Pace Arrow, Bounder, Flair, and Storm motorhomes, and Holiday Rambler Navigator and Vacationer XE motorhomes. The affected vehicles may have been manufactured with headlights that do not have tempered glass lenses.

Newmar Corp. is recalling 1,167 2014 Mountain Aire and 2014-2017 Dutch Star recreational vehicles built on Freightliner XCR chassis manufactured by Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA). These chassis have a battery cable mounting bracket may not have been installed correctly, as a result, the improperly routed and clipped battery cable can contact the frame rail, possibly chafing and short circuiting.

Keystone RV Co. is recalling certain 2018 Crossroads Redwood and Cameo recreational trailers. The propane manifold under the kitchen slide may contact the floor potentially causing damage to the propane line.

Forest River Inc. is recalling 47 2016-2017 Berkshire vehicles built on Freightliner Custom Chassis XCR chassis. A battery cable mounting bracket may not have been installed correctly.  As a result, the improperly routed and clipped battery cable can contact the frame rail, possibly chafing and short circuiting.

Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC is recalling 20 2018 Pioneer recreational trailers, models RD210 and BH250. The liquid propane (LP) hose may not have been properly secured to the frame near the tire and, as a result, the tire may rub through the LP hose causing a leak.

To learn more about the RV lifestyle, visit my website, RVLifestyleExperts.com.

Helping to Make Your Lifestyle Flow Smoothly