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Author Topic: Off season upkeep - running vehicle/generator  (Read 477 times)

slam308

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Off season upkeep - running vehicle/generator
« on: November 18, 2017, 07:30:54 PM »
We don't have an RV yet, but I'm enjoying all the planning and dreaming that will get us to that point.

I've heard the worst thing for motorhomes is to sit idle for long periods.  Here's my plan, let me know if it's a good one or if I'm missing anything...
I work about 30 miles/45 minutes from home.  I plan to take the MH to work at least once a month while it's not being used and run the generator and heat or A/C on the trip.  I'd start the engine/generator about 5-10 minutes before I leave to let things warm up.  Before I leave, I'd start the heat or A/C and let it run for the trip and then I can turn the heat, A/C off and let it cool down for 5-10 once I get there/home before I shut everything off.  I think this covers the "run the generator regularly" maintenance as well as keeping things moving occasionally.
Sound good to you guys?

We live in central NJ, so snow isn't a long term factor and I'm sure I can make the trip at least once a month. 
Just thought of another thing, should I maybe leave the slides out and level it while at work for the day to exercise those systems as well?
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 07:33:36 PM by slam308 »

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Off season upkeep - running vehicle/generator
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2017, 07:46:55 PM »
Exercising the generator under an electrical load, particularly a gas-powered one, is a good idea. The genset is vulnerable to moisture build-up in the stator and armature as well as gasoline deposits in the carburetor and running it 30-60 minutes under a moderate or even high load is goodness.

Exercising the rest of the rig is a set of minor pros and cons and thus not such a clear cut thing. If you do feel that regular exercise is a really good thing, then your plan is a good way to do that.  Physically driving the rig certainly does distribute fluids and do a bit to help lubricate seals, but the value of that is more a matter of faith than proven science. Whether it is worth the hassle, exposure to road dirt & salts, and the risk of accident in poor weather or rush hour crowded highways and parking lots is a tougher call.   Doesn't hurt, though, unless you physically damage something during that monthly trip.

Some RVers make this "exercise it regularly" into a quasi-religious observance. As you have probably guessed, I'm not one of those people.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

slam308

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Re: Off season upkeep - running vehicle/generator
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2017, 08:39:05 PM »
Thanks Gary.
I'm not in what you'd normally think of as NJ.  We're actually pretty rural here and my "commute" is mostly back roads with about 5 miles of 2 lane "highway" at most.  Obviously, if it was sketchy weather I'd wait and pick a better time. 
I did wonder about road salt, so I'm glad you mentioned that.  My husband has 3 classic cars, so I know all about road salt!  LOL.  I can work around that and not take it right after a weather event.
All things considered, I guess I figured it would be better to run things a bit rather than let the unit sit for a couple months.  I think hitting a deer or turkey is more likely than rush hour traffic or parking lot issues. 

HappyWanderer

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Re: Off season upkeep - running vehicle/generator
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2017, 09:06:58 PM »
My motorhome has been parked for about a month now, and won't leave the driveway until the middle of April. The chassis battery is on a battery tender, and the converter plugged in. The generator will get exercised for a couple of hours next weekend, then monthly.

I will move it one more time to blow leaves (again!), but other than that, there's no reason to start the engine until spring. We're tucked in for another New England winter.
I don't have gray hair. I have wisdom highlights.

slam308

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Re: Off season upkeep - running vehicle/generator
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2017, 04:01:33 PM »
Happy,
What load, if any, do you put on it?

HappyWanderer

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Re: Off season upkeep - running vehicle/generator
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2017, 05:33:08 PM »
During the summer, we run the air conditioner. In cold weather, a couple of space heaters.
I don't have gray hair. I have wisdom highlights.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Off season upkeep - running vehicle/generator
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2017, 01:58:14 PM »
Quote
All things considered, I guess I figured it would be better to run things a bit rather than let the unit sit for a couple months.

Sure. Mechanical parts and lubricating systems can perhaps benefit a bit from that.  I just didn't want you to classify it as absolutely necessary to successful ownership.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

slam308

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Re: Off season upkeep - running vehicle/generator
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2017, 05:48:29 PM »
Well...it's also an excuse to bring it to work and show it off.   ;)

B737doc

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  • 1992 Challenger
Re: Off season upkeep - running vehicle/generator
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2017, 01:13:31 PM »
My Damon Challenger is wrapped tighter than a drum with a 30x25 tarp I bought at Home Depot.  I used a pack of 12 bungees and 3" aircraft grade aluminum tape around the edges, so of coarse all doors are covered and sealed.  I removed both batteries and took them inside where I swap a battery tender between the two.  Didn't consider running anything until April.   Guess I'll drop the batteries in from time to time and start the generator externally from time to time.   
1976 BMW R90/6 "Airhead"
2005 Triumph Bonneville "America"
1992 Challenger Motorcoach

larrypowellnc

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Re: Off season upkeep - running vehicle/generator
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2017, 03:35:41 PM »
I "exercise" my RV (2011 Class C on Ford E350 chassis) once a month, usually 20+ miles, and run the generator under load for 30 min. weekly.  I view this as cheap insurance against systems failure.

 

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