Truck and Trailer Left for 2 Years - Advice Please

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jackiemac

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Guys

Looking for a bit of advice of what we need to check when we get back to our Truck & Trailer that have been sitting for 2 years.
We have been unable to travel to the US for 2 years and are returning mid November. Our truck and trailer have been stored indoors in Boulder City since we left in November 2019. The manager has had a quick look outside for us during that time but not any real inspections.

Truck

Was filled with fuel and stabiliser added. We have been advised that the tank should be emptied before driving and then a fuel system check completed. We obviously need to get brakes and tires checked and battery charged (may need replaced, currently disconnected). Anything else we need to consider?

Trailer

Before we left we identified a leak in one of the slides, so left that slide open a few inches to help dry it out.

We have booked the Trailer in to get that area fixed and for them to perform systems checks on the propane etc. The bearings will be repacked too. Again the batteries may need replaced, these were also disconnected but lying for so long with no charge has probably not done them any good. We will replace batteries in the alarms, but should we replace any?

I am a bit concerned that the water heater, heating, aircon, fridge/freezer may have issues but have no clue as to whether or not they will or when they will appear.

Is it likely that we will need to replace any seals, toilet etc.?

How will tires be after sitting in one spot for so long?

Will tanks be OK with just a clean and sanitise?

Anything else apart from general cleaning?

Obviously anything is guessing, but I would like to be prepared for the worst and be hoping for the best so any advice gratefully received!

Thanks.
 

Utclmjmpr

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Is the truck gas or diesel?? diesel will be fine , but gas will have to be siphoned out as much as possible and refilled with fresh.. Batteries will be replaced to insure the reliability ongoing,, tires will be fine with a little use and checking the pressures..
I think you have the trailer covered.. You have done the best you could by storing everything indoors..>>>Dan
 

Mark_K5LXP

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It sounds like they were prepped for storage so I would think the primary concern would be water ingress and critters. Provided that didn't happen it would be my guess most everything will just fire up and go. As far as consumables like tires and batteries how they will fare depends a bit on their age and condition when it was put away. Older batteries self discharge more than newer ones and the clock ticks on tires whether they're turning or not so their serviceability I'd consider case by case. With batteries you can do a capacity test and decide if they'll meet your need at least short term until you get a handle on the rest of it.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

Isaac-1

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I personally would not over think it too much, plan to replace batteries, inspect tires, air them up and see if it will start since you did use fuel stabilizer. If it starts see if the brakes are free, if they are pull forward a few to see if the wheel bearings get hot, repeat with a bit longer drive, ie a hundred yards, then maybe half a mile. RV CO and Propane detectors built anytime in the past 20 years have a 5 year end of life countdown timer in them which starts the first time they are powered up. So given the model year of your trailer I would expect those to be alarming when you hook them up to battery power again. Also based on age if you are still on your original trailer tires they should be at replacement age.
 

UTTransplant

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We’re your tires over-inflated a bit? That is the best way to keep them from getting flat spots in long term storage, but most flat spots disappear with a bit of use. Don’t get too concerned about a “whop whop” sound when you first pull out. Get the tires checked if it continues. As for the house systems like heater, etc. you should be fine. I am looking forward to seeing you back in the US again!
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I too don't believe you should overthink this. You planned well when it went into storage and you are aware of the things that might need additional care. Take your time and check those things out when you get there. Be prepared to act, but I would not automatically assume that the fuel is unusable or batteries need replacement. Everything that could have gone wrong will not be so. If the batteries have deteriorated and don't hold charge well, you can always replace them later as long as you don't plan to travel to out-of-the way places. If they are really bad, it will be evident soon, probably before you leave.

That said, if you are the sort who gets frustrated at small ongoing problems, you can immediately replace everything that might be less than ideal. It's expensive, but gives good peace of mind.
 

steveblonde

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Stored inside? I wouldnt worry about anything, you added fuel stabilizer, i would throw a charge on the battery and see if it holds.

A few years ago my parents went to New Zealand forca year. My dad parked his car in an unheated garage at house hung up the keys and i drove them to the airport. I checked the house while they were gone cut the grass etc but never looked twice at the car. They came back a year later my dad jumped in the car and went to the store to get milk for their tea. My stabilizer no charger nothing. Lol
 

Utclmjmpr

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That was probably back in the day when gasoline did not turn to dishwater in a few months,, a stabilizer will only be useful for about a year, not two. and when pulling a trailer you want the best fuel to avoid the engine going into "detune" mode..>>>Dan
 

Kirk

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I too don't believe you should overthink this. You planned well when it went into storage and you are aware of the things that might need additional care.
Gary has given by far the best response thus far. Assuming that the Boulder City you left it in is the one in Nevada, then with it stored inside there should be little about weather to be concerned about. You don't say what fuel stabilizer you used but the makers of all such products that I can find say it will keep fuel good for between 2 and 3 years so if you put it away with a full tank of fresh fuel that was treated properly, I doubt that you have anything to be concerned about. I would have the engine oil and filter changed and might consider doing the same for the transmission if it is anywhere close to time for that. Since there is a manager I would guess that it was not sealed in an airtight structure and subjected to excessively high temperatures. Tires would age so the replacement of tires based on the tire date codes does still apply so be sure to check their ages.

On the RV's appliances, I would ask the RV shop where you have it scheduled to have a tech go though and check everything and operate each one, much as they would in a predelivery check out. Most likely there has been no harm from sitting but a quick check of everything is in order. Fill it with water, use the water pump, operate the water heater, furnace, refrigerator, air conditioner and microwave. Cycle leveling jacks and flush the toilet a few times, test the shower and faucets, using a good check list. Most of those are things that you could do for yourself if you are comfortable doing so. I would get a spot in a local RV park and spend several days or a week using everything before you begin to travel, just as a test and I would probably pull the trailer out and back a hundred miles or so as well. Since you are outside the US, and storage is a normal part of RV living for you, do the same things you would under your previous arrivals in the past, but in more depth.

Don't worry about the tanks, just be extra generous with the water into them for a time and if you are concerned, fill them one time and then dump. If you do the 100 mile towing test, fill the tanks about half full and then add laundry detergent to each one just before leaving and then dump the tanks as soon as you get back. Sanitizing waste tanks is unnecessary since you then put unsanitary things into them. Any germs or bacteria that was in them when you stored the RV is sure to have died by now as the tanks are probably both completely dry.

It is possible that there could be some drying out of things with it having sat for 2 years but many RVs experience that with little or no effects so do not create problems before they exist.
 

JayArr

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I bought a car that was in a barn for 18 years (no stabilizer) and the gas was still good enough to start the car. It sputtered but it ran. Don't be too quick to judge your fuel as needing to be replaced.

A full tank of fuel with stabilizer should still be good. Small amounts like inside a carburetor go bad fast but large volumes take a lot longer. Having you tank drained and cleaned by a mechanic or shop won't be free, it may be close to $500 including new fuel so think about trying to just use it first, if it runs, then the cheap way to empty the tank is to let it idle and burn the fuel. If it drives then drive around town and as soon as you get to 3/4 top up with fresh fuel and continue to do that every time it gets to 3/4 so you mix new with old.

Since you disconnected the batteries they may just need a charge. Try charging them up and see if they work before you spend hundreds replacing them. A capacity test like Mark suggested is a good idea.

Pick up one of these at Wallmart,


They can also be had from Amazon, Napa and most auto parts stores. They measure your battery while putting a heavy load on it and are an excellent (although not perfect) way to determine if a battery has capacity left in it. They are a cheap, poor mans way of doing what an expensive, professional Snap On Cart does to test your battery (I have both). Fully charge the battery, connect the two leads and push the button and wait ten seconds then read the little meter. You'll feel heat and maybe smell something because it's got an element like a stove inside that heats up to load the battery. Great tool and I'd recommend every RV and trailer have it. Trying to determine if a battery is "good" with a multi-meter is very difficult, you can tell if it's "charged" but charged and good are two different things.

Try everything for yourself. All the advice on this forum is good to consider but none of it is first hand.
 

Rene T

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Any chance of having that manager top off the batteries with distilled water then hook up a charger for a few hours? Did you leave him a set of keys? Maybe he could try starting it at the same time.
 

Charlie 5320

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I wouldn't be worried about the gas at all. My MH has been sitting for as long as yours has. It had a full tank of gas when parked. I do start it now and again but the gas is 2 years old, and it runs fine. I just brought it up and give it a good bath this week. Engine ran fine and the generator ran fine for a couple hours. As long as the batteries aren't completely flat, they may be ok with a charge.
 

Ex-Calif

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I am in the Mark, Isaac, Gary camp on this. Keep it simple.

As my grandma said, "Danny boy! If it ain't effed up don't fix it."

Charge the batteries, air the tires, do a visual under the hood for nests and things, chewed wires, that kind of stuff. Had a buddy have an e-bay fire from a bird nest on the exhaust manifold. Don't forget to check the generator bay for the same kind of stuff.

Fire it up and go for a short drive. Then a longer drive. Your tires are likely flat spotted but over time they will warm up and round up. Last time I moved I had sat for 4 months. I had a pretty good noticeable vibration for about 15 miles on I-10W then it cleared up in the next 5 miles or so.

Then see how the batteries do. Seals and all that other stuff either dried out or didn't - you'll discover that over time and unless they were subject to like desert heat they will probably be OK.
 

SpencerPJ

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I think you’ll be fine with gas as well. Seriously, smell it. Bad gas has a weird odor. Personally I’d start it, if seems to run fine , I’d put a bottle of sea foam engine cleaner in it and carry on.
 

Ray-IN

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North America-somewhere
Guys

Looking for a bit of advice of what we need to check when we get back to our Truck & Trailer that have been sitting for 2 years.
We have been unable to travel to the US for 2 years and are returning mid November. Our truck and trailer have been stored indoors in Boulder City since we left in November 2019. The manager has had a quick look outside for us during that time but not any real inspections.

Truck

Was filled with fuel and stabiliser added. We have been advised that the tank should be emptied before driving and then a fuel system check completed. We obviously need to get brakes and tires checked and battery charged (may need replaced, currently disconnected). Anything else we need to consider?
The fuel should be OK, however I suggest carrying a spare fuel filter just in case.
I leave my farm tractor sit for 8 months and the battery starts the engine just fine when I need the tractor.

Trailer

Before we left we identified a leak in one of the slides, so left that slide open a few inches to help dry it out.

We have booked the Trailer in to get that area fixed and for them to perform systems checks on the propane etc. The bearings will be repacked too. Again the batteries may need replaced, these were also disconnected but lying for so long with no charge has probably not done them any good. We will replace batteries in the alarms, but should we replace any?

I am a bit concerned that the water heater, heating, aircon, fridge/freezer may have issues but have no clue as to whether or not they will or when they will appear.
Yes they will likely need attention to remove corrosion and re-establish electrical continuity at connections.
Is it likely that we will need to replace any seals, toilet etc.?
That you'll determine if the bowl seal is leaking, if it isn't leave it alone.
How will tires be after sitting in one spot for so long?
I would replace them for peace of mind.
Will tanks be OK with just a clean and sanitise? Fresh water, yes; waste tanks should be OK as-is..

Anything else apart from general cleaning?

Obviously anything is guessing, but I would like to be prepared for the worst and be hoping for the best so any advice gratefully received!

Thanks.
Relax and tackle one task at a time, things will go smoother and your nerves will thank you.
 

Carbonation

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Is the truck gas or diesel?? diesel will be fine , but gas will have to be siphoned out as much as possible and refilled with fresh.. Batteries will be replaced to insure the reliability ongoing,, tires will be fine with a little use and checking the pressures..
I think you have the trailer covered.. You have done the best you could by storing everything indoors..>>>Dan
Actually, diesel degrades like gasoline. 60-90 days with current ULSD. Consider diesels primary application is a couple hundred gallons of swill in an OTR truck gone in 2 days. There is no plan for long term stability from the petroleum industry. The oddity with diesel, and especially bio blend diesel, is it's ability to support algae growth in the moisture in the fuel. It doesn't really lose cetane value as it degrades, but the slime from algae and moisture absorbed make a mess of the fuel system, especially modern common rail diesels.
A double dose of multipurpose diesel additive (Stanadyne, Opti-Lube,Alliant Ultragold) and a bacon bomb of algae destroyer (PS Diesel Kleen, Bell Performance Bellicide, Peak Agri-Clean) after draining the water can save a tank of diesel. Better to dope fuel before storage than after. If you had algae, and kill it, you will be changing fuel filters soon.
If gas, common fuel stabilizers are questionable at best, they do nothing for the alcohol in modern fuel to keep it from absorbing moisture and causing phase separation. That's where the alcohol absorbs all the water it can, and literally makes a layer of water and alcohol at the bottom of the tank. Gas is unstable long term. Cracked components separate, alcohol absorbs water and separates, and it all reduces octane. Regular pipeline base fuel is 84 octane, the addition of ethanol (104 octane) raises that to 87. When it separates, you get low octane base fuel and a milky mix of water and ethanol.
Best practice for long term storage is ethanol free boat or power equipment fuel, and Star-Tron Enzyme, Yamalube Fuel Stabilizer and Conditioner, or BioBor EB. Personal experiments, that gets me 2 years of fuel that will work.
Change oil, filter, and fuel filter after the first tank back on the road.
Charge the batteries, they might be OK. NOCO smart chargers can bring a really bad battery back from the dead using several cycles of charging over a period of time to desulfate and revive a stale battery.
Air the tires, and have them looked at by a mechanic you trust.. They may have aged out. Flat spots from sitting will self heal many times, but I've had some tires that just always vibrated or whumpped with a permanent flat spot.
Good luck.
 

Skookum

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324
We're talking 2 years and not 20, right?

Check the tires, check the oil, put a charge on the batteries, and then crank it over and go. Start using everything to see where maintenance might be needed.

Gentle driving on properly inflated tires should get them up to temperature and iron out any flat spots, assuming they weren't damaged (i.e. left flat for a long period of time).
 

jackiemac

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Thank you everyone for your considered replies. Here are some answers to questions asked, I should have been clearer at outset.

1. It's gas not diesel in Truck and Stabilo stabiliser used.

2. Trailer tires were replaced May 2019 and used for 6 months.

3. Truck tires were new in August 2019 and used for 4 months.

4. Trailer batteries were replaced in September 2019.

5. Truck battery is original and was disconnected.

We will check/test as much as we can in our week in Vegas before heading out. Really appreciate the feedback and good suggestions!
 

IBTripping

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I left my classic car (1992 Firebird) set for 2 years without gas stabilizer. Jump started it and drove it. No problems.
 

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