Category Archives for "RV Maintenance"

How to Manually Retract RV Steps

how to manually retract rv steps

Nowadays, the focus is on the convenience and easy operation of everything which is why almost everything can be automated. This includes the steps of your RV. While automated steps certainly make things convenient and it surely has safety measures to prevent accidents, learning how to manually retract RV steps is important as well.

This is because knowing how to manually retract RV steps will allow you to operate your RV’s steps even when their automated feature is broken.

With that said, here’s a tutorial on how to manually retract your RV’s steps.

What You Will Need


Before we go into detail about how to retract your RV steps manually, let’s first list down everything you need for the task. They are as follows:

  • Pliers (longnose, regular, etc.)
  • Wrench (traditional and adjustable)
  • Screwdrivers
  • RV manual (physical copy or digital)

Step by Step Guide to Manually Retracting Your RV Steps


Once you have prepared all the tools you need for the task, you can now proceed to do the following steps:

1. Prepare your RV.

Make sure to park it somewhere flat, preferably on concrete, and has decent lighting or a light source bright enough to see. To keep your RV from rolling away or onto you while you work, you can place something behind the tires like a large rock. Make sure to clear your work station as well to avoid preventable accidents and injuries.

Preparing your RV and taking the necessary precautions will ensure that you don’t find yourself with an injury or get caught in an accident while manually retracting the steps.

2. Locate the retraction mechanism.

This is usually located beneath the RV steps themselves. To help you with this, you can consult your RV’s manual as it may provide you with the information to correctly locate it. Once you have done so, identify the following parts of the mechanism:

  • Linkage pin or bolt – This links the steps’ frame and the step linkage or the retraction mechanism. This can be in the form of a pin or a threaded bolt and nut.
  • Step frame – This is the steps themselves.
  • Step linkage – This is the mechanism used to automatically retract the steps.

3. Remove the linkage pin or bolt.


Once you have located and identified everything, you can now remove the linkage pin or bolt. If it’s in the form of a pin, remove the lock pin and then pull out the linkage pin. If it’s a bolt, unscrew it first then remove it.

4. Detach or unlink the step linkage and step frame.

After removing the linkage pin or bolt, you can now detach or unlink the step linkage from the step frame. To be able to do this, you need to slightly pull the linkage out of its link slot. From there, you can easily do the next step which is to retract the steps manually.

5. Manually retract the steps.

Once you have unliked the step frame and step linkage, you can now manually retract the steps. If you want to keep the steps in place, you can use a rope or cord to tie it down and keep them in place.

6. Reattach the linkage when possible.

Once the steps have been manually retracted, you could reattach the linkage if you can do so. Replacing the linkage pin or bolt will help you avoid misplacing important parts and risk having to replace the whole mechanism altogether.


While every step retraction mechanism of RVs is different, these are just some of the basic steps you can take to manually retract them. To ensure that what you’re doing is correct, make sure to check out your RV’s manual as it may provide you with the necessary information for manually retracting your RV steps.

Although most steps are now automated, it’s still handy to have the knowledge of manually retracting your RV’s steps, especially when the automated mechanism is messed up.

With that said, if you enjoyed this tutorial on how to manually retract RV steps, feel free to share them and if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to leave a comment.

How to Remove a Thetford RV Toilet

How to Remove a Thetford RV Toilet

When living in an RV, one of its most essential components is its permanent toilet. For RVs that cost around $100,00, the common standard permanent toilet installed is Thetford toilets. However, sometimes, permanent toilets may need to be removed to be cleaned or to be entirely replaced. If that happens, as an RV owner, you must know how to remove a Thetford Toilet RV toilet on your own.

There are plenty of Thetford RV toilet models, but their removal process is generally the same. Removing it is pretty simple, and you can do it in just under 15 minutes if you follow the steps stated down below.

What to Prepare


Before jumping to the step by step instructions of how to remove a Thetford RV toilet, you must first prepare the following tools:

  • Flathead screwdriver
  • 1/2 -inch socket wrench
  • 12-inch socket wrench extensions
  • Rag

The tools mentioned above are commonly found in standard toolboxes. Also, if you are an RV owner, it is good to invest in these as it may come handy in other situations as well.

The Step by Step Process


If you have all your tools ready, you are now prepared to remove your Thetford toilet. Here are the steps to do that:

Step 1: Turn Off the Water Supply

You wouldn’t want to make a mess by having water splash all over you when you are working. This is why, before doing anything, make sure that your water supply is turned off. Usually, RVs have a water pump switch nearby that you can just switch to “off.” If your RV is connected in an external water source, make sure to disconnect that as well temporarily.

Step 2: Remove the Bolt Cover

RV toilet bolt covers are what make them look seamless. It also keeps the actual bolts from being accidentally unscrewed for whatever reason and from corroding. So, when removing your Thetford toilet, you must remove it.

To do this, you will need to use a flathead screwdriver. Just put the tip of the screwdriver to the seams of the bolt cover and lift up. There are usually two of these, so you just have to do the same step to the other bolt covers.

Step 3: Remove the Actual Bolts


Once the toilet bolts are exposed, take your half-inch socket wrench and unscrew it. However, it is only straightforward if the bolts are located on the sides of the toilet. For some Thetford toilet models, reaching the bolts can be difficult, especially the ones that have bolts located in front and at the back of the toilet.

If you have a front and back bolted Thetford toilet, the best way to access the front bolt is by simply pressing down and holding the foot flush lever. On the other hand, to gain better access to the rear bolt, you can lift the seat cover. Then, take away the access hole that is the upper part of the hopper. Once you do this, you can now easily reach the back bolt. After that, use your 12-inch socket wrench extension and unscrew the rear nut.

Step 4: Lift the Toilet

When the bolts are unscrewed, the toilet can now be easily lifted up from its fixed position. When removing it, make sure to have a rag ready and place it immediately in the hole left by the toilet. Doing this will prevent bad odors from the plumbing to come inside the RV. It will also prevent contamination of the black water tank contents.

Easy, right? If the instructions above still sound a little vague for you, here’s a video tutorial from Recreation Destination that you may find handy in removing your Thetford toilet:


Whether you are replacing your RV’s permanent toilet or you just want to thoroughly clean your existing Thetford toilet, removing it off its fixed position is not that hard. All you need to do is carefully follow the steps mentioned above, and you are good to go. Let us know what you think of this tutorial down below and share some of your Thetford toilet removal experience as well.

How to Remove Stains from RV Awning

How to Remove Stains from RV Awning

Do you know someone who just can’t stand seeing stains in their RV Awning? Let me rephrase. Are you the kind who feels irritated or even freaks out when your sight spots a stain in your RV Awning? Surely, these stains will never let you enjoy having quality time in your RV if not removed immediately.

Wouldn’t it be relieving to think that there are actually ways on how to remove stains from RV awning? Yes, you heard it right. You can now break free from enduring hours of removing the stains from your RV Awning. As an RV owner, you would surely find this article helpful for it will give you practical insights – insights already proven effective by many RV owners

What are the types of RV awning materials?


The idiom “barking up the wrong tree” is quite familiar to all of us. Its relevance to removing stains from your RV awning material is this: to achieve that stain-free RV awning, you must know first the kind of material that the specific awning is made of. By determining the awning material used, you can now properly choose the cleaning agent needed for that awning.

These materials are as follows:

1. Fabric Awnings

The first kind of awning material is called fabric awning. Fabric awnings are often manufactured by Sunbrella. Commonly, they are referred to as “acrylic” or “canvas” and have the following qualities:

  • Breathable
  • Quick-drying
  • UV-resistant
  • Water repellant
  • Oil-based stain resistant

It’s important to note, however, that the repellant eventually fades and loses its effect over time. When this happens, the awning may get damp and might even leak. So, before this creates damage to the awning, make sure to reapply a water repellant to the fabric awning such as 303 Fabric Guard. When left untreated, the stain in the awning could become permanent.

2. Vinyl Awnings

This kind of awning material is mildew resistant but not totally mildew-proof. When mildew forms on the vinyl fabric due to a humid and rainy climate, it would become particularly difficult to remove the stain. Fortunately, this can be prevented when the vinyl fabric is properly treated with 303 Aerospace Protectant, a quality protectant that can keep away the mold and mildew from staining the awning.

3 Easy Steps on How to Clean your RV Awning


As the famous line repeatedly says “prevention is better than cure”, it is indeed always best to prevent stains, leaks, and mildew from damaging your RV awning by following these 3 easy and simple steps:

Step 1: Clean

The key to achieving that squeaky clean look on your RV awning is by using a high-quality cleaner like the 303 Multi-Surface Cleaner. This cleaner effectively removes surface stains on both vinyl and fabric awning materials. This means that even the most stubborn stain, grease, oil, and even mold in your RV awning will be surely wiped out.

Step 2: Protect

After a thorough cleaning, the next step is to give protection to your awning. Fabric awnings are best protected when being treated with commercial-grade fabric guards like the 303 Fabric Guard recommended by Sunbrella. What’s good about this product is that it does not alter the color and texture of the fabric while adding a coat to repel lost water.

For vinyl awnings, a surface protectant like the 303 Aerospace Protectant should be used. This protectant prevents the fading and cracking of your awning, and it can even restore its shine and color. On top of that, it is safe to use because it is water-based.

Step 3: Reapply

The last step is reapplying a protectant spray into your awning. By doing this, you will have an awning that’s cleaner for a longer period of time and even dry much quicker. You will have to worry less about it getting stained.


So, who says that RV awning stains can’t be dealt with? As a matter of fact, it can easily be dealt with given the right attitude, and of course, the right tips. With these two combined, your RV awning will always retain its attractive appearance, the way it should always be.

Have you personally tried some of the tips mentioned? Did you find the tips helpful? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Replacing Your RV Awning Roller Tube

A step by Step Guide to Replacing Your RV Awning Roller Tube

Part of the convenience of having an RV is the ability to enjoy the outdoors anytime you wish. Adding an awning to your RV will allow you to relax outdoors without worrying about the harmful effects of being exposed to direct sunlight.

However, constant use can lead to its wear and tear and one of the parts that experience this the most is your awning’s roller tube due to the constant movement it goes through. The good news is that replacing your RV awning roller tube can be done as long as you know what you’re doing.

With that said, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to replace the RV awning roller tube. Check out the steps below.

What You Will Need for This Tutorial


Before we start with the process, here’s a list of all the tools you will need to replace your RV awning roller tube. Prepare the following before we proceed with the actual tutorial.

  • Rivet gun
  • Vice grips
  • Drill
  • Drill extensions
  • Razor knife
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Socket wrench
  • Marker
  • Open-end wrench
  • Allen wrenches
  • Masking tape
  • Silicone spray lubricant
  • A waterproof sealant
  • Replacement awning fabric

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Replace Your RV Awning Roller Tube


Once you have gathered all your tools and supplies, you can now begin the process of replacing your RV awning roller tube. However, remember that each awning roller tube has its differences, depending on the brand and other factors. Nevertheless, here are some of the most basic steps you can follow to replace your RV awning roller tube.


  • Locate and remove all the bolts and screws that keep the awning in place.

Don’t forget to use the legs to support and keep the awning in place. That way you don’t have to worry about it falling during the process.

  • Pull and/or undo the clips keeping the awning attached.

Pull the awning rod as well to slightly move the awning itself forward. It’s advisable to use masking tape to avoid damaging the sides of your RV. Moreover, older awnings may require cutting away the sealants keeping everything in place.

  • Detach the awning fabric.

To do this, loosen the track slightly with a screwdriver then pull the fabric. After removing it, place it somewhere stable and secure to avoid damage to the roller tube. Locate the spring mechanism as well at the side of the awning and lock in place with a metal rod or screwdriver. After which release the tension on the other spring by locating and removing the bolt holding both the roller and arm together. This entails removing the bolts and arms on both sides.

  • Clamp the bracket with your vice grip and remove the tension on the lever by lifting the vice grip.

You can do this by turning the lever up to roll-up and gently unrolling the spring. You may use some masking tape to avoid damages and use a marker to mark the control level for easier reassembly.

  • Remove the roller tube.

To remove the roller tube, you need to remove one rivet from the tube. For the rest of the rivets, you may use a hammer. Repeat this on the other side as well and this will make detaching the spring assembly from the roller tube easier.

  • Remove the fabric.

This should now be easy to remove. You can slice it with a cutter for easier removal.

Installation of a New Rolling Tube


  • Clean and lubricate the new rolling tube.

This will make the reassembly easier and less of a hassle.

  • Attach the fabric properly.

Remember to align it properly and carefully roll it up the roller tube to avoid potential issues.


  • Place the spring mechanism back in place.

Using the marker used during the disassembly, line up the control level and line up the rivet holes. Replace the rivets using a pop riveter. Repeat this on the other side.

  • Tighten the spring mechanism.

You can do this by placing vice grips on the tube and brackets and moving the control level to “roll down.” After this, turn the spring counter-clockwise to tighten it.

  • Attach the awning arm on both ends.

Remove the metal rod or screwdriver you used as a makeshift lock on one side of the awning and reattach all parts properly.

  • Reattach the fabric to the RV.

To ensure smoother operation, you may use lubricants. You can also use the legs as additional support. Just make sure to line up the edge of the rolling tube’s fabric with the RV track and reattach the fabric properly.

  • Reattach all screws, brackets, and bolts.

To prevent rusting, you can use waterproof sealants after carefully and properly replacing all the bolts and screws. Remember to attach the brackets and legs as well.

  • Check the awning alignment.

Lastly, check your awning if it rolls up and down properly. If it requires adjustments, make sure to be careful when making modifications. Once everything is working properly, you can now lock the fabric in place with screws on either side of the track.


Did you find this tutorial useful? Hopefully, you managed to find everything you need to replace your RV awning roller tube yourself so you can once again enjoy relaxing outside your RV without worrying about the harmful UV rays.

If you enjoyed this tutorial, feel free to share it and let me know in the comments what you think.

How to Regularly Clean Fiberglass RV Siding and Deal with Oxidation

How to Regularly Clean Fiberglass RV Siding and Deal with Oxidation

If you’re a traveler like me who uses recreational vehicles, then it’s pretty normal for you to encounter various environmental conditions. These can be the sun’s heat, the polluted air, a splash of mud, or even waste from human activities. Fortunately, RV sidings are here to help protect you from such elements.

RV sidings are commonly made of fiberglass, and they’re said to be more durable than their aluminum counterpart, regardless if they’re either the smooth or corrugated type. However, even though they provide better insulation and more dent resistance, their surface is still prone to stains, fading, and oxidation. To help you practice regular maintenance, here are some essential steps you want to follow regarding how to clean fiberglass RV siding on your vehicle.

Things to Know and Prepare


Oxidation in the fiberglass siding of an RV appears as a cloud-like appearance on its surface, making it more translucent. This is due to the reaction of the gel raisin coating (which is responsible for the glistening finish) and the extreme changes in temperatures in the environment.

The more the fiberglass is oxidized, the less effective it will be. There are industrial restoration jobs that bring back its clearness for a while, but nothing beats a regular cleaning to keep it well-maintained. To do that, here are the things you will need:

Protective equipment:

  • Rubber gloves, or any gloves used for washing clothes

Cleaning aids:

  • Broom
  • Wiping cloth
  • Sponge
  • Ladder

Cleaning agents:

  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Bug and tar remover, or if an alternative is needed, WD-40 is a good example
  • Fiberglass wax
  • Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), which is used for coating solvents, or acetone as an alternative

Step-by-Step Cleaning Instructions


Step 1: Preparatory Cleaning

Given that you have worn the proper equipment, you will now have to sweep the surface for any debris including the roof. Although the RV siding is the target for maintenance, it will be efficient to include the roofing, especially if it is covered with fiberglass. Utilize the ladder to reach high areas.

Step 2: Stain Removal

When your RV has gone to trips closer to nature, chances are there will be areas that are affected by bugs or any secretions from the wild. To remove this, use a bug and tar remover that is safe to be used on fiberglass.

They can be easily purchased at any of the auto parts store or RV-dedicated supply stores. If removal is in need, a WD-40 can be an ample substitute.

Step 3: Washing

After the removal of stains and secretions, begin washing by soaking the sponge to a soapy solution of liquid laundry detergent and a gallon of water. Start applying from the topmost part all the way to the bottom of the siding.

As more dirt is collected, re-soak the sponge and resume applying. Don’t scrub if the sponge you are using has a scrubber. Rinse the detergent solution with another set of water or just use the garden hose for easy targeting.

Step 4: Waxing Preparation


When the surface has been washed up, it is time to use the solvent. If possible, use rubber gloves in handling to prevent unwanted irritation when exposed to the liquid.

The MEK is an efficient solvent on surface coatings. They can be purchased on any large stores for home improvement solutions or any RV-focused stores.

Soak the wiping cloth with the MEK and wipe all surfaces possible. For greases and oils where the detergent solution can’t be removed, apply as much amount of MEK as needed. You will see that the cloudy-like appearance is beginning to be more transparent.

Step 5: Waxing

As the oxidation removal process is finished, make sure to wipe the entire surface. This is to make sure that the wax to be applied will definitely be absorbed by the RV’s exterior.

After that, begin applying the fiberglass wax purchased in accordance with the manual’s instructions. The wax will restore the glistening finish your RV used to have. You will know when you are done if the expected results are met.


The said instructions can be very effective on sidings with mild oxidation. For larger damages, there is a process called “wet buffing” in which the surface is buffed to its former state. Also, make it a habit to do the maintenance regularly once a month at most.

The RV fiberglass siding is expensive compared to the aluminum one. It is only logical to maintain its appearance to continue having its effectiveness against the elements of nature. If you have enjoyed this tutorial, feel free to react and express your opinions in the comments section.