“The Dirty Dozen” – Simple tips for everyday maintenance of your pride and joy.

In this article I will give you 13 tips of simple regular every day maintenance to help you keep your caravan in tip top order.

A list of essential items for your caravan “kit bag” and 13 useful things to do on a regular basis.

KIT BAG ITEMS

1 x Can of WD40

1x Can of Tri-Flow PTFE based Lubricant

1 x Can of good quality Furniture Polish

1 x Can of Thetford Toilet Seal Lubricant

1 x Multi pack of Microfibre Cloths

1 x Kitchen Roll

2 x Small perforated Draw String Bags

1 x Small bag of Rice

1 x Small jar of cheap Coffee

1 x Small Dustpan and Brush

1 x Tyre Pressure Gauge

1 x Torque Wrench, Extension Bar and Impact Socket

“THE DIRTY DOZEN” – Simple tips for everyday maintenance of your pride and joy.

1. Clean and Lubricate your Locks

Door locks and locker locks need cleaning and lubricating regularly as they attract dirt and dust from the road and the elements.

Items required from the “kit bag”.

WD40

Tri-Flow Lubricant

Microfibre Cloth

Method

When lubricating all the locks use the WD40 first if you dont have any buy some here.  WD40 is a great all round water repellent and displacer, penetrant and a multi- purpose cleaner.

Attach the plastic nozzle you receive with the WD40 this will give direction accuracy to the spray of the liquid.  Spray the lock mechanism from the inside of the locker using the microfibre cloth, buy some here, to collect any drips of the excess liquid and stop it running down the body work or paint work of your caravan.

The key entry side of the lock takes a little more accuracy of spraying, insert very gently the plastic nozzle into the key hole and give a two second spray to displace any dust or dirt inside the lock barrel.  Spray some WD40 on the key and insert this into the lock a few times to allow the key to take some of the liquid deep inside the lock, again using your microfibre cloth to catch any loose flying excess liquid.

WD40 is a great first point lubricant and cleaner but because it is water based the lubricant will wash off so I recommend that you repeat the whole procedure with the Tri-Flow.  Tri-Flow is a PTFE based lubricant which will last much longer as a lubricant and will not attract dirt and dust into your locks, buy some TriFlow here.

Close and secure all doors.

2.  Hinges and Hinge Bars

Items required from the “kit bag”.

WD40

Furniture Polish

Microfibre Cloth

Method

”If it moves lubricate it”

Door hinges, locker hinges, gas locker hinges, window hinges, indoor cupboard and doors, if it hinges then lubricate it.  Using the WD40 first aim the spray nozzle at the exposed hinge centre pin and work the hinge back and forth several times to assist the lubrication and cleansing action of the liquid.  Then this time use the furniture polish spray instead of the Tri-Flow to give a longer life lubrication to the hinge the polish usually contains silicon, which doesn’t attract dust and is an anti static and of course the furniture polish has a nice smell too.  Work the hinge back and forth again to allow the lubricant to get deep inside the hinge. Don’t forget to use the microfibre cloth to catch any surplus spray from around the hinges.

Close and secure all lockers,doors and cupboards.

3.  Internal Cupboard Catches and Latches

Items required from the “kit bag”.

WD40

Can of Furniture Polish

Microfibre Cloth

Cuboard catch and latches can give trouble and sometimes it is due to the dust from inside the cupboard door cavity.  The cupboard doors have an MDF stud work and when this is drilled to fit the catch a lot of dust is caused and this dust can travel down into the catch or latch, when travelling down the road.  Attach the plastic spray nozzle to the WD40 and spray into the back of the catch and into the mechanism to clean out the catch collecting the surplus liquid into the microfibre cloth.  Repeat the procedure using the furniture polish to give a lasting lubrication to the catch.  When lubricating with the sprays activate and deactivate the catch several times to work the lubricant deep into the catch unit.

Close and secure all cupboard and doors.

4.  Window Catches Latches and Hinges

Items required from the “kit bag”.

WD 40

Tri-Flow Lubricant

Microfibre Cloth

Method

Window hinges usually have no hinge and pin assembly, normally a window is hung by a continuos two part aluminium hinge bar.  One part of the hinge bar is attached to the window and the second part is attached to the caravan body work, unless you have the high tech cassette style flush fitting windows.

Spray the WD40 along the hinge bar from the outside of the caravan using the microfibre cloth to catch any surplus over spray during lubrication.  Next use the TriFlow to lubricate the two part hinge from the outside of the caravan using the microfibre cloth to catch the surplus over spray.

The same procedure applies to the inside window security catch or latch.

When maintaining the telescopic window stays do not use the WD40 or the Tri-Flow, as the telescopic stays need cleaning but not lubricating, they rely on friction to keep the windows open and lubricant on the stay will affect the efficiency of the stay when required to keep the window open.  Water and a mild detergent will be perfect for cleaning the telescopic arm of the stay.

Close and secure all widows.

5.  Window and Locker Rubbers

Items required from the “kit bag”.

WD40

Thetford Toilet Seal Lubricant

Microfibre Cloth

Method

Open the window or outside locker fully to expose the rubber cavity seal between the window or locker and the frame of both.

The cleaning and lubricating of the rubber seals prevent the windows and lockers becoming stuck in the closed position.  The rubber can become stuck to the window or locker and forcing them open can damage the rubber seal, which is a water tight seal for the windows or a water resistant seal on the outside lockers.

The procedure would be to spray the WD40 directly onto the microfibre cloth and use the treated microfibre cloth to wipe over the rubber seal and the contact surface of the window and locker. Use a liberal spay on the cloth and a detailed cleaning of both surfaces to remove and build up of dirt on both surfaces.

Repeat this procedure with the Thetford toilet seal lubricant ,buy some here, leaving a film of the lubricant on the rubber seal.  This lubricant is non corrosive to the rubber seal.

Close and secure all lockers and windows.

6,  Road lights reflectors and number plate

Items required from the “kit bag”.

WD40

Microfibre Cloth

Method

Attatch the plastic nozzle to the WD40 and spray liberally on to the cloth, wipe over all of the road lights, front, rear, and side reflectors and the number plate to remove any dirt or road film from these items.

Wipe off the excess lubricant with the Microfibre cloth.

7.   Clean and lubricate the Thetford cassette toilet seals

Items required from the “kit bag”.

Thetford Toilet Seal Lubricant

Microfibre Cloth

Method

Remove the waste cassette from the toilet locker and empty and clean.

As you look down on the top of the cassette you will see two rubber seals, one large round flap seal and a much smaller round vent seal.

Spray the exposed large rubber lip and smaller vent seal with the  Thetford toilet seal lubricating spray actuating the flush flap and the vent button to ensure both sides of the seals benefit fron the lubricant.  Clean off the excess with the microfibre cloth and replace the cassette into the bottom of the toilet through the locker door.

8.  The 7 or 13 pin plug

Items required from the “kit bag”.

WD40

Tri-Flow

Microfibre Cloth

The 7 or 13 pin electrical connector plug that connects to the car needs care too.  Using the nozzle attached to the WD40 spray liberally inside and around the metal pins until the liquid leaks from the plastic cover, wipe away the excess and repeat the process with the TriFlow lubricant .  Clean the excess away with the microfibre cloth and leave to dry before plugging into the car socket.

9.  Jockey Wheel

Items required from the “kit bag”.

WD40

Tri-Flow

Microfibre Cloth

Method

There are 4 points of cleaning and lubricating on the jockey wheel.

  1.  Rotating Handle
  2.  Rotating Arm
  3.  Clamp Handle
  4.  Wheel Spindle

As with all the above methods use the WD 40 first as a cleaner to rinse any old lubricant and clean the surfaces wiping the excess away with the microfibre cloth and then use the TriFlow to lubricate the items in the above list.

DO NOT LOOSEN THE CLAMP HANDLE ON THE JOCKEY WHEEL UNLESS YOU HAVE SUPPORTED THE FRONT OF THE CARAVAN USING THE TWO FRONT CORNER STEADIES TO PREVENT THE CARAVAN FROM NOSE DIVING TO THE GROUND.  Damage to the caravan and risk of personal injury.

10.  Keeping the fridge fresh and mould free.

Items required from the “kit bag”.

Rice

Coffee

Small perforated Draw String Bags

Method

Place about four dessert spoons of coffee granules into the small perforated draw string bag and hang the bag from one of the fridge shelves, this will act as a great deodoriser for the inside of the fridge.  Follow the same procedure with the rice, this has a very good absorbing effect to attract any moisture that is in the fridge and this will prevent mould from growing inside the fridge when not in use.

11.  Corner Steadies

Items required from the “kit bag”.

WD40

Tri-Flow

Kitchen Roll

Method

This method requires you to get down on the ground at each corner of the caravan so a carpet runner or a piece of cardboard on the ground first is a good idea to make things a little more comfortable and eye protection is strongly advised.

As you look up from underneath the caravan at the corner steady you will see a long threaded screw thread about 400mm long this threads in and out of the attached thread block to raise and lower the corner steadie.  Use the WD40 and TriFlow as described in the previous maintenance methods to clean and lubricate the threaded screw and thread block and at the two angled hinge points, where the braces connect to the corner steady assembly.  Be careful not to let the lubricant drip on to yourself or on to the ground, use the kitchen roll to catch and absorbe the excess lubricant.

12.  Tyre pressures

Items required from the “kit bag”.

Tyre Pressure Gauge

Method

Check your tyre pressures in accordance with the correct manufacturers specifications using a tyre pressure gauge, buy one here, and visually check side wall, tread and overall condition of the tyres.  Check for visible signs of perishing on the side wall and in between the treads as very few caravan tyres wear out, they fail due to perishing or old age.  Each tyre has a date stamped on it, check this date against the current requirements and recommendations.

13.  The Bakers Dozen – Check Tightness of wheel nuts/ studs

Items required from the “kit bag”.

Torque Wrench – if you do not have one then buy one here.

Extension Bar (included in the above Torque wrench box).

Impact Socket (the correct size for your wheel nuts or studs usually 19mm) buy one here.  These ones are highly recomended.

Method

Please see my previous blog post that I have written on this very important maintenance issue.  I recommend you check the wheel nut /wheel stud tightness each and every time before any journey with your caravan.

Thank You For Reading.

Paul

 

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