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Old 08-31-2011, 05:55 PM   #1
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Need knowledgeable advice re: "exercising" a DP

Due to my wife's very ill health, my '08 Winnie Journey is not getting the use I intended it to have in my retirement. I understand that it is conventional wisdom that a diesel MH should be driven once a month. I can do that, but it is a hassle to store all the interior stuff, pull the slides in, unhook everything, retract the jacks, get it ready for the road and then to painstakingly back it into its space again and hook everything back up, level and set up the interior again. Plus, this burns fuel. The actual driving part is fun, however.

Do I really need to do this to keep the MH in good shape long term? If so, why once a month instead of once a week or once a quarter? How far should it be driven during each session? If it's driven twice as far, can you skip every other session?

I would appreciate advice based on empirical facts, not just repeating what "everyone knows", if possible. Thanks in advance.

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Old 08-31-2011, 06:51 PM   #2
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Most owners manuals will tell you to fill the fuel tank after adding the appropriate fuel conditioner, fresh oil change and park it. check the batteries and tire pressure every month or so.

If you are going to run it, you need a minimum of 30 minutes of driving to get all the fluids circulated and up to temperature.

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Old 08-31-2011, 07:03 PM   #3
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I think it is more important to run genny at least once a month and it would be good to drive engine to operating temp. Just cranking it would do more harm than good.
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:30 PM   #4
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sorry, but the best thing is to fire up the genny and drive for about an hour per month, with the genny loaded at least half-way. you need to get the oil in both the coach and genny up to operating temperature to allow the water in the oil to boil off. this prevents the water from reacting with combustion blow-by chemicals, which forms acids in the oil. just starting the engine(s) will only circulate the acid-laden oil all over the inside of the engine(s). also, with the genny running under load, the generator end will warm up enough to dry out the windings, which prevents arcing inside the generator.
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:58 PM   #5
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I will add one other suggestion...driving for several miles also exercises the tires. Its not good for the mh to sit for long periods (longer than 30 days) with the tires in contact with concrete, gravel, asphalt or dirt. The tires should be parked on boards when not in use for extended periods.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:55 PM   #6
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Am I understanding from the "unhook it, put the slides in, etc" that you are living in it?

For the winter, I just park it. I own several collector cars and a motorcycle, they get fuel tanks filled, a good load of the appropriate fuel stabilizer batteries charged, and then they sit.

My ole pace arrow gasser, which sat outside, I took all the batteries out and brought them inside.

Motorcycle gets a battery tender, others get the charger put on once a month.

Oil gets changed in the spring.

No harm no foul over 15 years with the camaro in my sig.

Still trying to figure out what I'll do this winter with the knight. Seems too many big heavy batteries to unhook em all and haul em home. Might have to run the genny every few weeks to make sure they stay charged and don't freeze.

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'WOW What a Ride!'
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:06 PM   #7
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According to the oil companies the oil should be changed in the fall BEFORE you store any motorized vehicle. That way you remove the contaminates that can turn into acids and eat away at internal parts. So that's what I do. I also leave mine plugged in all the time, the refer and storage bay freezer on, set a couple heaters going and a 100W bulb turned on in the wet bay. Same thing since since 1968. No troubles
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:30 PM   #8
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I wouldn't bother to drive it often - just exercise the generator every 4-6 weeks under load. I would drive it 50 miles or so every 8-12 weeks, mostly to keep the tires alive. They need exercise too, to keep the preservative chemicals active throughout the rubber.

The engine itself doesn't need running. Before shutting down for storage, change the oil and filters, fill the fuel tank to the top to keep moisture to a minimum, and maybe add a biocide to the fuel just in case algae tries to grow.
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Old 09-01-2011, 07:48 AM   #9
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Thanks for the responses so far.

I know that just idling a diesel engine is not helpful – I don’t start it unless I am going to drive it on the road.

No, I don’t live in it, but I do use it as a “retreat” at times when I have a nurse to care for my wife – a mini vacation away from the 24/7 minute-by-minute demands of caregiving for a few hours. It is my sincere hope that, one way or the other, the dogs and I will be able to get back on the road with it eventually and maybe full time in it. That’s why I want to keep it in as good a shape as possible during this terrible time.

On this MH, and the various other Class A’s I’ve owned prior to this one, I always have a full service done in August because most of my traveling was done in the fall and early winter for bird hunting. I fill it with diesel before I park it each time. So, all of the fluids and filters are new, topped off, etc.

Even though we have a good bit of land, I store the MH at a nearby campground on a seasonal site, so I have full access to 50 amp power, year ‘round water, sewer, etc. Therefore, the batteries are always on a float charge.

Will acids and moisture somehow build up on their own in the fluids, even when they are new, topped off, etc?

My experience with my Class A tires has been that at the 7 year mark they are still like new – not enough miles to wear them out and no rubber cracking etc. I replace them anyway for safety’s sake. If I “exercise” them, will that somehow extend their life beyond the recommended change dates?

Are there any studies (not just acendotal) that prove the desirability of “exercising” a MH?
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Old 09-01-2011, 08:13 AM   #10
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moisture will build up due to condensation from temperature changes. acid will not. also, driving it will move the grease around in the wheel and driveshaft bearings. grease will tend to settle to the bottom of the bearings, leaving the upper areas exposed to moisture. i have had to change plenty of aircraft wheel bearings that were badly pitted on "top" due to lack of use.
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Old 09-01-2011, 09:11 AM   #11
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Right or wrong. I have parked my MH at my winter spot for 7 months every year for 9 years so far. Living in it Full Time.
I will not go through the tear down and set up that would be a hot and sweaty job in Florida. Plus a couple hours or so to do it.
So I have never drove it on the road during that time.

Only time engine is started is in the spring when doing some maintenance.
Has it shorten it's life maybe or maybe not. But I think it will still outlast me by many years.

I park on a grassy area and put concrete slabs under all tires. Raised Concrete has not been proven to me, that it will harm the tires.
Tires now 6 plus years old and no cracks showing.

I put 20% more PSI in the tires then what is needed by the weight as recommend by tire manufacture. Then I cover all tires.

Full fuel tank with fuel stabilizer added & biocide. I do start and run the generator 1 1/2-2 hours under a load every month. Even doing that it quit producing AC last March. Getting it fixed 9/15. Probably another regulator. Replaced one in 9/07.
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Old 09-01-2011, 10:42 AM   #12
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From June through September we are parked in Central Washington state. The temperature ranges from mid 70's to high 80's and little or no rain. i never "exercise" the MH engine or generator. Both are diesel. From November through May we are parked in Yuma AZ. Never "exercise" the engine or generator. The only time we actually use the engine or generator is when we travel between the two places. These "trips" are sometimes a couple of weeks, sometimes as long as a month. Are you folks saying i should be "exercising" the engine and generator when I am parked? IMO, I say that is BS and an old wives tale.

Jim E
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Old 09-01-2011, 06:18 PM   #13
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i guess you have never torn down an engine that has been improperly stored. lots of corrosion compared to an engine that has been run consistently or properly pickled.
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Old 09-01-2011, 07:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
My experience with my Class A tires has been that at the 7 year mark they are still like new – not enough miles to wear them out and no rubber cracking etc. I replace them anyway for safety’s sake. If I “exercise” them, will that somehow extend their life beyond the recommended change dates?
No, but lack of any exercise may cause them to fail (internal cracking) before 7 years. There is no way of being 100% sure either way - the "exercise' just helps stack the odds in your favor. All the tire manufacturers says the same thing - tires like to be driven and last longest if used regularly. Just how regular and how much or little difference it makes is never stated and probably impossible to predict except in lab conditions.

Like Pairajays, we sometimes park for extended periods without moving, maybe 3 months at a time. I do not move the rig just for the sake of exercise. But i probably would if that downtime was going to continue 4-6 months.
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