Life's Sweet Journey: RV DIY Projects to Save Time and Money

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

RV DIY Projects to Save Time and Money

We are heading out for our first weekend in the camper in what feels like years! It's only been 6 months, but after living in Delilah the Dream Machine for almost two years, 6 months without her moving feels like forever. We are mostly taking her out to let her breathe a bit, because if you have an RV you know that having them sit in storage for that long leaves them a little musty. It will mostly be a weekend filled with small projects to get her ready for more travels in the future hopefully. 

We are all about the DIY projects around here and while most of the ones this weekend will be smaller, there are other RV DIY projects that I am glad are already behind us. Especially considering how hot it is in Florida right now two of these RV DIY projects will be put to good use! While it can take a good bit of elbow grease, doing your RV projects on your own can help save both time and money. Here are a few of the bigger RV DIY projects we've done: 

Replacing our RV AC Unit 

Detailed instructions in video or this post: Replacing a Dometic RV AC Unit

Replacing an RV AC seems harder than it actually is. This was our biggest RV DIY project to date, but it ended up being far easier than we thought it would be and saved us a bunch of money! We were out in Utah when the weather started to warm up. We hadn't noticed the unit hadn't been blowing cool air the first few months because we didn't really need it. It was working, but it was just recirculating the air- not actually cooling it down. Multiple calls to nearby RV mechanics had us scrambling; not only did most of them say they wouldn't be able to fix it (recharging an RV ac just isn't a feasible option), but it would take weeks to get on their list to have it replaced- plus we would have had to take our rig into the shop. As full-time travelers we were never in one spot for more than a week or so and dropping off our home would mean having to find a hotel that would take both us and a cat. So instead we bought a replacement AC unit on Amazon, it came within a few days and then took Babe only about 4 hours to get it installed and running beautifully! Our new unit has been going strong for 2 years now and has made it through a full Florida summer with no issues. 
Total Savings: $1,000+ (mechanic was charging double on the unit, plus cost of labor)

Replacing RV Slide Seals and Weather Stripping

Details in video or this post: Replacing RV Slide Seals

After tackling our AC unit, we didn't even look elsewhere to tackle replacing the RV slide seal ourselves. We had been getting a small leak from our big slide-out when it would rain heavily. Our Keystone Cougar is a 2011 and we were pretty positive the slide stripping had never been changed. Babe researched which slide seal replacement strips we would need and we again found what we needed on Amazon. Working together it only took us about 2 hours to get all of the RV weather stripping replaced. Not only did this help with the leak, but also helped with insulation. There were a few spots in the old seals where is was completely worn away.
Total Cost: $200 (I don't know the total savings, because we did not get a quote from elsewhere)

Replacing the Anode Rod in an RV Hot Water Heater

After dealing with fizzy, metallic water we decided to replace our Anode Rod in the hot water heater. Based on the look of it there was some life left in it, but it was putting sediment into our water causing a nasty smell and taste. This was our cheapest, quickest fix and definitely made a HUGE difference in our water. We recommend checking your anode rod periodically, especially to make sure it isn't dropping sediment into the pipes. Flushing out the sediment that had built up in the pipe was what took us the longest. 
Total Cost: $10 {Anode Rod was also found on Amazon}

Each of these RV DIY projects were fairly simple and easy to do in a day. If you are able to tackle these projects on your own they can help save some money and also keep you from having to leave your rig somewhere for service if you do not have a mobile mechanic in your area. Our new big RV project is to replace the awning that got ripped off because "some-idiot-girl" left for five minutes, didn't pull in the awning and a freak rainstorm came from nowhere, water put too much weight on the awning and down it went- that girl might be me. 

Enjoy the Journey!
What RV DIY projects have you tackled? 

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RV DIY Projects to Save Time and Money


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