All Articles!

Welcome to the full blog article index at Ask The RV Engineer!

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I recommend checking out at least one Original Content piece.

Original Content

Yup, we’re pretty proud of our cornerstone content, insider info, and original research pieces. You just can’t get it anywhere else!

“Isn’t Marine-Grade OSB an Oxymoron?” – Letter from a Reader

Engineers don’t have a Hippocratic Oath, per say, but the National Society of Professional Engineers does publish a Code of Ethics for Engineers. Among other mandates, it states: I may not have raised my right hand and sworn on the Bible to accept these oaths, but I do abide by

A Day In the Life of an RV Design Engineer

This is a blog about how RVs work (and sometimes why they don’t). I don’t get into company insider stuff, industry politics, etc. I keep my day job separate. The closest I’ll get is a guide like What’s Up With That RVIA Sticker and Should You Care?  Because I love

Wood Vs Aluminum Framing in an RV – Which Is Best?

The gloves are coming off. I will answer one of the most commonly asked RV construction questions on the web:  Is wood or aluminum framing better for an RV? And the definitive answer is … !!!! It depends. Now, wasn’t that anticlimactic? Sorry, I’m an engineer. It’s in my makeup.

What Is an RV PDI Quality Inspection?

If you’ve attended an RV factory tour or purchased an RV from a dealership, you’ve likely heard about a “PDI” inspection. Everyone makes a big deal out of their PDI. “We go through over 300 points of inspection,” they’ll boast. … but what exactly is a PDI inspection? Who’s in

What’s Up With That RVIA Sticker and Should You Care?

Let’s talk about that shiny black-and-gold sticker on the side of your RV. Where did it come from? What happens if you peel it off? And why is your dealer trying to charge you $135 for it? Can you tell him where exactly he can put that sticker, or would

Why Does My RV Battery Keep Dying? (Every Reason I Can Think Of!)

“Stop! Don’t go into the light!” If you’re constantly begging your RV not to give up the ghost, then read onward. I have some ideas why your RV house batteries might be dying so quickly. … But before I begin, can I dispel a common myth? You’ve often been told

Insider’s Guide to Azdel, the Magic of Modern RVs

A long time ago (40 years or so), in a place far, far away (Elkhart, Indiana), there lived a bunch of businesses who relied on a simple product: lauan plywood. That’s where our story begins. The hero of our tale, Azdel the Great, doesn’t arrive until later: 2006, to be

Open Letter: An Apology for that Awful, Disgusting Sewer Hose

Dear RV Owner, I’m … I’m sorry. On behalf of the RV industry in which I work, I sincerely apologize for that pitiful, unsanitary, awkward, awful excuse for a wastewater disposal system we installed under your RV. I’m sorry that the black tank stinks to high heaven unless you pour

The Hidden Danger of a Weight Distribution Hitch

I have some bad news for you. I know that’s a rotten way to begin an article, but honesty before civility. Almost all RVs should use a weight-distribution hitch. (That’s not the bad news). But … using a weight-distribution hitch may overload your trailer axles (yikes!) That’s what I’d call

Hey, Your RV Is (Likely) Overweight and Overloaded!

Want to hear a dirty secret? RVs are often built with insufficient payload capacity. If I had to bet money, I’d wager most RVs traveling down the road would tip the scales in excess of their GVWR. In fact, I’ve heard it estimated that more than 50% of the RV-tow

RV Battery State of Charge – A Geek’s Guide How to Murder Your Battery

So you’re curious about your RV house batteries’ state of charge? Prepare to feast from the Tree of Knowledge… If you’re not thirsty for knowledge, here’s the grab-and-go answer: A deep-cycle RV lead-acid battery should only be discharged to 40-50% of capacity. This is true whether it’s an AGM or

The Ultimate Techie Guide to RV Sidewall Construction Types

Wall construction quality is a litmus test for the rest of the RV. It’s rare to find an RV with a “better-built box” and shoddy workmanship elsewhere – but the opposite is also true. If you’re about to purchase an RV, this article is so. incredibly. important. There are many

The Textbook Treatment – RV Subfloors and Leaks

This article is not an instructable on how to replace your RV floor. That’s because there are a hundred of those instructables online and in popular forums like and Also on YouTube. May I recommend this one from Brian at But if you’re struggling with a

A Deep Dive into RV Inverters (and Sorcery)

Let’s talk sorcery. Mickey Mouse Apprentice GIFfrom Mickey Mouse GIFs Er, electricity. (Sorry, lots of people get the two mixed up). Actually, let’s talk about one specific electrical component: the inverter. You may or may not have one in your RV. By the end of this article, you’ll wish you

Judging Construction Quality at an RV Show (Secrets by an RV Engineer!)

“How do you figure out construction quality when walking through an RV?” And I’m not talking about a 4-hour, in-depth, pen-and-pencil, flashlight and screwdriver, 72-point inspection at the local dealership before final purchase. If you only have five minutes to explore an RV camper at an RV show, how do

The Ultimate Techie FAQ Guide to RV Lead-Acid Batteries

Welcome to your complete FAQ guide to RV and camper lead-acid batteries. Not to brag, but this is the BEST online resource yer gonna find about RV lead-acid batteries. This free Ebook contains the answers to many (hopefully all!) common RV owner questions about camper batteries: how they work, how

How Much Do Campers (Actually) Weigh? (2021 With Examples)

The average camper trailer weighs around 5,900 pounds and is about 26 feet long. This includes the weight of the travel trailer without any gear or filled tanks. Expect to add about 200 pounds of cargo per person and 300 pounds of fresh water.

RV Tech Guides

What Is a Walkable RV Roof?

If you’ve spent any time in the sights of an RV salesperson, you’ve heard the claim, “And this here RV has a walkable roof!” Which

Should I Use Silicone On My RV?

Silicone is the caulk everyone loves to hate. Visit any RV forum, and you’ll see silicone lynched and hung in effigy. Is silicone really so

Travel Tips

Walkie Talkies: RV Travel Tip

The Colorado Great Sand Dunes, the Louisiana Bayou, eastern Montana Big Sky Country, Oregon’s Hells Canyon, the Pennsylvania Wilds – I’ve been to all of

DIY Mods

Questions From the Road

Just the Facts, Please