Q & A: Fuel Additives, Safety and RV Construction

Q. What’s your thinking about the wisdom of diesel fuel additives? Are they advised only in some situations or strictly for older engines? Will they keep the injectors lubed better and help with bad fuel? I keep hearing mixed reviews.

A. Diesel fuel additives are more of a plus overall, but are more important for older engines, especially with the introduction of low-sulfur fuels. And yes, additives in general will also help keep injectors better lubed.

Q. On a recent trip to Texas, I noticed a lot of fifth-wheel RVs that had safety chains — mostly on newer rigs. Is this some kind of new safety trend? Would you recommend them?

A. You may have seen a fifth-wheel with what is commonly called a “goose neck adapter.” This is an attachment that bolts to the factory fifth wheel pin box that allows for towing from a ball mounted in the bed of the truck rather than the normal fifth wheel hitch. These types of attachments are required by the department of transportation to have safety chains. Normal fifth wheel hitches, however, do not, and I am not aware of any manufacturers that are doing this.

Q. While at an RV show, the wife and I found a trailer with the perfect floor plan — for us — but noticed that it had staples in the drawers and cabinets. We’re RV newbie’s, and probably won’t be full-timing anytime soon. But I’m worried that all the rattle and road wear from travel would eventually loosen those staples. What should we be looking for in cabinetry construction, staples or nails? Does it even matter?

A. It is not uncommon to see drawers and cabinets secured with staples at all price levels of RVs. They are normally screwed at the highest of the high stress points. Since weight is a factor in construction, the sizes and types of woods used lend themselves to be stronger and less likely to split when stapled. Most RV manufacturers use staples that have a glue element incorporated into them so that they stay secure. Really, the most important thing to look at is the workmanship with which these areas are constructed.

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