My first RV was a 2003 Alpine coach by Western RV. The unit is an awesome piece of machinery. This unit is equipped with a 350 Cummins ISL engine. I had no clue of how to determine if the engine is sound, so I reached out to a friend who suggested having the fluids tested. I pulled fluid (oil and transmission) samples and sent them to the lab and I was shocked by what I found. The oil samples came back with traces of coolant in the oil which indicates a bad head gasket. The dealer replaced the head gasket at no cost to me. The unit had less than 20k miles on the engine so I was amazed that the samples showed possible failures. The moral to the story is whenever you by a used or new RV, It’s best to have all the fluids pulled by a qualified RV Inspector. You never know what you may uncover.
What your engine oil is telling you
The engine is the heart and oil is the blood. I like to call engine oil testing the blood test of RV inspections. Fluid samples tell you a vast amount of information about your engine and or transmission without having to break the engine down. For example, hi wear metal could tell you possible bearing wear or piston break down. These test can also tell you if the fluids are contaminated and you can use these test to help diagnose potential issues.
The Importance of Fluid Analysis in RV Inspections
Fluid analysis helps you identify and fix minor issues before they result in costly repairs and breakdowns. You will know when coolants and oils are already contaminated or starting to break down. Although fluid analysis is not an invasive procedure, it’s still best to leave the job to a certified NRVIA RV inspector. These professionals can conduct a comprehensive RV inspection and clarify the results of the analysis once the sample is analyzed. A certified RV inspection can tell you a lot of things about the RV you’re interested in purchasing.
Whether you are buying used RVs from CampingWorld, RVTrader or consignment shop like PPL Motorhome, you want to make sure that the vehicle is still in good condition. It should also have the RVIA seal. RVIA (Recreation Vehicle Industry Association) is a national association that represents RV parts suppliers and manufacturers who together provide over 95% of all recreational vehicles manufactured in the US. Here are the benefits of fluid analysis.
Easier and Cheaper Way of Checking the RV’s Condition
Fluid analysis is a cheaper, faster and easier way of knowing the condition of the RV without taking the vehicle apart. It looks for chemicals and traces minerals in the fluids that may show signs of chemical contamination, excessive wear or heat breakdown. The RV inspector creates a full-page report and sends it to the client. The report indicates what they have discovered and what recommendations they have.
Peace of Mind
Fluid analysis can also give you peace of mind. It can help you decide whether to continue with the purchase or not. You may also use the report sent by the RV inspector as a bargaining tool to get a better price. Fluid analysis can benefit the motorhome owner as well. Since this process can identify issues, motorhome owners can plan predictive maintenance and prevent minor issues from becoming bigger problems in the future. This way, they can schedule the best downtime for maintenance. They don’t need to worry about their RV breaking in the middle of their vacation.
Keep the RV in Top Condition
Fluid analysis can help you keep the RV in top shape. An NRVIA Level 2 inspector can perform the process. You may want to consider someone who uses JG Lubricants as their lab. As long the inspector sends samples of fluids to the lab, JG Lubricants will be able to provide information about the RV based on the samples and the vehicle history. Since the lab keeps an account of the vehicle, they can provide a comprehensive analysis of the fluids sent by the RV/motorhome owner.
A fluid analysis program can extend the life of your RV, reduce warranty risks, prolong oil change intervals, reduce downtime and increase the vehicle’s resale value. This is usually offered as an add-on to standard RV/ motorhome inspections and part of ongoing maintenance programs for RV/ motorhome owners. Fluid analysis is traditionally performed on motorized units, but larger towables can benefit from this test as well. The fluid samples that will be collected for the test include the engine oil, transmission fluid, generator oil, engine coolant, and generator coolant.
Maintenance cost goes down
Periodic fluid samples is a good way to predict failures so can you correct them which keeps cost down. For example, if you sampled fluids quarterly and noted hi metal contents from the bearings. You could elect to change them before they fail to avoid costly towing and inflated repair cost. Mechanical fees are doubled when out of town and the stress and hardship could be avoided with predictive measures are in place. A coolant and oil analysis program allows you to plan maintenance downtime through “predictive maintenance”. Oil and coolant analysis can diagnose problems and determine when attention is needed. It can also determine the remaining useful life of the oil or coolant and tell you how the equipment is responding to changes occurring in the oil or coolant over time. Oil and coolant analysis lets you “see” into the equipment and determine the overall health of the unit. Whether it’s an engine, a transmission, a differential or a cooling system, the important thing to keep in mind is that knowing the state of the oil, the coolant, and the equipment gives you maximum flexibility in planning the best downtime so you can keep wear to a minimum and prevent failures. Without oil and coolant analysis, you’re kept in the dark on what’s happening in the oil, the coolant, and the equipment and you end up simply reacting to problems whenever they occur instead of catching them at an early stage before big, more expensive, problems occur.