The Mouse Trap

Rodents in the coach? Fortunately that has not happened to us so far. We have had lots of insect invasions in our coach. Midgets. Spiders. Mosquitoes. But no rodents.

The absolute worst insect invasion in our coach? These guys:

Stink bugs.

I really, really hate them.

They hail from Asia. They were accidentally released into North America and, come Fall, they will make their way into houses and motorcoaches because they hate the cold. Last year we had hundreds of them in our coach. They entered the coach in October. And they elected to leave the coach as we arrived in Florida.

Every day for months on end there would be a half dozen or so stink bugs crawling on the walls and on the floor.

They are called stink bugs because they stink when attacked. Thankfully they do not bite. They are surprisingly large. My preferred method of dispatching these annoying insects? A Dyson vacuum. Crushing them causes a stink. Using a vacuum does not.

We have been invaded by these bugs every year over the past three years.

What was the topic of this post again? Oh yes. Mouse traps.

As I said, we have yet to be invaded by mice in our coach. From what I gather, it is a fairly common annoyance for many RVers. And mice can really damage the wiring of a coach. I’ve read all sorts of tactics that people use to ward off the mice from entering the coach. I have not read about as many tactics for trapping mice once they get inside the coach.

I have found what I think is a sure fire solution to trap a mouse.

These:

Lindt chocolate balls.

We had a bowl of Lindt chocolate balls on our TV stand for the Christmas holidays. Every day, there were fewer and fewer chocolate balls in the bowl. I thought Lorraine was eating them. Lorraine thought I was eating them. It turns out neither one of us was eating them.

The mice were eating them.

One morning I was sitting in my favourite chair in our family room. The chair is in front of a large floor to ceiling window and provides an awesome view of the lake. I love to sit in that chair and enjoy the view while catching up on the news.

I heard a strange rustling sound that morning.

It was the sound of a Lindt chocolate ball hitting the floor and then unwrapping itself.

Odd. How did a Lindt chocolate ball eject itself from the bowl? And how was it unwrapping itself? Surely this cannot be normal behaviour for a Lindt chocolate ball.

And then I saw it.

The mouse.

We have a mouse in the house. A mouse in the house taking one of our Lindt chocolate balls.

The horror. The horror.

I was so excited by this development that I raced into the bedroom to give Lorraine the news.

I should have remembered though that I wake up at 5:30 in the morning. I don’t think that Lorraine was all that keen to hear the news that early in the morning.

What to do?

We have to trap the mouse.

And what should we use for bait?

A Lindt chocolate ball.

We set the trap that night and look at what happened.

You can see the remnants of the Lindt chocolate ball wrapper as the trap not only shattered the chocolate ball but, I imagine, did an equally effective job on the mouse.

No more mouse.

But wait.

There were more.

Many more.

Many, many more.

Mice.

We decided to set another trap that evening.

Another dead mouse the next day.

Okay. Perhaps we should set another trap.

We did.

Another dead mouse.

Perhaps we should set two traps.

And we did.

Two dead mice.

Good grief. This was starting to get expensive. Lindt chocolate balls are not cheap!

After dispatching no less than five mice, we finally exhausted the supply of rodents in the house. We have set traps the past several evenings and no dead mice.

They did seem to love Lindt chocolate balls.

Something to keep in mind if we ever need to trap mice in our coach.

How Fast Is Too Fast In An RV?

Speed. Gotta get there. Faster.

If you drive a motorcoach, I’m sure you have seen this happen on the highway. A large diesel pusher races past you, travelling at least 75 to 80 mph.

Why would anyone think it safe to travel that fast in a motorhome?

This question was raised on social media from an owner of a Newmar Dutch Star:

2021 DS 4310 OBSERVATIONS: We just picked ours up, and there are a couple things I’d like to know if others have experienced and found a fix for:

1) Speeding Reminder – Around 73 MPH, it says speed warning, and with cruise set at 75MPH, this is super annoying because it says it nearly non-stop.
2) Cruise Max Speed 75MPH – How can I get this re-programmed to allow whatever speed I want?

Here is the fix: SLOW DOWN!

Most RV tires have a maximum rated speed of 75 mph. If you flat tow a vehicle behind your coach, you may also have a maximum speed limit from the manufacturer. In our case we have to limit our maximum speed to 65 mph when we flat tow our Lincoln.

Every time I see a thread about highway speeds, the majority of motorcoach owners comment that they travel between 60 and 65 mph on the Interstate. We set our cruise to 62 mph when cruising the Interstate.

Cruising over 75mph?

Way too fast.

The tires will build up a lot of heat. Braking distance will increase. Fuel efficiency will decrease. Control of the vehicle in the event of a tire blowout will be compromised.

We remain locked down in Ontario, Canada with the coach in storage for the winter. Hoping that life gets somewhat back to normal come May and that we can travel about the country again.

When we do, we won’t be in any rush.

62 mph is about right for our coach. Reasonable fuel economy. Safe highway speed.

How To Replace Lights In A Newmar Dutch Star

Let there be light. But what happens if your lights fail to light?

Let there be dark.

A common issue with Newmar coaches is the failure of the ceiling LED lights. We’ve been fortunate. We have yet to replace any of our ceiling lights. I should emphasize the word yet.

Some owners have had to replace all of their ceiling lights. Some owners have had to replace just a few.

I know it is just a matter of time before we have to replace those lights. Like many things in our coach, they were not built to last.

Removing the existing light is a bit of work. This video shows the process:

And this thread on the iRV2 forum gives a bit more detail.

There are many sources for the replacement lights. M4 comes up frequently as a good supplier of replacement lights. For our coach, we would probably go with this specific product.

We have our coach in storage for the winter as we are stranded in Ontario due to COVID-19. I will probably wait until we have a fixture fail before dealing with the ceiling lights. I might do them all in one go which would be a pretty major project.

How To Wash A Coach

Time to give the coach a wash. It is a big job. At least for me. Roughly 5 hours to give it a good cleaning not including dressing the wheels.

We had the coach professionally detailed in March of this year and I opted to coat the coach with an expensive ceramic treatment.

The detailers spent 3 full days on the coach and they did an awesome job. When cleaning the coach, I don’t want to introduce scratches or swirls into the finish even though the ceramic coating provides a significant amount of surface hardness.

For a coach this size, it can be a bit of a challenge to wash it well and to preserve the finish.

Here are the tools that I use when washing the coach.

The list includes:

  • Pressure washer
  • Simple Chuck Spotless Water Deionizer
  • Foam cannon
  • Buckets with grit guards (one for soap, one for rinse)
  • Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow Foam soap
  • Sheepskin wash mitts
  • Dozens of high quality microfibre cloths
  • Ladder

I tackle one side of the coach at a time. I use a day that I know will be relatively mild and not too hot. I follow the sun and always work on the side that is in the shade or on the side when the day approaches dusk.

The coach gets a thorough foam bath first. I attach the foam cannon to the pressure washer and lather the side thoroughly. I let the soap settle for at least five minutes and then I provide a very light agitation of the surface with a sheepskin wash mitt. Working on a relatively small section of the coach, I will use one bucket to rinse out the wash mitt and the other bucket to load the wash mitt with soap. That part of the process entails a lot of ladder work.

The surface is thoroughly rinsed by switching the water source of the pressure washer to route through the deionizer. The deionizer will provide a spot-free rinse although I do use microfibre clothes to soak up most of the excess water on the surface.  Depending on my level of enthusiasm, I may just let the water dry off the surface. That saves time. But yesterday I towelled off most of the coach.

Keeping a clean, largely swirl-free finish is important to me. The coach looks as new today as it did when we first took delivery four years ago.

Few motorcoach owners invest the time and effort into washing their coach this way. Many will hire the job out to a mobile wash service. Some of them do good work and some do not.

For me, I enjoy the process and the outcome. And I put in a quality effort.

Dutch Star With Broken Windshield Wipers

A broken windshield wiper on your Newmar Dutch Star? It hasn’t happened to us. Not yet. But it will. The windshield wiper system on the Newmar Dutch Star is so poorly designed. The windshield wiper system on this coach is a safety hazard.

The root cause? The wiper arms are steel and the part that bolts to the motor post is steel but the insert that the arm tightens against is aluminum. The nut that holds it together can come loose and when that happens, the arm will rotate around the insert and the arm might snap off. Or you could get lucky and the arm will wrap itself around some part of your coach.

Like what happened to this person:

You can check on the arms to see if they are loose. If you happen to have a long torque wrench, you can bring the arms back to the proper torque which varies between models and year of manufacture. For our coach it is 65 foot-pounds.

I come across so many posts on social media from Dutch Star owners that run into this problem. And they often run into this problem multiple times. A recent example:

So frustrated! In Kimball, TN and the windshield wiper is broken again! 2017 Dutch Star. Rain all night and all day tomorrow in the forecast and the nearest place to fix it is 50 minutes away. Anyone have that problem with wipers coming over windshield into the driver’s mirror? This is the second time that we have been stranded like this on the side of the highway and we could have been killed. Might take a class action suit to wake them up? Limped without wipers to safe area finally.

It is not a question of whether the windshield wipers will fail but when. The arms will come loose. Best to check on them before heading out on the road.

From our own experience, we only use our windshield wipers when we absolutely have to use them. And that means avoiding travel in bad weather conditions and treating the windshield with a water repellant coating.

It is a bit of a project to clean and treat such a large windshield. Far more effort than required for an automotive windshield. If you are wanting to go all in with your windshield, do what Pan The Organizer does. He is a detailing machine.

There is always RainX. Less work. Easier to apply. And RainX seems to repel water better than the windshield wipers that Newmar installs on their coaches.