Safety checks, weight, and fuel economy
The gas leak we found on Monday morning was easily detected with soapy water and remedied with a 1/4 turn of the fitting, but it reminded us that it's time to do some final safety checks. I mounted a new CO (carbon monoxide) and smoke detector on Tuesday morning. It's hard to find the right spot for one of those, since the manufacturer recommends avoiding exterior walls, horizontal surfaces, windows, doors, drafts, and fuel-burning appliances. Meeting all those recommendations in an RV is just about impossible, so you do the best you can ...
I also bought a propane leak detector and ran it over the gas fittings inside and outside the trailer. No leaks. I plan to re-check the fittings regularly to make sure nothing has worked loose during towing.
Over the weekend we mounted the fire extinguisher (near the door, so you can grab it on the way OUT). We have also carefully read the safety instructions for the heater, refrigerator, range, and water heater. It's a useful exercise for anyone who wants to really understand how their appliances work, and especially to avoid possible problems.
A few weeks ago, when I was re-screening the windows, Brett also showed me how to properly set the bathroom screen so it can be used as an emergency exit.
On Tuesday I increased the tire pressure from 40 psi to 50 psi. The new tires appeared to be getting more wear on the edges, and we were well below the maximum recommended pressure of 65 psi. Basically, the higher the pressure, the more load the tires can carry, up to the max. The manufacturers provide load-inflation tables you can check for your particular make. We were a bit on the low side at 40 psi.
I'm hoping for a slight increase in fuel economy as well. Prior to the increase in pressure, we got 10.8 to 11.8 mpg during towing. That's comparable to a lot of rigs, but of course there's always room for improvement.
Finally, we weighed the trailer at a truck scale during our last trip. Believe it or not, the Argosy still weighs only about 4260 lbs loaded with full water tank and full LP gas tanks. That's about 2000 pounds less than a comparable new 25-foot Airstream, and the Argosy still has over 1500 lbs of useful carrying capacity left!
It's also impressive considering all the upgrades we made. Part of the reason is better technology -- the new Intellipower weighs 3 lbs versus the 40-lb Univolt it replaced, and the new Dometic refrigerator weighs only 20 lbs more despite being twice as large as the old one. The new catalytic heater is much lighter than the furnace it replaced.
We also had little or no net weight gain from switching materials such as flooring. The old carpet was surprisingly heavy. The 30-lb aluminum tanks have a net weight about the same as 20-lb steel tanks. And we took pains to make new items, such as shelving, extremely light weight.