RV Driving Tips

DEF-Diesel Exhaust Fluid

Recently while doing the pre-trip on a mobile clinic with a diesel engine I noticed something I have never seen before, an empty DEF fluid gauge. Unfortunately the drivers I was training had no idea what DEF fluid was or why it’s important, hence this explanation.

What is diesel exhaust fluid? DEF, def gauge emptyis an elixir that’s necessary to make sure that what exits a diesel vehicle’s tailpipe is as sweet as an Alpine breeze. The DEF fluid gauge is usually beneath the fuel gauge and in this case, shows 0. When full it would show four green bars.

DEF, is a fluid consisting of urea and deionized water in a 1:2 solution. It’s contained in a reservoir separate from the fuel tank and is metered into the engine’s exhaust stream to control certain emissions. Inside the exhaust pipe, the DEF vaporizes and decomposes into ammonia and carbon dioxide. Those two compounds then react with oxygen and detrimental nitrogen oxides inside the vehicle’s selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalyst. This produces three benign tailpipe gases: nitrogen, water vapor, and carbon dioxide.

What happens if you run out of diesel exhaust fluid? Diesel exhaust fluid is used to reduce NOx emissions. You will get a lot of warnings to refill the DEF tank before you run out. If you decide to ignore the warnings or the circumstances do not allow tank refill, the engine is designed to limit its power and fueling dramatically. This is a form of punishment to the driver if you like, but also it is a way of mitigating and controlling the increase of NOx emissions due to the lack of fluid.

Is it bad if I ingested DEF? Drinking it should be avoided at all costs. If that happens, contact a doctor immediately. Also, refer to any warnings that may be present on the jug or package (if applicable).

What happens if DEF goes into my eyes? If it gets into your eyes, flush with large amounts of water immediately for at least 15 minutes. Consult a doctor if you have any doubts or symptoms that are concerning.

What happens if I spill DEF, how do I clean it up? DEF residue can be easily cleaned up by washing the area with warm water.

Is DEF fluid corrosive?rv def filling
It is corrosive to most metals used in automotive applications. Carbon steels, iron, zinc, nickel, copper, aluminum and magnesium are some of them. If it comes into contact with any metals, you should clean the area with plenty of warm water to eliminate accelerated corrosion.

Can DEF go bad?
The fluid typically has a shelf life of 18 months. It does not expire technically, but it can lose its water content and the ratio of Urea/Water could change. This will affect engine emissions, since all the calculations in the ECU expect urea to be 32.5% of the DEF solution injected.

How can I check the DEF quality?
Its quality can be easily checked using a urea refractometer (available at Amazon.com). What happens if DEF freezes? How can you keep DEF from freezing? 67.5% of DEF is water. DEF freezes at -11 C or 12.2 F. When DEF thaws and goes back to liquid form, it maintains it consistency. It is suggested that you store DEF at a temperature between 5°C and 25°C (23°F and 77°F).

How do I store DEF?
Store in sealed containers to avoid contamination and avoid direct sunlight to prevent water evaporation. How long can you store DEF? Is there a shelf life? It can be stored for 18 months at a temperature between 5°C and 25°C (23°F and 77°F). For every 5° (9°F) above the recommended temperature, shelf life is reduced by six months.

Is DEF fluid all the same?
All DEF fluids that are supposed to be used in automotive applications should meet ISO 222411-1 specifications. Assuming that all Diesel Exhaust Fluids meet the ISO specifications, they should all be the same.

Non-Commercial Class A & Class B Recreation Vehicle License

non commercial class b 2020

If the calls we’re receiving so far this year are any indication of what’s happening in the RV Industry, 2020 is going to be the year of the Big RV and Trailer!

Who needs a non-commercial license?

In California if you’ve purchased a motor home that is over 40 feet
in length, you DO require a non-com Class B license.

If you have a 5th wheel trailer that weights more than 15,000 lbs or a bumper tow trailer that weights more than 10,000 lbs, you DO require a non-com Class A license. The good news is that for the majority of RVers, you do NOT require a special license!

In the other states requiring a non-commercial license for a recreational vehicle the criteria is the weight of the vehicle, over 26,000 lbs. These states include Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming.

If you live in Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, New Mexico, Washington D.C or Wisconsin, check with your local DMV because if your vehicle is over 26,000 lbs you require a Commercial Driver’s License! For the rest of the country and if you’re traveling to Canada, you are good to go!

How you’ll be tested:

In California the testing procedure is as follows; the examiner will inspect your registration papers, your insurance papers and your interim license, all must be current. He/she will then make sure all of the lights and turn signals are working on the RV and if applicable, they will explain the Air Brakes to you and check to make sure there are no air leaks. (In California you do NOT require an Air Brake Endorsement). Then the examiner will have you do three of the four basic driving skills, straight-line backing, off-set backing and 90 degree dockside backing, no parallel parking. To pass the skills test, you must have no more than 12 errors overall. You are allowed to have two “Looks” and three pull-ups for the dockside backing.

Once you have passed the drive skills test it is out on the road to do your road test. The road test is no different than what every commercial driver experiences. To pass the road portion, you must have no more than 30 errors and no marks in the automatic failure section. You will then have your noncommercial Class A or Class B license.

Remember the non-commercial license is just that, NON COMMERCIAL so do NOT try to get one if you’re being paid to drive! If you receive compensation to drive, you MUST have a full CDL.

This in a nutshell is what the non-commercial is all about. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Thank you! Gary

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We want you comfortable behind the wheel, working on our goal for you, ZERO DAMAGE!

Happy New Year and safe travels to all RVers in 2020,

Gary

RV’s when Towing belong in the Travel Lane!

If you’re an RVer, what's wrong with this picture?

rv passing lane rules

All RV’s when towing, should be traveling in the
TRAVEL LANE, not the PASSING LANE!

The Left Lane is for Passing Only

rv travel lane rules

 

rv left lane for passing only

 

PASSING LANE on the left - TRAVEL LANE on the right.

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  • Non-Commercial Class A & Class B Recreation Vehicle License

If you don't see the type of driver training you need in the list above please call us;
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Vehicle Pre-Trip Check List 2017

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Air Brake Test Explained 2018

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