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Old 11-27-2006, 04:27 AM   #1
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Default RV Terminology O through S

RV Terminology O through S
By Mark Polk

I guess because I work in the RV Industry and around RVs almost everyday I take some things for granted. One of those things is RV terminology. When you hear these terms everyday you just assume that everybody understands them. For the new RVer terminology may be a bit confusing. To help clear things up, Id like to offer some common RV terms that you will encounter during your RVing experiences.


OEM - Abbreviation for Original Equipment Manufacturer

Overhang - The portion of the motor home that extends from the rear axle to the rear of the motor home.


Park Model - An RV trailer designed to be taken to a location such as a campground or resort area and set up permanently. A park model trailer has more household type features and amenities than a travel trailer.

Pilot Flame - The pilot flame is a small flame used to light the main burner of an LP gas fired appliance. The pilot flame heats a thermocouple control that opens the flow of gas to the burner.

Porpoising - A term used to describe the up and down movement of an RV when traveling.

Portable Toilet or Porta Potty - A portable RV toilet with a fairly small water tank and holding tank. When the holding tank is full it can be removed and emptied at a dump station.

Pull Through Site - A campground site that requires no backing. The site is designed for you to drive or pull through.

Refer - A short term for your RV refrigerator.

Regulator- LP gas regulators control or regulate the LP gas flow through all appliances, and maintain the proper operating pressure in the LP gas system.

Rig - A term RVers use for their RV.

RV - Abbreviation for Recreation Vehicle. A Recreation Vehicle combines transportation and living quarters for recreation, camping, and travel. They can be classified in two basic groups, motorized RVs and towable RVs. Motorized RVs include Class A, Class B and Class C motor homes. Towables include pop-ups, travel trailers, fifth wheels and truck campers.

RVDA - Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association

RVIA - Recreation Vehicle Industry Association


Safety Chains - Safety chains are used on trailers in case of a hitch failure. One end of the chain is attached to the trailers A-frame, and the other end to a permanent fixture on the tow vehicle, normally the receiver. The chains are crossed X to form a saddle that would prevent the coupler from contacting the road surface in the event of a separation.

Screen Room - A screened in enclosure that attaches to the exterior of an RV. They provide protection from insects and rain. Screen rooms are most commonly used with pop-ups.

Sewer hose - A flexible hose that attaches to the RV sewer outlet and the campground sewer used to dump or empty holding tanks. You should have a 10 and 20 hose available with necessary sewer hose attachments.

Sewer hose donut - A plastic or rubber ring used to get a good seal between the sewer hose and the campground sewer connection. Sewer hose donuts are required at many campgrounds.

Shore Power - Shore power is a term used for plugging the RV in to an external 120-volt power source such as at a campground.

Slide-In - A truck camper that slides in to the bed of a pickup truck.

Slide-Out - A section of the RV that slides out to provide you with additional living space. Some RVs have multiple slide outs.

Slider Hitch - A 5th wheel hitch used with short wheel base pickup trucks. With short wheel base trucks the front of the 5th wheel trailer can make contact with the cab of the truck when turning to sharp. A slider hitch has two positions. One for normal driving conditions and one for maneuvering where turns are required.

Snowbird - RVers that head south for the winter.

Stabilizer Jacks - Jacks that are used on the corners of an RV to stabilize it when it is set up at the campground. Some are mounted to the frame of the RV and others are portable. Stabilizer jacks are not designed to level the trailer

Stick and Tin - An RV with wood framing and corrugated aluminum exterior.

Surge Brakes - A hydraulic braking system used on some lightweight trailers. Surge brakes activate when the trailer surges or pushes against the hitch ball when slowing down.

Sway Control - A device used to help control trailer sway. There are two basic types of add on sway control, friction and cam action.

This list is not all-inclusive, but if you learn these terms you will soon be understanding RV terminology.

Happy Camping,


Copyright 2006 by Mark J. Polk owner of RV Education 101

RV Expert Mark Polk, seen on TV, is the producer & host of America's most highly regarded series of DVD's, videos, books, and e-books.

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