Corrosion Prevention: Solving the "Does Not Work Issue”
One common question that I get asked is: "Why doesn’t ‘XYZ’ work?” At times it is because a physical component has failed, which makes it easy to diagnose and repair, usually by replacing the defective component. More troubling is the situation where the item does not seem to have an apparently defective component, yet it does not operate. Even more frustrating is the fact that the component or system worked very recently without any issue. In this TechTip, I’m going to drill down on what I have found is a common issue and the solution that is simple and effective. Of course, it will not replace the defective component, but it will give some guidance to those that often do not know where to start.
I recently received an email posing this question:
"Two of my ‘slideout’ switches are beginning to be hard to push and sometimes I have to push them several times to get them to work. Is there something I can possibly spray on them to free them up or is it more serious?”
My response was: While a defective switch is possible, it is more likely that invisible corrosion has built-up on the controller connector to the circuit board. This spray fights corrosion at the molecular level, providing much longer lasting protection. Typically, a drop on a connection is all that is needed. The Foam Spray works well on larger battery terminals after they are cleaned, while the pump spray allows one drop to be dispensed easily, or if a spray is needed, pump and spray.
First locate the slide controller which is usually mounted on the roof of the second bay back from the front wheel on both sides on your coach. The bedroom controller is often found on the roof of a more rearward compartment on the same side of the coach. Remove the white connector, apply a drop in each hole of the connector, then reinstall and remove it a couple times, then reinstall it. It might take a day for the corrosion to be broken down. While you are at it, spray the fuse located just ahead of the connector, without removing it from the holder. (See the left set of arrows in the photo.) This spray has excellent ‘wicking’ abilities which means that often the connections do not need to be disassembled to apply the CB and get effective protection. Once sprayed and given some time, the slideout should resume working properly. While you are at it, the controller for your hydraulic jacks is also in one of those compartments. Do the same with the white control connectors on it. (See the right-side arrows in the photo).
Lastly, focus on the battery terminal connections and where the negative battery cable connects to the frame. That connection is a great place for corrosion to build up. Without cleaning and protecting, this connection can be the source of numerous electrical issues, especially with the number of computer-controlled systems and LED lighting systems found in modern RVs. With all power turned off and the coach unplugged, remove the cable bolt connection, scrape and clean to bare metal, spray with CB and reinstall the cable with the bolt and nut. Give it a final spray and you will have a great ground connection! Every system on your coach will appreciate all the effort to improve this connection. You may also prevent corrosion by removing the slideout operating switches and applying the Corrosion Block to their connectors as well.
LED Replacement Bulb Applications:
The application of Corrosion Block® to electrical component connections has solved many issues in RV systems over the years. Recently, we noticed issues after replacing incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs, used in wall sconces and over vanities and dinettes in many pre 2013 RVs. Upon installation of the LED bulbs, we recommend applying CB to the bulb base (see red arrows) to ensure a corrosion free connection. LED bulbs draw about 10-20% of the power that the original incandescent bulb does, which means that resistance caused by corrosion may not be overcome by the low current draw of LED bulbs. These fixtures may have four (4) to six (6) bulbs to give off a lot of light over the vanity or the sink area. Some are hanging globes, some are designed to look like "sea-shells” when placed in a fixture above the mirror. We noticed that we were asked to replace them under the one-year warranty because one or two were no longer operating. The affected coaches were usually five to ten years in age and generally well maintained. I questioned the owners to see if they had ever undertaken any battery cable maintenance and invariably, they each replied that they kept the battery connections clean and corrosion free. When asked if they had ever paid any attention to the ground cable to vehicle frame connection, the answer was ‘No’. We selected a few coaches and applied CB to those connections. (Note: Always disconnect all sources of power, turn off any inverters and turn all battery disconnect switches to off before proceeding to clean this connection). Properly removing the cable, cleaning the surfaces, and applying CB, provides a much better connection. The bulbs now operate as expected and there have not been failures on those coaches since the service was completed. It is likely newer coaches will experience similar failures with the factory installed LED fixtures.
Many other examples have been touted over the years, from circuit board connections in RV refrigerators, water heaters and furnaces, TV satellite domes to simple areas where corrosion naturally occurs. In some cases, owners were facing many hundreds of dollar repairs or replacements since there did not seem to be any alternative. Our experience has proven this product will perform well in most applications where corrosion is, or could be, an issue.
Another application that continually brings positive comments is applying CB to door locks. When you look inside a conventional keyed lock there are four or five (4-5) different types of metal. From brass, stainless steel, spring steel, cast metal, to aluminum. All these metals naturally corrode and make the key very difficult to turn in the lock. Insert the CB ‘straw’ into the keyhole and spray. It is not unusual to hear the comment: "This lock is works better than when the RV was new, it is smooth and easy to lock or unlock” When the corrosion protection is at the molecular level then there is no corrosion build up.