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RV Jargon Glossary

Amp
Amp is short for ampere, the electric current unit of measure. RV sites with electrical hookups will specify the maximum amps supported - which generally come in units of 20, 30, or 50 amps. The RV power connector must match the various plugs of the site amp rating.

Articulation Point
A joint between two objects which allows movement. In the case of RV's, an articulation point is where two vehicles are coupled together by a ball or fifth wheel hitch. When a truck is pulling a travel trailer or fifth wheel, a single articulation point exists. If a boat is towed behind the trailer then two articulation points exist.

Awning
A roof-like structure made of canvas or other artificial materials which extends from the RV body to provide shade. Awnings are generally placed over entrances. Some extend and stow manually while others are operated electrically.

Back In
A slot in an RV park with a single entrance, designed to be backed into with the RV.

Basement
The storage compartment of RV's under the main living area. Basements are generally found on motor homes and fifth wheel trailers.

Batwing Antenna
TV antenna on the roof on an RV characterized by two horizontal elements. Batwing antennas are generally raised and rotated with a hand crank from inside the RV living compartment.

Black Tank
Holding tank connected to the toilet, designed to hold sewage until it can be dumped into a septic system.

Black Water
Waste water from the toilet; sewage. See also Black Tank

Boondocking
Strictly speaking, boondocking is camping far away from civilization without any facilities such as water or electricity; roughing it. In a more general sense it has come to mean camping or parking anywhere without facilities, relying strictly on the comforts provided by the RV. Many RVers refer to spending the night in an interstate rest area, shopping center parking lot, or truck stop, as boondocking.

Brake Controller
Electronic device mounted in the tow vehicle to control the trailer brakes. It is connected to the tow vehicle brake system to sense when braking needs to be applied to the trailer. It has a lever for manually engaging the trailer brakes.

Breakaway Switch
An electrical switch on trailers designed to engage the breaks in case the trailer breaks away from the tow vehicle. The switch is connected by a cable to the tow vehicle. Breakaway is detected when the switch cable is pulled out during vehicle separation.

British Thermal Unit
A measurement of heat that is the quantity required to raise the temperature of one pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit. RV air-conditioners and furnaces are BTU-rated. A one-ton Air conditioning unit is the equivalent of 12,000 BTU.

BTU
See British Thermal Unit

Bump-Out
See Slide

Bumper Pull Trailer
See Travel Trailer

Bus Conversion
A passenger bus converted to an RV.

Camper
Another term for an RV, especially smaller RV';s that are towed behind or carried on top of light trucks. Truckers generally refer to all RV's as "campers" in their CB conversations.

Caravan
A group of three or more RVs traveling together. Like a miniature version of a 16-wheeler "convoy".

Cargo Weight
Cargo Weight is the actual weight of all items added to the Curb Weight of the vehicle or trailer. This includes personal cargo, optional equipment, and Tongue or King Pin Weight.

CB
See CB Radio

CB Radio
Citizens Band radio is a general use, short distance, two-way radio primarily used by truckers. CB's are also helpful to RV drivers to call for help in an emergency and listen for driving conditions. Many CB's on the market today also have weather channels with alerting features.

Chassis
The frame of a vehicle or motor home including the engine, transmission, drive train, axles, and wheels. When referring to a van or truck, the chassis also includes the cab.

Chassis Battery
Battery in motor homes and tow trucks for operating the engine and vehicle components. Gas engine vehicles generally have one chassis battery and diesels two. Also referred to as the starting battery.

Class A
A motor home built on a stripped truck chassis where the driving compartment is an integral part of the RV interior. Class A motor homes look like buses. For additional details see Class A Motorhome on RV Types page.

Class B
A motor home created from a mini van. Most models have raised roofs, but otherwise the living space is constrained by the dimensions of the van. For additional details see Class B Van on RV Types page.

Class C
A motor home built on a cut-away van or truck chassis, including the cab. It differs from the class A motor home in that the class C uses the cab designed for the chassis. For additional details see Class C Mini on RV Types page.

Coach
A vehicle with enclosed passenger accommodations. In the broadest sense of the term, coach can be applied to most recreational vehicles. When used by itself, it usually refers to a motor home, most likely a Class A.

Converter
A device that converts alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) used to charge the RV batteries and to operate 12 volt DC devices while plugged into an AC source.

Curb Weight
Curb Weight is the actual weight of a vehicle or trailer, including all standard equipment, full fuel tanks, full fresh water tanks, full propane bottles, and all other equipment fluids, but before taking on any persons or personal cargo.

Diesel Pusher
See Pusher

Dinghy
See Toad

Direct Spark Ignition
A feature of new propane appliances whereby the gas is ignited by an electrical spark and monitored electronically.

Dooley
See Dual Rear Wheels

DRW
See Dual Rear Wheels

Dry Camping
Camping in an RV without external water or sewer hookups.

Dry Weight
Dry Weight is the actual weight of a vehicle or trailer containing standard equipment without fuel, fluids, cargo, passengers, or optional equipment.

DSI
See Direct Spark Ignition

Dual Rear Wheels
A truck having two wheels on each side of the rear axle for a total of four wheels.

Dually
See Dual Rear Wheels

Dump Station
Facilities for emptying gray and black water from the RV holding tanks.

ETG
See Exhaust Temperature Gauge

Exhaust Brake
A device installed on the engine which causes deceleration by restricting the exhaust gases. Exhaust brakes are used to supplement the service brakes of a vehicle and to increase stopping power. Especially useful to slow heavy loads down steep grades.

Exhaust Temperature Gauge
Gauge indicating engine exhaust gas temperature as measured by a probe inserted into the gas flow. Temperature is generally measured directly after the exhaust manifold or after the turbo. Useful in preventing engine overheating.

FHU
See Full Hookup

Fifth Wheel
A trailer and hitch configuration connected to the tow truck directly above the rear axle by way of a special fifth wheel hitch. This causes several feet of the connected trailer to hang over the tow truck, placing about 15 to 25% of the trailer's weight on the rear axle of the truck. Commercial trucks and trailers use this hitch configuration. Also commonly spelled as 5th wheel. For additional details see Fifth Wheel on RV Types page.

FMV
Abbreviation for Fair Market Value.

Folding Trailer
Small, light-weight trailer that folds or collapses into a low profile, suitable for towing behind light vehicles such as cars, SUV's, and mini pickup trucks. For additional details see Popup Trailer on RV Types page.

Fresh Water Tank
Tank for holding fresh water for drinking, cooking, and bathing while not connected to a city water supply.

Full Hookup
An RV site with water, electric, and sewer facilities.

Fulltimer
A person living full-time in an RV, having no other home.

Galley
The kitchen in an RV.

Gas Pusher
See Pusher

GAW
Gross Axle Weight (GAW) is the actual weight placed on a single axle.

GAWR
Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) is the maximum number that the GAW of a single axle should never exceed.

GCW
Gross Combination Weight (GCW) is the actual weight of the fully loaded tow vehicle plus the towed vehicle (trailer, car, boat, etc.), including all cargo, fluids, passengers, and optional equipment.

GCWR
Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) is the maximum number that the tow vehicle GVW plus towed vehicle GVW (or GTW) should never exceed.

Gooseneck
A trailer and hitch configuration connected to the tow truck directly above the rear axle by way of a standard ball hitch in the truck bed and a vertical, slender arm on front of the trailer. Gooseneck hitching is common on horse and utility trailers, but rarely found on RV's.

Gooseneck Adapter
A device that attaches to the fifth wheel trailer's king pin and extends down about two feet. It couples with a ball hitch mounted in the bed of a truck, enabling the fifth wheel to be towed like a gooseneck trailer. For additional details see Fifth Wheel Gooseneck Adapter.

Gooseneck Extender
See Gooseneck Adapter

Grade
The degree of inclination of a road. A grade of 6% or higher is considered steep.

Gray Tank
Holding tank connected to the sinks and shower, designed to hold waste water until it can be dumped into a septic system.

Gray Water
Waste water from the sinks and shower. See also Gray Tank

GTW
Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) is the same as Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) when referring to a trailer.

GVW
Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) is the actual weight of the fully loaded vehicle or trailer, including all cargo, fluids, passengers, and optional equipment, as measured by a scale.

GVWR
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is the maximum number that the GVW or GTW should never exceed.

Half Ton
Truck rating originally conceived to indicate cargo carrying capacity of a half ton (1,000 lbs). Today, tonnage rating is no longer an accurate indication of cargo carrying capacity - it is more of a relational indication among trucks in different categories. Common one ton pickup truck models are the Chevrolet 1500, Dodge 1500, Ford F-150, and GMC 1500.

Hauler Back
Truck body installed on a chassis in place of a bed, designed to tow or haul various loads. Most hauler backs look like a typical car wrecker without the lift. Hauler backs intended for RV towing have a flat surface and a hitch installed above the rear axle. Common options added to hauler backs are storage compartments and tool boxes.

Heavy Duty Truck
Commercial truck designed for heavy duty. Heavy trucks are suitable for towing the heaviest of trailers, though they are rarely used for RV towing. A few examples: semi trucks, Chevrolet Kodiak C8500, Ford F-750, GMC TopKick C8500. For additional details see Truck Classification.

Hitch Weight
Amount of a trailer's weight that rests on the tow vehicle; should be 10 to 15 percent with conventional trailers, 15 to 20 percent for fifth-wheels.

Holding Tanks
Tanks that hold the black (toilet) and gray (sink, shower, lavatory) water. Their capacity determines how long an RV can be used without hookups.

Honey Wagon
Euphemism for the sewage pumping truck. Honey wagons are used to empty RV holding tanks in places where full hookups and dump stations are not available.

Hookups
Campground facilities for connecting an RV to 120-volt AC "shore power," water, sewer, cable TV and telephone service. Full Hookups: Refers to water, electricity and sewer at an RV site.

House Battery
One or more batteries in a recreational vehicle for operating the 12 volt lights, appliances, and systems. House batteries can be 12 volt units tied in parallel or pairs of 6 volt batteries tied in series (to double the voltage). The term house battery is of more significance in motor homes because they contain one or more other batteries for the operation of the engine, referred to as the chassis or starting batteries.

Inverter
A device that converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) for powering AC equipment while the RV is not plugged into an AC source. Typical DC sources are batteries and solar panels.

ISP
Abbreviation for Internet Service Provider.

Jake Brake
See Exhaust Brake

King Pin
The pin by which a fifth wheel trailer attaches to the truck. It slides into the fifth wheel hitch and locks in place.

King Pin Weight
King Pin Weight (also called Pin Weight) is the actual weight pressing down on the fifth wheel hitch by the trailer. The recommended amount of King Pin Weight is 15%-25% of the GTW.

Laminate
A sandwich of structural frame members, wall paneling, insulation and exterior covering, adhesive-bonded under pressure and/or heat to form the RV's walls, floor and/or roof.

Landing Gears
See Leveling Jack

Landing Legs
See Leveling Jack

Leveling Jack
A jack lowered from the underside of trailers and motor homes for the purpose of leveling the vehicle. A leveling jack is designed to bear a significant portion of the RV's weight, even lifting it off the ground on certain models.

Light Duty Truck
Personal truck designed for light duty, typically rated at one ton and below. Light trucks are suitable for towing small to medium trailers. A few examples: Chevrolet Silverado 3500, Ford F-250, Dodge RAM 1500. For additional details see Truck Classification.

Limit Switch
Furnace safety switch, a normally closed switch that opens if it gets to hot, opening turns off power to the gas valve and igniter board.

LPG
Liquefied Petroleum Gas, commonly written as "LP gas". Two examples of LPG are propane and butane. LPG is heavier than air in gas form and about half the weight of water in liquid form.

MDT
See Medium Duty Truck

Medium Duty Truck
Commercial truck designed for medium duty, typically rated above one ton. Medium duty trucks are built with heavier frames, brakes, and transmission compared to light trucks. A few examples: Chevrolet Kodiak C4500, Ford F-450/F-550, International 4200. For additional details see Truck Classification.

MH
See Motor Home

Mini Motor Home
See Class C

Motor Coach
See Motor Home

Motor Home
A motor vehicle built on a truck or bus chassis and designed to serve as self-contained living quarters for recreational travel. Also commonly spelled as motorhome.

MSRP
Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price

NCC
Net Carrying Capacity (NCC) is the maximum amount of persons, personal cargo, optional equipment, and Tongue or King Pin weight that can be added to an RV. The formula for NCC is GVWR - UVW. NCC differs slightly from the more widely used "payload" term, by including full fresh water and propane tank weights.

One Ton
Truck rating originally conceived to indicate cargo carrying capacity of one ton (2,000 lbs). Today, tonnage rating is no longer an accurate indication of cargo carrying capacity - it is more of a relational indication among trucks in different categories. Common one ton pickup truck models are the Chevrolet 3500, Dodge 3500, Ford F-350, and GMC 3500.

Park Model
A travel trailer that requires park facilities to function. It lacks holding tanks and dual-voltage appliances, requiring to be plugged into water, sewage, and electrical facilities. A park model is more of a small mobile home than a recreational vehicle, in appearance and function.

Payload
Payload is a weight rating. It is the maximum weight that persons plus cargo should never exceed.

Pop-Up Trailer
See Folding Trailer

Pressure Regulator
See Water Pressure Regulator

Pull-Through
A slot in an RV park with an entrance and an exit, designed to pull the RV in one end and out the other, without having to back up.

Pusher
Motor home with rear mounted engine. Most pushers are equipped with diesel engines, but some gas engine models are also available.

Pyro
See Exhaust Temperature Gauge

Rear Differential
A set of gears found in the rear axle of vehicles, designed to distribute drive shaft power to the two wheels. It applies power to both wheels while allowing each to spin at different rates during cornering.

Rear End
See Rear Differential

Recreational Vehicle
Vehicle or trailer with living accommodations used for traveling and recreational activities.

RGAW
Rear Gross Axle Weight (GAW) is the actual weight placed on the rear axle.

RGAWR
Rear Gross Axle Weight Rating (RGAWR) is the maximum number that the GAW of the rear axle should never exceed.

Rig
Special equipment or gear used for a particular purpose. In the RV world it generally refers to an RV or truck.

RV
See Recreational Vehicle

RVCG
Abbreviation for the RV Consumer Group organization.

Shore Power
A boating term adopted by the RV community to mean an electrical power hookup supplied to the RV by a fixed, external source (not by a portable generator). A full hookup RV site has shore power.

Slide-In Truck Camper
See Truck Camper

Slide-Out
See Slide

Slide
A compartment added to an RV to increase interior space. It slides into the body during travel and slides out when parked.

Snowbird
A person who moves from cold weather to warm in an RV, generally staying a season.

Solar Panel
Device containing an array of solar cells which convert sunlight to electricity. Typically mounted on the roof of RV's and used for charging the batteries.

Sport Utility Trailer
See Toy Hauler

Stabilizing Jack
A jack inserted under or lowered from trailers and motor homes for the purpose of stabilizing the vehicle. A stabilizing jack is not designed to bear a significant portion of the RV's weight, only a small amount to reduce movement during occupancy. Stabilizing jacks are generally found toward the back of trailers, under the king pin of fifth wheels, and under some slides.

Starting Battery
See Chassis Battery

Stinky Slinky
Slang for the sewer hose, constructed from a spiral wire covered with vinyl. One end attaches to the RV piping and the other into the local sewer dump facilities.

Tagalong Trailer
See Travel Trailer

Tent Camper
See Folding Trailer

Tent Trailer
See Folding Trailer

Three Quarter Ton 
Truck rating originally conceived to indicate cargo carrying capacity of three quarter tons (1,500 lbs). Today, tonnage rating is no longer an accurate indication of cargo carrying capacity - it is more of a relational indication among trucks in different categories. Common three quarter ton pickup truck models are the Chevrolet 2500, Dodge 2500, Ford F-250, and GMC 2500.

Toad
A vehicle towed behind the RV. That which was "towed".

Tongue Jack
A jack lowered from the frame of a travel trailer, directly behind the tongue, for the purpose of leveling the trailer. A tongue jack is designed to bear a significant portion of the trailer's weight, called the Tongue Weight (10% - 15% recommended).

Tongue Load
See Tongue Weight

Tongue Weight
Tongue Weight (also called Tongue Load) is the actual weight pressing down on the hitch ball by the trailer. The recommended amount of Tongue Weight is 10%-15% of the GTW.

Toy Hauler
The term toy hauler is applied to both fifth wheels and travel trailers, and it describes an RV designed to carry toys, small cars, dune buggies, four wheelers, motorcycles, etc. Distinguishing features of a toy hauler is the large door in the back which opens down to create a ramp, dedicated garage area or fold-away furniture in the main living compartment, and often a third axle to support the heavy toys. For additional details see Toy Hauler on RV Types page.

Travel Trailer
A towable trailer that hitches onto a ball mount on the tow vehicle and designed as living quarters for recreational travel. For additional details see Travel Trailer on RV Types page.

Travel Trailer Coach
See Travel Trailer

Truck Camper
Living quarters designed to slide into the bed of a truck. The camper is fastened to the truck frame during transport and slides out onto its own legs at the camp site.

TT
See Travel Trailer

Umbilical Cord
Wiring harness which connects the trailer to the tow vehicle during transport. The umbilical cord supplies the trailer with DC power for charging the batteries and operating DC equipment. It also operates the trailer brakes and signal lights.

Underbelly
The RV's underfloor surface, which is protected by a weatherproofed material.

UVW (Unloaded Vehicle Weight)
Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW) is the weight of a vehicle as manufactured at the factory. It includes full engine and generator fuel tanks and fluids, if applicable. It does not include cargo, water, propane, or dealer-installed accessories. It may or may not include factory installed options. Be aware that some manufacturers weigh each unit to determine UVW, while others provide only the average or estimated weight for each model.

Van Camper
See Class B

Water Pressure Regulator
Device installed on water hose attached to city water to limit the water pressure entering the RV. Most regulators limit water pressure to 40 psi.

Weight-Distributing Hitch
A ball hitch system that distributes some of the tongue weight to all axles of the tow vehicle and trailer. With standard ball hitches, all of the tongue weight rests on the tow vehicle's rear axle; the weight-distributing hitch uses spring tensioned bars to distribute it among the axles. This provides more weight on the front axle for better steering control, and less weight on the rear axle to allow towing a heavier trailer that may otherwise overload the rear axle.

Wheelbase
Distance between the center of the front and rear wheels of a vehicle, usually expressed in inches.

Wide-body
An RV having an external body width greater than 96 inches (8 feet). The most common wide-body widths are 100" and 102". Also widebody.

WiFi
See Wireless Internet

Winterize
The process of introducing non-toxic antifreeze into the water lines of an RV for winter storage to prevent freezing and line breaks.

Wireless Internet
Technology that enables computers equipped with wireless network cards (also called WiFi) to connect to the Internet without requiring wired connections such as phone lines or cables. This service generally requires an additional fee and a sing-up process.

Work Camper
A person living in an RV and working. Many spell it as 'workamper' after the web site and service by that name.

We have made every effort to ensure accurate information provided. All prices, specifications, equipment, technical data, photographs and illustrations are subject to change without notice. Prices do not include sales tax, license fees, finance charges, documentation charges, or other fees required by law. To ensure the most accurate production information please call and speak with one of our sales representatives. All units and items are subject to prior sale.