Driving a recreational vehicle should be a relaxing and pleasant experience, especially if you are on route to a holiday destination with the family.
But what happens when your RV is a little noisier than usual, because let us be honest, they not the quietest vehicle on the road!
Having a noisy RV may be a sign for the owner that there is a problem with the vehicle that needs some attention.
Always make sure you pay close attention to unfamiliar noises, and if the sound of your RV alone is a hassle, then there are some avenues you can look at to help ease the sound of your RV coming around the corner!
Are RV’s noisy?
Older RV generators run close to 80 decibels while driving, and quieter RVs can run anywhere from 50-60 decibels. Some reports that have been conducted have shown that levels as high as 100 dBA are not uncommon for recreational vehicles.
The main noise sources for your RV include the engine and its accessories, the exhaust system, the cooling fans, the tires, the transmission, and the hydraulic system.
There are various factors that directly influence the reason why your RV could be noisy:
An RV engine works overtime, so it is inevitable that it is going to make a fair amount of noise.
This will impact you directly, especially if you have an RV with a front-engine-design where you can hear all the noises that your RV engine is making.
Although the engine is one of the noisiest parts of an RV, it is rare that it is an intrusive, unsettling noise.
If the noise is too loud and is creating a negative impact on your RV experience, you definitely should contact the manufacturer of your RV.
Ask them about options and possibly about insulation packs so that you can try and ease the engine noise.
Beyond regularly maintaining your RV, it is recommended that you do not attempt to improvise any noise reduction to the engine yourself, because you do open yourself up to unwanted risks of engine damage or danger.
The Water Pump
An RV has a water pump that enables you to utilize running water and other essentials, such as the kitchen sink and toilet.
This is especially a necessity when camping in an RV.
However, unlike the engine, the noise that comes from the water pump is highly intrusive, although it can easily be dealt with and rectified.
Here are some possible solutions to consider when attending to your RV’s water pump:
- Check if the water pump is securely firmly; this alone will eliminate rattling sounds.
- If your RV has a “demand pump,” then it may require some additional insulation between the mount and the pump.
- A pump silencing kit is available and is generally inexpensive and easy to fit.
A more involved and expensive solution would be to consider an accumulator tank which provides a cushion of air together with additional volume.
Although it is often the case that noise comes from the pump itself, consider basic foam insulators for the water pipes.
RV Vent Fan
The RV vent fan can definitely make a lot of noise that eventually will get on your nerves.
If your RV is older, the fan is more likely to make a bigger, louder sound. Make sure to get it checked out and replaced if needed.
This is one part of the RV that should be checked on frequently for damage or too much noise.
The Air Conditioning Unit
An air conditioning unit is known to be one of the noisiest features of your RV, but it is essential to have, especially when you are boondocking.
The air conditioner can make loud noises at the best of times, but if you have noticed that the sound coming from your air-conditioning unit is worse than usual, then it may be time for it to be serviced.
Do People Often Get Carsick in RV’s?
When traveling in any vehicle, but especially large ones like buses or RV’s, you will probably have experienced motion sickness.
Motion sickness comes from the movement of your inner ear fluid, which makes your body think that it is falling or moving without your consent.
Basically, your body thinks you are being moved in a strange way, such as if you were falling off the bed or upside down. This sends a signal to your brain so that you can fix the situation, but in a car or RV, you don’t really have anywhere to go.
This can cause nausea because your body is concerned about its orientation, and your brain is sending it incorrect signals about your movements.
Furthermore, if your eyes are fixed on a certain point, such as a car ahead of you on the road, but your inner ear thinks you are being tossed around, you will feel disoriented and nauseous.
Finally, larger vehicles are more likely to cause nausea because they sway a lot and can’t break or accelerate quickly or efficiently like smaller cars.
Does Noise Have Something to Do with Carsickness?
Car sickness can also occur when there is a constant low-frequency noise that can become worse when the RV is shaking and going over bumps.
The frequency gets even louder as the RV shakes from side to side when driving on or over uneven terrain.
Noise is certainly a contributing factor to carsickness but is not the only reason that humans experience it.
What Are Some Examples of LESS noisy RV’s?
Newer model RV’s tend to make less noise as they have new technology that enables them to run quieter than older models.
The Champion 3500 comes with ‘quiet’ technology that helps maintain the noise levels of the RV.
Alternatively, you purchase an RV with a back chassis engine, which is going to be found in more expensive RV models.
If, however, you need absolute silence, then the only way to achieve this would be to not run a generator and to consider a solar option.
Other examples of quieter RV’s:
- Airstream Classic Smart Trailer
- Winnebago Micro Minnie
- Jayco Jay Flight
- TAB Teardrop Camper
- Happier Camper Trailer
- Avia Camper Traveler
- Keystone Hideout
What Are Some Examples of Noisier RV’s?
Older model RV’s with front-design engines are normally noisier than the newer model RV’s.
Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to purchase a brand-new RV as they can be extremely costly.
How Can you Soundproof an RV?
Before soundproofing an RV, you first need to source where the noise is coming from.
It could be from the rattling pipes of the water system, the air conditioning unit, the engine, or even the rattling of cargo, amongst other influencing factors.
Once you have sourced where the noise is coming from, you will be able to decide what is needed.
If your air conditioner is making a noise, then maintenance or repairs may be needed. Sometimes a complete replacement of the air-conditioning unit may be advised, especially if it is an older unit.
Some noise sources may include the hood, panels, doors, floor pans, and taillights. If that’s the case, you may need to dampen the noise or have them looked at.
Also known as deadening or damping products (such as foam mats or other sound cancellers), dampening offers the best solution for RV soundproofing because it soaks up the unwanted sound.
How Can I Make my RV Pump Quieter?
One of the most common sources of noise in an RV is the water pump, as many manufacturers tend to install the cheaper pumps to reduce costs; this can, however, result in chattering pipes.
Here are a few methods in which to quieten your pump system:
Look for the water pump in your RV.
This can normally be found under the dinette or under the bed. Sometimes it can be found in a cabinet near the sink.
Take off the screws and slip a rubber mouse pad directly under the pump. Put the screws back on, making sure that they are not too tight.
The purpose of the mouse pad is to minimize the pump vibrations from the floor.
Turn on the pump and have someone else open and close taps while you try to see where the noise is coming from.
A cold-water pipe normally passes through a cabinet wall, which can act as a sounding board and make the noise even louder.
Use some foam insulation to wrap around the pipe where it rattles against the flooring. You can use some duct tape to make sure that it is securely put in place.
It is advisable to use flexible high-pressure tubing on the inlet and outlet ports of the pump to keep loud noises at bay.
If, however, the pump is still too noisy, it may be best to replace it with a variable speed pump, which reduces hammer and vibrations substantially.
A Quieter Approach:
RV living can be an extraordinarily, rewarding experience.
Making your RV as comfortable and noise-free as possible will be extremely beneficial and worthwhile.
Ensure your RV is well maintained and serviced regularly to avoid additional bothersome noises and, if really needed, turn to some easy soundproofing techniques and tips.
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.