Thursday, June 28, 2007

Who do you trust?

So I called a repair person from one of the RV supply stores we recommend to our guests at the RV park. I told the man what I wanted him to look at and he arrived the next day. While I explained, he examined and asked me to write the list of items I would need.

The steps are frozen in the down position and the electrical wire to the motor was cut. He said he would order new steps.

The shower leaked under the RV and the shower head/faucet combo also leaked. He said the p-trap was disconnected (he tried to reconnect but he couldn't squeeze his arm through the small opening). He said he would order a new shower head/faucet combo.

Two of the overhead 12 volt lights aren't working, although the fuse is good. He said he would order two new lights and bring covers to replace the cracked or burned ones (along with smaller bulbs that would not burn the light covers).

The porch light shorted and he said he would order a new one.

The electronic ignition on the propane water heater works but does not ignite the propane. He said he would order a new circuit board and some kind of assembly.

The air conditioner motor ran but the fan didn't work. He said the fan was on the roof and I would need to bring it into the shop. It would take about two hours to repair.

So I wrote all this stuff down and paid the man for a $90 service call. When he returned with the parts to do the work, I wouldn't have to pay him again for the call.

Meanwhile, my friend Rick came over, the man who noticed the missing tailpipes and gas leak problem. Within an hour, he had the p-trap reconnected, the air conditioner repaired (it's amazing what happens when six wasp nests are removed), and managed to fix the rusted accelerator pedal on my old RV so it not only starts but is drivable. He removed the ignition switch and took it to the local auto supply. The man told him I would need to check at a Chevy dealer for the type of switch I need.
Tomorrow, Rick will look at the steps and water heater to see what he can do.

I believe I can have all the work done by Monday including the installation of the tailpipes and the smog certification. I'll register the RV on Tuesday and drive it locally to get a feel for how she handles. On Wednesday, July 4th, Independence Day, I will take my first long road trip in several years.

By golly, I think this is going to be a fun adventure!


  1. My experience with RV repair has been about the same. Most of them them range anywhere from really incompetent to being crooked. A good RV repairman is hard to find, especially when you're on the road.

  2. After a 2 month layup, my A/Cs blowers would not work. On a 90 degree Saturday in FL, this was a crisis. A mobile RV repair guy in the park came over, lubed and aligned both fan blowers and explained how to do it myself when/if it happened again. His charge after working on the roof on a weekend was very reasonable.
    Not all of these repair guy are schyesters.

  3. Vintage RVs are a sure 'nuff challenge sometimes. I think they are worth it though. I am still without water in mine, as the water heater drain plug is missing and it is an odd size which does not seem to be made by Suburban any more. 1/4" seems too big, 1/8" is too small, and there is no 3/16". Still looking, and still enjoying. We carry a couple half gallon jugs of water to run the WC and make coffee. We can refill them to sponge bath and wash dishes.

  4. Upon purchasing a 2-year old class A I resolved to use RV dealers. A year after using several and receiving indifferent service and steep bills, circumstances forced me to use a mobile service. The experience has been good to excellent. Just try to get the RV park operators to recommend someone. Only Freightliner dealers service my chassis and engine.

  5. Please keep updating us on your adventures with your new RV. I love the stories!

  6. For the one needing a special size plug, have you considered that it may be 'metric'? (A competent mechanic knows to check this.) You can have a machine shop make a plug, also, but you must know the exact size, thread count, thread type-- and it won't be cheap, unless they have nothing else to do.

  7. For the person looking for a hot water tank plug, try using an ajustable boat drain plug. The 140 degree water should not hurt the hard rubber. If it does, it will take a while. Buy an extra and monitor it. It has got to beat packing water. Good luck.

  8. I am so sorry to hear that you were taken advantage of by someone so disreputable. My husband has been an RV technician for over 30 years and we have a mobile rv service and shop here in Iowa. We don't charge for a service call as a rule because people will spend the money necessary to maintain their homes away from home and we know just because you have an RV doesn't mean you have a lot of disposable income. We have serviced the Iowa State Fair for 22 years and there are over 2500 campers at any given time during the three week event.
    We don't always make anything on a call, but you can bet if that same person has a problem down the road and they are in our area they will come back. Please believe not all RV Servicemen will rip you off. Always ask a lot of questions and if you don't like the answers find someone who might have had similar problems and compare notes. Always remember the better care you take of your home many times your problems can be minimized and/or eliminated. Be Safe and Travel Happy!
    Mary H

  9. Anyone who needs service within a 3 hour driving distance from Bixby, OK, call Jim at the Green Country RV Doctor 918-704-8329. Quality service for a very reasonable prices. 1st time out wouldn't take any money for service call and gave recommendations as to who could actually do repair. (Broken axle hanger that he wound up doing a temporary weld on so that I could get to the axle shop in Broken Arrow. B&A Hitch and Axle 918-369-7855) Jim made sure B&A knew what I needed done and even went over while the warranty adjuster was there to explain the original problem and what he had done.

    I'd say above and beyond service!!!

  10. To Elaine with the water heater drain plug missing problem. "I am still without water in mine, as the water heater drain plug is missing and it is an odd size which does not seem to be made by Suburban any more. 1/4" seems too big, 1/8" is too small, and there is no 3/16"." Are the plugs you tried pipe size or bolt size? It may be that if the odd size is not metric, it could be bolt size.

  11. Hind sight is 20/20 but your first clue should be when he starts ordering new parts for items that were not broken, just needing tightening or adjustment. When everything mentioned was met with " I'll order a new one" you should start wondering if this guy can fix anything or if he is just an INSTALLER. That is what we call the guy who does not want to take the time to fix something, just throw a new one at it and let you absorbe the cost of his inability.

    I have heard the argument that "Installers" figure if they fix something and it breaks again they look bad, and it is better to put a new one in, but at the same time the guy should have been able to fix a couple things on that list before he even left the motorhome.

    As an owner of a Vintage Winnebago Brave, I know it helps to be handy. When your not, it is great to have friends like your Rick.