Monday, April 3, 2017

RV Maintenance and Repairs, 3/29/2017

Okay, this is my least favorite topic, by a wide margin! The truth of the matter is, when when you own a class A motor coach (or any other RV for that matter), there is ongoing maintenance and, inevitably, repairs that must be done. We have had our share of issues with a mechanical breakdown (but not the engine, fortunately!) in Northern California in early 2016 with the motor coach in the shop for over a week. Horrible! That's our home! 

And we have had various mobile repairs done for our steps (repaired and then replaced), refrigerator issue, entry lock (replaced), air conditioners (both replaced after intense hail storm in Galveston, paid all but deductible on this costly repair), and other minor stuff. 

To (hopefully) avoid future issues, we had scheduled a 45-point inspection ($249) and the resolution of some known problems, at Camping World in Dover, FL (east of Tampa and about a half hour from Lutz where we had stayed for the last three months). We arrived for our 9 am appointment and left to grab breakfast. We spent the day and half of the next hanging around the large waiting room and wandering around their lot looking at every type of camper and RV they had.

To make a long story short, here is a summary of the repairs (things we had reported):

  • Problem: refrigerator would not convert to LP (propane), but was working fine when on electrical power. Resolution: two house batteries had to be replaced, fortunately the refrig is fine. Nonetheless, the batteries were about $150/each plus the labor ($129/hour) to install them. 
  • Problem: toilet ball valve seal would not close all the way. Resolution: it was cheaper to replace the entire toilet ($195) than to repair the ball valve seal plus labor to install.
  • Problems: Broken bracket on generator exhaust, broken entry door strut (caused during a storm). Resolution: Replace both.
We also had scheduled an oil change. After the 45-point inspection, we had the air conditioners thoroughly cleaned as lots of dust (from the many months we spent in the desert last year) and dog hair (from our furry Sadie) had accummulated. We will be much more diligent in replacing the filters more frequently allowing the environment to drive the schedule. 

The repairs and maintenance ended up taking 1.5 days. We spent the night outside the bay at Camping World with 50 amp power. (We had plenty of water onboard and our tanks were close to empty.)  It was great that we did not have to drive anywhere that night.

When all was said and done, our bill was close to $2,500. We also know that we need to plan on getting new tires (6) in the next couple of years (probably around $4,000 if we replace with the same type of tires we currently have). We do, however, still have a tire warranty in effect until 2020 that includes replacement in case of a flat while on the road. 

One reason we went to Camping World is that maintenance records on our motor coach will be available at any other Camping World in the country. We were not sure if this was the wisest course of action, but I think it will work out well. When we checked with others, no one had a strong recommendation for anyplace else in the area. Time will tell. 

So the moral to this story is that, you have to spend money on maintenance for an RV, just like your sticks and bricks home. And you need to budget for it. We will be driving to New England and then back to FL this year, so we are both very happy that we have that all behind us! 

And our shiny new toilet is really very nice...

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