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Poor Quality Work And Parts For RVs


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45 replies to this topic

#1 lylefikse

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 03:35 PM

I am starting to feel a little taken advantage of or very unlucky.  We have had the worst run of luck getting parts for our motorhome and having poor quality repairs done.  Are we just unlucky lately or are all RV parts and repairs poor quality?
 
We had a braking system put on that was hooked up wrong and caused our brakes on the toad to stick on.  Also the charge line to the toad was not matched up in the plug so,  no charge line and a series of dead battery days until the problem was identified.
 
Ordered a steering assist product and after installing it, found out it did not fit, as I was shipped the wrong kit to install the product.
 
We bought a surge protector that had a burned out board when it arrived and spent several hours to discover the product was faulty.
 
We had a new windshield installed only to have it leak the next time it rained.
 
And the current winner in frustration.  We had new tires put on under the FMCA tire plan 60 days ago.  Quite a savings and I would recommend using this plan.  However, we got the coach back with a cracked windshield that the tire dealer denied cracking (hence the new windshield).  Since the new tires we have had two flats due to failed valve stems.  Both repaired at our expense.  Hard to trust the remaining four tires.  Purchased a new TPMS for piece of mind.  So far it works well.  It caught the second flat for us.
 
So far, with the exception of the tire dealer not admitting fault or agreeing to cover repairs, all vendors have stood behind their products and provided replacement parts and repairs.  Still a big hassle and I am losing faith in companies making parts for RVs.
 
Am I alone in this?
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Lyle and Linda Fikse

2007 Damon Tuscany 4072

2013 Lincoln MKS


#2 chp007kd40

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 10:14 PM

No, of course you're not alone, but not many people feel too sorry for us who can afford a nice motorhome.

 

I could fill up four pages with my experiences and with five motorhomes, that is why a lot of us are figuring out the issues ourselves and doing most of the maintenance on our rigs.

 

What you and I have in common is the tpms that the Winnebago factory installed for 789 dollars and quit working the next day. I fixed it myself when I got home. The mechanic had it installed incorrectly. I just got tires three months ago and now discovered a valve stem was installed at a bad angle, destroying the pressure sensing unit and rubbing off the threads on the valve stem.

 

Hang in there. We are all in this together. I am always very happy for the support we get from our members, so thank you.

 

David    


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#3 lujohn1

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 10:49 PM

I have been RVIng since 12/2007. I have come to the conclusion that you must be an engineer or technician that can perform your own work on your coach or RV. Otherwise, it is a hit or miss situation on dealer and/independent service and/or repairs.

 

Even the best RV service centers leave many areas for improvement. I want to upgrade my RV after 38,000 miles. However, I am reluctant to act.


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#4 chp007kd40

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 11:55 PM

lujohn1: When you realize how many systems are in these coaches and how often they change designs there is bound to be problems. That is why I just started doing the repairs myself. Granted this is not for everyone, my rv garage is 30x45 and well equipped and I was raised on a farm where we had to do most of everything, but that was 50 years ago.
 
What really convinced me to get more involved was in Kent Washington two years ago I was told I needed a $5400.00 rebuilt turbo installed on my 8.9 Cummins after they replaced the serpentine belt and the whining noise was still there. Even I was convinced it needed it, but not at this facility. I limped into Northwest Cummins around Eugene, Oregon and the tech told me within 15 minutes it was the #5 exhaust gasket had failed and that was  a common issue with that motor. $300.00 dollars later all the exhaust gaskets were replaced.
 
I just modified the front TV cage to make room for the duo day/night shades and installed a flat screen tv and was able to raise TV up 5.5 inches. That's huge if you have a front TV that you hitting your head on. The new windshield shades are 95 inches long like the newer coaches have. Took some doing, but I made it without any mistakes.
 
David
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#5 Xplorer

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 05:55 AM

For the 1st time in about 10 years, I just purchased the supplies to do my own oil change.  After reviewing and searching, there isn't a facility where I currently am located, that I would trust to do a simple oil change.  I even get more nervous, when they don't want you in the facility while the work is being done.

 

The Rear AC unit just went, as the compressor does not engage.  Looked for service facility, here and next location. No luck, yet in finding one that I want to trust to do the work.  Still have the front AC, will probably wait until we return to TX.  Or, maybe I will find a reliable, reputable and trustworthy facility to do the repair.  The front AC is carrying the load now, until! 

 

Over 37 years RV'n, that has always been the main concern, is finding someone that is not going to turn the thumb screw, and does the work right the first time.  Won Some, Lost Some.

 

It's interesting all the company's that have websites, and contacts, that seldom respond to a request for contact for service via phone or email.   

 

It will most likely never change.  Homework and due diligence, when possible, is the best defense.

 

There are good facilities and mechanics still there, just finding them is a task.


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#6 DickandLois

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 09:05 AM

The problem of good service and mechanics from my prospective has gotten more difficult, as it has for many others.

The complexity of automobiles and in all the modes of transportation, along with all the requirements to meet the ever increasing regulations, has changed the skill level and the cost  of industry exponentially.

 

When we travel, the combined skill sets and education of my domestic engineer and mine have served us well. The need for service facilities being diminished by skills learned while living a country life and limited resources trained both members of this team.

There is / has been a drive nationally for everyone to get a collage degree. With the current cost of getting a 4 year degree many have to look at what they get for there dollar.

 

With the income of those with good trade school skills and the shortage of carpenters,electricians, system controls, mechanics, mechanist, tool and die skills, model making, plumbers, heating and ventilation and others, with pay scales starting in the mid to upper five figures to the low six figures and the number of openings in the skilled trades making them more attractive; one can only hope the gap is narrowed.

 

Rich.


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#7 TBUTLER

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 09:11 AM

As mentioned above, many of us do as much of our own work as possible.  When I can't do my own work I try to keep a close eye on what is going on.  I'll try to talk to the tech who is working.  I give them as much information as have on a problem.  Then I always try to be present when the work is going on.  If I can, I'll be somewhere where I can watch the shop work in progress.  Many times I'll talk to a supervisor and have them escort me into the shop. 

 

The number of things we've had go wrong with maintenance at various shops is similar to yours.  Each was a lesson and the next time I am more cautious about repairs.  I have educated myself about tires enough that I know at least as much as most tire people about RV tires.  There are shops that I will not return to because of their poor quality work and there are shops that I do return to because of the excellent quality of their work. 

 

I think part of the problem is that in the total world of large vehicle maintenance, RV's are a small amount of the work done.  If you spend most of your time working on trucks, then an RV rolls in, they are a special challenge.  Each RV manufacturer has their own materials and methods of building the RV.  Even from year to year the same manufacturer may change the way they do things and the kind of parts they use for a vehicle.  As a result, there is no consistent set of parts or way the parts are assembled that tech's can count on.  When working on an RV you have to be a problem solver, looking for the best way to accomplish a task.  You have to be always questioning if what you are about to do is going to fix something or make the problem worse.  Not everyone works this way.  We've all encountered the know-it-all mechanic who only has one way to do things and won't change no matter what you say.

 

Despite all this, the rewards of traveling in an RV make it worth the challenge of getting repair work done. 


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Tom and Louise Butler
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After 9 1/2 years full time in our motor home and being Winter Texans we are now living at Sandpipers Resort in Edinburg, Texas. Now we are Summer Chickens!

"The tipi is much better to live in; always clean and warm in winter, cool in summer, easy to move... If the Great Spirit wanted men to live in one place he would have made the world stand still." -- Flying Hawk, South Dakota Oglala Sioux


#8 desertdeals69

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 06:26 PM

My suggestion is to become familiar with all the operating systems so you can discuss the situation with the service personal before the repair and have an idea of whats involved and if it sounds like they are feeding you a line go some where else.


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#9 SkipRD

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 03:52 AM

As a relatively new Class A owner (after RVing for 30+ years), I must say this is a really depressing thread, although one that matches both my experience so far and my worst fears. I don't know if folks are aware of this or not, but there is a website where one can post reviews of their RV service experiences: http://www.rvservicereviews.com/. Right now, the sample size is too small for most of the facilities for the reviews to be definitive, but I guess some information is better than none. And if more folks would share their experiences and post reviews, the usefulness of the site will improve.

 

In the meantime, I'm getting close to having to do my 7500-mile maintenance, and I've got the BCC recall to deal with, and I'm dreading taking the MH to the dealer and then dealing with all the things that are screwed up because I took it in.

 

Incidentally, I've found a mobile RV service guy who so far has done great work, who comes to my place, and whom I can watch (and learn from) as he works. I'm going to keep using him for everything I can, and roll the dice with the dealer only when necessary.

 

Skip


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#10 DickandLois

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 06:23 AM

The one item that has tipped the scales in favor of the newer members of the RVing family is the presents of forums like this one and some of us that have been owners for an extended time can pass on knowledge, information and possible sources of services and parts.

Should you be new to this life stile, just ponder the though of truly being on your own before the internet, cellphones an the GPS  system.

One used maps and a compass, not a bad skill to have.

 

I frequently thought of it as the modern day horse and buggy. The trails where paved, but the adventure was real. You must remember that our old coaches Where like the old Model T's. Got you where you wanted to go, but did not have all the complexities that are common place today. We did and can get by without our cell phones. My grand kids are lost without them.

 

Hay, I try to by a car without power windows and with a old fashioned key. That is hard to do !!!! Is it really progress ??

 

Rich.


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#11 kaypsmith

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 09:39 PM

Hello all, this thread could be depressing, especially to a newcomer to the lifestyle.

 

As Rich said, many of the new fangled gadgets are nice, but add to the complexity of your coach. Simplicity is hard to beat. My coach is home built, and this was a learning curve. All of us have problems to deal with, I pulled into a campground in Pigeon Forge Tenn., on June 29 this year. Set up, and went to dinner.

 

All was cool, as this was a 325 mile trek on that day, flawless, everything going my way. Next day I needed to air up coach to install tire covers, and to my dismay that sweet Detroit let me down. I Tried numerous RV repair places, but to my dismay, none of them knew anything about Detroit engines. A search on the internet revealed a truck and diesel repair facility in Bristol Tenn.. A call and I became acquainted with one of the nicest people in the industry, Milton Worley.

 

He and a helper drove the hundred mile journey, diagnosed the problem, then ordered the parts necessary to be delivered overnight. Next day about 1:30 Pm, they appeared in the rain, we tried to get some kind of tarp up. They worked literally in the rain till nearly dark. My wife said to me, how much will this cost? I replied probably $1500.00. When he finally presented the bill, he was apologetic that it was $943.00. I was relieved and gladly paid for his services. The rest of the vacation was of course cut back in normal expenditures, but was a wonderful stay. Moral of this short trivia is that, you must expect the bad with the good, and sometimes you will find that there can be other sources to get the same job done. As mentioned by Skip, he has found someone who will come to him for repairs. There are many of these Mobile RV repairmen out there. Most of them have worked for reputable dealers, and or repair shops. Hope that all will remember them, and don't hesitate to ask for references when calling on them. If they seem offended that you ask, those are the ones that you do not want to work on your equipment anyway.

 

Good luck to all,

 

Kay


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#12 lylefikse

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 06:47 PM

We love our motorhome and poor work will not keep us from enjoying RVing.  Will be a little more careful on who works on our motorhome.  I will go elsewhere next time I need tires.  That is for sure.  When you stand up and challenge poor work I have found most suppliers will make it right in the end.  I will do as much work myself as I can.  Sometimes it is not lack of ability but a lack of location to do the work that stops me.  As a retired farmer, I know how to pull a wrench.


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Lyle and Linda Fikse

2007 Damon Tuscany 4072

2013 Lincoln MKS


#13 hermanmullins

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 06:27 AM

Lyle,

Then you know well how to patch it to keep it running til winter when you can repair it for good.

There is an old saying that "Poor quality last much longer the a cheap price". The same will apply to workman ship. You may find that perfect repair shop some where in the back woods in an Amish Community or in the middle of down town Davenport. But you will find it.

Good luck,

 

Herman


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#14 lylefikse

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 08:06 PM

I think we did.  We stopped in Elkhart IN on a trip east to tour the Thor factory.  While there we found a business in town that does all kinds of aftermarket work.  We loved what we saw.  We have an appointment on our way home to have them put in new carpet and shades.  Also bought a couple new chairs from them.  We love them so far.


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Lyle and Linda Fikse

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#15 Monkeyrun

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 09:42 PM

I feel quite fortunate with my recent purchase of a 1999 Allegro BUS 39. A friend of mine is a retired diesel guy, sold his business and does work on the side now. This is our first RV, purchased well used with plenty of issues (which we were aware of) and most of which I have repaired in our driveway after being laid up with heart surgery for a couple of months, so "test run" has been delayed. I serviced the genset over the weekend, washed the engine and made a list of stuff to be done so my buddy can get that stuff serviced. Most everything else system-wise is quite similar to the plethora of boats I have owned or worked on over the years, I can troubleshoot most of it. Dreading that first mechanical breakdown but I suppose it will happen at some point. 

 

To the original poster, keep the faith. The RV dealerships are no better than the the marine industry, you will find a few good ones but the bad far outnumber them. Learn to fix most of the stuff yourself. My coach was delivered by the selling dealer while I was laid up. Somehow the windshield was no longer connected to the vehicle at the top, they denied knowing anything about it. Amazing people can be so crooked. 


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Best regards,

 

 

Monkey Run 

Ole' Number 7

Allegro Bus 39

 


#16 OnDahRd

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 03:53 PM

This thread really hits home for me, I bought my first 38 DP last year. Since then it has been one frustrating thing after another. I admit I got burned, I was told there was nothing wrong with the coach, nothing, by a trusted seller. Since then I had the windshield refit (leaked), the engine air conditioning lines replaced from front to back (burned), new tires, front end alligned at a different shop (the tire shop does not do allignment, imagine that), installed after market Safety Plus Stabilizer (severiy wandering), Replaced Ice maker, Replaced curtains, disassembled and repaired propane pipes (leaked), repaired a genset that was falling out of the bottom of the coach (broken welds), and many little things to boot. It is finally done.

 

I have found the repairs done myself were done right the first time, all other repairs done by shops took several attempts at times to complete a decent job. While the shops stood by their work and repaired at no extra cost, my time to return the coach was never reimbursed and my time was considerable, considering that repair shops were an average of an hour away and I still needed a ride home after.

 

Now that I have brought this coach back to great condition I have one more trip then I will sell, and try this one more time. Albiet this time a little wiser. If this has the same outcome, its back to boating.


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#17 Monkeyrun

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 08:41 PM

I would say that the motorhome industry is about where the boat industry was in the 80s and early 90s, some pretty shoddy stuff being built but it all looked real pretty. If you look back at the early glass boats such as Hatts and Chris-craft, most were overbuilt. Same was true with the Bluebird Coaches. Enter a bunch of backyard boat "builders" turning out junk for a quick profit and we see the 80s. Stringers made of pine and painted with gelcoat, terrible wiring, seats that fell apart etc.

 

We see motorhomes with no provisions being built into the construction to prevent the core material in the walls from getting wet and delaminating. In both cases, there are/were limited knowledgeable resources to repair this stuff. 

 

I have a new boat which I am selling and will most likely purchase another old boat to restore. Also have an old motorhome but it does allow me to work on most of the systems myself without any special tools or talents. Saddest part of this is, the dumbing down of our society/workforce is going to further limit options for the future. 


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Best regards,

 

 

Monkey Run 

Ole' Number 7

Allegro Bus 39

 


#18 teddychamp

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 08:13 PM

The problem with the Motor Coaches is that there are no Schematics or Drawings of Electrics or Plumbing. There are no wires marked or numbered, the included Literatures are Installation Instructions from the different Suppliers such Refrigerators, Microwaves etc. All the wiring and plumbing is done when the motorhome is a Shell and is not accessible once the Motorhome is finished. Electrical components are all over the place, unmarked, in Engine and Storage compartments and all over inside the coach. This kind of work used to be years ago in the Boating Industry, now you get complete wiring and Plumbing Schematics, locations and parts are numbered, and are easy to trouble shoot. I wish to Motorhome Industry would take an example from them.
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#19 Monkeyrun

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 09:08 PM

My old 80s vintage Silverton had schematics with it in the owner's literature, my new Robalo did not. Granted, the wires are labeled, a big help, and the wiring was just as sloppy as the Silverton. High-end manufacturers within the boat industry produce  nicely done products, wiring and all. Not certain where the motorhomes are at these days. My old Allegro BUS does have schematics included but you are right about the wiring all over the place!


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Best regards,

 

 

Monkey Run 

Ole' Number 7

Allegro Bus 39

 


#20 ahepburn51

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 07:05 PM

I contacted Fleetwood and received complete electrical (both 12VDC and 120VAC) schematics, as well as plumbing schematics for our 2007 Bounder.

 

As for wiring accessibility - it's really no different than a stick and brick home - the wiring is typically hidden behind sheet rock.


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