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Funny story about an oil change

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Recently we had our oil changed at Camping World and all went very smoothly, very timely and nice people. Before going there to have it changed, I called several places for pricing. One of the ones I contacted was EconoLube, as we had driven by it right behind Camping World and seen an ad in their window saying they offered this service. We looked at each other and said, "I don't think EconoLube would be very experienced in this?" Then we thought, well, maybe they could be as they are right behind Camping World and there are a ton of RVs in that area, so what the heck? You can't loose anything with a call. Here's how it went ...

"Econo Lube, May I help you?"

"Yes, I would like to know the price of an oil change for a National RV TropiCal class A diesel motorhome that is 36' long, please."

"Oh, that would be $42.99"

"Are you sure? That does not seem right."

"I'm new here. Let me ask my manager..." yelling goes on... "Hey, Joe, how much is an oil change for a motorhome?

"Excuse me, sir? Tell him it is a class A Diesel ..."

"Hang on, Joe, Mam? I don't think that makes a diffence? It's just a standard motorhome, right?

By now, of course I know that I am not taking it here, but I am amused so I keep on.

"Just tell him please? It might make a difference."

"I don't think so but ok ..." Hey, Joe, it's a Class A diesel 36'.

"Ohhhhh," said Joe, that's way different, "$75.

Then I said, "It is very tall like a bus. Can it fit in the bay?"

"No problem. We can go as high as 9.5 or 10' we are well set up here.

"Will you be over today?"

"I will let you know, but actually you guys better check your facts and your setup. You can't handle RVs at all."

Then we went to Camping World.

Always ask a bunch of questions. You never know what response you will get, and by the way ... what exactly is just a standard motorhome?

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And then you think you know your service people and this happens...

We went to Cummins (not a dealer or third party, THE Cummins Shop) in the Denver area, Aurora I think. Anyway, we parked there overnight with electric hook up. The next morning we're in the shop early. These places have a knack for turning a one hour job into three. We're in the waiting room overlooking the shop floor and our motor home. There is plenty of time when no one is around the motor home, the job is going slow. A little later I look and the motor home is part way out of the shop. They are cleaning up something under the motor home. It turns out they had finished the job and started the engine when they realized they forgot to install the new oil filter. They cleaned the engine. When they turned the motor home over to us, I checked it and had them clean the rear tires and re-do the inside of the engine compartment.

We needed some tire work done and Cummins recommended a tire shop in Denver that does work for them, TDS. We went there and got tires rotated and an alignment done. We were experiencing strong vibration on the front tires. After the job was done it was no better but we were down the road headed to Phoenix. We went to the Freightliner shop in Phoenix where they told us the front wheel was cracked. If it was cracked before TDS worked on it, they should have noticed it. I concluded that they over-torqued the lug nuts on the front wheels. Now when I go to a tire shop I tell them that I expect the lug nuts torqued.

We had a flat tire at the FMCA Convention in Minneapolis in 2008. It was some road debris that we picked up coming into Minneapolis or at the FMCA assembly area. The tire went completely flat on the drive from the assembly area to the convention. We had the tire repaired on site but when the second dual carries all the weight it will be damaged so both tires were replaced at the Goodyear Wingfoot facility south of Minneapolis. I ended up basically giving them a lesson in tire installation. They were going to slop the tires on the rims and run me out of the shop. I had to instruct them in how to mount steer tires, check for out of round, how to correct it. After watching the first error from inside the motor home, I was in the shop watching the job and checking readings for out of round, watching the torquing of lug nuts. It was absolutely the worst tire job I have ever seen. I haven't decided if they just figured this RV rube wouldn't know the difference or if they really were that incompetent.

Camping World in Mission, TX replaced the computer control board for our Splendide washer/dryer two and a half years ago. It just quit working again. I called Westland Sales this time with the error code and discussed the problem. The tech immediately identified the problem. I tore down the w/d and sure enough, it was a burned/melted plug on the computer board. I called the tech at Westland Sales back and discussed what I found. They shipped me a new control board and a new surge protector. The board comes with three plugs with pigtails to be spliced into the existing lines thus replacing the old plugs. The instructions are clear, the new plugs are to be used. Camping World hadn't replaced the plug that failed, it had never been spliced. Their short cut cost me nearly $300. I watched the whole job and never saw the replacement plugs. They had clearly removed them before they left the shop, I would never know the difference... but now I do!

I had an awning failure, collapsed when filled with water. I went to Freedom RV in Wentzville to have a new Carefree Mirage awning installed. They removed the old one and installed the new one. They couldn't get it to fit onto the baseplate above the front door because of the curvature of the motor home. I should have blown the whistle right there but didn't. They put some extra screws in it and caulked it and we were on our way. Arriving at our first park, I opened the awning and noticed that the case pulled away from the motor home significantly as the awning extended to its full length. I called Freedom RV and we eventually took the motor home back in to have the awning re-installed. I had them start putting the awning on the base plate at the front of the motor home and then work it back. Pop, it went on perfectly! The senior tech remarked in amazement, "That was easy!" I knew that awning had to be able to go on the base plate properly, the old one was on there properly...

I'm still trying to get the auto generator start to work properly after having Camping World in Wheat Ridge, CO install a new inverter and auto gen start last spring. I returned to get some work re-done before we left town but at our first overnight the generator wouldn't start automatically and it still won't. I have a service number assigned from Xantrex but after three weeks, haven't heard a word from their tech department. I've e-mailed them about this and they still haven't responded. I have an appointment in Tucson to have them take a look at the auto generator start.

We've been on the road for eight plus years and have had many good repair jobs and proper service work, the above represent only a small percentage of the numerous trips to shops. If I do the work and screw it up because of my lack of knowledge, I'll accept that, I'm just an RV rube. I really resent it when the "pros" slop through a job and fail to complete it properly.

So now I no longer trust anyone to do a job properly. Trust but verify. If you can't see the work being done, go somewhere else. If they won't let you in the shop and most places won't, watch from just outside the shop door. When you see a problem, talk to the tech doing the work. If you aren't satisfied, talk to the shop foreman or the service representative. I love to be able to watch someone work on my motor home, I figure I'm getting a lesson in how to do the work next time. Even if it is impossible for me to do the service or repair, it helps me understand my equipment.

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