Jump to content
GliderCoach

State of Motorhome Maintenance

Recommended Posts

We've been full-timing for three years. Our experiences cover both routine maintenance (which is easy to schedule in advance), and non-routine maintenance (like an inoperative refrigerator).

Here is our experience with the motorhome maintenance services:

  • A few individual technicians are very good. We go out of our way to use them. They are busy.
  • A number of technicians and maintenance shops are 'iffy' on a good day. They are busy.
  • Dealers are not very useful as they are usually backed up (one told us they could get to us in three weeks, if we bought the coach from them).
  • Our manufacturer has good support that we can call as owners, and this has helped us out a number of times.

Overall, I haven't been impressed with how the industry operates. Is it just our particular 'luck of the draw', or is these experieces typical for other folks?

Regards,

Eric

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Over the years traveling, living full time in the motor home and now just summer travels, we've found wide variance in service. Each service center, facility or provider we have used has been different. Some are good, some are great and others are very poor. They vary with time. We had a dependable repair shop in San Antonio for several years but our recent experience has led us to cross them off the list of possible stops. We have found our manufacturer to be a very dependable stop but one or two times not what we expected or needed. Most times they have been great. We prefer the shop in Coburg, Oregon for our best service. Cummins Coach Care (Cummins and Onan) service is generally excellent. We recently stopped in Harrisburg, PA and they gave us the best-ever service. The shop in the Denver area has also been very good over the years. We've tried a number of dealer shops and the only one we would go out of our way for is Paul Everet's RV Country in Fresno, CA. They have provided good service every time we've been there. If we ever purchase another motor home, they get our business. Obviously we haven't visited every dealer shop so this is not to say that other dealers don't provide good service, this is just the best we've found so far. When it comes to general chassis work we look for Freightliner and tires I have no recommendation whatsoever. We bought our last Michelin tires from a shop that didn't have the equipment to mount them (inferior balancing and no ability to test for round) so we had that done at a Goodyear dealer in the Sacramento area that had the best balancing/test equipment we've ever seen. I've been to other Goodyear shops where the tech didn't know how to use a torque wrench! Take your windshield chip work to Safelite, the replacements go to the factory shop if at all possible. We had one replaced at an auto glass shop and I cringed through the whole process.

The industry has changed over the years. In 2008 there was a great shakeout. There were very few RV's on the road for years after the crash. Fuel prices were high and many dealers and manufacturers went out of business. A recovery is under way now, the number of RV's we saw on the road this summer were the most we've seen in years. It will take years for the industry to recover and it may never return to the golden days of the late 90's and early 00's. Fuel prices are a major factor. If people aren't driving their RV's, they are not supporting the manufacturers, repair shops or dealers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We try to stay away from Camping World. They are untrustworthy and expensive. We have had too many personal instances with them and we can't seem to remember one time when we were a satisfied customer. Unfortunately, if the company is large-- they are busy and expensive. If they are small, they are backlogged and may not be able to resolve your issues. It's tough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing I found surprising is how many RV dealers will sell you a $500,000 unit and refuse to work on it. I have two local RV dealers one is a Monaco/HR/Tiffin dealer, I called them for a Chassis question, they explained to me that they do not perform any chassis work, not even an oil change or a light bulb replacement. If you have a problem with your furnace we will be glad to help I was told, I explained to them I have an Aqua Hot....yep you guessed it "we cannot help you if you have a problem with that, its to technologically advanced and I am not sure we could fit a 40' bus in the shop". Seriously you have no problem collecting some ones money during the sale but provide no service after? I cringe at the thought I may need service one day I cannot perform myself. The other one is not trustworthy and they are known for it so I am on my own out here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like my experiences are not unique.

Tiffin has a good factory service program for newer coaches. I've heard it said that a trip to Red Bay, Alabama, is a right of passage for Tiffin owners, and it is great for those in the south-eastern part of the country. The Freightliner chassis manufacturing facility sounds like a good stop, but it is further east.

I'm surprised no one has developed a quality service facility in the mid-west or west that has a national level visibility. There is certainly demand out there for folks who would use a 'destination' service facility, rather than the current "try the local shop and cross your fingers" method. I know I would happily travel hundreds of miles out of my way to get quality maintenance performed, especially if they took appointments.

After three years, my one conclusion is that, if I was younger, I'd go to an RV Tech school and start some sort of service. There is money to be made (especially with the waiting lists for even the 'weaker' shops).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Been very fortunate that I can do the majority of what needs to be done. Servicing the chassis, generator, engine and the bulk of the "house" repairs are not hard for me.

If needed, for coach/system issues there is a good RV dealer nearby who will do that work and I have had them do things in the past when time was an issue. They however don't deal in the the diesel market and won't do engine or chassis work. For that, there is a Cummins coach care as well as a excellent independent shop within a half an hours drive form home.

Like GliderCoach, If retirement wasn't 12 months away, I could see starting a mobile RV service.

By the way, it seems that a lot of the mobile folks get fairly high marks and seem to be . I wonder if a lot of them got tired of the big dealer "get it out the door" attitude and went out on their own so they could it right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with "good factory service" is that if the coach was built correctly, no trip to the factory would be necessary. Minor repairs can be handled at the dealers, major problems go back to the factory.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is so much that could be done in the industry to make a quality RV. Just for background I was working in a quality driven industry. I was working in the last station of final assembly on the F-35 line. We had to sell everything to the customer and prove it worked.
So I kind of know what it takes to deliver a quality product the RV industry not so much. I don’t see the will to change.
You could do a lot to reduce weight with aluminum and composite structurers. Using honeycomb construction you could save a lot of weight in doors and cabinets. I like carbon fiber parts but now days that is becoming a generic term as the fibers in the mix can vary greatly from just carbon.
The only problem is you need an autoclave to cure the finished/semi finished parts. Hear is a link to my old job where you can see several autoclaves in the top picture in the article.

http://www.compositesworld.com/news/sierra-nevada-lockheed-martin-unveil-dream-chaser-composite-structure

With one this big you could make the entire RV from composite. Could you imagine a 45 ft. diesel pusher with a composite one piece body that is stronger more rigid and over 50% lighter?

http://www.aschome.com/index.php/en/asc-completes-worlds-largest-autoclave
There are places doing work on building parts without using an autoclave.

http://www.gmtcomposites.com/why/autoclave
I think you will see more use of 3D printing to make parts. We were using 3D printing to make rapid prototyping tooling details for repairs.

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The dealer POINTED out that they "Ordered" these things when we went through the RV during pickup.Of course they would be covered by warranty.Today for the second time since picking up the RV we went to the dealer service dept.again they acted like I came from outer space.their response "what parts? who ordered them?who told you they were ordered?who walked you thru the Rv during delivery?"What kind of parts were they?I'm surprised she didn't ask me for the part numbers! and No I didn't call Fleetwood! is that what a owner has to do in order to get the dealer to do his job??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If that is the kind of service you get from the dealer you purchased your coach from, yes you should call Fleetwood. They need to know what kind of service their dealers are providing customers. When talking to the Factory ask them for a better dealer where you can have your warranty work done.

That being said when you have outstanding service you should also let the manufacturer also know. They always get the bad news and appreciate hearing the Good News.

Herman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok got a call from Findlay Rv dealer service advisor here in LAS VEGAS!!..this morning. As I expected there is NO paper trail that these parts were ever ordered!! and I have to bring this motorhome in so they can see what parts are needed..Now I need to bring it an anyhow as there is a raw sewage leak from the rear toilet and if you select city water from the hose it fills the on board storage tank also to overflowing. Yep service with a smile!!

FLEETWOOD are you LISTENING????

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK I have hunted for a phone number for SOMEONE at FLEETWOOD who I can talk to about my problems with this bounder and the dealer.anyone got a phone number?

Thanks

FLEETWOOD: Parts, Service & Technical Support, 800-322-8216

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Latest problems is the rear toilet leaks and the side window won't close/ Took 5 weeks to convince the dealer the toilet is leaking.she said they ordered the parts.then part of the assembly was back ordered.now 4 weeks later she says the "order was lost" and needed to be reordered.We wanted to be on the road this weekend.but were stuck here waiting for the "Dealer"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...