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Routine Maintenance Suggestions for Houston Area

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My first year of owning a diesel pusher is fast approaching meaning it's time for engine and generator oil and filter changes, radiator / intercooler external cleaning, etc.  PPL Motorhomes performed this work when I purchased the "new to me" motorhome in August 2015 and just did an OK job. My Google search results show RV Masters, Felton's RV Service, the RV dealers (Camping World etc.) for maintenance work.  My 2007 Damon Astoria is on a Freightliner Custom Chassis thus the Houston Freightliner service center is another option.    I'd appreciate thoughts / guidance anyone has about the best routine maintenance providers in the Houston area.  Thanks!!

 

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Mike,

I have had my coach serviced at a place called Diamond Truck service. Two years ago at a cost of $285.00. Last year, after it became Freightliner, I had it serviced , aka, PM, and the cost was $468.00. After much discussion they did reduce that to $350.00. Every filter had doubled and or tripled in cost. This year I went back to Southwest International in McKinney, TX Total $348.00. 

I know you are in Katy but give Action RV in Conroe a call and see if they do PM service. They are a very well respected Shop.

Good Luck, hope to meet you when you come to the Six-State Rally in Shawnee September 12 to 15th.

Herman

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What ever else you do, stay far away from Camping World Katy or anywhere else!  I have taken mine to Cummins, Houston in the past, but last time I went to Motorhomes of Texas, Google them, great Service and the folks there know their business, fair pricing. 

Carl

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Don't know if you know, they opened up 25ac., on other side of Loop...That's  where all pre-sales, sales and test drives are at.  The original site is now just service for folks like us. :D

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I have used Houston Freightliner for the past 8 years. The RV Tech there is Matt.  I am very satisfied with his work.  They will do what you ask or you can just give them the maintenance sheet out of the manual (copy of) and cross out what you do not want done.

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I started out with Camping World since they were all over the US and we are full timers. All I can say is I've had trouble with  each of five times dealing with them, yes they eventually fixed it correct but you expect it right the first time.

Since then I have used Freightliner all over the US with good results each time.

 

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Our mechanical service and some repairs are performed by Town Center Automotive in the Woodlands.  This firm specializes in high end autos such as Benz, Ferrari, Lambos, Porsches etc.  The owner is a friend and his family has coaches.  This shop knows what they're doing and are extremely meticulous.

Action RV has also done some mechanical repairs for us but we mainly go there for the "house" systems.  They do excellent work and are very knowledgeable.

Blake

 

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One hand free Blake.  That's good info ! :)  You can't have one of those cars...except for the Benz, their all stick shift....hey, hold this! :lol:

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If I may jump in here, some of you may know me as the newbie who is considering buying an older Tiffin DP.   Any recommendations for good shops NE Ohio, specifically Akron area?  Herman, I take some comfort in your comments above,  if the $275-350 quoted is the annual regular maintenance cost.

To throw something else out there...... What should a brake job cost?   Wheel alignment?  Not needed now, but if I buy the thing, probably have it long enough to need them.

The current owner of the Tiffin said the FMCA was very good outfit, and while he is old school....no internet, I see he was correct.

I appreciate any & all comments.

 

Mike

 

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Mike.  You can't go by the price of service in Texas and say it's the same in Ohio...guessing it's higher where your at.  Since Indiana is your next door neighbor and 90% of all RV's are now made there, that's the place to shop around for service, it's a hit and miss thing. 

If you buy this coach and you have the time, drive it to Red Bay, AL.  Home of Tiffin and have them go thru the coach...it would also serve as a shake down trip and you could have anything that may not work be fixed at factory!

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Mike, a brake job should cost you around $500.00 to $750.00 per axle. That seems to be an average for brakes, drums, S Cam bushings and all labor. They will last quite a while on a DP especially if it has an engine brake.

Parts, retail pricing;

Shoes; $150.00 per axle

Drums; $280.00 per axle

S Cam bushing kit; $24.00 per axle (if needed)

Labor shouldn't exceed 2 hours per axle, unless the wheels are seized to the hubs.

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8 minutes ago, Shoveldog said:

Thanks Joe.

Your welcome! If you purchase that please post photos of it in the gallery, I would love to see it!

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8 minutes ago, Shoveldog said:

Thanks Joe.

Your welcome! If you purchase that please post photos of it in the gallery, I would love to see it!

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We had our 2007 Tuscany serviced at Mustang Cat in Houston.  Quality work at a fair price.  Oil, filters, lube, valve adjustment on our C7, and general all around check of belts, hoses, and fluids.  $750

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Know the place.  Mike is in Ohio and may or may not buy the coach...so, anything in Texas does not apply, until he takes a trip here, if he gets a DP.  My guess is that he is concerned about the cost of maintaining and feeding before he buys the horse.:D

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We are pretty close to pulling the trigger on the Allegro Bus.  Gathering the funds, getting estimates on insurance, and other things.  There is a good secure self-storage lot 2 miles away.  That said, I am leaning toward keeping it at home where I can keep it on tenders in the winter months.  The Bus is at least 8 feet longer and a bit bulkier than the old class C, so it will cramp us a bit until we retire.   Snow-blowing around it won't be fun either.  Included in the sale are 2 tow bars, and tho I have not examined them yet, with any luck, I can get a base plate for our Jeep Liberty to fit one of them.   BYW a Cleveland area shop quoted me $500.00 for a general maintenance including oil & filters and a full chassis lube.  Couple of over the road truck shops said no RVs and one suggested Camping World….HA!   Suspect I can do better with some more looking.  I think I will try the first one myself and decide from there. The current owner probably has some good thoughts on the subject.

Mike

 

 

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Mike, I'm not sure of your mechanical aptitude, if you have ever done some work on your cars you will figure that coach out. What you don't know just ask on here. I spent most of my younger life as a truck technician and a technical trainer/writer for a public utility. Beyond me with the other members is an incredible amount of experience and training. They are always willing to jump in and help. I'm sure if you have the basic skills someone on here can walk you through it.

plus if you join FMCA plan on attending seminars at their annual and semi annual family reunions. While I haven't attended one yet that is where you will get the knowledge to keep that on the road and operating properly. 

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Stay far away from CW! :( 

Tow Bars are universal, just a matter off personal preference.  Base plate are based upon model year, you'll find that jeep is easy to come by...that is the only thing I would order from CW...Base Plate and the bar...have any garage put it on and match your electrical to the coach...I recommend for breaks, M & G Engineering, because their easy and work with you coach air break system, you have nothing in the jeep to take out each time you disconnect from bar. 

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I think we lost the OP.  But, there seems to be interest from others on routine maintenance. 

When performing annual, remember to inspect air dryer and change filter.  Block chassis with jacks after dumping air in the event there's trapped air in the system so the coach doesn't crush you.

Also crawl up on the roof and inspect caulking and insure A/Cs are tight.  We had to re-caulk this season and also found that our A/Cs needed to be tightened down.

A/C bolts are accessed from inside the coach (4) for each unit.

Blake

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Blake.  Inside your coach, OK, not mine  unless you take celling down.  Rear AC, probably thru vent, the other 2, no vent under AC. 

Last post by OP was 10 hrs. ago.

How do you crawl on a roof with a beer in your hand?:(  I don't do roof ! :ph34r:

Air drier insp. definitely...I change filter when I change oil, about every 12-14 months, that also depends on how dusty the area is that I have run coach.  2 years ago, I changed filter after 2 months, got caught in a dust storm on I-10 between Las Cruzes and Lordsburg...got off in Deming, then they closed the Freeway, for 18 hours.  Here hold my wine! :lol:

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Thanks for responses from the Houston area folks for my question about routine service!  And, nice discussion about services in other parts of the country!

I have a follow-up question for the Houston area folks.  I called Houston Freightliner and Houston Cummins about getting service.  Houston Freightliner has a six week backlog for routine service and Houston Cummins stated routine service is not their forte.  So, some additional "Goggling" revealed a couple of other options: 

1) RV Mobile Lube who will change oil, filters, lube the chassis, etc. for both the engine and generator at a storage facility or at a home (their website shows they provide service in the Houston, Dallas and Hill Country areas --> http://www.rvmobilelube.com/get_service_here.php

2) B-Line Lube in Brookshire, TX -->  Their "full service package" for the engine is ~$250 plus another $100 for generator service for a total of ~$350.   This price is HALF of the price quoted by Houston Freightliner and Camping World in Katy.  Has anyone had their diesel pusher serviced at B-Line Lube? --> http://www.blinelube.com/services.html

As always, your thoughts and guidance are very much appreciated!

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Forgot to add "has anyone ever used RV Mobile" for routine oil/filter service?  Their cost is hundreds more than the price for B-Line Lube.

 

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