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Old 11-25-2022, 12:37 PM   #1
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New and Used RV owner frustrations

One thing I've come to realize in reading many of the posts on various topics. Regardless if one has purchased a new RV or a used RV, they best be prepared to be an electrician, a plumber, a woodworker, and a mechanic. And they should have adequate knowledge and experience in all of those disciplines along with the tools needed.

Most all use the same brand of pumps, ACs, converter systems, refrigerators, furnaces and etc. Having the manual for each is a plus and these can be downloaded from various sites.

Regardless of new with a warranty or used, be prepared to do the work yourself or expect to spend weeks or months at a dealer while you are paying the note and not having use of your RV.

I've often stated, "new guarantees new, but not necessarily good." Expect that and you won't be disappointed.

Bob
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Old 11-25-2022, 03:30 PM   #2
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being handy with tools and having the ability to learn new skills is certainly important when getting into RV'ing, otherwise you will be at the mercy of others and your wallet and patience will be drained rather quickly
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Old 11-27-2022, 01:13 AM   #3
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No reason to deal with a dealer. I'm going on my 7th year and only took my toy hauler back to the dealer the first year to fix some 'things' and add a couple others. They had it over night to order/get parts and I stayed in a motel. They did not have a lot where I could stay but I've heard of a lot of people who have done that. Since then I've used RV repair folks...some great, some good and a couple clowns. I do not have the ability or knowledge to 'fix' most things and my tools amount to a couple screwdrivers, a couple hammers, and a handful of other items. I'm also full time, so 5-6 months of the year I'm on the road no where near the dealer where I bought it. The rest of the time I spend where it doesn't snow... I've heard that even if under warranty, you can use an RV tech with prior permission from the factory and they will reimburse you the agreed on costs.

Things I've had done by an RV tech include the thermistor for my Fridge, water leak underneath my shower floor, electrical as in changing out a light, replacing the brains in the air conditioner - I'm sure all you handy guys could have done these things, but some of us can't.
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Old 11-27-2022, 11:13 AM   #4
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My first 5th wheel never needed to go to the dealership except for when I tried to remove the AC with a low wire. My new one has a few problems that are covered under warranty. Since I really don’t have time or place ( in emergency and small items curbside is doable.) so yes I take to the dealership I can fix if I had to. I am decent with my hands, I have built a house ground up it’s a basic rectangle 1 bath 1 bed but 10 years later keep you warm and dry. Rebuilt a 350 dropped a few trannies for others to work on along with a variety of other auto repairs. Sometimes dealers are more convenient. Once my wallet comes out I will change my tune
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Old 11-27-2022, 11:24 AM   #5
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Cars have become so reliable, most drivers never open the hood.

Too many people assume RVs have similar quality and are sadly disappointed.

The majority of RVs are built for occasional weekend use and high maintenance (2-4 inspections and corrections per year). Add in the shortage of experienced labor for manufacturing and maintenance and we have the current situation.

Us “Old timers” expect to spend days or weeks a year maintaining our rigs. The majority of new buyers expect a maintenance free experience much like their cars.

I have a 2006 motorhome that I will keep for many more years(5+). I cannot imagine spending $130k to replace it and have the same problems per year as my old rig.
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Old 11-27-2022, 10:40 PM   #6
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We've had a 21 Graywolf 22RR and now a 22XLR 335LRLE. In the roughly 3 years, the majority of our issues have all been cosmetic. Poor craftsmanship. We've had minor water leaks, etc, but nothing we couldn't handle.



With a little knowledge (this forum is a great source), a simple tool box, and a multimeter, you can fix 95 percent of your problems.



That said, I've been in industrial maintenance for 40 years, so its easy for me, but the average person can deal with most issues.


The biggest issue I see is a lack of understanding of how rv systems work and I blame that on the dealerships. They do crappy jobs of demonstrating the rv at delivery.
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Old 11-28-2022, 07:12 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by rsdata View Post
being handy with tools and having the ability to learn new skills is certainly important when getting into RV'ing, otherwise you will be at the mercy of others and your wallet and patience will be drained rather quickly
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Old 11-28-2022, 12:47 PM   #8
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It seems that what many of you refer to as "knowing everything about your RV" and "having to perform constant maintenance" puzzle me.
An RV is (I guess) more like a house than a mobile vehicle, but has some of those parts, too.
Funny, I do rountine maintenance on my motorcycle, my truck, and my house, but I also know to call expert technicians when needed.
Many of you seem to advise newbies that they have to be able to do everything from replumbing the rig to putting new pisons in the powerplant.
As Andy Griffith said in 1965, "Call the man".
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Old 11-28-2022, 01:06 PM   #9
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It seems that what many of you refer to as "knowing everything about your RV" and "having to perform constant maintenance" puzzle me.
An RV is (I guess) more like a house than a mobile vehicle, but has some of those parts, too.
Funny, I do rountine maintenance on my motorcycle, my truck, and my house, but I also know to call expert technicians when needed.
Many of you seem to advise newbies that they have to be able to do everything from replumbing the rig to putting new pisons in the powerplant.
As Andy Griffith said in 1965, "Call the man".
I think what many are saying is do your homework before buying an R/V so you at least have an idea what to expect. if you are handy, all well and good. If not, you need a different approach.

I often tell new buyers looking to buy a new R/V who are not handy that finding the right dealer for service (or network of mobile repair) is every bit as important as finding a dealer who gives them the money deal they are looking for. That in itself can be a HUGE chore as many dealers just want the money deal and could care less about service after the sale.

Again, doing your homework on all aspects of a major monetary purchase such as a R/V is imperative.
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Old 11-28-2022, 01:59 PM   #10
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Great post and so true. Can’t tell you how many trips, money and time I’ve saved by doing some research and fixing things myself. YouTube is amazing and makes even a hack like me look smart. I’ve also found Forrest River support to be lacking and have had much faster and better response going directly to the component manufacturers. They actually have people who pick up the phone and are eager to help.
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Old 12-01-2022, 12:31 PM   #11
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Over the past 14-15 years of owning three class A's, all bought used, I've learned to try to fix everything myself before seeking help. I was lucky with my first two rigs, a 2000 Allegro and then a 2011 Georgetown that I had my brother around that could build or fix anything. His help really came through securing the totally unsecured hot water tank in the GT along with helping me install new Kwikee steps.

Of my three rigs, my current Sportscoach in my signature has tried my patience the most, and my brother has passed on so I'm left to my own devices.

But I have been able to replace the ice maker water line for the residential fridge, repair and replace the thermostat on the hot water tank while on the road, fix one of the cable tensioners on the bedroom slide-out (cable operated slide-out), repair and replace a partial piece of the wood on the bottom of the bedroom slide after the original wood rotted out after the breather valve (proper name?) under the bathroom sink went bad and the rig was filling with water while using the black tank flush.

Recently I replaced the electric fireplace, luckily Amazon had the exact replacement, and I have replaced the water pump, again while on the road.

Mis-haps I have had to take it to a dealer for repair is I have had to have "Three" main slide-out toppers replaced this year alone! Two were ripped away by high cross winds and the third one was by a rogue tree branch. During the first topper repair, I also had to have the hot water tank water lines behind it repaired because of leaking. I tried to remove the tank myself but Coachman didn't leave a rear access port anywhere to get to the water lines and they weren't long enough to remove the tank. The dealer had to take out the entire compartment to get the tank out. That repair was expensive, $600 mostly labor.

I probably carry as many hand tools and a small electric drill with me as I have at home. Harbor Freight is great for decent wrenches and small ratchet sets to have on board.

During my boating days on Lake Erie a friend of mine passed along a good rule I have tried to take to my RV adventures and that is to carry as many tools as you can because even if you don't know how to use them or can't do the repair maybe someone will come along that does know how to fix your rig and at least having the tool(s) available might make the difference of getting back on the road, or a phone call.
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Old 12-01-2022, 08:29 PM   #12
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Well said and true.
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Old 12-01-2022, 08:47 PM   #13
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It's like having a new boat/ship... you spend 2 years working the bugs out then you are ok (other than routine maintenance) for about 3 years then stuff starts wearing out.

I'm VERY fortunate to have the skills to fix 90% of things. I did have to take my '12 Sanibel 5th wheel back to the factory contract repair guy in Indiana to get the chassis strengthened, a known problem it turns out that unless YOU notice it & complain they won't say/do anything. They did fix a few other things while in the shop for free, like the 'fridge ripping out of the cabinet.

In the past 9.5 years this is MOST of what I've done (I'm sure I've forgotten some things).

The factory sent me several things to fix myself while under warranty. Real fun stuff like shower pan, kitchen faucet & kitchen overhead pendant light. They also sent me a new 50amp power cord by mistake, they didn't want it shipped back, that was cool.

Once out of warranty I've done MANY repairs/replacements myself. Water heater, water pump, several more kitchen faucets (they plug up easily), toilet (flushing holes plugged up), roof vent fan motors, TV mounts, EVERY pleated blind repaired (some a few times), a dryer on top of the Splendede washer (washes OK, drying sucks), a new track/roller system for the bathroom to bedroom door, I built a new solid wood bathroom sink cabinet (water mushed up the pressboard original). I installed a high quality bathroom sink faucet while it was apart. I've changed out the microwave & stove/oven for newer/better models. New 'fridge seals. I rebuilt the furnace completely-only the tin housing & heat exchanger are original. I've also replaced both slide motors on the bed slide. I've gone through several sets of axle shock absorbers. A couple door knobs on the bathroom door. A couple new plugs on the trailer to truck harness-salt air ruins them quickly. I've had to do some major repairs to the kitchen slide mechanism and replace much of the lower sheet metal around the trailer. A couple new rear roof ladders too.

Most recently I've recarpeted the living room/entertainment slide/couch-dining slide as well as the stairs & landing up to the bathroom. The bedroom MAY get new carpet in January but it's a big job that requires removing the bed & all the cabinets as well as the washer/dryer.

I've PAID to have the sewer valves replaced, the cables get REAL sticky. I also paid to have a living window slide glass replaced. I had a mobile tech install a new fwd AC last year. All were EXPENSIVE.

I do my own routine maint. such as wheel bearings, brakes (upgraded to self adjusting), suspension spring pivots/bushings. When I need tires I remove them & take them to the tire store & reinstall them myself - no impact wrenches allowed.

9.5 years fulltiming & towing it over 60k with only 1 issue on the road the first year. A blown tire but they are upgraded to a larger size/higher load rating & I have an air compressor to keep them topped off. In 2021 we crossed the continental divide 11 times.

Occasionally I think about getting a newer 5th wheel but I just don't think I'll get a good deal these days. In Jan. '13 I paid $50k for this unit with an $85k list price. Unsold '12 & they wanted it off the lot.

Face it, RVs are a lot of work-more than a house because you are beating the poop out of it on the rough roads. Skills are good to have but most can be learned as you go.

Ken
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Old 12-01-2022, 09:13 PM   #14
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I've learned that if you get the feeling that you might want an R.V., go lay down until the feeling goes away!! I say that tongue in cheek, sorta. We've had a blast with my R.V. and I can't bring myself to say I regret buying it but dang. It has been fairly trouble free so far (knock on wood) but it's delaminating which is apparently a death sentence if a person would like to get rid of it or trade it in. Think hard before you make the leap. Maybe try renting a few times to see if you enjoy it enough to make that kind of commitment unless money is no object for you.
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Old 12-01-2022, 09:18 PM   #15
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Good thread....

I've been fortunate enough to be able to do most of my repairs myself with a lot of help from others here on the forum. I'm very thankful for that.
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Old 12-02-2022, 11:27 AM   #16
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Yeah, kudos to this forum, IRV2 forum, and YouTube for us less mechanically inclined individuals to be able to get by.
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Old 12-02-2022, 12:35 PM   #17
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Have to agree with the above posts - Google, and forums like this are invaluable if you want to work on anything unfamiliar.

I was fortunate that I gained some experience in pretty much all of the trades while in the service. However, that was a long time ago and things change. I'm not afraid to at least try to resolve an issue myself and I'm pretty good at figuring out when I'm in over my head. In fact, I solved a recent mystery problem using this very forum!

I bought my trailer new, and already knowing what to expect from extensive research beforehand, I sprung for the extended warranty. The warranty actually paid for itself when problems solved were way beyond my expertise. Now that it has expired, I am far more motivated to resolve problems myself, if at all possible.
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Old 12-14-2022, 12:37 PM   #18
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I've already had to fix a few things on our new RV. Mostly simple things like loose water fittings, but I also had to fix one of the USB charging ports simply because whoever put it together didn't bother to strip the wires before putting them in the terminal block. We had a tear in the window screen we saw during the walk through, and trying to get it fixed under warranty has been a headache. After a couple of snafus and Forest River sending the wrong screen, it finally comes out that Forest River doesn't have a replacement screen for the window in question, we'll just have to take the frame out, pull the spline, and replace the screen material. It would actually be less of a headache to just do it myself at this point, and the dealer confided that dealing with Forest River lately has been a headache for them too.



Still liking the new camper, and it's a step up from our old popup, but I had all the defects and kinks worked out on the popup a long time ago. Now I have new kinks to work out of the new one.
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