A Year (plus) of Repairs

He said…

It’s been a long time since my last post! But here’s what’s been happening with Wanda, our Class A motorhome, this last year. This blog is all about the problems we’ve had with the motorhome. But first some background info.

Although we’ve only been travelling since May 2017, we’ve been living in Wanda since July 2016. And, as most RVers know, things break down. It makes sense, since every time you drive down the road you’re putting your house through a hurricane (wind speeds up to 65mph) and an earthquake at the same time.

As a newbie RVer at the time, I made up a list of things that didn’t seem right way back when we got the RV. Looking back on it, I just grin.

Since I’m a relatively decent do-it-yourselfer (and retired nuclear mechanic) I’ve repaired most of these problems we’ve had during the first year. In August 2017 we took Wanda into the Fleetwood RV Service Center in Coburg, OR and had them do some work as well. Lastly, we had some pretty big problems towards the last part of the year which required taking it to La Mesa RV Center (where we bought it from) to have it repaired using our extended  warranty. At this point, on January 1, 2018 – our home is about as good as it can get.

Do-It-Yourself Repairs

So here’s a list of everything that I can remember repairing myself during the last 18 months:

  • Replaced a shattered emergency escape window in the bedroom. Cost was about $300.
  • The commode leaked right away.  I had to disassemble, clean, and tighten everything. Thankfully, no cost here.
  • Repaired two plumbing leaks (one behind a false wall and one below the floor under a bathroom sink. This required buying Plex tubing tools so the cost was about $50.

  • Dealt with a lot of framework rust. Cost about $10.
  • First rock chip repair. Kit cost about $15.
  • Driving out of the dealership I had a “Gas Cap Loose” warning light. Found the fuel fill vent line was disconnected.  I reconnected it.

  • Front left wheel bearing cap bolt unscrewed and rattling in hub cap.  Reinstalled that bolt and check all others – found many that were loose.
  • The left tail light housing was blown off during a hard wind, I glued the tabs back on and reattached it.
  • One of the rear sway bar brackets bolts was missing and the bracket bent out of shape. Replaced bracket and added new bolts for about $40.
  • Front bumper support bracket was not bolted to frame of chassis. I wired it on as a temporary fix.

If we lived closer to a repair center I might have let them do some of this; but the drive to our preferred repair place is just under 200 miles (400 miles round trip). That’d cost about $170 in gas per trip!  It’s just cheaper to do it myself.

Repair Center Repairs

Some stuff I can’t (and shouldn’t) do.  A few of these items are listed below:

  • Rewired the engine after a mouse ate through a bunch. Cost about $550.
  • A second rock chip repair on the windshield. Insurance covered, so cost was $0.
  • Oil change cost about $110.
  • Our driver’s side slide out became misaligned. This required a service call of $60 to show me how to get it back in. The readjustment was about $280.
  • The door to screen door latch (holds the two doors together) has broken three times since we have had the RV. I replaced it once for about $10.

Really don’t like taking it to a repair center since we have to move out.  These repairs had us out of our house for over three weeks!  Major inconvenience. Not only that – the hourly cost is right at $140!

Warranty Work

The warranty on the Fleetwood coach was for a single year. The warranty on the Ford chassis is for three years. These items cost nothing (other than time and inconvenience) to us.

  • The door to screen door latch was broken at the dealer. They provided a replacement.
  • Most recently, while changing the oil, a engine coolant leak was found. This was repaired for free.
  • The passenger side slide out leaked during rains. They found and fixed the problem.
  • The driver’s side slide out topper needed work, a support system was installed.

  • The temporary fix on the front bumper support bracket was fixed.

Thankfully, the Fleetwood service centers are designed to allow us to stay living in the RV while the maintenance work is happening.  We (and our pets) just have to be out of it from about 6:30am to 4:00pm each day that they’re working on it.

Extended Warranty Work

We bought an extended warranty service for a few thousand dollars when we bought the RV. These items were covered by this and cost nothing beyond the purchase price of the warranty:

  • Illumaplex (the brain behind all the switches throughout the RV) replaced.
  • Fireplace fan failed. Entire fireplace replaced.
  • The door to screen door latch failed a third time and was replaced.

This work would have cost us about $1400 without the extended warranty.  I usually adamantly refuse to buy extended warranties on anything; however, I’d never buy an RV without an extended warranty.  They WILL break down.

Problems Remaining

The following problems are issues that we’re currently living with and may or may not ever try to get fixed.

  • Can only fill the gas tank at less than 1/2 gallons per minute. The Fleetwood mechanics tried to fix the system twice. They’ve failed both times.  I’ve disconnected the gas fill vent line and it fills quickly (yes – the same vent line I connected earlier). Cost for a filter placed at end of fuel vent line was $5.
  • We now have a vertical strip going down our bedroom TV.
  • The misaligned slide out caused some peeling of the outer skin underneath the slide out.

  • The same slide out is not completely level at the front end.
  • One of the coax cables from the satellite dish is non-functional. This would matter if we needed two tuners. Since we don’t – it’s not a concern for us.

If I’d known about all the problems that were going to happen,  I very likely may have decided to never start! Every time something breaks, my heart flutters and my morale sinks. The cost for all the repairs so far is a bit over $1400.

However, the flutter and the sinking feeling is a bit less with each new problem.  I’m becoming more adaptable and am learning to roll with the flow! At the start of this new year – I’m remaining hopeful that the worst is behind us.

Now don’t get me wrong, the lifestyle is great! Lots of fun and cool things to do in our country. But it’s not all roses!