Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The RV Gods Must Be Angry

This is going to be a long post and may go all over the place. We have owned our RV for 1 year now as of June 28th, I have a tally of all the repairs we have done and I had to sit down after adding it all up. What exactly did we do to deserve the constant drama that RV ownership has thrown at our feet? If this is a test I’m failing miserably, the dealer we bought from turned out to be horrible, repairs that should have been simple had to be done over and over and finally a few had to be done by me or a different dealer. Fast forward to last night when I got news that should have been considered good but wasn’t and I have to sit back and ask, did we piss off the RV God’s or something? I’ll get into that call shortly.

One thing I think a lot of RV’rs ask themselves when issues arise often is, “did we do the right thing?” “Were we nuts or something?” “Is this worth it?” I’ll answer this in the last part of this post.

We had my Father and step Mother in town this weekend and they decided to stay in the RV which is what we had hoped for so we could catch up since our time together was going to be short. It was 98f when we got to Geneseo, oh that’s right, we were supposed to go to Sugar Shores but they never responded to our reservation request and nobody seemed to be answering voicemails so we contacted Shari in Geneseo and headed up there. I finally received a response from Sugar Shores last night that they missed my email and that they have 3 accounts blah blah blah so my reservation was missed, ugh. Disappointed smile

This new person doesn’t seem to be as on top of things as the previous person was. Anyway, where was I, oh yeah, we get to Geneseo and the heat index was around 104 or so and the humidity was 87% so I did not have high hopes of camp fires and long talks by the fire. We love Geneseo though so for my wife and I we were happy to go up there, my father however was not stoked about another 2.5 hour drive after their trek from Arkansas (a whole other post for later).

I set everything up alone (I thought I did anyway, forgot to put away da wife's clothes Embarrassed smile) since my wife can’t be in camp until after work. So by the time I finished I was soaked to the bone in sweat and a little light headed from the heat but everything is set and my Dad and Step-Mom say how beautiful it looks and I tell them lets go inside so they can look around and so I can finish setting up the jacks and open the slide.

My Step-Mom sits down on the couch and I show off by saying don’t move I’ll open the slide, like Robin Williams did in the movie RV…. yeah who was I kidding? The slide moves about 3 inches and then BANG and it moves another inch or so and another BANG!! Sigh… I hit the “IN” switch and it goes back in nice and smooth. I ask her to stay put, I’ll figure out what’s going on and will be right back in to put out the slide. I head outside and check out the slide rails and motor and everything looks fine. I can’t find anything wrong so I head back in.

I push “OUT” and the same thing happens so now I’m stumped. What the heck is wrong now? I go back out into the heat which seems to have increased at this point and take a real close look at everything including the broken slide topper locks and what do I see? The rear slide topper lock has decided to WORK!! How is this possible? The pin that held it in the open position must have finally fallen off so the top claw rested on the gear and when I pressed “OUT” it bent downward and sheared off a gear tooth and then another. Disappointed smile Disappointed smile Disappointed smile Disappointed smile

I break out the ladder and head on up and bend the top claw up and out of the way and proceed back inside and give the slide another try and am rewarded by a smooth opening of the slide, whew. As regular readers know our slide topper became damaged in our first outing this year in March and we are STILL WAITING FOR PARTS!!! So I use clear tie straps to lock the slide topper in place when we drive the rig. A quick update on this, they have decided to order an entire new slide topper 2 weeks ago and they are waiting for a response from State Farm on how they want to handle the holes that will be left in the side of the coach.

My wife makes it to camp at about 7:00pm and we all sit around chatting and we notice an odor (the wife and I do). The facilities have been used a few times so when my Father comes out there is this pungent odor for a few minutes and we just figure it was the typical after affects of using the head… if you follow my drift, avoiding TMI ya know. 20 minutes later I still smell it so I walk into the toilet room and flush and bam, smacked upside the face with a foul odor that must have emanated from the bowels of hell itself. My wife in the front of the rig says what the heck are you doing in there?!?!? I explain I did nothing but flush so the foul odors we had last year are back with a vengeance.  Disappointed smile  < that emoticon really fits, ya know?

I fill the tank with about 10 gallons of fresh cold water and flush and it seems to be better. Unfortunately it still seems to put out a little bit of the foul odor as the day goes by and only my wife and I can smell it so now we wonder if it’s just us remembering the smell or something psychosomatic or something. My Dad has a sensitive nose as well (at least he used to!) so if he doesn’t smell it then maybe it’s not there? I go into the toilet room and flush again and sure enough, not imagining it. I ask my Dad to come in and he smells nothing, ok, so his nose is shot so can’t be trusted in these situations. Green with envy

We had a great time with them and they left Sunday to be back before the traffic. I forgot my camera and also forgot that my phone has a camera so there are no pictures from this outing.  Embarrassed smile The wife and I stayed until Monday so got to enjoy the odiferous emanations that came with each flush of the toilet. I spent nearly 2 hours flushing the black tank and pouring fresh water into the toilet opening to insure that passenger side of the tank was free of debris. I also filled the tank to almost completely full and drained it and then checked out the smell in the toilet room and it smelled like fresh water. We drove the RV back to Collier RV with instructions to test the vents and install new vent caps using either the “Lil’ Stanker” or the “Cyclone vent from Camco” this way there is something pulling the fumes out of the tank which should solve the problem.

This brings us up to the phone call received last night from Collier. “We tested all the vents and found that they work as they should”. Typically when a dealer calls and says that everything is working as it should would bring a smile to your face right? Well, not in this case since this means we’ll have those foul odors again. I have read that many rigs have issues with hot days and odors so maybe ours is one of them. If the above vent solutions work however maybe the odors will be gone for good, we can hope.

So I’m waiting for a call from Collier with recommendations for next steps and for an update about our slide topper. I mentioned earlier in this post about thoughts of “did we do the right thing?” “Were we nuts or something?” “Is this worth it?”.

The wife and I believe 100% the answer is YES. One thing we have found is the same thing many others have found. When you get to a place surrounded by trees or other great views and you smell the surroundings and hear nature and you sit by a campfire it’s all 1000% worth the effort. If we could afford to fulltime we would do it in a heart beat. The RV we bought had a few minor issues that we knew about and included on the PDI list that never got completed. We can’t hold this RV responsible for how the dealer performs their work or lack thereof. In the end we signed on the dotted line when we should have had them do the work first and earn the big check, lesson learned.

I LOVE to drive our Endeavor and as each item needs repair I’ll tackle it or find somebody else who can, hopefully a little quieter than I sometimes have but as these things come up I learn more about how to handle things on my own and feel better about how we can handle situations once we are on the road fulltime. I have a picture in my head of a 40ft diesel pusher and us on the road discovering new places someday and these tests of our ability to adapt to situations will pay dividends in the future.

I hope to have an update on the slide topper and the vents today or tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by and reading my rants. Nerd smile


Sue and Doug said...

well..I read all the way to the end of your post..there are no words to make you feel better!..darn dealers!!..hope all this issues one day will be but a distant memory..I know right now it is a 'nightmare'!..but hang in will get better eventually!

Wanderin' said...

At least you already realize that it is worth it. You'll get through it. Sorry but I did have to chuckle at a few of your "misfortunes". Not because you went through them but because we all do. You've got to admit that RV was hilarious and at times we were actually laughing at ourselves. Here's to better times!

JoJo said...

I sure hope they can work out all the bugs for you.
I hear so many stories about bad dealers. It really is a shame. All they care about is the sale and money in their pocket. There is nothing worse than a stinkie toilet.
Good Luck maybe try a different chemical.

Ash said...

Wow... That is so frustrating! Good luck with everything.

~ The Tuckerbag ~

Anonymous said...

Hey Erik,
Jill here with Two Tools and a Dream. My comment about the mindset of folks who choose New Hampshire to live was because they must be the outdoor life and be adventuresome. It had nothing to do with Illinois taxes.

BTW met an old school bud from NH. He says he moved there because he likes wilderness.

Good luck with your blog.

Erik's RV Blog said...


I didn't say it did. :) I was just commenting on the taxes we pay here in Illinois. ;)

I agree about them being smart, I have to go back now and re-read what I posted because there seems to have been a disconnect. :D


Carol Colborn said...

We had the same problem...we also have the vent but the fumes came back with a vengeance this summer!
carol of 'generation z. cruising in an rv!'