When sitting still isn’t a good thing


A week before leaving Highland Ridge and I scheduled routine maintenance for the coach at a nearby diesel shop that gets rave customer reviews.  It’s not an RV shop — so there were drawbacks — but seeing as it was time for our annual oil change ( we drive less than 10,000 miles a year,  so it’s once a year rather than every 10k miles) I wasn’t too worried.

Monday — after sitting still for 5 months — we did the usual put-all-our-junk-away stuff. Disconnecting the cellphone booster, scraping all the dead leaves off the toppers, taking down the tire covers and what seemed like a million other little chores.  We were all day about it, but it was a leisurely, enjoyable, sunny day.

plan-aheadI thought I was all ready for this morning until I cranked up the engine, aired up the airbags and realized the entry steps weren’t retracting. Bummer!  With capital letters. BUMMER!  Would the diesel shop come out and retract the steps so we could get over to the shop where they could do the job right?  Or were we going to be looking for someone to deal with the step so that we could get to the other shop?

Turns out St. Croix Diesel were the heros of the hour.  They came over to the campground (only 6 miles away) — retracted the steps so I could drive over to the shop. And then they got on with the maintenance issues.

One of the reasons I wanted to take the coach here was that I’ve been uncertain about the work performed at some of the shops we’ve used in the past.  You do your best to check them out and make sure they’re reputable but you aren’t always sure if they do the job they’re supposed to do.

In this case skepticism paid off.  One of the fuel filters had not been changed last time we fluids and filters were changed.  Moreover the bracket the filter rode on was loose. The shop here did the job right and I’m happy with where we are at the moment.

It turns out that the stepper motor for our retractable step burnt out — so I’ll have to bring the coach back over here when the part arrives — not a great solution — it would have been nice if it had been a dealer and they had the part in stock.  But you know what? Stepper motors don’t fail that often and it’s a good bet that an RV dealer wouldn’t have had one either. The good part?  We know where we stand; there is time to order the parts, get them installed (we hope) and still make it to Milwaukee on schedule.  Fingers crossed.

20160913084945437-2
The service tech underneath the coach.  I can’t even get under there!

The purpose of this post?  It doesn’t pay to sit still too long and it doesn’t pay to save things to the last minute!  RV’s are supposed to move. They don’t improve by not being used.  Especially Class A’s coaches — even moreso, Diesel Pushers.  Motors, suspension, water systems, they need to be used, just like engines want to be run and generator sets need to be cycled and exercised.

This has been  one of the reasons that I have resisted suggestions about finding ourselves two seasonal parks and just moving between them.  I’m not convinced that a coach that sits in one place 6 months at a time is going to be as easy to keep in good shape as one that gets regular exercise.  Parts need to slide.  Specially when you’re near saltwater, or salt spray.  Maybe it’s better to limit one’s stops to no more than a month or two at a time.  My own personal ‘jury’ is still out on that one; and we don’t make all our choices on what is best for the equipment.  We try to make our decisions based on what’s best for US.

While we had the coach on the road to the diesel shop I also noticed that our backup camera isn’t working. It was working when we backed into our host site.  Now it isn’t.  I believe the fault is not with wiring to the rear camera; were that the case the two side cameras would work, but they don’t either.  At some point (Milwaukee or otherwise) we’re going to need to have that looked at.  I might put it off until we have our floor replace and have the same outfit retrofit the camera system as well.  I’ll see what I decide.  But, one thing is sure: there’s always something exciting happening with an RV.

power-window-motor
We need a new stepper motor

Get your maintenance done on time — but don’t schedule it when you’re on a tight schedule.  RV’s are notorious for breaking down and the only thing more certain than the fact that your RV is going to need service is the certainty that there will be complications.  If we waited until the day before we leave to have this done — we’d be in a world of trouble right now.  As it is I think we’ll have time to get it fixed before we need to move.  Think ahead a little.  It pays.

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5 Comments

  1. Sorry to hear about the step. The step motor on our previous RV also went out just before we sold it. We told our friend that bought the RV from us that we would fix it and just add the cost of the part to our selling price, but he said not to bother and would take care of it himself because he was ready to take possession. Your advice about using all parts of the RV regularly was great advice given to us upfront five years ago, and I think it’s served us well. We are only driving about 5k miles a year at this point, but we are taking ours out about every 4-6 weeks on a trip or just for a “happy drive” to get it out on a Sunday evening when we don’t have a trip planned. My nephew also told us to grease the slide regularly. We didn’t have a slide on the first RV, and I think he learned that lesson the hard way with his RV. Reading posts from fellow RVers, like you and Peg, most definitely helps us to hopefully have a better, less stressful experience with our own RV. Thanks for this great reminder. 😉

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    1. Believe it or not, last year we didn’t put on much more than 5K miles either!
      I sometimes ‘ponder’ whether we should be doing more moving around and setting up to keep things moving more smoothly….. but for now we aren’t.
      Yeah — we’ll get that thing fixed one of these days — will try to find a shop that can do both that and look at our backup camera at the same time— while we’re here in MKE.

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  2. If we were ever to just split time between 2 places, I would probably sell the coach and buy a fifth wheel or park model in each place. There are plenty of good used ones available and many times you can find one for sale at the park you want to stay at.
    We stay in Ohio for 4 months in one spot. If it weren’t for 4 children and 11 grand children We would be on the move. I like a minimum of a week, and a maximum of a month. Anything longer just leaves my wanderlust very unfulfilled.
    The time in Ohio is great because we usually get to see at least one family member each week.. Many times it’s more than that.
    Diesel Pushers are for moving, not sitting. Our has developed a personality, so I try to listen, look and take note of things before they go wrong.

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    1. Dave,

      We have TALKED about two permanent 5th wheels as an option but I really don’t like that idea. For one thing, I have yet to step into a 5th wheel that I like as much as our coach, or that is as well built.

      You’re right about the comment that diesel pushers like to be busy going places. And it’s possible that if we spend 2 consecutive strictly-personal longer stops that we might end up deciding to keep moving. I don’t know. The reminder that things get tired and need to be exercised this last week has been powerful. Maybe we’ll settle into a few months in the South followed by a roving remainder of the year. We’ll see.

      Thanks for the comments; you make good points.

      >

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  3. Your step motor is probably the same as ours, it went out in Florida. A little internet searching and I found out it is an auto window motor. Picked up the replacement at Autozone for about $50. The one from the step manufacturer was going to be over $100.

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