In a perfect world, we control when we go into the RV shop, and it only happens once a year for annual maintenance. As we start our third year of RVing (the official date was February 21), it would seem we don’t live in a perfect world.
Bay Door Malfunction
Right after Christmas, we were packing up to move to Fredericksburg, TX. As we were putting away the sewer and water hoses, we accidentally lifted the bay door too high, and it came unseated. We used a lot of duct tape as a stop-gap (with an extra stop on the way to apply even more duct tape).
We had a positive experience with Quick 2 Fix It, a mobile repair team that came to our RV park and got the door back in place. We had them replace our toilet seal at the same time (the second time we’ve had to replace the seal since we got Meriwether).
Gas Station Run-in
We always pull into the 18-wheeler area to fill up with diesel. But Pilot has a special section reserved for RVs, and I decided I wanted to participate in the special section when we were driving from Tucson to Sedona (this was our insane travel day that started at 5:45 a.m. and didn’t end until 8 p.m., with a two-hour time change somewhere in between).
I had enough room to maneuver, but I took the turn just a bit too sharply and swiped the concrete median with Meriwether’s bay doors. Next thing I knew, the man filling up in the stall next to me was banging on the side of Meriwether to get me to stop. My heart stopped when I poked my head out the door. It really looked like the median had punctured the doors, and there was no way to go forward or backward without doing more damage, and possibly even losing two of our bay doors.
Meekly, I got Eric (who had been filling Smaug up with gas), and he started brainstorming with the really nice guy next to us about how to get out of my mess. The gentleman recommended we try to unscrew one of our bay doors to get it out of the way, and then back up. Eric went with his gut and decided to crank the wheel and go forward.
All I could do was watch, and I expected to have to stand there and watch Meriwether be scraped to pieces. But as Eric took the wheel, it was like an angel pushed Meriwether right off the median. It didn’t scrape even a little bit. We were left with streaks of yellow paint, but the only real damage to the body was a bowed metal piece on the edge of one of the doors.
We’re tentatively planning to pay our $1,000 deductible through Miller Insurance to get both bay doors replaced. Fortunately, there’s no statute of limitations now that we’ve reported the incident, so we may wait until we get back to Iron Horse to have them do it.
In the meantime, we took the advice of one of our Facebook fans and got some rubbing compound from an auto store to take off the yellow paint. Eric had to apply a lot of elbow grease, but it all came off! I still can’t believe we came away so unscathed. It could have been much worse.
Suffice it to say, I’ve been paying a lot more attention since this wake-up call.
Cost (so far): $5.32
And then, of course, there was our generator breakdown in Sedona. About three and half weeks later in Lake Havasu City, we decided we needed to get it taken care of. We have a ton of western travel still to do, and we don’t want to miss out on opportunities to dry camp.
Challenger Automotive Marine & RV had fabulous reviews online. Eric called for some information, and Bill McVicker was so kind. He wasn’t in a rush to get off the phone or make a buck. Instead, he walked Eric through some things he could do to troubleshoot the issue and even fix it himself. We also found the error code, which was 36. That meant we were having a fuel-related issue.
We ended up taking Meriwether in for an 8:30 a.m. appointment this past Friday. Daryl Waldrop at Iron Horse RV had already told us he thought our fuel line was pinched, so that was the first thing we checked. Sure enough, he was right (this is the second time he has diagnosed one of our problems, sight-unseen). Bill cut out the spent fuel line and added a new piece, and the generator started up.
Unfortunately, it only ran for about five minutes before it shut itself down. Now we had a new error code, 24, which indicated a coolant sensor issue. Because the sensor was faulty, it didn’t understand that the generator was running and warming properly, so it was shutting the generator down to protect it. Bill told us he would need to take the generator off the tray to remove the lid, in order to access and replace the coolant sensor.
Since that job would require quite a bit of labor costs, he recommended we replace the thermostat and fan belt at the same time. They are known to wear out, and we would have to pay labor again to get in there again. So we went for it.
By 12:30 p.m., everything was fixed and we were ready to hit the road. We really appreciated Bill’s help and felt he was very fair to us. We definitely recommend his service.
So for the first three-ish months of 2016, we’ve traveled 1646.3 miles and spent $604.87 on repairs, for an average of 548.8 miles and $201.62/month. Life is good, so let’s keep going.