May 17, 2017


Is anyone home? This is a rant. Sorry, but I have to get it off my chest. Are their any competent RV service departments? Any at all?

If you have followed my last couple of editions, you may recall I had some service done on my 5th wheel. Not major stuff, just a wiring issue. Simple, right? I mean, it's not like the rear wall fell off. Just had to replace a couple of wires - and not really all that difficult to access either.

This was a warranty issue, so at the insistance of the factory, I took the RV to the dealer I was supposed to. They fixed the problem... sort of. I mean, they fixed it, but I was concerned it might be prone to failure in a couple of years since they didn't use what I would consider good wiring practices. They simply spliced into the wire rather than replace the whole circuit (the wire had 5 or 6 splices in it). And I also came to find out, the factory authorized replacement of the entire circuit, but for some reason the service department elected to only splice the bad part.

I was concerned about the repair job, so the factory was nice enough to authorize a different service department (an independant one this time) to do the work as I no longer trusted the original organization. They also botched the job, the circuit now did not work at all!.

When I arrived on-site, the technician had determined there was a "bad ground", and started to add ground wires where no ground wire was before... essentially, he was jury-rigging the repair in an attempt to get it to work.

And that is whern I interveined. I have 35 yrs. of experience in the electronics field, and that kind of repair is just not acceptable. If you "fix" something, and it does not work when you are done, go back and check your work rather than trying to get it to work by adding stuff.

At least the owner let me "help" the tech find the problem. After he spent a day looking for the problem, I found it in less than an hour. And it was simply a connector that he did not seat properly.

< insert dope-slap here >

So after taking the RV home and spending a few days getting it ready, I notice that there is a deep gouge in the roof where someone backed into something. It sliced the TPO (but there is still a black membrane under it), so it is still waterproof. Since we are scheduled to go camping soon, I used some Dicor to patch the roof - at least temporarily. I ordered some Eternabond tape and Dicor in "Tan" (my roof color), and will make a more permanent patch when I return.

The last time I was on the roof last year, the gouge was not there. I only went camping twice after that, plus the two trips to the service departments. Over the winter, the RV was under a cover. From the shape and orientation of the gouge, it was clearly made from backing up, and those two camping trips were in pull-through sites, and the only backing up I did was in our driveway - which has no obstructions to hit the roof.

While I cannot prove anything, the only possible place the gouge could have happened was at one of the two RV service departments. Both times they worked on the RV inside, and I was not there either time to watch them put the RV into the service bay. So I am sure the gouge had to come from the service department.

The only thing that works on a RV is the owner.

This is as true as it can be. I could have easily done the original wiring job myself, and indeed, I ended up fixing the problem for the service department. But the trailer was under warranty so I figured I'd have the factory take care of it. But working on your own RV is one of the reasons for the existance of RV-Project.Com in the first place.

What is it with the RV industry? Are they that incompetent? Or do they just not care. Afterall, there is sometimes a notion that if the public is stupid enough to buy it, you cannot blame us for making it.

Got any RV repair horror stories you'd like to share with us. If so, contact us by email (under the resources tab), and we'll publish the most juicy ones... incognito of course.

Until the next time;