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Old 10-11-2010, 06:10 AM   #15
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Fleetwood Owners Club
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Location: Granite Falls, NC
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My solution

Here is sorta the ''rule of thumb I live by''..

The great qualification for that statement is ''DO I KNOW HOW IT ''WORKS''?
I have let several ''technicians'' mess with my coach and I find that most of them are real ''Gomers''. Too many ''techs''(?) are someones brother in law that use to be a ''sign holder'' for a road crew. I was a ''master mechanic'' at a fully automated concrete plant for 14 years and I have an understanding about the procedure for finding and fixing a problem with the least amount of time invested and the least amount of ''parts'' involved in fixing the problem. I have seen ''mechanics'' (?) with absolutely no idea what they are doing use the ''SWAG'' method for repairs. (SWAG... swinging wild a$$ guess) method. Their reasoning was that they heard about a situation kinda like this same sort of problem on another coach and ''this'' solution was used to ''fix it''....... (yeah sure). This is especially true for electrical problems where they dont even own a ''meter''. for testing. This is especially true when you pull into a ''Mom and Pop'' combination camper repair, tire store, tanning parlor, nail salon, cafe, fishin' tackle store and beauty parlor. ''Goober'' has on dirty coveralls and picks his nose a lot. YOU ARE IN SERIOUS TROUBLE AND IF IT IS STILL RUNNING .......... ''LEAVE'''................... (been there and done that once)...... I am fortunate in that I can usually watch a ''tech'' for about five minutes and tell whether he has the remotest idea as to what he is doing. I once showed ''Gomer'' how to use a electrical meter to test continuity and he was AMAZED TO SAY THE LEAST. (continuity is the checking of the flow of electricity from point ''A'' to point ''B'' or the absence of same, concerning electricity) (kinda like ''flowing water'' but you dont get wet)...... I have a mechanic here in Granite Falls that does all my ''complicated, heavy lifting work'' . He is really good and he does it RIGHT THE FIRST TIME and if he makes an error of some kind, HE EATS THE PROBLEM at no cost to me. He is a fine young man and I always have him ''check out the coach'' before leaving on a long trip.
B.T.W. We have a 2000 v10 Pace Arrow, Ford Chassis w/109,000 miles on the clock....
My advise is this.......... Acquire every stitch of information on our water heater/furnace/water pump/electrical inverter/jacks/ refrigerator and any ''small'' item on your coach. Google the name of the company that made these parts and get ''Tech department phone numbers on a list''. You will be amazed at the free information and trouble shooting solutions these guys will give you for FREE. DONT WASTE YOUR TIME WITH THOSE ..''ASK A TECH'' PROGRAMS THAT CHARGE YOU $20.OO A QUESTION....
If you cant figure it out.. ASK ANOTHER RV,er and most of the time they will help especially if you have printed info on the item. (cold beer helps also) (BEEN THERE AND DONE THAT ALSO).....

My rule of thumb ... If you can fix it... DO IT..

Finally (cause I gotta go tinkle).......IF YOU SEE ME OUT ON THE ROAD AND YOU GOT A PROBLEM....ASK ME FOR HELP.....

My plate is NC and it says CJ&WILLA. I am the one with the mushtash and Willa is not but she makes a good pan of biscuits and pretty brown eyes.
My standard fee for helping is ten cents (cash only) and dumb looks and drooling is still free....


God bless our troops and bring them home real soon

Thank a Vet for your right to vote that most people dont use.


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Old 10-11-2010, 06:41 AM   #16
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Winnebago Owners Club
Ford Super Duty Owner
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Posts: 1,291
I do as much as I can, I don't have a real place to work on it- so I have to sneak around in my storage lot to do stuff. Like most of them, they don't like you working on it there. I've been really lazy about replacing my bath roof vent with my new Fantastic Vent...waiting for a rainy day.

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Old 10-11-2010, 08:38 AM   #17
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Location: Raymond, Washington
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Originally Posted by kartvines View Post
Good to hear a recommendation of someone in my area, I will differently keep this in mind if and when I need something major work performed, but right now being I will have to tow my motorhome to a mechanic I guess I will stay local, how does his fees compare to others in the area?
We had all of our work done for little more than the price quote I received from Cummins Northwest for the manifold replacement. A phone call to Johnny Blodgett, 951.634.1914, would get you his hourly rate.
Johnny has 20 plus years of working in equipment dealerships as field mechanic and shop foreman. His decision to go on his own was just prior to the economic downturn. Times are tough in the SoCal area and he does this to keep his business going. He has excellent contacts for parts sources and sublet work.
I posted here previously with pictures,
RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Do rules permit posting about independent RV mechanic?

Alpine Coach
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:00 AM   #18
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I do all my own work. I'd never let a so called RV Technician touch my rig. In the distance past when they did they screwed it up even worse.
RIVA certification is a real joke IMHO.
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Old 10-11-2010, 11:27 AM   #19
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Country Coach Owners Club
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Location: Redding
Posts: 3,524
I was a desk jockey. I get satisfaction doing stuff I have not done before. So I change all fluids, and do the lube job.

Also the water pump, alternator, thermostat, etc on the diesel engine have been done by yours truly.

Exhaust manifold (frozen bolts), tires, wheel bearings, etc are left for the pro shops.

All the stuff in the house has been done by me, and there have been lots of those niggly items in a 16 yr old rig.
1995 CC Magna #5280
C8.3L 300hp Cummins, 31,000lbs
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Old 10-11-2010, 01:03 PM   #20
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Cool Simple questions first...

Can you read?
Can you follow what seems like stupid instructions?
Do you know left/right?
Can you lift 60 pounds?
Do you have helpers if needed?
Do you have tools?
Can you buy some tools?
Do you know what tools are?
Can you arm wrestle?
Can you pick up the keys you dropped behind the TV?

Many of us are here because we are capable of doing tasks, we did so to acquire the funds to purchase our coaches.

Given that, most manufacturers or product publish service documentation that gives detailed instructions to the folks who do this work.

These folks are people too, they are not born with the knowledge, they must be told what to do and how to do it, thus the manuals.

Some steps may not make any sense to us, so the instructions may seem stupid, but still they need to be followed.

All of that being said, if you answered YES to all of the questions above, you should be able to do most of the normal work on your MH or TT.

You need to be able to understand and follow instructions, be able to get into tight places and be able to turn a wrench or remove filters.

Many of us take it personal, I take pride in baing able to solve the puzzle of why something does not work, then repairing it.

Adding that we are too cheap to pay someone else $110.00 and hour to do the exact same thing in about the same amount of time.

Our replumbing project took a couple weekends of tinkering, we installed all new PEX lines to everything, took $200.00 to get tools, fittings and tubing.

Not one item was torn apart or removed, we were able to get the tubing run with the help of luck and cameras.

If we would have taken it to the local shop they would have ripped out the shower and icemaker, took the same amount of man-hours and sold me the materials for a lot more.

The cost likely would have been over $1000.00 closer to $2000.00.

So if I would have paid that, it would have been after tax money, ow many hours of real work to save that?

I can imagine paying myself that as a savings, and no tax on my savings...

So every hour we tinker is $110.00 we do not pay the shop.

We will not even go down the road of "quality of work performed"...you do NOT always get what you pay for...

The other problem is if you have a place to preform this work, that is related to where you can park or how sneakey you can be...
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Old 10-11-2010, 01:19 PM   #21
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Location: Vaughn, WA
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Why pay somebody else to do a lousy repair job when I can do it myself for FREE.

Seriously, about the only thing I won't do is something like front-end alignment that requires VERY expensive specialized tools. Everything else is simply turning wrenches and cussing loudly.
1995 Coachmen Santara 360MB 36' w/slide.
Ford F53/460 chassis, 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee "toad"
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Old 10-11-2010, 01:49 PM   #22
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Location: Lakeside RV Park, Livingston LA
Posts: 816
I'm with 94 Newmar, I'll do all I can, then a little more. From what I have seen at CW and Dealer service centers..I'll do it and know its done the way I want it.
Lloyd, Cheryl & Samantha our Shih-Tzu
07 Pace Arrow 38P & 07 Liberty 4x4
How's that hope and change working for you???
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Old 10-11-2010, 03:10 PM   #23
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I do what I can.. IF special tools are needed (Often) Then I have to call RV Girl or someone like her, but I do what I can. (RV-Girl is a certified RV technician)
Home is where I park it!
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Old 10-11-2010, 07:21 PM   #24
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Fleetwood Owners Club
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Location: CA
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Originally Posted by Nick-B View Post
Why pay somebody else to do a lousy repair job when I can do it myself for FREE.

Seriously, about the only thing I won't do is something like front-end alignment that requires VERY expensive specialized tools. Everything else is simply turning wrenches and cussing loudly.
You can actually do the alignment if you have a large level pad and some pretty simple tools. You will need a helper, but it can be done.
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Old 10-11-2010, 07:37 PM   #25
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Whoa, you'll have to exclude me here:

"Adding that we are too cheap to pay someone else $110.00 and hour to do the exact same thing in about the same amount of time."

I seem to find ways to make their two hour job into an 8 hr job. But, I do get entertainment and education as part of the benefit.
1995 CC Magna #5280
C8.3L 300hp Cummins, 31,000lbs
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:43 AM   #26
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I lube, change oil, wax, flush cooling system, change filters and most electrical and appliances work. I depend on the help from all of the great people on this forum and if I understand the task I will attempt it. Heavy work I leave to the pros. My MH is like a hot rod to me I enjoy working on it and keeping it in top shape and looking good. I really enjoy all of the mods that people do and post especially Diplomat Don, he is always doing mods to improve his MH.
Del & Lori 2007 Diplomat 40PDQ - 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. M&G brake system
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:04 AM   #27
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Interesting;; What I have found Is;; In the verious clubs And chapters we belong to and talk about RV repairs There is a ton of information, and most of the time If you have a problem Someone has had the problem and can help you (if needed) to correct or repair it in the most efficent way; And I feel it is one of the best things one can do is to help a fellow Motorhomer To do a repair and solve a problem.. I changed the oil /filter/lubed a friends 38' Freightliner Chassis. winne,MH. It is a time consuming job ; But the Fun part was when he wan'ted to pay me and I held out my hand and he shook it. I told him the bill was just payed, With a hand shake;; Life is even better then Good;;
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Old 10-12-2010, 11:04 AM   #28
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Location: DFW Area, TX
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Originally Posted by deandec View Post
I seem to find ways to make their two hour job into an 8 hr job. But, I do get entertainment and education as part of the benefit.
Here is an interesting story. I drove from Dallas to Gaffney to have Freightliner do a anti-sway bar installation. That installation had been part of of a Service Bulletin with other items and the time estimate for the SB was 8 hours. When they quoted the hourly charge for the sway-bars alone, it was 10 hours. It actually took them 16 hours and they split the difference with me so I ended up paying for 13. Morale to the story: Professionals often overrun the estimates, too.

On the flip side of the coin, many 5.9 ISB users were charged 2-3 hours to replace the serpentine belt on the engine. Having done it once, I can do my own in less than 10 minutes. I'm NOT a professional mechanic and never claimed to be. Many times, MH owners are charged for the truck tech to learn about MHs. For those that think that they are taking their MH to a "professional" at a truck shop, I have sad news for them.

A Freightliner shop worked on an intermittent speedometer problem on our MH right after we first got it. Between the dealer and I, $1,000 was paid for that repair - and it still wasn't done. I finally studied it and fixed it myself. Since then, I've made similar types of repairs and without big commitments of time.

2000 Georgie Boy Landau 36' DP
2005 Saturn Vue toad
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