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Old 10-12-2010, 08:26 PM   #29
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I do all my own work, and routine service.
Yes, I am a professional tech. Cars, not RV's, but hey what's diff. I upgraded to 50 amp service, I installed solar, installed the inverter, changed the toilet, (to china) changed the tv, installed a satellite dish, replaced the broken bathroom vent with a fantastic vent, diagnosed and repaired my generator, installed a tv in the bedroom, installed hot water recirculation, replaced the check valves in the water heater, added an extra battery, changed to LED lighting, (exterior), changed the shocks, replaced a HWH leveler hose, and did the R&R of the driveshaft on my last road disaster. I had the local mufler shop do the muffler and tailpipe, as I just can't fnd a way to bend 3" steel pipe. I'm getting ready to do brakes, all around, and when trans goes, I'll pull that too. I want to make it look better too, but not sure I have the patience for sanding and painting. Bottom line is, yes, if you can, fix it.
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:52 PM   #30
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I am a retired auto service manager and I could tell you way too many stories about mechanics that think they are technicians but are actually just parts replacers. Some literally throw the dice to diagnose a problem. I had to get help to diagnose many problems that should have been repaired right the first time but there are also some good technicians that really know their business.

I do as much work to my coach as possible, yesterday I replaced a noisy P/S belt with only 4,000 miles on it. The belt that was called for by application was slightly too long and caused the auto tensioner to extend near the end of its limit. I went to Gates website to find the next smaller size belt (.4 inch shorter) now the tensioner spring rides at the 1/2 way point and keeps the belt tight and quiet.

My point is anyone can replace parts and parts get expensive, especially if they don't need replacement. If you have a general mechanical background that is a good starting point. The rest can be fun and challenging, sort of like solving a puzzle. Use the internet to gather info before starting a project, use your common sense and with a little luck you will be better at solving mechanical and electrical problems then most so called technicians.

But if you are not mechanically inclined or have more money then time, get recommendations from good people from forums like this one. A good technician can save you time, dollars and headaches.
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:43 PM   #31
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I started working for Cummins in 1969 when I was 17, fresh out of high school. Worked for other truck dealers and fleets. Started for the City of Phoenix in 1986 as a heavy mechanic, then a few years later made shop foreman. There were very few "mechanics" I would have let work on my lawnmower.
So I do everything on my vehicles, sometimes even alignments. I've rebuilt differentials, transmissions, steering gear boxes, etc. Rewired entire vehicles.
I am not a good bodyman, but gain more experience every time I paint or repair a vehicle.
My advise is do what you are comfortable with and learn the basics of the rest so you will know if the repair you are told is needed by the shop is actually necessary.
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Old 10-13-2010, 11:13 AM   #32
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This is os interesting;;; We Had a flat Tire 275 x22.5 On the motorhome. Anyway while we were waiting to have it replaced, I was talking with a traveler That had a motorhome in there for some problems; Which he told me about; It seems he could not get his high beams to come on. The shop charged him $160.00 For Fiddeling around For near 2 hours;;I told him, ;; You do know that in the states that require that the headlights to be on with the Ignition, The lights WILL NOT go to High beam;; He tryed it on his couch, Wallouta, Ingition on Lights come on; High beam doesnot work , Untill you turn the lights on At the light switch; I left He was still arguing with the shop machanic; Like it was stated in a prior post. A sign holder yesterday, a RV tech. today. Life is so good;; But some Techs. ???
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Old 10-13-2010, 03:18 PM   #33
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I am a few days from retirement and a master automotive / medium duty truck mechanic. This has been my work for almost 40 years. I agree with Wanabee FTer, that doing your homework and using your brain can save you lots of money and if nothing else, at least you will have a better understanding of the systems on your RV.

Finding a good mechanic can be a challenge, so if you have one, your already ahead of the game. ASE certification is something to look for, it demonstrates a commitment to the trade and an understanding of the vehicles components.
I do all of my own work but there are things, that because of limited space and equipment, that would need to be done by others. If a engine, fuel pump, or a transmission, failed while on a trip, there is little choice but to have a shop do the repairs.

I suggest reading, talking to other rv owners, compiling data, manufacturers phone numbers, etc is time well spent.
Good tools are also extremely important and take many years to acquire. But not having to pay a shop 130 dollars a hour will buy some nice tools.
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Old 10-21-2010, 04:33 PM   #34
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Radiator, intercooler,belts, hoses, and any thing else that should be changed !!!!

Hello: Funny you should ask! This week I removed this stuff. We flew out to Ca. and bought a 2001 Fleetwood 36' DP. Drove home to MN, some heating going up grades, pulling a trailer. The slobber tube coated the rad. and cooler. I flushed it out as good as I could before we left, Put 2' of tubing on the breather tube and left. We have a shop with heat in the floor......12' high. To get it in I had to use 15yrs gravel to raise the drive up level. It fit....but as I backed in, I let 40#'s out of the frt tires. I had already dumped the air. A shop in Ca. wanted 1500, to 1800.00 to clean it. Be 70 next week, we work slower, take breaks, and we still farm some..big hay bales. Today the radiator shop called and said the parts were done. #147.00 to do both. So, guess I'll have to use the Bobcat to get the radiator out of the back of the dually! Now, the MESS of cleaning the engine and parts off!! Thanks Bobmn
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Old 10-21-2010, 06:13 PM   #35
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Bobmn,
looks like you know your way around diesels alright.
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:02 PM   #36
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John; Thank you! This is a great site to learn about RV'S, and people's ideas from all over the country. Bob (ps great camper truck!)
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:20 PM   #37
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I took my avatar pic near Salton Sea. Leonard Knight is creating his life work by painting the mountainside with donated paint. He paints everything around him, including his vehicles. Very interesting place to visit in Niland CA.
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Old 10-23-2010, 08:29 PM   #38
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Fulltiming raises the incentive to keep your coach out of the shop--as long as they've got it, we have no house!

Like lots of other responders, I do any basic maintenance (oil changes, tune-ups) that doesn't require the rig to be lifted up, and any house repairs that I can figure out how to do, usually with the help of this site. Heavy work (installing a new rooftop AC or brake work, for instance) requires that the rig go to a professional.

Also, the oil fill on our Dolphin is ridiculous, so there are plenty of newer (ish) rigs that are difficult to service!
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Old 10-23-2010, 09:23 PM   #39
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I do as much of my own work as I can, out of choice and because I enjoy it and believe I will do it better.
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Old 10-24-2010, 08:37 AM   #40
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i do what I have time and tools for....
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:54 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryKD View Post
Hi kartvines,
I do almost all the work on my coach. There are a few general rules I follow.
I let a pro do the work if:
1. the tools needed are expensive
2. it is an emergency or I am on the road
3. after consulting this forum and I remain clueless
4. it is more than a one person job

Other than that, I will tackle just about anything that needs to be done.
Great way to say it. Your comment mirrors me as well.
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Old 10-24-2010, 06:04 PM   #42
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I do 99 percent of the work on my coach. I do not do work that requires very heavy lifting such as caliper replacement or other heavy work although I am perfectly capable but at 77 years old I just can't do some work for physical limitations.
I do all of the electrical work and diagnostic work.
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