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Old 02-05-2016, 04:03 PM   #1
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Training for RV Maintenance

After a year of ownership, I made a stupid mistake that cost me $900. I was low on coolant because a hose was leaking and stupidly added some coolant to my power steering reservoir to make sure the radiator didn't run dry on the way to the Freightliner repair shop. That got me thinking some training on maintenance would be a good idea. Camp Freightliner looks too much like something I could get from reading a manual, the 5 day classes I see on the inernet to make you an RV inspector seem to skip the chassis stuff, the 10-week classes to make you an RV Tech seem to avoid the chassis and be way too indepth. Does anyone know of a 5 day or less class that would teach how to lube your chassis, change filters, change fluids, etc. None of the general maintenance items seem like rocket science, but after the $900 mistake, I am hesitant to jump on these items myself. This seems like it could be an incredible business opportunity for a knowledgeable person.
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Old 02-05-2016, 04:14 PM   #2
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Do you have a buddy that can run through lube ,oil, filter it's really easy just a lot of it. There have been several post on speedy lube looks like you pay about $100 more than doing it yourself. You can really screw up changing fuel filters if you don't know what you are doing.
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Old 02-05-2016, 04:34 PM   #3
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Do you have a buddy that can run through lube ,oil, filter it's really easy just a lot of it. There have been several post on speedy lube looks like you pay about $100 more than doing it yourself. You can really screw up changing fuel filters if you don't know what you are doing.
My friends are all 5th wheel people. I had to get all fancy. No doubt the knowledge would pay for itself.
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Old 02-05-2016, 04:55 PM   #4
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A service manual for the vehicle should provide the information you need. How about a CC course in auto mechanics?

When I buy a "new to me vehicle" the first thing I do is find a Factory service manual for it, usually used off eBay. I do all my own maintenance except alignment. The last thing we got was a Flair MH and I found a two part set of P 30 manuals on eBay for $18.00. The TC that preceded it was too new for used manuals and I had to buy new ones. They were over $100.00, but have been well worth it over the 20+ years we've had the vehicle.

Not funny, but it reminds me of the time my wife thought she was putting water in the radiator of our Opel Cadet. The oil fill was close to the rad cap and guess what got filled? The good thing about it was that she wondered why it was taking so much water and asked a neighbor who told her not to start it until I got home. When I pulled the dipstick out it was like a geyser.

It's all part of learning, but sometimes it's d... expensive.

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Old 02-05-2016, 05:15 PM   #5
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After a year of ownership, I made a stupid mistake that cost me $900. I was low on coolant because a hose was leaking and stupidly added some coolant to my power steering reservoir to make sure the radiator didn't run dry on the way to the Freightliner repair shop. That got me thinking some training on maintenance would be a good idea. Camp Freightliner looks too much like something I could get from reading a manual, the 5 day classes I see on the inernet to make you an RV inspector seem to skip the chassis stuff, the 10-week classes to make you an RV Tech seem to avoid the chassis and be way too indepth. Does anyone know of a 5 day or less class that would teach how to lube your chassis, change filters, change fluids, etc. None of the general maintenance items seem like rocket science, but after the $900 mistake, I am hesitant to jump on these items myself. This seems like it could be an incredible business opportunity for a knowledgeable person.

The next time you take your rig in to get an oil change and check over, ask if the tech can walk you through the basics of checking the fluids and mechanicals on the rig. They shouldn't have any problem with that. I used to do a walk through with some of my customers going over the different fluids. What they were, where they were, how to check them and what to look for. Checking tires, looking for leaks, etc. I'd rather spend 30 mins walking someone through their vehicle than spend hours fixing something that shouldn't need to be fixed, all because of owner ignorance.
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Old 02-05-2016, 05:39 PM   #6
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Great question and I'm in a similar place. I found all of the same options for training and for exactly the same reasons as you, I don't really think any are perfect.

My imperfect solutions: a couple of books, and any relevant YouTube videos. The books are Gary Bunzer Woodalls RV Owner Handbook and Bob Livingston RV Repair & Maintenance Manual. Careful with the online prices - some are crazy. Don't be afraid to get used. I found the Bunzer book at RVplus.com

I'm also looking at some CC courses including online. I found some that are specific to RV but like you said, oriented more for people trying to get certified than us DIY types.

I treat any repairs due to my lack of skill as tuition payments.....

Would be great to hear what you wind up doing.
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Old 02-05-2016, 08:45 PM   #7
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You can pretty much find anything on Youtube provided you use the right search words.

I will research before doing a job I've never done before. Even if you can't find the exact same coach you'll probably be able to find a similar issue and use the info on your coach.
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Old 02-05-2016, 09:07 PM   #8
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I think freightliner has started a program where you can go into the shop while one their techs explains everything while he/she services the chassis. This I think is at the Gaffney, SC facility.
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Old 02-05-2016, 09:38 PM   #9
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op, if you maintain your cars regularly, rv's is not that much different (yes some differences). what you could do is - find a speedco near you. let them do a chassis lube for $30 you can watch. while in there, you may ask where the the power components are. complementing with youtube, you will be a home grown rv mechanic in a few years
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Old 02-05-2016, 11:11 PM   #10
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After a year of ownership, I made a stupid mistake that cost me $900. I was low on coolant because a hose was leaking and stupidly added some coolant to my power steering reservoir to make sure the radiator didn't run dry on the way to the Freightliner repair shop. That got me thinking some training on maintenance would be a good idea. Camp Freightliner looks too much like something I could get from reading a manual, the 5 day classes I see on the inernet to make you an RV inspector seem to skip the chassis stuff, the 10-week classes to make you an RV Tech seem to avoid the chassis and be way too indepth. Does anyone know of a 5 day or less class that would teach how to lube your chassis, change filters, change fluids, etc. None of the general maintenance items seem like rocket science, but after the $900 mistake, I am hesitant to jump on these items myself. This seems like it could be an incredible business opportunity for a knowledgeable person.

Jmills,
Well Sir, while I'll probably catch some flack from this, your analysis of Camp Freightliner is pretty close to right on. Mike Cody does a great job in teaching a class that covers some serious BASICS! A buddy of mine and myself took that two day class and, well, for us, it really was a waste of time. I had intended to learn a lot more about the intracacies of the air system, the brake systems, anything that had to do with chassis suspension and much more.
But, when talking with Mike on the side, he explained that he had basically two "TECHS" in this class and, the rest, about 28 more, were barely capable.

Again, don't get me wrong, he (Mike) is a great guy and, ultra knowledgeable but, he admitted he cannot teach level 2, 3, and 4 to folks that barely grasp half of level 1.

So, to address your desire for a bit higher knowledge of your coach and it's inner workings, there are specific diesel schools out there. Versions of UTI ( Universal Technical Institute) and, Wyotech. They are regular point-specific schools directed at specific training. I have no idea what kind of time and or cost is involved in something like that but, it might be something worth taking a look at.

I've been wrenching for decades so, to me, this stuff is pretty much old hat. But, I too am always willing to learn, especially when it comes to things that are critical in my own coach. As for short courses, really can't help in suggesting anything but, maybe check in to what has been stated, a local community college.
Scott
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Old 02-06-2016, 07:31 AM   #11
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We attended Camp Freightliner and we thought it was a great class. No, it was not hands on, but we still learned a lot. I would definitely start there. I went to one they held in Arizona.


After that, I have the same desire as you - to get hands on training. Freightliner offers a follow on hands on class in NC. They will let you work with them on all the maintenance you are having done there. If I lived closer to NC, I would definitely attend the class.


When I had the air filter replaced, I asked if I could watch and they let me. Now I know how it is done and I can do it myself. I changed the air dryer myself with the help of a discussion with the Freightliner people at a rally I attended.


I wish there was a hands on class for coach owners closer to me.
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Old 02-06-2016, 12:30 PM   #12
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I hope this isn't too far off topic, but does anyone know of any good new books that address auto AC? I've been looking for years and still haven't found anything that deals with specifics such as how much oil, type of oil, how much refrigerant, conversion from R 12 to R 134a, gauge readings, etc. I understand how the systems work, but I'm still a little foggy on specifics.

I just finished converting the Flair to R 134a and after searching the internet and library for information finally called the local CC and asked if I could come in and discuss my questions with the automotive AC instructor. I got the instructors number and called him direct and he agreed to help. We set up a time to meet at the school when he wouldn't be busy and I drove the 25 miles to meet with him. He was very nice about the whole thing and I learned a lot, but there are still questions. I considered taking a course, but at 76 and the way things change so rapidly I dismissed the idea.

For the OP, if there is a CC near where you live the approach I took could work for you if only to identify where the fill openings for various systems are. I would guess you could also go beyond that if the instructor was in agreement. I offered to pay for the help but that was turned down. I may still do something for him, I'm just not sure what yet.

Best of luck.

Steve
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Old 02-06-2016, 08:16 PM   #13
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I hope this isn't too far off topic, but does anyone know of any good new books that address auto AC? I've been looking for years and still haven't found anything that deals with specifics such as how much oil, type of oil, how much refrigerant, conversion from R 12 to R 134a, gauge readings, etc. I understand how the systems work, but I'm still a little foggy on specifics.

I just finished converting the Flair to R 134a and after searching the internet and library for information finally called the local CC and asked if I could come in and discuss my questions with the automotive AC instructor. I got the instructors number and called him direct and he agreed to help. We set up a time to meet at the school when he wouldn't be busy and I drove the 25 miles to meet with him. He was very nice about the whole thing and I learned a lot, but there are still questions. I considered taking a course, but at 76 and the way things change so rapidly I dismissed the idea.

For the OP, if there is a CC near where you live the approach I took could work for you if only to identify where the fill openings for various systems are. I would guess you could also go beyond that if the instructor was in agreement. I offered to pay for the help but that was turned down. I may still do something for him, I'm just not sure what yet.

Best of luck.

Steve
When I had my diesel shop open I regularly trained customers on basic maintenance. The hang up was every time they had a problem out of town they called me. This saved them thousands of dollars, I however didn't have a 900 number like miss Cleo so I lost. Try to fix it yourself and if you screw up too bad just clean it real good, wash it with gas and dry it with a match. Then call premium boy to bring you an insurance check. My point is, find a small local diesel shop or rv tech that is good and pay them to train you.
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Old 02-06-2016, 10:08 PM   #14
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After a year of ownership, I made a stupid mistake that cost me $900. I was low on coolant because a hose was leaking and stupidly added some coolant to my power steering reservoir to make sure the radiator didn't run dry on the way to the Freightliner repair shop. That got me thinking some training on maintenance would be a good idea. Camp Freightliner looks too much like something I could get from reading a manual, the 5 day classes I see on the inernet to make you an RV inspector seem to skip the chassis stuff, the 10-week classes to make you an RV Tech seem to avoid the chassis and be way too indepth. Does anyone know of a 5 day or less class that would teach how to lube your chassis, change filters, change fluids, etc. None of the general maintenance items seem like rocket science, but after the $900 mistake, I am hesitant to jump on these items myself. This seems like it could be an incredible business opportunity for a knowledgeable person.
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