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Old 12-13-2011, 05:49 PM   #1
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Are RV Repair Shops a “Rip Off”?

Well I am starting to think some are and here is why.

I just returned from a 3,000 plus mile trip in my MH, so I scheduled a Lube, along with an Oil & Filter change. I was a wee bit surprised with the bill for $181.00 plus taxes (Which are not chump change here in the Seattle, WA area), but then as icing one the cake they tell me my right front leveling jack is leaking oil and needs to be replaced as they are not repairable.

WOW, just what I need, more problems eating holes in my bank account. Shop quoted $855.00 to replace the one jack and it could take a month to get the new jack after placing the order. Well I said I would have to wait as I could not afford that kind of hit on my bank account right now, so they wrote out the quote including the part number of the jack.

The next day I took one of our cars in to have an Oil & Filter change and as I waited, I talked to the garage manager and ask if he would do oil changes on my Motorhome. He said sure, no problem (He has help me look for electrical problem a few months ago so he knows the Motorhome) he stated that they would do any of the normal automotive/truck type things I needed and quoted me $70.00 to do the oil and filter change ($70.00 TOTAL). Guess where I will go in the future.

This got me to thinking on the hydraulic jack leak and I went online to Power Gear the Mfg of the jack leveling system on my Motorhome and low an behold I found a Seal Kit listed for the jack. But I also found that I cannot order this Seal Kit, it has to be purchased through an authorized dealer. So I am still thinking and remembering the many hours over the years I spent in Hydraulic Repair Shop inspecting disassembled pumps and cylinders to authorize repairs on them and think, why not call one of them and ask about acquiring this seal kit and installation of same to hopefully save a couple hundred dollars.

Well it has been a few years and the company names had slipped away and doing a Google search was not helping. Then I recalled a very helpful and friendly person I had worked with from one Hydraulic Shop and I added his name to the search just as a last ditch effort. WALLAS got the hit I was looking for “Eagle Hydraulic, Inc” in Auburn, WA, so I gave them a call and ask for the guy I remembered “Don Kinder”. I was told he was not available and would not be until Monday or Tuesday, would I like his voice mail. I said sure and after the tone gave my name and old, old connection and explained what I was trying to accomplish and ask him to call if he was interested in the project.

Well this was on a Friday and low and behold he returned my call Sunday afternoon from Phoenix, AZ. Now that is what I call “Customer Service”, he remembered me and said he would give a me a call Tuesday or Wednesday when he returned to WA and that he thought they could help me out. Another example of “Outstanding Customer Service”, I get a call Monday from one of the shop guys at Eagle Hydraulic, Inc (Lonnie) and we set up an appointment for me to bring the Motorhome in Tuesday, so they could remove the jack, cap the hydraulic line, get parts ordered and then call me to bring the Motorhome back to reinstall the repaired jack when it was ready.

Well when I got there this morning, I was told they had found a place to purchase the “Seal Kit” at a cost of $103.00 plus time to go pick it up, but (and it was a big BUT) they thought it might just be O-Ring Seals that they might have in stock, so they had not placed an order for the seal kit as I had told them I was not in a big rush and a couple three weeks wait would not create a hardship for me. Well when they got the jack off the Motorhome, they found it was O-Ring seals and they did have the right ones in stock, and they made the replacement while I waited.

Bottom line, I got out the door with a repaired jack in good working order for $150.00!

Thanks Don Kinder of Eagle Hydraulics in Auburn, WA and Hydraulic Shop Repairman Lonnie for making my day. I am not physically able or have the equipment to do most of these repairs, but 45 years of working in the Ship Repair Industry has left me with a list of outstanding Companies & Craftsmen to call upon in a variety of fields when I need something.

Yes I do know RV Repair Shops need to mark items up and charge a reasonable amount for labor to stay in business, but I think there are some out there that are overdoing it a bit because they think they have a captive audience, but I am not willing to just accept their word any longer after this experience.

Mochisme "Ted"
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:05 PM   #2
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I tend to agree that RV shops inflate prices but not just because they feel that have a captive audience. I strongly suspect they feel they can get more money because they feel their customers are richer than average. I know that price for a part in autombiles/light trucks will vary according to what it is going into. I had a '63 Ford F300 that needed a ujoint. I found out the same Spicer part number used in my truck was also used in '69 LTDs and in Corvette rear end half shafts. When ordering for the truck, it cost twice as much as for the LTD. I forget how much more it was for the Corvette, but it was outrageous. All for the same cotton pickin' u-joint!

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Old 12-13-2011, 06:10 PM   #3
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Bill padding is fairly common in todays economy, especially so in the RV Industry that has basically been having its huevos handed to it daily ever since gas prices first started spiking and then the credit debacle.
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:23 PM   #4
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Depends which shop you go to.
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:24 PM   #5
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Finding a "quality" repair shop is a key.
Many mechanics today have been trained to simply replace parts.
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:25 PM   #6
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Where possible take the mh to a local mechanic to do mechanical work. Take the mh to rv dealer to do rv work that you don't want to do yourself.
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:42 PM   #7
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When we owned a 2006 Fourwinds Hurricane on a F53 Chassis I always took the coach to the Ford Dealer for oil change, filter, lube and chassis repairs. Oil change, filter and lube cost me just a little more than it did for our SUVs and only because the V10 needed a quart or two more oil.

Now with our Cummins DP I take it to a local mechanic and he always treats me right.
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:54 PM   #8
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Good post, thank you.

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Old 12-13-2011, 07:07 PM   #9
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X2 on most all of the other replies. I use Full synthetic oil, partially so I won't need to do oil changes out on the road. Find a good local repair place for both coach and chassis fixes, and use then whenever possible. Avoid repairs on the road from places you don't know.
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:51 PM   #10
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I hope you post reviews of your experience on RV Service Review

This is an excellent site that I use whenever I need service.

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Old 12-13-2011, 08:06 PM   #11
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I can, in part, relate to part of the OPers concern. The first iol change was done by a work horse service center to the tune of $42. The second one, about a yr later was $88. When asked why they charged so much, the service advisor stated, "because we can" on rvs. I have since changed to a regular lube place that I trust and who has the knowledge to do the correct job for $38.
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:26 PM   #12
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I also had a stabilizer leg start leaking, and as Mochisme has reported, the part is not available through Power Gear. They told me to call my local RV dealer, and told me the part # I would need. The parts man at the Dealership, called and and ordered the part, $103.00, and they would call when it was ordered, and when it came in. It took about 2 wks. for them to get it. Because I have all the tools, and have worked on things much more complicated than that, I tore into it myself. I have to say, the most difficult task was getting it unbolted from the frame. It was the driverside rear. I couldn't unbolt it,(frozen bolts) so I had to resort to the trusty gas axe. Taking it apart was a breeze, installing the seals, mine weren't O-rings, but the instructions were accurate and it went back together very well, and it doesn't LEAK!! LOL!!
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Old 12-13-2011, 09:15 PM   #13
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my friend the owner of our local ford dealer has his guys do my oil changes
two prices
if i bring the oil its 50 bux and they lube it

if he supplies the oil its 100,

my other friend owns the tire store, he does the rotations and other service that the ford guy cant get to

my rv dealer wants over 200 to do an oil change not including the genny
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Old 12-13-2011, 09:24 PM   #14
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More the reason to do it yourself. God gave us all brains to use how we see fit. With those brains come the ability to learn mechanics and tool use.
Price gouging? possibly but think of the expense involved for an RV dealer to operate and maintain a facility able to house RVs
Also the amount of time spent daily that is wasted due to having to navigate these large vehicles in and out of the shop and around their lots. FAR more than an auto repair facility.
Time is $$, the large property the RV dealer sets on is major $....everything pertaining to an RV is expensive as compared to a daily driver

No I do not work at an RV dealer, no have any ties to an RV dealer....just trying to shed another perspective on all who have a comment on repair costs..and those repair facilities

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