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Old 09-05-2021, 01:59 PM   #1
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What would you do? Repair or Replace? Where?

After just 4 months on the road and our first attempt at full time RV living, we have unfortunately uncovered many problem with our rig. I would like to have them fixed but I worry about the cost and being ripped off. We are very discouraged to say the least and we are so very close to throwing in the towel and giving up on RV'ing.

The chassis is still in great shape according to Freightliner Factory Service Center in Gaffney, S.C. They went completely through the chassis and drive line December 2020 when it had 44,00 miles. It now has only 51,000 miles and is 16 years old and we still owe $42k.

Here is the list of items .
  1. AC Duct Work inside the rear cap might need repair but the rear cap needs to be removed in order to inspect the ductwork.
  2. Considering replacing the basement air with 2 rooftop units.
  3. Windshield is leaking at top near center post when the rig is parked nose low.
  4. Front cap has separated from the sidewall above door and drivers window.
  5. Front cap and roof radius needs to be repainted. Clear coat is gone.
  6. Entrance door full open stop is broken
  7. Entrance door hard to shut. Need to slam it. Adjustments don't help.
  8. Outer slide bezel seals are damaged and need to be replaced
  9. Inner top slide seals need to be reattached.
  10. Ceiling material is beginning to sag.
  11. Roof radius needs to be resealed
  12. Roof fiberglass needs to be inspected for cracks
  13. Roof items need a complete reseal
  14. Slide topper material needs to be replaced

My options are to find a reputable RV repair shop, take it to WBGO factory service, or trade for a newer rig. All three options are expensive. A comparable used 2020 DP is at least $400k.

I suspect WBGO Factory repairs will be more expensive but is their work any better than a reputable RV shop?

What would you do? Can you recommend a reputable repair shop?
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Old 09-05-2021, 02:51 PM   #2
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Actually I think you would find the Winnebago factory would be your best option for quality of work and cost. Their hourly rate is decent and the qork done is excellent. I would head there before it gets cold. We have been there several times with excellent results.

Some of those things are fairly easy to do and you should be able to do them with forum and YouTube help.
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Old 09-05-2021, 03:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KD4XR View Post
After just 4 months on the road and our first attempt at full time RV living, we have unfortunately uncovered many problem with our rig. I would like to have them fixed but I worry about the cost and being ripped off. We are very discouraged to say the least and we are so very close to throwing in the towel and giving up on RV'ing.

The chassis is still in great shape according to Freightliner Factory Service Center in Gaffney, S.C. They went completely through the chassis and drive line December 2020 when it had 44,00 miles. It now has only 51,000 miles and is 16 years old and we still owe $42k.

Here is the list of items .
  1. AC Duct Work inside the rear cap might need repair but the rear cap needs to be removed in order to inspect the ductwork.
  2. Considering replacing the basement air with 2 rooftop units.
  3. Windshield is leaking at top near center post when the rig is parked nose low.
  4. Front cap has separated from the sidewall above door and drivers window.
  5. Front cap and roof radius needs to be repainted. Clear coat is gone.
  6. Entrance door full open stop is broken
  7. Entrance door hard to shut. Need to slam it. Adjustments don't help.
  8. Outer slide bezel seals are damaged and need to be replaced
  9. Inner top slide seals need to be reattached.
  10. Ceiling material is beginning to sag.
  11. Roof radius needs to be resealed
  12. Roof fiberglass needs to be inspected for cracks
  13. Roof items need a complete reseal
  14. Slide topper material needs to be replaced

My options are to find a reputable RV repair shop, take it to WBGO factory service, or trade for a newer rig. All three options are expensive. A comparable used 2020 DP is at least $400k.

I suspect WBGO Factory repairs will be more expensive but is their work any better than a reputable RV shop?

What would you do? Can you recommend a reputable repair shop?
Everything on your list is pretty much normal upkeep…

You can buy a $400,000 rig and get a $50,000 bill…

We’re you expecting a “new” rv for $50,000 or so? Of course you’re going to be replacing stuff…

Caulking, leaks, seals, etc, is normal maintenance…

With the ac, Winnebago basement ac works great… check in the back engine area see if the duct split open if you have poor air flow…
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Old 09-05-2021, 03:49 PM   #4
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Jerry,
You're certainly not alone in this situation. RV's are definitely NOT an investment. But, with some (or, in some cases A LOT) TLC, they can be rewarding and offer a ton of fun. Some RV's deteriorate or seem to develop issues sooner or more often than others, even of the same make and model and year. The weather, where they're driven (think UGLY paved or concrete freeways of major disrepair), stored in direct sunlight with no relief and, poor or no maintenance for their life.

They (at least the vast majority of them) do cost a ton of money when they're new for sure. How some folks can simply let them wither away and not keep up on what's needed when they cost so much is beyond me. Anywhoooo, a lot of what you listed is not all that bad.

Winne and Itasca roofs are generally quite robust in longevity. The sealants and caulkings, not so much. I can't guaranty this but there shouldn't be any "cracks" in it. If there is, it's not anywhere near normal. It's not all that hard to cruise up onto the roof and do a self inspection. It starts with a good washing, soap and water, and maybe some cleanser to get off all oxidation. Once dried, it's now ready for a closeup inspection of all seams and seals. If you find any issues, cracking of sealants/caulking, make note and the repair or re-seal is actually quite simple. I use a heat gun on any that need to have all the sealant (i.e. around plumbing and roof vents) to remove all the original sealant/caulking.

Then, it's wiped down with alcohol a couple of times to provide a good, clean surface for new Dicor or whatever product one chooses. A good application of that product will last for years and be quite dependable against water infiltration.

As for the roof radius's. Well, that's a whole different story. It takes a lot of work and dilligent cleaning to prep for a new application of the proper sealant/adhesive/caulk. I did the first 5' of each end, (both sides of the front and the rear) and it took me couple of days for a proper scraping, cleaning and prep for the product I used to re-seal/attach the roof radius to the gutter seams. I did that approximately 5 years ago and it's still looking good.

As for the ducting in your A/C system. Well, without yanking the rear cap, that's kind-a tough to tell if it's really causing issues. And, speaking of yanking that rear cap, well, although I've not done it myself, the company that did some fiberglass and repaint repairs on our coach, did it in about 1/2 an hour. I couldn't believe it. I damaged our coach by backing into the corner of our roof on our house and, it looked seriously ugly. The company called and was ready for us to bring it in and get to work on it.

I dropped it off and headed home. It took us about 1/2 an hour to get home and they called. The cap was already off and they were hard at it, repairing the fiberglass from the INSIDE. The cosmetic work was to be done from the outside. So, speaking from experience, that cap does come off quite easily, at least by folks that know what they're doing. Once it's off, a thorough inspection of that ducting system can be done and, if needed, any repairs to it can now be done efficiently and expertly. Yeah, it may cost a few bucks to r & r that rear cap and re-seal it to all seams and edges but, in the end, you'll know that any and all issues regarding any part of the duct work can and will be taken care of.

As for the windshield, that too is not the end of the world. It's a large rubber seal that's really nothing more than a dust seal. The windshield is GLUED to the windshield frame and that's how it's sealed. If you're having a leak there, the glue/sealant has failed. Again, not all that hard to do something about. The "dust/rubber" molding is pulled right off and then the edges of the top side of the windshield are thoroughly cleaned and inspected.

If you do a close up inspection and find one or more spots where infiltration of water has taken place, exterior grade Silicone can be used. There are specific windshield sealants available too. Then, when any and all repairs are done, the rubber molding is put back on. Not all that hard.

Getting your rig back into *Dependable* shape, might take some work. But, as you've noted, a new one can be very easily upwards of $200K - $400K. I'd bet you'd spend not more than $5-$7K on all these repairs, even having a shop of your choice do it vs shelling out a WHOLE BUNCH OF MONEY for a new rig, that's ONLY GONNA DEPRECIATE! While $5-$7K might sound like a lot, it's far cry from what you'd spend on a new rig. And even then, LOTS of folks have LOTS of issues, with new rigs. I've seen it many, many times.

If you were to tackle a few of these items yourself, you'd cut that cost down quite a bit. And, you'd learn about your rig, and you'd have the satisfaction that knowing much of the repairs/maintenance has been done CORRECTLY.
Scott
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Old 09-05-2021, 03:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bpu699 View Post
Everything on your list is pretty much normal upkeep…

You can buy a $400,000 rig and get a $50,000 bill…

We’re you expecting a “new” rv for $50,000 or so? Of course you’re going to be replacing stuff…

Caulking, leaks, seals, etc, is normal maintenance…
Yes, I understand, but my health and age prevent me from doing that work. So, its either WBGO factory or a local RV shop. But which will get me the best quality and price.

I should have mentioned a new rig is really not an option.
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Old 09-05-2021, 03:55 PM   #6
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For sealing roofs, there’s a guy on YouTube that specializes in resealing roofs, AZExpert I think….



Might be worth a trip…
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Old 09-05-2021, 04:09 PM   #7
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If you can find a reputable repair shop that would be the best route. They are very hard to find. Personally I will not deal with any RV dealer repair shop. Tried that before. Luckily I found an independent RV repair shop that is good. It looks like a dump but the owner is very good and reasonable on prices. I wish you the best in getting your repairs so you can continue your journey. You likely will need to leave your rv for some time to get the repairs. Choose wisely and try to get an honest estimate of cost and time to complete work. Yes there are some honest people still out there but many more dishonest concerning time and repair costs. Been there and done that also.
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Old 09-05-2021, 07:13 PM   #8
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The ductwork between rear cap and back wall can be repaired with aluminum tape for HVAC use. A bright light and a temperature gun will locate any broken seams.
I used a square wood rod to place aluminum tape over leaks in my ductwork.
You first need to remove the metalwork around the right side of the engine compartment access door to even see the ductwork.


Before placing any tape I fastened a clean rag to my wood rod and dusted all the ductwork so the tape would stick better. This was in 2013 and no more air leaks.


There is a wealth of information on the basement heat pump and ductwork here, use the google search box at the top of this page to locate the threads.
As to hiring the work done, get a quote from https://www.lichtsinn.com/ and the factory for comparison purposes.
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Old 09-05-2021, 07:16 PM   #9
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man oh man oh man. You picked the wrong "Hobby" to get into if you had saving money in mind.
At the end of the day these ARE Homes. Temporary homes, Vacation homes, permanent homes. The key word here is Homes and like All homes, YOU HAVE TO PERFORM MAINTENANCE on them. My Actual home (in my neighborhood) is 50 yrs old, It developed leaks, I had the roof changed to a metal roof. After 20 yrs, My A/C took a dump on me. I had both of them changed out, A/C guy offered me a good deal. My kitchen sink disposal unit cracked the Faucet leaked around the Lower part of the "Neck" Fixing all the kitchen problems would have cost me $1000, but since the kitchen was 25 yrs old, I became my own contractor and Had the whole kitchen renovated. Same thing happened in my 2nd Bathroom, so we had that renovated and the list goes on.
Over time (especially in a MoHo that moves and "Rattels" down the road) It's Inevitable that you will have some of the same problems as you do with your home. So Our logic is this, If we do this Full time, the $14000 dollars a yr we spend on Property taxes will be used on the MoHo, For Gas and Maintenance, Insurance and Registration. So far All the expenses on our MoHo haven't even Touched $10K per yr, but in any case we are ready.
We don't look at our MoHo as an investment, because these things Depreciate rapidly.
So use the $$ saved on property Tax (if you're indeed doing this full time and have sold your home) and Re Seal your MoHo, because Water is the worst enemy of RV's. Then Every yr use it to have something else fixed on your motorhome. Definitely due what John H, suggested, if you can go to Winnebago and have them fix something, I think it's your best option. Also if you have the option to get a Newer Rig, it is my opinion that you should. Personally I wouldn't get Anything newer than a 2017-18 and anything older than 10 yrs. Many may disagree with this last opinion but hey, to each there own, that's JMHO.
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Old 09-07-2021, 07:12 PM   #10
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If you can go to the service center in Forest City at Winnebago that is a very good option. I have them do all the work that I cannot do or don’t want to do. I have found them to be reasonable on prices. They know the Winnebago motor homes. You are not paying someone to learn how to do something on your dime as they have already probably done it several times. This summer I had them inspect the roof seams, reseal the roof to wall seams, change the oil, fuel filters and update the files on the navigation unit. We were done and out of there in a 1 1/2 days.
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Old 09-11-2021, 10:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KD4XR View Post
14. Slide topper material needs to be replaced
I just did this project myself, cost was like $360 total for both bedroom and living room, and took me about 2-3 hours of my time to remove and replace. This included cleaning the tops of my slides and conditioning my top seals...

Watch their videos and follow their instructions. - https://www.toughtopawnings.com
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Old 09-11-2021, 06:35 PM   #12
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None of those repairs are deal breakers and most are standard items that need inspected and addressed over time.
You need a good Winnebago repair shop as their roofs are unique and a must to find someone familiar with them.
Barring something major uncovered, I would guess you could have all that done in a week or less for around $3-4,000
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Old 09-12-2021, 09:45 AM   #13
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You are four months into it. I wouldn't throw in the towel anytime soon.

Good news, Freightliner says chassis is in great shape. That is great to hear because engine/ tranny/suspension issues can get expensive fast.

First off, I get it if you can't do the work yourself. I can do a lot, and some I don't want to try. Some I figure I'll never do again, so I'll hire it out to someone who's learned how.

Sounds like a lot of it is whoever did the inspections wants to check a lot more things, or look deeper.

I would prioritize by fixing known leaks first. Windshield leak. OK, get someone to pull the rubber molding, clean up the area and reseal.

No/poor clearcoat is cosmetic. The problem was caused by a robotic painter that didnt put enough clearcoat on the radius. I had mine repainted in Forest River where the coaches get painted. I think it was CSI- they charged me $500 about 4 yrs ago.

I went up under my rig with the ac on and felt for drafts/cold spots and used aluninum tape to seal.

Later. I had a blower motor quit about three years ago. I decided to replace both basement air motors plus bearings plus capacitors. Cost about $1200, mostly labor which is why I paid to replace extra parts. Great writeup by Dunner on how to do it, but I didn't have a good covered level spot to try. People have had good luck getting a local ac guy to do repairs. From what I know getting it sealed properly is key.

Sagging ceiling is cosmetic unless you are seeing staining. From what I read. it is expensive to get repaired at Winnie, but other people have done different things.

I got new toppers down in the Rio Grand Valley. Good work. good price. Also had flooring replaced there.

Your profile says Alabama. A good friend with a Tiffin goes to Red Bay. Lots of people around that area that do RV work, some in the factory, many offsite. Shouldn't be too hard to get some good recommendations on who to take it to.

Good luck.
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Old 09-12-2021, 12:55 PM   #14
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Yes, I understand, but my health and age prevent me from doing that work. So, its either WBGO factory or a local RV shop. But which will get me the best quality and price.

I should have mentioned a new rig is really not an option.
The Winnebago factory is definitely a better choice. We've only had our motorhomes to dealers when getting to Forest City was out of the question.

The dealers have to order all their parts from the factory. You often have to wait 2 weeks or more to get a part from the factory. The factory service center on the other hand has just about anything you need in stock.

The factory service center has the best trained technicians, and their hourly rate is competitive with dealerships and independent shops. They won't try to over sell service items or parts. They'll make an honest judgement as to what you need, share their reasoning with you, and let you make the final decision.

In the 20+ years we've owned Winnebago products we've been more than satisfied with the service and the price at the service center.
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