Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×
RV Trip Planning Discussions

Go Back   iRV2 Forums > iRV2.com COMMUNITY FORUMS > Vintage RV's
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on iRV2
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 05-05-2021, 01:37 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Isaac-1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: SW Louisiana
Posts: 7,474
Older Motorhomes for DIY'er only

My coach is on the cusp of turning 20 years old, it was built in November of 2001, but even at its relatively young age for this group, in the nearly 5 years I have owned it, one lesson has re-asserted itself in various ways over and over again, and that is if you want it fixed right you really should do it yourself. In the years I have owned it I have taken it into a few local independent shops to have work done on a few occasions, when it needed things I was either unwilling, unable, or did not have time to do myself. I have a bad back (broke L2 in a fall about 11 years ago) so jobs that tend to involve being bent into odd spaces or heavy lifting I ted to take to a shop to get done. Sometimes getting them to do a few of the pending chores while they had it, ie have them grease the wheel bearing while replacing the ball joints.


Yet even doing most things DIY, when I follow up behind something I had a shop do, I often find myself fixing their mistakes, or the things they broke while doing the work.


Here is my most recent example, we are getting ready to go on our first real trip in about 18 months, the coach was driven perhaps 150 miles total in 2020 never over 15-20 miles at a time, vs about 4,000 in 2019, the brakes were last "checked" and flushed by a local shop in mid 2019. This time I decided to check and flush them myself even though it does require a bit of lifting, as I had my 30ish year old son around to help. What I found was the rear left bleeder screw so mangled it would not turn with the correct size wrench, the left rear caliper seized and pads very un-evenly worn, and when I went to change the pads I found the metal rings on the end of the caliper piston had deteriorated to nothing but rust, plus the outer seals on both rear caliper pistons were split. All of this did not happen while the coach was sitting in its enclosed shed. I have now changed out both rear calipers, rear hoses, and pads, and should have things ready to leave on our trip on Monday, of course my back was not happy with me for doing this.


I don't really blame the shops for this, as it is likely a mindset problem, day after day they deal with 15+ year old worn out cars where the owners want things fixed as cheap as possible good enough to make it last another month. By contrast I want it fixed right, and if something that could strand me on the side of the road or worse looks marginal I would rather change it out now vs try to get another year or two out of it in hopes it holds up. Sure there is some less critical stuff I will put off, but it all comes down to priorities, and with most shops it is either what can we charge the most for that requires the least labor to fix, or it is if it has not completely failed it is ok. Finding a shop with skilled mechanics that can use good judgement seems to be nearly impossible, perhaps worst of all they are often too task oriented, either not noting or not mentioning something unrelated that is broken or failing inches away from the thing they are working on. Take for example that mangled bleeder screw which really should have been replaced when the brakes were flushed at some point in the past, this of course was not done by the shop, and was not even noted for next time, likely because getting the $2 part and changing it would have held up the job and the service bay by several hours.
__________________
2002 Safari Trek 2830 on P32 Chassis with 8.1L w/ 400 watts solar 420Ah LiFePo4
2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland & 2007 Toyota Yaris TOADs with Even Brake,
Demco Commander tow bar and Blue Ox / Roadmaster base plates
Isaac-1 is online now   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 05-07-2021, 06:53 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 4,535
The lack of honesty and ability makes me feel sorry for people that can't diy.
Our first experience with a repair shop was;
Kept MH for almost two months and didn't do anything until I told them I was picking it up for our first trip. We had given them the green light to check everything.
They told me wrong spring came in to fix slide topper. (I found the spring had popped off the end cap and was able to fix for free. )
They changed oil (hopefully) and left cap off oil fill. They also had to open rear access door that PO had adjusted upside down so door was tie strapped. Only took me 5 minutes to fix. My thought was and shop that couldn't/ didn't notice that and fix it wasn't that great. Much more but you get the idea. And all this comes at 160-200 per hour.
__________________
1996 Tioga Class C
2007 Monaco Diplomat 40 PDQ
TOAD 2012 Cadillac SRX 4
okcnewbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2021, 08:21 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 629
If I could only purchase a much newer one, I couldn’t afford to have one at all.

If I couldn’t do my own work on my older one, I couldn’t afford to have one at all.
__________________
Marvin (and Eileen) - Weekend RVer On A Budget
1997 34í Gas Bounder / F53 Chassis | Towing 1996 Ford Ranger on Acme Dolly
MarvinG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2021, 08:50 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
GypsyR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Upstate SC
Posts: 2,255
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarvinG View Post
If I could only purchase a much newer one, I couldn’t afford to have one at all.

If I couldn’t do my own work on my older one, I couldn’t afford to have one at all.
Ditto.

I think also if I couldn't keep it close by on my own property I wouldn't have one either.
GypsyR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2021, 03:38 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 196
93 Toyota here. Mine is a bit of a hobby for me. I do almost all of my own work for 2 reasons. One I am cheap and getting someone to do decent work for fair money or not trying to steal my money is the other. Very hard to find honest competent mechanics.



Worst story, when I bought mine 5 years ago I redid quite a bit, also used a neighborhood wrench who has a complete shop with a lift. I completely replaced the cab AC system, everything, hoses compressor, evaporator, dryer, condenser.



Maybe 6 months goes by and I have an AC leak and I know what it is, I did not replace the pressure switch. I am old, I have a bad back and hip and decide to take it to an AC repair shop. I mean how much can it cost? 300/400 dollars? $1200 dollars was the estimate, they want to replace a brand new compressor they claim is leaking, flush the condenser, replace the dryer. This is after I told them the switch is leaking! So I replaced my own switch. 4 years later and compressor is fine, no leaks.



I won't waste electrons on more you will not believe this stories, like the shop that completely screwed up balancing my tires. Very happy I stopped at another shop to get it checked and they showed my how bad the first shop screwed up. Now I will only use shops that do on vehicle balancing for all my vehicles.



I do feel bad for people buying old RV's and having to hire the work out.
jjrbus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2021, 12:16 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
D Gardiner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 958
At Isaac-1:

Fully agree with you. As a former mechanic (1984-1995) I have met and worked with few in the industry that I would trust working or diagnosing my vehicles. I can count them on one hand.

Have also been hit with sticker-shock, for the most simple repair task. Our family can afford it, however.....to me its seems money thrown out the window. I do most all repairs on our cars and RV, including upgrades. Usually I find areas of improvement, and address those during a repair as normal course.

Case in point. Recently my wife's BMW stopped cranking. After a few hours of diagnostic work, the starter was most likely shot. The local shop quotes me $800 to replace. Got the usual spiel, it's hard to get to (because of the all-wheel-drive), it's under the intake manifold, etcetera. The job took me two days (at my pace) and cost me $750.
But, we got a new starter, battery, vacuum hoses, fuel filter, hood and truck struts, seals and o-rings. At the shop we would have just gotten the starter. We also only purchase BMW eom parts as well.

Subsequently, I'm no where near as fast as I was in my 20's and 30's, but the end result is worth it. With that said, when I was working as a full time mechanic , I was always the slowest one. But,...my boss knew that my cars would not be coming back for warranty work. Because of that, I gained a loyal customer following.
__________________
Always bring your A game.
1996 Flair 29V, 454 TBI, 4L80E
D Gardiner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2021, 05:16 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Jpony56hd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Fulltime on the Road
Posts: 200
I've been a mechanic all my life and worked in the Aircraft and Auto industry as one. My best advice would be to look for a shop that displays the ASE (Automotive Society of Engineers) sign and ONLY employs certified mechanics. The mechanic has to take a course and pass for each system ( Brakes, Ac, Body & Paint, ect.) and gets a patch for each item. Generally a shop that participates in this voluntary program is a lot more professional.
__________________
Richard "PONY", Virginia & the Cats (Benny & Joon) 2003 Monaco Dynasty. Fulltimers since 2005.
Jpony56hd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2021, 11:08 PM   #8
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Missoula, Montana
Posts: 18
Being cheap and bored, I enjoy working on my bus (97 Monaco Dynasty). I have been through most of the systems and feel sort of knowledgeable. Have done many up grades and addons. This project keeps me sane. I have problems justifying $150.00 an hour for so so work.
We lost our awning near Pocatello, ID. Took out 1 roof vent, 3 vent covers, 1 solar panel and the awning. Insurance paid around $2700.00 after deductible. I found the parts for around for around $1500.00. I paid myself about $1200.00 and had a good time doing it. If anything goes haywire on any of these I know I can fix them.
The nice thing about the older rigs is they were built right. If I was shot in the butt with nickels, I would still buy an older rig. All I have heard about the newer outfit is problems with lots of buttons whistles and bells. I prefer to add my own whistles. Bells, well I'm kind of a ding a ling so I have that covered.
I the world of Motorhomes I think older is better.
Just my thoughts.
John
Just_John is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2021, 07:07 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 196
I did not want to keep wasting electrons in my reply, so kept it brief.



Due to getting older and the body deterioration there are things I can no longer do, such as scuba diving, badminton. I am also not a fisherman or golfer. I find that doing things around the house to be very satisfying.



Keeping my 94 Toyota in good repair takes a good bit of time and I enjoy doing it. Some may go to the Silver Club at the gym, me I climb a ladder or crawl under my Toy. Sometime laying under the RV I cannot think of a good reason to come back out and stand up.


I have started rot repair on my overcab, will require bending, climbing, stretching, squatting, swearing. Mental exercises in the form of measuring, calculating, researching materials, adhesives etc. Hand and eye coordination. I also have to go out and talk to people, I am going to replace the front skin and needed to get some info on that which will require social contact with at least 10 people. I could go on a bit but you get the drift.



There is also the fantasizing about the 3.4 engine swap I would love to do.



For those that think I am just cheap, well that is a part of it also.
jjrbus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2021, 09:13 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
Winnebago Owners Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 1,701
Having once worked in a service role I can see both sides of it. There is the cheap customer that dislikes you simply because they have to deal with the problem in the first place, and just wants it to go away for the least possible cost. From the service perspective do you trade labor to trace problems to the failed component, or shotgun the problem with new parts? Even from a customer perspective I wouldn't want to pay a guy to rebuild a starter, I'm money ahead to R&R the whole thing. But there will be those customers that gripe when you replace a part because you know it's the right thing to do. Generally speaking there are few professional services that combine skill, efficiency, honesty and concern for the customer. They're out there, but it's not like you can tell by looking. Like other posters here I also feel sorry for those not able to fix their own stuff and are at the mercy of others. At least with forums like these there can be a bit of discussion about problems and folks can have some idea about what's going on and what to do about it.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
Mark_K5LXP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2021, 09:35 AM   #11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 1,188
Kinda the same for me, equipment manager for a few years and owned a hotrod shop for a few years as well. I'm not a mechanic but race cars and hotrods were my hobby for years until I started my shop then it wasn't as enjoyable anymore.
I can fix most things on my rv and have the tools for the most part. What I don't like is not being able to get it in my shop to work on it. My body is getting tired too which I know will make me take it to someone sooner or later for repairs I don't want to do. At least unlike some who aren't mechanically inclined I can check the work that gets done to ensure it is right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_K5LXP View Post
Having once worked in a service role I can see both sides of it. There is the cheap customer that dislikes you simply because they have to deal with the problem in the first place, and just wants it to go away for the least possible cost. From the service perspective do you trade labor to trace problems to the failed component, or shotgun the problem with new parts? Even from a customer perspective I wouldn't want to pay a guy to rebuild a starter, I'm money ahead to R&R the whole thing. But there will be those customers that gripe when you replace a part because you know it's the right thing to do. Generally speaking there are few professional services that combine skill, efficiency, honesty and concern for the customer. They're out there, but it's not like you can tell by looking. Like other posters here I also feel sorry for those not able to fix their own stuff and are at the mercy of others. At least with forums like these there can be a bit of discussion about problems and folks can have some idea about what's going on and what to do about it.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
__________________
98 Monaco Windsor
2015 Rubicon Toad
Craig1960 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2021, 11:28 AM   #12
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Canonsburg, PA
Posts: 59
Back in the late 90's, I bought a used 1980 Ford Bronco with a 6cyl engine in it. About 6 months later, that engine blew up. Not surprising because the truck was a real beater. So I purchased and installed (by myself) a Jasper remanufactured engine through a local garage. Unfortunately, it apparently had a bad valve spring and dropped a valve in on the piston at 70mph and punched a hole in the cylinder wall. So...since it was under warranty, I got a new engine and they paid for a mechanic to install it. So I had the local garage where I bought the engine do it for me. Anyways, I get it back and proceed to drive 300 miles across PA. When I get to my destination, it is smoking from oil leaking and burning. I realized that the new engine block had a hole for a dipstick that the garage never plugged (my dipstick was in the side of the oil pan). When I looked closer, I see a motor mount bolt that was sticking out. Turns out, it wasn't even the right size bolt but just a smaller one that they stuck in the hole. I also noticed that another bolt (on the same mount) was missing! So there was only one bolt even holding the engine in the truck. Needless to say, that is exactly why I try to do all of my own repairs.
Bob_E. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2021, 09:09 PM   #13
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Franktown
Posts: 13
Sorry about the back, I can’t even pump grease into a bearing Buddy anymore and pay to have it done. But I can do pretty much any repairs as long as I can stand. I have had several discs disappear in lumbar and neck. and then my spine fused itself all crooked. Still getting surgeries that knock me out for months every now and then. I always try to do my own work but know my limits. 25 years I-CAR platinum so I understand minimum shop rates and the expenses they pay. I would say do everything you can that you have good knowledge about repairing and “sub out” the stuff you can’t or don’t know anything about. Better for you and everyone around you if you catch my drift
5280beltfed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2021, 04:17 PM   #14
Member
 
77Ti_o_ga's Avatar
 
Vintage RV Owners Club
Texas Boomers Club
Ford Super Duty Owner
Rexhall Owners Group
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Marion Texas
Posts: 55
Thank You DAD - I am a DIY'er because of YOU!
__________________
Sgt USMC (Ret.) Semi Ret OTR Trucker
DAV Life Mmbr VFW Life Mmbr NRA Distg Life Mmbr
Everyday a Holiday, Every meal - a feast!
94 Rexhall Aerbus [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
77Ti_o_ga is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
diy, motor, motorhome, motorhomes



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Older MH tube TV to widescreen DIY Bocifus Class A Motorhome Discussions 15 04-02-2021 09:00 AM
To DIY or not DIY HamboneTHW Alpine Coach Owner's Forum 73 05-07-2018 08:41 AM
Inflated Value of Older Motorhomes crankitup Vintage RV's 15 12-13-2012 07:36 AM
Book values on older motorhomes? Nick-B Class A Motorhome Discussions 20 09-09-2012 05:46 PM
DIY Replace Nylon Slide Glides on older coach? wandering_ Winnebago Industries Owner's Forum 16 03-07-2012 10:06 PM

» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:19 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.