Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Rough Night - Great Day

(Elkhart, IN) Hi 87 Lo 68 -- Last night was a doozy of a rough night! We were parked in the parking lot of Fox RV because they didn't finish servicing our rig yesterday. Fox provided us with a 30-amp electric connection. Severe weather rolled through around 8:30, and we saw what we think might have been a small twister hit the parking lot, with sand and debris swirling around. We were parked close to the building and were shielded from the west, so we didn't feel much wind inside the rig. We lost power at that point, and while rain pounded us Jim turned on the generator so we could watch the Stanley Cup hockey game. The rain finally died down and we went to bed as soon as the game was over, knowing we had to get up early this morning. We're used to sleeping with a noise machine on, but with no ac power we couldn't run it. That allowed us to hear all kinds of noise from a small metal fabrication company next door that was working the second shift. We finally got to sleep, then Jim woke up around 1am and noticed the electric alarm clock was blinking, which means the electricity had come back on. We turned on the noise machine and went to what we thought would be the rest of a good night's sleep. Didn't happen... we had a very bad storm with hard rain and heavy lightning around 3:30am, and the electric went out again. It was constant interruptions from that point on. Two of the Fox RV techs came by to see if the power was out (it was), and they left their car running and talked back and forth outside our open window. Before sunrise the metal fabrication business started banging again, and we could hear the clip-clopping of Amish buggies on the road next to us. Finally it was time to get up 6:00. We had to leave to meet up with Dave and Tina for the day's activities.

The power was still out when we left a little before 7:00. We drove to South Bend to meet up with Dave and Tina for a trip to Kokomo to visit Dave's mom Sarah. Jim and Sarah are very close. He spent a lot of time at Dave's house when they were school chums in Florida, and he considered Sarah almost like his second mom. She and her husband Walter even let Jim stay with them for a semester of college before we got married.

We arrived at Sarah's house a little before 10:00. Sarah's son John (Dave's half brother) was also there. About a half hour after we arrived my sister Doris and mom, Vena, stopped by on their way back to Troy, MO. We all had a great time visiting for a couple of hours. Sarah showed a DVD of family photos, which was a real trip down memory lane. We finally had to say our goodbyes. Sis and mom had a long trip ahead of them, and we had to get back to Fox RV before closing time. We didn't leave without getting some photos.

Sarah and Jim

Doris, Tina, Dave, Sarah, Vena, Dee, and Jim

Sarah her son John

Thanks for allowing us to visit with you Sarah and John. It was great seeing you again.

We headed back to South Bend to pick up our truck then headed back to Fox RV to pick up the RV. It was still in the service bay when we got there. That wasn't good.  Larry Fox told us they had just got the power back on a short time before we got there. They still had to replace one of the disc rotors and install new brake pads on the rotor. It was 30 minutes before closing time and the parts hadn't arrived yet. We decided we were NOT going to spend another night in their parking lot, so we started thinking about which motel to go to. Then Cindy, one of their workers, showed up with the brake parts. Larry and one of his techs hustled and got the parts installed in about a half hour and FINALLY we were good to go!

Here's Tumbleweed being pulled out of the service bay. They use a modified forklift to move trailers around.

One of the items we had done was a modification to our sewer hose tube. The tube originally came all the way back to within a couple of inches of the tire. We knew that if we were ever to blow that tire, it would take out the sewer tube and maybe even damage one or more of the tanks. They shortened the tube by 18 inches so it's now well away from the tire.

Here's a list of everything we had done.

- Serviced both slideouts: adjusted slide angle, torqued mounting bolts, fully lubricated all seals and moving parts.

- Installed MorRyde wet bolt kit on suspension, consisting of upgraded heavy duty shackles, brackets, and bolts.

- Replaced disc rotor/hub assembly and brake pads on one wheel. (Originally had only one pad on the rotor, and the pad material was missing, causing metal-on-metal contact [and the squealing we were hearing]. Defective installation at the factory, but the factory is now closed.)  :(

- Replaced check valves under sink and shower, and removed, cleaned and re-mounted sewer vent tube. The tube had been installed improperly at the factory (again!) and was causing odors to vent inside the rig after we took a shower.

- Repaired our broken door step.

- Replaced all screws around our front cap. These have been a constant source of irritation, with loosening, heads popping off, etc. Fox replaced them all with screws twice as long, and re-caulked all the trim.

- Checked and tightened the mounting bolts on our two ceiling air conditioners. These have been know to loosen up over time from all the bouncing down the road.

- Replaced an igniter on one of our stove burners.

- Tightened a top mounting bolt on our rear ladder and re-caulked it. (This had to be done from inside the roof. Don't ask me how they did it.)

We won't kid you, this cost us quite a chunk of change, a little under $2,000. Larry is filing a claim with our warranty service for some of the items that had to be replaced (wet bolt kit, brake system, etc.), which should result in us getting about $750 back. We should hear from him tomorrow about that. We haven't had to pay much for repairs since we bought our extended service contract, and this is the first really major preventive maintenance we've had done in 3 1/2 years. When you look at it that way, it averages well under $500 per year, provided we get our rebate. We feel this is an investment in our home, same as maintenance on a sticks and bricks house. And the better shape we keep it, the longer it will last and the more time we'll have to enjoy this wonderful lifestyle. We hope that disclosing all these details might help those who are thinking about what it costs to live full time in an RV.


Gypsy said...

I'm glad you posted about your repairs and the cost of having them done. I don't think anyone starting out really thinks about the cost of upkeep and regular maintenance, or if they do, it's easy to underestimate it. Good luck on the rebate.

Jim and Sandie said...

Glad you survived the storms okay even if you didn't get any sleep. I agree with Gypsy - most people don't think about all the things that need to be taken care with a rig and you gave a good explanation of what you had done.

Carol Kerr said...

Do you think any of this stuff is stuff I need to have checked on the Cameo I'm looking at?

Tumbleweed Jim said...

Carol, at minimum I would have the suspension looked at, especially if it has the MorRyde RE suspension system. To me, the suspension is one of the most critical parts of an RV because if it fails while you're on the road, it can be very serious. Jim

Doug said...

I hope you have good luck on getting your warranty claim approved. Normally they want to approve claims before the work is done.

Bob and Jo said...

Storms is one thing we really worry about.