Do I Have To Be A Mechanic To Own An RV?

Do you have to be a mechanic to own an RV? It helps to have a mechanical mindset which, in my mind, means that you do not overreact to problems with your coach. There will be many problems, especially with a new coach, and the vast majority of them can be easily fixed. Except for things like a brand new coach catching fire.

To give you an idea, here are some of the issues we ran into with our coach over the past four years.

Leak under the kitchen sink. Easy fix.

Loose fabric trim. Easy fix.

Cracked floor tile. Required a trip to the dealer. Fixed under warranty.

MCD power shades. Never worked properly. After two years of taking it back to the dealer, we contacted MCD directly. Turns out there was a recall on the motors. Replaced at factory. They work fine now.

Winegard antennas. They all failed. Satellite and Over-the-Air Digital TV antennas. Defective motors. Both replaced under warranty although the satellite antenna was not an easy fix. I had to dismantle, ship and re-install that unit. Not fun.

Sofa bed. Broken latch. Required a trip to the dealer. Replaced under warranty. Incorrect mattress installed. We never use it so we have left it on our list of things to fix whenever we next get to the factory.

Bay doors. Newmar uses an odd plastic ring — it looks look a floral decorative element — on the retaining arm that cracks and breaks off over time. Easy fix. Annoying that they use such cheap parts in the coach.

Engine fault. Required a trip to a Cummins dealer. Easy fix for them. Engine firmware was out of date and required an update.

Defective front tire. Required roadside assistance. Replaced under warranty although it took almost six months for Michelin to finally settle the charge.

Loose lower body side panels. Newmar uses relatively small screws to retain the side body panels to the chassis of the coach. They come loose. Fortunately we caught it before the side panels could detach. Easy fix. Curious design.

Oasis hot water pumps. Not a straight forward fix. Defective pumps that ITR will not recall. Dealer replaced one. I replaced the other two. The newer designs seem to be holding up well. Having to spend upwards of $1,000 to replace defective pumps was annoying.

HWH levelling system. Required a trip to the dealer to replace a bad solenoid.

Magnum Inverter failure. Fortunately I was able to resolve with a simple circuit breaker reset. Easy fix. Just took most of a day to troubleshoot and resolve due to poor documentation. Required an RV mobile tech and a call to Magnum technical support.

Power bed. Stuck at an upright position. Newmar could not resolve over the phone. Service manager at dealer suggested a loose wire underneath the bed. Not an easy fix but it was a wire that had detached. I better appreciate sleeping on a flat bed. Such poor wiring practices in this coach.

Unintended awning deployment. This one stranded us for roughly six weeks. Awning randomly deployed while the service manager at our dealership was driving the coach into a service bay. Awning was crushed by the entrance wall. Took almost five weeks to get the parts delivered.

Latches, cabinet door arms. I keep stock of the replacement parts for our cabinet doors. These components are very poor quality and break frequently. Easy fix.

Flexsteel furniture. Power footrest stuck at an extended position. Repaired at factory.

Step cover. Travels out of track. Haven’t fixed that one yet.

Side radiator grill. Detached from coach. Easy fix.

Tank sensors. Basically useless in our model year. They misread frequently.

Multiple recalls:

467 RSB – Recall 16V 826: Power Steering Fluid Leak (potential fire hazard)
472 TSB – Slideout Motor Mounting Bolts (under-torqued).
483 RSB – Recall 17V 420: Driver Passenger Shade
486 TSB – MCD Remote Shade Motor Replacement
488 RSB – Recall 17V 497: Battery Cable May Rub Against Frame (another potential fire hazard)
493 PIB – Freightliner Lightbar: instrument panel odometer value may reset and not match the engine ECU odometer value

I came across this post on the Newmar Dutch Star Owners Facebook page:

Angela: your fun is just beginning.

I sometimes see people defending the poor quality of RVs by saying something along these lines: you are moving a house at highway speed and all that movement will cause problems.

Most of our issues had nothing to do with the coach moving and shaking down the road. Most of our issues were due to poor component quality. Most of Angela’s issues had nothing to do with the coach moving and shaking down the road. Her issues are due to poor component quality.

Pat’s comment says it all:

Comes with the territory, sadly. We’ve spent lots of time at Newmar (and other places) having issues fixed. Yes, it does help to know something about (and then some) about mechanics, plumbing, heating, AC and everything else.

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