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Old 08-18-2018, 05:52 AM   #1
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Default Do you do your own mechanical "coach work"..OR do you have it done professionally??

Wondering how many of you are mechanically inclined to diagnose and repair your own rigs??

Class B's have VERY confined spaces for equipment, especially Roadtreks, and working on them I'm told by my repair RV shop that it's much easier on the larger Class A's and C's.....

Plus, in many cases, it takes specialized tools to do the job.... replacing certain parts especially electrical and plumbing takes a skilled technician.....

SO.....do you actually perform these repairs yourself or send it out??

I know that this is NOT my area of expertise and I don't work on my vehicles or cars.....

Of course this adds a significant cost for owning an RV....I'm aware of this....
I just enjoy using it and the experience of having the Class B is enough for me....

What's your level of experience ??
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Old 08-18-2018, 11:51 AM   #2
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We fix, build, modify, etc most everything we own, including the Roadtrek that is heavily modified. It is very rare that we hire anything done, with the most common exception being wheel alignments due to equipment and building costs. We have lots of tools of all kinds that have long since payed off their initial costs, and rent high cost low use tools as needed.


We find the quality and attention to detail of hired help to be lacking badly in most cases, so I prefer to make my own mistakes. That way I know who to blame


Of course, we have another exception going on right now, as we have a contractor tearing out 800 sq ft. of concrete patio, grading and removing about 30 yards of soil to get better drainage, and putting down 400 sq ft of pavers with a retaining wall. 20 years ago, we probably would have do it ourselves, but by now the bodies probably wouldn't survive that much heavy manual labor without problems.
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Old 08-18-2018, 12:57 PM   #3
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I usually do most of my own work. Two reasons: it saves me lots of money, and I learn how things work so I can more quickly fix things which results in less trip interruption. Part of the cost savings is obviously the labor cost, but additionally with complex coaches it really bugs me to pay someone $100/hr to just figure out how stuff works before they can even begin to fix what is broken.
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Old 08-18-2018, 01:09 PM   #4
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I hire everything out... I have neither the tools nor the knowledge... not to mention a place to do any of the usual work needed.

That said, I understand enough about how things work that I manage to avoid the crooks who see a scrawny little old lady who can be misled to repair things that don't exist.
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Old 08-18-2018, 07:53 PM   #5
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I proceed on the principle that if it's already broke, I can't do much harm by trying to fix it myself. If I can't then I just order a replacement and install it.

That's still cheaper than the blood-sucking RV dealer I went to once (emphasis on "once") who charges $130/hr. labor rate. They wanted to do a complete plumbing replacement when I only had a leaking gray water valve, and told me the monitor panel was shot, when it turned out to a $1 blade fuse I later located with the help an Airstream tech who sent me a wiring schematic. Oh, and they told me the macerator impeller was bad (duh, I knew that when I went in since the motor ran but wasn't pushing any water out).

Were they crooks or just incompetent? I spend zero time considering which one. They did get $300 from me for doing nothing in my opinion. But they never got the addition $1800 they wanted. I fixed everything for $285 (macerator and dump valve from Ebay) and had the satisfaction of learning how things on my RV work. Since then I've replaced "limit" switches on may water heater, the Flo-jet water pump, and Monday I replace the roof top a/c.

Forums like this and Youtube are your friends.
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Old 08-18-2018, 10:04 PM   #6
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I have had one job done on an rv in the last thirty years and that was installing a towing system on a Jeep and a small Class C. I didn't have the knowledge, tools and absolutely didn't want to be low on the learning curve where that project was concerned. I took it to a local independent RV shop operated by the guy that owns it and he did an excellent job for a reasonable cost.

Other than that, I have always done everything on our rigs myself. Now, that is where the coach is concerned. For the chassis, I use an independent family owned garage and tire dealership that has been in our community for fifty years and has had some of the same guys working there for almost that long. They are excellent, have a full bay dedicated for small RVs (thirty feet and under) and I have great faith in them. It is nice to have lived in the same area for a long time and have that kind of relationship.

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Old 08-18-2018, 10:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rowiebowie View Post
I proceed on the principle that if it's already broke, I can't do much harm by trying to fix it myself. If I can't then I just order a replacement and install it.

That's still cheaper than the blood-sucking RV dealer I went to once (emphasis on "once") who charges $130/hr. labor rate. They wanted to do a complete plumbing replacement when I only had a leaking gray water valve, and told me the monitor panel was shot, when it turned out to a $1 blade fuse I later located with the help an Airstream tech who sent me a wiring schematic. Oh, and they told me the macerator impeller was bad (duh, I knew that when I went in since the motor ran but wasn't pushing any water out).

Were they crooks or just incompetent? I spend zero time considering which one. They did get $300 from me for doing nothing in my opinion. But they never got the addition $1800 they wanted. I fixed everything for $285 (macerator and dump valve from Ebay) and had the satisfaction of learning how things on my RV work. Since then I've replaced "limit" switches on may water heater, the Flo-jet water pump, and Monday I replace the roof top a/c.

Forums like this and Youtube are your friends.
I proceed on the principle that if it's already broke, I can't do much harm by trying to fix it myself. If I can't then I just order a replacement and install it
.

Really??? You think so?

I've seen many instances where people who don't know what they're doing make things MUCH WORSE..... resulting in even more remedial repairs.

Well, I know I don't have the skills for this... which is WHY I hire it out....
Fortunately, I have a very reputable shop....

Question...how old was your macerator pump.??
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Old 08-18-2018, 11:06 PM   #8
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I do my own work. This last four month trip I had to replace a failing domestic water supply pump. Ordered one from Walmart.com and picked it up at the store a few days later.
i replaced the fridge last year with another absorbtion unit. Cuz I did it myself I was able to line the top of it with R-11 insulation. I'm sure that helps with the fridge performance as I've seen internal temps in the low to mid 30's with coach and outside ambient temps ranging to 102.
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Old 08-19-2018, 02:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadtrek Adventuous RS1 View Post
I proceed on the principle that if it's already broke, I can't do much harm by trying to fix it myself. If I can't then I just order a replacement and install it
.

Really??? You think so?

I've seen many instances where people who don't know what they're doing make things MUCH WORSE..... resulting in even more remedial repairs.

Well, I know I don't have the skills for this... which is WHY I hire it out....
Fortunately, I have a very reputable shop....

Question...how old was your macerator pump.??
I'm not an idiot and so far as I can tell the OP is not one either, so that mitigates many potential problems. I also perform direct replacements of the same manufacture's model so as to facilitate plug-and-play during my repairs. I also don't do modifications or alterations to any systems on the van, particularly safety systems.

I won't take on a task that is unsafe or beyond my capability. That is why I mentioned the resources on forums like this and Youtube are your friend. I would not have done any of the repairs I've made unless I familiarized myself with my van, asked for and received valuable advice, and/or watched multiple youtube videos. Before you mention there a bad videos out there, I sought out ones posted by the manufacturer of the product I was installing such as prior to my recent a/c replacement.

Macerator was original on my van which was 7 years old when I purchased it last October. When it failed is unknown since it appeared the black tank had never been used. I believe the prior owners traveled in it, but never camped in it.
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Old 08-19-2018, 04:59 AM   #10
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I do all my own “house” work with a few exceptions. I know how to do chassis work but I tend to hire that out as I have a good mechanic who is reasonable and trustworthy.

I have been good with electricity since I was a kid so that came easy to me. I have designed and installed solar systems on my last 2 RV’s.

With the propane system I have been able to learn. I had an RV tech who let me watch and learn while he was working on propane problems. I learned to do a pressure test to ensure the system was gas tight.

I have always been mechanically inclined, a tinkerer who can fix just about anything.

I would agree with the idea that if it is already broken I can’t make it worse, but I think that implies certain skills that not everyone possesses. You need to be able to put things back like you found them, and you need to avoid breaking something new. You also need to know when to stop — when you are out of your depth.
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