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Old 09-16-2018, 06:04 AM   #1
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Default Repairs vs. maintenance... does it even matter???

When I first got my RV...I thought...OK... there's going to be a few repairs, it's a 2012 model that I purchased in 2017.... however, it's extremely low mileage and was in immaculate condition......

What I didn't realize was how cyclical these things are.. batteries, tires, macerator pump, shocks, propane sensor.. I don't know.. maybe the cracked sewer hose that's a plastic part permanently attached to the rig??

Regardless of what you want to call it...it's all money ...and you can't ignore it...

Now I realize that some of you on the forum have the skills to do all of these repairs yourself.... but, you still have to purchase the replacement parts.....so, while it's certainly costing me more...it's still an expense to you as well....

I'm probably going to sell my RV in three years... just to get a little more time from all the things I already did... which were very extensive....and IF things settle down maybe I'll consider keeping it longer.... we'll see...

In the meantime...I'm keeping a close eye on the repairs and maintenance...it adds up very quickly.... don't know how anyone can live in a place requiring this much work.... thankfully I don't have to do that.

I wonder how many people out there with a 2012 model have as many issues as what I've experienced... maybe it's just because it's a Roadtrek and Mercedes Benz..?? It's not just the RV repairs... although they seem to be the larger part of the expenses....it's the vehicle as well.... maintenance on the diesel is very expensive even with my independent mechanic...at 20,000 miles service, it cost me over $800 ...... Takes a lot of money to properly maintain these engines...

Hope your experience is better than mine..... we're still having fun..but the cost is a lot....
I think I could have stayed in some really nice hotels and just taken my car.......
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Old 09-16-2018, 10:51 AM   #2
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Interesting. So other than the 20,000 mile service what other expenses have you had over the past year?
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Old 09-16-2018, 12:55 PM   #3
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we're still having fun..but the cost is a lot....
I think I could have stayed in some really nice hotels and just taken my car.......
That's what it boils down to I believe.

I tried to do an exercise a few times to compare total costs and it seemed to me to come out awash.

So when people ask me, I tell them it probably is not worth getting into RV'ing as a money saving venture - it really comes down more to a lifestyle choice.

I suppose many years ago when our daughters were children and we just camped with a tent we were saving what little $$ I had for vacations compared to staying in hotels and eating all our meals in restaurants - but that has not been our style of RVing for many years ! Still enjoy it though!

Brian
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Old 09-16-2018, 01:47 PM   #4
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Roughly, the maintenance and repairs on our 2006 Sprinter have averaged out to about $500 per year over the past 4 years.

And 50% of that cost consisted of replacements that I elected to do because of the vehicle's age, not because something broke (turbo hoses, new water pump, coolant hoses, gaskets all replaced preemptively). So, without my conservative spending, then about $250 per year for the Sprinter itself (not the upfit components). The only major 'required' maintenance that I've had done in 4 years was a transmission flush (about $500 at MB). We DIY our own oil changes which are less than $100 each. Two new tires came to about $400, but every vehicle needs tires.

Of course, we spent many thousands on a DIY off-grid electrical system, but that wasn't because we were compelled to - it was a lifestyle decision. We also DIY'd repairs to our plumbing system that would have cost several thousand bucks if we had contracted it out. DIY cost was perhaps a hundred bucks.

And I paid to replace the entire propane system including the tank itself, again because I was being conservative due to the vehicle's age. That was about $2,000 for tank, all flex lines, and labor.

Newer Sprinters are more expensive to own and operate, it seems. Especially when the emissions systems go belly up.

But yes - all RVs do come with expenses. Same as houses.
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Old 09-16-2018, 02:43 PM   #5
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I totally agree that it's a lifestyle choice. You've gotta ask yourself: What do I like to do? Do you like to travel or relax at home? Do you like to where yourself in nature or do you like big city shows or more exotic traveling overseas? The answers to those sorts of questions may help. You can spend money on any of those, even relaxing at home lol.

I personally really don't like hotels unless I spend a lot of money on them, the and the RV allows a lot more flexibility. Some people want more structure, for their vacations to be more planned or catered, I get that. It's really your decision.
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Old 09-16-2018, 03:47 PM   #6
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Default Even $1,000 per year would be a bargain.....

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Roughly, the maintenance and repairs on our 2006 Sprinter have averaged out to about $500 per year over the past 4 years.

And 50% of that cost consisted of replacements that I elected to do because of the vehicle's age, not because something broke (turbo hoses, new water pump, coolant hoses, gaskets all replaced preemptively). So, without my conservative spending, then about $250 per year for the Sprinter itself (not the upfit components). The only major 'required' maintenance that I've had done in 4 years was a ansmission flush (about $500 at MB). We DIY our own oil changes which are less than $100 each. Two new tires came to about $400, but every vehicle needs tires.

Of course, we spent many thousands on a DIY off-grid electrical system, but that wasn't because we were compelled to - it was a lifestyle decision. We also DIY'd repairs to our plumbing system that would have cost several thousand bucks if we had contracted it out. DIY cost was perhaps a hundred bucks.

And I paid to replace the entire propane system including the tank itself, again because I was being conservative due to the vehicle's age. That was about $2,000 for tank, all flex lines, and labor.

Newer Sprinters are more expensive to own and operate, it seems. Especially when the emissions systems go belly up.

But yes - all RVs do come with expenses. Same as houses.
I don't know.. maybe it's because there were some neglected items hidden on my RV?

We did drive 15,000 miles the first year..but, here's some numbers...

OK, so, the broken sewer line was $1,000; new tires, $2,000, batteries $1,500, Shocks, track bar and anti-sway bar ..$3,200.. Glow plugs, $800 , Broken macerator pump and gate valve replacement $1,100 and other smaller items like the propane sensor.... Maintenance.at dealershp and independent garage. $3,000 or more...

Sure, I elected to put a new navigation and sound system in, rear backup proximity sensors ( for safety and convenience) and solar panels system. ( Best upgrade so far) Next to the Koni FSD shocks, the larger anti-sway bar and track bar....

The suspension upgrade was a really tremendous improvement......

BUT, these extras now have a lower magnitude than the repairs and maintenance....

I was extremely lucky... when the emissions system had problems around 39,000 miles the Mercedes Benz dealership replaced the entire system under warranty.. would have cost over $4,000... so, I'm glad to have a new emissions system...

Like I said...the Sprinter is a beautiful drive... and with everything done now...I'd be delighted if it all settled down.

I've been thinking that maybe I should go 40,000 miles between transmission changes next time..I'm going to look at the owners manual... but, my mechanic and Mercedes said don't skimp on the service of these....a few hundred dollars... isn't worth losing the transmission... it's a really heavy vehicle....

If it has wheels..it has problems....
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Old 09-16-2018, 04:07 PM   #7
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What we are hearing are a lot of stuff about costs and trouble and how a car and hotel might be cheaper and less trouble, and thus more pleasant a journey.


What we aren't hearing is about fun had camping or the camping lifestyle, with the exception of oft repeated miles traveled (driving normally isn't considered fun for most of us).


I have mentioned this before, and it applies to all of us, I think. The big question is why did you get an RV? Was it to travel and have fun, save money, to get attention, whatever? The second big question is did you get what you expected, and if not, what did you get or not get?


For most of us that totally enjoy the RV travel and camping I think the answers are obvious. We got the RV to travel and have fun, first and foremost and way above all else. We know that it will cost money, but it is a HOBBY, not an investment so that is fine. Certainly, most of us are proud of our vans, especially those who have built their own or heavily modified a stock one, but if nobody ever knew or noticed the van, that would be just fine also, for most, so not critical or even important.


Just my opinion, but if you spend more time worrying about costs, maintenance, inconveniences when traveling, and comparing your van and miles driven to others, than you do actually camping and having fun, then it may be time to find to find a new hobby (or investment if you need it to be)


By comparison, has anyone calculated what the fish you catch and eat cost per pound after figuring in the boat, truck, electronics, etc? That would make an RV look like a bargain, I think!
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Old 09-16-2018, 04:49 PM   #8
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Default Sure.. here's my answer...

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What we are hearing are a lot of stuff about costs and trouble and how a car and hotel might be cheaper and less trouble, and thus more pleasant a journey.


What we aren't hearing is about fun had camping or the camping lifestyle, with the exception of oft repeated miles traveled (driving normally isn't considered fun for most of us).


I have mentioned this before, and it applies to all of us, I think. The big question is why did you get an RV? Was it to travel and have fun, save money, to get attention, whatever? The second big question is did you get what you expected, and if not, what did you get or not get?


For most of us that totally enjoy the RV travel and camping I think the answers are obvious. We got the RV to travel and have fun, first and foremost and way above all else. We know that it will cost money, but it is a HOBBY, not an investment so that is fine. Certainly, most of us are proud of our vans, especially those who have built their own or heavily modified a stock one, but if nobody ever knew or noticed the van, that would be just fine also, for most, so not critical or even important.


Just my opinion, but if you spend more time worrying about costs, maintenance, inconveniences when traveling, and comparing your van and miles driven to others, than you do actually camping and having fun, then it may be time to find to find a new hobby (or investment if you need it to be)


By comparison, has anyone calculated what the fish you catch and eat cost per pound after figuring in the boat, truck, electronics, etc? That would make an RV look like a bargain, I think!
I purchased the RV...to travel and have the experience of being able to go almost anywhere, anytime at the drop of a hat... that has been wonderful...

And, the Sprinter took us places we could have not imagined and enabled us to stay out in areas where there were no hotels nearby... That was great.....

What hasn't been great??? Getting run over by costs with no end in sight...?

I understand it's not an investment.... but, that doesn't mean I want it to be a significant issue.... maybe for some of you it's not a problem?

I didn't purchase the van
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Old 09-16-2018, 05:31 PM   #9
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I purchased the RV...to travel and have the experience of being able to go almost anywhere, anytime at the drop of a hat... that has been wonderful...

And, the Sprinter took us places we could have not imagined and enabled us to stay out in areas where there were no hotels nearby... That was great.....

What hasn't been great??? Getting run over by costs with no end in sight...?

I understand it's not an investment.... but, that doesn't mean I want it to be a significant issue.... maybe for some of you it's not a problem?

I didn't purchase the van



As have many others, we have run the cost comparisons to driving a nice regular vehicle and staying in "decent" hotels, and you have to be on the road a lot to break even, and that would only include the actual traveling costs and depreciation and normal maintenance. Beyond that, tolerance level for the unexpected and expensive takes over and everyone has to evaluate how much the hobby is worth to them. It is quite obvious from what you have posted that you don't appear to think the costs are worth the benefit, while the rest of us have no, or minor, problems with the cost vs benefit.


This is why I think you may need to re-evaluate you choices and perhaps do something different than owning an RV. It is obvious that you have more complaints than than pleasures, and at that point it all gets to be not worth it.
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Old 09-16-2018, 06:32 PM   #10
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As have many others, we have run the cost comparisons to driving a nice regular vehicle and staying in "decent" hotels, and you have to be on the road a lot to break even, and that would only include the actual traveling costs and depreciation and normal maintenance. Beyond that, tolerance level for the unexpected and expensive takes over and everyone has to evaluate how much the hobby is worth to them. It is quite obvious from what you have posted that you don't appear to think the costs are worth the benefit, while the rest of us have no, or minor, problems with the cost vs benefit.


This is why I think you may need to re-evaluate you choices and perhaps do something different than owning an RV. It is obvious that you have more complaints than than pleasures, and at that point it all gets to be not worth it.
YES, you might be correct... For me it's a vehicle that we can have fun in touring...

Look, in the first 16 months of ownership this has cost me well over $12,000 ..... that's a lot of money in anyone's estimation... Now, I don't think I'll have to spend money on tires, batteries, shocks, plumbing or propane sensors anytime soon... but, I'm sure you would agree it's large number bound to get anyone's attention... round numbers....

Sewer line; $1,200
Suspension $3,200
Batteries all three.AGM , one vehicle battery and two 6 volt AGM . $1,750
Macerator pump and valves $1,100
Tires and monitoring system $2,000
Maintenance services, $2,750. including glow plugs failure, oil changes etc.
Propane sensor $ 175
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total-------------------------$12,175

I'm not even counting the upgrades... that's clearly not required...

Not counting anything else including fuel, registration that's $1.23 per mile so far....
As I stated above, a lot of these big ticket items won't have to be dealt with again for a long time so the cost per mile relative to the miles driven should make the price per mile to go down over the next few years.
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