This is my RV’s heater. The dealer said they found a bad board during Pre Delivery Inspection (PDI). This is what I found when l removed the interior vent and heater to address other issues. Is it normal to cut away sheet metal to replace board? Does the service manual have warnings about not modifying the heater cover sheet metal? —Dave, 2023 Jay Feather Micro 166FBS
I received this email from Dave last week and my initial reply was:
This is not normal, but rather a poor or lazy dealer repair person cutting corners or, in this case, metal rather than doing the proper repair. What model of furnace is it? I would suggest contacting Jayco and the furnace manufacturer to document this as it may affect warranty and performance. Then contact the service manager and have him address this. If you could provide another angle photo, I’ll use this as a post after you hear back from the dealer.
Good luck and let me know if I can be of assistance.
I got a reply back from Dave, who told me the dealership was Delmarva RV in Milford, Delaware. Here is an update on his progress:
From Dave, Jayco owner:
I have already sent pictures to Jayco and my notes on findings to be added to my VIN and owner registration. Have also submitted inquiries to Suburban RV for the same and am waiting on replies. The model is NT-16SEQ. I have a copy of the Suburban RV service and training manual for furnaces that clearly states do not do any modifications. I have a copy of the model and an e-mail prepared to send to the owner, service manager and warranty coordinator stating so and my expectations. They have been jerking me around a lot…
I sent a series of e-mails this morning, one to every manager in every department, and a separate e-mail to the owner stating I did so and expressing in clear terms what a CF operation he owns. I promised honest reviews at every sizable RV travel website like yours. It seems that now that they know I have been in contact with Jayco and Suburban RV and anybody else that will listen, they have taken a turn for the better along with the realization that I won’t accept anything other than a new showroom condition intact camper and I will check every detail of the repairs. It seems they have a new-found desire to make things right. Persistence pays!
Looking at the brochure on the Jayco website, the 2023 Jay Feather Micro 166FBS has a 19000 BTU Suburban furnace located underneath the rear refrigerator cabinet and just a vent outside, no access to work on or remove from the outside. It also looks like there is limited access to work on the furnace from the inside without taking out a bunch of items.
What concerns me is how the dealership diagnosed a bad board during the PDI. Typically, a unit is tested for 120 volt, 12 volt, and LP operations before being delivered. However, with the high sales demands, supply chain issues with parts, and labor shortage I would believe this did not get done. Everyone is cutting corners just trying to get units out and rake in as much profit as possible! I am sure that is why whoever worked on this decided to cut the metal cover rather than spend an hour or more to remove it properly and thought nobody would ever see it and then claimed full labor on the proper repair.
Another issue is getting paid for warranty claims on an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) part, which is an appliance such as this or another component that is purchased from the RV manufacturer and installed. The OEM provides a warranty for the component and has a set labor time and rate for the repair that they will pay. However, if the RV manufacturer has placed the component in a cabinet or other spot that requires more time to remove and replace it, the OEM typically will not pay for the extra labor time. This all has to be negotiated by the RV manufacturer and the OEM and sometimes the dealer is not paid for their full time. Dealers find a way to cut corners to cover their labor times.
Another factor is the labor rate, for which OEMs and RV manufacturers set a limit. Dealers have raised labor rates to $150/hour or more. Recently, I have talked with several dealers that said they lose money on warranty work because of the extra time it takes to work on the units and the established labor rate. So, again, they try to find a shortcut to fix the problem and get the unit out the door.
This weekend I called David and we talked about how he came to find the botched repair and what had happened since. When he took possession of the unit, they told him they had found a water leak in the fresh water tank and the board was bad in the furnace during PDI. They were wanting to go camping and found a campground with full hookups so he did not need the water or furnace but did have a very loose converter, which is just to the left of the furnace under the refrigerator. It was held in with a few staples that were not holding.
Being very mechanically inclined, he pulled out the converter to attach it properly and found the furnace. It did not take much time to get at it, so we both wondered why they “hacked” the cover of the furnace. They also cut a hole in the underbelly plastic to get to the fresh water tank! After several conversations with the dealership service manager as well as the owner, they are going to restore his rig back to its original condition. We had a good laugh as we both agreed we would not accept “original condition”! It will be to his satisfaction. I’ll keep you up to date on the progress.
You might also enjoy this from Dave
My RV’s furnace ductwork is exposed to the elements. How do I insulate it?
My furnace heat is distributed through cut-out channels in the RV’s flooring. It’s all surrounded by the floor Styrofoam and is quite efficient. However, the duct over to the floor inlet is just plain painted steel, under the coach, and exposed to frigid air. What would you suggest to insulate the “naked” duct under the floor? It’s about 20″ wide, 8″ deep, and 40″ long. Insulating even the belly of it (20″ x 40″) would, I think, have benefits. —Gregory, 2003 Winnebago/Itasca Sunova
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the author of the “RV Handbook.”
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