Saturday, September 30, 2023


Dealer did a hack job on RV furnace during PDI. Wonder what else is wrong?

Dear Dave,
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?

Dear Dave,
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

Read Dave’s answer. 

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the author of the “RV Handbook.”

Read more from Dave here


We have a popular forum for Ask Dave. Please be as brief as possible. Attach a photo or two if it might help Dave with his response. Click to visit Dave’s forum. Or send your inquiries to him using the form below.

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.


Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. He has been in the RV Industry since 1983 and conducts over 15 seminars at RV shows throughout the country.


4.8 4 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe to comments
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bob P
2 months ago

I had a 2020 Mesa Ridge 23RLS that I was renting to a couple this past winter in FL. The furnace failed to light right after they arrived, as the furnace was located in a cavity under the area Cwhere the TV was located and no access panel on the outside it required disassembly inside. Once it’s out now you can access the sail switch on the back side. Amazingly no local parts place had a new sail switch forcing me to call a mobile repair technician. They had the switch and would be happy to install it. $467.98 later the sail switch, a new circuit board which I believe they shorted it out in their diagnostics, and 2.5 hrs labor the furnace was working. My $600/month was shot. Carry a spare!

Bob M
2 months ago

I wouldn’t want those wires touching the cut metal driving down the road. It’s sure to possibly cut thru the insulation and either short out or cause a fire..

2 months ago

Wow, talk about cutting corners. I work on these on-park model units. Sometimes I have to take the kitchen cabinets apart to get the furnace out to the workbench. Guess what, I just put it back together after. I suppose we are not all professionals out there.

Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.