Wednesday, November 30, 2022


Don’t take “no” for an answer when you DIY


Dear RV Shrink:rvshrink
We bought a used motorhome recently and now live in it full-time. We love the lifestyle but it is causing my husband a lot of frustration. We are in the middle of this new learning curve and we find it very exciting. The problem arises when we have questions and get dozens of different answers.

We recently had to replace the toilet. At the same time we tore the carpet out of the bathroom, put in a new subfloor and tiled. My husband was told by several RV parts dealers that there was no such thing as a closet flange extension to compensate for the raised floor. He was at his wit’s end and ready to pull the new floor up, when we walked into a parts store and found several of various lengths.

This seems to be the norm as we maneuver through our shakedown cruise. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can calm my husband’s nerves until we become more expert at this land yachting? —Newbies in Nebraska

Dear Newbies:
I understand completely. First let me say, “Never, and I mean never, take NO for an answer.” When you have rig questions, repair questions, travel destination questions, campground questions and, yes, even Shrink questions, always get a second opinion. It can be very frustrating when repair people tell you something you find out later is just not true. Diagnostic fees at RV shops can run more than $100 an hour. I have been tempted to start an on-the-road diagnostic business myself. I think I would be as good as many so-called experts I have dealt with. I would charge people a hundred bucks to look at their problem and say, “Yep, she’s broken!”

Seriously, you can start researching many questions on Google, talk to other RVers, sales and service people, even manufacturers’ tech support. Again, never take the first answer you get. Information is often clouded by what the company is selling, or brands carried. Sometimes a service tech doesn’t want to sound uninformed and will give you a line of BS that will throw your train of thought right off the track.

Think of your many small problems as lessons you need to learn on your way to RV utopia. It’s all part of the adventure. Before long you will be giving others tips on how to avoid the land mines you have already disarmed. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his new e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.



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Jim Becker
5 years ago

You are absolutely spot on. Always, Always, Always check several sites, blogs, etc., before DIY projects for repairs. The water pump on our motorhome started pulsing when the water was turned on. I lost track of all the DYI comments I found from folks with good intensions but not the expertise and knowledge. Some folks said you had to switch from tank to park water to stop the pulsing. A bunch said you had to buy a bladder system add on. I finally found out all I needed to do was get an allen wrench and turn a small screw on the back of the pump a quarter turn. Problem solved.

Kenny Nugent
5 years ago

I have restored an ’89 Winnie Chieftain, and I must say that my biggest source on inspiration and instruction has come from the various RV forums that I frequent. There is so much information available there it is unbelievable. My favorite is IRV2.

5 years ago

We live in a coastal city with dozens of marine hardware stores. I always look in places like West Marine first for parts that will work in my RV. A recreational boat shares many things in common with RVs, and marine parts are usually better engineered, better built and yes, more expensive, but for a reason.

Ken Buck
5 years ago

Get a good RV parts catalog. I have Thompson RV from Pendleton OR on my sideboard right now. It has 1104 pages of RV related items for sale. If you want something, it’s probably there. If you want inspiration and ideas of how to put something together, just thumb thru the pages to see what someone else already makes.

Many places put out catalogs, Get and carry the biggest one you can find.

For your floor flange my catalog has 7 options for a variety of possible needs along with 3 options for the gasket.

Donald F Schneider
5 years ago

Another site you might like is Its free and has many types of contributors and people post questions all the time….

Richard Davidson
5 years ago

We have found, over the years, that many many “home” parts work just as well and sometimes better than “RV” parts from a dealer. We ALWAYS go to the hardware store or Home Depot/Lowes first. IF what they have won’t work, THEN we go to the RV parts place.

Roy Ellithorpe
5 years ago


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