Thursday, September 21, 2023


Service tech overfills transmission, motorhome catches fire. ‘We could’ve been killed!’

In this column, we summarize some of your emails and comments regarding RV service centers and repairs (we asked you to submit your stories here). We’ll tell you all: the best, the good, the bad and the ugly. At the end of this article, you’ll find a place to submit your own comments. I encourage you to do so.

Keep in mind, we typically only present one side of the story in most of these. Also, any remarks about service centers and mobile techs mentioned are the opinions of our readers and not necessarily 

Here’s what you had to say:

Someone took a shower in his RV while in service. Geez!

Steve D. had his motorhome worked on and there was someone evidently enjoying it! He says, “Bay Diesel in Red Bay, Alabama, worked on my coach for an A/C problem and changed out the antifreeze on my ’06 Country Coach. I did ask for a quote on the antifreeze part, but regardless, the price came out higher. That’s not the bad part. Someone took a shower in my coach, drained my fresh water, filled the gray tank and burned through propane! I even called to let them know what happened. The owner was supposed to call me but never did. I will never see these people again.”

Getting the runaround and around and around

David F. relates this to getting the runaround from Grand Design and Dexter Axles. He writes, “I purchased a 2022 Grand Design Solitude 390RK-R in August 2021. It was stationary for most of the first year. It has just about 2k in miles and is just under two years old.

“On a trip from Texas to Missouri in May of this year, I had gone about 200 miles and a shackle bolt failed, resulting in a tire and rim being ripped from the hub, shearing off all eight lug bolts. This then let the rotor drag on the road until I could stop. I was on a two-lane road so I was going less than 50 mph. The rotor was damaged beyond repair and a brake line was also broken.

“I had tried to get a mobile tire or repair service out for about 10 hours. I finally got help from a tow guy who happened to be going by. He helped me get the axle strapped up so I could limp down the road to the next town.

“It just so happens that this was Memorial Day weekend so everywhere was closed till Tuesday; this was on Saturday. When I got the RV into a dealership, they did an emergency repair so I could get to St. Louis safely.

More runaround

“I took lots of pictures and had the dealership write up what had happened and what was needed to fix the situation. When I immediately submitted this to Grand Design, they said to submit it to Dexter Axles. I did and was again denied by them saying we just send parts to Grand Design and they assemble. So I resubmitted to Grand Design and waited for a couple of weeks. They again came back and denied it since they felt I was responsible for the failure for not maintaining the suspension. I just had it in the shop for repairs and maintenance in December of 2022. I asked for another response and was told, ‘Okay, we will give you $500 for goodwill and that’s it.’

“Mind you, the suspension has a five-year warranty on it… or it was supposed to. Now I have to pay out of pocket for repairs that should have been covered by my warranty. Oh yeah, that was the first of June and I’m still waiting for that $500 check, and now it’s July 11th. So about a month so far. We will see if it ever comes. I doubt it.”

Photo credit: David F.

The water tank fell out somewhere on the highway

Cliff M. didn’t notice his water tank was gone until he arrived to the campground! He tells us, “Fresh water tank fell out on the highway. Was held to the frame with plywood and #8 self-tapping screws. Bought a new Jayco fifth wheel. Little screws broke and out came the tank. Didn’t know I lost it until I got to the campground and saw hoses and wires hanging down.”

Buying an RV and the dealer said they would send out a tech after they purchased

Sally R. bought an RV with a couple of issues. The dealer said they would send out a tech. Not so, she said. “We purchased a used RV from Palm Beach RV. We noted several things that needed to be addressed. They said ‘Okay, we will send someone out after you purchase it.’ We had zero follow-ups. They wouldn’t even return our calls.

“Before we bought it, I stated that the floor was soft. I was told that was normal. Being a girl, the guys ignored my concern. There were several other minor issues. Well, we live in our RV (saves on rent), and the first rain we had, in Florida it’s often, the rain came in. That’s why the floors were soft. They said to bring it in and that they would look at it. We asked them to send a tech. They sent someone who knew nothing about RVs and said there is no leak. The ceiling is fine. Well, it wasn’t raining at that point.

“We fought the entire year of warranty to get this taken care of, and nothing was resolved. We’ve done all the work on it ourselves. It wasn’t sold “as is.” It had a year warranty and nothing, nothing was fixed in that time. Then they said the year is up. Fix it on your own. Worst customer service.”

At 81 he just bought his 12th RV and says in 40 years nothing has changed

Robert S. says after 40 years of RVing, nothing has changed. He wrote, “I am 81 years old and just purchased our 12th RV in over 40 years of RV punishment. Some people just never learn! Of the first 11, I had never taken one back to a dealer for anything, I always figured that the faster I could get it out of their hands the better off I would be. I have very good mechanical and electrical skills and always felt that, first, I should know my way around the RV and, second, that I trusted my work over anyone else who was under time constraints. I can spend half a day doing an oil change, no problem, and look and fix other issues I find while doing that. This has led to literally hundreds of hours of fixing and finishing the extremely bad workmanship issues all but a couple of them had.

“Well, against my better judgment, and because my wife has very serious health issues, she wanted an RV to finish her bucket list. We purchased a new class C from a major dealer in Tucson, AZ, and let me just say that in over 40 years, nothing has changed, either in build quality or in dealer service.

Checklist inspection

“The one hundred and something checklist inspection did not even find or fix the fact that the door latch assembly was installed wrong and could not be locked or even latched, the door flew open on my way home. Took hours to get that issue solved. Then after searching for an hour, I found the whole house water filter behind the drawers under the wardrobe in an impossible position to service without dumping its contents onto all of the electrical components, including the smart battery charger and the generator transfer switch that had the cover laying loose next to it. That would have been a disaster and, if on shore power, possibly deadly.

“I am sure most of you know what the wiring looks like in these coaches! The next thing was the auto step wiring was a shambles hanging down within inches of the street. I am just getting started. It has been incredibly hot here, so have not even had this RV out of storage yet to do a shake-down cruise.

“Of course, the dealer told me there would be issues. Really?! So much for their extensive checklist. Yes, I have let both the manufacturer and the dealer know about these and other cosmetic issues, and YELPED them. But as we all know, they don’t give a damn. Like I said, nothing changes! The RVs with the best build are Canadian.”

Fire! Inexperienced tech overfilled transmission

Tonya O. says the tech must have overfilled transmission fluid that led to a fire… and it gets worse! She wrote, “Our Tiffin Open Road was at a shop in Mesa, AZ, for a 12-point inspection and to fix the black tank back flush. They had it from January to March of this year. While it was there the vent cover blew open and broke. At first, they said they wouldn’t fix it, but after speaking to the manager, he agreed that they should get us a new one, but putting it on was our problem. After paying the $5,000 for the repairs and inspection we put it in storage till we needed it to go north in June.

“We got an hour down the interstate when we saw smoke. We pulled over and the motorhome was on fire! Transmission fluid had dripped down onto the exhaust pipe and started on fire. We were able to get it out with a fire extinguisher. It was a Saturday and no one would answer the phone at the shop. Finally got ahold of a salesman who said to bring it in.

“We spent $1,700 to have it towed there to have them tell us that, ‘No, we don’t work on transmissions, we only can fill fluid and change filters. You need to take it to a Ford dealer.” It’s been at the Ford dealer since June 17th and all we can see is that someone at the shop overfilled the transmission fluid and once under pressure it blew it onto the hot pipes and started the fire. We could have been killed because of an inexperienced service tech overfilling the transmission fluid!”

Photo Credit Tonya O.

Editor’s note:

Note from If hiring a mobile tech, a small or mega service center, make sure that they are experienced in the issue and have insurance in case something goes wrong. Also, check their warranty policy on the work they perform. Check reviews too and read between the lines—if the review sounds way too good to be true it might be. Compare with several reviews and not just the ones on their website.

Questions for you about RV service

We’ll continue to share stories of your RV service experiences. We want to know:

  • Have you had good luck with great service or not so much?
  • Did you get good service from knowledgeable technicians?
  • Are you waiting to get into a service center or have a mobile tech come out?
  • What has been the average time to get an appointment?
  • Has your RV been in a service center for a while?
  • Are you able to get any mobile techs to come out?
  • Are the service centers able to get parts?
  • When you do get the repairs done, is the price reasonable?

Please fill out the form below and tell us what your experiences have been like. It can be a horror story, an opinion about what’s going on, a positive experience, or anything else related to the topic. We want to know the great, the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Check back next week for more on RV service centers. See you then.

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Last week’s RV Service Centers and Repairs Report:


Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon has been a full-time RVer living “The Dream” for the last six years and an avid RVer for decades more! She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.


  1. Dealing with dealers and manufactures of anything when it comes to warranty issues can be very difficult.
    In my opinion if a dealer and or manufacturer refuses to repair whatever is broken have it repaired by a competent professional pay them for the repair and then sue the dealer and the manufacturer for the cost of the repair
    Keep records and copious records with date time and the name of the person you spoke to and what was said
    When the RV industry start’s having to go to court and loose they may start honoring their warranties
    To the person with the Dexter axle problem Don’t cash the check Sue the ba$tards

  2. I am more and more convinced that the entire travel industry is based on the desire to extract the most money while providing the least service and quality. This maximizes profits as long as the sheep keep marching to the slaughterhouse of broken dreams. Apparently there is no end to the supply of sheep. After a 15 year hiatus from air travel, we recently flew to and from Vancounver Canada from our home on the east coast. Absolute nightmare. Never again. Once our current RV bites the dust, we will never buy another. We’ve had 7 good years with it, but only because I’ve been able to do all the maintenance and repairs. Getting too old to do that now.

  3. As Robert S.says: RVs have always had after-the-sale issues. I have been following for years and a glimpse at the Archives will vouch for the fact that quality issues are not new.

    In spite of all that • the crowding • the rising costs, etc. we continue to buy RVs! Many have heard the definition of idiocy: doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. I guess we are pretty much a bunch of idiots or RVing is just that addictive.

    Or are we all simply in search of something that is missing in our lives? Figure that out and you can sell the RV!


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