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 RVtravel.com.
Here’s what you had to say:
RV was great only because he made it great
Paul M. is the ultimate DIY guy and literally tore his RVs apart to make every single thing right. (Maybe he’s the ultimate Mr. Right!) He tells us, “I have RV’d for twenty years and have learned a few things. Starting with my first one, a Chalet. The bed broke on the first night. The heater was so out of balance we could not sleep. It vibrated the entire trailer. We went home. Luckily I am a maintenance mechanic, licensed electrician, and HVAC certified.
“I took to disassembling and reassembling the unit properly, going over each and every system replacing and reattaching everything. The Chalet was awesome after all that work. It took about six months to refine it and then we had it eleven years and never again had a problem.
“The second trailer was a Forest River 22BH. It was also a complete hazard to all. But, we knew that going in and specifically bought this unit because it was $11,000. This was half-price in 2011. I took it from the dealer and to my house.
“I proceeded to fix every issue. It was also great after all that work. This time we did not even try it until we had it six months and went through every system. I remember my neighbors coming over the weekend we bought it and freaking out because all the furniture and appliances were lying in the driveway freshly removed from their perches. After all that work it also, just like the first trailer, never once had a problem in the 10 years we owned it. It was great. But only because I made it great.
Now we have our third trailer
“Now we have our third trailer. An Aliner Scout Parks. I specifically picked this model because it is a stripper and had no features other than the heat pump. I did this because it is cheaper than having to remove and throw away all the garbage these manufacturers install; I just did it myself.
“So far we replaced the mattress with a real Denver pillow top. I have installed a fresh water tank, pump and plumbing, a black tank, a residential Thetford toilet, and the associated plumbing. Next will be a water heater and shower pan. One thing for sure is this hobby is not for those who are not qualified. You would never go camping. Your trailer will sit in a yard waiting for yet another repair by the same fools who made it that way to begin with. I am blessed to be qualified to do all this work myself.
“My question for you all is, why? If you can afford a trailer that is 43 feet long, but don’t know how to install a breaker box, or troubleshoot a water heater, why wouldn’t you just stay at the Hilton? It is your destiny; RVing is not.
“This is a hobby, and if you can’t do these things yourself then someone else must do it for you. Keep in mind people don’t want to work in the trades anymore. So, there are not enough techs to do all this for you. And I will go out on a limb and say there never will be. It takes more than plopping down $80,000. You must be qualified to do the repairs because these trailers are going to get worse! Not better! Not one of mine has ever broken down in twenty years!”
Five stars for Galaxy Campers
Paul F. says, “I have been dealing with Galaxy Campers, a Lance RV dealer in Ontario, California, for about one year. They are a small, family-owned business who have been extremely helpful, and they are very knowledgeable about Lance products. They even had a technician stop at our house to help with slide-out issues. Five stars.”
Owes Forest River an apology…
Dan S. owes Forest River an apology. Here’s why: “Never go to Camping World in Hope Mills, North Carolina. Here were the issues with my 2022 Forest River 18RR: The door frame warped (which locked my wife inside), the stovetop was damaged from boiling water in a teapot, and the windows wouldn’t latch shut. I took it to Camping World in Hope Mills, North Carolina. The warranty work was to include replacing the door, stovetop, and windows. When I went to pick it up, none of that was done and the dealer blamed Forest River. I was angry and called Forest River corporate offices. They didn’t have a record of anything, which I thought was a lie.
“I then took it to Camping World of Chicago, even though it was out of warranty. They did the work correctly and got it covered as a warranty repair. So, the bottom line is Forest River stood behind their product (I owe them an apology for my angry phone calls), and Camping World of Chicago did right by me. I hope everyone at the Hope Mills, NC, Camping World gets infested with the fleas of a thousand camels.” 🤣
Warranty covers very little work
Mark D. writes about his disappointment with the lack of warranty coverage on his new toy hauler. He writes, “I traded in my Tahoe Transport toy hauler for a new Attitude toy hauler. My old trailer was in good shape but it needed updating, which is why we traded it in. I owned my other trailer for over 10 years with only small problems.
“We were not aware that the larger trailer company was being bought out by a bigger company. The sales staff was great. We came back to get our new baby and we were very happy. The appliances all worked great. But we got the extended warranty but it didn’t help.
“You expect to bring it back for small tweaks, not major ones. Went camping first time loaded with toys, and the landing gear didn’t want to go up. Manual, yep. Got the run around. Found out the manufacturer put the wrong fuse in it. Replace instead of reset.
Warranty work covers very little work
“Found out that warranty work only covers very little work. Not all like you think. Problems within the first year:
1. The fridge went out. Ammonia smell. Warranty replaced.
2. Landing gear fuse fixed.
3. Gap/warp on the back door/ramp. After two trips it was finally fixed.
4. Warping of cabinet doors and wood doors. Not covered.
5. The power cord to the full hook up not working. Bad cord, not covered.
6. Propane tanks, 20 lbs., not 30 lbs. Not covered.
7. Molding outside around the door and trailer coming off. Not covered.
8. Belly skirt fell off while traveling. Not covered
9. Decals coming off. Not covered.
10. Awning caps coming off. Not covered.
11. Bathroom faucet leaking. Not covered
12. Outdoor fueling stations not working. Not covered.
13. The holding tank hose container latch is broken, the hose has left the building. Fixing the latch is not covered.
14. LED lights at the front of the trailer are white only, not multiple colors with a remote.
“For a new trailer, I give them a big ‘F.’ We are military veterans and we were treated poorly. New owners of the business did not cover our warranty on our trailer.”
RV industry couldn’t care less about buyers
Kevin L. gave up on the dealer and makes his own repairs now. He says, “Brand-new 2023 Forest River Heritage Glen. I couldn’t believe how poor the craftsmanship was. Spent some time within the first two weeks of owning it trying to get a response from the dealer. Radio silence on their end. I quickly learned conversing with fellow campers that the industry couldn’t care less about buyers and products but rather get the product out of the door. Dissatisfied with the market, I gave up and will make repairs myself as I’ve also learned warranty work is not worth the hassle.”
In praise of Bigfoot!
Perry B. is a very happy camper and tells us, “We have owned a 2003 Bigfoot 25B25RQ and now a 2016 Bigfoot 25B25RQ. They are fiberglass campers built in Canada for -20 F weather. Both have real double-pane windows, not those thin double-pane windows on U.S. campers, true insulated and heated tanks AND valves. The construction on both is fantastic. We also had great luck with an Escape 3-season fiberglass camper, also from Canada. We’ve had campers with slides and they all eventually leak. The question is, do you want a mobile home or a camper? We camp with full solar and don’t go to RV resorts. For those who have to have a mobile home and spend your time in RV Resorts, these fiberglass campers are not for you.”
Kudus for their mobile tech
Pam E. shares her mobile tech’s information. She reports, “He’s so busy already I hate to put out the good word, but Dave’s Mobile RV Repair in Pennsylvania is awesome. He added a second A/C to our travel trailer. Was careful and did a great job. A couple of other times I contacted him with questions that he answered so that I was able to make a simple repair myself. Wouldn’t hesitate to have him work on our unit.”
Note from RVtravel.com: 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.
Last week’s RV Service Centers and Repairs Report: