Saturday, December 2, 2023


Buy a used ‘cream puff’ RV, perform full inspection, be happily rewarded

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:

“It’s a losing battle”

Kit V. writes about repair after repair: “Same old story. Repair after repair after repair. we normally have the work done by a mobile technician because we can get faster and more reliable service. Had major floor rot repaired. We did have that done at the dealership. Repair technicians stated right on the work order this was not a maintenance issue but a faulty box installation at the factory. Our manufacturer refused to pay for the warranty. I can’t even get anyone to talk to me about it.

“That was the most horrific repair. We have had many, many other small items repaired and replaced. We’ve now been told we have two cracks in our exterior fiberglass. It’s a losing battle. Bite the bullet until it falls off the wheels. Will never buy another RV from this brand again. Repair issues are the main reason, but the apathy of the manufacturer plays a big part.”

Don’t mind paying for top-quality work

Rick N. has had his share of repairs and prefers mobile techs over dealers, even at top dollar. He wrote, “We are in our ninth year of full-timing in a 40-foot Forest River fifth-wheel. We’ve had our share of breakdowns, one blowout, system failures and things wearing out. We’ve learned to be prepared, be flexible and keep a good attitude. Stuff happens. We have found mobile techs to generally be more responsive and reliable than dealers. Prices vary around the country and seem to be rising rapidly. We try to use a very competent mobile tech when we are at what we consider our ‘home park’ in Denton County, Texas. He certainly is not the least expensive tech around but is very thorough and meticulous in his work. I do not mind having to wait a day or two or paying a few additional dollars to have top-quality work performed.”

Can purchase older “cream puff” rigs for cash

Robert W. buys older, used RVs and is happy with his choice. He explains, “I’ve always bought older rigs (motorhomes) and the quality is very good. I currently have a 1996 Fleetwood Tioga and travel all over the country. New certainly doesn’t guarantee trouble-free. The trick to buying used is doing a complete inspection before purchase. There are many ‘cream puff’ rigs out there that can be purchased in cash. You may have to do a few minor repairs or upgrades, but you won’t have a loan payment. THAT makes me a very happy camper!”

Two wires and it sticks on—”How hard is that?”

Jim C. had a mobile tech that got ill and couldn’t finish the job. Unfortunately, the parts were double-ordered. He wrote, “Tank heater, grey tank… We had a mobile tech guy find out our grey tank had a pinhole leak. Our extended warranty took some doing, but they decided to approve the work. He ordered the parts, and then got sick and had to have surgery. He transferred the claim to Tucson Mobile RV. Why they didn’t pay the first fellow for the tank and the tank heater? I have no idea. They ordered their own and they ordered the wrong tank heater. The extended warranty paid off on it, even though it was never installed. We went round and round. I ordered the correct tank heater while in Pennsylvania. Heartland sent it to us for $60 or less delivered. The RV service centers here want an arm and two legs—over $600 just to install it! I found another fellow, recommended by a seasonal in the park. $120 later it is working well. If I was not over 70 with arthritis I would have done it myself. Two wires, and it sticks on… how hard is that?”

Issues self-inflicted? Hardly

Wayne G. responded to a reader who stated most of the RV service problems are self-inflicted. He wrote, “Issues self-inflicted? Not hardly. My Winnebago Minnie, which I purchased new in June of ’22, has literally been in the shop longer than it’s been in my possession. First, they claimed that they designed my trailer where you could run two A/C units on 30 amps. It took them six months to admit that it didn’t work and eventually upgraded it to 50 amps.

“The fresh water tank fell out twice (not all the way). The last time they fixed the fresh water tank I believe they got it right but the electrical wires to my front stabilizer jacks were cut when they fixed the tank and weren’t reconnected. There are other issues but minor compared to the above. I had no issues with my entry-level Springdale that we purchased eight years ago or so, or our Jayco that we owned previous to this one. I haven’t tried a mobile mechanic since most of this work was done by the dealership under warranty, but I will try mobile in the future.”

Bought the techs lunch after an unexpectedly great repair at Camping World

Valerie W. skipped one Camping World but the next one was stellar. She wrote, “When we had our 2018 FR Sierra that had six slide outs (four hydraulic, and two electric) they would stop as I was sliding them out (brand-new unit) every time. We were near Las Vegas, so we stopped at the Camping World in Henderson, NV. Ha ha. All those open bays and no one knew how to fix it!

“So we found the Camping World out off Las Vegas Boulevard and wow, what a different experience! We pulled in and went to the service guy (John) and asked about it. He came out and tried the slides, and nope, no smooth operation to open them. He said to us, ‘Hold on a minute.’ My husband and I looked at each other nervously, and the next thing we knew here came a tech who said, ‘No worries, I got this!’ and explained how the fuse used for these slides was too small and he proceeded to change it out and no charge! We didn’t know if we should run fast out of there or what. Dumbfounded, we weren’t charged an arm and a leg for the quick repair! We decided a nice tip was to buy them lunch and we drove off happy campers.”

Reader wants to know if anyone else has this problem

Ken L. is asking for our readers’ help and has included a photo. He writes, “My wife and I bought a new HS-2912 pickup camper in August 2022. The rear lifting legs were not aligned properly. I’ve attached a picture of the lifting legs before the dealer helped me load the camper on my truck showing the misalignment. I also have pictures of the camper on the truck before leaving the dealer that shows the misaligned rear legs. This camper has been back to the dealer three different times for other flaws adding up to around five months.

“In November, while at the dealer for other issues, the left rear leg drive motor failed and the dealer replaced it. When the camper had to go back to the dealer for other issues this past April I asked them to look at the rear legs. They are bending due to the misaligned legs. I picked up the camper in August and they told me I bent the rear legs by backing up the truck with the rear legs down. What I’m trying to find out is whether anybody else bought this model camper and had this issue. By the way, if you look at this camper from other dealer sites, the legs are in alignment.”

Photo credit: Ken L.

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.

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

Last week’s 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.



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Split Shaft (@guest_260928)
19 days ago

In my career, I worked as an equipment mechanic, now retired. My job was sometimes to make new equipment work that did not work as engineered or designed. Looking at your photo, the top rear leg attachment point and the size and weight of the camper at the rear, appear to exceed the strength of the single top bracket. My suggested remedy is to add an additional support bracket lower down on the lifting leg or if there a lower bracket, to reinforce its size attachment to the camper so the leg is held vertically straight. The leg brackets are bent or out of alignment.

Neal Davis (@guest_260824)
19 days ago

Sorry Ken L. we have a MH and no experience with truck campers. Good luck getting the legs fixed properly. Thank you, Nanci!

Bill Byerly (@guest_260792)
19 days ago

A little bit of everything this week. Thankyou for the reports Nanci!

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