I just spent $106 on a $3 shower replacement part…

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By Nanci Dixon
It can be hard to find a part for your RV these days. With brick-and-mortar stores carrying a lot fewer items and online sales the new normal, finding a simple replacement part for an RV has gotten much harder.

I just spent $106 to get a $3 plastic bracket that broke on the shower spray bar in my RV’s shower. What the heck?! The little plastic bracket was shattered. No amount of gorilla glue would have put it back together.

What are you doing about finding small, but important replacement parts?

Here’s the frustrating, time-consuming process I went through for this plastic bracket.

Looked for the shower bar name

With a magnifying glass, I checked the shower for a brand name. The name is evidently “Made in China”. That obviously didn’t help.

Called the RV manufacturer

I contacted the motorhome manufacturer and was told that they don’t sell the bracket, but I could buy a whole new shower replacement kit for $106. After a long conversation, they finally told me the name of the distributor.

Called the distributor

I called the distributor of the shower bar. I was told they don’t deal directly with the consumer.

Emailed the distributor

I did find the email contact info for the distributor. I emailed them and got a response almost immediately! They didn’t have individual parts and didn’t know who made it. Well, at least I got a response…

Called local stores

That was an exercise in futility. Glad I have unlimited minutes…

Should have…

Here is where the sleuthing process totally fell apart. I should have asked the manufacturer to open the shower replacement kit box and tell me the maker of the shower bar. But instead…

Bit the proverbial bullet

After trying to shower with the wand on the floor for several days (not great), I bit the bullet and bought the entire replacement kit: new shower bar, brackets, sprayer and wall mount.

Lesson learned

I opened the box of my brand-new, expensive replacement kit and, low and behold, right on top was an instruction manual from the shower bar manufacturer, installation procedures, part names and place to order. Hmm … that was a little late.

Could I have returned the whole thing, called the shower manufacturer and probably saved lots of $$$? Maybe, but at that point, after a few unpublishable words, the allure of a good shower was just too tempting.

How are you finding simple replacement parts for your RV? Do you think parts are harder to find during the pandemic than before, or do you think it’s about the same? Has something like my experience ever happened to you? Please leave a comment below.

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Asher
19 days ago

I feel your pain. I always try to find the OEM part number then I google it. I just priced a solinoid from Winebago parts for $177. I found it for $35 plus $7 shipping. It’s worth the time spent shopping around.

K. Cowdrey
23 days ago

I find using the google photo search sometimes yields a response… Another place I’ve sometimes had luck with is sending a parts photo to one of the RV parts recycling (Wrecking/salvage) companies and asking if they have anything that matches up. I’ve been lucky and found what I was looking for 5 out of 8 times I’ve tried that 🙂

Linda Kay
24 days ago

On our second trip in our new to us Rv, the tiny piece that rotates the ball in the commode broke. Due to COVID we could not just buy the broken piece and have it any time in the foreseeable future. It was quicker to just replace the entire thing!

Vanessa Simmons
24 days ago
Robbie
24 days ago

For $106 you could have bought a whole new shower head that would have included the bracket.

rvgrandma
25 days ago

Never have used the holder for the shower – prefer holding it in my hand. When not in use I bought a wreath holder that hooks over the glass shower wall that I put it across. Started doing this because the hose was breaking where it bent over the bracket it goes through on the shower wall. Also have a shut off valve on it which saves water.

Tom Horn
25 days ago

Have saved thousands of dollars over the years from Youtube Vids and Ebay
Resist the Gouge
There is always a better way to Get Er Done.

Tim Slack
25 days ago

I had exact same issue w/ a BodySpa shower set by Oxygenics. The plastic holding clip for the shower head was developing cracks. Before it broke altogether, I bought a white PVC pipe connector with an inside diameter (i.d.) to fit tightly around the original shower head clip. (Take the bracket with you to the store!) Used a hacksaw to cut out a section in the front wide enough to fit the hose back through, and cut another segment out of the bottom skirt in the back so it wouldn’t impede mobility around the ball socket. A little judicious filing smoothed the cut edges. To increase strength, I also dripped a little epoxy down the top between the coupler and the original clip. I already had the hacksaw, epoxy & small files in my tool kit, so the repair cost me less than $2. The shower clip is a bit oversized but has worked perfectly for 3+ years – far longer than the original clip would have, I’m sure.

Bob Weinfurt
23 days ago
Reply to  Tim Slack

Custom engineering. I have to do that often on my 43 year old motorhome and I also find a lot of times it’s better than the original.

DW/ND
25 days ago

With the advances in technology and the lack of mfgr. information and parts details – if it weren’t for YouTube and EBay – I would be in a world of hurt. Use them both “extensively” for parts and even just to research details. A “wonder” what you can learn! ON EBay, it may take awhile for a particular part – but sooner or later – Walla! (Remember: “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”!)

John Koenig
25 days ago

Did you consider getting a 3D “printed” replacement? 3D Printer services can take the parts, “reassemble” and scan them and then, “print” out a new intact part. I expect this would cost significantly less than what you paid (although, you did get a complete set).

Debra
25 days ago

The tip of the thermocouple in my oven broke off, since Dometic bought the company out and no longer carries the $10 part we had to buy a whole new stove, somewhere in the $600 range. And, yes, we combed the internet for a replacement.

Alan Wolfe
25 days ago
Reply to  Debra

Debra, I found an alternative source for parts like the one you describe. I found them at the end of a very long search. They aren’t a single company but instead a business model where folks take apart a broken discarded product, and “part out” the components, just like we used to see at a Junkyard for car parts. Luckily I found my part on eBay (of all places) from just such a small business. (I only add this comment in case it helps anyone else in the future)

Roy Ellithorpe
25 days ago
Reply to  Debra

A thermocouple is a thermocouple mostly. Just get one that is about the right length.

Gman
25 days ago

In actual, you really didn’t spend $106 on a $3 part, it was the kit that cost $106. A simple “you tube” search and trip to Home Depot or Lowes and DIY touch would have fixed your problem.

Jeff Treneff
25 days ago

I’ve been pretty lucky on replacement parts. Just last week, the door to our electrical cord storage compartment blew off somewhere down the highway, and I had a drawer latch in the galley break. One call to Mobility RV on Monday, and I had the perfect replacement parts upon my arrival back home on Thursday. Same situation last year for a replacement driver’s side Velvac Mirror. Called Winnebago and they had the correct glass replacement to me in three days. Perfect fit!

ron
25 days ago

America consumers are getting gouged by big business as usual. The same business which recently got a huge tax break. Go figure.

Wolfe
25 days ago

By strange coincidence I replaced the same part just last week! $4 at Lowes. I’m sure it’s not the exact same brand but it looks original. I resented even paying $4 for a silly plastic bracket…

Jesse Crouse
25 days ago

I am in the Plumbing & Heating business/profession. I get the same CRAP from the supply house, manufacturers rep, and lastly the actual manufacturer. My family ran a business for 103 years on a hand shake and true customer service. Can you guess WHY we sold out?

Dennis
24 days ago
Reply to  Jesse Crouse

I was raised by my grandfather who lived though the great depression I was brought up with hand shakes. We worked on all the local farmers equipment and it was always finalized with a hand shake. Not anymore But Sad.

Joe
25 days ago

i would have found a good plumbing supply store. There are many home items that are and can be used in an RV.

Judith R
25 days ago

The very first thing I always, always do is search online for a Users Manual or parts list. The vast majority of the time that gets me the info I need to find a particular part.

BILLY Bob Thronton
25 days ago
Reply to  Judith R

She didn’t know the manufacturer, until she bought the whole kit??

Ed Day
25 days ago

Long story short… spending $106 for a $3 part is a little less painful than spending $82,000.00 for an Airstream that’s touted to be a premium quality built and iconic product, but many DIY fixes later… same cheap plastic overpriced parts made in China that are installed on every other RV out there!

BILLY Bob Thronton
25 days ago
Reply to  Ed Day

Sounds like great marketing by Airstream

Roy Ellithorpe
25 days ago

Don’t you mean Thor?

Troy
25 days ago

The springs for my slide topper on my super slide stopped working, so I had to roll it up by hand every time we brought the slide in. I checked on how much new ones would cost, but there are so many different ones they needed the part number for the ones on my rig. I took the springs out only to discover that the only numbers on the whole thing are on the tube the topper rolls up on. I found out they would be $100 each plus shipping and that’s if and when they could even get them. I also discovered the springs were perfectly fine and it was just the cheap plastic retainerS that were broken. I made an impression of the end of the tube on a piece of cardboard and took it to a machine shop. The shop has made me two half inch thick aluminum parts that far exceed the quality and strength of the original crappy plastic retainers. The cost was only $100 for both of them together.

BILLY Bob Thronton
25 days ago
Reply to  Troy

Now that’s good ole fashioned movie. Seems I’m always trying to beat the man on stuff. After a while, you get a knack for it, and when you beat the system, not much feels better in the instant.