Our first service experience. The good and not so good.

I use Maintain My RV to manage and document all work done to the motorhome. It’s a great program to keep track of the maintenance, and it sends me reminders of maintenance  that needs to be done on all of the systems.  During a recent preventive maintenance check of the batteries I found three keyed shims laying on the floor of the compartment. This compartment hasn’t been used since buying the coach so I immediately noticed them and knew something is not right.

what the heck?
what the heck?

I then noticed the “whatcha ma call it” (or “do-hicky”) was disconnected from the housing on the shaft.

"Whatcha ma call it"
“Whatcha ma call it”

I emailed our salesmen , and our Newmar rep (even though it wasn’t an emergency) at 4:30 in the afternoon to find out if I could bring in the coach to have it looked at, and hopefully repaired quickly since we have a trip planned in a few weeks. I’ve read a lot of posts on Facebook and other forums about how backed up service centers are and how owners wait for weeks to months to have work done. I didn’t expect much and was ready to pull the plug and cancel our reservations. An  hour  later  (5:48 PM to be exact) our salesmen replied that he was forwarding the email to the service manager, and to expect a  follow up call from George.

George called me 9 AM the next morning (Tuesday) and wanted to know if I could bring the coach down on Monday morning between 9 and 9:30 so they can have a look and see if there was any parts that need to be ordered. I said “No problem, I will be there”

I still had no idea what this part was called or what it did, so it was time to do some investigating. After purchasing the coach, I signed up for a Newgle account. Newgle is Newmar’s online knowledge system that is powered by Google (Newmar + Google). It’s a pretty awesome system. it has electronic copies of all of the manuals that came with the coach, as well as links to the different manufacturer’s websites. I learned that the part is the trantorque bushing, and it’s loosened when you need to manually retract the slides if there is a problem with the motors. I also learned that the nut is supposed to be tightened to 175 Foot Lbs.

The dealership is 1.5 to 2 hours way depending on traffic. So when Monday came,  I was on the road at 7AM and with minimal traffic, pulled into their service lot at 8:45 AM.

I went into the office and was met by a young woman who asked for my name. I told her, and she said “do you have an appointment?”  I said yes, George scheduled me. She said “oh, George”, “Well your not in the computer…… you do know there is a $65/hour diagnosis fee”

I replied  ” I don’t think so since to coach is new and it should be a warranty item.” “I’ve only had it six months now, we picked it up in  April”

She then asked me if I was planning on leaving it.  And I said, no, I brought it down so a technician can look at it and see if it could be easily repaired, or if a part had to be ordered.

“Well, that’s not the way it works here, and George should have never told you that”, she barked. “If it’s warranty work, we first have to get authorization to look at it, then order the parts if there needed, then we schedule the work to be done. The process takes 7 to 10 days before we can start the work. People leave their units here and wait for us to let them know it’s fixed”

Wow, the Facebook posts are true, I thought.  She then said that she had to put all of my information into the computer so I need to tell her exactly what was wrong. Ok. “The trantorque bushing came apart and the three keyed spacers fell out.” I said.

She just stared at me and said “I have no idea what that is.” So, I showed her the pictures I emailed the salesmen and Newmar rep.  She still had no idea, and said that she would get a mechanic to go out and take a look at it so he can tell her what to enter into the computer.

While  waiting for the mechanic, I noticed a bulletin board near her desk with the cost for different services.

  • Winterization: $179
  • Oil Change, gas engine:  $195
  • Generator,  oil change: $150

Holy crap. Dealership prices are expensive. No wonder RV’ers do most of the work themselves. I guess i won’t be getting rid of my tools anytime soon. 🙂

When the mechanic arrived we walked out and I showed him the bushing and spacers. He looked around and then said ” We have an expert on working with slide-outs, and he just happened to come back from vacation this morning, let me go get him and have him take a look”  A few minutes laters both mechanics were looking things over and the “expert” told the first mechanic  to go get his tools and “big wrench”  Within 10 minutes the bushing was reattached and the mechanic wanted to see the slide go in and out to make sure it was lining up correctly.  It did, and I thanked both of them for there help in resolving the issue. I went back into the office to see the woman and pick up any paper work, and was told , a little abruptly, that the she spoke to the service manager and I’m all done, no cost since it’s warranty work, you can go.

All fixed
All fixed

The moral to this story: I believe the mechanics want to,  and do,  a good job for there customers. It’s the people who handle the paperwork, that give the service side of the business a bad name.

Lastly, if it wasn’t for me using Maintain My RV I might have not have seen the spacers laying on the floor of the compartment, and could have had a big problem when we went on our next trip. It has paid for itself with this one incident.

On to the Pocono Food Truck & Art Festival!