As I mentioned in the last post, the only item left was to wash, wax and detail the coach on the 14th. Which started off great with D&L RV Detailing arriving bright and early. After setting up and a quick walk around the washing began and lasted for a couple of hours (being 40’, there’s a lot of real estate to clean). Once the was washed, including the awning, it was time to apply the paste wax.
Starting at the rear corner by the office and moving forward all was going well until they were at the front under the passenger window. I had noticed last week while performing maintenance that the caulking on the front cap molding was beginning to crack and I was planning on recaulking before we left. Unfortunately, the vibration from the orbital buffer popped the molding and exposed the panel underneath.
Newmar’s website has an owner’s section where you can find service centers throughout the country. Their list had a service center with locations in Panama City and Dothan Alabama, both doable with our travel plans. And after sending them the photographs, they both said they could do the repair. I chose the Panama City since it is about 85 miles west of us and called the service manager to discuss logistics, schedules, ect. The manager said that normally any “structural” work is in the shop for a minimum of three weeks (first red flag). I told them that wasn’t an option because we live full time in the rig. He said ok, but he would have to see the coach, with all of his service technicians, so they could collectively figure out how to do the repair (second red flag)
You know that little voice in your head that goes off when something is not right? Mine was screaming. I decided to contact Newmar Customer Service to see if I could schedule the work for when we’re in the area in July. Unfortunately, the next available date they have is in December, and after they look at it, they could schedule the work to be done some time late fall.
After telling the service rep we were in Florida, she gave me the names of two “Platinum” service centers to call to find out if they had any openings to fit our schedule. One of them was North Trails RV in Fort Myers. They did a lot of work for us in 2019 and we were happy with what they did, but they are 400 miles away. The second highly rated service center was Independence RV in Winter Garden, only 260 miles away.
I called and explained the issue with the service manager who said the next opening for body shop work is August, but he can’t schedule it until I bring in the coach so they can see it and provide an estimate. With the estimate, they’ll know how long it will take to repair and can schedule the work. After a couple of back and forth on dates, we scheduled the initial visit for March 31st. Once they see what needs to be done, I can also find out if it is safe to drive, I have duct tape covering up the area so that no water gets in and does more damage. If it is safe to drive, we can the schedule the work for when we return to Florida and have a plan to stay out of the coach for however long it takes to do the repair.
One good thing about having a home on wheels is the ability to change direction as needed. We’ll miss out on visiting Pensacola and add 500 miles to our travel plans, but you have to do what you have to do.
We’ll let you know the plan after we learn more on the 31st. Keep your fingers crossed and wish us luck.