This post is an overview of the maintenance issues I’ve had since I started my trip. It is probably only of interest to those of you who are worried/curious about this aspect of RVing (or just are really into RVs)!
Walking out of a fast food restaurant in Anchorage, Alaska:
What is that pool of fluid under my Mini? Oh, crap, it’s oil!
The oil spilled out of my generator, but a local Onan generator shop could not reproduce the problem.
Diagnosis: Oil cap must have shaken loose on my trip. Refilled with oil and no further problems…
Trying to make popcorn at Prince William Sound:
Why doesn’t my microwave work anymore? Is it related to all that sawdust I cleaned up?
Turns out I literally shook loose and destroyed my crappy convection oven microwave on my drive up the Dempster.
Diagnosis: RV dealer said he could reinstall the microwave for four hours labor, or at $125 an hour, for $500. I told him to rip the piece of sh*t out for $50 and throw it away.
Driving into WalMart:
SMASH! Yikes! What in the hell is crashing back and forth in my Mini!
Diagnosis: The magnet that holds my bathroom door fell off. The light wooden door was flying (and smashing) open and closed so hard it came off its tracks. I removed and reinstalled the tracks (simpler than I thought it would be) and used wood glue to cram the magnet back in place.
Waking up in Denali National Park:
Why is my fan kicking off? Oh no, my Mini is running on battery power, even though I’m plugged in to 20 amp!
Diagnosis: My proudest moment! I got out the schematic and was able to figure a little bit of it out! I knew it had to be really early in the shore power system, so thought it was my transfer relay. Someone on RV.net told me to also check my adapter (what you plug your 30 amp into so it will fit into a 110 plug), and that was actually the problem.
More Dempster Damage:
Exterior steps were essentially destroyed, so I had them removed and thrown away.
Two big cracks in my windshield. Replacement will be $394.
Smashed my tail pipe closed. $30 to fix it.
My air conditioner has gone out three times:
First time: Burned out a capacitor, probably due to low voltage. $174
Second time: AC froze up, but turning on the fan for 30 mins fixed the problem. $0
Third time: Actually a failure of the generator to power the house – discovered while stopping for a nap in Oklahoma. (I’ve dumped paying for RV parks and sleep in a lot of truck stops, now.) I drove hard to get to cooler weather and have yet to get fixed. I think its my transfer relay, since plugging in does power the house.
More it’s-too-hot-in-Texas damage:
Caulking around my skylight melted in the scorching sun. After a long day of driving in the rain, I discovered my entire cab over bed was completely soaked. Currently duct taped.
Holding tanks + hot weather = SmellslikeshitRV. Holding tank fans $80.
Ever since I bought my RV, I’ve noticed a very tiny bit off water under my kitchen galley. My water pump will also kick on every 10 minutes or so. (If I forget to turn it off.) It must be part of my fresh water system, but I can’t discover the source.
My overhead dome lights stopped working, but I think it is a fuse. I have to buy fuses and figure out which one it is.
I didn’t cover the generator issue I had (along with the leak) before I crossed into Canada. It was basically just clogged with dirt and debris. The service place just cleaned it out and it works fine now.
The maintenance and repair can feel very demoralizing. When my AC kept going out in Texas, I started writing whiny posts and questioned my decision to move into an RV.
A few things I have to remember:
A quote from my sister, “Jennifer, you took your RV off road four wheeling for 1,000 miles down the Dempster! What did you expect!?”
I knowingly purchased an RV that many have said was poorly constructed to save money. (I really wanted the expensive chassis and wasn’t able to also pay for the higher quality house.)
This isn’t an infinitely complex system. Much of my frustration evolves into encouragement when I realize I’ve learned a bit more about how this RV works. That part makes me feel even more self-sufficient, even though it is a painful process.
It’s good I’ve got a cheaper house, because I’ve already ripped out my dinette and am hoping to get things primed and painted soon! I love the extra space already!
My spirits lifted after I got back on the road and into cooler climes.
I’ll post pictures of the remodel-in-progress soon.
I enjoyed this RV road trip and repair story:
I’m flying from Northern Michigan to visit my husband in Santa Fe for a week! I was going to drive,
but decided to keep my home base up north until it cools down.