I’m well into my 4th month on the road and still learning many lessons. I bought a new travel trailer with the thought that I would have a warranty for a while and wouldn’t have to worry about things needing to be fixed right away. I soon learned that new doesn’t necessarily mean problem free.
Last month while having brand new tires put on because 1 had a defect and I didn’t want to
chance it with the others, I had them check the brakes. They discovered the inside of the brake housings were covered in grease. I’ve learned that once the brake shoes get saturated with grease and the grease gets into the magnets it can reduce braking power and can cause them to lock up. I waited until I got back to PA to start working on getting them replaced under warranty so I would have a place to stay with the dogs if I needed to leave it overnight somewhere.
First, I started calling different RV dealerships in the area trying to find one that handled Coachmen warranties. I finally found East Coast RVs in Bedford, PA, that did. I told them my problem and emailed a picture of the inside of the brake housing and all of my info. The next day I got a call from the service guy saying he knew that Lippert (the manufacturer of the axles and brakes) wouldn’t fix them because they would say anyone could have put grease in the brakes. I told him it was brand new from the factory and wasn’t one sitting on a lot. He said he deals with Lippert all the time and assured me they wouldn’t fix it. He also said not to bring my trailer there for brakes as they charge $119 an hour and I could get it done somewhere else cheaper.
So now, I was really getting upset. I’ve already had to put new tires on all around and now I’m being told I need new brake shoes all around and the warranty wasn’t going to cover it. I posted my predicament on Facebook and received many posts asking if I had Lippert components and replied yes. Evidently, this company is known for their crappy work and components. One person even sent me a 3 page letter from Lippert explaining the issue and stating that they needed replacing. The next day I called Coachmen RV directly and talked to the warranty department. They said they don’t know why that service person would have told me that. I asked why I’m having to go to the manufacturer of each part on my RV to get it fixed when my warranty is with Coachmen. He said that was their job. So Coachmen goes to Lippert to get the claim covered. I sent them all of the info and pictures and they filed a claim with Lippert. The very next morning Lippert contacted me and approved and hour to have all the brakes inspected and then the service person would call and send pictures and they would decide on covering the brakes from there. I can only guess that East Coast RV just didn’t want to hassle with a warranty claim or didn’t want to work on a unit that wasn’t bought there or both.
So now I was back to my problem of finding a dealership to cover it. Lippert did say that it didn’t need to be an RV dealership it could be a brake place or other garage. This was the weekend so I was going to start working on it Monday morning.
In the meantime, on Sunday I ran out of propane in one of my tanks. I switched the knob over to the other tank and opened it and took off the empty one to go get it filled. I went back in my trailer and in about 15 minutes my trailer filled up with propane and the propane detector went off. So I got the dogs out, turned off the propane and opened all the windows and doors to air it out. I called some friends and they said maybe it was because the other tank was disconnected so I went and filled the tank, reattached it and turned on the right tank again. I’d always used the left tank so I wanted to make sure the right tank would work. Again within about 15 minutes the trailer again filled up with propane so I turned everything off and aired it out again. The next time I turned on only the left tank. This time it was fine and no propane smell came into the trailer. So now I’m thinking great one more thing I have to fix.
When you have a motor home or travel trailer, the last things you want to have problems with is your tires, brakes and propane and now I seem to have had or have a problem with all three. I got out my manual to see if I had done something wrong and in the back I see that along with my year of roadside assistance I get access to RV techs through an assistance line. So I thought great maybe then can tell me how it’s possible for my trailer to fill up with propane with one tank on and not the other. It just didn’t make sense since both tanks run into the same line.
First thing Monday morning I called the tech line and explained my problem. They said they had no idea how that could happen and they would find somewhere for me to take it. I told them that I was having trouble finding someone in the area that handled Coachmen warranty work. He mentioned Lerch RV and Ansley RV and I told him I’d called both and they said they didn’t handle Coachmen. So he said he was going to work on it and would call me back. He called back and said both of them handle Coachmen warranty work and I asked him what he said to them when they told me no. He said he told them he was calling from Forrest River and he reminded them that yes they do.
The first appointment he could get me was for November 12. First, that’s a long time to have a propane leak and second, I’m leaving for South Carolina before then. So he said he would work on it some more and call me back. He called back and found a little dealership that was only 18 miles away that could get me in that day. So I packed up and headed over there. I was driving through this residential neighborhood thinking GPS was leading me astray again when I saw this little sign that said,
“Maters LAUNDROMAT and RV Sales and Service”. I was thinking ut oh what have I done. It was perfect though, the tech Denny was very nice and had been working on RVs for 27 years.
He checked all the propane lines and found nothing. Checked all the brakes and we called Lippert, sent them all the pictures and they authorized all new brakes. The service guy Denny, cleaned all of them off really good so they would be reliable until the parts came in at the end of the week. He also fixed my bathroom fan that stopped working about a month ago. He checked my tire pressure and emptied my gray tank. Then I drove back to wait for the parts to come in.
So if the tire hadn’t had that defect I would have never known about the brake issue and if the propane hadn’t acted up I would have never found out that I had access to the RV techs and I would have never found the dealership that fixed everything for me in a day. Everything happens for a reason. Now the parts are supposed to be in by the end of the week. I’ll drive back over and have him replace everything. He said it should only take a couple of hours so I’ll just hang out and wait. Hopefully, this will hold her for a while. I’d like to get through the winter without worrying about fixing anything else.