As we sat in our little paradise in our motorhome in Mahomet, Illinois this summer (sarcasm alert), I knew that before we traveled in the fall we were going to need some work done. I knew this because of several glaringly obvious signs and signals, not because I’m a mechanical genius.
We wanted to get our toilet replaced, because we knew there was a seal problem, and because we wanted a standard height unit instead of the highboy we have. We talked to Chad our repair guy and he recommended an inexpensive model. We also needed to have our transmission looked at, because we were leaking fluid onto the pad. A previous mechanic had told us that it was probably a gasket leak, but of course we couldn’t be sure until someone diagnosed it. And we needed the oil changed since it hadn’t been done since before we left Montana – way overdue. Chad said there was a small town garage near Effingham that could do the work that he couldn’t, so we planned our trip accordingly.
We also had a power issue that had popped up recently. It had been a hot dry summer, but a month or so ago we had finally gotten a soaking rain. About 4 AM our main breaker blew, and one of the circuits along with it. After a few hours of drying out it seemed to be OK. The whole thing happened again in another week or so after a few hours of rain, so we knew we had a moisture causing a short problem. Another item for the Chad list. And we needed him to check out our generator, which hadn’t been started since last fall because we never had enough gas in the tank to risk it.
The garage was our first stop. I had told Carl that we needed to get to Effingham by 2 so that Chad could have some daylight to work on the RV, and he was ready when we arrived. I pulled into their large building and 3 mechanics went to work. They drained the pan, put a new transmission filter and gasket on, refilled the fluids, and said everything was fine. They also did the oil change and lube job and checked out the other fluids. I had expected to pay at least $200, so I was surprised to owe a little over $300. Labor itself was $180 though, so he had taken my request for speed to heart by putting 3 men on the job. We were out of there with plenty of time to spare.
Then it was off to Lake Sara Campground for Chad’s visit. He has a mobile truck that holds everything he needs so he can come to you, which is very handy for this kind of work. Unfortunately he was late, because he had to get the windshield on his truck replaced before he could come out. So, we would have had plenty of time and we were early. But we enjoyed the AC and watched the radar as Hurricane Issac’s rains headed our direction. When he finally got there it was sunny but windy – we knew what was on the way.
Chad first checked out the power problem. He said there was a crack over the door that was probably causing the issue, and put some caulk over it. He said it was a difficult thing to track down when it wasn’t acting up, but his repair has held up so far. Next he removed the old toilet and installed the new one, which was a pretty quick job. He then gave the generator a try, and we discovered that we had a leaking fuel line. After a consultation, we decided that the repair would have to wait for a better time. Our bill for Chad’s time was a very reasonable $175, and we certainly got our money’s worth. Our cat, Spot, has tips on how to manipulate the rv repair guy. Maybe it worked?
So with major maintenance and repairs done, we made our way back on to our journey. We still have to get the generator fixed because we plan to use it one of these days, but we are happy with all the other work we got done. All in all, it was cheaper than the ordinary wear and tear on a brick and mortar house would be, by a long shot. One thing we’ve learned, however, is that whenever we do get work done, more future work is diagnosed. The inbox is never, ever empty. In the cheap rv life, you take care of what you must have done and save the rest for another day. You don’t have to have everything you want, exactly when you want it…that was the old way of living. Cash only dictates you pay when you can.
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