RV Repairs: The good and the bad.

Monday, December 22, 2014

When your home is sitting on top of a vehicle your home will require maintenance. Our motor-home is an old one and we knew we would have some repairs in the future. What we didn't realize was that we would end up spending more on repairs than we did on the entire motor-home...
Somewhere in Tennessee our temperature gauge quit working. Then one night in Kansas during our weekly runs to the grocery store in the RV we noticed The Defiant leaking a huge puddle of coolant onto the parking lot. 

Luckily one of the friends we made while working for Amazon was a skilled mechanic and he was able to take a look under our hood for us. He was ever so helpful, wanting to ensure we were safe to drive before we left Coffeyville. We started the repairs by changing the thermostat itself, while doing the repairs our friend noticed the water pump was leaking. This was not good news.

Since our job with the rainforest was over and we had reservations to meet in Arizona we headed to Tulsa which was the nearest big city. We stayed at Mingo RV park for two nights while we made phone calls and did our research.

We found an RV dealership with a full repair shop just south of Tulsa. We were able to schedule the water pump repairs for the next day which was great because Christmas was fast approaching and most mechanics were fully booked.

We had white smoke pouring out of the RV as we turned into Wade's RV Clinic and left The Defiant in the hands of their mechanics while we waited for the repairs to be completed in the comfy waiting room.
The waiting room at Wade's complete with fireplace.

Within the first thirty minutes the mechanics had pressurized our coolant system and found out that we had a cracked intake manifold. I knew from my research that the part itself was an expensive one, but I didn't know that Ford quit making the part ten years ago.

We agreed with the mechanics that we had to replace this part before we tried the seventeen hour drive to Arizona. They immediately began searching high and low for a 1988 intake manifold that matched the make of our RV. Luckily they had a friend an hour away who found one. This was the only intake manifold for our RV that they could find anywhere close to Tulsa. It took them the rest of that first day to locate the part, drive it to the RV Clinic, and make sure it was the right part for our RV. The guys in the office set us up with power, water, WiFi and we spent the night parked next to the shop.

The next morning we awoke to the sound of garage doors opening and RV's moving; it took us a minute to realize where we were. So far in our travels this night was the quietest nights sleep we had had.
Our view during the day.

As I said earlier, our RV is old, so as the mechanics took the dog house out and started pulling apart the engine so they could get to the intake manifold more problems surfaced.

After more than fifty man hours they had replaced part of the fuel rail, the timing chain cover, intake manifold, water pump, fuel pump, and per our request they gave The Defiant a full tune up which included replacing the serpentine belt, spark plugs, oil, and filters. Which was a good call because the spark plugs turned out to be original. Most of the bolts holding our engine together had become welded/ rusted together and many hours were spent trying to break the bolts free without damaging the housing they were in.

We spent six nights at Wade's and while we were stressing about the big bill each night was racking up for us, we slept soundly and were very comfortable at the Clinic. The staff were so helpful and personable. We became really close with Jay, one of the managers and spent time discussing philosophy with him while the mechanics were working after hours.

They had a full kitchen which gave Robert a chance to bake four dozen of his famous cookies. They also had a shower in the women's bathroom, I just so happened to be the first person to ever use it and I was so glad it was available.They had a sweet guard cat that liked to snuggle on the rustic front porch with me, pet therapy is not a part of the usual mechanic experience.

Sweetie the cat cuddling up on Robert.
Several meals were bought for us and the staff were always asking if we needed a ride to the store or anything in general. We have never felt this comfortable at a mechanics shop; the staff and the state of the art establishment made this stressful time a little easier to swallow for us.

The owner, Wade, was out of town for the holidays with his family. I hate that we didn't get to meet him and thank him for the hospitality. While we were parked next to the million dollar mobile mansions this business is used to working on we were never made to feel less than, and we really appreciated that.

If we are ever in the area again we will for sure stop by, bake some cookies, and have a tune up done. We hope to buy a brand new RV from Wade's in the future as well.

When you live in an RV the community you meet on the road becomes your family, even the folks at the repair shop!

If you are on Facebook give Wade's a like for us, and if you are ever near Tulsa stop on by their shop and tell them WinterStead sent ya!

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