Long story and sorry I'm venting.....:
Background: late 50's; teacher so I have summer time. Widowed for 3 years....Tent camped forever; Husband and I bought a big 5th wheel in '04 or so. He could fix anything (almost), so RVing with him was so easy. When he passed away I watched the 5er sit in the drive--I drove it, but just couldn't get comfortable with the length and hitching/unhitching....finally traded it for a small class C.
Not sure now that RVing is for me, mostly because I'm not able to diagnose and fix everything myself. The dealer is quite a distance, and not too helpful. And, I haven't formed a good working relationship with another service place. Additionally, being alone, I have to impose on friends for rides there and back, etc. Yesterday I was completely ready -- packed, all systems go I thought, but no brake lights. Checked the fuses I could find.....took it to a local repair guy and am waiting a couple days.
Still, the thought of travel on my own time and terms is good. Can I do this? What are some strategies to deal with maintenance and repairs? I have Good Sam's and their roadside thing... And, fortunately I'm able to fund just about anything, and can fix a few things.
I admit that I'm not very proactive -- probably need to work on that....but encouragement and advice are plentiful here -- throw some my way! Thanks in advance.....
2008 BT Cruiser RIP Dennis 1948 - 2009 White dog Matty RIP 2012
Is there an RV club in your area? Our local club is mostly retirees and beyond, so life situations are always changing, and we are mostly in the club to help each other.
The guys in our club who like to fix things are all happy to help those who don't know or are not sure. Problem is when too many are working on one problem and don't agree on the solution, but that doesn't happen too often.
The other thing to do is to build a working relationship with a local service place or a more local RV dealer, if your selling dealer is too far away. Most dealers want the service business, even for things they don't sell. My C goes into a dealer that sells only travel trailers and fivers, for house-related stuff, and to the local Ford truck dealer for engine and chassis issues.
I am struggling with this now. RVd a lot as a kid. My father could fix anything. I knew the basic basics, i.e refrig must be level. I LOVED RVing. Now - mid-50's. RV in family becomes available cheap. It's A '90 Winnebago, been well-cared for an maintained its whole life. I couldn't pass it up, because no way can I afford anything actually on the market. I had to think long and hard about could I do it. I still don't know, but I am gaining confidence.
I learned to drive it and at this point I'm not the worst RV driver out there. I put it into action last fall and right now I go on short trips close to home so I can summon help if need be. I'm gaining confidence. I don't know if I'll ever take it on a long trip because of the mileage - 90,000. So I'm checking out campgrounds 1-2 hours away to use it for a weekend+ relaxing getaway. If the time comes when I feel like I can venture further I will. Until then, that's what the car is for.
When I first considering buying the thing it really scared me, but then I realized I was imagining me going cross country. So I decided to stay in my comfort zone (well, stay within sight of my comfort zone) and that has worked well. And the comfort zone is expanding a bit.
Good luck to you, I'm sure you can do it, just go slow and don't try to get TOO far from what you are comfortable with.
I'll simply ask this. As a teacher what would you tell a student that didn't know how to do things? Hopefuuly the answer would be you can learn anything, it's a matter of trying.
In your case I would look at Community College or Vo-Techs for classes on basic automotive skills(sometimes refered to as Powder Puff classes) and home repairs.
I have to say X2. Best way is tqoq become educated on the basics. My girls both learned the basics before I let them drive. While they might not do the work themselves they shue know a snow job when it comes their eay.
Donn,Lorri,Max (The Rescued Lab)
Resident Know It All
Have you checked out the local RV places in Marshalltown? I don't know anything about them other than just Googling some up, but there's Marshalltown RV Center on Iowa Street or call up Shady Oaks RV Campground for local recommendations might be the best approach, since they ought to see a bit of that (especially if folks are using a mobile RV repair service that comes onsite).
Beyond that, get in the C, turn the steering wheel and hit the gas pedal. Don't let self-doubt keep you from doing what you and your husband enjoyed, and you still enjoy and have a desire for.
If you were anywhere near me and having problems with something, let me know somehow. Flag down someone. I would be more than willing to help troubleshoot or get someone with more knowledge to help. I know a great many of us feel the same way. Come on out. We'll help, if needed.
Everything in RVing can be learned and none of it is really complicated. Keep the engine maintained and drive it regularly are most important. The other problems will be minor. It's not that much different than owning any other vehicle. If your like most of us here, RVing would be one one the last enjoyments we'd give up.
Post smaller issues right here on this forum, pictures are a HUGE help as your description may not match symptoms, but photos go a long way. YouTube another source. Already mentioned was mobile Rv repair, but inquire at campground if there is a "permanent" residence with some skills that could offer up an opinion/solution. All have helped this mechanical imbecile, who has trouble fixing an egg for breakfast.