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What are the horror stories?


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Hi again everyone,

I sure hope you don't get tired of all my questions, but you're a wealth of info.

I know it's difficult to anticipate everything that may happen. I 'think' I'm going into this somewhat realistic although maybe a little pie-eyed.

 

Could you share some of your horror stories?

What has happened on the road you didn't anticipate?

What would you have done differently?

 

Thanks (again)!!

Christine

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Biggest thing I'd do differently is buying a truck to pull my fiver. Looking at the factory weight ratings and towing guide charts isn't enough, you need to read the fine print disclaimers and use them to correct the numbers to match what you will be pulling. Also my understanding of the factory maximum safe ratings versus drive-able without excessive driver stress needed rethought. Every other mistake, error, goof and idiot stunt I pulled cost me less when all added together than trying to salvage and then trading my overburdened truck.

 

We didn't need a mail service so we didn't join Escapees for a while, once we got invited to a SKP chapter rally we realized what we were missing and signed up. Aside from all the other great stuff we could have had a lower number, something under 50,000.

 

Thinking we had to have water and electric to stay somewhere. Even in out starter rig, a 30 foot Shasta we had enough to get by for a few days in the woods.

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Just a few months ago a fellow member in another forum who owns exactly the same model of 20-odd year old motor home we own was in TX driving merrily along (some 1,000 miles from home) when his engine failed catastrophically. In fact it had to be completely replaced. It, like mine, was a Cummins 5.9 mechanical (non-computerized) and cost about $10,000 to replace. It also took a few weeks and tows (by Coachnet) to several repair facilities before finding one that could muster up the courage to do the replacement.

 

He drove it home and a few months later sold it to recoup the money they spent on the engine.

 

This, to my mind, is the "worst case scenario" for my coach. And if I can plan to get through that then I figure I'll do ok. All the rest we can manage.

 

WDR

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Could you share some of your horror stories?

I'm not quite sure just what it is that you are asking about, but this is just a change of direction in life so all of the good & bad things which happen in life will happen when on the road. Some are more difficult being in an RV and others are less so. For example, in Feb. 2001 we were about to head from southern CA back to TX when we got a call that our eldest son's wife had been hit by a car and air evacuated to Seattle from their home on the Olympic peninsula and was on the critical list. Being in an RV we just headed that way and were there three days later to help with his 4 children for the time needed. She did eventually recover. We have also had to deal with the death of my mother and several others close to us.

 

The worst RV day was when the lake was rising toward our host site and our motorhome failed to start, so we had to have it towed about 50 miles to the nearest repair shop. Watching your home leave under tow is not a happy experience, but like most things in life, that too was solved and life did continue once it was repaired. A rat had moved in over our fuel tank and chewed the wiring to the fuel pump....

 

In our nearly 12 years on the road we had many happy and unhappy experiences, just as we would have had we stayed in the stick house, but we saw places we could never have seen from our house, we had experiences that we would never have had in any other way and we made friends with an astounding collection of people from not only the USA, but also from Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia.

 

There were times that being in an RV made life less difficult while other times it was more difficult, but life happens no matter where you are or how you have chosen to live. My only regret about our fulltime experience is the fact that health issues cause it to have to end and revert to a part time travel status. I really don't know of much that we would change if we could. While things didn't go exactly as we had expected, we really had no major problems that one could blame on poor choices or have avoided.

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Blew a heater hose on my truck pulling the fiver on Las Vegas freeway. Fortunately Las Vegas has a free on the spot repair service for their freeways. The guy had us going again in about 1/2 hr.

 

Blew a tire on my fiver on I-15 in Idaho...had to buy a new tire.....never run ST tires on a trailer.

 

After the blown tire was repaired got as far as New Mexico and had another tire (ST again ) ready to blow....also noticed broken spring shackles...took me a week to repair and bought 4 new LT tires. $$$

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Thanks for sharing everyone. As you know, when you're researching, you come across all kinds of stories. Some make FT RVing sound like "the perfect dream, why did we wait, everyone should be doing this" to the opposite "what the hell were we thinking, never again, we had no clue." I love forums because you get a mix of responses which is more 'real'.

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Our 40' motorhome fell through a septic tank. :o

 

We showed up for a summer gig of ranch sitting in Oregon. The wrangler opened the gate and showed us to the spot. We backed in and the left rear fell two feet breaking through the top of the tank. Being a ranch, they had everything needed to build a 'road' under us but taking two days to complete. The first attempt was with RR ties and we broke through like they were toothpicks. It was quite an experience sleeping at night at such an angle and wondering if we were going to fall deeper in the black hole. It was a fantastic volunteer job though - 10,000 beautiful acres to ourselves.

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Our first year starting out full-time RVing. Newbies to RVing even. October 2004. Heading south for Yuma, AZ. and my wife (the navigator) took me down this skinny two lane road with maybe a 2 inch shoulder that dropped into a 10 foot ditch. Speed limit was 55 mph I was doing about 40 mph, white knuckles on that road. Now she puts me on a road like that with hills and 35 mph curves and it's "whatever". Although there was one skinny two lane road this summer with a 15 mph curve on a uphill grade I wasn't overly pleased with.

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Our first year starting out full-time RVing. Newbies to RVing even. October 2004. Heading south for Yuma, AZ. and my wife (the navigator) took me down this skinny two lane road with maybe a 2 inch shoulder that dropped into a 10 foot ditch. Speed limit was 55 mph I was doing about 40 mph, white knuckles on that road. Now she puts me on a road like that with hills and 35 mph curves and it's "whatever". Although there was one skinny two lane road this summer with a 15 mph curve on a uphill grade I wasn't overly pleased with.

We view route-selection as a two-person task; the driver has as much responsibility when determining the route as the navigator. The navigator's job is to help guide the driver in staying on the agreed upon route.

Mark

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Stanley,

What truck did you originally have that was under powered? That is our biggest concern. We just bought our truck today after exhausting those blasted tow charts, YouTube videos, ratings,.......so many numbers! They sure don't make it easy.

 

Stanley made a good write-up of his experience here (Post #8): http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?showtopic=115247&hl=%2Bweight+%2Bratings#entry747980

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1996, Twin Lakes, Idaho. Our very first pop-up and first extended trip after I retired. They call it a downdraft micro burst. I call it a giant's foot. First it flattened the pop-up, then it rolled it (several times). All in a matter of about a minute. Had zero warning but fortunately we were all outside down by the lake. Pop-up was a total loss,

 

Lesson learned: stuff happens and sometimes you can't prevent it. Recourse is to prevent all those you can.

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I'll be a bit different! Yeah some folks say "I'm different alright!".

 

The biggest horror story is always about the folks who done nothing about their dreams because they heard too many horror stories!

Things will and do go wrong. But they do with sticks and bricks to.

 

Just acknowledge that it may hit the fan one day. But even when it's flying off the fan there will always be a tomorrow. The sun will come up each day and you'll wonder why you never hit the road earlier.

 

regards

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Over the years with various RV's, we've dealt with a blown engine, a blown transmission, a blown rear end, blown tires, and even a seized air conditioner compressor that kept us off the road for over a week. All of these events were handled as they occurred by just doing what needed doing to get us back on the road as quickly as reasonable. None of them ever dampened our enjoyment of RV life though, and just became another "adventure" to tell our kids about. Besides, if we hadn't dumped that transmission near Corbin, KY, we might never have gotten around to visiting the Col. Sanders of KFC fame museum there. :D

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Horror story! We turned a corner too sharp in Whitefish, MT, caught the corner of our fiver on an overhang that I didn't see. Ripped the awning off, gouged the fiberglass side, and totally pulled the back cap off the trailer. Ended up in Boise, ID for over a month while new parts were ordered and the fiver repaired. Fortunately insurance paid over $10,000 for the repairs and we loved Boise. But it took a lot of rescheduling and changing plans for the year. Moral of the story: when full-timing, you go with the flow.

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I read through all the "horror stories", but still IMO doesn't compare to a situation a new fulltiming couple found themselves in, which I read on their blog (can't remember which one). Basically, the story goes that they were packing up, getting ready to leave their campsite. They hooked up the black flush line but didn't realize they needed to have their dump gate open. Suffice to say, the black water came out of the vent on the roof, and covered their RV in biomass.......

 

Even though the cost for repair is worse, I'd take a dropped tranny or blown engine over this any day..... :-)

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Horror story! We turned a corner too sharp in Whitefish, MT, caught the corner of our fiver on an overhang that I didn't see. Ripped the awning off, gouged the fiberglass side, and totally pulled the back cap off the trailer. Ended up in Boise, ID for over a month while new parts were ordered and the fiver repaired. Fortunately insurance paid over $10,000 for the repairs and we loved Boise. But it took a lot of rescheduling and changing plans for the year. Moral of the story: when full-timing, you go with the flow.

Always worried about this. Thanks for sharing.

 

James

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I read through all the "horror stories", but still IMO doesn't compare to a situation a new fulltiming couple found themselves in, which I read on their blog (can't remember which one). Basically, the story goes that they were packing up, getting ready to leave their campsite. They hooked up the black flush line but didn't realize they needed to have their dump gate open. Suffice to say, the black water came out of the vent on the roof, and covered their RV in biomass.......

 

Even though the cost for repair is worse, I'd take a dropped tranny or blown engine over this any day..... :-)

 

If all it takes is a good wash job and maybe a change of clothes to fix the problem, I'll take it over the cost and time it takes to replace a dropped tranny or blown engine any day.... :D

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We went to the hardware store for a minor part for the RV. On the way out the wife missed seeing the curb and did a nose dive into the pavement. We drove to the ER at the local hospital. She ended up needing a shoulder replacement. We found a good surgeon who was excellent and explained everything. It was a serious injury that took about 5 mos. to recover so that we could travel. She did the therapy in the RV and at physical therapy 2-3 times a week. After one year, life is pretty much back to normal for her, although the use of that arm will not be as good as before. So, we learned that we can handle medical problems on the road just the same as anywhere. Dave.

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I read through all the "horror stories", but still IMO doesn't compare to a situation a new fulltiming couple found themselves in, which I read on their blog (can't remember which one). Basically, the story goes that they were packing up, getting ready to leave their campsite. They hooked up the black flush line but didn't realize they needed to have their dump gate open. Suffice to say, the black water came out of the vent on the roof, and covered their RV in biomass.......

 

Even though the cost for repair is worse, I'd take a dropped tranny or blown engine over this any day..... :-)

 

 

Something similar happened at the Escanaba Escapees Fun Days a few years back. The grass cutting crew was removing hoses from the spigots to mow and replacing them when finished. A camper had left their black tank flush hose connected to a spigot and when the mower crew hooked it back up and turned it on disaster soon followed.

 

Making it far worse, the rig was totaled by the insurance company, was shoddy construction that led to the interior being flooded with the black tank contents. The construction problem was that the RV manufacturer had saved a few cents by installing non-sealed roof vents on the tanks. So when the water got to the roof instead of hitting the sealed vent and being forced out onto the roof it found the gap between the vent pipe and vent cap and just flowed down into the space between the roof and ceiling, then dripping from every crack and crevice throughout the RV.

 

I never realized that that type of vent cap existed but you can be sure we were up on our roof checking ours as soon as we got back to the rig.

 

We also made a note to NEVER leave the black tank flusher hooked up and subject to an oopsie.

 

If you have iffy roof vents they should be changed to good ones, poop showers aside they are an issue for bugs and water infiltration if you get a couple inches of snow and an ice dam. Only a couple bucks for the vents, a tube of sealant and a piece of sealing tape and a bit of work heads off a lot of problems. Problems are rare but if you get bit they will be expensive to fix.

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Ah yes, I remember that day :)

But the BEST part of the story is that your RV friends all "pulled together" to get your rig unstuck.

Thats what I like about this lifestyle. We have people we can count on when we need it.

 

Sue

Absolutely true. Without our friends coming to our rescue we might still be out there today. With overflowing tanks.

 

Linda Sand

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