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When "home" is in the shop


GracieK

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We are getting ourselves physically and mentally ready to full time, and one thought is always anxiety-provoking: when home is a small motor home and it needs to go to the shop for repairs, what do you do? There are two of us plus a large dog who is not particularly sociable, and we will not have a toad. Our current MH is too small for full timing, so we will purchase a new MH before setting out on this adventure. I worry about this too much, probably because our current motorhome had to have just about every component repaired or replaced in the first year and a half. Can anyone give me some ideas of how to handle this so I don't worry so much?

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Not sure I can alleviate your worries, but here are a couple of thoughts. I travel in my 25 foot motor home and also do not have a toad. I did not want the expense or logistics of having a second vehicle, and my gas mileage and my size don't preclude me from comfortably doing errands and day trips in my "house." Besides, I love coming out of the grocery store and popping my cold items right into the refrigerator. Or being on a day trip to somewhere pretty, coming back from a long walk, and being able to make a sandwich and take a nap!

 

The one time my house had some severe issues (the smart junction box malfunctioned in a major way, and it could not be driven), I was luckily visiting a friend, and my dog and I could stay with them for the 2-3 weeks it took to get the problem fixed. I often wonder how things would have gone if I was in the middle of nowhere when that happened. First, roadside assistance (I have it through Good Sam and through Ford) would get me a tow. If the problem could be fixed on the same day, we would simply wait. If the repair shop had to keep it overnight and they would not let me and my dog stay in it (I suspect some shops would allow us to stay), we'd simply find a motel nearby. Even if I had a toad, I'd still need to get a hotel room in such a case. A toad would give me more flexibility and save money on cabs in this situation, but the expense of having one just for such an occurrence isn't worth it for me. In a worse case scenario, I suppose I could always buy a small car if the need arose.

 

Just like anything in the RV travel world, it is a very individual decision on what will work for you. Follow your gut instincts as you make your decisions, then relax, have fun, and make adjustments when and if needed. Good luck on your full-time launch!

 

P.S. Congrats on the Libero choice. I looked at the LTV products as well and ended up going with something very similar in size and layout (Phoenix Cruiser 2351 model with corner bed and dinette).

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Over the years and RV's we've blown an engine, a transmission, and a rear end, along with various lesser trip interrupting issues like a failed fuel pump. In every case, we've been able to continue living in the motorhome, other than while the actual repair work was being done during the day. We've stayed in the coach nights while it was inside a service bay, out in the parking lot, and in the best cases, at a nearby campground while all the ordered parts, etc., were being collected for the repairs, before being towed back to the shop for the actual work. In every case, we've found the shops to be more than accommodating of our needs, including in one case, the loan of a shop pickup truck to go grocery shopping when we didn't have a toad with us. We have left the coach at a shop a few times though, when we were within a couple of hours drive of our Adirondack cottage. Oh, and we also have an 80lb dog with us that's not the friendliest with strangers.

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We have been fortunate that we have not had a breakdown on the road. We have had work done on our coach while on the road and always tell the shop we're checking with that we are full timers and will be in the coach while they work on it. So far none have told us we can't stay with the rig. When in Vegas we use one shop that knows we are FT and they schedule us in first thing in the AM and get started right away. Last time we were there we had a multi day project and each evening they made sure the coach was livable so we could drive it back to the CG. If it wasn't we could stay in their lot overnight.

 

Don't worry about it as worrying gives you something to do but does not get you anywhere.

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Not all repairs require you to stop but do require you to fix them at some point. We've decided to make a northern "home base" at a shop we bought when we sold the farm. It's only 2 blocks from our current SnB and has enough land that we can park our motor home behind the shop (which has enough room to store the farm equipment we did not sell when we sold the farm). We're putting a 600 sq ft "apartment" into one end of the shop with a big storage area of equal size above it and then a two-bay area for wood working, metal working, etc. Even a lift.

 

So we can simply delay low-priority repairs until we get back to the shop. More choices plus a place ready-made when we hang up the keys.

 

WDR

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We fulltime in a FW, and have had occasion that the rig was in the shop for several days. We just stayed in a motel, enjoyed the pool and housekeeping making the bed and cleaning daily. We are currently staying in Las Vegas a bit longer than planned, as the truck is down due to a failed injector and possibly damaged turbo, so we have a rental vehicle to get around in. We don't have a dog, but in a pinch, you could have your dog stay at a pet resort type kennel, while your rig was being repaired. Being fulltime allows you to be flexible in the good times as well when issues crop up, so it just takes a little creativity to manage things. Like was already said, don't stress, it's not worth it in the long run.

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Yes, as others suggested, if your in a RV park their is probably a mobile tech (or 5 ) in the area. So, short of a motor swap they can probably handle it! We are currently set up in San Diego at the Mission Bay RV resort and we see the same mobile tech here at least 5 times a week at different RV's.

If you plan to Boondock or use USFS campgrounds then pack your tools and brush up on your web search skills. I've owned a few older vehicles over the years and it's amazing what you can diagnose and repair with the help of internet and YouTube.

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We lived in our motorhome for a lot of years and only one time was ours in for emergency repairs that we were not allowed to stay in the RV nights. We did have a tow car so we went off for the day and just returned at the end of the work day. That one time we were able to go and stay with a relative who happened to live near where we were.

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When we had a major, major repair in our fiver that took a month and a half to repair, we negotiated with the dealer (repair shop) to loan us an old trailer that they actually moved to a RV park for us. Of course, we had to pay the park, but we would have been paying that fee where ever we were. We did have a tow vehicle. In your case, you would have had to rent a car. I don't think I would be willing to full time without a toad. Just my opinion.

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When we were preparing to full time repairs on the road were a consideration. That is one reason we went the fifth wheel route so we would only have one engine and if it was in the shop we still had our home parked in the RV park. There are many reputable repair shops out there but we did hear stories of a negative nature from those having to leave their full time rig in a shop for repairs and they weren't able to stay in it.

 

After our warranty expired and we weren't required to take the rig to a specific place for work we found several mobile repair services that did just fine. Word of mouth in the park as well as this website http://www.rvservicereviews.com/ were helpful in finding a service.

 

There were other considerations on our list for choosing a fiver over a motorhome. Cost and space at our time of purchase leaned us toward the fiver.

 

IMHO the motorhome has many advantages for travel but DH is more comfortable driving the truck than the motorhome. We got very good at hooking and unhooking so that was not an issue after awhile.

 

It is a very individual choice, even if your T-chart of pro's for each goes one way your non-tangible emotions and just plain gut feelings play an important part too. Whatever you choose will be right for you.

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We have fulltimed for 12 years. We have never been "out" of our fiver. I do any repair and there have been only a few. The truck quit one time while were towing and the wrecker outfit just took us to an RV park, dropped the trailer and took the truck to a dealer since it was under warranty. It sure didn't hinder us.

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