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What do full-timers do when their RV is in the shop?


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We recently purchased a Vanleigh 2018 Vilano 5th wheel to live in while we look for property to build a new house on in E Tennessee. We have private property on which to park the 5th wheel with full hook-ups. Paid to have it towed to the site since we thought we will never move it until we move it onto our build site when it is ready.

Within 2 months, we suffered a catastrophic black tank failure. Had the 5th wheel towed to LazyDays in Knoxville for repairs. It has been there 10 days with absolutely no progress. Parts department cannot get anyone at t" he manufacturer on the phone - it is a disaster from our point of view - and we are effectively homeless, living in expensive hotels.

Meantime, call us crazy, we are considering buying a truck and becoming actual "full-timers" and traveling instead of building a house.

What do full-timers do when their RV (home) is in the shop??? 

We are looking at alternative 5th wheels - Grand Design Solitude and Forest River Riverstone - any experience with these units?

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I have never had a major failure like that but most shops let you live in the RV and have a hookups of some sort. I would not trust Lazy Days but call the mfg. yourself and explain the problem. Since it is a black tank you should be able to live in your rv if you buy a port-a-potty to temporarily use while the black tank is being fixed.

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Interestingly we also just had a major black tank failure (cracked tank) that put the motorhome in the shop for almost two weeks.  We actually moved into a campground cabin during the repair.  In our case our Thousand Trails membership gives us a free week in a cabin each year, so we only ended up paying for the stay over one week.  

In over 8 years of fulltiming this was only our second time to have to vacate.  The other stay was just a couple of nights.

We have also stayed in the RV over night during repairs a couple of times.  The shop provided us with limited electricity and a water line.  We spent the night and went sightseeing during the day.

Some of this is downright unhandy, but most of it is just part of life.  That is, sometimes people have to vacate their sticks and bricks houses for one reason or another just the same.

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We're currently staying in the sleeper of our Kenworth, while the suspension is rebuilt on our 5th wheel. Air BnB, cheaper hotels, bed and breakfasts, and campground cabins are all options. Unless the repairs are warranty covered, a mobile service tech should be able to deal with the black tank problems, just use the park facilities, or a Porta Potty.

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Over the years with various motorhomes, we've had an engine replaced, a transmission replaced, and a complete rear axle assembly replaced. In each case, we were able to stay in the motorhome at the repair shop with power and water provided for the nights. The only exception was the 4 days it took to get a re-manufactured transmission shipped in. For that time, the shop towed the coach to a nearby campground for us, and came back for it to install the new transmission while we waited.

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I know  a lot of places have a place you can stay on property but some places don't have that option due to different local regulations.  I don't know what type of failure your tank had but it is hard to understand how it is so complicated that even the entire tank cannot be replaced in that time frame unless it has something to do with a warranty approval.  I have had 2 tank issues on 2 different trailers. The first one was over 20 years old and I was able to repair it with epoxy.  In that case I stayed in a state park with toilets and showers and got a spot as close to the restroom as possible. The hard part was to get it dried out enough to use the type of epoxy I used.  On the second rv I had damage due to a road aligator. (truck tire tread) That one I hired a local plastic tank welder that came out and did it in place. That was pretty severe damage and I did not think it would  work but he knew what he was doing and I have not had another problem.  I don't know about the folks working on yours but it doesn't sound like they are being very diligent.  In some cases a good independent mobile tech might work out better.  Sure feel for your situation and hope you get it solved soon.

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In 16 years of full-timing - 8 in a 5th wheel and 8 in a motorhome, we had never stayed anywhere but in our RV for maintenance issues.   We were always able to stay in the RV on their site.  If they know it's your home they'll get on it fast.  We also made appointments for a place in the direction we were traveling.  Upon arrival we always were taken care of promptly. 

I think your problem is with LazyDays.  Do they know that it is your temporary home and you have nowhere else to go?  Have you tried calling the manufacturer yourself?  I have never heard of Vilano.  I wonder why LazyDays needs to talk to the manufacturer because obviously it would be out of initial warranty.

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18 minutes ago, bigjim said:

which is or was a Tiffin product. So maybe there will be a good outcome.

Vanleigh was started by some of the younger members of the Tiffin family but then became part of the Tiffin group in 2019, only be part of the sale to Thor last December.

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Not full time but lots of extended trips of several weeks and several months over the years.   In almost a quarter century with two engine replacements and a handful of other more minor but needing towing breakdowns, each and every time we've been able to stay in our Rig.   In fact two places gave us a courtesy vehicle to go around in and on the last engine replacement 2018, after a week staying in Great Falls at repair facility we ended up as snow started to fly driving back to Alberta in their vehicle for 3 weeks and then returning when complete to carry on our modified then trip.

I do believe that there are more restrictions than there were many years ago about being able to stay on site in your RV but for the most part, I'm sure you'll find many, more than willing to try to accommodate you where possible, especially smaller independent businesses.

Have RV?  Have emergency fund?   Have trip budget? = get out there, enjoy and face trouble as and only, when it comes head on to you.  Over the years we've found whatever curve balls life throws at us we find a work around some how some way.   Frustrated at times?  Yes, but it all works out ironically in the big scheme of things.   

Happy Travels and create a ton of memories.

Edited by FULLTIMEWANABE
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11 hours ago, Kirk W said:

Vanleigh was started by some of the younger members of the Tiffin family but then became part of the Tiffin group in 2019, only be part of the sale to Thor last December.

Vanleigh was started by one of the Tiffin grandsons and one of the Tiffin sons (an Uncle to the grandson, not his father) I believe. Not sure if their HQ and manufacturing are in Red Bay, but if not they are probably nearby. Like the Class A Tiffins they may have a repair facility and campground. They probably have the parts available right there. Not to far from TN for you. I would call Vanleigh and determine if you can go direct to them for the repair. Time to take Lazy Days out of the picture. They are too lazy to get this done quickly for you. 

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We had three experiences with this.

First time we were a year into full timing.  We have an older 5er and decided to wait and live in it for a year before making changes.  We were told the rebuild would take four weeks so we dropped it off in Elkhart and rented a cabin on a lake in Michigan for a month.  Two days before we were due to leave the cabin the shop called and said they would be a day or two late.  We rented a motel room in Elkhart.  A day or two turned into eight weekdays, the last two of which we lived in our 5er with power inside the rebuild shop building.  Not happy.  Over the next several months we corrected several problems the shop created in their work.  Even less happy.  Now it is the way we want it.

Last fall we had a slide issue that took four days to fix.  We rented a cabin in the woods in Maine with my eldest and her husband.  We used VRBO to locate the cabin. The work was done on time and below budget.  A good time was had by all.

This year we scheduled annual maintenance for three days.  Parts delays for our heat pump control delayed that three work days (five days).  We spent the planned repair time in a VRBO rental.  The extra days we lived in 5er hooked up to repair shop power.  As we were getting ready to leave one of the big slides stopped working.  We discovered the slide motor housing had broken.  A used motor was available in Texas (we were in Maine).  Motor - expensive.  Express shipping - expensive too.  The good news is that were were in the shop when it happened.  We could have been parked in Lower East Overshoe with the slide out if the motor had decided to last one more cycle.

Wayne & Jinx
2017 F-350 diesel, dually
2006 Carriage Carri-Lite 36KSQ

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HAVE YOU CONTACTED VANLEIGH DIRECT?

LazyDaze is not spoken of well for service after the sale.  

VanLeigh is in MS, not too far from Red Bay, the Tiffin plants.  Saw lots of VanLeighs around there in various stages of painting.

From VanLeigh website--might try this guy...

First of all, I never post comments, good or bad, but I have been working with Mr. Hilton Riggins, Regional Sales Manager, for Vanleigh and he has been so fantastic to work with I had to post this. I have never had a more pleasant and effective interaction with any manufacturer's representative. Kudos to Hilton and the Vanleigh team! Oh, and they make fantastic 5th Wheels too...

Edited by jblo
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Since July 2017, Our DRV has been in the shop a total of 4 months.  Those 4 months were spent in extended stay hotels with 1 cat and 1 dog.  According to DRV, this is normal routine work, that you're supposed to do..... replacing rotten floors and roofs due to their lack of craftsmanship.

Non of the expenses were reimbursed.

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