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Monday, September 16, 2013

Formulating Plans

I spent an exciting morning on the phone.  Well, not really exciting, more like frustrating as I tired to nail down appointments for the Journey with local RV dealers.

The rub was with the inverter and the extended warranty company.  As I said yesterday, I can replace the unit myself, but the warranty company won’t pay for the part.  To better inform myself on a “Hail Mary” plan, if I couldn’t work out any appointments, what would it cost to buy the unit and eat the cost and install it myself?

I called my parts guy at Lichtsinn Motors in Forrest City, Iowa research the possible purchase.  What he told me was very interesting.  The inverter is no longer made.  No surprise, its high failure rate stopped Winnebago from using it in their motorhomes.

Fortunately, a direct, plug in replacement manufactured by a different company is now available and in stock.  For a mere $1280, plus tax and shipping.  Well, that “Hail Mary” idea is certainly on the back burner.

Next issue, I talked to an RV dealer who  would gladly make an appointment for me in three weeks, accept my extended warranty and told me to “just leave the motorhome and we’ll get to it”.  Um, that won’t work because we live in our Journey.

I eventually found another RV service center that would work with us on the issue, but cautioned that in their experience, extended warranty companies often required the failed inverters to be sent back to the factory to be tested to ensure they failed and then rebuilt if possible. If the unit cannot be rebuilt, a rebuilt unit will be substituted.

That evolution usually takes four to five weeks to turn around the part. That caused a couple of new questions in my mind.  One was is the manufacturer still in business?  Another was would a rebuilt unit last better than the original?  Then would the extended warranty company allow a replacement with the new brand of inverter that Winnebago now uses?

I called my warranty company and asked how they would handle the situation.  The rep stated that since it is such an expensive part, they probably would send an inspector to verify the failure first before authorizing anything.

After mulling over the information, I made an appointment with the  RV dealer that could look at the Journey first thing Thursday morning.  We’ll go from there, start a claim with the warranty company and see where it takes us.  The dealer can order the new, replacement inverter directly from Winnebago if the warranty company authorizes it.  If not, I may just have to decline a verification and rebuilding of my inverter and deal with it later, even if I have to bite the bullet and absorb the cost.  At least the unit is functioning on the battery charging mode, as long as I don’t turn on the inverter, I’m okay for the time being.

The question is:  Do I feel lucky?

I did have better luck on the broken tailpipe.  I will cut the jagged, broken end off several inches back to have a smooth end to work with.

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After trying several truck dealers, I found a hot rod shop that has the size exhaust pipe (4 1/2” outside diameter) in stock, but no way to expand one end to allow it to slide over the existing exhaust pipe.

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They recommended a special kind of band clamp, which I had them order and it will be in in a couple of days.

Then I found a custom pipe builder with whom I made and appointment for tomorrow morning to see if he can manufacture a pipe to slide over the existing exhaust pipe.  If so, I’ll have him make it, but I’ll still purchase the special clamp from the hot rod shop and keep it as a spare.  I’ve found when I have a spare part on hand, I’ll never have to use it.  Sort of an insurance policy.

So there it is, the fun and games that one can go through trying to get repairs done on the road as a fulltimer.  I just wish, as my friend Steve (Gone by RV) pointed out that in my August 27th blog post, I found my exhaust tail pipe a little shaky which led to discovering a broken clamp on the front of the muffler.

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I should have inspected the entire exhaust system a little closer.  Just one of those armchair quarterback moments.  ;c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

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15 comments:

  1. Fun stuff. (and yes, that's sarcasm)
    I hate chasing down parts or service. Drives me nuts. It never fails that the one thing you need (or need done) creates the most issues.
    Good luck on Thursday.

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  2. Oh my such frustrations. Amazing that the RV dealer didn't get it that you live in your motorhome -3 weeks in his lot, probably not. Lucky Marti to have you to deal with all of this. Sending you good wishes on all of it.

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  3. What a mess! This is why I never buy extended warranties.

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  4. Did you say "fun and games?" Where did you get your humor?

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  5. Feeling lucky is how you should feel. You did get the extended warranty to cover all the little issues you've had to deal with. At least most of the cost won't be out of your pocket. Thank goodness!

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  6. Boy, this just shouldn't be so difficult:o(( Hope it works out quickly and without costing you a small ransom!! At least you are able to forget your troubles and enjoy those beautiful granddaughters while you wait:o)

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  7. Good luck with the extended warranty issues.

    We had our extended warranty for three years, never had a claim. And got all our purchase price back. In the tree years since have replaced our Fridge, slide out motor, power converter, and repaired out Generator and automatic step, all for less than the cost of the warranty and no hassles.

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  8. Good luck. Hope you get some time to visit amid all the repair work.

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  9. One must learn to be patient when dealing with extended warranty companies. It reminds me of my extended stay in the parking lot of the repair place in Indiana a few years back. :(

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  10. That just sounds way too frustrating to me. We opted not to get an extended warranty, and so far, are very glad we didn't. We've had to pay for things, but most of them wouldn't have been covered anyhow and we're still ahead of the game. Knock on wood :)

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  11. Ugh - another trip down the repair lane. Too bad it takes so long to get the job done having to get the warranty folks OK and then fitting into the estimators/repairers schedule. Hope it goes quicker than expected and you get that inverted fixed/changed out. When we got a new one, it changed everything! (including the balance in the bank account.)

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  12. Sounds like you may have a few frustrating negotiating days ahead of you. Sure hope the warranty company comes through with a minimum of hassle.

    In the meantime, just spend some happy time with those granddaughters as that's the real important stuff.

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  13. Reading this makes me glad I never bought one of those warranties.

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  14. We've had great luck with both extended warranty work on truck & fifth wheel. Hope you get into some smoother times soon!

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