Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

Travel to Elkhart IN, RV Warranty Work, Evening with Relatives

May 20 - 22, 2014

Tuesday the 20th we packed up from Rantoul IL and were on the road by 10:30 am heading for Elkhart Indiana.  We were crossing over into the Eastern Time Zone at the Indiana border so the trip would effectively be 4.5 hours to Elkhart. 

Getting to Elkhart by 3:30 pm was fine with us.
We took the back roads into Indiana from Illinois.  We are trying to do this more often as there is so much more to see off of the Interstates.  Well, this time we went further off of the main roads than we had planned.  

We took IL 53 from I57 to the IN border at the Willow Slough State Game Preserve which is in Indiana across the border. Then we took 100N which became IN 14 that we took all of the way to IN 421 north to the Indiana tool road 80/90 for the last 20 miles to Elkhart.

The road, 100N in the game preserve was road not really big enough for 2 large vehicles passing each other.  100N did not have any shoulders and the edge of the road was very rough with broken pavement.  At one point a semi carrying grain stopped at a wide bridge to allow us to pass going the opposite way.  That was just a little too back road for us! However, the time flew by and we had a great adventure. We will do more of this but with a little more investigation about the road condition.

We arrived at the Elkhart RV Campground around 4 pm and picked a water and 30 amp electric only site as we were only going to be there one night.  We also got a site in the open so we could use our satellite TV.  This is a large campground with 350 sites.  It’s expensive for the area at $30 a night for water and 30 amp electric.  The park however does have a swimming pool, although it is closed until this weekend (Memorial Day).   A lot of people stay here that are having their rigs worked on at one of the many repair sites here in the area.

We had a chipmunk living on our site
I set up the grille and we had steaks for dinner.  We also managed to get in a 3 mile walk around the park for exercise.  Then it was early to bed as we needed to be at the repair place by 9 am which is 7 miles away.

Wednesday the 21st we were up at 6:30am, a half an hour earlier than usual, to get ready to take the rig to the repair place.  I did my resistance training exercises and a little internet and we both got a shower before we packed up. We really didn’t know how long the RV would be in the repair shop so we couldn’t make any commitments to camp anywhere until later in the day. 

We were on the road at 8:30 am to Recreational Vehicle Specialties to meet Ron at 9 am.  Good thing we left early because it took all of the 30 minutes we had to drive the 6 miles in city traffic.  Anyway, we arrived a couple of minutes early and Ron was ready for us.  I backed up to his shop and then we walked through the RV going over the issues with Ron and his 2 technicians.  Ron then told us he would be done around 2 pm this afternoon!  Wow!  This would be at least 2-3 days at a dealer and even longer to get the parts.

Patty and I went out for breakfast and then to the post office. We needed to mail out our vehicle registration money order to SD and send out the last blog post to our parents.  We also did a little unproductive shopping just to kill some time.

While we were waiting for the warranty work to be done we drove out to see where our Sanibel was built.
Plant 61 looks to be the place where it was built.  Our Sanibel's birthplace.

This is the Prime Time Site 61.  Not much to look at.  We would have taken a plant tour but they only have them on Mondays.

We got back to Recreational Vehicle Specialties at 2 pm and found the technician working under the bathroom floor.  Ron came out and said that they were all done with our list but noticed that the drain piping was not installed correctly under the shower and sink so they were going to cut it out and redo it correctly.  Another WOW from us!  They were going to do more work that we didn’t tell them to do!  The new time for completion was 4 pm.

Our Sanibel at Recreational Vehicle Specialties getting the work done.
We headed out to downtown Elkhart to the riverwalk to have a drink and relax a bit to kill time.  The riverwalk area is very nice and we would visit this again if in the area.  We didn’t get a chance to actually walk the length of the riverwalk but the part we could see looked real nice.

We got back to Recreational Vehicle Specialties at 3:30 pm and could see from the road that they were not done so we left them alone.  We headed back to the Elkhart RV Campground and made reservations for the next 2 nights and picked a site.  Come to find out later that we picked a not so good site as there was a tree in the way of the satellite dish so we couldn’t get satellite TV.  There are many “over the air” channels in the area so it's okay for us anyway.

Back at Recreational Vehicle Specialties by a little after 4 pm and the RV was all done.  We were surprised again by the extra work they did that would have never happened at a dealer.  Our fireplace thermostat was not working on automatic so we were getting this fixed.  It wasn’t a big issue for us as we only use the manual heat settings but we were coming in for warranty so why not have it fixed.  Well, they replaced the whole fireplace with a new remote control one! I’m not so sure we need another remote control for a 450 sq ft RV, but I’ll take a new fireplace!  Another small warranty repair was to have replaced a small aluminum pin that holds the rear of the toilet seat in place.  I had temporarily fixed it a few months ago with a piece of coat hanger.  Come to find out that Prime Time (manufacturer of our RV) did not have this part so they installed a brand new toilet!  

Recreational Vehicle Specialties also did a couple more items for us as part of their work.  As mentioned in our last post, we broke the hinges on the overhead pantry door with the slide out.  I asked Ron if he could get me some spare hinges so I could repair the door.  As were going over the list of repairs they made, I asked about the hinges.   The technician said it was all taken care of.  He found the door lying on the sofa and remounted the door with new hinges. WOW and WOW!  Also, Patty had asked if one of the bedroom closets was supposed to have a travel lock, ours didn’t on one door.  It seems that the latter Sanibel models have this lock.  You guessed it; the technician went ahead and added the lock.

After all of the WOWS came the not so good news.  The upper frame of the Sanibel is excessively flexing.  This flexing is causing the outer side walls on both side of the RV around the bedroom to separate from the frame.  The flexing is also causing the aluminum bedroom floor supports to crack/twist and separate from the wood floor.  Ron said that this is a problem with some of the Sanibels and that he has 2 inside his shop he is repairing now.  

This is the area of concern.  Note the space between the decal and the bottom of the molding.  This area closes up when the RV weight is put on to the truck.  This means that the side walls are not moving with the frame.  

Note the loose vertical molding piece.  It is being pressed up against the bedroom slide as the frame flexes.
The main part of the fix is to weld in a few gussets and to replace some of the aluminum frame tubes with thicker ones.  This job takes about 40 hours and we can’t stay in the unit while this work is being done.  They need to remove the bedroom slide, the bedroom dresser, and the entire front fiberglass cap from the RV.  Now there is a WOW! 

Ron said we could get back to him about fixing this and I said we don’t need to get back to him as I want to do this fix ASAP.  He is going to try to work us in around the week of the 16th of June.  Ideally for us next week would have been the best time to do this work.  We had blocked off 2 weeks to get warranty work done which included all of next week. 

This will mean we will go to Crawfordsville IN (Grandkids) next week a week early and then 2 weeks later pick up and bring the RV back here 3 hours away.  Then after the work, take the unit back to Crawfordsville for one more week.  We will do what we have to do I guess.

I did some research on the issue of the upper frame flexing. What I found was that this issues is not just related to Prime Time or just the Sanibel.  This issue is related to the frame manufacturer, Lippert and has been going on for several years on several other RVs.  Lippert makes most of the frames for the RV business and has for some time.  

It was unclear to me if this is a Lippert problem or the manufacturer of the RV.  I found that at least one of the manufacturers had extra supports added to the standard frame and were not experiencing this flex problem.  
However, Lippert has made thousands of frames and only a handful have had this flex problem.  Sounds like a control of quality issue and/or a weak frame design.  From what I was told and what I read, there is not a safety issue, at least at this stage.  I will leave this as I don’t have enough information to make a real good guess as to the cause for this issue.  We just want to get it fixed!

Thursday the 22nd we went to see my Uncle Larry and Aunt Marilynn near Middlebury IN about 20 miles to the east. They have a real nice place on 10 acres of woodlands.  We sat outside and chatted for a few hours and decided to go somewhere for dinner.  We ended up going a few miles into Michigan to an Applebee’s for dinner.  We had a great time with them.  They are very fun couple who we wish we could be around more often.
My Uncle Larry and Aunt Marilynn Hooley at dinner.
We got back from dinner about 8:30 pm and we said our good byes.  We hopped into the truck and found that the front tires had sunk into the soft sandy soil.  I was again stuck!  Larry got a shovel and a wheelbarrow and we went about making a harder road surface for the truck.  We dug a trench under each tire and then lined it with stone to make a sort of stone road.  After a few tries, we got the truck out a little after 9 pm. Whew!

Picture of me digging out the truck.  Aunt Marilynn is in the background.
Tomorrow we head a few miles to clothing optional RV resort called Sunny Haven in Granger IN.  We will be there over the Memorial Day weekend.  Hopefully we will know more about where we be going next week in the next few days.

Stay Tuned!

1 comment:

Liza Pilon said...

It's great that you found a good repair place. Getting everything fixed and having it checked for any other issues is important before getting back on the road. They could just fail at the wrong time or you could have been leaking something, which is just plain wasteful and could cost you more in the long run. And yes, try to scout for better routes too, so you don't wear of your tires on bad roads. Stay safe!

Liza Pilon @ Prairie City RV Center