Taking stock: the first 3 months
Posted on November 9, 2015
by Brian Dupuis
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In some ways 3 months doesn’t seem like a long time. That’s how long we’ve had Qubie now. That feels a bit strange because it feels like we’ve had her for so much longer. I figured it was worth taking a look back at the first quarter with her.
So many people talk about how RVs are a constant source of problems and how RV manufacturers aren’t making a quality product. I’ve seen my share of problems for certain, and was in danger of falling prey to this type of thinking. So I wanted to take an honest look at the first 3 months of ownership.
“There’s always something to work on.”
We didn’t have the most trouble-free start. And I just had to take it to the dealer. And I just replaced a part. It’s easy to get the impression that something’s always wrong. That’s certainly the impression many forums give. So, what actual problems have I had to deal with and who, at root, is at fault?
- The Great Brake Warning Light Panic of 2015. What a way to start our adventure, with a tow to a Ford dealer in the first 400 miles of ownership. It ended up being air in the brake lines. Once bled appropriately the brakes have been fine ever since. (UPDATE: Actually that’s not quite true. This problem repeated a few times over the first year of ownership and eventually was corrected with a TCM reflash after a TSB was issued. No actual brake problems, just a glitch in some check in the computer.) Fault: Ford.
- When we got her, the infrared repeater under the main TV didn’t work. Our dealer determined that it was wired up wrong and fixed it for us. Fault: Tiffin assembly.
- From the time we got it the large, hydraulically-powered driver’s side slide has crept out after we closed it, usually after travelling a distance. After retracting it tight again it would stay put. I dealt with it until yesterday when I replaced the retract solenoid (Tiffin shipped me the replacement parts in two days under warranty with no hassle). We’ll see if that corrects it. Fault: manufacturer of HWH solenoid.
- The bedroom reading lights stop working after we got towed. I more firmly inserted the connector under the bed and they work again. Fault: Tiffin assembly?
- There was no way to secure the recliner so it wouldn’t move around during travel. Tiffin hadn’t determined how they were going to secure it at the time it was build. Once they figured it out, Tiffin shipped me the part and I installed it. Fault: Tiffin design?
- Our recent check engine light was due to a faulty oxygen sensor. Fault: manufacturer of oxygen sensor.
- I had to fill a gouge on the refrigerator door. Fault: me.
- One of the mirrored inserts on the closet doors in the bedroom popped out when Julia shut it hard (because she was annoyed at something). I reattached it. Fault: Julia.
- When I picked Qubie up from the Ford dealership and went to leave, the entry door steps didn’t want to stay retracted when the door was closed. After futzing with the pressure switch long enough I got them to stay up on the way home. The connection inside the switch would randomly open and close throughtout its throw. Tiffin shipped me a new switch so I replaced it this weekend. The steps retract and extend appropriately. Fault: switch manufacturer.
So, several issues experienced. None major. Number directly attributable to Tiffin: 3. Severity of issues directly attributable to Tiffin: trivial. That’s a pretty strong start.
“So why does it feel like there’s always something to do?”
That’s a reasonable question and it boils down to two things: maintenance and elective service. It’s a complex beast. It’s like having a car and a yacht and a house all rolled into one and then some. Cars and RVs have engines and drivetrains. Yachts and RVs have generators, multiple electrical systems, and tank-based plumbing systems. Houses and RVs have electrical systems, kitchens, bathrooms, and furniture. Then there’s the things that are uniquely RV, like slides and awnings. All of those systems must be maintained and cleaned. I’ve performed oil changes on the main engine and the generator. I’ve put air in the tires. I’ve washed her several times and cleaned the roof.
I also opted for some improvements and modifications.
- Had a steering stabilizer installed.
- Installed all of the towing equipment.
- Installed a better surge protector.
- Installed a tire pressure monitoring system for Qubie and Subie.
- Added 12V power outlets for the tire pressure monitor and dashcam.
All of those things took time. And that’s not counting all the things I did on Subie to prepare her to be towed, either.
With all of that, I could be forgiven for thinking there’s “always something to do”. It really will never end, but hopefully it’ll slow down a bit now. I’m not due for oil changes for another fairly long time. I’ve replaced or repaired everything that has been wrong. I should be over the hump!
And where all have we gone?
With all that said, what all have we experienced in our first 3 months?
- Total miles: 2440.
- Number of trips: 9ish.
- Number of hotdogs cooked: 30ish.
- Number of times I’ve banged my head on the light fixture over the dinette table: 5.
- Number of times I’ve sat and gazed around in wonder that it’s really ours: 20+.
- Desire to go out on the next trip: constant.
- Joy derived: incalculable.
So, a pretty good start after all :). Next up is this weekend’s trip to Lake Wateree State Park in South Carolina where we’re staying for this year’s Spartan Beast (20 minutes from the venue! A new record!). Then the following weekend we head right back to South Carolina to Myrtle Beach for Thanksgiving week! Booyah, can’t wait.