As promised, here’s everything we’ve replaced, repaired, installed and broken on our rig in the last two years. Our two year motorhome maintenance log!
Overall our coach was in great condition when we bought it. I attribute that to several things:
- Jeremiah researched the ever living poop out of which year, model, and make would hold up best for a used Class A Diesel Pusher.
- Tiffin does not mess around with how well they construct their coaches
- The previous owners took decent care of the motorhome, complete with maintenance logs. (We’re doing that as well, as you’ll see here!)
Most of this is pretty much word-for-word the motorhome maintenance log. I’ve added a few pieces of information throughout, but it sure is long.
Note: Unless directly stated, the maintenance and repair work is done by us. We call out when we have things done professionally.
We did not record every single cost, but we have general ideas of how much we spent. I am not going to include that in this blog (unless I change my mind and forget to edit this out, future -Sasha) but please don’t hesitate to ask us what we’ve spent on specific things. It just would take a very long time to write it all out, and I guarantee y’all would be bored.
Maybe you already are. Okay! Let’s get this show on the road:
Motorhome maintenance done before hitting the road
We hit the road in November 2018 but bought the coach in September – during that interim we fixed knick-knack thing that the previous owners had simply let slide.
Replaced the following by ourselves:
- Coach Water Filter
- Water hose on the reel with about 40 feet of new hose
- All bulbs in the motorhome with LEDs, except the lightbulbs in the coach bay. Something like 30 bulbs!
Replaced the following with outside help:
- Slide toppers and over-the-door topper – we used a very highly rated slide topper place in Vancouver, Washington and haven’t had any issues with them.
- Oil Change at Speedco
Modifications by us (mostly Jeremiah – let’s be honest):
- Rebuilt bedframe to be king-sized instead of queen
- Shortened side-cabinets in bed to accommodate the new bed size
- Removed bedroom tv and replaced with much bigger one that swivels out for better viewing
Our full-time RV journey begins…
- Two days on the road and Jeremiah installed a makeshift door handle since I tore it off the first day of our trip.
- Finished installing cell booster through the back of the coach
- Called a remote RV Tech when the Jacks wouldn’t go down, so we couldn’t level. He hit the motor with a hammer. We’ve had intermittent problems with jacks since hitting the road.
General motorhome maintenance while boondocking in Quartszite
- Coolant flushed and replaced with 50/50 green
- Oil Change
- New glow plugs
- Moved generator starter wires from house batts to coach batts (cranks up way better)
- Replaced gen. air filter
Additions not done by us – added second solar controller as well as several more panels at Discount Solar. It was a great experience and totally recommend them!
December 2018 – one month into our travels!
Replaced by ourselves
- Came home one day to an ice cliff in the freezer, and replaced the fridges ice maker. (Yes, our coach has an ice maker.) We’ve had repeated problems with this, and currently have it disabled since it’s caused several problems.
- Replaced kitchen sink faucet that was leaking
- Re-glued drawer below stove because it split – sturdier than ever now!
- On Christmas our large slide was stuck out. We jerry rigged it, and were able to find someone in South Padre TX that could get it working again. Essentially the gear falls off the slide.
- Jeremiah add the blue sky IPN remote to show more about solar.
- Headed to MCD shades, where we replaced all the very old, worn, sad blinds. They were previously motorized, but none of them worked very well. Had the motorized versions removed, replaced with manual ones. The windshield ones we kept as motorized so that we can adjust them for shade as we’re driving. Fantastic experience – and Bernie was incredibly smitten with Calvin, the guy who replaced our blinds. Service unlike anything else.
A full month without any real maintenance!
- Brrr – it’s cold! We replaced the Aqua hot filter and nozzle, and did general yearly maintenance.
- Replaced generator fuel filter
- Finally received the Tiffin door handle from the time that I pulled it off of the house, and installed proper front door entry handle from Tiffin to replace the ebay part.
Are you bored yet? Sorry – we still have a very long way to go. If nothing else, be aware of how much maintenance occurs on a coach to keep it running.
- Our front slide has had issues since December, so we attempted to repair it by adding a new motor in. Unfortunately, the slide performed much worse with the new motor, so we switched it back to the previous one. (power gear 523983 slide motor for reference is the one that performed badly.)
- Installed missing Spartan tag axle hub cover cap – from eBay
- Hoofed it onto the roof and unbent the drain line from the front AC. Yes, we’re using the AC in April…it’s hot in Louisiana and Missouri! We found a frog mummy in the AC area.
- Added a built-in pressure reducer on the incoming water line. This was pretty slick. Now, when we hook up our water, we never have to test the pressure or add a water pressure reducer to our hose. It’s built into our wet bay. (Want to know more? You can check out the Instagram post we did on it here.)
- Replaced coach coolant cap with a new one (stant 10294 unit) – old one was showing sticky rubber wear
- Removed fuel filter to generator. There was a second fuel filter we didn’t know about that was causing problems. We bypassed the unnecessary 2nd one, and the generator worked better. Tiffin Buses of this year have a second fuel filter to gens, so if you’re having some weird issues – change that fuel filter and see if you’re in better shape.
- Replaced AC belt & retensioned – old one was flopping around a whole lot – gates 9480HD
- Sent in Blackstone oil analysis for Allison trans oil. They said run it another 10k.
July 2019 Our adventure to Arkansas
- Got referred to The Fog Doctors in Searcy by Calvin down at MCD innovations. They removed 8 of our fogged windows and rebuilt them. They also replaced our cracked windshield that has since cracked again… in the exact same spot.
- Jeremiah recaulked the exterior of the HOW to make sure there were no places for water to come in.
- For a riveting fourth of July, we rebuilt the front area by the TV that we never use. There was a rattle while driving that was really annoying (turned out to be loose screws) – removed some old wiring, and then filled the whole front cap area with cellulose insulation to help with excess heat. Note: If we could do this differently, I would have. Every time we go over bumps to this day, cellulose falls on the driver’s lap. It’s less and less, but it drives me NUTS.
- After months of having some tough slide problems, Jeremiah was able to diagnose the slide issue. Essentially, the floor is sticking and preventing a clean retraction. Tried a newer higher torque motor and it didn’t do anything. We now know we need the entire floor of the slide replaced. (Foreshadowing to November 2020.)
- July was a pretty busy month as far as troubleshooting. While being attacked by the worst mosquitos in Michigan, Jeremiah replaced the generator controller with a used unit from Ebay, and it totally fixed the generator problem we were having associated with the fuel pump kill issue. Used the Onan 300-5961 Control Assy Cummins Genuine OEM part.
- Replaced cracked/taped together windshield washer cap with dorman 902-5404 cap
- I added additional insulation in cabinets to help with high heat. It helps some, but not as much as we’d like.
- The most obvious interior change we’ve done… we added a dishwasher! It was on Craigslist but had never been run. It’s a lifesaver.
October 2019 – a couple months without real maintenance!
We replaced the following:
- Coach water filter (a year since the last time)
- Coarse water filter by water pump – too cloudy to see
- AquaHot radiator cap – stant 10329 – appears to be original.
- Hazy plastic coolant sight glass (prone to cracking) with metal/glass unit from eBay – can now tell if coolant is at a low level (Refractometer tested boiler coolant – freeze temp at -25.2C ~45% )
- All ceiling air vents with new ones + filters – SO CLEAN AND NICE!!
One year as full time RVers!
Received back the coolant analysis results – need to drain & top up engine coolant. Best guess on the type of coolant in there is Zerex G05.
Replaced air filter restriction indicator – the old one still ‘worked’ but wouldn’t ‘hold’ highest value
Aqua Hot Maintenance
This was a huge change for cold days: Jeremiah and his dad spray-foamed the bathroom sink through-hole on the passenger side and the roof vent hole by the toilet between the under body and floor as well to try and reduce diesel smell when aqua hot is running inside of the motorhome. My asthma was really bothered by it. The smell appeared to be most apparent in the bathroom so that’s where we started. It greatly reduced the smell.
Motorhome maintenance is never-ending. This is just a year into full-time RV life at this point.
Replaced aqua hot nozzle and cleaned chamber – also raised fuel pressure ~5psi after it was blowing real ugly blue smoke. The new nozzle cleared up the light haze the old nozzle had. Also drained ~3 gal of coolant off and topped up with 3 gal of distilled water in the fill tank – ran to hot and topped off the tank to hot full and added a splash of the 50/50 mix that was drained off so the fill tank has some color to it. (Jeremiah writes shorthand very differently than I do.)
This addressed the sticking valve in the rear zone. The previous owners were topping off with concentrate and caused the problem Jeremiah addressed by not using a dilution.
Note: Always have spares when you can! We store spare parts under our couch – spare nozzle, drain hose, and pressure gauge.
Moving past the Aqua Hot project, we replaced the following:
- wiper washer nozzle rubber with new rubber on both sides of coach. Tightened nozzle mounts on the inside of coach fiberglass as much as possible Topped up washer fluid too.
- Screen door handle with new thicker plastic piece
Fixed the following:
- Repainted all exterior lock cylinders (6) with trim black and reinstalled
- Installed new engine bay gas strut on passenger side + wood glue wood – the wood is tenuous at best
- Installed 2 new sheered bolts for front driver slide rear positions with new 5/16 AN bolts after drilling – rear position was about to bend and break out – MUCH beefier bolts.
- Added a 2″ thick extra cushion to driver’s seat – this took less than an hour and has changed how long we can drive. It’s gone from 2 hours at a time to four.
- Remounted stair cover with 4 new screws (y’all, I did this! I did it all by myself! haha.)
Lowered tag pressure from 50 psi to 40 psi to see if it helped with frontend feel
Broke and fixed the following…
I vaguely recall this occurring, but I’m sure glad Jeremiah wrote it down because I frankly don’t even know what it means at this point: While testing front drivers side motor – cooked power gear control unit – hardwired motor to drive in and out and it ran in without problems – looks like it needs about 25-30 amps without popping a breaker… the power gear unit was a 25amp unit but it had a 20 amp relay in it… need to build a new relay unit with a higher breaker setup to work around the system. Also need to replace screws that are *just* about to break in the rear of the slide with the newly purchased AN hardware.
Headed to Holt Cat’s in Irving Texas for this next annual maintenance
- Oil and filters changed – motor & gen 105,718 motor 2625 hrs – 1790gen hrs
- Coolant changed to Cat ELC – booster needed in 3 years – change in 6
- Replace air filter – clogged
- Frontend checked – all dry so the lube greatly improved the steering – nothing out of place – …but after driving for a long time – it still isn’t fixed. There is still some tiny bit of wonkiness when we drive, while I type this up now (2020.)
Note: this place not allow you to stay in your rig overnight while they have it. They also quoted us one day initially and then didn’t reach out to tell us it would be two days until 4pm, when we had to grab a motel room, without most of our stuff. (We were able to go grab some of our stuff, but was awkward with slides in, etc,) Double-check these things before having maintenance done.
Preventative maintenance is absolutely a must – no matter what you drive, what you live in, etc. Preventative maintenance for a motorhome is no different.
December 2019 – we drove from Texas to California, so not a lot of maintenance
- Replaced front slide controller that was burned out in previous testing… front slide won’t come in under its own at all now – so that’s means we’re doing it manually. (As of now, kinda fixed. Mostly.)
While Jeremiah was driving down a nearly snowing area outside of Bakersfield, California after dark, a big old scary light code flashed. Thankfully, we pulled over, researched it, and realized we could go without until the next place.
- Replaced coolant low sensor after existing started leaking through pins causing CEL. The old one deteriorated and had to be chipped out. (Head is still in coolant bottle.)
February 2020, ah, 2020 before we really knew about Covid. Fond memories.
- Both Coach Batteries after we had to jump coach twice at King of Hammers (KoH) which is good since we were headed down to boondock in Mexico.
- Gen exhaust hanger after breaking at KoH when we got stuck in the sand. (If you haven’t seen that – you have to. The Tahoe pulled the motorhome out of the sand. It was epic.)
- 800ma coach battery charger with noco 10a genius 1 battery charger so that when the gen runs (gen starts off coach battery) it charges the coach battery up much faster.
- Repaired the leveling system HWH control box… soldered cap on after finding loose and broken wire (Shoutout to Jeremiah for bringing his soldering gun on the road.)
What a surprise when we went to leave Mexico after 2 weeks and found the motorhome rear passenger tag tire completely flat. Ugh. Crossed our fingers, filled up the tire, and it held air without issue for an extended drive – also found flat again in ~early apr in Pleasanton – filled and again no issue. So weird.
While we were living in our RV this entire time, it was raining, and we were parked, being still to avoid Covid stuff – so we didn’t do any maintenance until we got up to Jeremiah’s folk’s house in Canby where we stayed for a month or two.
- Installed new macerator pump impeller + clean up for when we dump our tanks. It flows so much better now when we’re dumping.
- Replaced toilet seal kit as the bowl wasn’t holding water very well, and we’re using a lot less water now! (For reference, we use on average 50 gallons of water between everything we do each week while boondocking. More, if we’re hooked up. RV life has changed how we look at our resources like water and electricity. )
- Calibrated the HWH jacks to get us better auto-leveling – we were out of calibration. The unit continued to work well – just out of level.
- I discovered a bathroom sink leak, and we diagnosed that there was a loose cold water line, tightened and dried out the area under the sink. Also replaced sink drain and soap dispenser. No more leaks since.
- In the middle of the desert, we finally replaced our headlights that we’ve been traveling with since November 2018. Makes the rig look so clean.
Ah, Moab. Where our generator went to die.
Jeremiah realized we’re WAY over gen hour maint time – 2387 hours – 597 hours from last service! Turns out we were boondocking more than we remembered.
- New gen air filter installed.
- From there, Jeremiah disconnected gen run (brown) wire inside the main inverter so that Xantrex wouldn’t kill the gen @ 12 hours – it was hot in Moab, and we were running our generator for 18 hours or so a day – it would kill itself after 12, and wake us up.
- Silly fix: Microwave open aluminum piece fell off (double-sided tape) ~2 weeks ago – found double-sided and re-attached
- At 2414.3 hrs on gen – oil filter change and exhaust flush out – went looking for rattle noise – couldn’t find anything – sounds like it’s just diesel noise transmitted through intake?
That’s what we thought. Oh that’s what we thought, didn’t we.
- Oil results show high fuel dilution – ran more than twice as long as called for… also lots of idle time – but will get injectors tested if any other problems show up.
A couple hours later….
- gen down – ugly noises, overheat code after troubleshooting on it – teardown SUGGESTS it’s a worn generator bearing holder – endbell in generator parlance – ordered replacement parts + new brushes as they were worn (not past wear but ~7/piece while I’m that deep in the generator)
Two days later…
- piling on issues… charge solenoid between house and chassis diagnosed dead when we needed to charge the batt. Swapped over to the same side of terminal to charge during interim.
Had to find a place to stay in Colorado that was full hookups at this point. Our solar does not get us through enough unfortunately with our computers, AC, and so on. It does help! But it isn’t enough.
- Charge solenoid with a new PAC unit – slightly different orientation but same 200A cont rating. Also cleaned & protected battery terminals in house batt area – medium fuzz on two areas.
- Cell booster flex mount – antenna is upright again! – exterior cable wear in that area – may be affecting booster quality?
- The generator endbell did NOT address the problem – motor appears frozen. (This was pretty heartbreaking for us when we discovered this in Kansas. I was pretty done with RV life at this point. I go into that more here.)
We found a DIY shop and….
- Pulled generator apart –
- found broken flexplate – parts in progress as well as some replacements while the motor is all the way apart.
- Had the generator housing inspected by an electrical shop – they put some spray on the exposed wiring that was knicked – they expect it to work for a while but not forever.
November — two years on the road! Phew.
Finally headed to Kimbrough’s RV for our appointment, with the generator in pieces in the back of the Tahoe. – Kimbrough’s is the best ranked place in the nation for our generation of motorhomes.
- Replaced drivers front slide floor. Floor is WAY better but still sticks if we aren’t level or it’s cold out – Donnie (that’s our repair guy there! Great dude.) suggested bigger motor upgrade. Sigh.
- While there also had air leak in stair cover fixed
- Main awning fixed (spares underneath!! We broke this before we even hit the road two years ago and haven’t used it ever.)
- Reinforcement plates added under kitchen slide
A bright rainbow:
Also went candy shopping at the Tiffin store – picked up a bunch of spares and replaced a few things.
- window drains on exterior windows
- front mirror under clips
- new wet bay hose to stop leak for the shower we never use
- replaced all the air filters in the overhead vents.
A very bright rainbow:
Last week… we put the generator back together!!! I’ll be writing up an entire blog on this, but suffice to say, we are so happy to have it back.
We have a list of things we’re still working on, that we want to check, or things that just never got fixed correctly – from the slight askew steering wheel to the slide not working at 100%.
If you’re curious about what we’re planning on doing next, let us know. If nothing else, I hope this blog is a solid reminder of how much work goes into maintaining a motorhome, especially if you live in it.