Friday, March 2, 2012

A Problem with Rosie

“There’s a problem with Rosie.”

The urgency in my wife’s voice on the phone was piercing. We had suspected for a while that Rosie had a problem, but Becky was the first to say it aloud.

This has been a rainy winter in Alabama and we have been going by the storage facility where we keep Rosie when she isn’t on the road and drying her out after the rains. I thought the seal around the storage compartment was letting water seep in and that the window by the table was leaking a little.

After a day-long soaking rain, Becky called me while I was at work and boldly said, “There is a problem with Rosie. There is puddle on the floor and I think I see some mold growing there.”

I drove straight to the storage lot after work that day. Becky was there with towels and buckets of a product that is designed to absorb moisture. I joined her in trying to soak up the unwanted water inside Rosie. I also made a few “adjustments” to the windows and storage doors in hopes that these “tweaks” would magically fix the problem.

We would know in a few hours if I had found the source of the leaks because there was another strong rain predicted that night.

The next day, Becky called to let me know that Rosie was soaked again and that we had a big problem with leaks. We talked about taking Rosie back to Airstream’s factory in Ohio, but the timing was poor. I could not take a few days off work to make the trip back to Airstream's mothership. That was when Becky said that she was going to call Dandy-RV, the dealer we purchased Rosie from, and ask them for help.

When we purchased Rosie, we noticed some water streaks under a window and asked if the trailer had a problem with water leaks. We were told that they would check for leaks and fix them before we pulled the Airstream off their lot.

We were about to find out how good our dealer was when Becky called them to ask about the problem we were suffering through with the leaks.

About an hour later, Becky called and asked if we could take Rosie back to Dandy-RV in a couple of days. My schedule was clear so I said we would go.

Dandy RV in Anniston, Alabama

Dandy-RV’s general manager, said that they stood behind their products and that they would make-good on their promise to fix the leaks when we purchased Rosie three months ago. They would also kill the mold.

A couple of days later, we hitched up Rosie and traveled back to Dandy-RV. The GM said that he was going to assign a specific technician to work with Rosie because this person was tenacious when came to tracking down leaks. Dandy's GM also asked if they could hold Rosie for an extended period of time to insure that they leave her outside during several rain storms, allowing them to verify that they found and stopped the leaks.

Rosie in Dandy-RV's service bay

Four weeks later, Rosie was declared to be healthy enough so that we could take her home. When we went to pick her up, the technican showed us where the leaks were coming from. The biggest culprit was the electrical socket on the outside skin. This is there so that you can plug in a TV or some other electrical device when sitting outside your RV. It seems that the previous owner changed that socket and didn’t re-install the Airstream gasket in the process. Without that gasket, this electrical plug was letting in buckets of water.

The second problem area was the taillights. The seal protecting the wires where they enter the trailer failed and was allowing water to seep in. To be safe, the technician replace the seal around the base of the trailer.

While at Dandy-RV, we asked the service department to repack the axle bearings and to replace some of the halogen lights inside the trailer with LED bulbs. We noted that the halogen lights generated too much heat and you could not reposition the reading lamps once they were switched on.

The lessons learned from this adventure were:
  1. You are going to have problems with your RV. No matter how bad the problem appears to be, it is probably something that can be fixed.
  2. If you don’t know a lot about RVs when you purchase one, you need to know that your dealer is solid and trust-worthy. This experience confirmed what we suspected—Dandy-RV is tops when it comes to being a dealership. They stood behind the used Airstream they sold us when most dealers would have screamed that used trailers were sold “as is.” They said that they would fix the leaks when we purchased Rosie. Since we continued to have problems with leaks, they invested a lot of time and effort into making that right. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were purchasing our RV from a top-tier dealer and one that we can recommend without reservations to want-to-be camper owners.
Rosie is home. We have changed our storage facility to an indoor one. This will help with winter issues and will keep this hot and aging sun from beating down on Rosie as she waits for our next adventure.

Rosie spends the night at our home

No comments:

Post a Comment