Saturday, December 31, 2011
A sick View, a wrecker ride and now waiting for repairs at the dealer
Since the breakdown happened, we decided that it makes no sense for Herman and Sandy waste valuable vacation time hanging around waiting for the RV to be repaired. The taxi took them to the airport at 6:30 AM and they were in the air by 8AM. They'll be sleeping in their own beds tonight.
I am sitting, waiting (at Fisher Dodge in Yuma) for a part (and a mechanic) who can install it. I am told the part (steering column control module) was ordered yesterday will arrive today. However, the manager said there probably won’t be a mechanic on duty today to install it. And, the dealership is closed on Sunday… so, it looks like I’ll be hanging out here for a while.
The only “squeaky wheel tactic” I can think of... short of standing at the service desk drumming my fingers on the counter... is to leave the fairly loud RV generator running and leaving the slide out. Maybe they’ll get tired of listening to the Onan and just hurry me out of here. Wish me luck.
Yesterday morning, I called Dodge to ask about the warranty and found out that it ran out in July of 2011. Evidently, broken part is a known problem (the part has be redesigned by the factory 3 times already). Because of that, the manager of the service department is covering the entire repair under warranty. That’s awesome since the dealer price of the part is $320. Add labor and I’d expect this repair to cost at least $600.
It was Sandy and Herman’s first wrecker ride. I think it was the Views first wrecker ride too. My dad used to own and operate a wrecker 30+ years ago so, I’ve been in a few wreckers. The driver went 35mph down the freeway and even slower in the city of Yuma. It was a different way to see the city for sure.
The story really begins before the wrecker ride though. When I phoned Good Sams roadside assistance they decided to send me a mobile repairman to fix the RV in the parking lot. The guy was nice enough but watching him work, I knew he didn’t know what he was doing. My dad was a mechanic for 30 years so I have spent untold hours watching mechanics work.
It took Don Gabby (that’s his name) at least 1.5 hours just to take apart the dash. He told me he gets $85 an hour and that the part we needed was $355. That concerned me. When I noticed he was trying to remove the ignition switch is when I finally told him… “Thanks but no thanks. Pack up and I’ll get a wrecker tow it to the dealer” The ignition switch had absolutely nothing to do with the problem and did not need to be removed. EDIT: I found out the next day at the dealer that NONE of the dash parts needed to be removed to swap out the steering colum control module. Our mobile repair guy was a total dumba... ah, nevermind.
Having thoroughly researched the steering column control unit on the internet, I was pretty sure what needed to be done to fix it. This mobile repair guy had no clue. I was even reading him excerpts from the internet on how to separate the bezel and speedometer housing from the dash. If I didn’t, it would have broken the way he was yanking on it.
So now, we have a partially disassembled dash and a RV that won't start. Great !
I call good sam again and explain that we needed a tow to the dealer. They called the only local Dodge dealer who said… “We don’t work on Dodge Sprinters anymore”. Now we’re really screwed! I ended up calling the service department myself and explained the situation to Hector (a really nice guy!) and asked if he could help. He told me to have the RV towed to the dealership but he couldn’t guarantee that they could fix it. I figured our odds for getting a quality repair was better at the dealer than at Don Gabbys shop.
So, Here I sit in the middle of a 3 lane service drop off. Wreckers and flatbeds pulling in, dropping off dead vehicles and then leaving. It’s a busy place but the RVs running generator and TV is drowning out much of the noise. Heck, I am probably making more noise myself! LOL! The squeaky wheel …gets the steering column control module installed, right?!
Rewind to 2 days ago at the Yuma territorial prison museum.
Tigger says… “Where is that mechanic?!”