The RV Technician
(an insiders point of view)
Copyright - 1998 - Les Doll - All rights reserved
The purchase of a "new" recreational vehicle is an out and out thrill. Whether it
is your first, your fifth, or your final one, the grandeur of having a "Castle of the Road" is a feeling that
compares to being a Gypsy, a nomad, a frontiersman, one who knows no bounds and will travel where no man or RV has
gone before. Many dreams and hard earned dollars have become part of your escape from our everyday problems and
The purpose of the purchase of a "new" recreational vehicle is to have the
most amount of fun and enjoyment from said vehicle without the hassles and frustrations of minor or major
break-downs of the life-supporting features of the vehicle.
After paying various sums exceeding what your grandmother, mother, or you
yourself, have paid in the past for stationary housing, the said vehicle should perform flawlessly and with no
The manufacturers, the dealers, and ultimately the sales people are the ones
involved with the purchase of the RV, with the choice obviously, belonging to the purchaser. Once this choice has
been made, however, your future belongs to:
"THE SERVICE DEPARTMENT".
After the long and sometimes arduous task of "Booking an Appointment", the
RV Technician is finally about to perform the needed service to your rig. Perhaps a pause at this point is required
to define just what an RV Technician is....
The Recreational Vehicle Technician
by Les Doll
A modern recreational vehicle is a complex and unique mechanism. No longer
is it a box built onto a farm wagon with the old kitchen sink thrown in for convenience. Therefore a new breed of
artisan has been created to attend to these creations.
The technicians of today must wear a variety of hats. This occupation is
truly one of the most diverse and all encompassing of any service orientated jobs. Specialization is possible in
the automotive services, such as the front end expert, the brake technician, the automatic transmission guru, or in
the home construction field... you have the concrete people, the framers, the dry-wallers, the tapers, the
plumbers, the electricians, the floorers, the roofers, and on and on. Not so with the RV Technician.
This person must be THE jack of all trades. He or she is expected to know
virtually everything about any and all RV's ever built, including the 1952 Roadstar Kampmobile that has been
sitting in the back of the lot since "Watergate". Then, in comes the 1998 Ultra-Cruiser-Supreme, with a reception
problem on the satellite guidance location system. Not only is the technician supposed to fix this problem, but he
must be prepared to answer all questions as to how the factory could possibly let this slip by their quality
control, where the best fishing is at this time of year, and why won't my curling iron work when I'm going down the
The technician must be a master plumber (RV water systems and plumbing are
in a world of their own), an expert on electrical wiring (both 110 VAC and 12 VDC), a sheet metal wizard and a
fiberglass repairer, a finishing carpenter and a hitching system analyzer. He has to know how to diagnose and
repair an air conditioner, a furnace, water heater, refrigerator, oven and stove top. He can replace your awning
fabric, roof vent or re-pack your wheel bearings. He has knowledge about electric braking systems, on board water
pumps, and how to winterize your plumbing system.
Unlike the automotive technician, who is normally ensconced behind customer
restricted shop doors and formidable service managers, the RV Tech often must do his magic in the parking lot
"while the customer waits". Often he has to perform these miracles of maintenance with the customer watching every
move and asking a myriad of questions while breathing down the back of his neck. Trying politely to listen to the
latest adventures and tribulations of the road, the technician is required to concentrate on properly diagnosing
and repairing the intricate machinery of the modern R.V.
During the frenzy of the summer season, it is not uncommon for the R.V. Tech
to have 4 or 5 jobs "on the go" at any one time. After diagnosing and repairing this refrigerator problem, he lets
the unit run to test it's operation, next he moves his tool kit across the lot to look at an emergency wiring
problem that has just arrived. Of coarse, he must walk back to the parts department to get such and such a part,
and while there ... answers a phone in question ... advises an in-store customer about which solar panel will meet
his boondocking needs .... and finally retrieves the pliers that he forgot on the workbench.
Another walk out to the second job is interrupted by a long distant call
from the warranty department of the manufacturer ... (once they return your call, you had better be there or be
prepared to wait forever for the next request to be answered) That done, the Tech is again halfway back to the
wiring repair job when is paged to the service desk only to be queried about how the job is going ! Once again, the
trek back to the job and hopefully it's completion, this time.
Hauling the tool kit back (it gets heavier as the day goes on) the Tech
stops to direct and assist this customer trying to back up his 32' fiver onto the street, waves hello to that
customer with whom, unfortunately, he has no time to shoot the breeze, and checks on the refrigerators operation on
the original job. Meanwhile, a tent trailer has pulled in with a broken lift cable, a camper unit with no clearance
lights, and a motor home that has a serious water leak.
Ah, well, it's 10 am, and the Tech sneaks in a well earned coffee
Continued in the article RV Tech 2