The RVers Corner

A Day in the Life of an RV Tech

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 cares.

      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 exceptions.

      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

Mechanicby 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 road.

      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 break.


Continued in the article  RV Tech 2

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