We spent just under 3 weeks in England, Arkansas… on the tower site… with no neighbors… and limited cell service. Continue reading
Every so often there are things that need to be done to a camper or RV to keep life rolling smoothly. Not necessarily a big deal or hard to do, just some things you have to remember. We tackled a few of those this past weekend, as well as a fun swap for the heck of it! Continue reading
So in my last post, I described some issues we were having with the camper. (See here…) Most of this stuff will happen no matter what kind or brand of camper you have. These things move down the road at high rates of speed, they get bumped around, all of your appliances get jiggled and everything gets bounced around on the highway. I realize all this. But, when things are of better quality and craftsmanship, they last a whole lot longer.
So when we made the long term investment to purchase our 2015 Grand Design Momentum 385TH, it was after extensive research on our part. We had a 2010 Wildwood by Forest River and so we had an idea of what we wanted and didn’t want, what we liked and disliked, and we had a feel for the quality, or lack there of, that goes into the camper making process. We were shopping for our house. Our first house we would buy together, so it was a big deal.
We looked at numerous different brands (no more Forest Rivers!) and went to multiple RV shows and dealers in different parts of the country. After we found the Momentum we did some research on Grand Design. It turned out that the company was just started in 2013 although the owners had been planning for years. They had worked for Jayco I believe and left there to start their own line, with a focus on QUALITY. This was huge for us. A smaller company, not making a billion different campers, they’ll be able to focus on us a little more. Every time we went to a show or visited a dealership, we would try our best to find something we didn’t like about the Momentum. We were trying to be objective. Although we were in love in 2014, I’m really glad they changed some things in the 2015 version. Namely the wood is darker now and there is no carpet on the steps to the bedroom. And after hearing some things, I’m glad they went to the triple axle, although we were kind of excited about the double at first.
Needless to say, because we now own a Momentum, we were hard pressed to find anything we didn’t like about it.
The last time we walked into a dealership (Palm Beach RV), we met Tony and said, “Show us the best fifth wheel toy hauler you have. We live in it full time with a puppy and travel all over the country for work.”
Guess where he led us… It was meant to be! (If he would’ve taken us to a Forest River model, I would’ve left on the spot-haha!)
So we’ve had our home on wheels for a little over 8 months now and she’s been good to us. This last trip though, kind of threw a lot of things out of whack. I’ll recap:
- The low point drain is busted. Allen was able to fix it by removing the valve and replacing it with a metal elbow and some more pex, and a plug, all with a bunch of hose clamps. I love how handy he can be sometimes.
- The bedroom slide is all out of whack. I’m pretty sure the motors are going out, in turn causing the thing to get off track, but I’m no expert on electric slides.
- The black tank in the half bath won’t drain. I think maybe the wire is broken. You pull the handle and nothing happens. So, grossly, all that is just festering back there…
- The tank valves don’t seal all the way. So when we get to a campground and take the cap off to hook up the hose, we get a good amount of nastiness that spills out. Not fun.
- The furnace has started making this awful noise when turned on. It happened in Oklahoma City and when we got here to the Dallas area. It’s really loud and it has a peculiar smell, almost like chlorine but not quite…
- The stove burner jiggled itself loose. I discovered that when we got here on Monday, but it really could’ve happened anytime as I didn’t cook this trip. We found a little tiny screw and a metal o-ring type thing but it won’t stay in place. So I’m down to 2 burners for now.
- The driver’s side tail light is LED. It’s been a little shotty since we got the camper, but it’s all the way out now. Sometimes it’ll have about 2 of 7 lights lit, sometimes more, but it’s all the way out now.
- The kitchen island is squeaky. It sounds like an old house. It squeaks when Charlie walks by! I think from reading things online that maybe some floor boards came loose and need to be glued again, but I’m not sure. This isn’t major, just a bit annoying.
- The antenna on the roof is broken. I think it’s the gear head… Remember when we stayed in Sparta at our friend’s place. The ones that have the wolf that Charlie was playing with? (Of course you do!) Well, we forgot to put the antenna down when we left, so when we stopped at a rest stop we found half a tree tangled in the antenna! Oops!
- I would also like to get the latches on the propane doors replaced with locks. They come open when we drive and we constantly have to pull over to close them. It must be from the wind and/or the vibration of the road.
When it rains, it pours….
I’d been trying to get a hold of someone who could help us sort all this out and what to do about it at Grand Design since Monday. After lots of help from Facebook (there is a Grand Design RV Owners page that Allen and I joined) I finally found some answers yesterday.
I spoke with Ray at Grand Design. We got off to a pretty rough start, I won’t go into details, but he finally gave me phone numbers to a couple mobile RV techs near us. I called and luckily Jeff from Lone Star RV is going to be able to get things done for us in time to go to Ohio for Christmas to visit family! When I called Ray back to let him know, he led with a big apology, so we are all good now. He also said he spoke to “Jerry” in the interim and Jerry had no recollection of speaking with me on Monday. Shocker! Here’s an example from a post I wrote back in August starring the infamous Jerry:
Anyway, while I was on the phone with Amanda at Grand Design I had her switch me over to Jerry in warranty (yes, I’m on a first name basis with these people). I spoke with Jerry multiple times when we were in Louisiana trying to take care of the radio/tv situation. Grand Design had the bright idea to put some Furrion products, and some Haier products in here. (To save money I presume..) But they don’t communicate well with one another. The radio in the living room is also a DVD player and that wasn’t working so Jerry sent us a new HDMI cord. It worked then, but in hindsight I don’t think the cord was the issue. We still have the same problem with having sound and no picture when we play a DVD but now we just unplug the TV then plug it back in. It’s the cheap Haier TV. In the garage (toy hauler) there is a car stereo that also plays DVDs. But it constantly sounds like it is skipping around a CD in there or trying to spit one out. Jerry also sent us a new radio that we swapped out. That worked for a while. I noticed Monday that it started making noise again. So he is supposedly sending us ANOTHER radio to swap out and says if we have more issues we will have to take it in to have it looked at. I’m trying to avoid that because we live in here full time and I’d rather not live at a dealership for days. Also, the closest Grand Design dealer is in Sacramento. And Allen will not be commuting to from Sacramento to San Francisco to work! Anyway, last time, Jerry took forever to send anything out, I mean he said he sent it then a week later I called to see where it was and he still hadn’t sent it. So fingers crossed he actually put it in the mail yesterday!
So for now we wait, and pray that the black tank doesn’t start to smell terrible in these beautifully warm temperatures we are having! I’m glad we are finally getting things resolved and I’m hoping that this turns a new page in our relationship with Grand Design. A lot of people I’ve seen online just rave about how great their customer service is… Maybe we just got the short straw with Jerry. Hopefully things will be better from here on out.
In the meantime I’m getting my tan on at the video store/pizza place/RV office/tanning salon, striving for some color before the holidays. North Dakota made me super pale! And I’m working on crazy Charlie. It seems like she’s been de-socialized in the month we spent in isolation at the North Pole! She did however make friends with a random loose pit bull that came running up to us last night on our walk. I was a little nervous, trying to play it cool, talking in a happy baby puppy voice, but Charlie seemed fine. Now if she would only befriend our neighbor’s boxer “Gator”, I would be a very happy puppy parent indeed!
We also got all of the Christmas shopping that we can do online done yesterday. And ordered our Christmas cards – super excited to get those and mail them out!
Hope everyone else is having a great week! Mine should be better now that I know help is in the works!
Winnemucca, Nevada. Who woulda thunk it’d be a booming little town?? We were definitely surprised.
We pulled into the I-80 Winnemucca KOA Friday afternoon, checked in, got hooked up and walked Charlie. It was my first time staying at a KOA and it was pretty nice. We were excited to put our awnings out for the first time in about 4 months! I’ll add a review in the next week or so. I should mention that there are a bunch of RV parks in this town. There was a brand new one across the street and one about a block down, so the KOA definitely isn’t your only option.
Once we got little Charles settled in we headed to Walmart for some RV toilet paper (we ran out in San Francisco-crappy! *pun intended*) Then we went to Winger’s for food and drinks. It was almost right across the street from the campground. I think it’s a chain restaurant but we’d never been to one. We had some beers and some wings then headed home and called it a night.
Saturday morning we went to this 24/7 cafe for breakfast that Allen was seeing signs for on the highway. It was inside a casino. Love it. On the way there we passed a huge lot with buses pulling in and a whole bunch of parked pickups. We knew there had to be something going on in this little town down in a valley in the middle of the desert. We noticed Friday night that there seemed to be a lot of younger guys and Allen said there’s a lot of good looking girls for it being out in the middle of nowhere. Turns out there’s a big gold mining company in Winnemucca and they bus everyone to the mines. Pretty interesting…
Anyhow, after breakfast we stopped at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts and got a new air pump.
We burnt our old one up on the fourth camper tire in San Francisco. (A Cobalt) This one is a little more powerful. It’s an MV-50 and it has little jumper cable prongs on it instead of a plug. We still have to find an attachment thingy to fill the dually tires but the camper is good to go!
Our leveling jacks are not working. The system has lost its little bitty mind!
We have the Lippert Components Level Up 6 Point Automatic Hydraulic Leveling System on our 2015 Grand Design Momentum 385TH. Basically you are supposed to be able to push a button and the camper will level itself. This used to work just fine.
Recently we’ve been hearing a popping sound and it feels like the front jacks are slipping. We opened the manual and started to diagnose the problem. We checked the hydraulic fluid level. We checked that all the knobs and Allen screws were closed where they were supposed to be closed. Some were open so we closed those. Then we tried to hit the automatic level button.
The jacks lifted the passenger side of the camper all the way off the ground! I could literally spin all three tires! So we canceled that. Then Allen went through the process of overriding the system to manually level the camper. You have to push a button ten times and then it lets you move the jacks separately however you want. Or, it’s supposed to.
When we try to retract the rear jacks, the front ones come up. When we try to extend the front, all of them extend. If we try to retract or extend the left side, all of them react. The whole thing is wonky and it’s not making any sense!
Has anyone ever had any issues like this?? It’s so frustrating and now we are living in a camper where doors shut by themselves because we can’t get the thing level!
The closest Grand Design dealer is 2hrs away in Sacramento. And with Allen working, that makes it a little tough to get over there.
UPDATE: We got the problem fixed on our own, with phone help from Lippert! Here’s what happened.
It’s kind of nice that Allen has been getting Saturdays off work. That doesn’t happen too often. But it gives us a chance to do more things… So this Saturday we fixed the ladder on the camper and lowered the top bunk in the garage to give
us me more storage space. Continue reading
Especially in campers. But, you pay a price for living the RV lifestyle…
Our old camper (2010 Forest River Wildwood) ALWAYS leaked under the bathroom sink where the water first came in. Every time the weather would change, the hoses would shrink and we’d have another puddle. We decided not to get another Forest River.
We went with Grand Design because we thought it was the highest quality product on the market. Well, it still has the same crappy water hoses with poorly designed hose clamps.
We noticed a puddle under the camper and started to investigate. Once we got into the big cubby, we found a puddle. We took two walls out that were blocking the water hoses and hot water heater and found the drippy source.