Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Running From Winter; Fixing Stuff in Phannie

At Llano Grande RV Resort, Mercedes, Texas...

Doc said it was okay to drive Phannie, and my busted foot doesn't have much pain now, so it didn't take us long to break camp in Rockport and get to an even more pleasant winter location here in Mercedes, not far from Padre Island. Llano Grande has become a favorite upscale south Texas resort, our having discovered it through friends Ed and Marilyn, who made it their winter hangout for several years.

Typical spaces at Llano Grande
A couple of maintenance issues appeared toward the end of our stay at Rockport. I am hesitant to mention that we had to replace our potty (potty seems a more innocuous term than toilet or commode), but this is one of the more essential and popular fixtures in any RV, and they don't last forever. When we bought Phannie, we had the original potty replaced with an upgraded porcelain, high-rise model, and it had served us well for four years. Of late, however, we felt the "end was near." (Please pardon that awful pun; I just couldn't help it.) It was having problems holding water, and we stopped an RV technician's van there in the Lagoons RV Resort to get him to check it out. He said the repairs would be half the cost of a replacement, so we elected to order a new one, which he installed in a couple of days. I would include a photo of the new potty, but somehow that strikes me as being even more peculiar than writing this post about a potty, which seems pretty doggone peculiar itself.

The other maintenance problem involved the refrigerator icemaker's water supply. The supply line fits onto the fill valve using a hose-type coupling with a neoprene washer. While we were out, this coupling began to leak and soaked the carpet in the dining area. Installing a new washer was an easy fix, but it has taken three days with a fan blowing on the carpet to dry it out. These repairs came on top of other earlier ones that involved replacing a windshield wiper arm assembly and blade (Tiffin had it in stock in Red Bay and got it to me in a couple of days) and a faucet at the bedroom sink. Both chores were expertly done by S.I.L. Tyler, when we were still in Houston. Thanks again, Ty!

I include the mention of these occurrences especially for readers who may be considering purchasing an RV. They illustrate typical problems that will be encountered when you are operating a complicated vehicle that is also a house. Things are going to break or wear out rather frequently, and you will have to deal with getting them fixed. It helps to be handy at this sort of thing, but it's not necessary. I am only minimally mechanically minded, but I am actually able to deal, however clumsily, with most of the minor discrepancies that come along. The major ones can always be fixed by professionals, but you usually need to have a well stocked wallet when you use them.

This brings up a question about extended warranties. I bought one with Phannie, but I wouldn't do it again. Since that warranty is about to expire, having had almost no claims on it, I'm not going to renew it. I have instead funded a maintenance account that I will add to at about $300 per month. Besides using it for repairs, I will also pay for routine service out of that fund. I know several RVers who have done this, and they agree it's a better deal for them than the extended warranty. They have even had their funds build up enough to buy extras for their rigs that they wouldn't otherwise have been able to justify. There's always the risk, of course, that something very expensive could go haywire before the fund is fully built up, but it only means we would have to tap other reserves that we wouldn't normally need to access.

Since I tend to treat Phannie like a baby and carefully follow the manufacturers' service schedule, I think the odds are pretty good that the near-perfect reliability of the engine, drive train and chassis will continue. I do think that a roadside service contract is a good value, however, so I rely on Coach Net for that.

We enjoyed our stay in the Corpus Christi area, especially since we missed the snow and ice that snarled everything near our Fort Worth area home. And yes, it's hard not to be smug as we enjoy the warm sunny days here in the Rio Grande Valley.

On the beach at South Padre Island. No snow here!

Thank you, Lord, for the wonderful life You've given me. Please forgive me if I do not appreciate it enough each day.


  1. Yes there will always be repairs. Part of life. Glad the carpet dried rather quickly. Enjoy the new throne! Your beach-picture-in-shorts sure beats our snowy-frozen-jacket days! We look forward to moving westward with eventual warming!

  2. Sounds great on the maintenance stuff and letting folks considering that RV living has it's repairs and costs too. Things wear out and need service all the time it seems. But it's still FUN!

    Kareninthewoods and Steveio
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard

  3. Just goes to prove the saying that if you weren't mechanically inclined before you had an RV, you will become so after you've bought one.

    Good for you staying on top of the items and not letting them get away from you. Like you, I had an extended warranty and since it expired, I'm now self "insured". While the warranty did cover some things when it was in effect, it didn't cover a lot of other issues, so I'm going it "alone".

  4. I hope you had the fan blowing under the carpet. We have experienced 2 water leaks with the last one resulting in black mold on the sub floor because the carpet wasn't lifted up and the flooring underneath it wasn't dried.

  5. I think buying an extended warrantee for the first few years of a used RV is an OK idea. By the time you have had it for a few years you will have fixed most of the little to medium problems, and the cost of a really big one like the refigerator is not much more than the warrantee renewal. We have had one claim, and we had to fight for coverage. Even then they only covered half of what we thought they should. We were newbees to start, and got lucky with the rig we bought. We will know much more next time.


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