As nice as Shipshewana is, the main reason we are here is to get some RV work done. Finding good RV repair techs is a chore for almost everyone, but we really lucked out when Lee ran across Danny. Lee is very active in the Open Range repair forums and virtually met Danny (who originally worked at the factory) on them. Danny is a very helpful guy so when we needed our slide floor replaced we traveled to his home in Texas to get him to do the work. He did an excellent job so Lee kept in touch and when he moved back to Indiana, we planned a stop to get some additional work done.
Our primary need was the adjustment of our slide pulleys. We intentionally bought a rig with a slide pulley system (rather than hydraulic) because Lee wanted something he could work on himself. What we didn’t know is the pulley systems can be fussy and over the years Lee has replaced a few of the cables. The replacement is relatively easy once you know how, but adjusting them is more art than science and Danny is an expert. Lee wanted all of the pulleys adjusted by an expert and Danny was happy to help out. While they were working on it, we discovered a few trouble areas and Danny replaced one of them. We carry 3 spare sets in our RV now, just in case, because losing a slide at best is a pain to travel with and at worst can stop you in your tracks until a replacement can be found. These are not standard parts available at the hardware store.
As stingy as I am with money, I did want to mention that spare parts and good technician work are absolutely critical in this lifestyle. I would rather spend money up front than deal with an emergency which ALWAYS costs way more. Since Danny was only able to help in the evenings after his day job, Lee also took the opportunity to finish some home repair projects. Being in the mecca of RV building has it’s advantages, because you can find almost any part you might need. Lee’s first project was to upgrade the fan in the kitchen to one with a remote control (we were using a broom handle to turn it on and off) and then moving the one that was in the kitchen to the bathroom, which we can reach. Finally he took the bathroom fan and put it in the living room where we only had a vent, but no fan. Having three fans going sets up a nice breeze and will hopefully will allow us to leave the air off and open up more often.
Adding the third one in the front was a much bigger job because Lee had to add the wiring for power. It took him awhile to figure out the best place to get power from, but eventually it was all done. It really impresses me when Lee does stuff like this especially when I think about all the money and hassle it is saving us.
Another important point is I don’t expect Lee to be able to do any of these repairs. Early on we invested in RV tech school for him and in my mind that meant he would be able to do all of our repairs. This was a pretty unfair expectation for a variety of reasons, but unfortunately I was slow to let go of it. That caused a lot of tension and angst for both of us that was largely unnecessary. The deal is, Lee does what he feels comfortable with and other repairs we need to have done by an expert which is no different than the way it was when we lived in our house. Just because an RV was smaller doesn’t mean working on it is easier, in fact it is often quite the opposite. Tight spaces, unusual parts, and nonstandard engineering can make what looks like a simple repair pretty difficult. With this in mind I was very hesitant to ask Lee about replacing our shower doors, but since they were really bothering me I went ahead and asked.
I knew this was a huge job, but let me explain why it was so important. Our shower doors (like many RVs) did not open on both sides. This meant that the area between the shower and the vanity was almost impossible to get clean and worse the track at the end where the shower head is couldn’t be cleaned either. Despite my best efforts, there was lots of mold in that section of track and it was really gross. Was the shower functional? Yes. Did it really bug me? Double yes. So I asked Lee if he could look into it.
He did a ton of research and ultimately found an upgrade to our shower doors. This was no small feat as not all sizes are the same and since they don’t make our original doors anymore he had to be extra careful that the newer ones would fit. He not only found a set of glass ones that fit, they also open on both sides which I was crazy excited about. Plus he found a local wholesaler that had one in stock and for $150 cash Lee could pick it up. This is half what it would have costs us retail not to mention hefty shipping costs to have it delivered. Since we had access to Danny if things went wrong, Lee went ahead and picked it up.
I thought he would just put the doors in the existing track but it wasn’t that simple. Lee had to remove the existing track, and scrub down the entire area, and remove all the silicone. That was a hug job in itself. Then he put in the new track and we had to let it sit for 24 hours. This meant the shower was down for one day but it was a small price to pay.
Once the track was in and set, Lee had to do the doors. This is definitely a two person job and because the bathroom is a small space very tricky. After much discussion, Danny set the doors in place while Lee held their entire weight while he did so. I think this would have been impossible for Lee and I to do together so I am really glad Danny was here to help.
I am absolutely thrilled with the finished product and really grateful to Lee for taking this on. It was challenging and definitely outside of his comfort zone, but he made it happen and saved us a lot of money in the process!! The room actually seems bigger with the clear doors (the other ones were frosted) and of course less challenging to clean! By the way if you are in the Shipshewana area and are looking for a good RV tech send us an email (camperchronicles @ gmail.com) and we can hook you up with Danny. He won’t take on a job he doesn’t think he can do and the work he does is solid and reasonably priced. To be clear we don’t get anything for the referral, just think he does an awesome job and know how hard it is to find good techs.
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