What’s not to love about RV life? Breakdowns & Repairs!

We love RV life. There’s something so intimate and rustic about living in a crazy, small rolling box, and there’s something so exciting about discovering new places and meeting new people. Those things just don’t happen in the same way or with the same frequency when we stay home!

But there’s another side to RV life that eventually hits every RVer: unexpected breakdowns and repairs. Ugh!

What's not to love about RV life? Breakdowns and Repairs!

Ahem… Breakdowns and repairs!

Of course, conventional sticks-and-bricks lifestyles often involve unexpected breakdowns and repairs too. But in an RV these things usually happen in a place where you don’t know anyone and somtimes happen in a place where there’s no one around!

When your sole means of transportation (and housing) isn’t functioning, your travel plans get totally upended, and it’s easy to feel vulnerable.

2015 – The Year of The Breakdown!

For most of our years of full-time RV travel, our equipment failures were spaced out enough so we could tackle each one without being overwhelmed. Back in 2015, however, we had a series of major RV breakdowns on a two month trip from Nova Scotia to Arizona.

Our fifth wheel’s roof sprang a leak during the endless torrential rains in Nova Scotia. Our living room rug was completely soaked! We bent an axle on a potholed back road in Nova Scotia. Our RV refrigerator died in Kentucky. Then our fresh water tank cracked and our RV toilet quit working. And the trailer suspension failed completely as we arrived Arizona.

What an insane cross-country trip that was!

Reese Goosebox

Yet, as with all of life’s ups and downs, what’s most important is never the problems themselves. What matters is how you react to them.

The things that stand out in our memories from that trip in 2015 aren’t the breakdowns. Actually, I had to re-read my logs to remember all the things that went wrong because those memories have faded. Instead, what we remember most from that span of time were our great travel adventures.

We loved the quaint charm of Lunenburg and Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia, and we were smitten by the coastal beauty of far Downeast Maine. We’ll always remember the incredible kindness of the RV service shop manager in Bangor where our trailer axle was replaced and our ride on the Cog Railway in New Hampshire. We were heartened by the incredibly warm community in Maysville, Kentucky, where we were treated like long lost family for our entire three week stay. When our RV refrigerator died shortly after leaving Kentucky, we had a blast barbecuing all our frozen meat in a Camping World parking lot and sharing it with the mechanics who’d replaced our fridge.

Those kinds of experiences are why we get such a kick out of RV travel, and if we can get through the breakdowns and repairs unscathed, all the better.

Our Downeast Maine RV trip involved many breakdowns and repairs

Downeast Maine – Despite all the breakdowns, 2015 was one of our best RV travel years!!

Fast forward to 2023

This summer we were on a Rocky Mountain high for over 10 weeks. But in between our sunset strolls on the beach, hikes alongside gurgling streams and gorgeous wildflowers in the snowcapped mountains, we had one breakdown after another. Mark’s To Do list of repairs grew longer with time, not shorter, as he struggled to keep up.

It was a real challenge at times to keep our spirits up. But then we’d see a stunning sunset or the play of light and shadow on the mountains, and we’d remember why we were out roaming around in our RV, even if our equipment was falling apart.

In the end, though, we cut our summer season short by about 3-4 weeks when our bathroom skylight sprang a leak on a bitterly cold and sopping wet night on a mountaintop. By then, our furnace was broken, the roof was leaking and we could no longer unhitch the truck (details below).

Honda EU2200i portable gas generator

In our full-time RV lifestyle, we would have sought out a comfortable location where we could tackle these repairs one by one. We would have stopped sightseeing and kicked back until we were caught up! In that lifestyle, losing a month or two of sightseeing is no big deal because there are always unlimited sightseeing opportunities ahead.

However, in our seasonal RV travels, we not only have the option to go home at any time, but we know that home is the final destination. Each day of travel is more precious than if we were full-timing because the number of days is finite, and we hate to waste any time with a breakdown.

Dog relaxes at sunset near his RV

Buddy was loving every minute of our travels and was oblivious to our equipment failures.

Likewise, if an RV breakdown grounds us in one spot for a long time until it’s fixed, we’d much rather be living in the comfort of our own home and dealing with the repair there than be out in some remote location with few resources.

Those are some of the subtle differences between seasonal RVing and full-time RVing: The ability to run home vs. making the best of being “home” already; the pressure to make the most of each day in the trip vs. letting life’s storms blow over and resuming our travels afterwards.

So, we had an interesting pairing of truly beautiful destinations and travel adventures this summer alongside some very frustrating breakdowns and repairs.

Here’s a recap:

RV breakdowns and repairs in the RV life - checking under the hood of the truck

Mark checks the engine once again…


Our big beautiful 2016 Dodge Ram 3500 dually truck began throwing error codes towing our trailer up Monarch Pass. This is a beast of a mountain pass that our truck would ordinarily shrug off as no big deal.

However, as we climbed this pass, the Check Engine light came on three times accompanied by several error codes related to the throttle position sensor and the turbo actuator. The truck went into Limp Mode each time, unable to maintain the speed of traffic.

Sign at the Monarch Pass summit


We had to pull over and turn the truck off to clear the codes so we could drive at the normal speed of traffic for a few more miles. Then the Check Engine light would come on again and we’d repeated the whole process. Fortunately, there are lots of pullouts on the Monarch pass ascent where disabled vehicles like ours can seek refuge!

Once over the pass, we continued on to Buena Vista and found a safe place to park about 200 yards off the highway outside of town. The truck didn’t throw any codes until we pulled off the highway. Luckily, our jaunt down a lumpy US Forest Service road was short. Although we didn’t know it when set up camp, that spot would become our home for the next three weeks!

RV parked under a dark cloud

As we set up camp, a storm was brewing…in more ways than one.

It turned out the truck had three separate problems. Why they all hit at once, we’ll never know.

Throttle Position Sensor

The first failure was the Throttle Position Sensor which is part of the accelerator pedal. We found a local diesel mechanic who replaced it within a week (we had to wait for the part to arrive) and the error code never came back.

Exhaust Manifold and Turbo Failures

The other two problems were inextricably linked: the exhaust manifold and the turbocharger. We spent a lot of time learning about these parts, why they tend to fail, and what it takes to replace them. Yikes! If one or both of these fail, you’ve got a huge and expensive repair on your hands.

Two of the bolt studs at either end of the exhaust manifold had completely sheered off! Why? The exhaust manifold repeatedly expands and contracts from heating and cooling. Ultimately, this expansion/contraction caused the exhaust manifold to warp, and that bent and eventually broke the studs.

RV breakdowns and repairs: We replaced the exhaust manifold in our Dodge Ram dually 3500

We discovered this is actually a fairly common problem! It can happen at any time. Sometimes it occurs in the first few thousand miles under warranty, sometimes at 85,000 miles like our truck was, and sometimes at 150 thousand miles or more.

The Ram exhaust manifold is a single piece of steel, and the heat in that area is extremely high. To avoid warping, several after market exhaust manifolds are made in two pieces that fit into one another like a sleeve. This allows for expansion and contraction without stress as the surrounding temperature changes, and prevents the bolt studs from breaking.

RV breakdowns and repairs: we replaced the exhaust manifold in our Ram truck

The signature symptom of a failing exhaust manifold is both the smell of diesel fumes in the cab of the truck and a high pitched whine caused by air leaks when the engine is running.

As we learned all this, we realized that our old 2007 Dodge Ram 3500 probably had loose or broken bolts on the exhaust manifold as well. We had thought the occasional smell of diesel exhaust in that truck cab was due to the engine going into a Regen, but it was probably exhaust leaking from the exhaust manifold.

Exhaust gas blowing through the engine is not good for it. So, our companion gear failure was the engine turbocharger which had become totally gunked up from filthy exhaust air blowing through it. There was black, sticky, gooey stuff all over the turbo fins. Unfortunately, we had to replace turbocharger.

RV breakdowns and repairs: we installed a new Fleece Performance Cheetah turbocharger

Ironically, one afternoon a Ford diesel truck towing a large utility trailer came flying into the area we were camping. White smoke billowed out the tailpipe. We chatted with the driver and his companions as they waited for a tow truck from their shop in Kansas to come and tow them home. They were certain their truck’s turbocharger had failed too.

The stringent emissions requirements on diesel engines make the turbochargers on all pickup brands susceptible to failure because exhaust fumes flow through them rather than fresh air.

Our biggest dilemma was deciding where to have the work done. We were in the heart of the Rockies which is full of small mountain towns and high elevation mountain passes. We spent several days talking to diesel mechanics with top Google and Yelp ratings from as far away as Grand Junction, Denver, Colorado Springs and Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Labor prices ranged from $120/hour to $200/hour. Mandatory diagnostic fees ranged from $85 to $450. Prices of parts ranged from the prices we saw advertised online to twice the prices found online. Getting scheduled for the repair ranged from next week to two months from now. Solutions ranged from “We use only Dodge (Mopar) OEM parts” to “We prefer the after market brands BD Diesel, Cheetah and ATF.”

Needless to say, it was dizzying interviewing these mechanics and narrowing down which one would be a good fit.

Gondolas on the ski lift at Monarch Pass

There are gondola rides at Monarch Pass. Next time!

The trickiest thing was that in order to drive our truck to a mechanic, we faced a towering mountain pass in every direction: Monarch Pass, Hoosier Pass, Cottonwood Pass and Kenosha Pass all lay between us and the diesel mechanics we talked to. We were concerned the truck wouldn’t make it towing the trailer. If the truck died en route, we’d have a huge towing bill on top of the repair bill!

In the end, we hired the local diesel mechanic who had replaced the throttle position sensor. He was a highly rated one man operation and was good hearted and knowledgeable but swamped. He stopped answering his phone or responding to messages during the weeks we worked with him. It was a dark time for us as we wondered what was going on and whether he could do the job. However, he got it done.

In the end, the parts and labor for all the truck repairs came to $6,000. Ouch!!

Time for a Vacation!

In the interim, the truck was okay to drive if it wasn’t towing the trailer. So, to improve our spirits and put our minds back on the right track after 10 days of waiting for the throttle position sensor repair and doing a deep dive into exhaust manifolds and turbos, we left the trailer in its boondocking spot and went on a two night mini vacation to the town of Frisco!

Upon arrival in town the first morning, we treated ourselves to a delightful breakfast out. Eggs Benedict and pancakes served at a sunny outdoor cafe under bright yellow umbrellas on the edge of a quaint street was just what the doctor ordered. Our good spirits were instantly restored.

A vacation from RV life when there are breakdowns and repairs

A tasty breakfast on a flower-filled patio far from our RV troubles put us in great spirits.

We strolled the town, checked out the campgrounds, walked the shores of pretty Dillon Reservoir and took part in Frisco’s weekly outdoor music festival one evening. What fun!

By the time we got back to the trailer, the parts had arrived and we were totally refreshed and ready to deal with the awkward logistics of the truck, trailer and repair. Luckily, the repair took just one very long day that kept the mechanic in his shop until well after dark.



We’ve used our RV furnace many times since we bought the trailer in 2022, but it suddenly quit working after a few weeks in Colorado. Of course, this was on a very cold morning when we really needed it!

The gas flame would light and the blower would blow, but then the flame would go out. Sometimes it would stay lit for 3 seconds before going out. Sometimes it would last for a few minutes. But it never stayed on long enough to warm up the trailer. It just cycled on and off repeatedly.

Suburban furnace in a fifth wheel toy hauler

Hmmm….so what part of this RV furnace is broken??

Mark troubleshot it in depth, tearing the whole furnace apart. The orifice that might have been clogged was totally clear. The sail switch was also working perfectly. We concluded that it needed a new motherboard (a few hundred dollars). We just lived without the furnace for the rest of the summer even though we wished we could use it on many cold mornings.

Ironically, now that we’re home and it’s 95 degrees in the afternoons, the furnace is working like a charm. It might have been the altitude. We’ll see how it goes during our upcoming winter camping trips.

Landing Legs

When we arrived in Lake Granby and started to unhitch, the clutch on the trailer’s landing legs started slipping as we extended them to raise the front of the trailer. We were barely able to raise it enough to get the truck out. So, after we hitched up to leave, we decided not to unhitch again until we got home. Fortunately, the RZR was able to get us where we needed to go in the interim.

Mark had to replace the landing legs on our Hitchhiker fifth wheel many years ago, and he did it while boondocking in the Arizona desert. He was prepared to do it again, but now that we’re home, just like the finicky furnace, the landing legs seem okay!

So we’re waiting to see if it happens again. Replacement landing legs are about $700-$800.

Skylight Leak

On one of the last nights of our trip, we were camping at about 9,500’ in a remote part of northern Colorado when a massive rain storm blew in. After a few hours, we heard “drip-drip-drip” in the shower and discovered the bathroom skylight had sprung a leak. Fortunately, it was dripping into the shower, so the puddle of water was contained! However, that equipment failure was the final straw that sent us packing for home.

Quitting early didn’t end our fun summer travel adventures, though. On our way home, we had lots of good times in Utah that we’ll share with you.

After we got home, Mark was able to fix the leak using Flex Seal Liquid. 24 hours later, a huge overnight rainstorm came through and proved to us that his repair is good! Yay!

RV breakdowns & repairs: Flex Seal liquid fixed a leak


Our Polaris RZR had always been very reliable but this year it had several failures.


First, it overheated at the top of a mountain near Rico near the beginning of our trip. We were several miles from our campsite! Mark is a quick thinker, though, and he put it in neutral and we coasted for 3 miles all the way down the mountain!

Polaris 900 RZR side by side breakdown and repair

Even our trusty RZR acted up on this trip!

At the bottom, the engine had cooled enough for him to start it up again and drive us the final mile back to our campsite. He topped off the anti-freeze that had steamed off, and the engine temps have been fine ever since. We think it was caused either by the high altitude (10,500’) and/or by inadvertently climbing the mountain at slower speeds in high gear.

Ignition Switch

One day, Mark tried to start the RZR and it wouldn’t start. When he turned the ignition switch off, the start motor kept running! He had to disconnect the battery cable to get it to turn it off. He removed the ignition switch and lubed it with WD-40. Then he put the key in the ignition (with the battery disconnected) and worked it back and forth in the On and Off positions repeatedly. This fixed it. However, just to be on the safe side, he then installed a new ignition switch.

Battery corrosion

When we were having our problems with the ignition switch, the RZR started having trouble with cold starts. The engine would turn over but it wouldn’t stay running when it was cold in the morning. Checking things out, Mark discovered the terminals on the brand new battery he’d just installed were extremely corroded. That might have explained why it wouldn’t stay running. The corrosion was odd, however, because the old original factory installed battery he’d replaced after five years had had clean terminals!

We talked to several Polaris service shops in our travels and they said it was either inferior lead in the battery (an AGM battery from O’Reilly’s) or a loose battery connection.

Mark cleaned the connections with a battery terminal wire brush. The connections seemed tight. However, they were so corroded he decided to cut the terminals off the battery cables and replace them. He protected the new terminals from future corrosion with CRC spray. He has checked the battery frequently since then, and there is no corrosion.

RV breakdowns and repairs: we replaced the Polaris RZR ignition switch


When we set up our mail forwarding for the summer, USPS left off the mailbox number (PMB) when they entered our forwarding address on their computers! This meant the company receiving our forwarded mail, Americas Mailbox, had to look up our mailbox number manually for each piece of mail that arrived.

We discovered that Americas Mailbox doesn’t look up PMB numbers during the busy summer season, though. Instead, they return those pieces of mail to the sender.

Our local postmaster tried to enter our PMB number on our mail forwarding address on the USPS computers, but to no avail. Only two pieces of mail came through with a USPS mail forwarding sticker that included our PMB number.

A few pieces of mail came through with a hand written PMB number because some kind soul at Americas Mailbox took the time to look it up.

We never received at least 80% our mail. Many companies who got the returned mail then assumed our home address was invalid. So, we’ve had to reassure them that our home address is still correct. What a mess!

How did this screw-up happen? On the USPS mail forwarding form, there is a box where you enter your PMB or Apartment number. In the future, we will put the PMB number on the same line as the street address rather than putting it in that box!

On the bright side, we found out that the website Americas Mailbox uses for customers to see their mail and request it to be forwarded to them, ipostal.com, actually offers a mail forwarding service directly.

This is great for seasonal RVers because you can choose an address that is near your home. That way, your mail doesn’t have to travel cross-country to a far distant mail forwarding company. Also, you’ll see your incoming mail within a day or two rather than a week later.

You can buy just a single month or two months of mail forwarding. Even better, because they don’t offer vehicle registration and other services, iPostal’s fees are much cheaper than full service companies like Americas Mailbox. However, iPostal is not an ideal option for full-timers who need those additional services.

Renogy 200 watt solar panel


For most of our full-time RVing lives and for last summer’s RV adventure we used a Verizon MiFi Jetpack 8800 hotspot for internet access. Before we left this year, we used it for a few months at home and all was well.

However, when we got to Colorado it didn’t work in the small mountain towns between Cortez and Gunnison, including Rico, the outskirts of Telluride, the Blue Mesa Reservoir and Silver Thread Scenic Byway to Creede and South Fork. We went for 17 days without internet access in the rig.

Talking with the locals, we discovered most Coloradans in that area use AT&T. Interestingly, when we’d camped near Dubois, Wyoming, last summer, a fellow RVer with an AT&T hotspot was getting an adequate signal while our Verizon hotspot had no service at all.

Dealing with RV breakdowns and repairs in the RV life

Up the creek…but at least he’s got a paddle!

So, when we got to Gunnison, we picked up an AT&T 5G hotspot. We had internet access for the rest of our trip. The AT&T 5G hotspot was generally faster than the Verizon 4G hotspot. In many places we had good service via AT&T and nothing via Verizon.

However, the AT&T hotspot is a Franklin A50 model, and it has a very flaky battery and even flakier charger. We’ve had trouble turning the hotspot on and off, and the charger failed completely. Luckily, the Verizon charger works on the AT&T hotspot. However, it was frustrating to buy a hotspot that had so many problems.

More distressing, though, was when AT&T charged us a day ahead of time for our prepaid month of service and promptly shut down our service because “we had no data left!” WTH??!!

This happened first thing on a Saturday morning. I called AT&T and discovered — to my horrified astonishment — that they provide support only on weekdays!!

We’ve thought about Starlink and have friends who have it and love it in the places where they’ve traveled so far in Arizona. However, at $600 for the equipment, it’s a pricey piece of gear. It’s big and ungainly for quickie overnights in pullouts and rest areas, and it doesn’t work while you’re moving. Their service continues to evolve, though, so we’ll keep an eye on their offerings.

We’ve never had multiple hotspots before, but we liked the ability to choose one or the other. Now that we’re home, we’ve been surprised that the Verizon 4G hotspot is consistently far faster than the AT&T 5G hotspot, even with 5 bars of 5G.

Hotspot speed depends entirely on where the tower is in relation to where you are, whether it is equipped for 4G or 5G, whether your hotspot can receive 4G or 5G, and how busy the tower is for that provider.

Bottom line, we could have avoided those 17 days of being incommunicado if we’d had an AT&T hotspot at the time. But we were many miles from an AT&T retailer. Fortunately, the store in Gunnison was able to order one for us when we got there.

The Verizon store in the same strip mall told us they didn’t sell hotspots and couldn’t order one. We’d been mildly interested in upgrading to a Verizon 5G hotspot because there were rumors a tower near where we’d been camping had Verizon 5G but not 4G. If 4G equipment is being removed when 5G gear is installed, it would explain why our 4G hotspot has been increasingly unable to connect in places were we used get one bar of usable service.


All in all, despite that very long list of equipment failures and unexpected expenses, we had a truly blissful summer. We got to see many parts of Colorado we’ve never visited before, and they were all beautiful. We also got into Utah’s red rocks a little bit at the end.

Traveling in any form always involves risks, hiccups and unexpected frustrations. But in reality, all of life is that way. It’s just that when you’re on the road, you feel more vulnerable.

RV life under a huge cloud- breakdowns and repairs

When storms gather in the RV life, it’s only natural to feel vulnerable.

For every moment of emotional (and physical) discomfort when things go wrong in the RV life, there’s another moment of sheer joy when you witness something extraordinarily gorgeous that you would never see in your own backyard. Or you meet a new friend you would never have met otherwise. Or you visit a destination you’ve always dreamed of seeing.

Hotel or AirBnB travel is another way to go, of course, and we often joke that we’ll sell it all, buy a sports car, pack a few bags and go traveling that way. But we like having the comforts of our own rolling home with us. So, we have to accept that unexpected breakdowns and repairs are an integral a part of RV life. And in reality, that snazzy sports car could leave us stranded too!

Now that we’re home, we’ve cleaned the rig thoroughly and Mark has completed the repair list, leaving a few items under watch for the time being. The travel bug is biting us again, and we’ll be hitting the road for a short jaunt soon!!

RV life - Making music with a dog!

All our equipment may be falling apart, but we can still make music and have fun!

Never miss a post — it’s free!

Links to other RV tech and lifestyle articles:

More articles and snapshots from the crazy lifestyles we’ve lived on the road and at sea:

Our most recent posts:

More of our Latest Posts are in the MENU.   New to this site? Visit RVers Start Here to find where we keep all the good stuff. Also check out our COOL NEW GEAR STORE!! *** CLICK HERE *** to see it!

18 thoughts on “What’s not to love about RV life? Breakdowns & Repairs!

  1. They say, into every life a little rain must fall, but, really, you had a deluge! You’re right, though, your attitude toward these issues (and life, in general) makes a huge difference. Good for you and Mark for working carefully through your problems, step by step, and not letting them ruin your summer or your outlook on life. Buddy is, obviously, setting a good example for you!

    • Buddy is the light of our lives, and his joy and enthusiasm are infectious! You can’t get too far in life without some setbacks, and every so often they hit all at once. Misery loves company, though, and although we didn’t wallow in it, we did meet some fellow RVers whose story of a $15k repair on the road last year dwarfed ours. We are blessed to be able to do what we do, and with any luck, we’ll get a reprieve from repairs for a while!

  2. You guys definitely got hit with a lot of issues in a short time! We’re in our 8th year of full time RV living and the few problems we’ve had have also been mostly related to our truck. We’ve got the same truck as you, only it’s a 2015 that we purchased new. After leaving our gate guarding assessment in south Texas in the summer of 2018, our truck decided it was time for the coolant reservoir tank to crack and leave us stranded on the side of I-10, just north of San Antonio. Two weeks and a warranty covered later, we were on our way. Something for you to keep in mind: there is a known defect by Ram about the turbocharger wastegate. Last summer, our truck began throwing weird error codes and a noticeable lack of power on hills. I took it to the local dealer in Springfield, MO and they found that to be the problem. It would’ve cost more than $2000 to fix if Ram didn’t cover it. I guess they’d rather just fix the ones that fail than issue a recall.

    • Thanks for the tip, David. Mark was aware of the turbocharger wastegate issue. It seems the problematic wastegate is part of the OEM turbocharger which we no longer have. I’m sorry you had those problems, ugh!! It’s so frustrating to be stuck on the side of the road. But thank goodness both of your big repairs were covered under warranty. Happy trails, and keep those wheels rolling!!

  3. Buddy has the right idea! Just lay down and enjoy the view. Things happen. You’re right, it’s how you address them that matters. Don’t stress. 🙂

    • Yup. We were fortunate to get stuck in such a beautiful part of this country. If we hadn’t gotten stuck there we never would have seen the burro and llama races, seen Antero Reservoir, gotten to know Buena Vista so well or visited the town of Frisco. It’s all good even if it doesn’t seem good at the time!!

  4. I know what your mean with all those repairs. One thing that will give you some piece of mind is to buy a Coach Net Waranty. We were on the way through Az on 40 when we stopped at the meter crater reststop.
    When we got back in the truck it wouldn’t start. I called them and they researched and located a wrecking co. to come out and tow both the 5th wheel and the truck to Flagstaff 50 miles away. They towed the truck to a Cheve dealership and the rig to an RV park 8 tenths of a mile down the road. Turned out the screw on fuel filter mounted on the firewall had been cross threaded where I had it replaced and diesel was not reaching the injection system. They fixed it the next day and we were back on the road the day after that. Coach Net paid for the towing, so the fuel filter system was all we paid for. $1400 That was the second time Coach net has come through for us. I won’t travel with them ever!
    BTW, I ran the Edge power module in that truck and it comes with an exaust gas temp. gauge. That’s the most important gauge to have in a diesel truck. I let’s you know when your getting to hot, which usually happens towing on steep grades. That’s why you don’t see 18 wheelers flying up those grades even though they have the power to do it. It just waste fuel, and hurts your engine.

    • We’re on the same page! We know how valuable a warranty can be and sure wished we’d had one on the truck this summer! We had a warranty on our Hitchhiker fifth wheel from Wholesale Warranties. It was a life saver (and wallet saver) back in 2015 when we had all those problems with our trailer. We were shocked that it paid for itself several times over! I’m glad you had such a good experience with Coach Net.

      We also have an Edge tuner. We had one on our ’07 Ram single rear wheel and again on our 16 Ram dually. Like you say, that tuner not only gives you the temps but it gave us the actual error codes that were being thrown. Fantastic upgrade!!

      Have fun in your travels, and thanks for your tips!

  5. Whew, I’m tired of just thinking about all of that! Our trailer had so many problems this year we had to skip it and just stay at hotels. I still haven’t had a chance to fix it LOL!

    • We totally sympathize, Steve!! At least in the hotels you could get a long shower and have lots of space to spread out! There were so many times this summer when we wanted to give up. But we didn’t have much choice when the truck broke down — we had to fix it or live there forever! I hope your repairs go smoothly!!

  6. There must be some kind of RV flu going around. I can relate to on the road challenges. I’m full time in a Class A motorhome. While camping in CT in June, lightning hit a tree about 100 ft from my rig. Somehow the current found its way into my rig and fried my control system and associated electronics. The insurance company wanted me to take it to a shop but I couldn’t get my slides in or jacks up and had no a/c. Fortunately, the refrigerator was spared. I spent a week working with my volt meter and the control system techs trouble shooting and replacing failed parts. We’d find a failed part. They would over night it. I would replace it and the trouble shooting would start all over. In the end it cost me almost $4K and I replaced the transfer switch, G6 house and chassis boards, G8 module, Can Bus module, and main control display. At least I was able to complete the repairs myself and get the a/c working in a default mode which allowed me to meet friends in the Finger Lakes region of NY for a couple of really nice and much needed weeks of fun. It can be daunting living full time in an RV. And, at this point I am considering either downsizing to an Airstream (less moving parts) or getting completely off the road and out of the full time rv life. Your articles always help me stay the course. Thanks!

    • Holy smokes, Wayne, what an ordeal!!! RV flu indeed!! I can’t believe you did all that troubleshooting and replaced all those parts and had ANY energy left over to have fun with your friends!! That is a TON of work and stress and expense!! Kudos to you for sticking with it and getting everything back up and running. And more kudos to you for setting the misery aside so you could enjoy your time with your friends. The Finger Lakes sure are a beautiful place to unwind. I’m so glad you were able to get there and remember why RVing is fun.

      I don’t blame you one bit for toying with the idea of going back to a sticks-and-bricks lifestyle. Near the end of our full-timing life, Mark looked at me one day and said, “I just want to go home!” Of course, we were already home in our rig! It took us a year to decide whether that was a true sentiment and not just a temporary reaction to the frustrations of the day, and as we thought it all over I realized I was ready too. I think you definitely know when it’s time to close one of life’s chapter and open a new one.

      The sun does come out again eventually during those down periods, though, and that’s the best time to look at everything calmly and weigh the pros and cons of each lifestyle. We left the cruising lifestyle because maintaining the boat was such a huge daily effort and expense and “we can just fly back to these beautiful places and stay in a hotel.” But the thing is, we’ve never flown back. Those glorious days of living in a bathing suit and roaming the coastal villages looking for parts to fix the boat (and learning Spanish along the way) are fully behind us now. We don’t regret leaving that lifestyle at all, but take your time with your decision because aspects of your lifestyle today that are easy won’t be as easy when you live a different way.

      After returning to sticks-and-bricks life, it wasn’t long before we yearned for the road again. Sure, we could drive somewhere and stay in a hotel, and we’d be clean, rested and living with effortless climate control on the grid. But we wouldn’t be living in each destination in the same way as in an RV, buying food in the local supermarkets, chatting with the employees of the local hardware stores where we shopped for parts, finding out the local scoop from folks at the laundromat and from people cutting our hair, and just whiling away the hours talking with whoever was out on the sidewalk, as if we had all the time in the world (which we did).

      So, it really depends on what you want out of your travels. Once you know that, then you can decide if the price of RV repair frustrations is worth paying in order to achieve those dreams. For us, we like being totally immersed in a community, and we like being able to walk out our RV door into a new unplanned adventure each day. Maybe that could be achieved with carefully selected VRBO or AirBnB rentals and a car. And maybe we’ll do that someday–I’ve always assumed we would do that when feel too old to deal with an RV. But we also like staying in places where a beautiful sunrise or sunset is steps from our door (which requires boondocking), and that would be harder to do without an RV (or tent).

      It’s all good, and life has many phases. There’s no right or wrong way to do any of it, as long as you are moving towards your dreams, and there’s no badge of honor for living in an RV or traveling in one.

      As for the Airstream, you’d definitely avoid having slide-outs, and Airstream owners we’ve met have assured us they are better built than most RVs. However, they aren’t fool proof. Most of the appliances come from the same manufacturers, and we just spent time with Airstreamers who’d had their hot water heater die (under warranty) and their fridge go on the fritz at high altitude. So, no matter what RV you travel in, if you are in it long enough, you won’t be spared the pain of broken parts. Fortunately, you are obviously very handy. So, you’re in good hands–your own!!

      I sure hope you don’t have any more problems for a long time, especially not electrical ones. And I hope you have many more good times in beautiful places with friends ahead. Happy trails and good luck!!

  7. Oh man, I feel for you guys. Your story, especially the truck, is all too familiar with me!
    As you know, I have basically the same truck you do only three years older (mine is a 2013). A year and a half ago, the exhaust manifold spit the bit. This spring (shortly after picking up my truck camper) the turbo bit the dust. While I was fortunate enough that neither of these failures led to the dreaded limp mode, the turbo was unnerving as it failed just days before my planned launch on my spring-summer journey with the truck camper — not to mention the cost. Yikes!! The cost!!
    Keep your chins up. As it turned out, I was able to get a new turbo (and actuator) installed in time to head out as scheduled. Should make it back to Yuma mid-October sometime…. not that I’m making any real plans on that!

    • OMG, Peter, we were in the exact same boat, just a few months apart! How totally distressing to have the turbo fail right as you were about to start your trip! I’m sure you saw on the diesel forums that these two problems plague Ram trucks of every age and mileage and model year. It is so incredibly frustrating. And to spend $6k just to get the truck running again, yowza! It’s not like it’s an upgrade, so it’s not money that will come back when we sell. This repair cost us almost as much as it did to buy our daily driver car that we use around town when we’re at home!

      Oh well. It’s the cost of RV travel, and we just have to hope it doesn’t happen too often. Getting a warranty can definitely help mitigate the cost, as you pay a lot up front for the warranty but avoid the shock of a huge and unexpected bill later.

      Hopefully you’ve had a wonderful time with your truck camper on your trip this summer. And if the weather is pleasant wherever you are in October, and you’re enjoying yourself, there’s no rush to return to Yuma! That’s one of the many things we truly love in this lifestyle — the freedom to make totally spontaneous travel decisions.

      Thanks for sharing your story, painful as it is. Have fun, put those truck repairs far behind you in the rearview mirror, and make the most of every day on the road!!

  8. Wow, that’s quite a list of issues. Reminds me of one of our RV trips up the east coast. Our sister in law brought back some kind of straw man from her visit to Belarus. She said it was supposed to bring good luck. We sat him up on the dash of our truck and headed out on our journey. We had not been gone more than two hours when we had our first flat tire on the RV. We got it changed and back on the road and then the second tire blew. We sat on the side of the road with no spare waiting for the roadside service to get there and we threw that darn “bad luck voodoo doll” out the window. We also lost an alternator on that trip. So, not nearly as bad as yours but memorable nonetheless.

    I really love the picture of Mark and Buddy sitting on the patio of the cute cafe!

    • Oh gosh, what a frustrating series of events, Janet. Two flats in a row is epic, especially when the first one used up your spare before you had a chance to replace it. And then the alternator. Argh! I guess you had to complete the “three” of “Bad things come in threes!” But it definitely makes for a great campfire tale and will be a trip you’ll never forget. The alternator on our boat failed twice (once repaired and once replaced), and both times were incredible stories we’ll never forget. You were smart to toss out that voodoo straw man doll!

  9. Not that we’re related other than thru RV life but this has been a month for me just as it seems so has it been for you……New to me 2001 Roadtrek 190 Versatile……..shuttle windows that RT’s are known for….massive leaks and failure…..Flexseal to the rescue! Next up……Refrigerator fails and I discovered exterior vent was mislocated so would have to cut away side of campervan to fix. $250 in food The Great State Park food giveaway……Good news coconut phone campers always have finds a……old time campervan repair guy who does a McGuvyer on it and fixes with a copper wire and compressed air……all for $50 vs. a whole new unit @ $2,100.00. Next up PCM board goes bad and check engine light spells disaster~~~still stuck waiting for that part. Just this past week had I not lost my PCM I would have been in New Brunswick on way to Peggy’s Cove, etc……Hurricane Lee hits St. John’s NS……..where I have been trying to get to for the past month!!!! Moral of the story? Avoid Nova Scotia. Not! I will NOT be denied. I did not get your email last week of truck disaster but your post this morning made me smile. And yes, my co-pilot Oso The Cat could care less. Pets!

    • Wow, what a siege you’ve been through, Robert! Sometimes bad things come in threes or fours, or even fives and sixes! But hopefully you’re due for a very long break from things falling apart and you’ll be able to get back to sightseeing without any more hassles (after that last replacement part comes in!). We had a terrible time in Nova Scotia the year we went and thought we’d never go back that way. But then last year we met a couple who travels to Newfoundland regularly and they love it as much or more than Alaska! That rekindled our interest. So hang in there and maybe try again next year. I’m sure Oso won’t mind one bit if he gets to Peggy’s Cove this year or next…!! Thanks for letting me know you didn’t receive the email last week…obviously, our series of mishaps isn’t quite done yet either!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *