Monday, August 20, 2012

For Our Records–Rentz

This post is mainly for our records.  We are having some issues with the work done on our new truck to make it ready to tow behind the motor home.

We brought our new Nissan truck to Rentz Trailer Hitches in Clearwater, Florida.

They were to do the following:

install Blue Ox Bracket, install wiring for lights to new truck,  install the new driveshaft disconnect, and  remove the Air Force One braking system from old truck and install it on new truck,  The cost to remove and re-install the Air Force one was $570,  for 6 hours of labor.  We thought it was too expensive, but other quotes were the same, or higher.

The first thing we did was to bring both trucks over.  They removed the Air Force One from the old truck in 45 minutes or less.   We left the new truck there for a few days.

After it was there a few days they called to tell us that the driveshaft disconnect was the wrong one.  We were a bit upset that it took 3 days to figure that out, but we let it go.

We decided to bring our truck home until the correct part came in.

When we went topick up the new truck, I  went to back it out of the parking space and immediately realized there was something very  wrong with the brakes.  It was like I had no brakes.  I almost couldn’t stop when I put it in reverse.  

They looked at it and realized the guy put a  vacuum hose on backwards, which resulted in us having no power brakes.  They had it corrected in a few minutes but a warning light stayed on on the dash.  After a short drive the warning light went off and we were good to go.  

I was a little uncomfortable for a while wondering if we were going to have brakes.  That was the first problem.

Saturday,  August 18, we went back over to drop the new truck off for the drive-shaft disconnect to be installed.  We waited a few hours until they called to let us know it was ready.

They told us they took it for a test drive and got up to 60 miles per hour.  All appeared to be working fine and they got no vibration.

Al had previously asked them to let us see the part once it was installed, so they put it back up on the lift for us.  They explained how everything worked.

The mechanic then drove the truck from the service bay to the front parking lot. He barely backed it out of the bay when we heard a loud noise coming from our truck.  It sounded to us at the time like he was cranking the engine and it wasn’t starting.  It was making a terrible noise.   We aren’t sure exactly what we heard but it sure sounded like it was making that noise when he was cranking the engine.   Problem number two.

So….they looked at it again and realized the drive-shaft had dis-engaged on it’s own.  This is how it is supposed to be when towing, not  how it is when you’re driving it.   Apparently the noise was coming from the driveshaft turning when the engine was running.  Did this cause any damage to the new driveshaft disconnect part?    They didn’t think so.  I have my doubts. 

There is a little red knob on the floor.   It is supposed to be pushed in all the way (engaged)  when you are driving.   It had come out (or never gotten pushed in all the way) about 1/4 inch and caused it to dis-engage.   Okay…I’m getting more nervous about the quality of their work.

So…… we have the truck home and we decide to check the lights and Air Force One braking system.

We hooked the truck up to the motor home and connected the lights and Air Force One. The first problem was the brake lights and turn signals on the left side weren’t working.   Al checked and we have power from the motorhome, so we know the problem lies with the truck wiring.  This is problem number three.

Then he checked the Air Force One.  It is supposed to apply the brakes in the truck when we apply the brakes in the motor home.  Problem number four.  The brake pedal in the truck went down, but wouldn’t come back up!    Can you imagine if we had been towing?  We would have been driving the motorhome pulling a truck that was constantly braking.   We would have been dragging the truck behind us.  I can think of a few problems…fire, burned brakes and tires, damaged motorhome.

There is a little red light on the back of the rear view mirror.  It lights up when you apply the brakes.  It was staying on.  The light sounds good on paper, but in reality, you can never see if when you’re looking from the back up camera monitor. 

Al disconnected the truck from the motorhome and started to back the truck up.  Every time he applied the truck brake,  the pedal stuck.   He had to manually  lift the brake pedal with his hand before he could move the truck.  Every time he braked, the brake pedal would to the floor.  He would lightly tap the brake and it would go all the way to the floor on its own.    I am not comfortable that it won’t happen again. 

We read the manual for the Air Force one and decided maybe we needed to give the system more time to build up air.  We reconnected brake line from the motor home to the truck.  Again, when I applied the brakes on the motor home, the brake in the truck went down but wouldn’t come back up.  We disconnected it and Al tried to back up.  He lightly touched the brakes to put the truck in reverse, then the brake pedal would go all the way to the floor.  He had a really hard time pulling the pedal up and every time he would tap the pedal it would go hard to the floor.  

So……  We decided to see if the lights were still working on the old truck.  We knew the Air Force One wouldn’t work since they had removed it, but we wanted to see if the brake lights and turn signals worked.  They didn’t, and here’s why.


2004 nissan cut wires from rentz

They cut the wires on the old truck.  Now, we can’t tow either vehicle!  Al thinks this is the wiring for the lights.  He can’t  understand why they needed to cut those wires.  We paid them to wire the new truck.   What were they thinking? 

So…..this morning we’re going to be making a few phone calls first thing.  

We paid them over $3000 for this work to be done,  and to put it mildly, we have been less than satisfied with their work.  So far, they have fixed everything and it seemed to be just the normal things that can happen, but that was before we discovered these additional problems.  Since we didn’t take the motor home over to them, they couldn’t check everything out.  They had assured us that they could do the work without the motor home being there and we took them at their work.

We had planned on leaving town tomorrow, but I think we knew in our hearts that it would likely not happen. 

So…..wish us luck.

The first thing Al is going to do is call the people at Air Force One.  I hope they can give us some help.


  1. Yikes, hope all this gets resolved accurate and promptly. They certainly owe it to you.

  2. WOW what a mess! Poor you guys. This is surely beginning to sound like a lot of very sloppy work and lack of attention to detail. But the cutting of the wires on the other truck seems totally unnecessary and makes it harder for anyone who buys it to set it up as a toad. I think I might be talking to the owner at this point especially since they were so far away and you've had to go over so many times. Did someone recommend them?

  3. So sorry you're having so many problems. Such a mess. When we had the car set up to be towed behind the motorhome, they insisted we had to bring the motorhome to them so they could be sure it was all lined up correctly. We had ours done in Elkhart, IN. But you have so many issues. Sure hope they can figure out everything they did wrong. I agree with Sherry. Talk to the owner.

  4. Geez, you certainly do not want to question that the system is working correctly every time you hook up and start driving down the highway. I'm frustrated just reading about it-can't imagine how you and Al must feel.

  5. I'll always remember a comment that a house repair guy said to us a few months back. It was something like... it costs him a lot less to do it right the first time. So many businesses do twice the work they have to just because it's not done right the first time.

  6. OMG! That is just terrible, terrible service, terrible work! I hope you can get this resolved so you can drive safely! Good luck..

  7. oh my goodness..sure hope you get these issues resolved and quickly too!..

  8. Wow, I hope you get this all resolved. For the $$ you spent they should make it work.

  9. Great idea to document everything. I know as I get older I don't remember events as clearly as before.
    Good luck getting all the issues under control.

  10. Sorry to hear you are having all these problems. But good that you found them before you started towing!!! We love this lifestyle, but there sure are a lot of things that can get broken;o))) Hope you get a complete and quick resolve to the problems.

  11. That "work" they did is totally unacceptable. Keep on them and don't let them off the hook until you are 100% happy.

    I have the AF1 too and found it to be very reliable, of course it was installed by someone who knew what he was doing.

    I've found that if you put the little LED brake light vertical and just barely hook it on the velcro, you can see it in the rear camera.

    Good luck, I'd be asking for some kind of refund for the shoddy work that they did.

  12. How terrible! Wish Steve from Wisconsin could come down to help you out! He's a wonder.


  13. That's the first thing I thought of, where is Steve ? He is the trouble shooter you NEED !!!! Since he is home following his knee surgery, maybe you could get some advice ...... Just say'in !!!!
    Don't know why things turn out like this ...... They know you are going to hitch up and drive off..... And then nothing but problems ...... Hope the owner gets going with an adjustment and some satisfaction ..... NOW !!!!! The best of luck, know you'll keep us posted.....

  14. Wow this is like DejAvUE. You need to read our last few posts. I thought I was reading my own blog while reading your post here. There were several things regarding Brake Lights, Brake Pedals and that little read light they install on the back of the rear view mirror so you can see it in your back up camera. Its a back up camera, I onlly use it when backing up, how am I suppose to see it while driving forward. So I had them move it, which was an option in the installation manual they did not mention.

  15. It just gives you a feeling of despair when things are so mishandled. Maybe it will get better real soon. Thanks for letting us know how the project is going.

  16. That is really too bad. We had some trouble with the Toyota when we had it done at camping world. They had to weld the bracket that holds the disconnect because it would not stay on. They paid for our towing and gave me a free oil change on the MH for our trouble.


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