Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tony Saved the Day

We got a call from Tony at Rentz Trailers, about 8:30 yesterday morning.  He had already been on the phone with Lazy Days and they gave him some good advice.  They said this coach has had some problems with water getting into a tail lamp bulb and it causes a lot of problems.  They told him to replace the entire switch and they felt certain that would fix the problem.

We packed up again and drove all the way back to Clearwater.

Again, we had pretty sunny skies and a nice trip over the water.


Once we arrived in Clearwater, Tony removed the socket and replaced it with a new one.  We were hopeful that was the solution.

It wasn’t.

By this time we were getting prepared for another long day.  Tony looked all over the coach and checked all bulbs and connections. He kept looking and trying different things.  He discovered we had power on the right side to the front mirror and marker light, but it stopped at the rear tail lamp.

After more looking and thinking, he finally discovered the bulb for the right mirror was shorted out and that had evidently caused all of our problems.  It’s working just fine now.

Yes, Tony is our Hero!


While Tony was looking around, I was snooping around under the engine, looking for any other issues.   Al always does this when he checks the oil before each trip, but this time I found a big problem.   The serpentine belt (which drives the engine) had a small little knick in it.  You wouldn’t see it unless the belt stopped exactly where it did.  I showed it to Tony and he said that belt would have blown very soon.    Thankfully, they would be able to change the belt.  We also had them change the a/c belt while they were at it. 

We decided to have them do an oil change while we were there.  It had been on our to do list, but living in your home make it difficult to get these things done….especially when you have critters!

So… it turned out, all the problems with our braking system and lights turned out to be one of those things that “happen for the best.”   Had we not been over there, we would probably not have seen the bad belt until we were stopped in the middle of  I-95 in rush hour traffic,  in the rain, running away from a hurricane.  Smile

Okay….now that all is said and done.  Our opinion of Rentz Trailers.   I probably should wait a few days for it all to sink in, but I know if I do that, I’ll never get back to it.

I want to be fair in my assessment.  Yes, we had some problems.   Yes, some of them were their fault.  One of the major things and Tony said we should have had the coach over there.  He said Joe should never have told us they could do the work getting the truck set up for towing without having the motorhome to check all the connections.  That was their error.

We got  some bad attitude and rude treatment from the owner.  We certainly didn’t appreciate him trying to blame us for everything that happened, especially when they hadn’t even checked our truck.  They made their share of mistakes.

Yes, they connected the vacuum hose up wrong.  They should have caught it when they moved the truck.  I certainly realized the problem immediately.

Yes, the driveshaft disconnect disengaged on  its own after they said it was working fine.  As it turns out, Tony told  when we asked them to put the truck back on the lift so that we could see it, they should have never lifted it the way they did.  It needs to be on a whole vehicle lift otherwise the cable that moves the connection gets stretched.  Tony was upset they did that.  He personally re-checked everything and re-adjusted the cable.  That was their fault. They are the experts.

Yes, they cut the electrical wiring on the old truck.  Tony said the guy thought we didn’t want to use that vehicle to tow any more.   If that’s so, why did we leave the tow bracket on.  That was definitely their error.  Tony said he will fix the wiring for us, all we need to do is call him and schedule a time.

The problem with the Air Force One is a little tricky.  It was working fine before they took it off.  Did it get dropped or mishandled, or was it just a fluke.  We’ll never know.

The lights not working were definitely due to some electrical issues in the motorhome.  This is a 2003 model motorhome with lots of time for dampness and weather to corrode circuits.   They would have caught these things if they would have had access to the motorhome.  We took Joe (the owner)  at his word that they didn’t need the motorhome.

So, would we recommend this shop again?    In our opinion Tony should be running the entire place.  He has more customer service skills than the owner, or at least more than  Joe showed to us. 

Tony went above and beyond the call of .  He only charged us 2 hours labor for at least 4-5 hours of labor.  Of course some of that electrical diagnostics should have been built into the price we paid.  The two hours included  the labor for the oil change and the two belt changes.

The problem here is Tony is not really a mechanic anymore.  He is the shop foreman.  He is the one they go to for questions and he keeps the shop running.  He appears to be a good mechanic and we trust him implicitly.  Unfortunately, he normally isn’t the one doing the work.   The other one working on the coach was Benny.  He appeared to be pretty careful, but he didn’t have the same knowledge or skills as Tony.  I was happy that Tony changed the belts and checked the oil after it was done.  If Tony would do the work or at least check up on the work done, I’d be a lot more comfortable.     All in all, it’s probably no worse than most shops and most of the problems we had were due to the motorhome.  The thing that was wrong with the tail lights was only occurring when we had the headlamps on.  We rarely use the headlamps and this could have been going on for a while.

So, the afternoon thunderstorms were starting.  It was starting to thunder and lightning as we were hooking up.  We had to hook up the truck to the motorhome for the first time with our new Blue Ox hitch, and our new driveshaft disconnect….all in the rain!

We felt pretty comfortable by this time that everything was working as it should.

We headed back over the bridge and again this is what it looked like.  Look familiar?


This time we left about 2:30 so at least we weren’t in rush hour traffic.  Of course with light traffic the idiots could go as fast as they wanted.

Here is a result of that.  Idiot number one.


Idiot number two.


I neglected to take a picture of idiot number three, but there was one. 

It used to amaze me in my days as a claim adjuster.  People would call to report an accident.  They would tell me it was raining like crazy and they hydroplaned.  “how fast were you driving”  Oh, I was doing the speed limit.   “what was the speed limit?”  70.   “oh, so you didn’t slow down even though you said it was raining like crazy?”   Idiots.


We got home, pulled into a pull through site, extended the slides and felt right at home again.

Now, on to the next problem…..

Have you see the hurricane forecast?   Yep, we are in the “cone of uncertainty.”  That means soon to be Hurricane Isaac could come right up the center of Florida.

Tropical Storm Isaac  Forecast Cone Includes Miami  Florida  PHOTO

We are definitely not going to the east coast as we had hoped.  No sense trying to do any snorkeling over there.  The seas will be high no matter which way the hurricane heads.

So, where do we go?   If we head straight north into Georgia, the storm could go into the gulf and make landfall in the Florida panhandle, and we’d be in the line of fire.   The worst place to be in a hurricane is on the right side of the center.   Many times, these storms make landfall and then take a sharp right and head towards north and south Carolina and then right up the coast.  We’re trying to determine our best course of action.  We do not want to be in here, that’s for sure.  Right now, the storm is expected to make a slight jog.  When it does,  that will determine it’s future path.  If it’s sooner it will head one way, later it will effect a completely different area.   What to do….what to do?

Maybe we’ll join Eldy and Jeanne in Maine!

In the meantime, we’re trying to get things wrapped up around here.

We bought a 4 inch drop receiver for the motorhome.  As you can see in the picture below, it looks perfectly straight.



The problem is that it’s a bit too low and when the motorhome hits a bump, the hitch gets very close (or drags) the ground a little bit.  We need to raise it, but not too much.   Another little issue to work out.


  1. Well, it's fixed. That's the main thing. Sometimes though, things could go a little smoother if egos don't get in the way. The male ego is usually the culprit.
    The one and only time we were in Florida, it was in April and we had finished up our two week stay and were on our way home. It started to rain so hard we pulled off. BUT, there were idiots out there going just as fast as they always do.
    I don't even know how they could possibly see in front, let alone drive that fast. And I have no qualms about driving right on past them after they've run themselves off the road. No help from me. Sorry.

  2. I was about to post on my blog an update that sound very familiar to yours. How it seemed like our troubles was all the RV repair place. And that the guys including the owner have been very helpful. So its nice when troubles come to an end or at least slow down. glad yours is done. We leave today on our trip. Detailers are in my driveway right now Washing, Waxing and detailing the motorhome and Car. as soon as they are gone, so are we. With one stop to teh RV place to see why our Brake and Tail lights are not working right.
    Stay dry.

    1. well if they can't easily fix the lights...check all the bulbs...even the ones in the front of the coach.

  3. All things considered, even though Tony turned out to be good, I think I'd avoid that place like the plague if I ever needed work done.

    Your pics of those cars made the hiway look like the Daytona 500 during a race - idiots is right!

  4. OH, boy...what a mess that finally got straightened out, we hope! Fair assessment, I'd say, excellent coverage (you'd make a good reporter) and good for you for checking everything out yourself. I wouldn't have a clue! And oh, yeah, COME TO MAINE! We'll be here till Sept. 3....would love to see you! But you'd probably get here about the time we'd leave. sigh!

  5. I'm with Rick. What if Tony was on vacation when I needed some work done. But most repair places have good employees and some not so good. Idiots doesn't even begin to describe those fools. Sure glad you got home safe. Let us know what you decide to do with the hurricane coming.

  6. Thank goodness for Tony & for your sharp eye! I know you'll be wanting to get out of Dodge pretty soon. I know that you don't like regular storms -- hope you find a safe path to get out into. Been there, done that....good luck!

    1. You are right about that. I start freaking out if there is any red on the radar. :)


  7. All's well that ends well !!!! Happy for you both !!!
    Now, the hurricane, that is another story..... Have to make plans myself, I am in Sarasota !!!!! Working on a road trip route at this moment.... Need a bit of time to let the path become a bit more defined ....... GOOD LUCK

  8. You sure lead a exciting life never a dull moment.. Be Safe

  9. Lucky break on the belt, but overall you guys are having a heck of a time with all these problems.

    We are watching the forecasts for Isaac, hoping it gives the panhandle a break but also thinking where we will head, just in case. Hopefully not as far as Maine, but northern Georgia/TN is possible.

    1. I'm kind of thinking the Panhandle could get some weather. Take care!

  10. That is one of the things we are concerned bout the drop hitch we got. We are going to go over the worse dip without the towbar and see if it bumps on the road. We have quite a dip at the bottom of the road that gets us to the freeway from our home. No other way to go and Craig doesn't want to consider storing the Alfa anywhere else.

  11. What an (mis)adventure you had getting everything done. I'm amazed that the running light caused all the problems, I'll file that away in case I ever run into the same kind of issue.

    Good catch on the belt, they have a life span and yours certainly was nearing the end. Good to replace both belts. I carry spare belts with me. That way I know the ones on the MH will never break because I am prepared.

    Hope that hurricane doesn't cause you any trouble, you've been through too much already. At least you can run for safety, unlike the Republican National Convention.

    1. I think the RNC will be able to run but not so sure about the Occupy Tampa people...hehe :)

  12. Glad is all finally getting resolved, I'm with the others and probably wouldn't return for any service there. Hope you find a nice safe spot out of the hurricane zone.

  13. Good to hear your coach and hitch are fixed and ready to go---finally. Just in time to get out of Isaac's path. We have been here in Valrico at our house for some Drs appointments for 4 days. Headed back up to the 5th we left in NE GA mountains tomorrow morn. Be safe as you travel.

  14. Thanks goodness for Tony. What a nice guy to stay with the problem until it was solved.
    Great eyes, Karen, to catch the belt problem. So glad Tony suggested it be changed. We wouldn't want anything bad to happen to you two on the road.

  15. Glad everything worked out. The Republican Convention is in Tampa so of course the storm will run in to a lot of hot air there and pick up strength.

  16. Alls well that ends well. I am sure the frustration meter has been pegged out over the last few days. Hope it will be a long time before another situation arises.

  17. sooo glad you were able to resolve all the repair problems and "good catch" on the belt!!!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  18. Glad to know you got out of that mess!!

    With our work in Coburg, we somehow got hooked up to receive the Navistar Newsletter. In the latest one we received, they announced that Alliance Coach in Wildwood, FL is now the premier SE service location for them. There's also one in IN, along with the OR location. So now if you ever want to go to a factory for work you know where to head. They do any work you want, not just warranty. In OR there were coaches as old as the 80's and even some towables. And their hourly rate was the same as the place we use back in KS. However, I was amazed at their knowledge versus the techs in KS!!! Even tho the techs in KS are Monaco certified.


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