Slide Maintenance

I mentioned in a previous post that we heard a very loud sound from the front, driver’s side slide while going to and returning from our trip to St. Augustine, FL in September. We made an appointment to have it looked at, but in the meantime, Amber called Winnebago and talked to a person that said it was a very common problem and we should find the YouTube video on lubricating the gibs in the slide mechanisms on either side of each slide.

I ordered the lubricant from Amazon and when it arrived followed the video’s instructions. Once I did that to all the slides, I noticed that bringing them in and out was much less noisy and a lot smoother. The real test would be driving to see if it made noise.

Today I drove Irving to get a couple of other issues taken care of at a dealership nearby and there was no noise at all. The ride was smooth and was very happy this appeared to work. If you are new, like us, make sure you add this to your maintenance list.

Lazydays RV and Our Service Experience

I have already written about the state of the RV industry’s problem with service departments and specifically Lazydays RV in Seffner, FL. You can read that post here.

Our saga with Lazydays continues as it relates to the service appointment we have scheduled for Monday, October 24th. Amber has been trying to get in touch with our service “advisor” since Monday, October 17th. Since this will be our first ever service appointment, she wanted to know what we should expect as far as waiting for the RV or dropping it off, the plan for getting our issues addressed, etc. With no call, she was getting pretty upset and commented on this Facebook post mentioning that their customer service is beyond poor. A service manager replied with her contact information and Amber called her and left a message.

When the service manager and Amber did speak, she assured us that having an appointment would guarantee that a service “advisor” would look at our issues at our appointment time and a technician would look at it at some point during the day, but the issue with our slide may be a harder issue to diagnose and may require parts that take a while to order. I even talked to her and made it clear that if we only found out what was wrong with our slide (if anything) during our appointment and parts needed to be ordered, we’d consider it a success. We would then bring it home and return when the work could be done. After the call, we decided to drop Irving off on Sunday and see what we found out on Monday.

We headed our for our normal Friday night dinner out and out of the blue, Amber received a call from our service “advisor”. I heard part of the conversation since I was getting Christopher and I a table and situated. When I heard something like “…so we could get a mobile RV service tech and it would be the same thing…”, I figured the call wasn’t going well. Our food had been delivered to our table and Amber was still talking to our “advisor” in the lobby, so I knew it was a tense conversation. I told her that her food was getting cold and I knew there was trouble by the look on her face.

Her first sentence was something like “…he basically told me the complete opposite of what the service manager told me…” He told her that if we brought our coach to Lazydays on Monday and waited, he could not even guarantee that a technician would look at it that day. He said that three people who had appointments today (Friday) did not get their coaches looked at and had to be moved to Monday. He also mentioned that it’s possible that our coach would not even be looked at for 4-5 days after dropping it off. Amber also said that he had a terrible attitude, although he was, at least, trying to be civil.

My pet peeve…being lied to. Even the though the service “advisor” is abrasive, no doubt from working in an insane environment, I believe his rendition of the story more than I do the service manager based on other stories I have heard on RV forums. This means that the service manager was simply telling us what we wanted to hear, most likely so we wouldn’t bomb their Facebook posts with negative comments. I would do that, Amber would not.

The bottom line. We will NOT be taking our RV to Lazydays for service. I have a zero tolerance policy for a complete lack of customer service and being lied to. It’s probably going to be tough to find a reputable service provider for our coach, but I am willing to try. If consumers continue to take this disrespect, this lack of service will not stop.

Faulty LED Replacement

Replacement LED Light

WARNING: WE TOOK EXTREME PRECAUTIONS BEFORE WORKING WITH THE ELECTRICAL IN OUR COACH. WE UNPLUGGED FROM THE 50 AMP RECEPTACLE AND SWITCHED OFF BOTH THE CHASSIS AND COACH BATTERIES. I ALSO TESTED THE WIRES I WAS GOING TO BE CUTTING WITH A VOLTAGE TESTER, MAKING SURE THERE WAS NO CURRENT. PLEASE BE SAFE WHEN WORKING ON ANYTHING ELECTRICAL IN YOUR COACH.

It’s a bit disconcerting when you have things go wrong with a brand new coach…well, any coach really. We started noticing that one of the LED lights near the dinette was flickering and sometimes did not light at all. Then, sometimes it seemed to work fine. A quick search on a couple of RV forums mentioned a particular model of LED light that had a bad batch where the soldering was not right. I suspected we had at least one of those lights, so I pulled the light assembly out of the roof and found the part number which matched the known bad batch.

I thought about making a service appointment to get it fixed, but as you may have already read in a previous post, I am not very happy with lead times for service appointments at Lazydays. I then thought about purchasing some new lights from Amazon, but I didn’t think it was right to have to buy a part that was defective.

So I ended up emailing the manufacturer and explained our issue. They took full responsibility for the bad batch and sent up not one, but two new LED light assemblies, which we got days after making the inquiry. In the meantime, another LED light right above our cooktop started acting funny, so it was a good thing they sent us two of them. The lights sat for a long time and then we noticed on our St. Augustine trip that the LED light in the half bath was acting up also. Geez…

When we got back from St. Augustine, I emailed the manufacturer again, explaining the situation and they said they would send more lights. I finally decided to get off my butt and replace the original two that were faulty, I was putting it off because they were “hardwired” into the wires in the ceiling with crimped, not screw, caps to keep the wires together. This means I had to cut the wires, strip them and then attach the new light assembly. I am not very handy, so I knew what to do, but just wasn’t confident.

I had my plan an it worked great. As you can see in the picture, I got the two faulty LEDs replaced in about 15 minutes. When the other lights come, I will definitely have the confidence to do it again.

The RV Industry Is Letting Its Customers Down And They Don’t Seem To Care

As many of you know, we have had our coach since June. There were some issues with it that we got fixed during the delivery stay at Lazydays and there are a couple of minor issues that we need to have taken care of when we get around to making our first service appointment. Unfortunately, during our last trip to St. Augustine, a new issue popped up. Whenever we go over a rough road where the coach bounces up and down, there is an ugly noise coming from behind the driver’s seat, we think it’s the slide.

Our next trip is scheduled for the first week of November and we figured we’d get Irving in for service before then. So we call Lazydays and the first appointment we can get is at the end of October. If this isn’t bad enough, the person Amber talked to said that if parts are needed, it could take weeks to get them.It was at that point Amber brought up a great point. We were given a year parts and labor warranty, but if we can’t get a service appointment for a month and it takes weeks to get parts, we really don’t have a one year warranty.

Part of me understands that Lazydays is the largest RV dealership in the world, so they must have a massive amount of customers to service. However, they also have a ton of service bays, so they should be able to service a large amount of customers at time. Another part of me believes that Lazydays cares more about selling RVs to people that giving them amazing service and that makes me angry.

So we made our service appointment, but Amber wanted to call Winnebago to see if there are any other options available, mainly a mobile RV service provider. She described the issue with our slide, which is our biggest concern at the moment. The person she talked to mentioned that the problem she described was something they hear about a lot and directed us to YouTube to find some videos on lubricating our slide gibs. She also asked whether the long wait for service appointments and parts were common. He said it is. Even the Winnebago representative said that the first appointment at their factory wasn’t until the end of November.

How exactly are all the things I have mentioned in this post acceptable to the RV manufacturers? I read on forums all the time that people do their own maintenance because they don’t want to lose the use of their RVs for long periods of time. This is really the issue here. How is a one year warranty a one year warranty when you may potentially lose the use of your coach for a percentage of that year for a potential manufacture defect?

I am actually thinking about seeking a legal opinion on this matter, but I am not optimistic.

Stage Coach RV Park

Address: 2711 County Road 208 Saint Augustine, FL 32092
Telephone: +1 (904) 824-2319

Dates Stayed: 09/21/2016 – 09/25/2016

Rate: $46 per night (10% discount for AAA & Good Sam)

Rating:

Location

This campground is just over 1/2 mile from I95 exit 318. We arrived on Wednesday afternoon and there wasn’t much traffic, so we go from the exit to the campground pretty quickly. As the week progressed into the weekend, the intersection where CR208 meets SR16 meets got very busy, so plan your route well. With tall trees and lots of shade, this is the kind of campground we envisioned staying at.

Stagecoach RV Park
Stagecoach RV Park

Check-In

Checking in was a pretty quick. We stopped just past the front door of the office and got out. Christopher and I went into the office and told the woman we were checking in. She knew who I was and had a packet of information ready for us. She asked if were towing a vehicle and I said no, so we didn’t need the mirror tag for a vehicle. We given directions to our camp site (straight ahead) and off we went.

Camp Site

Campsite #40
Campsite #40

The site is pull through, so we were parked and lined up in a couple of minutes. The camp site (40) is a very level gravel and our automatic leveling jacks had no problem leveling quickly.

The services included at the site are 30/50amp electric, fresh water (1 spigot), cable TV and sewer. We attached a splitter to the water spigot to make it easier to clean our black tanks when we left. There is cable television at this site and when we scanned for channels, we were able to receive a handful of local stations and some cable stations. Not a huge selection, but enough to make some TV before bed a decent experience.

Patio with Picnic Table
Patio with Picnic Table

There is a picnic table at the campsite. No grill, unfortunately, but we are looking for a portable grill to bring on our trips to allow us to grill outside anywhere. No big deal.

WiFi & Cellular

We arrived just after I finished work for the day, so I didn’t need WiFi for the rest of the day. The WiFi was very strong and relatively fast. I had to work the entire day the next day and there were several disconnects, but it was reliable enough for me to work. As with any WiFi, the more people who are on it, the slower it gets and this is no exception. I noticed the WiFi degrade as the weekend approached, but I did not have to use cell service at any time during the trip. It’s a win when I don’t have to use cellular data to work!

Facilities

This campground is no resort. There is no pool, a few swings and a basketball court, that’s it. If you are brining kids and like a campground to have lots of amenities to take advantage of, this may not be the place for you.

Right before leaving and after cleaning our black tanks, I used the bath facilities to shower before checking out. It was very clean and well kept with toilets and showers.

Conclusion

Our 2016 Winnabego Vista LX at Stagecoach RV Park

We very much enjoyed our stay at Stagecoach. Our campsite was pull though, large with plenty of space between neighbors. We would definitely stay there again when we want to visit St. Augustine.

If you want to see the sights of St. Augustine in a campground that is about 7 miles to downtown, this is the place for you. We do not tow a car right now, so we relied on the trolly sightseeing tour to pick us up at the campground and bring us to the trolley depot to pick up the sightseeing tour. It was good for getting around, but when the weekend came, it got very busy and took ages to get from one place to another. We also used Uber for direct transportation to sights.

There are other campgrounds that will offer more amenities, like a pool and activities for the kids. If that’s what you need, Stagecoach is not the place for you.

120v Power Outlet Issue

On out latest trip to St. Augustine, Florida, we ran into an issue after arriving at the campground. Two of the non-GFCI, 120v power outlets (master bathroom and kitchen counter) we not working and we could not figure out why. We checked breakers and fuses, nothing.

Amber noticed that the light on the GFCI outlet just inside the coach door was not on. She reset that outlet and then the other two started working again! I guess the three outlets were wired as one circuit…? I know next to nothing about electrical, so don’t take my word for it.

MORAL: Check all outlets when one isn’t working.

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground

Address: 3520 North Fort Wilderness Trail, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Dates Stayed: 08/25/2016 – 08/28/2016

Rate (Premium, Florida Resident): Thursday $70.50, Friday $70.50, Saturday $86, Average: $75.67

Location

Entrance To Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground
Entrance To Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground

This campground is on Disney property in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. To get there we went through the far right lane of the toll booth at the Magic Kingdom and then an immediate right onto the service road that led to the campground. If you haven’t been to Disney World, it is an enormous chunk of land with mature trees and lots of greenery. The campground is no exception, with tall trees and lots of grass. When we think about camping, this is the landscape we think of.

Check-In

Check-in Station. We didn't have to get out of our coach.
Check-in Station. We didn’t have to get out of our coach.

Checking in was a breeze. The first stop is a guard shack to present photo ID and then on to the chck-in station. We didn’t have to get out of our coach to check-in, all Amber had to do was open the driver’s side window. The Disney cast members requested that we turn off our engine, if we could, which we happily did. However, our generator was running to keep the coach’s house cool during the drive, which we kept on through check-in. We were handed a map and given directions to our camp site and off we went.

Camp Site

Campsite 1315 (Premium)
Campsite 1315 (Premium)

It was a bit of a challenge to back into the camp site. The road is pretty narrow and there are trees on either side of the road that made it hard to back in, but Amber did it pretty well. The camp site (1315) is a very level pad and our automatic leveling jacks had no problem leveling quickly.

Campsite includes 50/30 amp electric, fresh water, cable TV and sewer
Campsite includes 50/30 amp electric, fresh water, cable TV and sewer

The services included at the site are 30/50amp electric, fresh water (2 spigots), cable TV and sewer. The two spigots was nice for keeping the fresh water hooked up while cleaning the black water tank via the other spigot. There is cable television at this site and when we scanned for channels, we were able to receive numerous digital stations, including Disney stations, of course.

Our site had a picnic table and grill.
Our site had a picnic table and grill.

There is a grill and a picnic table at the campsite. Unfortunately, we were unable to use the grill this trip. We planned on grilling Saturday night and it rained, so Amber just cooked our steaks inside the coach.

WiFi & Cellular

Since we arrived during my work lunch break, I needed to finish working for the day. The WiFi is very strong and fast. As with any WiFi, the more people who are on it, the slower it gets and this is no exception. I noticed several disconnections and reconnections during internet sessions, but I did not have to use cell service at any time during the trip. When we have stayed in Disney hotels recently, we have had great WiFi and this was no exception.

Facilities

As you can expect, Disney does family activities right. There are lots of things to do at Fort Wilderness. We feel the campground itself can be a destination and, in fact, we plan on returning during our annual pass blackout period to simply enjoy all the campground has to offer.

Being so close to Magic Kingdom, there is boat service directly from the campground to the park. That is not the only transportation, however. Since the campground is so big, there are buses that will take you to various stops in the campground itself, as well as to the front entrance where you can get a bus to other places on Disney property. Some trips are not direct routes and you have to go to one place and switch buses. We found Fort Wilderness to be very centrally located, so trips to Disney Springs and Epcot were very quick bus rides.

Just before we checked out of our camp site and I was cleaning our gray and black tanks, Christopher had to go to the bathroom. Amber took him to the comfort station just a quick walk from our site and she reported it to be very clean and in great condition.

Disney does a great job with pools for kids of all ages. Fort Wilderness has a large pool with winding slide and a smaller kids splash area. Life vests are provided for kids who are not strong swimmers, this allowed Christopher and I to go down the slide separately without Amber having to be at the bottom of the slide to help him swim to the side.

There is a general store with various groceries and Disney items. As usual, prices are high, but they have things that everyone needs. Driving off property to save a few dollars is a tough sell since it would be a hike with traffic.

As far as activities go, there are quite a few. We went to the nightly fire lighting where you could roast marshmallows and make S’mores. We stayed at the Contemporary Resort and they provided marshmallows, but Fort Wilderness does not. We learned when we got there that we had to bring our own or buy a S’more kit at the store. Needless to say, Christopher was pretty upset. There are more activities available. If you are planning on staying at Fort Wilderness, check out what is being offered during your stay.

Conclusion

As mentioned earlier, Fort Wilderness Campground is what we see in our minds when we think of camping. Christopher struck up a conversation with a family from Canada and they mentioned that it was a very economical way to stay at Disney and we’d have to agree. For what it offers, Fort Wilderness is a great value.

If Disney is your destination, this campground makes a lot of sense. We looked at other campgrounds in the area and they are nearly as expensive and offer none of the activities. There are much cheaper campgrounds that offer nothing but a place to park. If you do stay offsite and plan on going to the Disney theme parks, you will have to drive, park and take a tram to the gate. At the Magic Kingdom, you have to take the tram to the transportation and ticket center, then take more transportation to the gate. Getting around is much less stressful when you stay at Fort Wilderness. If you really want to take a vacation and avoid the stress of getting to and from theme parks, Fort Wilderness is for you.

If your destination is not Disney World, then it may be cheaper staying at another campground. However, you will still have to drive to other areas of interest. We have done this many times with hotels and if you know the area, it’s not that bad, except at time with heavy traffic or rain storms.

TireTek Truck-Pro Dual Head Tire Pressure Gauge, Heavy Duty – 160 PSI

RV tires are a big deal. Take a look at any forum and you will see horror stories from people who have had blowouts. Making sure your RV tires are properly inflated is a must and doing this means you have to have a tire pressure gauge. It’s a snap to check tire pressure with this gauge. I confirmed we are at our desired pressure by having our coach weighed on the way home from our last trip and by looking up the recommended pressure for our load on the tire manufacturer’s tables.

Our New Motorhome Pad

For two months, we have parked our motorhome in a RV storage lot close by our home. I felt like I was wasting my money by paying for a parking spot. We couldn’t plug it in and keep the A/C running and it was inconvenient for taking trips. We had to fill the car up and take loads of things to the storage lot to put in our coach. I decided that I could use the money I was paying every month for storage to have a concrete pad poured at our home and a 50 amp electrical outlet installed for preparing for trips.

I researched Pinellas County ordinances to make sure we are allowed to park our coach at home. After a couple of phone calls to code enforcement and some web searches, we were confident we would not be breaking any laws doing it. We will be bringing Irving home in two days. We had to let the 6″ thick pad cure to support the weight of our coach. We can’t wait to have him home to prepare for trips.

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