What RV maintenance/repairs are DIY friendly?

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scottydl

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Jul 1, 2006
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As I prepare to buy an older motorhome, I'm wondering what maintenance/repairs will be possible for me to do myself.  I'm somewhat of a do-it-yourselfer, certainly not a mechanic by any means but willing to try out easy repairs (especially if I have a step-by-step guide) to save on shop costs.  For instance I always change oil myself, and on current and previously owned cars have replaced spark plugs and wires, done throttle body cleaning, replaced fuel lines, a radiator, engine thermostats, a starter, flushed cooling systems, and replaced a windshield washer pump.  Plus plenty of tire, air filter, and wiper blade changes.  That kind of thing.  Nothing that requires heavy-duty tools, engine lifts, or anything like that. 

Is it reasonable that I will be capable of the same maintenance/repairs on whatever motorhome I buy, or are there additional factors that will require professionals?  I'm curious to know what repairs other members/owners have successfully completed themselves.
 

Clay L

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May 28, 2005
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X Full Timer Now Palisade CO
I think you can do just about everything that you have been doing.

Some things are a little harder though because of the access to the engine area through the doghouse cover . For example, I replaced a fan clutch on my last motorhome and laying on top of the engine while reaching nuts and bolts was no treat.
I did put a piece of plywood down to lay on and that helped some.

Guys with a? of experience do some things to make some jobs easier.? I found out after I made the replacement that if I had cut the radiator shroud in two places I could have removed it. That would have improved access a lot. When the the shroud was put back in place, a couple of pieces of flat metal could have used? to repair the cuts.

Some things I have done have required renting bigger tools. I replaced the 2 inch stabilizer bar on the front of my current MH with a 2 1/2 inch bar. The torque requirements were 245 pounds, so I had to rent a torque wrench for a day ($25).

With hourly labor costs of $80 per hour or more, it is often cost effective to buy the tool you need.
 

tyefighter

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Aug 12, 2005
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Bend OR
Sounds like we have the same skill levels.  I just replaced the front disk brakes, it was a little heavy for my first time doing disk brakes.  I should have started with a car or my pickup, oh well, everything works great.  One thing I did find or had problems finding was the brake fluid reservoir, I had to track the brake lines to the drivers side.  Behind the front drivers side tire up on the frame rail sat the reservoir after I removed the metal rock shield.  Simple maintenance I have done myself, air tools really help with motorhomes.  My dad was a large truck mechanic and taught me quite a bit about tools and how to use them properly.  Wish he was still around to help.  Most normal maintenance you should be able to do, maybe get a buddy to help.
 

scottydl

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Sounds good, thanks for the comments guys.  I forgot I have also done (car) disc brakes and a stabilizer bar + links before.  I don't really *love* to do car repairs and/or tinker a whole, but I do like saving the money as mentioned before.  ;)  Some of my repair attempts have turned into long, drawn-out projects (doesnt' it always happen that way?  ::)) but so far I've eventually come out on top each time, and learned something along the way.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
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At my Silver Springs FL home
Not only can you do those sorts of repairs (though the engine in a MHis difficult to get at),you can handle a lot of "house" repairs as well , e.g. water heaters, electrical, plumbing, etc.  You will need to learn about some different types of appliances and plumbing, but it isn't difficult and you can get good advice here. There are also some excellent books on RV Maintenance, e.g. RV Maintenance and Repair by Bob Livingston (Trailer Life books).
 

Shayne

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Jan 22, 2006
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4,324
Scotty  You should have no problem maintaining your unit.  With what you've explained of your talents, many out here have for less and do very well.  Just remember, there is always the forum here to assist you.  I think of an RV as a house and a vehicle, both needing maintenence, just as in home life.  You've been doing both for a long time and this is not much different.  I look at it as a rental unit and a youngsters car, both needing checking after constantly.  ONce you've done it a bite you will understand that a lot of yor fretting isn't necessary, the same as the rest of us.  Now it's time for you to enjoy the good life and don't hesitate to ask when you think a problem has arisen.  Just tackle them as every day life cycles little stumbles.  Good luck
 

427v8

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Apr 25, 2006
Posts
55
rear brakes are amazingly hard, but doable.

They are hard because of the size, weight and number of bolts that are torqued to a billion foot lbs... :eek:

 

JohnSandyWhite

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Oct 9, 2005
Posts
209
Location
England
:) We (my son and I) have done all of the above. We found the most troublesome was the Exhaust and Inlet manifolds on both the Chevy P30 and the Ford F53. Took off the whole of the F53 exhaust and welded up a few holes in the pipe and boxes.? :eek:

Also replaced the front Air bags in the Chevy P30 (Gulf Stream Crown Regis). That can be a pain.  :(
 

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