Motor Home Malaise

I thought I was doing all the preventative stuff I needed to do for the 18-year-old Class "A" motor home we bought last year.

I took care to have an oil change, tuneup, new spark plug wires, air and fuel filters, hose and belt checks, lubes, etc., you know all the routine stuff.

But motor homes present a different situation from, say, a pickup truck or van. It is a house on wheels, and there are SO many "systems" that we feel like we are driving on thin ice, so to speak, every time we take it out.

The biggest and most expensive repair this summer was the automatic transmission. The second gear "band" snapped. $860.

The next problem that "just wouldn't go away" was the Onan Generator. Again, keeping in mind that it is original equipment from 1991, the darn thing kept "surging" and would not run steady enough to provide "stable" current to run the air conditioner (or the microwave). The generator had not been "exercised" enough to keep it clean, and old gasoline breaks down and will create a hard "varnish" that prevents proper operation. (The salesman had pitched the Generator's low number of operating hours as a "positive" when in fact, it was a negative. Exercising an Onan Generator only 88 hours in 17 years is a recipe for carburetor failure.) The Onan GenTech told me to run the generator every month for an hour or so during the months we don't use it, and, run it with an electrical "load" on it. $368.

Oh, and a week after the carb was replaced the generator wouldn't start. It was flooded out due to the choke being too rich a mix. At least that adjustment was free.

The refrigerator would not operate in LP gas mode, although it worked fine on electrical modes. A visit to the dealership and a quick clean out repair to the "sooted up combustion chamber" and it works now. $89. (This charge included an LP gas "system" check, so that could have been a safety issue.)

I keep discovering new idiosyncrasies about this motor home that are NOT in any of the manuals. Operating a motor home seems to be a system of "trial and error," or "learning by doing."

Like mice. They will crawl up the tires and into the motor area...somehow finding their way into the cabinets. Icky.

Things will leak. Little snappy things will pop off or break. We have to worry about LP gas system, furnace, oven, range top, microwave, sewer, water pump, hot water heater, refrigerator, direct current from batteries, an electrical AC/DC "inverter" or "converter" thing that makes noise and we can't find it. Oh, and by the way, the plumbing system needs to be "winterized" so the weather up here in Montana doesn't destroy it.

I also bought a big "COVER" for last winter, but it didn't make it through to spring without several little rips, right on the edge of the roof, so DUCT Tape came in handy. I don't know what we will do this year, perhaps buy just a top cover, but that is over $300 too.


  1. Yikes, those are some pretty pricey repairs.

  2. Great post! This is very helpful. I'm sure I'd visit your site more often. Anyway, you can drop by my favorite online hang out too, at UK Student Community. Thanks!

  3. Wow, nothing is ever easy, is it?

  4. Just one more thing to worry about, that's why I love my tent! :)

  5. Isn't motorhome travel the best?! There seems to always be something to do, but remember it's your home, all of your appliances and your car! And then to be able to take it wherever you want. We've been doing it for over 30 years and don't plan on stopping anytime soon. Keep up the good work... you'll figure out all the bugs - or mice - as the case may be.


I would be very pleased if you leave a comment. I will read every one too!!!
Doug (Gruggers) in Missoula