Class B Warned

Well, This Hasn't Gone Well

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Part Twenty – (Un)Happy Van-iversary!

Even though we posted our first blog entry here in January 2016, as you read the story you’ll see that this journey started when we purchased our CS Adventurous on October 13th, 2015. That means that we have arrived at our two year anniversary together, and while I would love to write that we’re living happily ever after, in reality, I’m glad there were no kids and it’s become obvious we may need to separate. Time goes by so quick when you’re not paying attention, and to think that it’s been two years since we purchased our van and we’re STILL trying to fix problems with it is…disheartening to say the absolute least, and positively enraging to say the most.

Our last entry found us trying to solve a black tank odor in the van that occurred mostly when the windows were down and the van was in motion. Our van spent weeks at the dealer, was not fixed (because, and I quote from the work order, “the unit smelled fine when I was working in it”), was redelivered to the dealer for a few more weeks, and ultimately received a brand new toilet to finally solve the smelly issue that had plagued us since day one of owning this van.

We packed our cabinets and headed to Hershey PA to attend the yearly RV Show. We visited our friends at the Pleasure Way area and were impressed, as we always have been, at the models they offered and especially some of their new options like an auto-starting generator that is activated by temperature or voltage – sort of like our Voltstart system, except that a generator would run and not the van’s engine to give you some juice, which we hear now is not recommended by Mercedes. We stopped in to see Leisure Travel Vans, and as always, their offerings were impressive as well, though the almost 10 month wait time to receive one is a bit jarring. There was a demo available immediately, though, and we enjoyed hearing about life in that Leisure Travel Van from their ambassador who was there to answer any questions we had. It’s especially tempting to see these competitors when we know our Roadtrek ownership has not been smooth. But we finally had our van fixed and had decided that while it’s nice to look, if we could finally tie up these loose ends with ours, we would stick with it. In fact, we had a week long trip planned to follow the RV show with a drive west and north, and a ride back east along Pennsylvania’s Route 6 – a relaxing ride through the mountains with a whole list of parks and interesting stops along the way.

 

This isn’t even a fraction of the offerings on display at the Hershey RV show

We planned to see the show over two days, because it’s such a massive show and there’s so much to see. We canvassed the show on Day One, and when the sun went down and the show closed, we made our way to the local Walmart to spend the night and hit the show the next day to see anything we may have missed and to dream a little more about what owning one of those giant Class As would be like.

By our return to the show the next day, it was clear that the toilet issue was still not fixed.

Now, I’ll pause here while you collect yourself because I’m sure you’re shocked to read that.

 

This would be a more effective toilet setup. At least we could put a lid on it.

Day Two we returned to the RV show with a new anger, frustration, and general hopelessness. No, those weeks and weeks at the dealer had not fixed the problem, which was as terrible as it had been from the beginning. We were ready to get rid of this problem van that had been repeatedly troubling us since that day two years ago when we bought it’s predecessor whose batteries didn’t charge and whose heating system didn’t heat, to this current van whose heating system also has been trouble and has smelled like human waste while driving among other items that we can’t seem to have addressed.

You might wonder, as any rational person would – if it’s been such a headache for so long, why put up with it? That’s a great question. We’ve always held out hope that if we could just get the few items fixed, this would be the van for us. And to be fair, these haven’t been minor issues. Batteries that don’t charge, heat that doesn’t heat, etc. are not minor issues like cabinets that constantly need to be adjusted because they slam closed on their own while you’re trying to put things into them as a completely random example. Another very compelling reason became clear on that second day at the RV Show when we returned to the competitors’ areas and decided to get some numbers from the sales people about what they could offer to help us get out of this van and into one that would hopefully give us a lot less stress. That number was a sizable gap between what I could expect for a trade-in value for my Adventurous and the price of a comparably equipped alternative. Without going into specifics, that number is large enough that I could purchase a well-equipped luxury vehicle instead of having to pay that amount to get rid of something because the manufacturer and their dealer network are unable to supply a fully working vehicle as promised in the paperwork on that fateful day two years ago when my loan company dutifully paid them in full. We visited the Roadtrek area of the show and asked if they might have someone there from the factory who we could talk to about possible causes, but we were told there was no one there who could help. And adding insult to injury, that demo Leisure Travel Van which would be available immediately instead of the 10 months to order a new one? It was now sporting a sold sign.

(Insert sad trombone sound here.)

We left the show and started on our planned route around Pennsylvania, stopping at another Walmart for the night, and debating whether to cancel the trip and either head back to the dealer or just head back home to regroup. The smell is that bad when driving. Angry, frustrated, feeling hopeless, (all emotions I’m sure they must have put in their promotional brochures, right?) we decided to make the best of it, as best we could, and we continued on our trip, just deciding to keep the windows closed (because, really, who likes fresh air when driving through the picturesque mountains of Pennsylvania when the weather is bright, sunny, and perfect) and try to grin and bear it.

I’m glad we stuck with it because the trip itself was great. We saw some awesome national parks, a few hard cider breweries, museums for the logging industry in Pennsylvania and the railroad, and even an alpaca farm where the friendly owner greeted us and gave us an up close tour of the farm and her alpaca children. If you want a relaxing ride, Route 6 through northern Pennsylvania is highly recommended.

 

Alpaca farm in Slippery Rock, PA

 

We met some great folks along our journey, including a nice couple who operate Deep Roots Hard Cider in Sugar Run, PA

 

Presque Isle State Park – one of many parks we visited along the way.

But now we’re home and still have to figure out how to fix our smelly van. We received a comment here on our blog about our particular toilet model and the problems that others have found with it’s design. With this new knowledge, we contacted our dealer about possibly swapping out our Thetford toilet with a Dometic toilet which would hopefully fit and fix the problem, and the links provided by our commenter which clearly demonstrated the toilet’s shortcomings, were included in the email to them. Also included in that email, and as we have repeatedly explained to them, we listed all the things we have done to troubleshoot – keeping water in all the traps to seal off possible escaping fumes, having a reasonable amount of water in the tank, using holding tank chemicals, namely Happy Camper. The email was forwarded by the dealer to Roadtrek who responded with the suggestion to…try putting water in the traps to seal off possible escaping fumes. That might sound familiar to you because you just read that in the previous sentence, and I would think it would have sounded familiar to them as well, as I had specifically mentioned that I had already done that. Getting a different toilet model installed would require Roadtrek’s authorization, so the dealer suggested I contact them directly, which I did.

While visiting Pleasure Way at the RV Show, I saw promotional signage touting their new Personal Assistant program which promises a dedicated support person who is knowledgable about their product who can answer questions you have about your van. Whether this program is as great as it seems I don’t know, but I do know that I have never been able to reach someone at Roadtrek on the first call. Every time I have called them for support, I have reached an answering machine. They did return my call this time, and we went over the details of the problem I had been experiencing. The answer from the person on the phone? Try Pine-sol in the traps because those can let fumes…well, you know the rest. I understand that there’s a process when it comes to a company’s diagnosing and fixing a problem, and I have no problem following that process. But to repeatedly suggest solutions that we have already mentioned we have ruled out is..again, frustrating. However, I told the person that I would try it and let them know, just so we could all be sure that everything had been attempted. I won’t bore you here with writing about how we tried Pine-sol in the traps and it did nothing to solve the problem, because I respect you enough to know that you already knew that. So I emailed the person helping me at Roadtrek to let them know that it had not worked, and to find out what the next steps would be to try to get this fixed. Not hearing back, I emailed again. This time I got a response which included advice from one of their ‘seasoned technicians’ which I would bet at this point you could probably guess. If you’re saying to yourself, water in the traps, congratulations! You could probably do well in the RV support industry! I would almost swear that somehow, as my emails cross the border into Canada, someone is stripping out all the pertinent details I’m trying to share with them because I keep getting the same suggestions back.

So here we sit on our two year anniversary of RV ownership. We’re still together, but our relationship is strained to say the least. How do you tell your significant other they have an odor problem?

Part Nineteen – Smell Me Once, Shame On You. Smell Me Twice…

I still smell something…the smell of defeat.

I’ve come to accept the fact that nothing happens quickly when it comes to RV repairs. It’s not entirely the fault of the repair center because once a problem is diagnosed they often have to wait for parts from the factory in Canada. Two weeks at the dealership has been pretty much the norm for us, that is if you consider our numerous trips for service normal.

We marched into the service department at the crack of dawn to hand over the keys and latest list of problems to tackle. At the top of the list was our waste smell, followed by the heating system fluid change. We headed off on our 2 hour journey home, a drive that has become all too familiar.

Two weeks later we get the call to come pick her up. Everything on our list had been addressed, but they inspected and were unable to find any leaks with the waste system. That did not sit well with me since the odor was INCREDIBLY obvious to us, but maybe they had pulled the toilet to check the seal and reseating it had somehow solved the problem. Hope does allegedly spring eternal. That Friday after work we drove up to retrieve her and headed home.

There is one very simple way to test the black tank…by Saturday afternoon our “testing” had revealed that the tank problem was not solved. You can imagine how frustrated we were to have made another 4 HOUR round trip and have the same problem remain. I should mention one more thing I’ve learned when it comes to RV repairs – they sometimes don’t get things right the first time!

Not willing to drag this on for weeks or months, we camped in the dealer lot on Sunday night and we were there at 7AM to hand them back our keys once again. This time I was very specific about the problem. If you have all of the windows closed there’s usually not an odor problem, but once you crack any of the front windows while moving, waste odor from the bath area fills the entire coach. The service tech takes the van out for a test drive, pulling away with the windows sealed. He returns about 10 minutes later, with the windows SEALED. The tech then says that he believes that what we’re smelling is actually glycol heating up in the heat exchanger under the passenger seat.

Picture, if you will, standing downwind and very close to a sewage treatment plant and you will understand what driving with the windows down smells like.

I then took the keys and did a quick spin around the block with the windows cracked, and sure enough within a minute we were stewing in waste odor. I then proudly pulled into the service lot to share with them my waste smell. Finally they agreed that something was wrong. The keys once again get handed over to the service department and we were on our way home once again without a working RV.

Service For Stink

Just be glad your computer or phone doesn’t do Smell-o-vision

During the next round of testing, the service tech flooded the waste system by running water down the vent stack until the entire system was filled with water. They determined that “the seam of the toilet from the bowl to the base would leak under pressure. When the windows are cracked open this creates the proper pressure to allow the smell to escape from this seam”. Solution: Replace the toilet. Of course they had none in stock so we had to wait until one arrived from the manufacturer.

You guessed it, almost 2 weeks to the day and it’s ready to be picked up. There was no time for us to stick around to test the new toilet, so we headed home with what for the first time we could consider a fully working RV! (More Hope springing here.) We were only a couple of weeks away from the Hershey Pennsylvania RV show, so I began planning a road trip that would include a 2 day stop in Hershey, then off on a 10 day road trip though the mountains of Pennsylvania, and maybe even a little of New York. We have a fully working RV, what could possibly stand in our way now?

While waiting for over a month for our latest round of repairs, I began assembling a spreadsheet of all Class B and B+ brands. I wanted to put together a comparison chart that listed all of the weights and measures for each brand. Once I get the latest brochures and verify some numbers I’ll be sure to share with everyone.

Because when comparing RVs, it’s helpful to know just how much waste you could potentially be smelling while cruising down the road with your windows down, in gallons, for each model, because that’s a normal RV phenomenon, right?

Part Eighteen – Do You Smell Something?

With traveling comes more bumps in the road, and unfortunately these bumps are a little embarrassing to write about, but here goes. The reality is that we use our toilet, and ever since we began using the toilet we’ve noticed a very strong waste smell. The smell seems more prominent when we are moving at faster speeds, and especially when we’re moving and have a window cracked.

When we first noticed the problem, we quickly attacked the problem with black tank additives. We also added a 360 Siphon cap to the roof vent, which is supposed to draw air from the tank with any air movement across the vent pipe. We always flush all of the tanks between trips, and are very “by the book” when it comes to flushing and sanitizing all of our tanks.

This was on my repair list when we visited the Roadtrek factory for service, but they were unable to solve the problem. As we went into the colder months we of course stopped using our plumbing, so instead of heading back to the dealership we decided to just deal with it, and asked for some advice from our friends on the internet.

To be clear I am not a plumbing expert. In fact I HATE plumbing and would never attempt any major repairs on my RV (unless pinching a few heating pipes or giving them a good smack as the manufacturer recommended counts as major repairs). These are the steps we’ve taken to isolate our stinky problem:

1 – Make sure that all waste traps have water in them.

Since our RV is so compact it is difficult to pinpoint the exact source of the problem. Some fellow RVers suggested that the smell could actually be coming from the odors crossing over from the black tank to gray tank.

2 – Keep at least a couple gallons of water in the waste tank, and keep a little water in the bowl at all times.

With only a 10 gallon black tank capacity this seems like a rule worth breaking, but no matter how much water is in the black tank the smell is still there.

3 – Treat the gray tank as well as the black tank with chemicals.

We’ve experimented with many treatments to the black tank (Happy Camper, the blue tabs filled with powder), and now also treat the gray tank. Since we are only on the road for a few days at a time there’s really no need to add any chemicals to the tanks from what I’ve read. The tank treatment solutions are really intended for larger black tanks where you don’t flush them as often.

4 – Check the threaded waste line connections.

It was very easy to remove the panel under the bathroom sink and verify that the threaded connections were snug. The trap under our kitchen sink is a a Hepvo waterless valve. This means that no water is required to be in the trap to keep the waste line sealed. After a lot of sniffing around I’m fairly certain that the odor is not coming from the kitchen side.

A peek under the sink – the white section of pipe is the waterless trap.

Is this something that I have to learn to live with since I’m driving around with a tank full of waste, or is there something wrong here? Does anyone else have this problem? What do I tell my mother who’s riding in the back when the smell creeps in? And what about the people who stop you in the parking lot of a shopping center and want a tour – should their tour include nose plugs?

We should be hitting the road for another weekend adventure, but once again the van is back at the RV dealership being repaired. This will be the third consecutive weekend it’s been at the dealership, and I still have no estimate for the repairs to be compete.

In addition to the black tank odor, we decided to have a few other items taken care of. Because of our Alde leak back in November we were forced to use a different brand of glycol not recommended by Alde or Roadtrek. The dealership is flushing out the system and replenishing it with the clear propylene glycol – or whatever they were told to put in by either Roadtrek or Alde. We made a decision to keep the current Alde boiler, even though Roadtrek offered to completely swap it out. If I was able to return to the Roadtrek factory it’s something I definitely would have done, but I don’t know who I would trust to have the knowledge or experience to pull and replace an entire Alde unit. I think it’s a better option to take my chances and hope my earlier repairs solved the leaking issue.

Something is still not right with our solar system and maintaining a charge on the batteries. I have 470 watts of solar on the roof with 8 AGM batteries. With only my refrigerator running on 12v, I lose almost 1/2 of my charging capacity if the van sits idle for a couple of weeks. I do keep it parked with plenty of sun exposure during the day. On paper I should have enough solar to run the refrigerator and keep the batteries topped off with power to spare. And this is how the solar is sold to the customer – they don’t charge a low battery, but won’t have a problem keeping them topped off.

A look from above at our 470 watts of solar.

My propane/carbon monoxide detector has decided to sound in the middle of the night. It’s done it twice in the week leading up to my service appointment while parked in my driveway. Who knows what time it activates overnight, but I never hear it until I leave for work in the morning… I’m pretty sure my neighbor now hates me.

We have made a decision that this will be our last trip to the service center for major repairs. I just don’t have the energy or desire to continue the back and forth drive to the dealership for more and more repairs. I honestly don’t know the mindset of the average RV owner. Does John Q. Public and his wife Nancy purchase an RV knowing that sure, it will take them to Florida and back and the occasional trip to visit the grandkids in Ohio, but they better be prepared to become amateur repair technicians and love looking at an empty parking space in their driveway while it’s in the shop again for a significant portion of their ownership? I suppose that’s possible, though I doubt it. I’ve seen so many people walking around these RV shows and they don’t look browbeaten by their RVs like I sometimes feel. And honestly, for the incredibly high purchase price involved for especially these Class B vans, I would hope you could visit Michigan in November and expect that the fancy heating system the sales person was so excited to show you would actually heat instead of treating you to the joyful experience of waking up in a 40 degree van in the middle of a Cabela’s parking lot.

As we look forward to traveling in the fall, we especially look forward to once again attending the Hershey RV Show in September. That is where my journey started almost 2 years ago, and where the next chapter may begin. As long as the shop finishes my current van before then.

Part Seventeen – Let’s Hit The Road!

We finished our last post in January and while it seemed like an ending, it was not. We still have decisions to make about our RV ownership. But there’s one decision that we did make, and that is to hold off on doing any additional repairs and just get out there and enjoy having an RV!

After leaving the RV show in Florida we didn’t know what to do. We were excited to see all of the new offerings, but to be honest nothing really spoke to us enough to trade up. If there was an RV that had the matching “advertised” capabilities as the Roadtrek, then we certainly would have made a move.

As I may have mentioned in earlier posts, I work full time and a small RV has given me the freedom to venture away from home for 2 to 3 days at a time and remain completely self contained. Our 2 longest adventures so far have been to the Roadtrek factory in Canada, and the RV show in Florida, both about a week or so away from home.

Hiding under the palms on our trip to Florida

Yes, we’ve experienced many, many bumps in the road, but don’t let this discourage you from considering a Class B RV, or any RV for that matter. I’ve learned over time that problems will arise, and sometimes will take several attempts to get fixed. I don’t know if this is just the way it is, but repairs that you would think should take a couple of days usually take a couple of weeks, sometimes more.

Since the main systems seem to be working on our RV, we’ve finally had the confidence to hit the road and enjoy the sights, and for a change not have to focus on getting problems repaired. At the same time we’re taking notes on how we use our RV, and if we do make a change we want to pick the RV that best suits our needs.

I am glad we made the decision to purchase a van on the Sprinter chassis. I am still a little nervous about finding diesel in the less travelled areas, but we’re averaging about 18 mpg so a tank of fuel goes a long way. The van is also very easy to drive, and easy to park too. I have no problem parallel parking or fitting into a standard parking space. We are still much longer than a standard car or truck, so if we park in a shopping center I prefer backing into an end space so the back end is against a curb. I do wish that the stock navigation system was better (the screen flickers when going over bumps – bravo Mercedes), and the backup camera has a very narrow field of view, but these are minor annoyances that we can live with.

Stopped for the evening at Camp Walmart

The CS Adventurous has a bench sofa in the back that converts to a bed. The cushions just don’t give us enough support, so we’ve added a foam topper to the bed and it now works great. Once we set the bed up on the first night out, it’s just too much work to disassemble it in the morning. It’s a bit of an ordeal to put the topper away – we roll it up, bag it, and use a portable vacuum to compress the bag into a zippered fabric cover we made just for this purpose. The comfort it adds to the bed is worth it though. And luckily we have three seats in the front which convert to a nice dining area, so keeping the bed set up works for us.

Would you like fries with that? Our co-pilot Penny says absolutely!

I’ve taken my punches at Roadtrek for their quality control issues, but I will give them credit for designing a nice looking van, and the floor plan works pretty well for us. Speaking of quality control issues…

Part Sixteen – Palm Trees and RVs

We had just about had enough with dealing with our Roadtrek, and the RV Show in Tampa, Florida was a good opportunity to see what else and who else was out there. We had already been following all the major Class B RV manufacturers and what they were building, and all the problems we had dealt with were making it tough to not at least consider alternatives. And there were plenty to see at the RV Show.

Because the Alde system wasn’t completely fixed, the warmer Florida temperatures were a good excuse to head south. We got to meet Plant Guy, tour a huge selection of RVs, and meet the representatives from a few of the other manufacturers who were showing their latest and greatest.

If I’m honest, Plant Guy was my favorite part of the show. He even gladly takes selfies with you!

We were interested in seeing the technologies being offered by the competition and this was a perfect chance to see them all in one spot. Some of the other Class B manufacturers are using the Lithium-Ion battery technology, while others have no intention of using technology that hasn’t been tried and tested, which to us sounds like a perfectly reasonable idea. We’ve learned that the best sounding technology is useless if it doesn’t actually work. That being said, no other manufacturer claims to offer what drew us to Roadtrek originally – which was a generator-free coach. We like the idea that you can run your microwave for a few minutes to just reheat food (we don’t do much actual cooking when traveling but have had many a pizza on the road) without needing to run a generator. Because we travel with a dog, we liked the promise that we could run our air conditioning for a few hours, strictly on batteries, without leaving the van with a noisy generator running, and having the van automatically start to recharge the batteries when low using their VoltStart system. The reheating food we’ve been successful with; the air conditioning running off the batteries we still haven’t been able to really test because of the time and aggravation getting the VoltStart system working. Looking back, we realize that it’s been almost 2 years since we started our RVing, and we haven’t really had a chance to just enjoy a fully functioning van to even truly evaluate whether this is the model for us.

At this point, we’re at a crossroads. Do we stick with our Roadtrek, which has been an…eventful experience, and continue trying to tie up loose malfunctioning ends, or do we decide to compromise certain features with another manufacturer who may not necessarily promise the moon, but who can certainly deliver stars?

What we did learn from visiting the RV Show was that there are people out there reading this blog (you know who you are, and hi, it was great to meet you!) and it’s encouraging to hear that we aren’t just shouting into a hole, and that if we decide to move on from Roadtrek, there are other manufacturers ready to make our RV travels a pleasure again (or for the first time, as the case may be).

Sunbathing under palm trees

Part Fifteen – Glycol, But Not THAT Glycol

Here is the new layout of our Alde system, as modified during our trip to the factory.

When filled with glycol, it works great. Figuring out what to put in and how is another story.

We learned the hard way that not all propylene glycol is the same. Despite tracking down pure propylene glycol at the Tractor Supply Co. store and spending the time to mix it with distilled water and refill our now-empty Alde system, when we got home from our Canada trip we learned that that is probably not the right thing to put in the system. We say ‘probably’ because no one – not Roadtrek, not Alde themselves – can give us the answer as to what needs to be put in. Roadtrek told us clear propylene glycol and water, while Alde said they don’t know what the US systems are currently using.  Doing further research on our own, the general web consensus was that it was important to have inhibitors in your glycol mix to protect the aluminum parts – which is not found in the clear, pure propylene glycol we had found which is apparently fed to cattle as a kind of medicine whom I believe do not in fact contain any aluminum parts. Deciding to empty the system, and seeing the now yellowing glycol fluid coming out only confirmed that it was probably not the right fix. We were able to find the right (?) stuff which at least has inhibitors in it at a local auto supply store, and a full day’s work to drain, empty, and bleed the system was rewarded with heat again. Of course, the floor stopped getting warm when the system first drained dry while making our way home from Canada, but a helpful post on Facebook suggested that it was possible to pinch the heating loop right before the floor splits off while the pump is running to force the flow through the floor and hopefully dislodge any pesky air bubbles hanging around in there. Alde would normally recommend their proprietary bleeder kit to accomplish this, but unless you’re a dealer you wouldn’t have access to one, and experience showed us that even dealers may not have the kit without requesting it from Alde. We pinched, bled, pinched again, and bled again, and finally the floor was heating once again.

This is where we pinched the loop to get the floor bled. Who needs an expensive proprietary bleeder kit when you have clamps?

As a side note to any fellow Alde users – get an extra bottle of glycol from your dealer if you can. The previously used pink-colored glycol we had started with originally is easy to find, but the clear glycol (whatever it actually was) we had gotten from Roadtrek is nearly impossible to find at brick and mortar stores. And while the pure stuff for cattle is accessible, if your Alde system isn’t mooing, it’s probably not the best solution.

At this point, the glycol leak that had plagued us after leaving Roadtrek had stopped. We had done a few things that may have solved the problem. The first was to follow the advice of the Alde tech we had spoken to on our trip home, which was to smack the flow assembly. We did this much harder now that we were safely at home and no one was around to hear it complain. We also adjusted the position of that flow assembly and it’s bleeder valve because it was installed at a slant which didn’t match what we were seeing while doing research on the web. If there was a float mechanism that made it work, maybe the slant was interfering with it’s floating performance. There was a broken plastic clip on the side of the boiler which looked like it once had held the flow assembly in place, so some strategically placed zip-ties corrected the slant of the assembly so it is now sitting level and hopefully floating without a problem. One problem down.

If it walks like a pipe holder and quacks like a pipe holder, it’s a pipe holder…or at least it was supposed to be.

 

The other pending issue had also arisen on our trip back from Canada, which was the Alde system momentarily losing power and rebooting while in use. While using the system on the way home (at least during the brief period it wasn’t leaking), we had heard a soft click from the boiler and the control panel went dark for a second before coming back on, flashing error messages and random temperature numbers, and seemingly rebooting itself. It did this twice over the course of the trip. Now that we were home, we thought we could narrow down whether the system was simply losing 12 volt power for a second; this seemed unlikely because no other 12 volt fixtures had flashed or shown any signs of losing power. We turned on the Alde, waited for it to get heating, and then turned off the 12 volt power at the battery disconnect switch for the coach, turning it back on a few seconds later. The control panel went dark as expected, but when the power came back on, the restarting procedure wasn’t the same as the strange rebooting it had been doing on it’s own – there was no error message and temperature flashing as we had seen on the road. So we don’t know what’s going on with the intermittent rebooting, but we’re going to guess that’s not normal behavior.

We have had contact with Roadtrek and they have authorized a replacement of the Alde boiler if we get it to the dealer for service. This requires yet another trip to the dealer for a repair that could take days or even weeks as we have seen, and we were planning to visit the big RV Show in Tampa, Florida which was coming up in January, so with the system seemingly working well enough, we decided to wait to visit the dealer for service. Besides, if the RV Show presented an opportunity to replace our current van with one that was more reliable, we didn’t want to waste the chance to see what else was out there, especially with everything we had dealt with so far with our Roadtrek(s).

It was off to Florida (with the hose and cord which Roadtrek had neglected to put back into our van when they serviced it the month before and which they had only just returned after repeated phone calls and emails a month after notifying them of such, and of course, an extra bottle of glycol).

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