This year was a year that our 2008 Heartland Sundance started to show her age. RV’s, while economical, are not made with materials that are meant to last. Most RVs (including ours) aren’t meant to be lived in full-time. The full-time use of an RV allows for some materials/fixtures to wear or break quicker than if you only use your RV on the odd weekend. This means that over time certain materials or fixtures will have to be replaced or repaired. Some of these fixes are cheap and quick while others are definitely more on the pricey side.
It’s true when they say, “it’s not if your RV leaks – it’s when.”
Let’s start with the biggest repair we’ve had to do on our RV and likely the biggest we’ll ever do. Slide replacements. Yes, we said it. It sends a shiver down the spine of anyone that owns an RV with slides. We took our Sundance in and got all three slides redone. After living in our RV for almost 3 years, we noticed some sagging in the back slide and some softness in the other two.
While we get a lot of rain in Tofino, we’ve kept the RV sealed well and protected as much as possible since we’ve moved here. We’re almost certain that the damage was done prior to us purchasing our RV which has been a lesson in buying second-hand RVs. Regardless, we still had to get the slides replaced.
After having a local RV repairman come to look at the back slide, he indicated all three had some water damage. Our bedroom slide was the worst which was surprising as we thought it had just minimal damage.
Getting all three slides replaced was not only expensive, but it also meant having to live elsewhere for a couple of weeks while the work was done. We were fortunate that our employer let us live in one of the RVs they have on-site. I’m not going to lie to you, this was an extremely stressful repair. The cost, and having to be out of our home for a couple of weeks was less than ideal.
Our local RV repair shop removed the old slides and completely replaced the flooring, the under-siding, and the caulking. It is incredible how much it improved the feel of the slides. It also made us realize what slides in good condition should feel like and ours definitely weren’t that when we purchased the RV. Again…another lesson.
We are happy with the work that was done during the repair. The downside was the cost – $8000! We decided it would be better to get them fixed properly and not have to worry about mould or further damage to the rest of the RV floor. We contemplated just selling it as is, but then we would be losing out on the money we had already paid in full for our RV. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet plus with the slides now fixed, it’ll make it easier to sell in the future if we decide to.
This winter we also decided to protect our slides with just one more little addition. We made our own slide toppers with thick poly wrap and secured it to the RV with HVAC tape. It has held up in our wind storms here on the Pacific Coast and it keeps the slides much drier and free of debris. It doesn’t look that pretty but it also doesn’t stand out appearance-wise. It was an experiment that actually worked out and only cost us about $50 compared to thousands of dollars if you were to install slide toppers.
The Kitchen Sink
One day, while I was doing dishes, the kitchen sink tap came off in my hand. Hilarity ensued as I tried to shut the water off. When I did manage to get the water off, I realized we would have to replace the faucet and taps. The old one that came with the RV was made of plastic (shocking) and was literally falling off into my hands.
Adam, who is by no means a plumber, decided he would tackle this project himself. I was quite proud of him and decided to make sure I would be out of the RV while he did this repair as I didn’t want to be in the way. Adam gets a little animated when he does repair work and it can raise my blood pressure. Turns out, replacing the sink faucet and taps was easy for him. He did a splendid job and now we have a lovely new sink feature that only cost us about $100. We thought about replacing the entire sink to put in a better quality sink but decided against it at the moment as it requires some cabinetry work. If you’re looking to replace your RV sink, be sure to check out the blog on replacing your RV sink by our contributor Greg Walker.
From the moment we bought our 2008 Heartland Sundance, the toilet never properly held water. This my friends is kind of gross. Without going into too much detail, imagine if you had a cat using a catbox without kitty litter in it. Eww. That’s what we were dealing with. This needed to be repaired.
When we had the RV repairman come out to check our slides Adam also asked him about our toilet. We had bought a new sani seal gasket for our toilet but it still wouldn’t work properly. We then found out that was because it was the wrong gasket. The RV repairman said they don’t even make the gaskets for our toilet anymore. Apparently, our RV is too old which was hard to believe since it was only 10 years old. That being said, there was some good news. Getting a new toilet was covered under our RV warranty. In the end, we got a lovely new toilet, complete with a spray hose which makes cleaning SO much easier. And the cost to us? $0!
It was an expensive year for us and our RV. One thing we had to remind ourselves is that this is our home and everyone has home repairs whether you live in a brick & mortar home or an RV. Fortunately for us at this point, we have replaced most of the major items that would need to be replaced in our RV. During our first year RVing our warranty took care of a new air conditioner and a new converter. Now we look ahead to 2020 and fingers crossed everything keeps on keeping on and we won’t have any large repairs to make.
Have you had to have anything major replaced in your RV? Did you do it yourself or have a repair shop do it for you? Let us know in the comments.