Our second week in Red Bay Alabama at the Tiffin Service Center came to a close with more things being checked off our list, and a feeling that we have less time here in the future than we have been here.
A minor but almost expected setback occurred when I woke up to my 6:00 AM alarm, and headed outside to discover lots of water in our new wet bay and on the ground beneath us. We had planned to go right back into Bay 4 that morning anyway, because David wanted to make sure there were no leaks as a result of the wet bay repairs he and Dave performed the previous day. Not unexpected given the total rebuilt they had to do, so as long as it wasn't a black tank leak (it wasn't – just the gray tank) we could handle it and head back to Bay 4.
Dumping and wiping everything down, we're ready for the March of the Elephants; 40 or more 33' to 45' Tiffin Class A motor homes all starting engines and heading to their respective bays at the same 7:00 hour. It's a sight to see, and even more exciting to be part of.
The two Dave's attack our immediate problem, spending most of the next 4 hours replacing some parts that apparently had more damage than first appeared, and reworking some hard rubber plumbing to prevent cracking or breakage when heading down the road. As 11:00 approaches, the wet bay has been repaired, improved, tested and dried. One final fix of the silverware tray and fortifying the rail system on our main galley drawers (needed due to the pounding we took on the road), and we are released from Bay 4. From fixing everything on our general repair list, to improving things not on the list, to recommending great restaurants to try, we've made new friends and trusted advisers in the two Dave's.
We've experienced first-hand why so many Tiffin owners insist on coming back to Red Bay each year for their service.
Not that we're done and ready to head back to Georgia, mind you. Once released from Bay 4, we head back to Site 8, our home for nearly 2 weeks, and wait for the call to Mechanical. David had said that we were next on their list, so don't hook up anything but power and keep our slides in, because we'd likely get a call when the next mechanical bay became open. Now understand, Tiffin employees work from 7:00 until 11:00 and take their lunch until 12:00, meaning that as the afternoon wore on I was expecting less and less to get our call, so I decided to take a nap.
So of course I get a call about 30 minutes after closing my eyes to get over to Bay 41. Right now. Ahhh, nothing like the retirement life I always say!
Fortunately, there were only 2 things on the Mechanical list; check all our welds of the house to the chassis, and the all-important replacement of our temporary exhaust extension and heat shield lost somewhere on I-85 southbound back in September which had caused so much damage to our wet bay. This next picture is something pretty cool, but also something that, as an owner, you never really want to see; our 37' long, 14.5 ton motor home suspended nearly 6 feet in the air.
Yeah . . .
Right after THAT sight, our 36LA is inexplicably lowered to the ground for about 15 minutes while a conference ensues in our driver and passenger area. For some reason, our home has been powered on at the key level, because our front headlights are now on. Don't know what they're doing and can't ask them, because Mechanical is (rightly) one bay where customers are NOT allowed due to safety reasons. I mean, what isn't safe about a 37' motor home up on jacks, right? The guys exit, and it's back up in the air to have the exhaust extension and heat shield installed. By 3:15 we're back down on all 6 tires with an officially-approved Tiffin heat shield and spot-welded extension. Paperwork is completed to be sent to our next stop – Cabinetry – and day 4 is in the books. I'm told by the technician that they've re-calibrated our Liquidspring system in the process, and I ask him why. He doesn't know; they just did it. “Okaaaayyyyy”, I said. “Thanks . . . ?”
But my day isn't quite done.
Starting up the 36LA, I go to power on my Liquidspring interface to set it for normal ride mode and see something I haven't seen in almost a month; the dreaded warning light and error code saying my ride height sensor needs replacing! Now it dawns on me what they were doing in the drivers area of my home, and while it was nice of them to try to make sure our Liquidspring systems had been set properly before sending us home, they are not privy to the new procedures in power on and powering off the Liquidspring interface. Fortunately, they had our system in normal ride height mode when they shut off the motor home WITHOUT shutting off the interface (a big no-no), but even so, I gingerly drive down the incline away from the building, hoping that my jacks don't bottom out on the way.
Parking the motor home back in Site 8 and powering off my Liquidspring interface before shutting off my engine, I immediately take out the tools of my trade over the past 3 months; a 1/2” socket and wrench, screwdriver, work blanket and a replacement ride height sensor that I might have forgotten to send back to Liquidspring when they fixed our problem last time. I run the jacks up and explain to Barbara what has happened, and get to work. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I've become pretty adept at changing out a ride height sensor since September, and since I now know the right sequence of events I can work underneath with jacks extended, giving me enough room to change this out in about 10 minutes flat.
Lowering the jacks, I start the engine and power up our Liquidspring interface, and I see a beautiful set of normal lights shining brightly. IT'S ALIVE! In an abundance of caution I re-calibrate the system, and after about 2 minutes I'm able to power off, shut down my engine and extend jacks and slides once again in order to enjoy another relaxing evening in Red Bay, Alabama.
I'll be speaking to the guys in Mechanical bay 41 tomorrow morning and handing them an updated Quick Reference Guide from Liquidspring . . .
Next up, the final 2 items on our list!
We're Dave and Barbara Richard, and we're planning the ultimate retirement experience - travel the U.S. and Canada in style in a Tiffin Open Road 36LA Class A motor home, play golf and stop at every weird and wacky roadside attraction we can find.