Freedom and Liberty

Freedom and Liberty
I travel in Freedom but sleep in the security of Liberty (not only on the road, but in this amazing country of ours)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Liberty Gets a Free Facelift plus Much More

Location: Elkhart County Fairgrounds; Goshen, Indiana

This is a long winded post about the free work done on Liberty. It will be handy for me in the future to remember what was done. It is also a testament to Rockwood and Forest River standing behind their products. I am rarely surprised by things, but I was speechless and amazed at what was done, free of charge.

I pulled out of Harrison Lake State Park early since I wanted to get to Goshen early. I had registered for the Forest River Owners Group (F.R.O.G.) rally a few months ago. It is an annual RV rally at Goshen because it is close to most of the factories that produce the Forest River line of RV's. Rockwood is just one of several individual companies that build RV's under the parent company of Forest River. I attended this rally in 2014 when I had only been on the road for a few months. I wanted to get as much information about my RV as possible and the seminars given at the rally provided that information to me. I was unaware, during that rally, that Forest River repaired RV's during the rally, for free, whether they were still under warranty or not. Liberty didn't need any work done so I didn't put in any work requests but Rockwood technicians still came around asking if there was anything needing to be done. 

Fast forward two years. Liberty needed some work and her warranty had expired so I signed up for this years rally and was lucky enough to get in before the registration closed. Two years ago, about 400 RV were at the rally, this year close to 900 are in attendance. Registration closed after just a couple of days. I still wasn't too confident that the work really would be done for free. Each participant can make a request for 3 items to be repaired. 

Last October, while on the Galveston/Bolivar ferry, I was able to see a problem with the roof of Liberty. The seam where the roof joins the plastic front cap had opened up and air was getting under the roof material and making it "billow" up. I had an RV tech seal the seam with caulk to keep the air from getting under the roof material. I checked this part of the roof a few months ago and noticed a crease in the roof material. That was number one on my list of service requests. Number two was a section of the floor in the kitchen area that was "spongy". Number three was the steps going into Liberty had several rivets broken which I had replaced with nuts and bolts. 

After emailing the service request form, they asked if I could come to the factory the week before the rally since some of the work would be easier to do there than at the fairgrounds. I had my doubts they would do anything about numbers 1 and 2 since the amount of work could run up a pretty good bill. But I was going to see how it went and got to the factory early. Little did I know, but the workday for the Amish that works there begins at 5:00 a.m. I wasn't there that early, but still early for a retired person. I pulled in about 9:30 a.m. and was directed to one of the back buildings. 

I pulled up and asked for Floyd Miller, the boss. He came out and was already aware of the things I requested but wanted to see for himself. I figured this was where they would say they couldn't do some of the work for whatever reason they could think up. But to my surprise, the first thing he looked at was the floor. He felt the spongyness and we both agreed it wasn't too awfully bad. To my surprise, he said they would replace the floor. I asked how do you do that? He replied, we disconnect anything connected to the floor then a special piece of equipment will lift the walls and roof, as a unit, off of the floor allowing the entire floor to be removed and replaced. I was shocked at what he was proposing (remember, it's free work). I told him I thought it was too much work and too many things could go wrong. His plan "B" was to remove the underpinning of Liberty and if the galley waste tank wasn't in the way, they could attempt to add some bracing to the floor area. I told him I liked that plan better. He excused himself and went into the shop. A very short time later, an Amish worker comes jogging out of the shop with a "creeper" and tools and immediately slides under Liberty and starts removing the material that protects Liberty's underbelly. Along with the underpinning, he started removing the rear stabilizer jacks. I said, "that's good, maybe you can find out why they started making a loud screeching sound." Without giving it a second thought, he said, we will fix it or replace it. I thought, Wow, that wasn't on my list. 

At this point, I had been at the factory for maybe 15 minutes and they are working on Liberty in the parking lot. The boss returned with a ladder and crawled onto the roof to check out my second work request. Again, this is where I expected the speech about not being able to do the work. Instead, he said, "I see what you mean, we can fix it." I again asked how. He said they would removed the front A/C unit, peel back the roof material as far as needed, then dry everything. While it would be drying, they would remove the large front cap. After things dried, they would glue the roof material down and install a new front cap with extra foam bracing. Again, I was speechless at not only getting the roof fixed, but also a brand new front cap. 

The third item on the list was the steps going into Liberty which was minor work compared to the first two items. He immediately said, no problem, we will put on a new, stronger set of steps. By this time, the guy removing the underbelly material had removed enough of if so the boss could see if the tank was in the way or not. It wasn't, so plan "B" would be done on the flooring. I asked how long the work would take and he said I could pick Liberty up about 11:00 a.m. the following day. That also was unbelievable, due to the amount of work being done. After being there only 30 minutes, all the work was lined out and I left. 

I found a nice motel in town, ate a nice supper and was back at the factory about 10:30 the following morning. Liberty was still in the shop with workers finishing up. I noticed the big living room slide was out and a guy was working underneath. That wasn't on the list, so I asked him what he was doing. He said they noticed a small crack in a plastic part so they removed and replaced it. While doing that, they also removed an outdated slide mechanism and track and put in the new version and lubricated everything. Wow, more additional work. I found Floyd and asked how things were going. He said they were running some pressure checks on the water system and propane systems and would be finished soon. Again, additional work, wow. We checked out the floor, which was solid as a rock, we checked out the steps which were also solid. The new front cap looked great with its new decals shining. Since the Amish work hours are from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m., the total amount of working time to complete the work was about 8 hours, which again is amazing. After giving Floyd and his guys a tip, which I had to force them to take, I pulled out of the factory just shy of noon. I was heading to Potato Creek State Park about 80 miles away. I planned to stay there until Friday when I would go to the fairgrounds to set up for the rally. 

While setting up camp, I started to move the bedroom slide out and heard a loud "Pop". I quickly reversed the slide to bring it in. It "limped" in and I could see a loose cable. I wasn't sure if the factory had worked on that slide or not so I called Kelly. She is the warranty representative I had been dealing with about the work requests. I told her what happened and she suggested I go to the fairground the following morning to see what could be done. Later that evening, Floyd called and told me they don't work on those type of cable slides, only the big track slides. I said, "oh, ok". He then quickly said he would have the slide manufacturer's technicians look at it when I got to the fairgrounds and if they needed to replace it, they would do so (again, additional free work). Amazing, uh? I called Floyd as I was checking into the fairgrounds to tell him I was there. While I was setting up camp, he and the slide techs showed up to check out the problem. They found the problem, added a new cable, replaced the seals, adjusted everything, gave me a spare gearbox and were finished within an hour. I tipped them and was shaking my head in amazement again at the speed and quality of the free work Liberty was getting. 

They don't give you a bill when they complete the work requests here, but just conservatively estimating the dollar amount of the work had it been done at an RV dealer would have been in the $5,000.00 to $7,000.00 range. It is just hard to believe a company now-a-days does such a thing. There are about 900 RV's here and each one can submit 3 items of work. The dollar amount of free work done on RV's this week at the rally is going to be in the millions. I can't say enough about Forest River products and specifically Rockwood about their attitude towards customer service.  

OK, this post has gotten way to long, but I'm glad I documented this experience for my future reference.
Pulling into the Rockwood factory. It is located in the middle of farmlands.

This horse barn is in the back of the factory for use by the Amish. Many ride bicycles. 

That's Liberty, second on the right. This section of "campground field" is now filled up.

It is a nice fairgrounds.

I took this picture this morning after the storms blew through last night. This is just a small portion of the RV's. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road. 

      

8 comments:

  1. You may want to look into taking up more tension on your slide out awning It should be tight enough that the water does not pocket

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    1. That's my neighbor's slide topper, I took the picture out my upstairs window. My topper is getting weak also.

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  2. That's quite a testament to Forest River! Awesome!

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  3. Amazing. Our travel trailer is a Forest River Rockwood V Lite. With this great info we'll at least get signed up for the group. Ours is still new so no major problems so far. Thank you!

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    1. You're welcome Barb, join FROG, it's free. The forum is great place for information. If you plan to attend next years rally, you have to be quick at signing up because sites go fast. Safe travels

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    2. Wow! Customer service is hard to find these days! Great testament!

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  4. Hello Robin. Yes, I got lucky in choosing my RV manufacturer. Good to hear from you.

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