Sunday, September 17, 2023

Two Decisions Made. Run for Cooler Weather & Order A/C

This post is going to be longer than usual and include two campgrounds so I can get caught up. I didn't do a lot of exploring in either place but the campgrounds are good so I needed to document them here. I'll also use this post to document my A/C problem so I'll have it for future reference. Some of the information may be useful for other RV'ers. 

1st Location: Meaher State Park; Spanish Fort, Alabama. It is located just to the east of Mobile, Alabama. This is the campground where I met up with the mobile RV A/C tech. 

2nd Location: Schaefer Heard Campground (COE), West Point, Georgia/Alabama. It is about 1 hour south-west of Atlanta. This is the first of 3 campgrounds I'm escaping to to avoid the heat. More information in the post. 

I'm going to try to recap everything the best I can. If I repeat something, oh well. 

On the last day at Foscue Campground (last post) I made arrangements with the mobile tech I had talked too to have him check the A/C unit on Friday morning. So I canceled my reservation at Miller's Ferry Campground (COE) and made one at Meaher State Park in Spanish Fort for three days. The campground was recommended by the tech since he would be working in that area on Friday. He would be able to confirm the problem, with certainty. {{{{Note: If you have a Coleman-Mach A/C, it comes with a 2 year warranty. Mine is 11 months old. You can go through the dealer or through the RV manufacturer if you want but they will have to go through Coleman-Mach. To short cut the process, you can find a certified Coleman-Mach service center or mobile tech to diagnose the problem. If it is under warranty, make sure the tech is certified by using Coleman-Mach homepage Tech Locator.}}}}}

The mobile tech confirmed it was a slow leak of refrigerant and since it is a closed system, the whole unit needed to be replaced. I asked about the time frame for getting a new unit but he wasn't too sure and was reasonably concerned about saying a time frame. He said sometimes they send the replacement unit out quick, but mostly, here lately, it has been very slow. Slow equals months, Quick equals weeks. He did perform all of the tests and completed all of the forms that are required by Coleman-Mach before they approve the replacement. This is why the service center or mobile tech needs to be certified. If they aren't certified, it can be a big back and forth before Coleman certified the replacement. 

Based on the high probability of it taking months, I told the tech I would probably get it replaced when I got back to Louisiana around the first of October but I wasn't 100% sure. He emailed me the results of the required tests so I could give them to the service center I would use to get it replaced. After the tech left, I needed to decide what to do next. I knew it was too hot to stay in the south without an A/C so I thought about heading straight home to Louisiana. Ut oh, I checked the forecast and the temperatures at my home-base in Mansfield, Louisiana was as hot or slightly hotter than south Alabama. So that option was out. So then I looked at heading north to cooler weather until the temperature came down in Louisiana. From what I checked, I would need to get up into Kentucky before getting daytime highs of 80* or less. That would be a long haul with sweaty nights along the way. There had to be another option. I double checked the temperature forecast for the areas about 250 miles away from Mobile, Alabama and found the area near and north of Atlanta had forecast temperatures that would suit me.  

So, I canceled my 3 remaining reservations at Fort Pickens Campground (National Seashore), Davis Bayou Campground (National Seashore) and Natchez State Park Campground. I was really looking forward to Fort Pickens but since everything happens for a reason, there must have been a reason this A/C problem came up which made me have to cancel.

I made reservations at my current campground (Scheafer Heard (COE)) for Saturday and Sunday. And McKinney Campground (COE) for 4 days and Old Federal (COE) Campground for 4 days. This gets me through September 25th. 

After making the reservations at the campgrounds in cooler Georgia, I decided to call Coleman-Mach and hear directly from the horse's mouth as to the average time frame for replacement delivery. These long delivery times had been mentioned not only by the mobile tech but also by the dealer and the RV manufacturer. I figured for the sake of a phone, it may be worth it. I was right, maybe.

I called Coleman-Mach directly and after being on hold for 20 minutes I talked to one of there warranty technicians. He was not an office worker but a technician that was familiar with warranty work. I immediately got a good vibe from him. He did say the delivery date was flexible and varied a lot. He asked me for my model number and after giving it to him he said that was good luck since it was one of their most popular units and are almost always in stock. I told him about the certified mobile tech performing the required tests and that I was planning to give them to a service center in Louisiana in a month or two. Ut oh, I hate those ut oh. He said it wouldn't be unusual for a future service center or tech to refuse to honor the tests performed by my mobile tech. I asked why, since I thought since he was certified, everyone would honor and use his tests. The Coleman guy said, some refuse to use tests from other people because if the old unit that is sent back to Coleman proves to be fixable, then they will back charge the service center for the new unit but wouldn't charge the mobile tech who did the tests. That would be fought out by the service center and tech. That made sense to me. He then asked me if my mobile tech had a NTP account. Of course, I didn't know but asked if that was important. Apparently, there are two places that send replacement units out to the field. One is from Coleman's factory. If it comes from them, it can take a while, weeks or months, since their primary job is to send their units to the RV manufacturers for use in new RV's. The second place was from NTP. I don't remember what those letters stood for, but if the tech had an account, the unit would be sent directly from their inventory and it is possible that it could be sent within a couple of days after Coleman approved the warranty claim. Wow, that was important information. I thanked the Coleman warranty guy. After hanging up with him, I texted my mobile tech to see if he had a NTP account. He replied quickly and said Yes. I explained the conversation I had with the Coleman guy and told him that it sounded more like a maximum of 2 to 3 weeks for the replacement to come in. We agreed he would submit the warranty claim to Coleman with the tests he performed and have the replacement sent directly to him for installation. I told him I was headed north for cooler weather but I could get back to his area within 2 to 3 days after he lets me know the unit is in. 

So, the plan was firmed up. My mobile tech from Island RV will handle all of the warranty claim and install the unit when it gets in. I'll head to north Georgia or some other cooler place while waiting for the unit to come in. That's how I got to my current campground. Tomorrow is moving day since the campground only had a two day vacancy beginning on Saturday. It works out good since the next campground is a few degrees cooler than this one.

Some advice to RV'ers. Check the temperature differential between the air going into your A/C unit from inside the RV where your filters are located to the air coming out at one of the ceiling vents. If that difference is 20* or more than your good to go. If it is less than 20, you may have a problem. Mine had gotten down to 5* and had apparently been slowly leaking for a while, possibly months before getting that low. Had I been checking it with a simple thermometer, I would have picked up on the problem at 15 or 10*. A simple check can avoid major headache. You may still have to replace your unit, but you will be cooler while waiting.  

Now some pictures:

This is the campsite at Meaher State Park. It is full hook-ups but about 3 times as expensive as COE campgrounds. It was a good place to meet up with the mobile tech so I'm good with it. I also met a nice couple in a Rpod of their own. We visited for a couple of hours and they invited me for supper and breakfast. I politely declined the offer but was really surprised they offered. That is twice in two campgrounds. Wow. I must be looking hungry or I'm getting so skinny I may need to start carrying rocks in my pocket in case the wind blows. 

I was able to get a touch of a sunset at Meaher SP.

A big difference from Meaher SP. This is Scheafer Campground with West Point Lake in the background. The daily highs are 80.

Another view of the campsite with private steps down to the lake which is very low right now. 

Nice viewing locations of the dam and electrical powerhouse. I was disappointed the visitors center was closed on this Sunday. 

This is the powerhouse. That had once turbine/penstock gate opened. I was sure if they were doing that for the fishermen or to produce power. The lake is very low.

I'll end this very long and boring post with a "thinking bench" looking at the dam/gates/powerhouse on an overcast but cool day. The lake in front of the bench is fishing pond for children only. 

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



  1. Thanks for all the detailed info on the AC mess. Mine is about four years old now and is not Coleman. My old Coleman made about 12 years before failing.

  2. I hope the AC repairs work out for you!
    Going to Georgia for "cooler" weather cracks me up! I understand but the thought is still amusing.

    1. It is about 15* cooler here than anywhere else south or west of me. It surprised me too when I started looking.

  3. Not every sunset needs to look like the sky is on fire. I rather liked the soft pastel colors in your sunset picture, and it's reflection on the Lake.


    1. I agree. That is why I said it was like a "touch" of a sunset. Almost like the soft blush on a pretty woman's face when she smiles.