Heater Woes – More Repairs

Travel Journal – January 11, 2016

[one_fifth][/one_fifth]Yesterday I enjoyed working on our Workhorse, polishing it up after all the rain we’ve had lately. At lunchtime I went inside the Coach to make my lunch and check my email. I see there is a new post from my old health insurance company, Health Net.

I’m having a heck of a time canceling the policy that I had for two years. As of January 1st I switched over to Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Montana. Health insurance is a difficult and long topic, especially for Full-Timers. This is due to all the traveling we do. I still have a doctor in California that I go to for my annual physical, but I also have one here in Mesa, Az. Occasionally I have gone to walk-ins here in Mesa and in Tennessee. Because of this I have chosen the Medicare Supplement Plan F. It’s basically a full coverage PPO, but lot’s more than an HMO, which isn’t available for what I do. If you’re interested in looking into Full-time health insurance further, Nina over at Wheeling It has done a lot of research and written several interesting blogs on the subject.

After two calls, a fax and a charge on my bank account, Health Net now says the fax wasn’t signed. Something I wasn’t told on the initial call.

I then spent over an hour trying to get my “two year old” hardly used, Epson printer to work. I needed to print the cancelation, sign it and then fax it back to Health Net. When I say hardly used, I have printed less than 150 pages. A lot, if not most of those were failed test pages. I had purchased a ream of paper when I bought the Epson and have about two thirds left. Oh, I did print about forty pictures also.

First I try replacing all the the ink cartridges just to make sure they are full and fresh. This alone is almost the cost of a printer today. Then in the printer settings, I select best quality. Finally I patiently print a copy which had faint green text. I wish I hadn’t purchased Epson, this was my second one. Both seem to have developed a printhead problem and would cost more to fix than to buy a new printer. This is sad to me, such a waste of material and expense. Next I order a Canon printer on sale from Amazon and now I wait for delivery tomorrow. Needless to say I will NEVER buy another Epson printer again.

Today the Woes Continue

Is it just because I am retired and getting older? It seems as though am I dealing with more things that need repair and more often. In the last week other than regular maintenance items; I had the plumbing leak, the printer problem and now this morning I wake to a reasonably warm bedroom, but I hear the forced air heater kick on, then off after only a few minutes never igniting.

My bedroom was kept warm by a small area heater, which is currently my electric one. I also have a Mr Buddy propane heater if I’m boondocking or dry camping. There it is again, heater on, no ignition, then off. I get up. The thermostat shows it’s 57 degrees in the living area and I have it set to come on at 60 degrees. The outside temperature is 34 degrees.

Jagger who is sleeping at the foot of my bed, looks up at me confused. I decide to get up even though it’s only 5:30 am and turn on the electric fireplace. I also turn up the temperature on my area heater in the bedroom and dress for snow 🙂 while Jagger continues to enjoy the warm bedroom.

The first thing I check after going into the living area is do I have propane? I turn on the stovetop, it ignites and continues to burn. That tells me my propane is not out. Bummer. I also test the gas side of the water heater. It works too. Last I go online to the Grand Design Owners site for some help. I see several other owners have had similar problems. My final check will be when I get ready for the day. I’ll go outside and switch over to my full propane tank to make sure there is no valve or filter  problems. I don’t think there is at this point. I haven’t had the burners on the Atwood heater cleaned yet, but I think it’s the igniter as I don’t hear it clicking at all.

Changes Coming

After completing the final check by switching my propane tanks over, I call the manufacturer, Atwood. Mark answers the phone at Customer Service. He proceeds to walk me through a reset of a “sail switch” that can get stuck. Since the access wall is still open from the plumbing problem, he walks me through climbing on my back into the basement. Hmm, I can’t see the reset switch that he was referring to and then he asks me if the heater is installed standing up. His comment, when I tell him that it standing up is “oh yeah I am familiar with the way Grand Design installs this one”. “It’s almost impossible to get to without taking something out.” I didn’t quite understand what he was saying, but the bottom line was, they will cover the cost of repair since my two year anniversary is not up until February 10th.  I hang up from my call with Mark and immediately call the RV Doctor, a mobile repairman who I have used before here in Mesa, Arizona. Hopefully he can get me back in business soon. In the meantime I will be fine with my back up plan.

I have determined that all these repairs and expenses related are not going to wreck my day or week for that matter. So Jagger and I go for a much needed walk at our beautiful city sports park nearby. Fresh air (it’s up to 36 degrees now) good company and a beautiful day ahead. Jagger and I will be spending the afternoon with grandkids. What more could you ask for?

Until next time, Safe Travels…Gary


5 replies

  1. We had an Epson printer a few years ago, and had the same issue, although ours might have been caused by buying one of the ink refill kits. I learned later that inks don’t always have the same size particulates in them, and some will clog the printer heads. SO now we only buy the ink cartridges made for the printer.

    We also had an HP printer, and no matter how it was aligned, it would always end up an eighth of an inch off at the bottom when printing any kind of business cards. I can understand why some Marines were shown on YouTube taking an AK-47 to one!

    I’m not familiar with the coach you have, but it seems they all have their quirks in design that make something hard to work on. I used to do all my own work, on RV’s and vehicles, too, but because of things like you described, I usually depend on good mechanics these days. Right now, I have a windshield washer on the Chevy van that hasn’t worked since we’ve owned it, and they buried it so far down in behind everything that you can’t even get your hands down in there to diagnose it, nor can you get the tank out without disassembling half the front end of the van! I’m going to ask about it at the body shop when we get the deer damage repaired, as maybe while they have the grill out, they might be able to fix it or replace it.

    Best wishes, and stay warm!


    • I wish I was more mechanically inclined. I have a fear of making things worse, but as I am learning I’m gaining a little more confidence.

      I like what you said about the marines with the AK-47’s. Maybe I should drive out to the Grand Canyon and video it going over the canyon wall. Okay enough of that, wouldn’t want to pollute!


  2. I like your attitude in not letting this most recent problem wreck your day!! Based on your troubles I have decided to never buy a 5th wheel from the maker of Grand Design!! On a more positive note, be happy that you are in Arizona, as the outside temp here in Illinois right now is 19, with wind chill of 1…..headed for a low tonight of 2, with a wind chill of -15!!!!! Fortunately, we have virtually no snow!!


    • Thanks John, I’m determined not to let it get me down. I am a little disappointed in all the repairs I have made over the last two years almost. Even though some of them were fairly minor and maintenance items. This is my first RV of any kind so I don’t have anything to compare the problems I have had. Most of the items were components made by other companies, like Lippert, Furrion and Atwood. Time will tell. I still have a year left on the structural items the Grand Design built. One thing I know for sure, they have stood behind the product 110%, whether there bad or a component.

      Yes I am definitely glad I am in a warmer climate, especially without my heater. Stay warm…


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