When I was in the Townsend, TN area in February, 2014 and needed some work done on my motorhome, I asked around with other RVers for the best place to take it in for warranty service (Winnebago factory authorized). Hands down, the majority recommended Chilhowee RV Center. At an RV show, I had the chance to meet the owner, Fred Waggoner, and Wayne Albert, Service Manager, and they impressed me enough so I was further convinced to take it there.
My first concern was that I had noticed water spots on the left side of the dash during a rain.
He sent pictures to Winnebago and my service rep there said the best thing would be to replace the entire end cap. They are shipping it to Chilhowee and the body shop will do this job. I’ll update about that in a couple of weeks.
The next issue he addressed was my Ideal Rest bed. Although it wasn’t losing air, it would not fill and even for someone who likes a soft bed, it was too soft. First, I had to giggle at a big guy like him trying to work in such tight quarters under an RV bed. But he was able to access the pump and discovered it was bad, so they ordered a new one. Let me add my 2 cents here that in my opinion, Ideal Rest is not nearly as quality a product as the Select Comfort bed I had in my previous RV. The hoses are fixed to both the air chambers and the motor, so not as easy to deal with as the quick-connect kind on Select Comfort. Winnebago is going to get with the manufacturer of the bed to get that fixed.
Fantastic Fan: The bathroom fan’s cover would raise using the automatic switch, but the fan wouldn’t turn. They are ordering the parts necessary for that fix.
Engine battery: While parked, it would no longer hold a charge overnight and even though I could start it from the house battery boost, since the automatic windshield shades were tied to the chassis battery, I couldn’t raise or lower them when battery was dead. I hated that loud alarm that went off whenever I had to turn on the engine to deal with them. The periodic use of the shades weren’t enough of a draw to create this, but Wayne pointed out that radio could quickly draw down the engine battery. He showed me that the switch should be set to House instead of Engine. I had always thought if it was on Engine and the radio was off and no lights on, it wouldn’t deplete the battery. Even though the lights still stayed on even when radio wasn’t playing, it wasn’t a problem for the house batteries since they are being charged while plugged in to shore power. Even after 13 years of fulltiming, I learned something new – thanks, guys! But it was also determined the Napa battery was bad and it was replaced at a prorated cost.
Ceiling Fan: I loved the idea of having circulating air in my bedroom in the summertime, but the fan was too noisy to be able to sleep at night. Zeke discovered that the bushing had been installed after the E-clip instead of before, which stabilizes the fan blades. That simple fix made all the difference and no more noisy fan!
Malia’s 2 Cents: So far I have been very impressed with these folks and their work ethic. The obvious care that Zeke took as he addressed all the fixes I needed and the way he patiently explained everything to my non-techy brain was very reassuring to me. I consider myself very fortunate to have found a company like this to whom to entrust the work on my rolling home. I’ll update as other work is completed.
July, 2015 update: After a lug nut flew through my motorhome windshield while I was visiting Yellowstone (RV Windshield Woes), the guy who replaced it told me about some issues with the way he had to get the windshield out. He said it took him about three times as long as it should have because it was so hard to find and access the screws and fasteners from the inside as he normally would.
Apparently, when Chilhowee had the front cap off, they screwed in from the top and it was ridiculously hard to access with the front cap on. I think Chilhowee should have taken this into consideration since RV windshield replacement is not an uncommon thing. See Factory Fix or Local Shop blog post for more info on that.