I took my 1998 Pleasure Way (Dodge van conversion) into the Rocklin, CA Camping World service dept on Oct 1, 2010, and requested the following service:
1. Service the generator (oil change and air filter). I also mentioned that the generator was not turning on from the remote switch in the cab, and that it had not been serviced in a long time and was likely very dirty.
2. Repair a cracked drain under the kitchen sink
3. Passenger side mirror has play, see if it can be tightened to stay in place while driving.
The service person said they could not service the generator if it would not start, and that there would be charge of $175 to diagnose the generator problem. I asked if that fee would apply if the generator could be started simply by resetting a circuit breaker. He did not know but a service supervisor finally agreed that there would not be a diagnostic charge if the problem were simply a fuse or a reset. I repeated for the service supervisor that the generator had not been serviced in a long time and asked him to see if it could be started without using the remote switch, per the Onan owner's manual.
Later, I received a telephone call from the service desk advising that the generator service had been completed (evidently they did get it started), and that the switch problem DID require a diagnosis and that the problem had been traced to circuit board that would not take the remote start signal. He said it would be necessary to remove and reinstall the generator to replace a circuit board. The estimate for the circuit board was $244.44 and the labor estimate to remove the generator and replace the board was $325.00. He said it would take about four business days to get the board. I was away from my home state and could not spare the time to wait for the generator repair, so told them not to order the circuit board; I would have the repair done back in Colorado.
He said the broken drain could be repaired with a flexible tube, but they could not get to it for several days, so I declined to have that done. The estimate to repair the line was $60 for parts and $250 for labor.
They did not know how to tighten the mirror.
He also reported that a rear spring was cracked and recommended that springs on both sides be replaced, but suggested that it be done by a Dodge service department. (The work estimate that I received when I picked up the vehicle referred to a "collapsed suspension leaf spring").
When I picked up the RV the bill came to $436.49 for the generator diagnosis, service, and included a $125 charge for the broken drain. I pointed out that the drain had not been repaired. The desk clerk tried to make me believe that I owed the $125 for a diagnosis. I pointed out that I had looked under the van before bringing it in for service and the leak was exactly where I had described. He called in a service supervisor who agreed to remove the $125 charge as they had only looked at and verified that the drain pipe was cracked.
The final bill was $320.
I drove part way home and at the first stop flipped the remote generator switch and it started right up. I have tested it numerous times since then and it starts every time, so there is evidently nothing wrong with the circuit card. Had I been able to stay in Sacramento for several more days, I would have paid hundreds of dollars for work that was not needed. I learned later while discussing this problem with a fellow RV owner that a known characteristic of the Onan generator in the Pleasure Way van is that if the auxiliary battery is low, the generator remote start does not work. All that was needed was to drive a few miles to charge the battery and it worked normally.
When I got home I had my local mechanic put the van on a lift and three people made close inspection of all the springs, front and back, finding NO EVIDENCE of a cracked spring, nor were they collapsed more than normal for the weight of the vehicle.
I bought two pieces of flex hose and a small section of PVC pipe at the hardware store for about $10.00 and repaired the drain myself; it took 1 1/2 hours working on a crawler in my driveway. It would take less time in a garage with a lift where one could move around more easily.
In summary: The service at the Rocklin Camping World was expensive and grossly incompetent at best, and possibly fraudulent. Given that Camping World describes itself as an Onan qualified repair shop, I suspect the latter. I paid $175 for an unnecessary diagnosis. I paid $145 for service that amounted to an oil change, air filter and new spark plug in the generator; this is about twice what the same service would cost at my local garage.
Product or Service Mentioned: Camping World Repair.