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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Good grief, it's already mid-September! I don't know where the summer went, but we went nowhere. We took our visiting friends from Omaha (they'd insist they're actually from Council Bluffs, Iowa, across the river) on a daytrip to Santa Cruz in the Bounder on which we discovered the transmission was still leaking fluid. To add insult to injury, we had to stop every five miles or so to reposition the sideview mirror on the passenger's side; constant folding in to fit in the driveway had finally taken its toll on the inaccessible screws that hold it in place.

So, in early July we returned the Bounder to the Oakland Truck Center (who had "fixed" the same problem back in May) to have them once again correct the leaking transmission. After three weeks I called them up to find out what was taking so long.

"Oh, we finished it last week. Needed a front end seal this time."

"So why didn't you call?"

"We did!"

"Sorry, wrong answer. I have caller ID and voice messaging. There were no calls."

"I'll go chew out whomever was supposed to have called."

"Since it was fixed last week, has anyone bothered to look underneath to see if it's still leaking?"

"Good idea! Hadn't thought of that one. I'll have someone go check and call you back."

They hadn't checked it the first time in May. It's now back a second time on the same problem. They're the mechanics and I'm the one who has to think up this question? Fifteen minutes later the phone rang with the news that the transmission was still leaking as bad as before. They'd bring it back into the shop and have another go at it. Three weeks later (again they forgot to call and again they never thought to check underneath after replacing the inner seal) Pat and I picked up Blue Boy and drove her down to a Fleetwood dealer in San Leandro to have the mirrors replaced.

The biggest annoyance with motorhomes is the fact that they are assembled from products made by various manufacturers and the consumer has to go to the manufacturer responsible for whichever system has failed. The transmission was GMC's territory. Mirrors are the territory of the motorhome's final assembler: Fleetwood. I picked out a new set of mirrors that would mount on the front of the coach and swing out to the side rather than replacing the current side-mounted mirrors. Should give me an extra foot of side clearance when backing into the driveway.

Carlos ordered my new mirrors and said they should arrive within ten business days. Allow an extra two days for his crew to install them. After three weeks and no call from Carlos, I called him. The replacement mirrors had yet to arrive and he called me back after talking to his supplier.

If you've had a more bizarre situation than this, I'd sure like to hear it. The supplier told him that these particular mirrors are never kept in stock but have to be manufactured with each order. Since Carlos had sent them an order to ship them rather than to manufacture them which was handled by a different department, they could do nothing and simply ignored the order to ship something they didn't have on the shelf. Now, if he wanted to submit an order to manufacture (he did), they'd be happy to connect him with the appropriate department.

The manufacturing department told him the soonest they could get the mirrors scheduled for manufacture was September 15th. Add ten business days for shipment. Add two more for Carlos' crew to install. If we see the Bounder before the second week of October, we'll consider ourselves fortunate. It damn well better be ready by Halloween weekend when we're scheduled to meet up with our RV group at Olema Ranch near Point Reyes.