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Old 08-10-2012, 02:19 PM   #1
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Brake work!!

I have a new axle and brake assemblies and have not been able to get the brakes to work at all. So I took it to the local Airstream dealership to have them take a look. Got the call that it would be at least 5 hours labor at $98 an hour to get my brakes working. Apparently the old wiring for the brakes has totally disintegrated and needs to be replaced. I do know that the previous owner did not use the brakes at all during his ownership of 13 years. Also the trailer does not a have a brake away switch so they are going to wire that in also. Seems like it might be a smart thing to have. Does a $98 hour time/charge for the brake/electrical work seem reasonable?
I have also had them look at the frig to see if they could get it working on gas. Word from the mechanic is that I should not waste the money on the old unit and just get a new one if I really wanted to run it on gas. Hate to do that now as it still works really good on AC. I think I will be getting a second opinion before worrying about that problem.
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:35 PM   #2
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Hi, one of our local Airstream shops charges $120.00 per hour, but that doesn't always mean anything. The $100.00 per hour shop might charge 5 hours for a job and $120.00 per hour shop might only charge 3 hours for the same job. The total amount of the bill is the bottom line.

For your answer, it sounds like a fair charge to me.
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:15 PM   #3
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Bob, I don't guess I will really know the total cost until they get into the job. If they do it right and it all works I think I will be happy. Sounds like a lot to me, but at least I will not be totally shocked when I get the final bill.
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:37 PM   #4
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They do charge a lot per hour. JC was $90 when I was there a few years ago. Fixing Airstreams is not cheap. I believe the brake away switch is required in most places. I know it is in TN.
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:51 PM   #5
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Bill, Technicaly under Mississippi law I am not required to have a brake away switch because my trailer is officialy under 2000lbs. I think it is a smart device to have so I am having them install one.
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:11 PM   #6
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Here's how I used to figuer it.

Hi, when I was a mechanic, there was three basic ways to appreciate labor charges. In order below.

(1.) Most important was how well the job was done; Quality of work.

(2.) Second was the cost to the customer.

(3.) A job that I could do at the dealer, with my experience, and my tools, that I could do in about one hour would take most people at home more than eight hours to do, if they could even do it at all. [what is your tme worth?]
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:12 PM   #7
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I really find it hard to believe that your original wiring has totally "disintegrated". It is more likely that you have a loose connection somewhere or your old umbilical does not match your tow vehicle. New axle eliminates a lot of potential problems. Breakaway switch is no big deal to wire in. Any good mechanic with a continuity tester and a 12 volt source should be able to locate the problem in short order.
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:34 PM   #8
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If the were replacing the wiring "and" the brakes maybe 4 hours but IMO to just rewire should take no more than 2 hours.

I would get a second opinion dealers and not always the best place for that type of maintenance.
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:02 PM   #9
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If the were replacing the wiring "and" the brakes maybe 4 hours but IMO to just rewire should take no more than 2 hours.

I would get a second opinion dealers and not always the best place for that type of maintenance.
I second that.

Andy
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:04 PM   #10
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If the fridge works on AC then it probably just needs the burner cleaned or a new thermocouple which is about a $20 part. I would fix it if the door gasket, and the rest of the inside is in good condition.
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Old 08-11-2012, 08:11 AM   #11
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I tried at two other local RV repair shops to have them take a look and fix the brakes. Neither one wanted to take on the job. So that left me with the dealership. It seems that the other places are not real thrilled about working on Airstreams for some reason. I went ahead and told dealership to go ahead with the job as I really do not have any other alternatives at this time. If nothing else it will be worth it for peace of mind.
Refrigerator: I think the problem is in the ignition. I cannot get it to spark when going thru the burner lighting process. I do get some flickering of the pilot light when manually putting a flame to it but it does not stay lit. I guess it is time to learn a bit about refrigerator repair. It works too well on AC to toss it out and get a new one.
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Old 08-11-2012, 09:26 AM   #12
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Try rvmobile.com for great technical info on the fridge.
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Old 08-12-2012, 07:26 AM   #13
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Try rvmobile.com for great technical info on the fridge.
Will do, thank you,
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Old 08-12-2012, 08:09 AM   #14
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Due to the size and configuration of your trailer, I think you will be very unhappy with the options for a new reffer unit. I suggest you vacuum out the burner very carefully and see if you can adjust the burner to burn efficiently. It might be that debris is in the propane lines also. When ever we do LP work, we disconnect all the appliances and blow out the lines. It is astounding how much stuff can be in there. In damp climates there is often a tar like material that collects in the low spots. If someone disconnected a fitting, often spiders find the opening irresistible and must enter. The remains can easily clog an orifice and cause the flame to burn erratic.
Have you considered just running new brake wire up to the junction box where the umbilical cord comes into the body? It is fairly easy to do and you could run it along the LP lines. No one would see it and you would save a bunch of money that way. I would be willing to bet you have a bad ground between the umbilical and the battery and that is why the brakes are not working. When the new break away is wired in, they will need to solve that issue for sure.
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