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Old 05-05-2004, 10:31 AM   #1
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Exclamation Prices too high?!

I am a little concerned about something and seek comment from members. I have always heard that Ace Fogdall RV is a great place for Airstreamers to have work done. I dragged my trailer over 400 miles to the place for some needed repairs and some items I thought I might want done. First quote I got was for a new furnace and installation: $950! Now, I know Camping World sells the furnace for $512 or less and charges $145 to install it. With my Presidents Club discount it would be less than that. Why so much higher from A.Fogdall? The quote was "new furnace $650 and $350 to install it, due to modifications to get the furnace in place." Huh? What the hell is that all about?
I am planning on having a new water heater installed and some other work and my trailer is sitting there right now, a full days drive away. I am very nervous that I am being set up for a fleecing!
Any comments?
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Old 05-05-2004, 10:44 AM   #2
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No personal experience, but I have heard Camping World is not real thrilled to work on Airstreams. You may want to contact them to see if the $145 install charge also applies to Airstreams.

Ace Fogdall, I believe, is more of a Mom & Pop operation, so I would expect their product prices to be higher.

What kind of Airstream do you have?
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Old 05-05-2004, 11:12 AM   #3
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ufatz,
You must be more specific if you want precise feed back.
What year is your trailer? What size trailer and furnace?
New furnaces are different, will not just pop in and work. The Airstream has ducted heat, which the furnace must be adapted to. One must literally use component from the old furnace, and fabricate a well fitting manifold on which the new furnace will sit.
The exhaust and air intake will likely be different also, so now you're talking skin work.
$ 350.00 is a bargain, if you ask me. This is a full day job for an owner, and close to that for a RV technician.
The price of the furnace is questionable, Again, you must specify which furnace they're quoting.
I would bring these questions to Ace Fogdall, if they're sincere, they'll explain "why so much".
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Old 05-05-2004, 11:22 AM   #4
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UWE brings up some very good points.

Airstream model and age?
Furnace model?

At $65 dollars an hour that comes out to only a little over 5 hours of labor.

Revising ducting, wiring...etc is pretty time consuming.

And Camping World will not touch your Airstream if it is an older model. They don't even like working on newer ones.
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Old 05-05-2004, 11:24 AM   #5
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i have used camping world and haven't had any problems. if they do it will be done right. air cond units are a little more complicated . they will install a ac with a new drain pan or no drain pan. reason given old pans break in the removal process. you must provide the drain pan, camping world doesn't have a source for the pans.
RV dealers charge max retail and max labor. so go get your unit and take it to cw if money is an issue. i would be calling cw and making an appointment to get furnace and hot water heater replaced. probably both items will require some cabinet removal to remove and install the furnace and hot water heater. that is why cw doesn't like airstreams.
the price they quoted is probably the norm for the rv world. i haven't used fogdall but i have heard they do good work.
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Old 05-05-2004, 11:27 AM   #6
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rv dealers here get $78 and up. i think jackson center upper their labor prices.
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Old 05-05-2004, 11:37 AM   #7
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Honestly, the local camping world does not impress me the least bit. Most of their basic merchandise seems cheesy, same stuff as Walmart, just more of it. And what's with the time share and insurance guys bugging you inevery other isle....not my thing.
I have no experience with their service dept. As they would not even install a Winegard in place of an old winegard for me. I bought it elsewhere and did it myself in 45min.
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Old 05-05-2004, 12:21 PM   #8
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There is an alternative to Ace fogdal in the same area..... RV Revive, an independent shop owned and operated by a former Airtream technichian. Ryan has done all our work, and we could not be happier. He's the kind of guy that tells you what is needed, and is willing (more than willing, actually) to ell you what you need to do the job yourself. However, he has 17 years of experience as a tech at Ace Fogdal.... check out the site here:
http://www.rvrevive.com/
I will tell you this, I just called RV Revive and asked the shop rate.... Sherry said it is $74 an hour. Then I call Ace Fogdall and asked the same thing. They said they couldn't tell me that as things are flat rated, they quoted by the job, and she didn't know what the hourly rate was. Hmmm. That kind of thing never makes me happy.
Ryan's charges might seem high for an hourly rate, but I'm only charged the actual time he invested.... if a job books for 2.5 hours, and he does it in 1.6, that's all I pay for. And I've never known a compentent mechanic that couldn't beat the flat rate by a considerable amount!

Elizabeth in Iowa
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Old 05-05-2004, 12:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cedars
Ryan's charges might seem high for an hourly rate, but I'm only charged the actual time he invested.... if a job books for 2.5 hours, and he does it in 1.6, that's all I pay for. And I've never known a compentent mechanic that couldn't beat the flat rate by a considerable amount!

Elizabeth in Iowa
I believe that a competent mechanic, beating the flat rate time, deserves to be paid. He only beats the time if he/she knows what they're doing, which means they already paid to learn this, why should'nt the customer?
I prefer flat rates, because often things go wrong, and they actually work overtime on the flat rate pay, which is in your favor. This happens especially on older trailers and cars.
It has been my experience that "time and materials" jobs turn out way more than a flat rate.
I am not trying to discourage from using Ryan's services, just wanting to add my experience to the equation.
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Old 05-05-2004, 12:42 PM   #10
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We have decided to install BAL stabilizing jacks and although we are waiting for the hardware that was supposed to come with the jacks, among other misadventures, we'll be installing them ourselves.

The cost of the jacks, which are especially made to fit Airstreams cost us $183.00 plus $27.00 shipping from the retailer. When I talked to a BAL representative to find out what type I needed, she quoted me an msrp of over $250. Looks to me like a 2 hour job for people like us who will be doing this the first (and I hope, only time), which would be $150 labor at my husband's rate. so we're in it for $ 360.

I searched the forums of course to bone up on these things, and one person posted a little over a year ago that his local AS Dealer quoted him over $600 to install them on his Overlander. Other posters said that AS dealerships quote the jacks themselves at $204. Some have posted that Camping World has them as cheap as $154 w/ $20 shipping. In the Overlander's case, I don't know why a dealership would quote such a high price for installation, except maybe that trailer needs a special repair or modification before the jacks can be installed.

The trouble with chains like camping world is that you might have a great experience at one, and a total disaster at another. It's no guarantee, but an AS dealership or authorized service shop will give you the best work because they know what your trailer requies - for some it is worth shelling out the extra dinero.


Labor can really add up - if you can do some of it yourself, like removing an old air conditioning unit yourself before the repairman installs the replacement, you can save quite a bit. Other times people are so inept that they end up doing more damage and costing themselves more money than if they let the repairman do it all.
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Old 05-05-2004, 08:01 PM   #11
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Prices too high?!

Quote:
I prefer flat rates, because often things go wrong, and they actually work overtime on the flat rate pay, which is in your favor. This happens especially on older trailers and cars. It has been my experience that "time and materials" jobs turn out way more than a flat rate. I am not trying to discourage from using Ryan's services, just wanting to add my experience to the equation.
Uwe, I wholehartedly agree with your statement. After having started out in the collector car arena then joining the Vintage Airstream contingent, I too have experienced the unexpectedly large bill when working on the "time and materials" jobs when comparing similar work done on the "flat-rate" with both my 40-year-old Airstream and my 39-year-old Dodge. It is often a real scavenger hunt to find dealers and other service providers who are qualified and willing to work on a collector car or Vintage Airstream - - it is one of the reasons that I have been a customer of my favorite Airstream dealer (Ace Fogdall RV) since the mid-1990s, and my favorite automobile dealer's service department since the late 1970s. It also helps that with both my Airstream dealer and my automobile dealer I have never had to take a unit back to have the same problem addressed more than once - - in both cases, I am a very satisfied customer.

Kevin
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Old 05-05-2004, 08:16 PM   #12
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I agree with previous poster about Camping World. I had a very solid, professional experience with one in Virginia (as an out of towner) and have had two disappointing service experiences with the local one in Denton Texas. Both times, had appointment with detail on work to be done. Got there and found out they did not have the right parts to complete the job. Took the trailer to a local independent who immediately called out for the parts and installed. Service and professionalism is specific to the leadership managing that particular shop. I've also had good experience with the local Airstream Service shop in North Dallas.
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Old 05-06-2004, 06:10 AM   #13
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Follow up to Price to High post

I have spoken again to Steve Oldani at Ace Fogdall and we have the work scheduled. Just to share information with you, my trailer is a 1988 Excella 29'. We have added Pergo flooring and have all awnings, Polar Shield, two Fantastic Fans etc. It is our second A.Stream and we have had it for six years. The total to replace the furnace is going to be right around $1000. Probably $750 to install a new DSI water heater. Steve tells me that in each case "modification" and "fabrication" is neccessary to get the new appliances to fit. A shredding rear tire ripped off our dump handles and tore our a two foot section of aluminum around the body (rocker area I'll call it) To repair that "requires" dropping the pan AND the tanks so the valves and the valve dump handle extensions can be repaired. Another $1000.
I share these costs with you without comment and only so you will have an idea what it may cost you someday to have this sorta work done.
Warren W. Wiley
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Old 05-06-2004, 07:28 AM   #14
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Yeah, the cost of repair is high. I had my water heater replaced and there was
some modifications needed to be done to the water lines. The new heaters have
hook ups in different places. It would have taken me much longer to get the job done myself, and I figured I would do better working and getting paid, and leave the
job to someone who has the tools and experience.
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