It was over three years ago just after the county blacktopped one of the two roads that intersect just ahead of my driveway. I was returning from an early Fall Rally and the traffic was heavy so I had to exit the highway more quickly than I would have liked. As I ascended the slope into my side driveway, I heard a sickening crunch from the rear of my coach. Upon closer inspection, I found that the blackwater dump valve (at the minimum) had been drug off of the coach on the crown of the newly coated county highway. The photo below displays most of what I saw:
I was so aggravated with the situation, that I left it as it was and have used the Minuet exclusively for the past three seasons. Enough was enough, and I decided to take steps to get the damage repaired this spring.
Normally, this would have been a job that I would have automatically taken to Cedar Falls, Iowa for repairs at Ace Fogdall RV. The cost of fuel disuaded me from immediately jumping to this conclusion, and I contacted a local Brand X dealer whom I trust for service and repairs. Their evaluation determined that not only had the dump valve been irrepairably dmaged, the mounting flange on the tank had been fractured and was beyond economical repair as well.
I knew that I was fighting time, and that the technician was a little apprehensive about the repair. Upon my suggestion, we checked the Inland RV website and found that the blackwater tank was still available. That convinced the technician that the repair was possible which saved me in excess of 1,000 miles of travel for a round-trip to Cedar Falls, Iowa. That afternoon, I contacted Inland RV by phone and arranged to have a new tank as well as collector shipped to my technician.
I feel that I must relate my experience with the folks at Inland RV. My inquiry was handled promptly, and every effort was made to insure that all details were covered with particular attention to important details like my coach's VIN. For reasons unknown, my bank was having difficulties with its debit card processing and it took multiple attempts over a 36-hour period of time to get the transaction approved. I was kept informed of the process through the final approval by my bank. Just short of a week later the order arrived at my Technician's shop in pristine condition.
I picked up the coach two days ago and had the opportunity to visit with the Technician regarding his experience with the repair. He stated that . . . . "despite initial apprehension about attempting the repair; the parts being correct and requiring minimal if any adaptation made the job far easier than had been anticipated." The total cost of the repair including both parts and labor was just short of $1,000.00
The results of the repair are excellent. The valve and associated hardware fit the coach better than what was there when I purchased the coach in 1995. I would post photos of the completed job, but we have been having near constant storms and I haven't been able to get a clear photo of the repair.
Without the access to vintage parts through Inland, I would probably still be looking for a local shop to make repairs -- or I would have had to make the long trip to Cedar Falls -- or to Jackson Center to have the repairs made.
This coming Friday, it is off to my first Rally with the Overlander since 2005.