I had a sinking feeling as we left our campsite in Glendive, MT, yesterday morning. The big bang I heard when I retracted the bedroom slide had brought Odel inside to ask questions and, as we examined the boxy base of our bed (which moves in and out with the slide), we could see damage to the foot end.
Like many RV beds, our mattress rests on a hinged board that can be lifted from the foot, giving access to both the slide mechanism and a storage area. We couldn’t see anything wrong with the slide mechanism… but what do we know???
Since the slide had retracted, we hit the road, hoping for a return phone call from a mobile RV mechanic we had contacted. As we headed towards our next stop, we got the call. Jim (Jim’s RV Solutions, no website) offered to meet us in the parking lot of the Pilot Truck Stop in Billings and take a look. Billings was only 30 miles out of our way, so the plan sounded good to us.
Okay. If you EVER need RV service in Billings, call Jim: 406/670-7726 (I also added his info to rvservicereviews.com). What a great guy!
Jim pulled up beside us as soon as we entered the lot and was soon inside examining our problem, while Odel and I learned all about our slide. On the inside of the slide wall, a long piece of angle iron runs from one side of the slide to the other, bolted into the floor of the slide. Drilled into the angle iron is a 1/2 inch or so hole. Through this hole, a huge bolt connects the angle iron to the end of the slide mechanism, a big, kinda’ greasy, gear driven, metal bar that runs perpendicular to the angle iron and actually moves the slide in and out.
Over time and a combination of stresses (probably including – but not limited to – storing too much heavy stuff under the bed, a heavier mattress than the original, a sagging frame board and 8 years of constant wear and tear), the angle iron had stretched and bent around the bolt hole as the slide mechanism pulled and pushed on the bolt. The BANG I heard was the sound of the fatigued metal giving way and snapping. Wow!
In the three hours Jim worked on our slide, he diagnosed the multiple problems, braced the sagging framing, dashed to a machine shop to fabricate a repair to the angle iron, installed it, re-aligned the slide in its big opening, and repaired the damage to the foot of the “box” that supports the bed lid and mattress. He was knowledgeable, focused, speedy, and cheerful. He had scads of tools and parts with him – when he needed some bracing, he pulled out an electric saw and a piece of wood and built what he needed.
The total bill was $275: $60 for the service call, $60/hr for three hours of labor, and $35 for the repair to the angle iron. We were on the road headed to our campground in Hardin at 5:30, repairs completed. Not only did he spare us a 2-week stay in Billings while we waited in line at a repair shop, but I believe his work was both more thorough and less expensive. THANK YOU, JIM!