In June I received a recall notice from Detroit Axle that the sway bar needed to be modified on the Freightliner XCR chassis as it could malfunction and cause a problem with handling leading to an accident. Consequently, I was instructed to contact a Freightliner Service Center and schedule it to be fixed. The two closest facilities are in Jacksonvile, FL and Savannah, GA. Initially, I contacted Tom Nehl Trucking in Jacksonville and was informed that they had no knowledge of the recall. For the next two days I went back and forth with Detroit Axle and Freightliner trying to straighten out the confusion. Finally, I was able to get the two on the same page with the recall and ultimately I decided to take the motor home to Freightliner of Savannah for the fix. This facility is about 7 miles further from our home than Tom Nehl, but it is right off I 95 and more convenient than the Jacksonville location. It is about 70 miles from our home in Brunswick.
I dropped the motor home off on Friday, June 24th for the repair. I was told that they would have to order parts which should take only a few days to arrive and that it shouldn’t take long to fix it once they have them. One thing I did notice when I dropped it off was that it was the only RV on the lot. The rest of the vehicles were Freightliner trucks. I also noticed that the labor rate for trucks was $125 an hour and $150 for RV’s. Although they didn’t hesitate to say that they would work on my motor home, I was getting the sense that trucks were preferred and probably the priority.
Of course the ordered parts were slow to come in and they didn’t all arrive at the same time. The first ones arrived in about a week and the rest of the order came in a few days later. The service advisor said that they would get the vehicle in the shop that day or the next morning at the latest. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and then I felt like I was continuing to get assurances that the work would start when, in fact, they had no idea when they were going to get it in. I had been told on three separate occasions that they would call me with updates, but I never received a call. Finally, on the afternoon of Wednesday July, 6th I was told that the RV had been pulled into the shop and that it should be ready the next day Thursday. She further stated that they would call me on Thursday when it was ready. I never received a call.
On Friday, Liz and I were heading to Charleston, SC to see our son and his family for the weekend so we had to drive right by the service center. I stopped to check on the status and was told by the service advisor that it wasn’t ready yet, so I asked what the problem was as it has been in the shop since Wednesday. She said that they were having problems with the air bags. She said that she wasn’t sure, but hoped it would be ready by the end of the day. I asked if I could talk to the tech and see what kind of problems he was having and she said no. She said they were not allowed to pull a tech off the line to talk to a customer. I really didn’t know what to say at that point so I walked out. The more I thought about her statement, the more my blood pressure began to rise. I thought to myself that it isn’t right for them not to take the time to talk to me about what problems they are having with the vehicle. So, I decided to go back in and ask for the service manager.
When I returned and asked the service advisor for the service manager, she hesitated and then turned and went into the back office. I want to stress that I was pleasant during this exchange as I have been through the entire process. It took several minutes before a tall man with a heavy Irish accent emerged from the back. I’m not sure if he was the service manager or a tech as he never introduced himself and he was tight lipped and stern faced. Certainly not friendly. I introduced myself and explained to him that I had a very expensive, new vehicle in the back that was having some kind of problem that concerned me and that no one seems to want to give me any details on what is going on. He explained that this fix has taken them more time than they expected and that the motor home design was making it hard for them to fix. He said that if it would have been a truck, that they would have been done two days ago. The problem now, as he explained it, was getting the air bags back into their position. He told me that it should be ready that evening (Friday) and that I should call. He said that once they get it back together that they needed to test drive it and also see if it would need an alignment. At this point I thanked him and Liz and I left for Charleston.
On Friday afternoon I called and was told that it wasn’t ready and that I should check on Monday afternoon. My concern now is not only when am getting it back, but also that they fix it right. They have been working on it for 2 1/2 days on a repair that was listed by Detroit Axle to take 4.6 hours. I certainly don’t want to take it back and find out on our upcoming trip that there is a problem with their work. We will be heading home Monday morning so we will be stopping in Savannah – hopefully to get our motor home.