Saturday, September 19, 2015

Another information post: Annual maintenance for a diesel Class A

So, after getting my dental work taken care of, we decided to take care of the Alfa's annual maintenance.

In the past years we have just had our annual service done, mentioned it in the blog and went on with life. Recently I've been participating in a Facebook group with a number of people planning on buying rigs who have asked about the difference in maintenance cost between a diesel motorhome and a gas motorhome. Someone else will have to provide information about the gas rig. 

We have a 2007, 35' Alfa Founder with a Cat C7 engine, with 49,000 miles on her. We don't do any of our own chassis maintenance, and have all recommended annual services done at Freightliner Oasis Centers. An Oasis Center is a Freightliner dealer that has a separate crew for motorhomes. The advantage is that you don't have to vie for time with commercial truckers. (They always take priority at non-Oasis Freightliner centers.)

We have our annual service done in fall, and always make an appointment in advance. Last year it was in Gaffney NC, this year it was in Tolleson AZ.

We pulled in Thursday afternoon and we given an overnight spot with full hookups. We were up and in the service advisor's office at 6:45 AM. The regular RV service advisor was off-site, so we had to deal with a substitute.

Because we went to an owner training class called Camp Freightliner and we have the owners' manual, we think we know what needs to be done. We had a checklist from the Freightliner web site, to which we made a few additions Thursday night. We went over our list with the service advisor -- can't remember whether we made any changes.

We went back to our coach and were surprised by a knock on our door a few minutes later. Our smart-looking young mechanic drove our rig into their service bays and we went to the customer lounge.

About 3 PM our service advisor said our coach was ready. 

We are members of the "Freightliner Chassis Owners Club (FCOC)" and are entitled to a 10% discount on parts and labor at Freightliner Oasis dealers. Their preliminary invoice fell a little short of the proper discount. It took about a half hour of negotiating, displaying of previous service invoices, and plain old obstinacy on Craig's part, but finally the service advisor said "I don't want to lose you as customers for an $18 difference of opinion" and got close to the discount we deserved. It's hard to understand why we have to introduce some of the best Freightliner Oasis centers to the FCOC discount as we travel around the country!

Our bill was $806 for a 19 quart oil change, 1 oil filter, 2 fuel filters, a quart of differential grease, cleaning of the radiator and Charge Air Cooler, leveling of the air bags, and most importantly checking/inspection of 43 points on the Freightliner checklist including draining water out of the air tanks, plus a number of little lubrications and adjustments. Plus tax.

They say that the biggest hurdle for a new owner of a diesel pusher RV is the first oil change. We're OK with this one.

Paid invoice in hand, we went back to our coach, plugged it back into its hookups, and enjoyed a quiet night with the windows closed and the air conditioning on.

Saturday we drove northeast into New Mexico. But that's another story...


  1. Yeah, when I griped about the cost of our maintenance on the fifth wheel, I did realize how much safer we are with it done. Good job fighting for the right discount amount.

  2. I don't understand why we often have to fight for what we are entitled to. I know people who just get creamed because they don't have the energy or will to stand up for themselves. I'd never put up with that. I find, also, it helps when I pull out the camera and tell them I have an RV blog with tons of followers and would be happy to put in a good review for them on my next post. Then I start taking photos of the facility and ask if they mind their photo being in my blog. I can't help but think I get better service when I do that. :)

    1. Don't read me wrong, we had EXCELLENT service, but it seems the Dealers don't recognize the Owners Club. Plus they let us come in the day before and stay with full hook ups, and stay the next night as well. To me that is worth $$. But it does seem that whenever we ask for a little discount that we think we have coming for one reason or another we have to fight for it.


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