- Length of stay: 3 nights over 3 visits
- Cost per night: Free
- Discount: N/A
- Hook ups: 50 amp electric, no water or sewer.
- Site number/quality: This is an RV shop, not an RV park. But we wanted to include them in our posts. We made three visits. The 1st visit, we stayed overnight. The second visit, we didn’t have to stay overnight. And the third visit, we stayed two nights.
- Access: Just north of Ocala, about two miles east of I-75.
- Connectivity: Verizon strong, AT&T strong, T-Mobile strong.
- Return yes/no?: Next time we have some elective work done to our motorhome, we will try to have it done here. This was the best repair experience we have had since owning a motorhome. Highly recommended.
- Notes: See below.
- Website: Tri-Am RV Center
Our motorhome has latching mechanisms that stick out through the roof of our slide-outs to keep them locked in the retracted position when we travel. We have three latches: one on the driver’s slide , and two on the passenger’s slide. They operate through 8″ x 10″ openings in the slide-out roof. (This is such an obviously poor design that Winnebago no longer uses it.)
However, our slide-outs are covered with toppers to divert the water away from the opening, and any water that gets in during storms is caught inside a rubber boot and drained out through a small tube. But over time, we started to notice some water leaks inside around the latch openings. So we decided to have the slide-out toppers replaced and the latch drains cleaned out.
We chose Tri-Am RV Center in Ocala to do the job primarily because they had the toppers in stock, and they had a very good online reputation. We were very fortunate to have Tom assigned as our technician. He’s been replacing toppers for years as well as other maintenance and repairs, and really knows what he’s doing.
On our first visit, Tom replaced our toppers without any issues and did some additional routine maintenance on the engine and generator. We stayed overnight so that Tom could finish up our checklist the next morning.
When cleaning out and testing the rubber latch boots, Tom discovered that the two of them were not draining properly. He suggested that we replace them. So we ordered them from Winnebago, and scheduled a return visit in a couple weeks to have them install after the parts came in.
On our second visit, Tom installed the rubber latch boots per Winnebago’s instructions. It was a time consuming job, since he had to remove the slide-out toppers to get at the latches. Since he didn’t finish until late in the day, we camped overnight about 30 miles away. We planned to begin our journey out of Florida in earnest the following morning, but it rained overnight, and our newly installed boots began leaking again. We called Tri-Am and scheduled a third visit the following Monday.
Tom did some more water testing, and discovered that the boots were not fitting correctly and were not sealing as they should. He decided to reinstall them after a bit of trimming and some additional sealant. It took two days to fix the problem, a day for each slide. We could have left earlier, but Tom explained the importance of giving the sealant ample time to dry, so we agreed to stay as long as needed. After more water testing the next morning, the slides finally worked without leaking.
All together, it took three visits and three overnight stays to fix a single problem, but we don’t regret it. Tom and the team at Tri-Am did a great job of keeping us abreast of what they were doing to find a solution for us, and they ultimately succeeded.
In particular, we want to commend Tri-Am for not charging us anything for the third visit to trim and reseal the boots, even though it wasn’t really their fault, and for putting us up at their shop overnight with free electric. We thank Tri-Am, and especially Tom, for going the extra mile to make our motorhome leak free.
Nature has subsequently tested the slides even more thoroughly than Tom. A few days after leaving Tri-Am, we got a major storm with heavy rain for several hours. No leaks.