Why Do People Get Obsessed About Making Mods To Their RV?
Occasionally we have an email exchange or call from someone who is a fan of “mods.” They have either keen researchers and love to spend an incredible amount of time with “mods” with their existing RV. They are usually obsessed with reading the “boards” of something like Airforums and firmly believe they can competently make any modification they want. Of course, these DIY fans have a multitude of YouTube channels and websites that offer an endless supply of “must-have items” that are better than the parts installed in their RV, motorhome, or travel trailer. Of course, there is some truth to this need as the RV industry is generally not known to pursue “quality,” so some “fixing up” is required by each owner upon delivery. The irony is that you purchase an RV for the enjoyment of the great outdoors. So, the idea that this becomes entirely eclipsed by spending all your time “with mods” seems well, utterly counterintuitive to us. So, where did this all start? And where does it end?
Generally, the “vintage” RV market is composed of DIYers. You have to hit up the Vintage Weekend at Pismo to see examples of all their incredible efforts on display. While restoration shops are doing some beautiful work, doing a ground-up restoration on an RV is like doing one for a collector car, and it’s not for the faint of heart. There are a plethora of decisions to be made, which is often expensive when the final bill is tallied since it reflects the work of experienced craftspeople. The vintage RV “projects” taken on by owners, while can be incredibly gratifying, can last for years and often are “never quite finished.” Generally, this is because the enjoyment derived from the “mod-ing” is usually higher than the desire to go camping.
The second part of this trend is the need for the dealer to increase billing through the service department, which can be frustrating for all involved. For instance, exchanging a traditional battery for a lithium iron phosphate should never be just a swap. Yet it provides the owner with the idea they are “upgrading” while ignoring if this even makes sense or impacts the functionality of their RV or motorhome or travel trailer. This trend is exploding at RV dealers as they are attempting to make up for the margin lost in the sales.
So, where does that leave everyone? Manufacturers like us take a great deal of consideration into the design and build process. RVs are no longer as simple as they were 10 or 20 years ago. So the idea that it’s like doing a home renovation will soon fade. Consider that the RV industry is becoming more like restoring a 1950’s car versus one made in the last five years. It’s just not as easy.
Additionally, the warranty you receive in the RV industry is based on the component parts design and how they are integrated into the entire system. Changing design elements without a deep understanding can impact weight, safety, warranties, and general operation. For that reason, any change made should be seriously considered, along with the knowledge and skill level of those making it. Most importantly, understand why a change is critical to you. Will it truly improve your camping experience, or are you a DIYer at heart, because that awareness will help guide you. You don’t want to be “that guy” who called us last year and said, “You know, it started with sealing a leak, and I’ve been working on my AS for ten years. The kids have grown up, and my wife’s decorating dream has come and gone, and it’s never left the driveway.”