The Refrigerator Saga

Last January (2023) I noticed some cracking on the interior plastic of my refrigerator. The fridge still worked but I hated looking at the cracks and at the time we had no clue as to what had caused them. Knowing that I want to sell this trailer some day I decided to replace the refrigerator. Watching the videos on YouTube showed that it wasn’t that complicated. So I ordered a refrigerator and then had it shipped to my house. I hired a mobile RV tech and we gave it a go.

We got the old refrigerator out of it’s cubby hole and then tried to get it out the front door. We couldn’t. There is a sharp, narrow 90 degree bend to get around the kitchen cabinet and out the door of the trailer. Try as we might we just couldn’t do it. I helped him put everything back and gave Lance Parts and Service a call. The appointment was 3 months away and I had to ship the fridge down to Lancaster, CA where they were located. That turned out to be another whole blog post. Let’s just say, I finally got it down there.

We told them we would be arriving the night before so we could be there in time for the 7am appointment. They said we could stay in their parking lot where they had electrical and water hookups. We took advantage of the electrical, didn’t need the water. The drive down was fairly exciting, just a normal day on Highway 99 and the Tehachapi Pass.

We spent the evening in their parking lot but they have wonderful landscaping so it felt more like an RV park. Also, the temps were low enough that we didn’t need the AC. We sat out in the grass and enjoyed the cool evening breeze before turning in. We dropped the trailer off at the service location which is basically the delivery entrance for the manufacturing plant. It took an hour to get it all checked in. The lady at the service counter said she’d call me when it was done.

It took them longer than they expected because the fridge was the same width but slightly shorter. They didn’t want to give it back to me with a gap above the fridge so they had to fab up a new piece to close the gap. That meant it would take an extra day.

Sidebar: The lesson I learned was that I should have ordered the replacement refrigerator through Lance. That way it would have fit the existing cutout. I tried to save a few bucks by doing it myself and ended up paying more. Lesson learned.

Cristy and I had to stay at a hotel over night so we chose one next to food and shopping down in Palmdale. I have to admit it was kind of cool to see the Lockheed Skunkworks hangars. I thought they would be a bit more secretive. The two Lockheed Martin hangars dominate the landscape. The next morning at breakfast I got a call from the Lance service department that the trailer was ready. That was good news as I thought we wouldn’t get that call until late afternoon. We finished breakfast and drove back up to Lancaster.

When we went to pick up the trailer we found they just left it right outside the gate.  Barely any room to maneuver my truck to hitch up.  No place to turn around.  They expected me to back out past two parking lot entrances and out onto the main road.  With the way people drive down there I told them no way.  I asked them to turn the trailer around.  They ended up moving it out into the turn lane in the center of the street. 

So what are my thoughts on the whole experience?  Lance did swap out the fridge and did a good job fabbing up the new wood surround.  The fridge was the same width but a bit shorter and they finished it off nicely. The door swung the wrong way.  I asked them why they didn’t go ahead and reverse the door swing so it would match the old refrigerator. I basically got a “not our job” answer from them.  They then told me the door isn’t reversible anyway.  Uh-huh.  I reversed the door this morning with zero experience.  Took me about 30 minutes.  They could have done it in 10.  Not a huge deal but geez.

I also asked them to look at the gap between the bathroom wall and the ceiling.  They said it didn’t look right but didn’t look like a huge problem either.  If I want them to investigate why it happened I’d have to bring the trailer back at another time and leave it with them for a day while they measured things.  Okay, we may do that.  I’m also going to take a picture of the gouge they put in the door frame when they swapped the fridge.  They can fix that next time too.

So I guess I expected more from them.  Maybe I expected too much.  I feel like it was the same service level I get at the DMV.  Just… basic stuff.  No going out of their way to make the customer happy.  Just doing EXACTLY what the customer asked and no more.  Okay.  That’s fine.

I really like our 1995 travel trailer.  We enjoy travelling in it. That being said the customer service is lackluster.  We will probably not be a repeat customer.  We will be wanting something bigger next time anyway.

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