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RVSA Vehicle Service Academy (Attendance Notes from howson)

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  • RVSA Vehicle Service Academy (Attendance Notes from howson)

    The intent of this thread is to document my experience attending the 10 week Recreational Vehicle Service Academy (RVSA) course in Palmetto, Florida. https://www.rvsa.net/ The hope is these notes will help someone else who is "hands on" to decide if taking RVSA's course (or a similar course) is something to consider.

    13 Sep (Day 1)
    Nothing cosmic on the first day. The morning consisted of orientation and introductions. There are 24 seats in the class, but not all of them are expected to be filled. There are 21 in the class that includes three women. Two of the guys are fellow Grand Design owners, both of them in Solitudes. The attendees range in age from two young men in their early twenties to retirees like me in their sixth decade. The experience of the attendees range from none (one guy was a chef and some don't even own an RV!), to retired pilots (military and civilian), to an automotive mechanic, to former business owners and then shadetree RV mechanics like me.

    I'm glad I got signed up early for this fall class--the next two classes are already full with a waiting list.

    What I think I gleaned from this morning's session is that RVSA is a well-recognized trainer in the RV industry, but RVDA/RVTI is the industry recognized certifying body. The instructor encouraged attendees to consider getting the RVDA/RVTI certification via testing after completing the RVSA course, stating that if we can pass the tests of the course we're taking we should be able to easily pass the RVTI test. Something to check into later. An RVSA Master Technician Certification is available after 1 year of experience in the field and recertification is required every 5 years (administrative hoops to jump through showing that you're still working in the industry).

    Many of the attendees are planning on opening their own business. Since many were former business owners that wasn't surprising. Most of the younger attendees were sponsored by someone (who has a business or interest in the RV industry) and already have a job lined up.

    After the introductions we watched a clip of the classic "Who's on First" by Abbott and Costello. The instructor said the comedy routine mirrors what happens when people talk about RV systems. Having been on forums for a number of years I couldn't agree more.



    We then covered the syllabus for the class. I was pleased to see the agenda topics closely mirror the channels on our Technical Forum. The only exception is that hydraulics and slides do not have their own syllabus objective, they are lumped into one session entitled "Accessories".

    The first two weeks will be almost exclusively devoted to electrical theory starting from the very basics to advanced. Some of the class members don't know anything, so this will be good for them.

    After lunch the instructor went through the history of RVs, defining exactly what an "RV" is, and then went through the different configurations and their designations. In a room with broken air conditioning (it was 91 at one point) it was rough paying attention.

    I don't expect much (if any) feedback on this thread, but if something isn't clear or an entry generates a question, feel free to post it. Otherwise, I'll try to provide a short update each night for the 10 weeks of the class.

    Howard

    P.S. Shout out to Rudy and Andi. Rudy attended the course last year and was the one that told me about the school.
    Last edited by howson; 09-14-2021, 06:34 AM.
    Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

    Howard, 2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

  • #2
    howson Congratulations sounds like a very interesting course. I bet several of the members here could teach sessions there with the knowledge I've seen.

    I look forward to reading you updates and if any specific questions arise will most definitely ask.
    Joseph
    Tow
    Vehicle: 2018 GMC K2500 Denali Diesel
    Coach: 303RLS Delivered March 5, 2021
    South of Houston Texas

    Comment


    • #3
      Day 2 (14 Sep)
      The day started with a short review of yesterday's material and then--boom!--test #1. There was almost glee in Rob's (the instructor) response to the groans from the students.. (I passed!)

      Today was death-by-powerpoint in a room that (again) was without air conditioning. We asked if the school was trying to condition us to working in a field environment...(just kidding). New compressor will hopefully be installed tomorrow or the next day. I'm bringing a small fan to school tomorrow, though.

      The morning session was interesting as it covered liability associated with working on an RV, insurance, bonding, and other similar topics. I know little about this area (being retired military) so it was interesting to hear the stories from the other students who have owned business'. I was very surprised when the instructor said it was difficult to get liability insurance to cover the repack of bearing and brakes were definitely an expensive rider to get (if you can get it at all). If anyone (especially colan ) has any insight or personal experience with this issue I'd like to read it.

      Late morning and then again after lunch was all about safety practices. Tools, ladder use, fire extinguishers, lock-out/tag-out, federally standardized safety color coding...not exactly pulse-pounding material. Of course it sets the baseline for everything that will follow so it's necessary, but b-o-r-i-n-g.

      Howard

      Edit: A website mentioned (that I haven't explored--yet--for additional online continuing education about RVs) is https://www.rvda.org/rvlearning
      Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

      Howard, 2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

      Comment


      • #4
        howson I have a few of these.
        https://www.homedepot.com/p/B-Air-1-...5-BL/207012958
        Handy little puppies.
        Joseph
        Tow
        Vehicle: 2018 GMC K2500 Denali Diesel
        Coach: 303RLS Delivered March 5, 2021
        South of Houston Texas

        Comment


        • #5
          howson , Rudy says expect an average of at least 2 tests/week. And maybe you can get the syllabus changed around so you can work on AC's this week instead of electricity .

          Have you had anyone at the campground come up and ask you to work on their RV yet? That happened to him about an hour after he got home from his FIRST DAY of school - word had already spread that he was attending the class.
          Andi
          Brookings SD
          2018 Reflection 337RLS
          2019 GMC Sierra 3500HD Duramax

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by howson View Post
            Day 2 (14 Sep)
            The day started with a short review of yesterday's material and then--boom!--test #1. There was almost glee in Rob's (the instructor) response to the groans from the students.. (I passed!)

            Today was death-by-powerpoint in a room that (again) was without air conditioning. We asked if the school was trying to condition us to working in a field environment...(just kidding). New compressor will hopefully be installed tomorrow or the next day. I'm bringing a small fan to school tomorrow, though.

            The morning session was interesting as it covered liability associated with working on an RV, insurance, bonding, and other similar topics. I know little about this area (being retired military) so it was interesting to hear the stories from the other students who have owned business'. I was very surprised when the instructor said it was difficult to get liability insurance to cover the repack of bearing and brakes were definitely an expensive rider to get (if you can get it at all). If anyone (especially colan ) has any insight or personal experience with this issue I'd like to read it.

            Late morning and then again after lunch was all about safety practices. Tools, ladder use, fire extinguishers, lock-out/tag-out, federally standardized safety color coding...not exactly pulse-pounding material. Of course it sets the baseline for everything that will follow so it's necessary, but b-o-r-i-n-g.

            Howard

            Edit: A website mentioned (that I haven't explored--yet--for additional online continuing education about RVs) is https://www.rvda.org/rvlearning
            Yep liability insurance can be a tough nut - try getting it for roadside mowing or a hay operation - anything AGG. . I like the updates Professor - Please keep them coming
            2018 Reflection 150 Series 220RK 5th wheel. Reese R20 Titan hitch, Steadyfast system, 2004 F350 King Ranch dually

            Comment


            • #7
              When I retired, I had a lot of requests to work on other peoples’ boats. The liabilities and the cost of liability insurance quickly ended that retirement income plan. The comments on the cost of liability insurance for working on RV bearings, brakes and suspension, make perfect sense.

              Rob (not your instructor )
              Cate & Rob
              (with Border Collies Molly & Angel and their kitty Gracie)
              2015 Reflection 303RLS
              2014 Ecoboost F150 with Heavy Duty Payload Package (retired)
              2022 F350 Diesel CC SB SRW Lariat
              Bayham, Ontario, Canada

              Comment


              • #8
                How about flood insurance in a AE flood plain? Another story. If the risk is minimal, you can get insurance on most anything since they do not like to pay out.

                Jim
                2017 Imagine 2600RB
                2015 GMC Sierra 4x4

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Andi View Post
                  howson , Rudy says expect an average of at least 2 tests/week. And maybe you can get the syllabus changed around so you can work on AC's this week instead of electricity .

                  Have you had anyone at the campground come up and ask you to work on their RV yet? That happened to him about an hour after he got home from his FIRST DAY of school - word had already spread that he was attending the class.
                  I'll need to fix mine first--Fran did a load of laundry today and water dripped from the coroplast under the washer's holding tank. (sigh) Sure would like to go one trip without having to fix something. :(
                  Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

                  Howard, 2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Same here Howard. Curious...ask the instructors if they are seeing a trend in RVs moving toward higher quality or backwards.

                    Jim
                    2017 Imagine 2600RB
                    2015 GMC Sierra 4x4

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by howson View Post

                      I'll need to fix mine first--Fran did a load of laundry today and water dripped from the coroplast under the washer's holding tank. (sigh) Sure would like to go one trip without having to fix something. :(
                      Oh, no, Howard - hope it's something simple. Maybe it would make a good class field trip - a hands-on repair lesson
                      Andi
                      Brookings SD
                      2018 Reflection 337RLS
                      2019 GMC Sierra 3500HD Duramax

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MidwestCamper View Post
                        Same here Howard. Curious...ask the instructors if they are seeing a trend in RVs moving toward higher quality or backwards.

                        Jim
                        I won't quote the instructor, but his opinion ryhmes with "wrap".
                        Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

                        Howard, 2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          15 Sep (Day 3)
                          Today it was all about tools, fasteners and sealants. It was also an expensive day as there are several electronic tools required to purchase (from a source of your choice) to complete the course. I have a DMM (a Southwire 14070T I picked up a Lowes...I think) and a manometer (Yellow Jacket 78060 Complete Test Kit), but I don't have a gas sniffer or an RMS Clamp Meter (I have a cheapo but it's not good enough).

                          For the sniffer I ordered the recommended UEI Test Instruments CD100A Combustible Gas Leak Detector. For the clamp meter, a Fluke 323 was recommended but I sprang for the more expensive 325 as it will measure DC current, too, and has a couple of extra features I might find useful (like auto shutoff when I forget to turn it off). Time will tell if these tools are worth the $$$. I also bought a Klein outlet tester that has an integrated GFCI tester. (I didn't know they existed!)

                          The only new thing I learned about fasteners is the grade of the bolt can be determined by the identification marks on the head (for SAE) and numbers (for metric).

                          For sealants and tapes, the one thing I wrote down as a note is seam tape for the roof substrate is actually sheetrock ("fiberglass") tape. Not that I'm ever going to replace a roof or it's substrate...I hope... but it's a gee-whiz piece of info nonetheless.

                          There was much discussion on bearings, the different types, and their purpose. After reading about "radial loads"., "axial loads", and all the different types of bearings made to carry the different loads (and trying to memorize it all in case there's a test in the morning)...I'm going to need a few adult beverages tonight.

                          In case you're wondering, the air conditioner still isn't fixed. :( New compressor supposed to be installed by this Friday. "Checks in the mail"?

                          Howard

                          Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

                          Howard, 2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think you made a good choice on the meter.
                            John & Kathy
                            2014 Reflection 303RLS
                            2014 F250 SC SB 6.2

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Howard
                              If you have a chance ask your instructor about identifying counterfeit bolts. Years back the US was flooded with them (mainly China /Korea if I remember correctly). I still run across a few. The markings and primarily the coloration are off. They were roughly grade 2 in grade 8 markings. It would be interesting to know if it is still a problem now. I do remember that any graded bolt without a manufacturer mark (blank with just the grade markings) is suspect. Like most of HD''s low end stuff.

                              https://ratchetstrap.com/pages/doe-suspect-bolts
                              https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/fi...ing_Manual.pdf
                              https://www.energy.gov/ehss/download...fasteners-1992
                              https://www.energy.gov/sites/default...%203-29-12.pdf

                              Be sure to do your homework

                              Keith

                              BTW Thanks for sharing about the new tools - you know what you have done now don't you? $$$
                              2018 Reflection 150 Series 220RK 5th wheel. Reese R20 Titan hitch, Steadyfast system, 2004 F350 King Ranch dually

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