How to Find RV Parts for Your Repairs

Our 2001 Jayco Qwest, Peggy Sue, has needed quite a bit of TLC since we bought her 2 years ago!

If the thought of buying an older pop-up or camper scares you, it shouldn't.  We jumped in blindfolded and feet first.  We have managed not to drown or kill each other.  In my books, mission accomplished!  So, how do I go about tracking down random RV parts?  I've written about this topic before.  Today I'm sharing more tips and retailers to help you begin treading these murky waters.

The Search

First, Google is your friend.  Get ready for some late night searches, emails and reading up on the parts that you need.  If you have an owners manual, even better, you can locate the parts and number specified in it hopefully.

Put Google to work for you when searching for RV Parts.

When you are searching for a part, be specific.  Use part numbers.  Use the brand.  I would advise putting the part number and brand in a quote joined by the word 'and'.  For example:  "Jayco Qwest" and "part number 1704"  I don't know if that is a specific part number, but you get the gest.

Online Shopping

Your search results may turn up some specific companies and vendors that have the part you are seeking.  I advise you contact the vendor/online store.  Ask questions.  You can email photographs of existing or broken parts you are replacing.  But reach out to a real person to help you.  In many cases, these people can tell you if you need additional pieces and parts to complete your job.  And even better, if you contact a retailer that no longer carries what you are looking for, they might even suggest one that does.  I've had companies recommend other resources for parts they don't carry more than once.

I have used 3 online companies for both big and small purchases for our pop up camper.
I recommend all three companies.  Coleman Pop Up Parts is the most responsive by phone and email.  Excellent service.  Even though they sell Coleman Parts, they can get Jayco Parts and are happy to do so.  Super polite on the phone!

Pop Up Parts does a great job also and will recommend other places to seek out hard to find parts.  They are knowledgeable and to the point when it comes to inquiries.  Be patient if it takes them a little time to get back with you.  I've had almost immediate responses at times and to wait at other times.  But, I've had good luck with them. 

Canvas Replacements is also a good retailer.  They are a little lagging in the follow-up time on email.  Like a lot.  Don't give up.  You might want to just call them.   They are worth the time!  This retailer also offers things like awnings and other parts that are helpful 

Our new pop up camper canvas from Canvas Replacements.  We love how it looks, and it fits perfectly!

There are a lot of universal parts that you can easily access through Amazon also.  I have used Amazon for parts like my electrical hatch and city water inletJR Products is one brand you can readily find on Amazon for basic repairs and maintenance.  I have used this brand for more than one project.

Local Dealership

You can also go to a dealer that handles your brand of a camper.  I would have recommended this option hands down until about 2 months ago until we had to break up with our RV dealer.  If you have a great one, stick with them.  If not, move on.  But, a dealer will have access to order parts they don't have in stock.  Better yet, they may have the actual parts you need in stock.

Dealerships can also install a part that you don't want to tackle yourself.  They have trained staff to do these jobs.  Parts and service at your disposal can save you a lot of time and in some cases money!

This was the last time Peggy Sue went to our RV Dealership to have the canvas put on.  We will use a new dealership the next time we need work to be done.

I'm not against going the dealership route to find parts.  The local Jayco dealer where I live will not service campers that they didn't sell.  They won't even order you the part.  So older campers are out of luck unless you purchased directly from them.  It's an odd business model, but I didn't make that decision.  When you call a dealership looking for parts and service, ask if they service campers not purchased at their dealership.  

The Cost

Fixing things on an older camper can be really inexpensive in some cases and cost very little in others situations.  Our canvas was the most expensive update so far.  The canvas and installation were over $1,000.  And, it was worth every penny!  

Replacing the electrical port, city water inlet, and grey water outlet were all very inexpensive fixes.  All three of these repairs cost less than $60 combined.  The door pegs were also very inexpensive for the part, but the shipping cost was a little pricey.

The electrical hatch and city water inlet from JR products were simple and inexspensive fixes for our camper!

I'm making a repair on our side body seam now.  I'll share a before and after soon.  What you need to know about this is, I had to purchase a long piece of material that must be shipped by freight.  This is expensive.  The part was less than $10.  Shipping - $90!  UG!  I did not want to do this, but it needs to be repaired badly.  It will be really terrible if this spot on our camper causes wood to rot.  So, it was worth it to make this investment.  The damage that would take place from not making the $100 repair could well exceed this cost.  Sometimes, you just have to do it!

Budgets and Priorities

I've said this from day one -  make a budget.  Decide what needs to be done NOW.  Prioritize the list.  And work through it like a checklist.  If you have big ticket repairs that have to be done first, you may have to wait to glam up that interior.  That will not be the worst thing to happen to you in your camping adventures.  To be honest, we did a lot of things backward.  In hindsight, we should have bought the canvas first and redid the inside later.  But, I was hell-bent on a cute camper, and I got one.  

The biggest mistake most any camper buying a used or older camper make is jumping into the wrong things first.  The function should be your biggest priority.  All the cute can come later.  Having a cute camper is way less cute when you are getting rained on from a leaking canvas that has split again while you are setting up.  Not that this ever happened to us.  (full disclosure - it did)

The was the last time we camped with our old, torn canvas.  It took 5 grown ups and a ton of time to get her put up for that trip!

So if you have a "new to you camper", go through it with a fine tooth comb.  Find everything that might need to be fixed or updated.  Make a list and prioritize based on what you need most for your camper to function as it should.  Start finding the parts you need and get started.  

You will thank me for this advice, even if you don't like it.  Your family will too.  My husband is a much happier camper with a new canvas.  When I get this side seam done along with the paint job, we are officially done!!!  Like not another thing to do except basic maintenance.  I can't believe it.  

What were some of the first things you did to your camper?  If you have a new to you camper, what are you planning to do first?  I'd love to hear from you!  

Until next time...