The VIP Service Experience At Triple E

Lori Rabey
All articles Close

Editor’s Note: This post is written by a member of LTV’s sponsored content team, The Leisure Explorers. Do you own a Leisure Travel Van and enjoy writing? Learn more about joining the team.

As the number of outdoor enthusiasts continues to escalate, everything from available parts to reliable service is affecting everyone. Who hasn’t been told by an RV dealer or repair company that they can’t look at your RV for months? Or, when you arrive for a scheduled appointment, the right parts or knowledgeable staff is not available to complete the job? How about leaving your LTV with a service place only to find they keep it on their lot for weeks without even looking at it? It seems that the recreational vehicle industry can’t wait to sell you something but is seriously lacking in the ability to help you when something goes wrong. This article is written to give you another option when fixing something in your beautiful Leisure Travel Van.

My vision of RV maintenance is a proactive approach, trying to stay ahead of the curve instead of waiting until things go wrong. As a 90% full-time road warrior, I have had my fair share of “interesting situations” while on the road. I have also learned firsthand how hard it can be to get fast, quality repair work done when you are far from home. What’s worse is finding someone familiar with the LTVs that we trust enough to work on our RVs successfully. This void in the industry has made me choose an alternative location for warranty work and update repairs.

My 2021 Unity Murphy Bed, “The Bee,” will make her way to Winkler once a year to experience their V.I.P. service department to keep her in top form. Who else knows our LTVs by the back of their hand and can quickly spot what is not working and fix it? Not many places. Even if they can fix it in an appropriate time frame, do other repair shops stock all the parts used in our LTVs? Don’t get me wrong; I utilize my LTV dealer, local businesses, and remote mechanics for a great percentage of my service requirements. I have also cultivated relationships with multiple LTV and Mercedes Benz dealers in both the United States and Canada to make life on the road a little less unpredictable. But nothing can compare to having your LTV serviced at the “Mother Ship” in Winkler, Manitoba.

The Bee arriving at Winkler’s service center

Why make the Journey to Winkler, Manitoba?

For me, three important reasons to head to Winkler once a year are listed below.

Exceptional Knowledge of the Workings of my LTV

Visiting Winkler will save you time and energy. Everything will be fixed quickly, with dealer parts, and serviced by the same people who made your RV. Anyone with a brand new LTV should plan at least one trip to Winkler before their warranty expires to have anything covered under warranty fixed. Not only will you explore a new area of North America while driving to Winkler, but you will also avoid the back and forth that needs to transpire to have warranty work done elsewhere.

The Winkler experience is not just for people with new LTVs under warranty. Triple E services all of their models and can ship you a huge assortment of parts to fix just about any situation. If you have had an accident, they can also fix your LTV for you IF your insurance company allows it. If in doubt, call Mary; she knows the ins and outs of what can and cannot be accomplished.

Speed, Efficiency, and Customer Care

From the first contact with Mary Fehr, who is the front face of the service department, to arriving the night before your appointment and finding complimentary electric, water, and wi-fi hookups, to the prompt knock on the door at 7:30 am by Kevin Friesen to check you in, everything about your service appointment runs like clockwork. This is because great care is taken well before your appointment to ensure the parts are on hand and the proper staff and equipment are available to address all the issues specific to your visit.

Most service appointments at Winkler take just a few hours or a day to complete, even when you have multiple items on your list. Some may take a little longer, but those usually involve more complex fixes with multiple steps or need time to dry or cure before subjecting your RV to driving. One thing’s for sure: I guarantee this will be one of the best vehicle service appointments you will ever experience.

The Quality of the Experience, Bar None, is Exceptional

Triple E wants its customers to be happy with their product, and they exemplify this in their service department. I was consulted several times during my two recent visits while the work was being performed. There is an open line of communication between customers and staff, and the end result is you being happy. They communicate quickly if something will take longer than anticipated, and they work with you to ensure everything on your list is completed to your satisfaction. The service department is intimately familiar with your RV, and they also know when things are not working correctly and have the tools and parts to get the job done promptly. They also provide various other services beyond warranty items, including systems testing, winterizing, out-of-warranty installs, upgrading to new components in the LTV line-up, bodywork, painting, and a variety of other services. The shop rate is in Canadian dollars, very reasonable, and quite a bit lower than my local dealer’s.

My service experience was initiated because my rig was about to leave its warranty period this past fall. I decided to have all of my onboard systems tested, inspect my roof sealant, identify and fix a constant annoying squeak, and ensure my levelers and slide were in top working order. I also had them replace my original DC-DC charger with the new Redarc that Triple E uses to increase my battery charging efficiency. A piece of trim on my bathroom vanity was replaced because I had chipped it during my recent eight-month travels.

I had two appointments booked to identify and fix the squeaks that had become annoying, and Kevin was a great sport on the road tests to facilitate this. In the end, the shop found three squeaks, roof sealant cracks were repaired, all my systems were performing at top output, and I am enjoying both a new vanity and better battery charging power out of my new DC-DC charger. My bill was very reasonable for all the work I had done. It was time and money well spent.

How Do You Set up a Service Appointment? The Do’s and Don’ts

I think it goes without saying you cannot simply show up at Winkler and think you can have your RV serviced. You need to have an appointment because Triple E has limited spots per day available for service calls. Appointments are booked several months out, especially in the summer, so if you plan to stop in Winkler on your next voyage, call ASAP. Mary tries to reserve spring and summer appointments for LTV owners who drive long distances to Winkler, giving preference to those who are incorporating a stop at Winkler into a current, long-distance journey. The best rule of thumb is to start the process as far in advance as possible; two months of lead time is a good benchmark, earlier if it is high season. The earlier you contact her, the more options and flexibility she will have in booking your appointment.

Please avoid the last week of August and the first two weeks of September because this is when the Annual LTV Fall Rally occurs, and most spaces are reserved for attendees. Also, due to the regular production shutdown, appointments are not available in the last week of July and the first week of August.

Initial Contact

Your first step to booking a service appointment would be to contact Mary, the Service Receptionist in the service department, preferably by email. Mary is the organizational guru that sets each appointment up for success. She will ask you many questions about what needs to be addressed and ask you for photographs, if applicable, of items that need to be fixed or replaced. You must provide your VIN number so she can cross reference her files and ensure she knows the correct chassis year and coach specs they will be dealing with. All of this info gathering allows Mary to see what finishes are in your rig and ensure the appropriate parts needed for your job will be available upon arrival.

If you are dealing with a malfunctioning piece of equipment, Mary might request a video of the offending system so that the service department can assess the needed work level. This also allows the shop to schedule the equipment needed to fix your problem. If there is a conflict with a similar repair on another RV, Mary will suggest another day for you to arrive. The service department limits the number of coaches scheduled for service each day so that they can maximize the shop space and human manpower to make sure your repair is completed promptly.

Your initial email should include a complete list of everything you wish to have done during your service appointment. Please do not show up at Winkler with a laundry list of new things to add to your appointment. The parts or shop space may not be available based on the time allotted for your service.

Arriving at Winkler For Your Appointment

Plan to arrive in Winkler the night before your appointment. I have listed several options to stay locally close to the service department, or you can stay right out front of the service department on a first come, first serve basis. If you are arriving a few days ahead, you may wish to stay at either of the first two options.

  1. Lake Minnewasta in the nearby town of Morden. This local favorite campground has spacious sites, full, semi, and non-serviced hook-ups, shower houses, hiking, biking, water sports, rentals, and a dump station. This was a go-to spot for owners arriving at the Fall Rally because you are just a short 18-minute drive from Triple E.
  2. Winkler Campground is in the heart of Winkler itself. Walking distance to downtown, this park boasts a water park, tennis courts, walking paths, showers, drinking water, a dump station, and 15 and 30-amp electrical sites. It is about four blocks from the service center.
  3. Harvest Host: Icon Technologies Located blocks from the service building, this harvest host location tends to be quieter than staying on the main strip. Full hookups, gift welcome bag, great people, four spots available. Located at 925 Robin Blvd. E., Winkler. Please access your Harvest host account page to book a free night’s stay.
  4. Dead Horse Cider Company, located in Stanley, Manitoba, is a short drive from the Winkler service center. They provide free dry camping for one night and cidery tours upon request. This is not yet a harvest host location, so please call and speak to the manager about staying.
  5. Triple E Customer Service Department. Stay right on the Triple E property outside of the service department building. This is hands down the closest you can stay to where you need to check in for your service appointment. Electrical and water hookups are available for up to four LTVs, and free Wi-Fi is available just steps from the service department. First come, first serve applies. Why get up early to drive here when you can spend the night and have extra morning time?
If you stay in the parking lot at Triple E’s customer service center, you will receive electrical and water hookups and free Wi-Fi.

Check-In on Service Day

Check-in starts at 7:30 am sharp. If you have chosen to stay off the Triple E campus, please ensure you arrive before 7:30 am. Kevin Friesen is in charge of checking all of the LTVs in the service department, and he will do so to determine how much work is being done to the coaches scheduled for the day, most work rigs first, and so on. Please do not try to jump the queue; he wants everyone to get in and out in a reasonable amount of time. When he knocks on your door, Kevin will review the list of service items Mary compiled with you, ensuring everything is on the list. He will then direct you into the lovely waiting area, grab your keys, and off your rig will go.

A very spacious lounge in the service department is at your disposal during your visit. It has refreshments, work areas, and a lounge to keep you comfortable and allow you to catch up on emails or post your newest trip pictures with the free Wi-Fi. Well-behaved pets are welcome, and Mary ensures you know everything available during your stay. My favorite tool is the huge touchscreen TV that lets you surf the internet if you do not have a tablet or computer. Mary can assist in pointing out local restaurants and businesses you can walk or taxi to for a meal or shopping. She has compiled a great five-page brochure of everything to do in Winkler so you can maximize your downtime. You become part of the Triple E family when you are in for service.

The infamous Mary Fehr, keeper of the “magic file cabinet,” front face for the Triple E service department, and quite possibly the most organized person I know.

Another fun activity you can do while your LTV is in for its spa day is take the Triple E factory tour. During the months of May through September, these tours are conducted on Tuesdays starting at 1:00 pm. The tour is about 1-1.5 hours long, and an employee will walk you through all the production on the assembly line. You will get to see RV’s in production and be able to tour several floor plans. This is an amazing look into how your LTV was made and will give you an even greater perception of who Triple E is and how committed they are to building a superior product. Employee pride is on display everywhere. If you want to take a tour, you must sign up online.

This is the main building at Triple E and where you head if you are on the factory tour. I highly recommend having Mary schedule your appointment on a tour day so you can experience all the time and attention that goes into making an LTV.

Mary also has what I like to call her “magic filing cabinet,” which is packed full of large-scale “how-to” procedural info sheets on almost any LTV topic. During your visit, she will be happy to give you any and all of these easy-to-read and follow maintenance sheets; all you have to do is ask.

Finally, another great reason to visit Winkler for service is to have hands-on access to the parts department. Triple E’s parts department stocks anything LTV, which can be shipped anywhere in North America. It was a special treat to gather what I needed in spare parts for my Mexican Caravan tour in February and not pay shipping. The biggest bonus was buying paint touch-ups for both of my LTV colors. Paint may not be shipped, so visiting the factory has its bonuses. These are not always available, so please make sure Mary knows you are interested in them well ahead of time.

The Drive to Winkler

I have now driven to Winkler from three different directions and have experienced some great sites along the way. For most of us, even Canadians, it takes a bit of planning to incorporate Winkler into a travel schedule. But I can recommend some pretty special places that will turn a service trip into an adventure.

Arriving from Western Canada

Anyone who has driven across Canada can attest that it takes some planning and many days to go from Western Canada to Winkler. I broke my trip from Calgary into three days since there is just me to do all the driving. For those less adventurous, I would stick to the Trans Canada Highway 1A.

A stop I am always looking forward to is the town of Medicine Hat, Alberta. The city runs a Municipal RV park called Gas City on a tall bluff overlooking the South Saskatchewan River. Know for its Medalta pottery, oil and gas, microbreweries, the world’s tallest Teepee, and the beautiful Cypress hills; this is a great place to stay for a night or two heading west.

The world’s tallest Teepee. If you look closely, you can see my LTV in the background.
The street art in Medicine Hat is amazing. They also host a jazz festival and numerous other events in the charming downtown.

Moosejaw, Saskatchewan, is also an interesting stop on the 1A highway, and it is famous for its role in the prohibition era. Dubbed “The Las Vegas of Canada”, it was a center for illegal bootlegging, gambling and underground tunnels that housed all these enterprises. Al Capone was rumored to hold up in Moosejaw when things heated up back in the US. Moosejaw is also home to the NATO air training base and Canada’s Precision flying team, the Snowbirds. Mac the Moose dubs itself as the world’s largest roadside moose, and when I stay in town, it is at the Prairie Oasis RV park, right next to Mac.

Prairie Oasis is an easy place to hang your hat for a night. Located one block off the Trans Canada highway, there is food, gas, and Mac the Moose beside the park.

Brandon, Manitoba, is a vibrant university town on the banks of the Assiniboine River and is historically known for its hub role in the Canadian Railway, agriculture, and the old Canadian Fur trading route. Its young atmosphere attracts music and food lovers, and it is a great stop on the way to Winkler. There are several campground options and a couple of harvest hosts. I stayed at the Turtle Crossing RV Park because it was away from major roads.

Arriving from the Central United States

For our American LTV owners, arriving in Winkler can take several routes. Some of the more interesting stops to consider are listed below.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the town of Medora are fabulous locations to include in a trip north to Winkler. This stunning National Park is split into two units, the South and the North, and encompasses two different parts: the North Dakota Badlands. Scenic drive loops and multiple hiking trail options allow visitors to experience the rugged terrain that shaped much of Theodore’s conservation policies. Wild horses, bison, elk, deer, pronghorn, and prairie dogs can be readily found throughout both parks. Camping is available in two campgrounds, in the nearby town of Medora or at Sully Creek State Park, which is a short drive away. Medora is known for its lively Western musicals and nice shops and restaurants.

Sunset from Wind Canyon Trail, South unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
My first come, first serve campsite in the north unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Grahams Island State Park is a favorite location for North Dakota boaters. Hosting some of the larger fishing tournaments in the north-central region, I found this state park to be relaxing and peaceful. Stunning lake views, quiet nature walks, and large campsites were a welcome addition to my travels.

Gorgeous Devils Lake at sunset
My huge campsite at Grahams Island State Park. This place had great hiking trails and jaw-dropping lake sunsets.

Icelandic State Park is another great choice for a stop heading toward Winkler. This state park showcases the pioneering spirit that has been a keystone in the area’s development. Restored historic buildings can be toured, and the park offers hiking, boating, and swimming.

International Peace Gardens is an oasis of gardens, outbuildings, hiking, water sports, etc. Originally dedicated to the peace and friendship between the U.S. and Canada, the gardens are very close to the geographical center of both countries and provide a 2300-acre respite for travelers in both countries.

Itasca State Park is Minnesota’s first state park and the second oldest state park in the US. Famous for being the location of the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River, it also has some of the nicest old grove pine forests in this area.

The head waters of the Mississippi are so unassuming. It is amazing to think that the mighty river starts in this quiet park.
The State park was created to preserve the old grove fir trees around the headwaters of the Mississippi.

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park is the oldest State Park in North Dakota—home to the Mandan tribe, the first village that dates back to the 1500s. You can find Custer’s home here, with wonderfully preserved fort buildings and an incredible interpretive center. Nestled on the banks of the Missouri River, the area was also a camp location for the Lewis and Clark expedition west. Hiking and biking are prevalent throughout the park. If you are interested in Western expansion or exploration, this park is for you!

My campsite was huge and right on the Missouri River
The view from the top of the park overlooking the Mandam village and the Missouri River

Custer’s home in the Fort. He leads the failed Battle of the Bighorn from here.

Arriving From the East

Those of you arriving from the Eastern part of Canada or the U.S. may want to explore the Canadian Shield in Eastern Manitoba or visit some charming Canadian Provincial and U.S. National and State Parks along the way.

Whiteshell Provincial Park in Manitoba is a wilderness set aside to preserve the Precambrian rock features that make up the Canadian Shield. There are several great camping locations within the park, boating, hiking, biking, and incredible archeological sites of First Nation tribes that have inhabited the area for over 8000 years.

Consisting of 3 million-year-old Pre-Cambrian rock, the Canadian Shield is a special place.
Dating back over 8000 years, the First Nations tribes in the Whiteshell area have left their rich cultural history mark throughout the park. This petroform can be found at Bannock Point.

Rushing River Provincial Park in Ontario is one of my favorite kayaking destinations in central Canada.

A photo op just before entering Rushing River Provincial Park gives you an idea of the terrain.
The main boat launching area within the park is a wonderful spot to see the sunrise and sunset on the water.

Kayaking in this park was a magical experience. Short and long water trails are available to explore.

Voyageurs National Park in Northern Minnesota is one of those remote places you need a reason to go and visit. If you are a water fanatic like I am, this park will provide you with an amazing array of experiences. I suggest a boat tour if you do not have your own watercraft.

This sums up what you come to: Voyageurs National Park—a paddlers’ and boaters’ paradise.

It can be hard to find nice camping in this remote area. Most of the state campgrounds cater to fishing parties. I chose to park my LTV at the Pines of Kabetogama Resort. Near a cute holiday town, this place provided me peace, quiet, and beautiful views of the Kabetogama Lake.

Set on the edge of a tall hill, this was my campsite for four delightful days of paddling.
The harbor docks on the water below the campground.

If you’re convinced after reading this story to stop in Winkler for a service appointment, I can promise you it’s worth it. The care and dedication that each employee at Triple E provides are unlike any other.

Lori Rabey

Related Posts