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RV Tranny Repairs in Knoxville: Atkins and Son Transmission

RV transmission repairs in Knoxville -- that's what followed after the tow truck dropped us and our motorhome off at the transmission shop. When I last left you all, we had just used our road service to tow us to Atkins and Son Transmission in Knoxville, Tennessee. Our transmission had given out on the Interstate about 20 miles out of town.



RV Transmission Repairs in Knoxville

Our Motorhome Needs a New TransmissionOur Motorhome Needs a New Transmission

Our first contact at Atkins and Son Transmission was with Michelle. She was welcoming, and assured us they could take care of our problem. Our RV tranny repairs would actually be having our transmission rebuilt or replaced with a rebuilt transmission.

It was the Monday afternoon before Thanksgiving. She was careful not to make any promises about when we would be on the road. She explained it might not be for at least a week. It could take several days to get the motorhome transmission rebuilt, and then, the shop was closing for  before the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

When asked, she assured us we could stay in the motorhome on their lot, except for maybe while they were actually working on the motorhome. We were welcome to spend time in the office, and use the bathroom during business hours.

Next we met Rick. I explained what was going on, and he agreed we needed to have our transmission rebuilt, and a new cooler installed. He discussed things with Michelle, and we were given a firm price. I asked if they would replace the u-joints and hanger bearing while things were apart. The additional work was added to the quote. Coleen and I agreed to the price, and said to go ahead and do it when they could.

We parked our Class C next to the shop and settled in, expecting to spend Thanksgiving in our home-on-wheels in Knoxville, Tennessee. We had everything we needed. Our black and gray tanks were empty. Our fresh water tank was full. We had propane, and our solar system was providing us electricity. There was plenty of food in the refrigerator and pantry, with a grocery store within walking distance, if needed.

Some would have considered this stop to get our RV tranny rebuilt a major catastrophe. We felt it was just a minor inconvenience. Every home and every vehicle needs maintenance and repairs. It was time to have some work done on ours.

We had been at Atkins and son Transmission shop about 45 minutes when we met Mike. Mike let us know he would be jacking up the front of the motorhome to take out the tranny. It could then be disassembled, cleaned, and be ready to be rebuilt.

I crawled underneath the motorhome and watched. Mike knew what he was doing and went right after the job efficiently. I assisted by offering a third hand when needed, and handing tools that were out of Mike’s reach. I helped balance the transmission as he lowered it down out of the motorhome. I enjoyed working with Mike and he seemed to enjoy my company and help. We had the transmission out and the motorhome lowered off the jack stands before 5:00 p.m., quitting time. Mike went home. Coleen and I settled down to dinner and a quiet evening in our RV home.

Tuesday morning was a flurry of activity around the shop and yard. There were vehicles coming and going. Many of the vehicles would have the hoods up and an inspection or scan tool would be hooked up. Some came and left on tow trucks. We observed, but stayed out of the way, thankful we had a place to park while we waited. Mike came out late morning to flush the cooler lines and install the new cooler.

Late morning, Coleen went in to use the shop bathroom. On the way past the office, she was informed the parts had not come in for another customer’s transmission, so they were working on ours.

About 2:00 p.m., I met Ronald Atkins, the owner and boss. He had quietly slipped into the shop that morning and gone to work rebuilding our transmission. He announced it was done. I was surprised, and thanked him profusely. He said he had put a heavier Allison torque converter in because it was being used in a motorhome. I asked if there was a warning I missed, or something I could have done to prevent the mishap. He told me, "No," and washed up and slipped away. I later found out he had come in just to rebuild our transmission and get us back on the road before Thanksgiving
.
Now it was up to Mike and me to put things back together. I was upgraded to worthwhile help, and was given my own creeper. With the preparation that had already been done, the transmission went in easily. We pressed off the old u-joints and hanger bearing, pressed on the new ones, and reinstalled the driveline. We took the motorhome off the jack stands and filled the transmission with new fluid. We backed up a little, drove forward a little, rechecked the fluid level, and topped it off.

We were ready for a test drive. During the test drive, the transmission functioned better than it had ever functioned as long as we had owned the motorhome. We checked the fluid level again and added about a pint, so it was just where Mike wanted it. It was shortly after 5:15 p.m. when we did the paperwork and paid the bill.

The motorhome was ready to go, but we weren’t. We had settled in, planning for a much longer stay, and it was getting dark. With no particular destination planned for the night, we stayed the night at the transmission shop. First thing in the morning we headed out toward Georgia.

Our transmission adventure turned out to be almost a pleasant experience. We met some good people that went out of their way to help us, and that we feel we can call friends. We had some quality work done on our motorhome, that we are confident was done right, and was done at a fair price. That is why Atkins and Son Transmission have been in business for 43 years. It always makes me feel good to find and do business with independent, American businesses like them.

Atkins and Son Transmission
4001 Rutledge Pike
Knoxville, TN 37914
Phone: (865) 524-3059

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Editor's note: My husband, Bob Nilles, wrote this article after we had RV repairs done at Atkins & Son Transmission in Knoxville, Tennessee. He's the one in the family who has worked as a mechanic, and who does most of our recreational vehicle maintenance and mechanical repairs. There are times, however, such as this -- having our motorhome transmission rebuilt -- when we need to have someone else work on our rigs.



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