The Outpost

Not really.

The dealer for our coach, the Hitch House, is located in Barrie, Ontario and, while the city itself is well north of Toronto, it seems to be firmly in the grasp of the Greater Toronto Region. It is a tough drive through some of the most heavily congested roads in all of Canada.

We dropped the coach off last weekend and it will be with the dealer for about three weeks. We will pick the coach up sometime during the week of May 7th.

We have a few outings planned in May including our very first Newmar Kountry Klub outing with the Muskoka Ramblers. The rally will be held May 26-28 at the Milton Heights Campground.

Looking forward to getting our coach back home though. Here is where we left the Castaway.

Newmar Recall 2016-559

A brand new 2016 Dutch Star 4369 caught fire last September. And now we know why:

Fortunately we have had our coach in storage since October. Newmar had an erroneous postal code for our address and we only just received the notice in the mail last week roughly 6 weeks after the date of the recall notice.

Thank heavens we were not traveling south with the coach this year. Despite the number of “coulds” in the recall notice above, a coach did catch fire. If we were snowbirds, we would have been on the road extensively during the latter part of 2016. Our coach could have caught fire.

We have booked our service appointment for when we take the coach out of storage in April.

I am a wee bit concerned about the 4-hour drive to the dealer from the storage facility. We are going to check with Newmar and Freightliner to confirm if the coach is safe to drive that distance with this defect.

Newmar Recall Notice

Photo by Josh Reyes, Daily Press.

We follow several Newmar groups online. One of them being a Facebook group for Newmar motorhome owners. A member shared her story about a fire on their 2016 Newmar Dutch Star 4369. Based on her incident, many of us were concerned that the 2016 Dutch Star might have an engineering fault that could lead to a fire. And we were right to be concerned.

Here is the recall notice:

Newmar is recalling certain 2016-2017 Dutch Star and Ventana motorhomes manufactured January 22, 2016, to November 7, 2016, equipped with Cummins ISL engines. These vehicles, built on a Freightliner chassis, have a power steering hose that may be routed incorrectly, and, as a result, the hose may rub against the power stud on the starter motor, possibly causing electrical arcing and a power steering fluid leak.

Electrical arcing in the presence of leaking power steering fluid can increase the risk of a fire.

Newmar will notify owners, and Freightliner dealers will reroute the power steering hose for proper clearance, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin January 8, 2017. Owners may contact Freightliner customer service at 1-800-547-0712 or Newmar customer service at 1-800-731-8300. Newmar’s number for this recall is 16V 809.

I contacted my dealer and the Canadian rep for Newmar. Neither one had heard about the recall although they were very prompt in following up. I received the following from my dealer:

You have a great safety net looking after you and your coach. I have checked with both Newmar, and Freightliner concerning the issue that your friend had in regards to his Dutch Star.

I spoke with Freightliner, and the representative coincidentally had just finished speaking with Karl at Newmar. My understanding is that he will be contacting you by phone shortly.

Currently, Freightliner is determining the affected chassis serial numbers. If your coach falls into this serial number range you will most definitely receive a letter by mail from Freightliner and/or Newmar.

I also heard back from directly from Newmar. This recall campaign will begin early January. We’ll find out then if we have a potential fire hazard in our coach.

We continue to be impressed with the customer support that we have received with our coach. I have a bit of a concern with the potential for an engine fire as considerable heat is generated in that part of the coach. I am considering an engine fire suppressant system for the Castaway if just for the peace of mind.

Six Months

We purchased the coach in October of 2015 so it has been a bit longer than six months. We took delivery of the Castaway in June of 2016.

She currently sits in a climate controlled storage facility not too far from home. We miss her. But, before we know it, April will soon be here and we will be back on the road with the Castaway.

Our experience with our Newmar Dutch Star has been terrific. Not surprisingly, I gave Newmar excellent ratings.

Were there some areas for improvement?

Our warranty issues have been very minor. We actually expected more issues with a new coach. And perhaps more will come next year. So far, so good.

The misses are listed here just to remind me that there is always something to deal with when travelling and living out of a motorhome.

Engine firmware update

This one should have been caught prior to delivery. I should have asked the dealer if the engine firmware was current. It would have saved us some time and money. We found out about the firmware issue only after an engine warning light came roughly 1,500 kilometers from home. We had to lengthen our stay and find a dealer where the update could be applied. Nothing too serious but I had developed a comprehensive checklist for delivery and I did not even think about the firmware level on the Cummins engine.

Michelin tire warranty

The cheque is in the mail. Or so I have been told. We have been waiting since August to be compensated for a brand new tire that failed after a few thousand kilometers. Michelin may make a decent tire but they are not very good with their warranty program.

Potential fire hazard

Now, don’t get the wrong idea. I will post on this particular issue in more detail later this week. There are some Newmar Dutch Star coaches that are at possible risk of an engine compartment fire. We have been in contact with our dealer and with Newmar over a recall notice that will be coming out sometime in January of 2017. I keep very current on all things related to our coach and I found out about the potential recall notice before the dealer and before the Canadian Newmar rep. We will wait to see if our coach is impacted. We may not be. The point being that it is very important for us to regularly check-in on the Technical Service Bulletins and other safety notices related to our coach.

Locked in

We were locked in our coach when we stopped to refuel. We never thought that the sequence of unlocking the entry door mattered. However, we found out that if you attempt to open the door while it is still locked, well, you could find yourself stuck in your coach.

Our interactions with Newmar have been terrific. Their customer service has been outstanding. It has been over a year since we ordered the coach and six months since we took delivery.

We love the Castaway. We are thrilled with our motorhome and with the company that made it.

Newmar Factory Service


Our coach, 605889, also known as the Castaway, will be making its way down to Newmar’s Factory in April of 2017. We will be there for five working days.

The main item for this trip is installing windows in the bedroom slideout end walls. We had neglected to ensure that we had windows in our bedroom when we had the coach built. An oversight on our part and one that we wish to correct. We also have a few warranty items on our list:

  1. Adjust full wall slideout for level
  2. Replace one cracked tile
  3. Touch up floor tile grout on one tile
  4. Secure fabric edging on bedroom entry doorway
  5. Resolve mechanical noise  — clanging sound — in front wall slide just behind driver’s seat
  6. Resolve kitchen sink leak
  7. Resolve periodic half bath odour
  8. Check front wheels for balance
  9. Fully seal passenger side mirror
  10. Repair clear coat on driver’s side DEF tank
  11. Repair trim on passenger side slideout (this one is on us)

I received the service notification from Newmar last week. It included this service letter (I did make a few minor redactions related to access codes into the buildings and WiFi codes):


We are scheduled for service building 11. We received the confirmation of the work order for the windows and we received a service information package along with our window tag. We need to forward our warranty items to Newmar this week otherwise everything is all confirmed.

The trip will take about 10 hours and, for the way we travel, two days each way with a five day service duration. Nine days for this particular trip.

Our warranty list is quite short which talks to the quality of the Newmar coach.

Mike Griffin has an excellent set of posts on what to expect and what to do when down to the Newmar Factory in Nappanee. You can read them here and here.

Looking forward to making this trip and doing the Newmar factory tour. And really looking forward to being back in the coach. I miss it already and it has only been a week.