Girard Awning Stuck?

Your Girard awnings won’t extend? They won’t retract? Are they stuck hanging outside your coach?

That happened to us a few days ago. And the solution for our coach was not something that you will find in a manual.

I was doing some outside work on our 2016 Newmar Dutch Star 4002. It is equipped with the Girard Nova Awnings.

Everything looked fine.

I went inside the coach and pressed the “IN” button to retract the awnings.

The awnings began to retract and, about halfway through the process, they stopped. They were stuck.

The awnings were partially deployed. They would not go in. They would not go out.

What could be wrong?

I did the usual: read through the manual, jumped on the Girard website, searched Google. And, after a few hours of floundering, I gave up and called the service manager at our dealer.

He knew exactly what to do.

Inside one of our bays are two Girard control devices. Our service manager called them “turtles”.

They look like this:

These two are working normally because the two indicator lights at the upper left are on. Not sure why the Girard engineers chose red LEDs as the normal condition light indicator. Wouldn’t a green LED indicator make more sense?

When our awnings became stuck, both those lights were off.

If you follow where they are plugged in, you will find something interesting marked on the outlet:

Well, look at that! They are plugged into a GFCI protected circuit.

Important to note: they are not plugged into a GFCI outlet. The plug is tied to a GFCI outlet. There is no reset button at this plug. We had to go hunting for the GFCI  outlets elsewhere in the coach.

Our service manager asked us to reset two GFCI outlets. One in our kitchen galley and one in our small washroom mid-coach.

He suspected that there was some kind of voltage issue that caused the GFCI circuits to trip. One of the awnings was tied to the GFCI outlet in the kitchen, the other was tied to the GFCI outlet in the small washroom.

Finding said GFCI outlets is a bit of a trick.

In our case, the GFCI outlet in the kitchen was directly underneath one of the top row of cabinets.

You can make out the two buttons in the middle of the GFCI outlet. It takes a bit more work to press reset than I expected. There is quite a bit of travel and you have to really press down.

The reset button for our outlets is in the top position. The other button is a test button. If you press that one, the outlet may not reset.

In the small bathroom, the GFCI outlet was located inside our medicine cabinet.

We tested both of those outlets to make sure they were working before heading back down to the bay which holds the two Girard “turtles”. The indicator lights on the Girard controllers were back on.

Pressing the “IN” button retracted the Girard awnings. Success.

Filed under “Not in the manual” and “The things they don’t tell you about maintaining your coach”.

Warranty Service

Our coach came out of storage last week and we took the Castaway over the the dealer for some scheduled service and warranty items.

This was our list:

Warranty Items

1. Kitchen Sink Leak: drain pipe leaks where drain meets down pipe immediately underneath the sink.
2. Loose Fabric Trim: fabric trim by pantry drawer leading into bedroom has come loose in a couple of areas.
3. Cracked Floor Tile: cracked floor tile driver side behind the recliner that is closest to the kitchen galley.
4. MCD Day/Night Shades: MCD Day/Night Shades over dining area appear to require reprogramming. Day shade inoperative over main dining area window and night shades over main dining area window and small dining area window out of synch.
5. Winegard Rayzar Digital TV Antenna: Unit is producing an E3 error during operation (motor movement error).
6. Sofa Bed Latch: Latch for inflating sofa bed doesn’t stay closed when inflating.
7. Passenger Side Basement Door: When door side slideout is open, first basement door rubs bottom of slideout (door out of alignment).
8. Front Wheel Vibration: At highway speed, roughly 100km and above, front exhibits a vibration that is characteristic of unbalanced wheels.
9. Driver Side Fuel Cover: Missing clearcoat?

Technical Service Bulletins

1. 467 RSB – Recall 16V 826: Power Steering Fluid Leak (potential fire hazard)
2. 472 TSB – Slideout Motor Mounting Bolts (under-torqued). We hear loose mounting bolts on both front slideouts (Full Wall Slideout and Off Driver Slideout) while driving the coach.

Other

1. Trim Edge: Trim Edge popped off door side woodwork. Small piece of trim was placed beside the passenger seat in front of coach.
2. Service of Coach: As required (fluid levels, lubrication, etc).
3. Coach Detailing

The service team at the Hitch House has been hard at work on the coach. We received some good news with respect to the potential fire hazard recall item. Freightliner inspected the coach and our build was fine. We did not have the issue and no remediation work was required.

Given the overall complexity of the coach, we are pleased that we have not experienced a substantial number of issues after our first year of ownership.

One negative though. The detailing team is backlogged and unable to work on our coach.

I will have to do the detailing work myself, which I had done last year. Very time consuming.

I ordered some new product from McKee’s. Lots of positive press on their RV specific products. Once the coach comes home, I will be hard at work detailing the Castaway for the 2017 touring season.

2017 Tech Project

One of the projects that I have planned for our coach in 2017 is a makeover of the audio video cabinets front and rear.

The front cabinet, located over the driver’s seat, is in dire need of a professional installation, due mostly to poor cable management and poor equipment mounting.

In that space we have the factory issued Sony STR-DH550 AV receiver, two HDMI switches, a Winegard satellite antenna controller unit, an Apple TV, a Bell satellite receiver, a cheap Sony Blu-ray player, a Logitech Harmony IR controller and a couple of cooling fans.

Everything is stacked, some of it loose, and when the coach hits a bump, a lot of equipment moves around.

The rear cabinet, located in the bedroom, is not as bad. It holds an Apple wireless router, a cheap Sony Blu-ray player and, if our son is with us, an Xbox One.

My plan for the front cabinet is to clear out the cabinet, simplify the cable management — audio, video and electrical — and mount everything on a rack. Preferably a rack that I can swing out to gain easy access to the rear of the equipment stack. I also want to maximize cooling in that part of the coach as the interior of the cabinet gets really hot especially during warm, sunny days. I will upgrade the AV receiver as well as the Blu-ray player and the HDMI switches.

The rear cabinet is a lot easier to work on and I have a bit more space for some additional media equipment. I will add shelving in that cabinet as I don’t plan to make as many changes to the equipment in that space.

I replaced the factory issued subwoofer — the cheap Sony unit sounded awful and it was not helped by being placed inside a kitchen cabinet — and I also want to revisit the factory in-ceiling speakers. I would like to put satellites up with better placement for surround sound in our listening area.

This will be one of the first projects I will be working on once we take the coach out of storage in April.

Tired

Michelin, you sure take your time. And it shows.

Way back in August, we had to replace an almost new tire on our coach. You can read about our experience changing out the tire here. And this was when we first knew we had a problem here. Very important to do comprehensive circles before and after every drive.

We had a lot of issues getting the Michelin warranty honoured. Here we are in November, and all we know right now is that the cheque is finally in the mail.

Why did it take so long?

Michelin.

I’m convinced that they were hoping we would just give up.

It started with us trusting the tire company that serviced our coach to do support the warranty inspection. We had the tire changed at our site from a dealer based out of Saginaw. We had no place to put it and so we left it with the dealer. We called them after we got back to Canada and they told us that they would arrange to have the Michelin rep stop by to look at the tire and confirm the warranty coverage.

Which they did. In early August.

And now, over three months later, we finally received confirmation that Michelin has cut the warranty cheque.

We were calling them every few weeks. First it was to see if they were going to cover the tire. That dance took several weeks to resolve. When they finally told us that the tire would be covered, they instructed us to fax them an invoice. Which we did.

And when we sent them the fax they would call us back to say that the fax was unreadable.

After several weeks of faxes that were consistently unreadable, we asked Michelin if we could just email them the invoice. Apparently Michelin does not have an email system. At least not in the customer service area. We could only send a fax.

We had the tire dealer in Saginaw fax them as we were convinced that Michelin was simply stalling us.

Our final call with them was quite assertive. We wanted them to honour their warranty.

And they finally did. Maybe.

I’ll believe it once I see the cheque.

Newmar Factory Service

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):

serviceappointment

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.