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.

Locked Inside

lockedout

There is much to learn about operating an RV, especially what to do when things go wrong.

For the first time in my life, I was locked inside a motorcoach.

Lorraine and I were travelling down to the Hershey RV show in Hershey, Pennsylvania. On our way, we stopped at the Flying J in New Milford, Pennsylvania to top up our fuel. The stop turned out to be a little more dramatic than we had expected.

We pulled up to the lanes that are dedicated for RVs. I shut down the coach in preparation for fueling. Lorraine went to the door to exit the coach and the door handle would not open the door.

Odd. Was it still locked?

No.

Odd. Was the deadbolt engaged?

No.

For the next 10 minutes or so, we went back and forth. Locking and unlocking the door. Manually and with the keyless entry system. Manually and with the dashboard entry lock control switch. Nothing worked. We could not get ourselves out of the coach.

We called Newmar.

We were on hold with them for about 15 minutes or so.

They told me that they had never heard of something like this happening before.

I told them that it has happened before.

It took them a few minutes to find someone who might be able to troubleshoot the problem.

I was told to try pulling the door hard and then moving the lock and unlock button up and down.

The lock assembly looks like this:

doorlocked

I pulled as hard as I could and I moved that lock up and down. I repeated this action roughly a dozen times until it became apparent that the door was not going to open this way.

I was then told to find someone who might be able to push the door from the outside.

Okay. Here we were in a Flying J without anyone nearby. We were the only RV in the RV section. Everyone else was about 100 feet or so away. How would we get their attention?

Or, do we try to use the escape window? Or exit out the rear bath door?

Lorraine went to the back of the coach, opened the bathroom door and called out for help.

A couple of men wandered over to give a hand. They both pushed hard against the door from the outside while I was pulling the door from the inside and, at some point, and I am still not certain how it happened, the door opened.

Newmar could not offer a reason for the problem. All they did say was that the door has a two latch position mechanism. We knew that from experience. If we closed the door using a normal to light pressure, the wind noise would be very pronounced in the cab while the coach was in motion. A really firm pressure engages a second latch and tightly seals the door. No wind noise.

Did we use too much pressure to close the door?

I have no idea.

We were worried about being locked out again?

Absolutely.

I’ve jumped on the IRV2 Newmar Owner’s Corner to ask for some help. I’d like to know whether there is anything we could do to prevent this from happening again.

This little adventure took about an hour from when we stopped the coach to when we could get out the door. Once we were able to fuel the coach, we were finally ready to go again.

All part of the ownership experience.

Update: it turns out that the resolution is pretty simple and I am not sure why Newmar did not point this out when we called them. One of the forum members gave us this insight, unlock the deadbolt and door lock BEFORE you pull up on the handle. Otherwise you may get stuck. I checked with Lorraine and she cannot remember if she unlocked the door before pulling up on the handle. She has tried to open the door while it was still locked several times before so it probably was the cause of getting locked in. One more item to add to the checklist. When exiting the coach, always make sure the door has been unlocked before pulling up on the handle.

Castaway Release 2.0

ECMUpdate

Our yellow engine warning light has disappeared. Why? Because the coach needed a software update. Turns out our engine was two releases backdated. A new software patch resolved the isolated engine fault.

Our first shakedown trip identified a few minor issues although one was costly — a new tire. The engine control module software update was performed under warranty at no cost.

We have made it to the U.S. Border and we are staying overnight at the Port Huron KOA. We will be back home tomorrow.

Two Tired

Tire1

Well, I hope the second new tire will be covered under warranty otherwise it will be an expensive first long trip with the Castaway.

There was no doubt that parts of the I-75 in Michigan were in horrible condition and it could well have been a pothole that caused the sidewall bulge. Whatever the cause, we had no choice but to get the tire replaced.

Trying to get the tire replaced proved challenging. Lots of phone calls between ourselves, our dealer, Newmar, Michelin, assorted Michelin dealers in Michigan and, finally, our roadside assistance service, Coach-Net. Coach-Net got the job done and covered the cost of sending a repair truck right to our campsite.

With a tire on the back of the truck, Steve, our tire repair guy, got ready to work. First, all of the power tools.

Tire2

His first task was to position the tire jack. We did not have to pull our own jacks up and we did not have to bring our slides in. Nor did we have to unhook our services.

Tire3

Steve made the job look easy, way too easy. That tire and wheel weighs in excess of 100 pounds or more.

Tire4

For sure we would not get very far with this setup.

Tire5

Steve deflated and then removed the original tire from the wheel and mounted the new tire on the wheel all within about 10 minutes. He was even thoughtful enough to inflate the new tire.

Tire6

Then it was simply a matter of repositioning the wheel and making it secure.

Tire7

And now we have a coach that we can drive again. I sure hope we don’t have another event on the I-75 going home. I may complain from time to time about the highways in Ontario but they are as smooth as glass when compared to sections of the I-75 in Michigan.

Tire8

With the tire replaced, we can begin our journey back home. Bright and early tomorrow morning. Our first stop will be the Cummins dealer in Saginaw to get a software update for our Engine Control Module. From there, we will stopover at the Port Huron KOA before making our way home on Wednesday.