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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.

RVs Catching Fire

fire

I had posted about RVs catching fire over here.

Nothing to worry about, I thought. We do circle checks. We have a coach that is almost new. I mean, coaches don’t just catch fire for no good reason, do they? Newmar coaches wouldn’t just catch fire, would they?

I was browsing through the Newmar Owner’s Corner on iRV2 and I came across this thread.

Oh no, I thought, a Newmar caught fire. More concerning, a 2016 4369 Dutch Star caught fire. How could that happen?

Tom and Bella had recently started full-timing in their beautiful Newmar coach. According to news reports, Tom suddenly lost power steering and a nearby driver stopped and told Tom that his coach was on fire.

Both Tom and Bella are fine. The rear cap of their coach does not look so good (source of photo here).

dutchstarfire

What a heartbreaking experience for them.

They do post on the Newmar Motorhome Facebook group and they have been providing some updates. They posted a video of their coach on fire. So sad. They do not yet know what caused the fire.

The probability of a fire in a coach is very low based on the statistical evidence. However, seeing it just happen on the same year and model of our coach is more than a bit concerning. Is there a design flaw? A recall that we do not know about?

I will be watching this story carefully to see if there is anything Lorraine and I need to do on our coach. And I may pick up one of these products.

I hope that Tom and Bella’s insurance company helps out. And I hope that Newmar helps out.