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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.

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.

Break/fix

Service

We’ve had our coach for a few months now. And we have been living in it for the most part. We have taken the Castaway out for a few trial runs, one weekend trip and one overnight trip. Later this week, we take the Castaway out for a much longer run.

This is all part of the breaking in period.

We expect things to go wrong with the coach. We expect to keep a list of things that have gone wrong and to get them fixed.

What has been our experience so far with the Newmar Dutch Star? Excellent.

Here is what we have found so far that needs to be addressed under warranty.

Exterior

  • Paint flaw on the driver’s side fuel tank cover
  • Missed silicone sealant under the passenger’s side mirror

Interior

  • Slight gap in a small section of tile grout (roughly half an inch)
  • Lift of a section of fabric trim on entrance door to master bedroom (about 10 inches of trim needs to be glued back into place)
  • Tile cracked under one of the recliners on full wall slideout

And that is it so far.

We did have to repair a kitchen latch. We were a bit forceful in testing out a storage bin for one of the kitchen drawers and managed to break the upper latch mechanism. We ordered the part and I installed it last night. Easy fix.

We will be heading down to Nappanee in the spring to have the coach serviced and to make a change.

We decided that we missed something when we built the coach and Newmar is going to help us out for a small amount of money. What did we miss? Windows in our bedroom slideout. The bedroom slideout on the passenger’s side of the coach is currently windowless. Why? Well, it had something to do with the style of bed that we ordered. We ordered a bed that inclines and retracts. No one had told us that this feature would drop the two windows in the bedroom.

We’ve decided that the two windows are important to us and Newmar will fit them back into our coach. The bed won’t incline and retract which is fine. That part we won’t miss. We are missing the windows.

It will take roughly 12 hours of labour to install the windows so we will need to be at the factory for a couple of days. By then we will be close to the one year anniversary for the coach and we may as well get it serviced and deal with any warranty items at the same time.

I received the estimate from Newmar a few days back for installing the windows. I will sign off on the estimate and we will book a date to get the job done next year. I will also bring along any warranty items that need to be addressed although the list so far is pretty small. Hopefully the list stays that way.

She Is Home

RWC_3795

RWC_3797

We made it home safe and sound in our new coach. Lots to share about our experience over the past few days now that we are back and connected to the Internet again. More to come once I have had a chance to catch up on some sleep.

So excited to have our new home.