Newmar Dutch Star Problems

I follow Mike’s blog, The Good, The Bad and the RV. He bought a brand new 2015 Newmar Dutch Star and only a year or so later he had traded it in for a 2016 Newmar Essex.

I’m not sure what motivated his decision to change coaches so quickly. He must have taken quite a hit on the depreciation cost of the Dutch Star even with a trade-in on a coach that was sitting on a dealer’s lot.

He did post about some of the issues he had in the first few months with the Dutch Star:

Our brand new Newmar Dutch Star had the following problems, which took months to fix:

  • The passenger seat had a spring poking out of it (this was noticed pre-purchase and the salesman assured us it was a simple seat replacement. It ended up taking 2 months because Newmar refused to replace the seat)
  • Both the mid and aft floor heat switches randomly turn off after being on a short time (sometimes as short as 30 seconds)
  • The Oasis burner turns on and off constantly, forever. The burner starts up, runs for 1 second, and then shuts off. 5-10 seconds later it repeats this…over and over until I turn the burner switch off.
  • The rear, drivers side leveler jack left a large puddle of hydraulic fluid when I last retracted it
  • The USB port in the dash is not working
  • The fresh water hose has developed blisters between the inner and outer layers and now leaks
  • The passenger sofa bottom fell off when putting the slide out and will not reattach
  • Windshield wiper fluid does not dispense when the button on the steering wheel is pressed
  • When playing DVD audio through the AV receiver (for surround sound), the sound cuts out
  • The sun shade on the passenger window no longer retracts
  • The night shade on the drivers window is coming down askew and sliding towards the front of the coach. It used to come down straight, but now, when unrolling, it ends up 3-4 inches away from where it started.
  • The front leveler jacks sound horrible when extending. Having owned this same system in another coach, this sound doesn’t seem normal.
  • The kitchen faucet is overly loose

Right after buying this unit, we took this coach on a two week trip. It then sat at the dealership for over 2 months! We then took it on a one month trip. Problems on the list still were not fixed so it went back to the dealer for almost another month. So the unit spent 3 of the first 5 months at the shop.

We have had our fair share of issues as well. This is our list.

First, the warranty punch list after the first few months of operating the coach:

  • Kitchen Sink Leak: drain pipe leaks where drain meets down pipe immediately underneath the sink.
  • Loose Fabric Trim: fabric trim by pantry drawer leading into bedroom has come loose in a couple of areas.
  • Cracked Floor Tile: cracked floor tile driver side behind the recliner that is closest to the kitchen galley.
  • 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.
  • Winegard Rayzar Digital TV Antenna: Unit is producing an E3 error during operation (motor movement error).
  • Sofa Bed Latch: Latch for inflating sofa bed doesn’t stay closed when inflating.
  • Passenger Side Basement Door: When door side slideout is open, first basement door rubs bottom of slideout (door out of alignment).
  • Front Wheel Vibration: At highway speed, roughly 100km and above, front exhibits a vibration that is characteristic of unbalanced wheels.
  • Driver Side Fuel Cover: Missing clearcoat
  • Engine fault light triggered by outdate engine firmware
  • Driver side tire bulge

We had a couple of recalls including the infamous “your coach could catch fire” recall:

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

And, since then, a few other items which have not been resolved yet:

  • Side radiator lower grill almost disconnected from body of coach
  • Oasis hot water heater pump failure
  • Full wall slideout uneven — literally rises up a quarter inch or so after slides are deployed
  • Levelling jack leaking hydraulic fluid

Along with a few more new recalls that will have to be resolved:

  • 483 RSB – Recall 17V 420: Driver Passenger Shade
  • 486 TSB – MCD Remote Shade Motor Replacement
  • 488 RSB – Recall 17V 497: Battery Cable May Rub Against Frame (another potential fire hazard)
  • 493 PIB – Freightliner Lightbar: instrument panel odometer value may reset and no match the engine ECU odometer value

Well. Quite the list for such an expensive coach.

And, like Mike, our coach has to go to the dealer for an extended stay. Typically 3 to 4 weeks. Which isn’t an issue now since I haven’t retired yet. But when we plan to be in the States for about 6 months of the year, I don’t want to have the coach sitting at some dealer for a month or two.

We certainly expected some issues with our new coach. And given Newmar’s reputation as being one of the better manufacturers, it does seem a bit troubling to run into so many issues after only a few thousand miles on the chassis.

We hope to run the coach for many more years.

I hope this list doesn’t get much longer.

3 replies
    • Richard
      Richard says:

      Hello Olaf,

      Newmar customer service has been excellent and our dealer has also been helpful. However, there are definitely quality control issues.

      I think the RV industry as a whole faces some fundamental issues related to how they manufacture their product. For the most part, they are assembling a coach from a variety of suppliers and building to order without the same advances in quality control that the automotive industry has achieved.

      Orders increased significantly as stock markets recovered and more people decided to go upscale and purchase Class A motorhomes with higher end finishes and features. Suppliers cut corners to squeeze out more margin. New labor not as skilled throughout the supply chain and the final assembly. Pressure to get product out the door to meet the increase in demand.

      Once outside the relatively short warranty period, RV manufacturers let their customers work out the defects in their product by redirecting them to suppliers.

      When our Oasis system pump failed after literally only a few weeks of use, it was not Newmar who owned the issue. We were passed on to the supplier. It would be like owning a GM car, having a faulty engine and being told by GM to call the supplier of the engine to resolve the issue.

      For a product that costs half a million Canadian or more, there is an assumption that the product has a higher level of quality. And it isn’t the case. The RV industry cuts corners where it can to maximize unit profitability.

      You will often hear people tell you to purchase a coach used to avoid the steep depreciation of a new coach — not unusual to see 40% or more of a hit in the first two years of owning new. And, if you purchase a coach that has been used, many of the initial defects will have been resolved by the original owner (hopefully).

      We went in knowing that there would be problems and that there will continue to be problems. Class A motorhomes are simply not built to the same level of quality as a Toyota or a Ford.

      There are really only a small group of builders and Newmar would certainly be amongst the better companies.

      The industry seems to get along without addressing some of these quality issues. Business has been very robust over the past five years. Despite some real horror stories out there.

      For the most part, Newmar owners like their coaches and put up with the quality issues, tackling them as just a normal part of the ownership experience.

      As long as you have that expectation going in, a Newmar coach is likely better than most in the market.

      If you haven’t dropped by already, the IRV2 forum for Newmar can give you some good insight into the Newmar ownership experience: http://www.irv2.com/forums/f103/

      Just my two cents.

      Thanks for dropping by the blog!
      Richard

      Reply
      • T
        T says:

        Well, we own a 2015 dutchstar, and have been Newmar fans ever since we bought it in 2015. But…….its had 5 freightliner fan gearboxes installed, and the last one left us in a not-so-nice place. Like I said, we are Newmar fans, but for this issue, Newmar has pretty much said “too bad”, it good luck. Disappointing….

        Reply

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