Flying Windows

Windows flying off your Newmar Dutch Star? Yes. As hard as it might seem to believe, newer models of Dutch Star coaches have a neat feature: windows flying off the coach at highway speeds. This in addition to entry doors flying open while the coach is in transit.

Numerous Dutch Star owners are posting about this issue on Facebook and on iRV2. Posts like this one:

Hey Newmar, Windows are failing. Are you listening?

First let me say I still love my 2019 Dutch Star. It’s just frustrating. And really a few windows is not a big deal compared to problems others have.

I went to pick up my coach from Independence RV after getting my Fantastic fan motors replaced (been fighting them since last June).

It took a real long time for them to bring my coach up. Tech showed up and said when he pulled it out and stopped in the back lot he got a bath. It was from the window above the drivers power window. You can clearly tell it’s fogged over. The adhesive has failed.

So they covered it and taped it up. My coach has had one window or another taped up since last June after we left Nappanee. I was excited to have the coach all ready to head out without anything broken. Nope.

First window was the emergency egress door window. It fell out at 65mph. luckily it did not hit anyone.

Had it replaced out west and it failed again.

Kitchen window separated and had to tape it up and wait for a replacement.

The problem is Lippert, the adhesive DOES NOT WORK. Tech told me they have a huge problem with windows. Newmar needs to hold their feet to the fire and fix this. I am worried about how many more windows are going to fail on me. My warranty runs out this week so I’m screwed.

Interesting note, Newmar had that window in stock, several of them. Hmm?

Okay, rant over.

Fortunately we do not have to worry about the windows in our 2016 Dutch Star randomly falling off the coach. And here is the big reason why.

A press release issued by Lippert on February 16, 2018:

LCI Industries, a supplier of components for the leading original equipment manufacturers of recreational vehicles and adjacent industries, and the related aftermarkets of those industries, today announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Lippert Components Manufacturing, Inc., has acquired substantially all of the business assets of Hehr International Inc. (“Hehr”). Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, Hehr manufactures windows as well as tempered and laminated glass for the RV, transit, specialty vehicle, and other adjacent industries. Hehr, which operates out of five U.S. locations, achieved sales of approximately $55 million for the twelve months ended December 2017.

Lippert is a multi-billion dollar corporation with over 10,000 employees. They picked up a small, niche supplier to the RV market and decided to make a few changes to the product. Nothing too major. Perhaps a little less window adhesive. And perhaps an adhesive that is not too sticky.

Operating efficiency relies on managing unit costs down as much as possible.

There appears to be a serious safety issue with the adhesives that Lippert is using with their windows. With so many reports of windows flying off coaches, a recall should have been issued by now.

There is a recall for the main entry door flying open:

Newmar Corporation (Newmar) is recalling certain 2018-2019 Newmar Ventana LE, Mountain Aire, Essex, Ventana, Dutch Star, New Aire, London Aire and King Aire motorhomes. The affected vehicles have entry doors that have latch rods that may be improperly adjusted, allowing the door to open during transit.

No recall for windows flying off the motorcoach.

There is one complaint about Newmar Dutch Star windows posted on the NHTSA website:

We experienced a window fly off our coach while driving on Interstate 40 near Weatherford, OK. It narrowly missed an SUV behind our coach. We have had two other windows where the outer pane has separated from the inner pane. The half bath window and the window above the drivers side window. In communicating with other owners, there are several people who have experienced the same thing. Many others have caught it before there was a complete separation. It is obvious the adhesive that Lippert (window manufacturer) is using is defective.

Many of these issues get buried in the RV industry. Manufacturers like Newmar will resolve them for owners on a case by case basis and, for reasons due to cost, manufacturers resist issuing recalls unless absolutely necessary.

Our year of coach spares us from this particular issue. Before the Lippert acquisition, Hehr used an appropriate adhesive to secure the windows to the coach.

Our coach had more dramatic recalls. The power steering could potentially cause a fire. A loose power connection at the transfer switch could potentially cause a fire. House battery cables could potentially cause a fire. Brakes on a towed device could remain engaged possibly overheating the towed device braking system and potentially resulting in a fire.

Ironically, the fire extinguisher was also recalled because it did not function properly. No way to put out fires.

When you buy these coaches plan to keep informed of potential safety issues and recalls. I keep several bookmarked websites handy and I refer to them regularly.

Just in case.

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