Weighing In

Overweight. Not healthy to be overweight. Harvard reports that roughly two out of three U.S. adults are overweight or obese (69 percent) and one out of three are obese (36 percent). Statistics Canada provides this infograph on obesity in Canadian adults.

I can’t find any data on coaches that are overweight. I have encountered rigs that are way over their weight limits but owners seem to fall under three camps with respect to weight. One group knows with a high degree of accuracy the weight of their coaches. Another group has a rough idea. And the last group has no idea.

When we were at the Newmar factory we had the service technicians perform corner weights for our coach. The results:

This was the first time in almost three years that we had an accurate weight for our coach. The weight included 75 gallons of fuel, 60 gallons of water, zero gallons of grey and 15 gallons of black. We were fully loaded with cargo. The weight did not include any passengers.

Prior to the corner weights, we only had a rough idea of our weight. We used the CAT weigh scale. This one was taken just after we took delivery of our coach in June of 2016.

It wasn’t too bad for a rough idea. We did several checks each year to ensure that the coach was not overweight.

Corner weights are best to determine loading and balancing on each axle and on each side of the coach. We were pleasantly surprised at the balance of weight on our coach.

A CAT weigh scale is better than not knowing the weight of your coach. You will know whether or not you are riding safely based on the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. Without any baseline, you are simply guessing.

There is an app that you can download for your smartphone that can make the process of weighing in at a truck stop much easier. The cost is nominal, especially when you consider the danger of running an overweight  rig.

Duct Tape Camper

Time to replace that old Prevost coach? Fears of a pending recession making you think twice about spending a few million on a new bus? Then fear not. You can still enjoy the camping lifestyle on a tight budget. With only seven, yes, that is correct, seven rolls of duct tape.

Allow me to introduce you to the duct tape camper.

A few downsides to this camper.

  • You will get wet if it rains.
  • One side of the camper will be sticky. Duct tape sticky. Could be a nice feature if there are a lot of insects in your campground. Once they are attached to the sticky side of the duct tape, they won’t be going anywhere else.
  • A bit on the small side.
  • Plain colour scheme — think of what you could do with multicoloured duct tape!

Scott and Randy built the camper back in 2008.

Proof that you can make almost anything with duct tape. Even RVs.

2020 Newmar Dutch Star

Until now, there was no video evidence of the new 2020 Dutch Star models. I kept searching though.

Newmar has updated their website with all of their 2020 models including the Dutch Star. You can find the details on the Dutch Star from Newmar over here.

On the web I found two videos. One from Chris Anderson at Mount Comfort RV. Chris was out first. He walks us through a 2020 Dutch Star 3709. We find our 40-foot model to be a bit small for our liking. I don’t think we could fit into a 37-foot model but it looks well designed with a king-sized bed and a bath and a half floor plan.

The only other video I have found so far is in Spanish. Jorge Martinez of North Trail RV walks us through a 2020 Dutch Star 4369, the most popular floor plan from Newmar. Jorge published his YouTube video a day after Chris. A runner-up prize only.

I expect to see a few more videos coming out soon as the 2020s are now being delivered to dealers.

What Makes The Cornerstone Stand Out?

I like Big Truck Big RV. I enjoy his videos although, for the most part, he throws softballs. I understand why. His YouTube channel is monetized and he wants to keep his sponsors happy.

He recently did a video walkthrough of an Entegra Cornerstone. He asked the sales rep what makes a Cornerstone stand out as a premium product from Entegra.

The response? A Spartan chassis, a 605 HP Cummins engine and a collision avoidance system.

Curious.

You can get a Spartan chassis and a 605 HP Cummins engine from other builders. This is not a stand out feature in the industry.

And the following statement: “this is the only coach in our industry that has standard equipment collision avoidance.”

Hmm. Let’s verify that statement. Newmar introduced the On Guard adaptive cruise and collision mitigation system back in 2018. Standard on their high line coaches.

When asked why the Spartan chassis is such a special chassis: “they over-engineer everything they do.”

Spartan makes a good chassis. Freightliner makes a good chassis. I think both of them could make a better chassis.

It was only a few years back when Spartan was ordered to pay at least $1 million in fines to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for failing to launch safety recalls in a timely fashion. Between 2010 and 2014, 452 motorhomes had sway bar links that could bend or break. The defect was first identified in March 2013 but the recall did not happen until January of 2014.

Newmar recalled 600 coaches — 2017-2018 Dutch Star, 2016-2018 Mountain Aire and London Aire, and 2012-2018 Essex and King Aire — built on a Spartan Motors chassis. The ball joints on the independent front suspension modules could loosen and separate, leading to a partial loss of steering, increasing the risk of a crash.

Entegra recalled 1,727 coaches — 2012-2013 and 2015-2018 Anthem, 2013 and 2017-2018 Aspire, and 2012-2018 Cornerstone — built on a Spartan Motors chassis. The ball joints on the independent front suspension modules could loosen and separate, leading to a partial loss of steering, increasing the risk of a crash.

Over-engineered? The Rolls Royce of chassis builders? World’s best coffee?

Entegra Coach is now recalling 88 coaches — 2020 Anthem and Cornerstone — as the steering shaft bolt may have been insufficiently tightened, causing the steering wheel not to function, increasing the risk of a crash.

Anyway, you get the idea. Marketing spin without any challenge considering the Big Truck Big RV describes itself this way:

My channel is focused on providing honest, real, and credible reviews of new Pickup trucks, SUVs, RVs, and Accessories. My goal is to give my viewers a better perspective of buying as well as owning trucks and RVs.

Entegra makes a good coach and it was one of the builders that we considered when we were making our decision. However, when a sales rep starts spinning, there should be a bit more of a focus on providing an honest, real and credible review.

Or at least a disclosure at the front of the video that tells you that this is really just an ad for an Entegra Cornerstone.

New Camper

Emails. Hundreds of them come in every day. Every so often, I receive an email that I would best describe as unique. An email that seems to ask for help although without enough context for me to provide a helpful response.

This one, for example:

Hi I’m look to find a new camper we had a house Fire 2 years ago and we are living in a camper now but it doesn’t have heat or air conditioning and my husband has a really bad heart.

I can only guess that the house fire forced them to move into a camper. I wish them well and I hope that they find a new camper with heat and air conditioning. And I hope her husband can manage his heart condition.

A fire can be a devastating experience. Especially for an RVer.