Entegra Problems

We almost purchased an Entegra. It was one of three manufacturers that we seriously considered for our new coach back in 2015. The other two? Newmar and Tiffin. We went with Newmar and, despite a number of issues, we are fine with our decision.

Entegra had a good reputation prior to being acquired by Thor. And there were concerns that the acquisition would have a negative impact on Entegra.

Thor’s stock has been on quite a roll lately.

Thor’s quarterly revenue fell over 21 percent from last year. The stock took a big tumble last week after Thor released poor fiscal first-quarter results. RV sales had a 24 percent drop.

I caught an interview that Thor’s CEO, Bob Martin, did with Jim Cramer where he blamed rising tariffs on Aluminum and Steel for the negative impact on earnings.

To counteract the rising costs of production, Martin intended to cut raw costs and de-content its higher end motorcoaches. De-content means taking ancillary products and features out of these coaches. Less is more.

So what does this mean for Entegra owners?

This thread on the IRV2 forum, Has Thor changed Entegra, highlights the dilemma facing buyers of new coaches. Good product? Good service?

I suspect for most buyers, a purchase that begins to close in on half a million, can influence your opinion in one of two ways: I made a good decision or I made a bad decision. And the reason is simple enough. All of these coaches will have issues. All of them. And when you have a lot of issues, you begin to question your decision.

I am of the view that anyone looking to purchase a coach from Entegra, Newmar or Tiffin, should expect to have issues and should expect to have mixed results in terms of how the issues get resolved. This is part of the ownership experience.

I follow Glenn and Julia over at Our Great Escape. And they posted their experience here. They have a pretty harsh bottom line:

Shame on you Entegra, Bontrager stood up in front of an audience of 100 people who were Entegra owners at the 2016 Springfest and told everyone that you had always been a family business and would always be a family business with family values bla bla bla and then 3 months down the road sold out to Thor Industries. You then through Tadd Jenkins (the then president of Entegra coach) tried to calm the worried owners and told us that there would be absolutely no change apart from the name above the door, everything else will remain the same, same management team etc etc. Tadd was then pushed out closely followed by Chuck Lasley who took over from Tadd and a few other key people. This is a direct quote from Derek Bontrager :

“The day we stop listening to our customers is the day our demise begins and no one understands that better than we do.”

JOKE!

Are they listening??? Do they lie to their owners? You answer the question. I know the answer!

This is their YouTube video that describes their experience picking up their coach after servicing. Sadly, their experience is not unique.

Super C

I love the Super C class motorhomes. Especially those that come from Show Hauler. Like this one built off an International truck.

I think this build comes pretty close to my brother-in-law’s dream coach.

These are very expensive motorhomes right up there with most Class A Diesel Pushers. They can pull heavier loads, they are safer, and they are built to a high standard.

However, they would not be allowed into Class A restricted parks which, in speaking with some owners of these rigs, leads to some heated discussions.

Perhaps it is just the design. There is no question that the front end looks exactly like a truck. Given the size and the towing capacity, I would not want to bring a rig like this one into a typical RV park and we wanted to have the ability to bring our rig into a variety of properties including some of the really nice Class A RV resorts. Which, sadly, meant a Class A.

I love the driver’s area in the Show Haulers. So cool.

We’re The Russos posted a terrific video on Show Hauler conversions. I hope to walk through a few of these Super C models at the Tampa show next month.

Stacker Trailers

Probably more of them out there than what I would expect. Stacker trailers.

Most of the motorhomes I see on the road haul a toad. And most of the toads are four down. Every once in a while I see a motorhome hauling a trailer. Not very often mind you. Even then, the trailers look like these ones:

I’ve never seen a stacker trailer on the road. And I hadn’t seen one close up before this week.

This one came into our resort the other day.

It is quite the piece of engineering. I’d hazard to guess that the cost would not be too far off from the cost of some fifth wheel RVs. This particular model is an ATC stacker trailer equipped with a tilt deck stacker lift. There is an elevator inside to lift one vehicle to the upper deck allowing room for another vehicle on the lower deck.

If you’ve not seen one in operation, the folks at ATC produced this video showing how the trailer works.

Newmar For The Win

Newmar Dutch Stars reign supreme at the Myakka River Class A Motorcoach Resort. There are 80 coaches on site right now. 25 of the coaches are Newmar coaches, almost a third of the total. And 10 of the 25 coaches are Dutch Stars. Of the 10 Dutch Stars, 9 of them are less than 4 years old. The oldest Newmar is a beautiful 2008 London Aire. There is but one King Aire, one Essex, a few London Aires and Mountain Aires, several Ventanas and a couple of Newmar gassers.

There are two Prevost coaches and two Newell coaches. A dozen or so Tiffin and Entegra coaches. And then an assortment of Class A coaches from American Coach, Monaco, Beaver, Holiday Rambler, et. al.

Here is one shot of a gorgeous Beaver coach. Love the gold paint colour.

We are at a smaller resort with only 100 sites but I am still a bit surprised by the concentration of Newmar coaches here.

We are not that far from the largest Newmar dealer in the world, North Trail. Perhaps that might be influencing the number of Newmar coaches here. In talking with the owners, most purchased from North Trail.

We might drop by North Trail over the next week or so and check out some of the new Newmars before the big Tampa RV show in January. We will be at the show but the crowds do make it a bit of a challenge to walk through the coaches.

 

House Battery Issues

Our house batteries are in trouble. And I’m not quite sure what to do about them.

I’ve maintained them well over the past three years. We had the coach in at the dealer a few months back and one of the work items was to close a recall on the battery cables. Specifically Newmar Recall 17V 497: Battery Cable May Rub Against Frame (a potential fire hazard).

Perhaps the dealer overlooked what I just found in our battery bay or perhaps the issues only started after we left the dealer. Hard to know.

At first glance, the battery bay doesn’t look too bad when you open it up.

Just needs a good cleaning. At least that is what I thought until I took a closer look.

That can’t be good. Some significant corrosion around most of the battery poles.

And more corrosion where the cables meet the battery poles.

Looks like I have to do some battery maintenance. Hopefully the batteries are still fine.

Not sure where to start.

Googling “battery maintenance RV” now.