Winegard SK Motor Stalled

I’ve had issues with the Winegard Trav’ler SK-1000 satellite antenna before. You can read all about my EL Motor Home Failure issue here.

Yesterday, we had to change sites before we leave for California on Tuesday. The sites at Myakka River Motorcoach Resort are usually booked on a monthly basis and, as we needed to extend our stay until February 5th, we moved away from our riverfront site to one at the very back of the park.

I went through my checklist. One of the first items is to stow the satellite antenna. Simple enough task. Press power off on the Winegard interface box and it initiates the stowing process.

Like many things in our motorcoach, I am pleasantly surprised when things work as they should. I expect things not to work which seems to be the case for many of the systems on our coach.

Like our domestic hot water. It failed last week. I received what is now the third replacement pump from ITR Oasis yesterday and I am going to install that pump later this morning.

The cost? $300 USD plus another $100 USD to expedite the shipment.

Hopefully we will regain our hot water. The pumps do not seem to have much staying power.

Back to the Winegard Trav’ler. It began to stow the antenna and I could hear the motor making some sounds. You know the sounds. The sounds that suggest something is not right in the world. Like the sounds of tires skidding followed by the sounds of a crash.

Yes. The antenna would not stow. It is pointing straight up in the air.

On the Winegard interface box, these words flashed over and over: SK MOTOR STALL.

Helpful as that flashing message was, I could not find any relevant resources on the web to address this problem.

Well, I thought, I’ve always wanted to give Winegard support a call.

An expensive call, really. I have to pay them $350 USD to repair the motor in the turret. It will take them two weeks to turn it around after they have received it and I cannot send it to them before obtaining an RMA.

Oh, and I have to dismantle the antenna. On the roof.

Check it out.

Such fun I will have this morning.

I will climb up to the roof and spend an hour or two dismantling a complex antenna system then I will pack up the turret assembly, spend $100 USD or so to ship it out to Winegard, wait for a few weeks for them to repair it, then reinstall it on the roof.

Fortunately I have a few friends that will be helping me out on this side of the repair.

Thankfully we discovered this little issue before our travels to California. We would have had a very late start to the travel day trying to get the antenna stowed.

Leaving it stuck upright could cause an impact with lower clearance bridges or with trees. And then we would need to spend a few thousand to get a new unit.

Newmar Super Star

Newmar will be introducing new Super C models. Will they look like a Showhauler Super C?

I didn’t hear anything about these new models at the recent RV SuperShow in Tampa. Newmar will formally introduce their 2020 Super Cs at RVX 2019. RVX is a dealer-focused event intended to spur consumer interest in RVs even as the industry struggles to keep up with demand.

There will be two Super C models. One will be called a Super Star. Newmar did publish this line drawing on their dealer invitation page.

I like the idea of a Super C. A very robust platform. Safer with the engine out front. But every time I have walked through a high end Super C, like a Showhauler, I am a bit underwhelmed. The interiors are not as nice as a comparably priced diesel pusher. The tractor at the front takes about 10 to 12 feet of space from the interior of the motorhome which results in less living space than an equivalent length diesel pusher. And Class A restricted resorts, which we enjoy, obviously do not allow Super Cs in their parks.

I am very interested, though, in how Newmar will approach this new model line. Frankly, I think they might be getting too stretched as it is with 11 existing models and hundreds of floorpans and all sorts of available options. Will they be able to scale their current manufacturing process? Will they be able to maintain reasonable quality issues? How much will they charge for a luxury Super C?

We’ll find out soon. RVX takes place in March.

TST Tire Pressure Monitor

Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) are typically standard equipment in cars but, for whatever reason, they are not standard equipment on motorcoaches. I’m not sure why as a TPMS is an important contributor to the safe operation of a vehicle.

I check tire inflation before and after every trip. On our coach, we run 110 psi on the front, 90 on the drive and 85 on the tag. I keep a portable air compressor on board to inflate the tires. I do visual inspections of the tires every time we stop for fuel or for a rest break.

Until yesterday, I did not have a tire pressure monitoring system on board. It has been on our list of items to purchase.

I wanted to pick up the TST 507 TPMS. I thought we might get a better deal at the Florida RV Supershow and I decided to wait until we went to the show before making the purchase.

I bought the unit with the 6 flow-through sensors at one of the concession booths. TST had been showing an online price of $429 before we went to the show although the site is now showing $389. Picked it up at the show for $329. I needed 2 extra sensors for the coach and 4 for the toad. Online price was $100 a pair, show price was $89 a pair.

It was worth wrestling with the crowds in the concession area of the Florida RV Supershow for a really good deal on the TST TPMS.

TST had a representative at the concession booth and she programmed the kit for me setting the pressure and temperature parameters for our coach and toad as well as sequencing and labelling all of the sensors. That was a nice value add. All I had to do was put the sensors on the valves as per her sheet.

Very straightforward.

The kit does come with a repeater however I had no issues reading the sensors from the tires on our toad. That made the installation process very easy. The display unit came fully charged so I was able to turn it on and check the status of the tires almost immediately. The unit does take about 10 – 15 minutes to establish connection and retrieve the data from all of the tires.

With a real-time monitoring system in place, we can face the long trip to California from Florida knowing that if there is an issue with our tires, either due to tire pressure or tire temperature, we will be alerted in time to take corrective action. Certainly not a substitute for continuous and careful inspection and maintenance of the tires but a useful tool when driving.

A blow out with a tire on a motorcoach is never a good thing.

Prevost

I did not buy a Liberty, Marathon or Millenium Prevost conversion at the show. Somehow, Lorraine was warned about my intent to pick one up at the show, special deal prices after all, and she went ahead and shut me out of our bank accounts. I found out the hard way when I tried to charge a Marathon coach to my American Express card that there is actually a preset spending limit even though the price of the coach was only $2.4 million.

As we entered the Florida RV Supershow yesterday, these Prevost conversion coaches were front and centre.

I did learn a few things about the conversion companies and the chassis builder, Prevost, from a Prevost employee at the show.

Prevost was founded way back in 1924 and the company was sold to Volvo in 1995. Volvo buses, or Prevost buses if you prefer, are part of the Volvo Group, a massive conglomerate with over 100,000 employees worldwide. Who owns Volvo Group? Everyone and no one. The way it goes these days with large corporations. Large corporations are owned by other large corporations.

Prevost has roughly 1,500 or so direct employees. And the main chassis of choice for the conversion companies is the H3-45.

The chassis is ordered by the conversion builder as a fairly complete outer shell. There was one on display at the Florida RV Supershow. A surprising amount of plywood.

The chassis comes complete with slideouts. Prevost builds them and they seem to be very well engineered. Here is a shot of a slide motor assembly.

The show chassis I walked through had been purchased by Millenium. Much to my surprise, the body was painted at the factory. I thought all of the conversion companies did their own paint. Marathon does, at a paint facility in Oregon. From the Marathon website:

Our exceptional and unique paint designs are all created by hand, produced by the nation’s finest exterior paint artisans. Our modern facility houses four full-service painting booths, making it one of the largest of its kind in the U.S. Doing everything in house gives us complete control of the entire process from the prep and body work to the design and color creation. The superb craftsmanship of the M Exteriors Creation team has caught the attention of motorcoach enthusiasts worldwide.

Looks like at least one conversion company prefers to have Prevost do the paint work.

I love the look of a Prevost coach.

When we went through the coaches, we had to remove our footwear and there were numerous signs everywhere reminding people not to touch anything: Please do not push buttons, please do not open doors, please do not take pictures — oops!

I was allowed to take some interior shots and some without the glaring signage. All I had to do was sign a thick legal document.

A few bedrooms.

A shot of one of the living areas.

Loved the details around this half-bath sink.

A design theme carried over from the kitchen, which, amongst other things, featured high-end appliances like a Viking microwave.

Prevost has been running Volvo engines since 2008. Those belts look a wee bit complicated to me.

Aside from the stunning interiors, the bays contained impressive design elements as well. Check out the water filtration system in this bay.

Enjoyed the walkthroughs on these fine motorcoaches.

Tomorrow, I’ll share a few thoughts on the experience walking through the booths at the Florida RV Supershow and how we got a great deal on an essential product for the motorcoach.

McKee’s 37

I love detailing my coach. And I love great products that help make detailing the coach a joy.

I came across McKee’s 37 products back when I first ordered my motorcoach from Newmar. I was looking for RV specific products and eventually wound up on the McKee’s 37 RV website. What impressed me was that the founder, Bob McKee, is an avid recreational boater and a Newmar owner:

I’m blessed. Plain and simple. Not only am I fortunate enough to call the sunshine state home, I’m the proud owner of a Newmar motor coach and a 21 foot Cobia center console. With my 30 plus years in the surface care enhancement industry, it was only natural to develop a product line tailored specifically for the unique cleaning requirements of boats and RVs.

I was surprised to discover that my latest undertaking would be so much work, and I was also surprised at just how much fun I would have developing the entire line, from the high-sudsing Carnauba Wash & Wax to the hugely capable All Purpose Surface Cleaner. I thought it would be a walk in the park, because there are a lot of marine and RV products on the market. It was my goal, or mission as my senior chemist likes to call it, to make my line of marine and RV products superior to anything else available. What my team and I developed is so good I decided to put my name on it. Enter McKee’s 37 Marine & RV.

I’ve been using McKee’s 37 products on the coach since we got it three years ago. McKee’s 37 products are an integral part of my detailing toolkit.

I have a few new products from McKee’s 37 Marine and RV line — new to me — and I have been trying them out on the coach. I’ll have a few posts about my experience with these products but today I wanted to highlight one of them that I used last week: McKee’s 37 Marine & RV Final Step Detail Wax.

I am so impressed with this product!

I like to use a detailing wax in between coach washes. It can take a few hours on and off the ladder to apply a detailing wax and buff it out. There is no getting around the fact that a diesel pusher motorcoach has a very large surface area.

With Final Step, the experience can be highly rewarding when you see what this product can do to the finish of your coach.

Here is a shot of the finished front passenger slideout. The middle section is a reflection off the black paint colour of the coach. Incredible!

Another dramatic reflection that shows off the mirror finish.

And another example of the stunning result from using this product.

My coach is three years old and I have taken very good care of the finish which helps a product like McKee’s 37 Final Step to produce such an amazing result. I literally spent an hour or so after I had detailed one side of the coach just admiring the shine.

What an awesome product.

Final Step is very easy to use. The finish should be relatively clean and recently waxed. A detailing wax is not a substitute for washing nor is it a substitute for a full wax. For light cleaning, you can apply a liberal amount of Final Step to the surface with a microfibre cloth and wipe it off without bearing down hard on the paint. Then use a second microfibre cloth to buff out the detailing product and bring out the gloss. That is really all there is to using this product.

Highly recommended to bring out the best of your coach in between washes.

I’ve ordered McKee’s 37 products from Autogeek and Amazon. You can also find them on McKeesRV.com and McKees37.com