Newmar Factory Service Center Maintenance

Time to service our wagon. Newmar offers a factory service maintenance package, one that we will be using as we make our way back to Canada.

Now, if we had the time, I would like to go to the Freightliner Factory Service Center in Gaffney, South Carolina, to have the 36-month service completed. However, we are not going to be anywhere near the Gaffney location this year. We will stop there for our 48-month service on our way back to Canada in April of 2020.

Newmar it will be for the 36-month service.

Curious to know what Newmar will be doing to our coach in a few weeks? Of course you are. No detail will be spared in listing out the gory details of maintaining the Cleaver coach.

Newmar sends you forms. A bit outdated from a technology perspective. Basically, you receive a scanned copy of a paper document which you then print it out because the pdf is not a fillable electronic form and you have to initial each requested service item on the document, rescan it back into a pdf and email the completed form to Newmar.

Oh, and you should do this well in advance of your visit. The Newmar factory is a very busy place and bookings for service are best done 4 to 6 months ahead. We had made our initial appointment back in December of last year for the end of April this year. Finalizing all of the details on the factory service was done in February.

This was the paperwork. One page for the chassis.

And a second page for the coach.

We’ll look at the details for our service stop and then the cost as I know the images above are a bit of an eye test.

For the chassis:

Inspect belts, hoses, clamps and air restriction guage
Lubricate mechanical fan system
Replace air cleaner
Check alternator chassis batteries and starter
Inspect belts and belt tensioners
Lube throttle pedal and brake pedal pivot points and slides
Change engine oil and filter
Replace fuel filter and fuel/water separator
Inspect wheel seals and axle breather
Change lube oil in oil filled hubs (steer and tag axles)
Change lube oil in drive axle and clean magnetic plug
Change power steering/hydraulic reservoir fluid and filters
Change lube oil in fan gear box and lube joints
Service air dryer
Replace coolant filter and check coolant level
Lube chassis, check fluid levels and drain air tanks
Inspect brake linings, hoses, valves, slack adjusters
Inspect fuel tank mounting and fuel lines
Inspect suspension and height control valves
Inspect exhaust system
Inspect crankcase breather
Replace transmission fluid and filters

For the coach:

Inspect and clean slide out rollers
Service roof air conditioners
Inspect roof sealants
Inspect slide outs for proper seal
Perform generator oil, fuel and air filter change
Refrigerator annual maintenance
Service Oasis water heater
Water pressure/leak test/flush system/sanitize all tanks
Service jacking system

With our discount applied, the total cost is $3,891 USD for both chassis and coach service. For those of us paying in a devalued Canadian currency, that translates to about 5,300 loonies (Canadian dollars).

I did contact Freightliner to get a quote on a 36-month service and, keeping in mind that both companies offer somewhat different levels of maintenance service — Freightliner is focused primarily on the chassis and not on the coach — the price at Freightliner was definitely better. Unfortunately our travels take us along a different route and we do need to keep the coach maintained especially with our long distance drives across North America.

At any rate, looking forward to the visit to Newmar and getting all of these maintenance items completed.

The Trouble With Jack

One jack. Only one. Always in the same spot. Here.

Red lights. Never a good thing. This is what the jack looks like under the coach when it is deployed.

When we retract this jack the HWH system thinks it is still deployed making it somewhat difficult to get the coach moving.

This problem started when we made our big move from Florida to California. I would go through my checklist, retract the jacks and then the red light would show up.

We visually confirmed that all of our jacks were fully retracted even though the HWH system was showing that one jack was still down.

I would then step backwards in my checklist and try again.

The HWH would clear the red light now believing the previously retracted jack had retracted and we were then good to travel.

I did post a question on the iRV2 forum about this issue and then contacted Newmar support directly. They suggested I check the springs on the jack and lubricate the pole. They suspect that one or both of the springs might be a bit loose or that the pole needs a bit of lubrication. And not to worry. If we cannot clear the HWH fault, give them a call. There is a backdoor method that is quick and easy to override the HWH fault.

As we have the coach going in to service at Newmar at the end of April, I’m not going to worry about this little problem. I may have to continue retracting the jacks a second time for each day that we are driving and, if that doesn’t continue to work, I can give my friends at Newmar a call for the backdoor method.

Newmar Factory Service

Nappanee, Indiana. Home of the Newmar factory.

Our coach has been there. We have not. We will soon though. We have confirmed all of the details with Newmar, with no less than three categories of service: incident repair, chassis service and work items. All of which have been duly signed and submitted to the agents of Newmar.

The incident repair concerns the fiasco with the Girard awnings randomly deploying while the coach was in motion. Fortunately this happened at the dealer while the coach was being driven by the service manager. Unfortunately we were stranded for six weeks waiting for parts and installation.

The awning was not replaced properly, I posted on all of that over here, and Newmar will make it right for us at no charge.

Here are the items logged in their incident repair order. Note that we had not provided any specifics into the incident repair other than requesting Newmar to resolve the awning issue. The other details were provided by our dealer.

Job 3 notes the grounding concern for the Girard awning. We keep the awnings unplugged except for when we deploy them. Once retracted, we unplug the awnings from the motor control modules. Hopefully this service will resolve any outstanding issues with our awnings randomly deploying.

There is a second page on the incident repair order.

It makes reference to a recall, specifically 17V 497, under Job 6. The recall:

Daimler Trucks North America has decided that a defect relating to motor vehicle safety exists in specific motorhomes built on Freightliner chassis (NHTSA# 17V 451). In response, Newmar has filed recall NHTSA# 17V 497 and TC# 2017-389.

Issue: On certain motorhomes built on Freightliner XCR chassis, a battery cable mounting bracket may not have been installed at the plant per installation drawings. If improperly routed and clipped, the battery cable may be in close proximity to the frame rail. This may cause rubbing or shorting of the cable and may increase the risk of a fire.

Correction: The mounting of the battery cable bracket and cable routing will be inspected and revised (if required) at no cost to the customer.

Units Affected: See the attached population list for specific VIN numbers supplied by DTNA.

On our incident repair order, Job 6, Newmar states: “denied, needs addressed at FCCC service shop.”

This recall was supposed to have been resolved by the dealer and I now suspect that it wasn’t. Our dealer is not an FCCC service shop. We certainly do not want a risk of fire so we will need to confirm whether our dealer had resolved this issue.

We are taking advantage of Newmar’s Factory Service Maintenance program to complete a chassis service. We will have put some serious miles on the chassis by the time we get to Indiana and I trust the Newmar folks to do a comprehensive maintenance program on our coach.

Our work items include the few odds and ends that happened with our coach on the way from Florida to California. MCD shade motors that need to be replaced under warranty. A full wall slide that needs adjustment. And HWH jacks that need to be inspected.

We will be at the Newmar factory for three full days, April 24-26. We will arrive the night before and leave on the Saturday bound for Canada.

Looking forward to taking the factory tour at Newmar and looking forward to getting some repairs and maintenance completed on the coach.

There Is Always Something Part Four

Shades. They provide relief from the sun, don’t they? In a motorcoach, they also provide relief from the heat and, at night, privacy.

Shades can also be shady. There are numerous synonyms for shady: suspect, questionable, dubious, doubtful, untrustworthy, tricky and irregular.

All of these synonyms apply to the current state of my MCD shades. They are definitely shady. They have never worked consistently since we first got the coach. They have become progressively worse and, during our trip from Florida to California, the MCD shades have become downright frustrating.

There was a technical service bulletin released by Newmar. TSB 486. This is what it says:

Newmar and MCD shade have determined that certain 2016 and 2017 Dutch Star coaches (all floorplans withremote-controlled power shades) and 2016 and 2017 Ventana coaches (4311 floorplan only) may experience remote-controlled power shade failures. MCD has created the attached troubleshooting instructions to diagnose the 14-channel remote and remote motors. If the original remote-controlled motor(s) have failed and currently need replacing, the motors and remote(s) will be replaced with a 15-channel remote, new remote control motors, and a two-channel bedroom remote. The driver side “Sway Shade” will also be replaced as a complete shade. Replace the bezel in the wall to ensure the proper fit of the new 15-channel remote.

When we took our coach into the dealer to attend to the long-running issue with the MCD shades they did, well, nothing about the shades, even though our coach is on the affected unit list.

I raised the issue with MCD directly at the recent RV show in Tampa. They agreed to help us out. We are now in the midst of trying to arrange for these shades to be replaced.

For now, the shades are shady. I never know if they are going to work.

Every day, at least one shade fails to retract.

Every day, I reprogram at least one shade.

There is some good to come out of all this.

I have become an MCD programming shade master.

People from around the world come to me seeking insight on how to get their automatic MCD shades to retract. I am only too happy to help them out. For a very generous fee.

I have every step in the the user-friendly process outlined below memorized.

Easy enough to follow right? I especially like the description of the beep cycle: beeep, beeep, beep-beep-beep.

I even wrote a song about the beeps.

Would you like to see the lyrics?

Of course you would.

MCD Shades Go Beep, Beep, Beep by the Cleaver dude.

Copyright under dispute (I’m innocent).

While riding in my Dutch Star coach, what, to my surprise,
All MCD shades would not retract, not even on either side.
The remote must have wanted to lead me on
As the shades kept refusing to move. Beep! Beep!
I’ll show them that the Cleaver dude is not a dude to scorn.

Beep, beep. (Beep, beep.)
Beep, beep. (Beep, beep.)
The shades went, beep, beep, beep. (Beep! Beep!).

I pushed my finger down on the remote to give the shades a shake,
But the MCD shades stayed stuck in place; as if they had a brake.
The shades must have thought they had far more sense
As I kept on pressing up, up. Beep! Beep!
I’ll show them that the Cleaver dude is not a dude to scorn.

Beep, beep. (Beep, beep.)
Beep, beep. (Beep, beep.)
The shades went, beep, beep, beep. (Beep! Beep!).

My coach went into a long term site and we wanted to have some light.
And soon we were in a sunny place, but the coach inside wasn’t bright.
When I pulled the remote out from the wall, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
The MCD shades would just not move, you’d think those shades would try.
Beep, beep. (Beep, beep.)
Beep, beep. (Beep, beep.)
The shades went, beep, beep, beep. (Beep! Beep!)

Unfortunately I am currently embroiled in a copyright suit with some old song recorded by the Playmates. Heck, even their arrangement is the same as my song.

Beep, beep.

There Is Always Something Part Three

Hot water. Every time I use the hot water in our coach I wonder, will we have hot water today? For the past couple of years the problem with our hot water system was a substandard pump mechanism put out by ITR.

I don’t blame ITR for using cheap pumps. Sometimes a manufacturer produces a product at a lower cost and promises better quality. Or sometimes it is just not clear that the pump is a defective product and should be recalled until it gets out in the field in large numbers. Recalls then become very expensive.

Maybe as a company, you just wait for the pumps to fail. Perhaps under warranty. Perhaps not. And maybe not every pump fails. At least not right away.

Oh. And you can charge a lot for a replacement pump. A bit like a software subscription model. Incremental revenue after the initial sale. And, it makes the customer appreciate a quality replacement product for their coach.

Enough venting about defective hot water pumps. We have new ones in the system now and I expect that the mean time between failure (MTBF) will be better than the old design. The MTBF of the old design could be measured in days. Hopefully the MTBF of the new design is measured in years.

I digress.

Sorry about that.

What was I talking about? Oh yes. There is always something. On our trip from Florida to California we had a few, mostly minor, issues. The first was with our leveling system. It took multiple attempts to convince the system that all the jacks were retracted. Still unresolved. The second was with a plugged roof drain. Easily resolved. Messy, though. And I got wet.

And now, part three. A red light. I hate red lights. This red light has happened twice since we arrived to California, a heater module fault.

How did I know to check if we had a heater module fault?

No hot water.

So many times we have encountered no hot water in our coach.

What to do.

I went out to the bay that houses the main burner. This is our Oasis system that provides heat for our coach. Sometimes.

I did not really notice anything unusual here. No red lights on the front panel.

With my incredible knowledge of all things related to computing, it only took a moment to resolve this issue.

I deployed the BRS protocol.

This is a deeply held secret guarded by the few elite technology gurus in this world of which I am one. I learned about the BRS protocol many, many years ago.

Because I am now retired and no longer need to demonstrate my mastery of technology to any and all, I can provide you with this secret knowledge that has served me so well when facing mysterious technical issues:

The Big Red Switch (BRS) is a physical or metaphorical switch or button for which activation has ominous implications. A Big Red Switch is always very visible, and may stand as a warning itself as it is often designed to only be used in extreme situations. As such, the term has become a metaphor for extreme situations such that when an emgerency arises, someone might say “pull the Big Red Switch.”

Most often the Big Red Switch is a last resort in computer security, most specifically in mainframes or servers that have come under an attack that cannot be stopped and thus must be shut down. The term may also refer to major system resets.

The Big Red Switch may also be called the Big Red Button (BRB).

There wasn’t a BRS, or, for that matter, not even a BRB visible on the Oasis unit. There was, however, a RESET button.

I pressed it.

The coach promptly exploded.

But at least we had hot water for a few moments during the subsequent fire.

No, no, no.

The coach did not explode.

The Oasis system reset itself. The red light on the Oasis panel went dark and we had hot water again.

For about a week.

Then, another red light.

Then, another BRS protocol.

Then, hot water resumed.

I am thinking that I need to give ITR a call. I hate giving them a call because it costs me money. Usually several hundred dollars.

Given that we have been in the coach full-time for the past six months, it is probably time for the five-year service.

That is my guess although I thought we had a few more years to go before the five-year service.

In the meantime, if that red light comes on again, I will continue to invoke the BRS protocol.

Until the BRS protocol no longer works.