Girard Awnings Recall?

Awnings on a motorcoach are pretty cool. They provide shade. They provide some bling with LED lighting. And they can extend your outdoor living space.

If you happen to have Girard awnings, they might also unexpectedly extend and cause you lots of problems.

There is a grounding issue in their product that can cause random deployments of the awnings when your coach is put into park.

That is what happened to our coach about six weeks ago. Our dealer was bringing the coach into the service bay when the random deployment happened. They had parked the coach. Then they took it out of park to bring it into the service bay.

The front awning decided to extend all on its own.

Scratch one awning.

As the service manager explained the issue to me, I initially thought it was due to human factors. I mean, how can an awning decide to deploy on its own? What combination of events would cause this to happen?

It seems as though Newmar and Girard don’t quite know. Right now, the issue is being blamed on wiring and/or grounding. Which means that even after being stranded for almost six weeks waiting for the replacement parts to come in, we still have a product that could randomly deploy.

We were told to unplug the awnings from the 110V outlets when not in use and we will continue to do so until there is a proper fix in place.

In our coach, there are two white controllers, one for each awning. They are not hard to find and whenever Girard and Newmar do the right thing, which is a product recall, it is best to keep them unplugged while not in use to prevent a random deployment.

This is likely a widespread issue across the recent line of coaches from Newmar. Our model is a 2016. There are other coaches built in 2017 and 2018 that have experienced random deployments of awnings.

There is a thread about this issue on the Newmar Owner’s forum over at iRV2 which offers some additional insight.

Unfortunate that this issue happened to us. Fortunate that it happened while we were at the dealer as opposed to leaving a fuel stop for an Interstate.

Still Here Waiting

We were not able to leave the dealer yesterday as we had hoped.

After a 4pm meeting with the service manager, we started calling all of our reserved bookings to see if we could move them out a day.

And we could.

Except for the first night. Tonight. No sites available. Sites in the north that can handle a rig our size have now closed for the season.

Assuming that we do get out today — the dealer is hoping to have us on our way by 2pm — we plan to stop overnight at a Casino in Erie, Pennsylvania. I’ll try my hand at the horse races and the casino and recoup my recent losses in the stock market.

It will be a bit of a different experience as we won’t have much room in the coach with the slides in. No services either. We will be boondocking for the night. The generator will get a good workout.

If we manage to be on the road by 3pm today, we’ll have the joy of battling some of the most congested highways in North America during peak traffic hours.

We’ll be crossing the border sometime between 6 and 7 pm. And we’ll stop overnight around 8pm.

Still Stranded

Status as of 3:30pm today?

Well, not sure. We came back on Monday, hoping to be on our way today. You can see in the photo above that the awning is, well, still not quite right.

Some technical issues that the dealer had to work through with Newmar related to wiring and the new Girard controller unit.

Here’s another shot of the awning getting repaired.

If they do get it finished by end of day today, we will have a pretty tough drive in the dark back to Sherkston Shores and we will get in pretty late. But at least we would be able to keep to our original schedule if we leave for the U.S. tomorrow morning.

If not, then we lose a day and that introduces some challenges to our downward leg.

We will be meeting with the service manager at 4pm today.

Hoping that it will be good news.

Back To The Dealer

It was warmer atop that glacier in Norway when we there than it is here at the dealership.

We came back to the dealer yesterday to have our awning replaced.

The dealer had damaged the awning almost six weeks ago now when bringing the coach into the service bay. We were stranded here for almost four weeks waiting on the status of the repair. When we determined that the parts would take another two weeks to arrive, we headed down to Sherkston Shores, the site we had booked originally, and set our jacks down there for 10 days. Even though it was unseasonably cold down there, the temperatures were above freezing.

Not here.

We came into snow when we drove into the dealership.

And this morning?

Minus 4 Celsius, or 24 Fahrenheit.

Doesn’t much matter the scale. That is cold. So cold that our heat pumps won’t operate. We have been burning diesel throughout the night to keep the coach warm with our hydronic heating system. And the radiant heat from our floor makes a big difference in terms of how warm the coach feels inside.

Thank heavens we opted for the tank heaters. I had them on overnight as well.

The coach goes in for service first thing this morning. The only complication? The awning is not the correct size. They sent an 18 foot 6 inch awning. Our coach takes an 18 foot awning.

The dealer tells me that they can work around the difference in size.

I’m hoping to learn a bit more on how that is going to work. Maybe the awning extends in front of the coach by six inches?

They plan to have us out Wednesday afternoon.

Replace Broken Drawer Catch

This drawer now shuts properly.

Getting it to do so involved a little bit of detective work.

Let’s take a look, shall we? Just in case a fellow Newmar RVer needs to replace a broken plastic catch.

Here is a picture of the broken plastic catch after I removed it from the cabinet. When it broke, it remained in the locked position which prevented the drawer from closing. You can see how the catch is closed in the casing towards the left side of the part.

I tried to return it to the unlocked position but it was a temporary fix. As long as I did not need to open the drawer, the temporary fix worked flawlessly. Of little value, arguably, as a drawer should be opened from time to time.

We have about ten new plastic catches in the coach now. It seems to be a common enough problem, these broken plastic catches. I’ve replaced two of them over the past few months. One of them this evening.

The part costs about $1.50 so there really isn’t a good reason not to keep a few in stock on board the coach.

To replace the plastic latch requires removal of the drawer to allow for ready access to the old catch and to make it easier to install the new catch.

It is not all that obvious how to remove the drawer. It took a bit of research to find out how to do so.

Let me give you the trade secret. There is a plastic lever where the drawer slide stop engages. You can see it here:

That little tab that sticks out on the right hand side? That is the lever. You will see it when you open the drawer fully. Flipping it up, or sometimes flipping it down, disengages the drawer slide stop allowing you to easily and completely remove the drawer from the drawer slide.

I thought you had to pull out the drawer and then lift it up off the drawer rails. That will not end well on a Newmar drawer. At least not with our coach.

Once the drawer is removed, it is very easy to replace the catch. Two screws hold it in place. As long as you have the same part, it is a very quick repair.

When completed, you will once again have a happy drawer. As you can see in the picture below, the new plastic latch is in the unlocked position, waiting to clasp the drawer when the drawer is closed.