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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.

Freightliner Chassis Owners Club

FCC

“Driving the best.”

Yesterday we received our membership cards for the Freightliner Chassis Owners Club (FCOC). The club was founded back in 1994 and has over 3,500 members.

Now they have over 3,502 members.

Our membership is free for the first year as we purchased a new chassis and we are the original owners.

FCOC holds two chapter meetings each year and they organize two National Rallies each year — both at the same time. Freightliner brings out a motorhome chassis as well as factory technicians to help with any Freightliner chassis issues.

The rallies look like they would be fun and informative. We won’t catch the one in October but we will definitely think about attending a rally next year.

Checklists

Checklists

The Circle Check and motor coach pre-trip inspection is an important part of every trip on the Castaway. And we conducted our circle checks. That said, we rushed things along and we did miss some items.

Update: I’ve had a few people ask me for pdfs of the checklists below. Here is the Freightliner checklist. And here is our checklist.

Freightliner, the company that manufactured the chassis of the Castaway, provides a comprehensive section on Pre- and Post-Trip Checklists in Chapter 9 of their Operator’s Manual. You can download the pdf from this link (select the Recreational Vehicle Chassis Operator’s Manual).

This is their recommended approach to the pre-trip inspection:

PreTripChecklist

Hang on because our pre-trip inspection will be a bit more detailed. I am putting it into a checklist form on Evernote to allow either Lorraine or myself to use a tablet and literally check off each element. If we have missed any important element, we can readily add it to the checklist.

Our Pre-Trip Inspection Checklist:

Approach Vehicle
No leaning or leaks
Nothing under the coach

Enter Vehicle
Check previous log, notice any repairs needed/completed, any issues that need checking
Locate Insurance Card and Vehicle Registration

Engine Compartment (Engine Off)
Look for fluids on ground or dripping from the engine or transmission
Check Oil Level
Coolant reservoir: sight glass level, radiator cap, secure, no leaks
Power Steering Fluid Level; no leaks, gear driven, securely mounted
Water Pump: no leaks, gear driven, securely mounted
Air Compressor: no leaks, gear driven, securely mounted
Belts: no cracks, frays, proper tension (no more than 3/4″ of play)
Pulleys: no chips, cracks, welds, securely attached
Hoses: not cracked, no bulges, no leaks, clamps secure, no loose connections
Alternators: securely mounted, wiring properly attached and not corroded
All Clamps and Fittings secure, tight
No Leaks (anywhere)

Preparation for Starting Coach
Adjust: Driver’s Seat, Mirrors (left & right), Steering Wheel (tilt & telescope) lock in place
Check Seat Belt Operation: Seat belt must be securely mounted, adjustable, latch properly, and in good condition (not ripped or frayed)

Safe Start Procedure
Coach is in neutral, parking brake is on
Apply Service Brake
Ignition start
Observe Oil Pressure Gauge shows normal pressure normal and temperature rising to normal
Check Amp/Volt Meter working and showing normal output
Turn On Lights (in & out), Flashers

Inspection of Entrance Area
Check door operation from outside, hinges securely attached, door seals intact, no glass damage
Stair Treads: fastened securely, no hazards
Handrails: present and securely fastened
Step Courtesy Light: operational

Right Front Wheels
Rim: no cracks, bends, weld, or damage
Right Front Tires Tread Depth: must be 4/32″ minimum, wear pattern even, no recaps
Tire Condition: Check that tread is evenly worn, check sidewalls for cracks, abrasions, bulges, or other damage
Tire Inflation: check the air pressure with a gauge
Valve Stems & Caps: not missing or damaged
Lug Nuts: all present, free of cracks, tight, show no signs of looseness (no rust or shiny threads)
Hub: oil/grease seal behind rim, no leaks
Splash Guards: attached and secure, no damage

Front Air Brakes
Inspect rotor, brake pads or drum and linings
Check for wear, oil/grease, or damage, secure and bolts tight
Check Air Chamber not leaking, cracked or dented, securely mounted
Air Hoses, Lines, & Fittings: secure, no leaks, worn or damaged
Air Tanks: secure, no leaks

Front Suspension
Air Ride Suspension: check for damage and leaks
Shock Absorbers: secure and no leaks

Right Side of Coach
Check All Lights, Reflective Equipment: clean, functional (not cracked, broken, or missing)
Clearance Lights (amber lens)
Turn Signals and Flashers (amber lens)
Windows: closed properly, no damage to glass
Compartment Bay Doors: Check all, open and close properly, latch securely, interior cables not frayed and secure
Front Bay: Check Safety Triangles (3) or Flares (6)
Fuel Tank: secure, fuel cap(s) are tight, no leaks from tanks or lines
Under Bus Frame: Check for damage
Exhaust System: intact, no leaks

Battery Compartment
Hold Downs: secure
Cable Connections: tight, no corrosion
Cell Caps: present
Battery Box: secure
Compartment Door: operates correctly, fastened securely

Right Rear Wheels
Rim: no cracks, bends, weld, or damage
Right Rear Tires Tread Depth: must be 4/32″ minimum, wear pattern even, no recaps
Tire Condition: Check that tread is evenly worn, check sidewalls for cracks, abrasions, bulges, or other damage
Tire Inflation: check the air pressure with a gauge
Valve Stems & Caps: not missing or damaged
Lug Nuts: all present, free of cracks, tight, show no signs of looseness (no rust or shiny threads)
Hub: oil/grease seal behind rim, no leaks
No debris between tires, duals evenly spaced
Splash Guards: attached and secure, no damage

Rear Air Brakes
Inspect: rotor, brake pads or drum and linings
Check for wear, oil/grease, or damage, secure and bolts tight
Check Air Chamber not leaking, cracked or dented, securely mounted
Air Hoses, Lines, & Fittings: secure, no leaks, worn or damaged
Air Tanks: secure, no leaks

Rear Suspension
Air Ride Suspension: check for damage and leaks
Shock Absorbers: secure and no leaks
Drive Shaft: check not bent or cracked, secure and U-joints not loose or worn
Splash Guards: attached & secure, no damage

Rear of Coach (Top to Bottom)
Check that all external lights and reflective equipment are clean and functional
Clearance Lights (red lens)
Brake Lights (red lens)
4-Way Flashers (amber lens)
Back-Up (clear lens)
Reflectors (red lens)
Rear Bumper: secure, intact
Exhaust System: intact, no damage or signs of leaks such as rust or carbon soot.
Tailpipe: secure, not damaged or twisted, secure

Left Side of Coach (Repeat from Right Side)
Rear Wheels: repeat
Air Brakes: repeat
Drive Shaft: repeat
Clearance Lights: repeat
Windows: repeat
Turn Signals, Lens: repeat
Bay Doors: repeat
Under Bus, Frame Check: repeat
Front Tires: repeat
Suspension: repeat
Splash Guard: repeat

Front of Coach (Top to Bottom)
Check that all external lights and reflective equipment are clean and functional
Clearance Lights (amber lens)
Turn Signals & Flashers (amber lens)
Inspect Windshield: no damage to glass, sealed securely, no illegal stickers or obstructions
Wipers & Wiper Arms: check hardware, blades, hoses, clips, all secure and operate smoothly
Windshield Washers: must operate correctly
Headlights: low and high beams
Front Bumper: secure
Mirrors & Brackets:securely attached, no cracks or broken glass, no stickers or obstructions to view

Inside Coach Walk Through
Fire Extinguisher: charged, dated, securely mounted
First Aid Kit: present
Overhead Compartments: Check function, secure and clean of debris
TV Monitors: secure, not loose
Seats: secure
Floor: clear of debris, hazards
All loose items secured
Satellite dish retracted

Driver’s Area
Shades: left and right operational
Windshield: no damage to glass, clean, no obstructions
Primary Panel: all instrumentation operational
Driver Heat and Defrost Fan/Temp tested
HVAC Control Panel
Fog Lights
Mirror Heat
Hazard Warning Flashers (indicator light on dash must be working)
Headlight Switch
Mirror Adjustment: properly adjusted
Fast Idle
Tag Axle Air Dump
Engine Brake configured properly
Emergency Parking Brake Release Show Location
Steering Wheel Area Tilt & Telescope Lever: locked
Check Steering Wheel Play: no more than 2″
Check Electric Horn: must test
Turn Signals: indicator light on dash must be working
Air Horn: must test
Wipers/Washers: check for proper function
High/Low Beam Head Lights: must check (indicator light on dash must be working)

IMPORTANT NOTE Checks of brake, turn signals and 4-way flasher functions MUST be done separately. Have copilot help check outside lights

Travel Mode
Levelling Jacks retracted
Wait until ride height is achieved
Slides in
Visually confirm slides are fully retracted

Air Brake Check
Start with air pressure up to maximum (governor shut off) then shut off engine
Open door and window to hear any air leaks

1) LEAKS: fully apply and hold foot brake pedal, hold foot brake pedal for one minute, check for no more than 3 psi air loss
2) ALARM: Turn ignition on and keep pumping brake until ‘low air warning’ alarm light and buzzer activate
3) BUTTON: continue pumping brake until brake valve button ‘pops’ out

Parking Brake Check: with parking brake ON, put bus in gear and apply slight accelerator pedal to be sure park holds.
Service Brake Check: determine brakes are working correctly and do not pull left or right, drive forward at 5 mph and apply brakes, should not pull to left or right and coach should stop smoothly and sufficiently.

Ready to hit the road!