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Author Topic: We may NEVER buy a new M/H  (Read 8292 times)

Jeff

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We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« on: May 02, 2005, 03:25:17 PM »
We just spent the weekend with two couples who are old friends who both purchased new coaches in the past 8 months.

Couple #1: After months of research purchased their third m/h, 2005 Monaco 34' La Palma, $135,000 or so list price coach. Spent last fall making several frustrating trips to Monaco dealer here in the Puget Sound area, met with Monaco at FMCA last summer in Redmond who promised to get it fixed. They left last December to head south for the winter and spent the first 10 days at "Camp  Monaco" in Coberg to supposedly resolve the outstanding issues at the factory.

Got back two weeks ago-over 50 squawks including three leaks (still), electronics that do not work, etc, etc, etc.
Are going to take the formation of parts down to Coberg again to see if it can be reassembled.

Couple #2: After spending almost a year our friends and neighbors decided against a used coach to make sure they didn't end up with "surprises" and purchased a $260,000 2005 40' Winnebago Vectra that they took delivery of in January. They did everything as right as I know how to, spent a almost a week at the dealer in Oregon getting familiar with the coach and having all issues resolved, first few trips were short weekend jaunts near home (some with us to learn the ropes) and finally after 41/2 months decided to head down to California for a few weeks including a Winnebago Rally in Hemet, CA.

They got home last Thursday and their story is nothing but a combination of horrors and comedy. Window frame taped in to keep it falling off the coach, inverter/charger inop. Cross members broken or loose on two slides, leaks, chassis battery goes dead in three days, instrument cluster went dead in LA, referred to local Freightliner (not an Oasis dealer) by local Winnebago dealer. Kept coach a week, would not let them stay in coach, ordered parts that got lost, ordered wrong part, and 7 days later when the "right" part showed up and did not fix the problem determined that it was a broken wire!

Both of these motorhomes are covered by warranty by reputable companies but who needs to spend that kind of money to be subjected to those experiences.

My wife and I have owned 6 used motorhomes over the past 30 years and I have done everything from dropping an engine 1000 from home with three kids to sitting on I-80 up on the mountain 15 miles west of Cheyenne in February
with a starter that would not disengage (again with three kids) and we still love the lifestyle and would not trade it for anything. The three year old Tradewinds we purchased with 11,000 miles has given us little trouble over the past year/7,000 miles. It will become our home here in a few months.

If our experiences had started out as the two examples above (and all the others we hear about because too much of the RV industry is striving for quantity at the expense of QC) I am not sure Sue and I would still be enthusiasts to the extent we are.
 
She has decided she NEVER wants to own a new coach!

Will they ever learn? ??? ??? ???

Tom

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2005, 04:00:10 PM »
Jeff

Those stories are all too common, and a sad reflection of the RV industry. Most folks have some issues with new coaches, get them fixed eventually, and shrug it all off as being "normal". Your friends' stories show just how far the industry has to come.
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Woody

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2005, 08:02:26 PM »
Jeff

Those stories are all too common, and a sad reflection of the RV industry. Most folks have some issues with new coaches, get them fixed eventually, and shrug it all off as being "normal". Your friends' stories show just how far the industry has to come.

That is why most of us buy used coaches Let someone else put up with the headaches.

Woody

Tom

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2005, 09:40:30 PM »
That is why most of us buy used coaches Let someone else put up with the headaches.

Understood Woody. Hopefully, someone with a problem coach doesn't later sell it to an unsuspecting "used coach" buyer.
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Jeff

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2005, 10:50:50 AM »
Tom:

I guess expectations are different for a used buyer vis-a-vis someone who steps up to the plate and pays what it takes to buy a new coach with all the "factory" support and specifically to avoid the surprises of a used motorhome.

I certainly allow much more time for due diligence when buying used rather than new.


Tom

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2005, 11:16:44 AM »
Good point Jeff. However, in our case, we really needed a lot more time to do due diligence at the dealer. They'd allocated an hour or so for our walk-through and ended up rushing us to get us out of the door. I naiively assumed they'd fix problems I identified during the walk through and that I'd get the support I needed if I missed something. Wrong on both counts.
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Smoky

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2005, 07:51:11 AM »
This is sooo depressing to me, just three weeks before delivery.   >:(
Smoky S  Ham radio - W3PY

The magic of a campfire
where the fish get bigger
the mountains get higher
the hike was uphill both ways
and new friends become old friends

2005 KSDP3910 Newmar Kountry Star
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On our way to the Poudre River in Colorado for the summer!

Ron

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2005, 08:28:27 AM »
This is sooo depressing to me, just three weeks before delivery.   >:(

When you take delivery just take your time and do not let them rush you.  Make sure anything that needs fixed is documented in writing.

Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE

Smoky

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2005, 08:49:13 AM »
Ron:

I certainly am taking my time with the emphasis on MY time.  I am catching a lot of flak for this on another forum and I think from some dealers masquerading as owners.

Here is what I did. 

I called my dealer in Northern Maryland a couple weeks ago and asked him to describe the delivery process.  He explained that they take a full day.  In the morning they inspect everything on the "master sheet" that was used to construct the home.  This includes, of course, the 8 "specials" we ordered.  Specials are custom items not provided for as either standard or optional items.  One of the things I like about Newmar is that they allow custom work on mid price pushers, usually reserved for the hi line MHs.  These can be substantial custom jobs.  I know one fellow who ordered 108 specials.  Most of ours are minor (like installing three cable outside jacks instead of one so that we can have two cables going to our computer workstation to allow for the upload and download modems you will be installing.  :D

Then we break for lunch.  Then in the afternoon, he shows us step by step how to operate every item.  Slideouts, entertainment center, kitchen appliances, heating and cooling, sewage and gray valves, etc etc.

Then they recommend we camp and they have a return date scheduled for two weeks later to fix items.

After he was done explaining, I asked to add one more piece to this program.  I wanted three hours to do my own pre-delivery schedule.  He laughed, of course, and said that would be unnecessary.  They would leave no stone uncovered.

I then asked him how much time he would spend with me up on the roof?  He was silent.  And oh by the way how much time crawling with me underneath the coach.  Again silence.

I explained I would be coming up there with a checkoff list of several hundred items.  He was speechless.  Then finally he said he guessed it would be OK if I stayed late and did this after they were done.

I said no.  I would have no control over his part of the agenda and I might run out of time.  I said how about the afternoon before.  He said it is a long way up here for you.  I said yes, and we plan to stay overnight in a motel down the road.

He finally said OK.  He pointed out they would not have time to fix things on the spot.  I said no problem, I was sure things could wait till the return visit in two weeks.

Of course, all this takes place before we sign the check.

The maim point here is that I don't simply let them lead me by the hand through their prescripted "walkthrough".. I carve out some time that I have complete control over.

I got this idea a couple weeks ago when I watched the buyer's home inspector go through my home.  I was allowed to walk along with them, but I was not allowed to speak unless spoken to.  It was embarrassing as he picked my house apart.  I learned things about my house I would never have learned otherwise.  If I were not selling it I would play plenty to get my hands on the huge binder of inspection results.  A good house inspector is with his weight in gold.  I bet a good MH inspector would be too.

At the end of that painful process I realized how important it is for the buyer to have control over her own inspection process.  I then extended this "aha" to my MH purchase.
Smoky S  Ham radio - W3PY

The magic of a campfire
where the fish get bigger
the mountains get higher
the hike was uphill both ways
and new friends become old friends

2005 KSDP3910 Newmar Kountry Star
Toad - Taurus wagon w/ axle lock
On our way to the Poudre River in Colorado for the summer!

Ron

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2005, 09:52:31 AM »
Sounds like you got a good plan Smoky.  Probably good that you have let them know exactly what you expect before the delivery takes place.
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE

Tom

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2005, 03:51:05 PM »
Good luck with that plan Smoky. I hope the dealer gives you all the time you need and that he'll fix things after he has your check.
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Smoky

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2005, 03:55:53 PM »
Tom:

Can you think of any reason they will not fix anything?

In another couple days I will post my check list. 

Let me know if you think I am checking anything that is not covered by warranty.

From everything I have read on all the forums in the last 8 months, it appears that most dealers and manufacturers are eager to fix things covered under new warranties.  This tells me it is incumbent on me to do the best inspection job possible, right?

I sure hope dealers and manufacturers are not counting on inadequate owner inspections.
Smoky S  Ham radio - W3PY

The magic of a campfire
where the fish get bigger
the mountains get higher
the hike was uphill both ways
and new friends become old friends

2005 KSDP3910 Newmar Kountry Star
Toad - Taurus wagon w/ axle lock
On our way to the Poudre River in Colorado for the summer!

Tom

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2005, 04:44:34 PM »
Can you think of any reason they will not fix anything?

My dealer sure didn't, and it was a lengthy and painful process to get stuff fixed.  I finally drove to the dealer's lot and refused to leave until they fixed stuff, and I was prepared to stay as long as it took. I also offered to call whoever was needed to be called at the manufacturer in order to get the dealer to do his job. Similar story with the boat, only longer and more painful. I was making daily calls to the dealer and the manufacturer from overseas while I was on business trips. After maybe six months of this nonsense, I finally wrote to the CEO of the boat manufacturer and got all the help I needed, but only because I happen to know how to get a CEO's attention.

Quote
Let me know if you think I am checking anything that is not covered by warranty.

Do you have a copy of the warranty statement listing what's included and what's not? This is IMO a separate issue from the time-of-delivery issues. From your prior comments, it sounds like you're prepared to hand over the check and drive away with a coach that may have problems before you leave the lot. I sincerely hope your dealer is true to his word.

FWIW I'll never take dealer delivery again. The inputs of folks here and my bad experiences finally convinced me that factory delivery is the only way to go.

Quote
most dealers and manufacturers are eager to fix things covered under new warranties.

I suspect that's true of the dealers in the case where they're getting additional $$ from the manufacturer after the sale. I'll bet the dealer proudly showed you all his service/repair bays, right? That's hjs "other" business.

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it is incumbent on me to do the best inspection job possible, right?

Also known as caveat emptor.

It sure will be interesting to read about your experiences after the event. I know a lot of folks here, myself included, are sincerely hoping it all goes without a hitch after all the research you've done.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2005, 04:47:29 PM by Tom »
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Jeff

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2005, 10:09:39 AM »
[quoteI'll bet the dealer proudly showed you all his service/repair bays, right? That's his "other" business.

]
Quote

Tom:

The dealer finds himself in a never-ending circle. Everyone wants big discounts on the sale which means little margin left for after sales support, which means the service business has to be self-supporting.

In the '70's and early '80's I was selling aircraft and our shop could not make a profit doing maintenance because it was run to do one thing, support aircraft sales. If a non-sales customer came in he would find his work delivery delayed to fix a new unit under warranty.

When sales slowed to practically nothing for 10 years beginning in the early eighties we learned to take care of our maintenance business and make it profitable. Now when someone shows up with warranty work they end up in line like everyone else during the busy months. I know it is not what anyone wants to hear but is usually what happens.

What is frustrating is that they don't seem to have the resources to fix issues when they finally get around to working on your coach!

Tom

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2005, 11:06:52 AM »
Thanks Jeff. Understand the need to make a profit, but I'm not yet ready to get out the Kleenex for RV dealers. I guess I was in customer support for too many years, and have little empathy for a dealer that doesn't pay attention to their customers, especially when I'm the customer. If a dealer does the job, there's really no reason for anything to show up on a walk-through. I understand some things will slip through, but there's no reason they shouldn't be fixed promptly, and before I hand over the check. Taking my check and then not fixing the problems is unacceptable. Telling me they were fixed when they weren't is IMO bordering on criminal.

All this is stuff that is supposed to be in working order at the time of sale, which is why, in my prior message, I made the distinction between problems at the time of delivery and problems that surface later. None of us order/buy a new coach, boat or aircraft with defects, and we have a right to expect the product to be defect free when we hand over the check. Dealers that I've dealt with either don't understand that, or won't acknowledge it. They give the customer the universal line "don't worry about it, we'll fix it later, just give us the check now".

Smoky has obviously read or heard about enough horror stories that he's put his extensive checklist together and plans (hopes) to spend sufficient time at the dealer to ensure everything is either right or identified/documented. He shouldn't have to go to that extreme, but reality is that he feels he has little choice.

Aren't you glad I didn't buy an airplane from you  ;D
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Ned

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2005, 11:49:16 AM »
If they built airplanes like RVs, we'd all be riding the train :)
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Ron

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2005, 12:17:11 PM »
If they built airplanes like RVs, we'd all be riding the train :)

I think even the early days of aviaition they had better Quality in airplanes than they do today in RV/s ;D
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE

Jeff

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2005, 04:00:01 PM »
Quote
[/quoteI think even the early days of aviaition they had better Quality in airplanes than they do today in RV/s ]:)

We learned early at airplane rates its cheaper to try and build it right the first time. :)

Smoky

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2005, 05:28:12 PM »
Well dang!  I am not sure where to turn.

Tom, I really see a LOT of evidence my dealer is not like you describe.  We never had any trouble getting stuff fixed by the same dealer on our trailer.  And we have noticed for the past two years how they roll out the carpet for the MH owners.  I spoke with a Winnebego owner who had 68 items after his shakedown cruise and they were all over it like locusts on a tree.

And I have the added resource that Newmar will always give an appointment if the dealer does not satisfy.  The Newmar warranty is pretty famous for the attention given.  I guess that is one of the reasons they are dropping the three year warranty down to one year, but I see no sign that they are dropping the attention level.  On the Newmar forums people are still raving about the attention they get on warranty jobs at the factory.  Newmar even finds and fixes things out of warranty often without a charge.

But to answer your question, yes I am prepared to walk away from the coach if they show any signs of resistance.  That is exactly why I insisted on having my inspection FIRST before they do their walkthrough.

They also make a firm appointment for two weeks later before you drive away.  The Winnebago guy I talked with was coming in for his two week later appointment.  It all looks very good to me.

And MHs cannot be that bad guys.  I was just commenting to the Admiral how enthusiastic you all are and how you devote major portions of your lives to loving these beasts. :P

BTW Tom I can't get my checklist uploaded as either an xls or a doc file.

Smoky S  Ham radio - W3PY

The magic of a campfire
where the fish get bigger
the mountains get higher
the hike was uphill both ways
and new friends become old friends

2005 KSDP3910 Newmar Kountry Star
Toad - Taurus wagon w/ axle lock
On our way to the Poudre River in Colorado for the summer!

Tom

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2005, 05:36:50 PM »
Smoky

I can't/won't comment on your manufacturer or your dealer's integrity, performance, or products since I have no experience with them. I can (and do) only comment on my experiences. But, if I was that confident in both, I wouldn't need a pre-inspection or a 400 page checklist.

But to answer your question, yes I am prepared to walk away from the coach if they show any signs of resistance.

Don't recall asking that question. Maybe it was someone else?

BTW the dealer's process that you described sounds very good.

Quote
I can't get my checklist uploaded as either an xls or a doc file.

Already responded in your other topic.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2005, 05:38:48 PM by Tom »
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Smoky

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2005, 05:53:24 PM »
Tom:

"But, if I was that confident in both, I wouldn't need a pre-inspection or a 400 page checklist."

I am not sure I follow the logic there.  What I am trying to do is avoid what you just described as happening to you. 

And protect myself from any "false" confidence. 

If I follow your logic then it leads to the inescapable conclusion that all Mhs are junk and there is nothing a buyer can/should/ought to do to minimize problems down the road.  I am not quite ready to draw that conclusion and while I see cases of people who have had misfortune in their dealings; I also see plenty of cases of people who have successfully winded there way through the maze and come out the other end satisfied.  Up until today, I though you were one of those folks after reading many prior messages from you here.  It seemd to me you had a plan for dealing with each new surprise and did not let setbacks defeat you.

"Don't recall asking that question. Maybe it was someone else?"

Tom said to Smoky up above "From your prior comments, it sounds like you're prepared to hand over the check and drive away with a coach that may have problems before you leave the lot."

I was just responding to that comment.  I am indeed prepared to let most problems wait for the two week revisit, but if I uncover what I feel are "major" problems I will not hand over the check.  I really do not expect any major problems, but it can happen and sometimes does.

"BTW the dealer's process that you described sounds very good."

Well I am doing everything in my power to control the process and bring it to a good fruition.  I owe a ton to everyone here on the forum, for almost everything I have learned has come from all of you.

This whole process feels almost like I am trying to buy a Navy battleship with all its complex weapons systems, navigation systems, galley, utilities, living quarters, etc.  Not at all like buying a car. :o

« Last Edit: May 09, 2005, 07:26:16 PM by Smoky »
Smoky S  Ham radio - W3PY

The magic of a campfire
where the fish get bigger
the mountains get higher
the hike was uphill both ways
and new friends become old friends

2005 KSDP3910 Newmar Kountry Star
Toad - Taurus wagon w/ axle lock
On our way to the Poudre River in Colorado for the summer!

caltex

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2005, 06:14:41 PM »
Smokey, not every dealer is like the one Tom had, but there seems to be a lot of them out there. A lot of good ones also.  I have had good experience with my dealer.  I've had to have several problems fixed, but the relationship with the dealer and the dealer's efforts were more than satisfactory. with the preparation you have done you should be in fine shape. 

Robert
Robert

Smoky

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2005, 07:27:01 PM »
Thanks Robert!  I need all the encouragement I can get!
Smoky S  Ham radio - W3PY

The magic of a campfire
where the fish get bigger
the mountains get higher
the hike was uphill both ways
and new friends become old friends

2005 KSDP3910 Newmar Kountry Star
Toad - Taurus wagon w/ axle lock
On our way to the Poudre River in Colorado for the summer!

Tom

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2005, 08:50:04 PM »
What I am trying to do is avoid what you just described as happening to you.

I have no issue with that, and can't figure out why you'd think I do. In fact, I thought I'd been outwardly supportive of your efforts to get it right. I envy your patience in going to the extent you have, although I stand by my belief that you shouldn't have to do that. Doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.

Quote
If I follow your logic then it leads to the inescapable conclusion that all Mhs are junk and there is nothing a buyer can/should/ought to do to minimize problems down the road.

Not sure where you get that either. All I've said is that my dealer experience was not good. When we pulled into the first rest stop on our first trip, a guy knocked on the door of the coach, explained he recognized the dealer decals as the same place he bought his coach, and asked what I thought of my experience with the dealer. I said "I wouldn't buy another RV from them because ....", to which he replied "I've bought two from them, same experience, and I'll never buy another from them". Having had a similar experience with a boat dealer, I'm naturally going to be suspicious of any dealer who says "trust me".

As for the manufacturer, I've stated here numerous times that I've had nothing but very positive experiences with Monaco in dealing with the few problems that we had. My experience at their factory service center in IN was nothing short of very, very good, and it has been repeatedly reported as such on the forum. It's one of the contributing factors to me repeatedly saying I wouldn't go to a dealer for repairs.

As for the coach itself, I've said little here beyond what I reported in my lessons learned from our 10,000 miles shakedown cruise. I've told numerous folks in person, including folks at Moab last week, that I'm very happy with my coach. It's not a Prevost, doesn't have all the features I'd want if I ordered a new one today, but it suits our needs as part timers very well. We have a few appointments set up during August, one at the Monaco service center in Oregon to take care of a few warranty issues that have surfaced over the last 8 months, and two at Davis Cabinets to make the few changes we feel are needed to our coach interior. I fully expect to come away from those appointments a very happy camper.

Given the above, I'm at a loss to understand how you extrapolate what I've said into the "inescapable conclusion" quoted above.

Quote
It seemd to me you had a plan for dealing with each new surprise and did not let setbacks defeat you.

If I had a plan, there would be no surprises. I take things as they come and do my best to deal with them. I'm patient to a point, but the patience runs out very quickly with providers having low integrity or incompetence, or are non-responsive. Bad providers hate dealing with me because I won't go away and they feel a lot of pain, whereas good providers think I'm a great guy. Bad providers who turned around have thanked me for helping straighten them out. This is nothing new for me, either in my personal life or my professional life, and I can't imagine what you think changed as of today.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2005, 08:53:19 PM by Tom »
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Smoky

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2005, 10:08:51 PM »
Tom:

Sounds to me like you have it all under control.

I agree with you about trying to arrange to have the factory do as much as possible vs. dealers. especially after what i saw this week in Indiana.  I was pleased to see that Newmar has an extensive campground.  Well, lets say extensive lines of hookups.  I met several people who drove in with no notice and were easily accommodated for overnight, simply to take the tour.  They charge nothing for the service, though folks are expected to move on the next day unless they have further Newmar business.


BTW Bernie I drove past the Travel Supreme factory several times while going back and forth to Newmar.  A lovely factory site.

In July we will stop in Indiana again so the Admiral can take the tour.  I plan to also visit Travel Supreme on that trip.
Smoky S  Ham radio - W3PY

The magic of a campfire
where the fish get bigger
the mountains get higher
the hike was uphill both ways
and new friends become old friends

2005 KSDP3910 Newmar Kountry Star
Toad - Taurus wagon w/ axle lock
On our way to the Poudre River in Colorado for the summer!

Tom

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2005, 10:10:14 PM »
Smoky

Sounds like Newmar is a very good company.
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BernieD

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #26 on: May 14, 2005, 09:08:37 AM »

BTW Bernie I drove past the Travel Supreme factory several times while going back and forth to Newmar.  A lovely factory site.

In July we will stop in Indiana again so the Admiral can take the tour.  I plan to also visit Travel Supreme on that trip.


Do take the tour, it is a good one also. Not as packaged as Newmar's but very hands on.  TS has hookups also, but not for tours :D Also Monaco is right behind Travel Supreme to the SW. Driving south on IN 19 past Travel Supreme, if you turn right at the next stoplight you're at Monaco.
Bernie & Marlene Dobrin
Home is Goodyear, AZ
Missing our Travel Supreme

Smoky

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Re: We may NEVER buy a new M/H
« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2005, 12:50:55 PM »
Yes, we will take the Monaco tour as well.  We almost bought Monaco, so it would be like visiting an old friend.
Smoky S  Ham radio - W3PY

The magic of a campfire
where the fish get bigger
the mountains get higher
the hike was uphill both ways
and new friends become old friends

2005 KSDP3910 Newmar Kountry Star
Toad - Taurus wagon w/ axle lock
On our way to the Poudre River in Colorado for the summer!

 

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