We may NEVER buy a new M/H

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Jeff

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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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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.
 

Woody

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Tom said:
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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WoodyVanNote said:
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.
 

Jeff

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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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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.
 

Ron

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Smoky said:
This is sooo depressing to me, just three weeks before delivery.? ?:mad:

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.

 

Smoky

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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.
 

Ron

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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.
 

Tom

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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.
 

Smoky

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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.
 

Tom

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Smoky said:
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.

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.

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.

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.
 

Jeff

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[quoteI'll bet the dealer proudly showed you all his service/repair bays, right? That's his "other" business.

]
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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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
 

Ned

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If they built airplanes like RVs, we'd all be riding the train :)
 

Jeff

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[/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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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.

 

Tom

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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.

Smoky said:
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.

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

Already responded in your other topic.
 
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