Towed Vehicle Corrections
It was recently brought to our attention by a transmission engineer at Volvo Cars of North America that Volvo vehicles cannot be flat towed. This is contrary to information previously provided by the company and listed in the “Towables For 2002” article published in the March 2002 issue of FMC. A follow-up call to the company confirmed that Volvo cars are not approved for flat towing.
We also have learned that the 2002 Mercury Mountaineer that was included in the towables list cannot be flat towed without modification. The new 4×2 and all-wheel-drive versions of the Mountaineer are available only with an automatic transmission. Earlier 4×4 Mountaineer models (1997-2001) with the 4-liter V-6 engine and automatic transmission could be flat towed if equipped with the dealer-installed neutral tow kit.
This change does not affect the 4×4 four-door Ford Explorer with automatic transmission, which still can be towed four wheels down if equipped with the dealer-installed neutral tow kit. Four-door Explorer 4×2 and 4×4 models with manual transmissions also can be flat towed. The Explorer Sport and Explorer Sport Trac models cannot be flat towed.
In the same article, the Chevrolet TrailBlazer and GMC Envoy were mistakenly listed as being available with a manual transmission. Both models are available only with a four-speed automatic transmission.
In a related matter, the “Chevrolet’s 2002 TrailBlazer” article that appeared in the December 2001 issue of FMC (page 88) reported that the TrailBlazer with Autotrac could not be towed four wheels down. After several inquiries from FMCA members, we contacted company officials at General Motors who said that both the TrailBlazer and the GMC Envoy come with the Autotrac transfer case as standard equipment and can be flat towed.
FMC regrets these errors.
One Baby Boomer’s Observations Concerning Quality
I just finished reading the “President’s Message” column in the March 2002 issue (“Quality And Service Issues,” page 6). In that article FMCA president Jeff Jefcoat addresses concerns about the quality of motorhomes and the service after the sale. I am new to owning a motorhome, but I have found that quality is poor and service is worse. I am a baby boomer, and my wife and I have just become empty nesters. We have owned large boats over the years. Now that we have more time, we decided to sell our boat last year and buy a motorhome.
I have purchased two new diesel motorhomes during the past six months. The first unit I traded in after only a few months. The dealer had the coach in for service more days than I had it to enjoy.
Hoping for a better-quality motorhome, I traded in my 3-month-old coach and purchased another motorhome. This coach was advertised as one of the finest in the world. As I write this, it has been in the service department for 18 straight days. Its retail price was more than $325,000.
When it comes to service at dealers, you buy a coach and it takes six weeks to get an appointment; then, the work does not get completed. When I owned my boat, the dealer came to the marina to perform warranty work, which was almost always completed in a few days.
Large boats and motorhomes cost about the same. Why can’t motorhome dealers deliver that quality of service? The industry reminds me of American car dealers in the 1980s. The Japanese manufactured high-quality products, and their dealers cared about service. Why can’t this industry have more American pride?
During a recent campground stay, the coach behind me had an oil leak, the guy next to me had a coach with slideouts that would not retract, and another coach a few sites away had an awning motor that would not work.
You asked whether baby boomers would tolerate this poor quality. I don’t think so.
Joe Besnard, F297808
Tarpon Springs, Florida
Great Campground In Minot
Last summer on our trip to and from Alaska, we stayed at the Roughriders Campground in Minot, North Dakota, and it was a joy! This is one of the cleanest and best-operated campgrounds that we have stayed in. Lee and Dawn Erickson cannot do enough for you. Dawn will even bake you a great tasting pizza for less than $5. The showers and laundry facilities were spotless, and the entire campground was well organized. The access to a modem in the office was another plus. We recommend this campground to all.
James & Peggy Kitchings, F277351
Aiken, South Carolina