Winnebago Industries Correction
The telephone number noted in “Enter The Freedom Machine” (November 2004, page 86) for Winnebago Industries’ Special Vehicles division has changed. The correct number is now (800) 492-9135.
Tiffin Recall Clarification
The November 2004 “Recall Corner” included NHTSA recall 04V383000 (page 28), which involves buckle assemblies on Amsafe seat belts installed in some 2004 and 2005 Tiffin Allegro, Allegro Bay, Allegro Bus, Phaeton, and Zephyr motorhomes. According to a Tiffin company official, the recall does not involve all motorhomes built during this time period. Owners are advised to call Amsafe at (574) 266-8330; each owner will be asked to provide a number off the white label that appears on the seat belt to determine whether his or her coach is involved.
I want to thank FMCA for the wonderful article about the Johnny Gruelle Raggedy Ann and Andy Museum in Arcola, Illinois, in the April 2004 issue (“A Celebration For The Young At Heart,” page 86). We were able to visit the museum the end of June and talked to museum cofounders Joni and Tom Wannamaker.
It meant a lot to me, because my Aunt Hazel started making Raggedy Ann-like dolls in the 1930s. More than 40 years ago I made a doll like Raggedy Ann for my two daughters. Since then, the doll has traveled from one toy box to the other, and she looks like she’s been through the war. I have sewed her leg back on, and my youngest granddaughter helped me put bandages on her “boo-boos.”
My homemade Raggedy Ann now travels with us in our motorhome. No matter what we put her through, or whatever the weather, she never complains. She keeps smiling and her heart still says, “I love you.” As of September 2004, I had given or sent copies of your article to 15 friends and relatives. Thanks again!
Evelyn McClellan, F245317
Damon Earns High Marks
I am on my third type A motorhome, and it’s my first brand-new diesel pusher. It seems to me that a motorhome owner’s “satisfaction level” is the sum of experiences in four key areas: construction and assembly; purchase experience; unit performance; and warranty and service.
If I rated each of these four categories with a maximum of 50 points for the most positive score, my personal experience with this coach would yield a nearly perfect total score.
In terms of construction and assembly, the coach has a Freightliner chassis with a Caterpillar engine. These, plus products by Carefree and Dometic, to name a few, were combined by Damon Motor Coach of Elkhart, Indiana, to produce a wonderful motorhome “” the 2003 Ultrasport model 3876. After I looked at many coaches, higher and lower in price, its quality and craftsmanship far exceeded my expectations. As with all motorhomes, some adjustments were needed “” one significant, two routine. No real horror stories here. Score: 46.
Regarding purchase experience, the sales representative, Gary Patton of Byerly RV in Eureka, Missouri, was a real professional. More importantly, he and the entire organization took care of us as buyers, even though they had all the leverage. The demise of our former coach occurred nearly at their doorstep while we were on a major trip in July 2003. Dead coaches and tight schedules don’t make for great bargaining opportunities for buyers. However, we got it all done in two days, and it was more than fair. Score: 50.
In the unit performance category, we have driven almost 20,000 miles in 18 months, and it has performed to near perfection. We experienced only one minor on-the-road failure. Score: 49.
As for warranty and service, my service representative at Damon, Jeff Hakes, has been helpful beyond belief. Damon’s attention to its warranty is without equal. My Ultrasport calls Arizona home. My service center is La Mesa RV in Tucson, Arizona, and my service representative there is David Adams. I wish I could give more than 50 points here, because the professional, tender loving care provided by these two has been unbelievable. Score: 50.
So, there it is: A total of 195 out of 200. I am one very happy RVer.
Ted Fichtl, F241819
Sierra Vista, Arizona
Garmin Replaces GPS
On September 17, 2004, our community in western Pennsylvania was ravaged by the storms brought to our area by Hurricane Ivan. Our house and our Monaco Camelot motorhome were severely damaged by the floodwaters. Among the many personal items we lost was a $1,299 Garmin Street Pilot 2620 GPS that we had purchased just six months earlier.
We chose that particular GPS because of the many reports we read about the quality of the company’s products. We are writing now to tell you about the quality of the people who work for Garmin.
We sent our GPS back to the factory, explaining that it was damaged in a flood and was underwater for several days. We asked if it were possible to repair it; if not, we would buy another one, because it was so valuable to us when we travel.
The day before Thanksgiving a package arrived at our house containing a brand-new 2620. Along with it was a note saying that Garmin regretted the fact that we lost so many of our possessions and, while they felt that it was just a small gesture, they were replacing our GPS free of charge.
Our motorhome is at Monaco’s Indiana facility undergoing extensive repairs. We are eager to get it back so that we can hit the road. Whenever we do travel and use our GPS to guide us, we will always remember the kind folks at Garmin for their thoughtful gift at Thanksgiving.
Richard & Patricia Barnes, F123763
Sunshine Makes The Shade Better
After reading the awning article in the July 2004 issue (“Shade: You Can Take It With You,” page 56), I was prompted to share my comments. Our previous motorhome’s vinyl awning was easy to keep clean, and looked as good the day we sold the coach as it did new.
Then we bought a newer type A motorhome with a 19-foot-long, deluxe woven-acrylic awning. It was stained when we got it, and no amount of cleaning could erase the marks, which were probably pine sap. However, this past year we started volunteering in the Workamper program, and were parked in one place for several months, during which we had the awning open the whole time. I was pleasantly surprised recently when I looked up and found that the sun had bleached out the stains, and the awning was clean once more.
So, if all else fails, let nature take its course!
Heather Dina, F35300
Leicester, North Carolina
We went on a wonderful vacation this past summer and have many fond memories of all that the United States has to offer.
Unfortunately, as we were driving back from a monument in New Mexico in our towed car, we came up to a horrific multicar accident. If we were one minute ahead, we would have been the ones involved in this disaster.
After witnessing this tragedy, we got to thinking how close we came, and if it were us, what would have happened. If we had been in the accident, no one would have known that we were traveling in a motorhome and had a pet. That’s when it hit us as to how important it is to keep visible the campground registration brochure and/or campground parking tag you receive when registering.
My suggestion is that everyone keep this info in the front seat or on the dash of the car, where it would be seen if you were ever in an accident. If someone stayed behind in the motorhome while you were out that day in your towed car (even running to the store) and you were involved in an accident, at least the authorities would look at the campground registration information and figure out where you were staying.
We shudder to think how long it would take the authorities to discover that you had a motorhome somewhere, and what could happen if they did not know that you had others or pets left behind in your coach.
We think this simple suggestion could save a lot of heartache.
Steve & Sandy Bondi, F284364
Winter Haven, Florida
Last summer we experienced difficulties with our roof-mounted KVH TracVision S3 satellite antenna. On the last Friday in September, we contacted customer service for KVH. How fortunate we were to have Rusty take the call.
He advised that if we had a laptop computer he would walk us through the problem in a matter of minutes. We don’t have a laptop, so he suggested a couple of facilities we could stop at in Tucson that have KVH factory-trained technicians.
We arrived at one of the locations but were told that their satellite technicians could not schedule us for service until the following week. So, we next went to Beaudry RV. They display banners proclaiming “Committed to Satisfying You.” Wow, did they ever live up to that slogan.
Service adviser Dave Spoelstra let satellite technician Patrick Rodda stop what he was working on and had us bring our motorhome into the service drive without having to disconnect our towed vehicle. Patrick plugged a laptop into the switch plate, and within about a half-hour he had the system working like new. The service was covered under KVH Industries’ warranty.
In our years of motorhoming, seldom have we received service like this. We will certainly share our experience with others we meet on the road.
J.T. & Carla Schaffler, F276117
Fountain Hills, Arizona
All At No Charge
I wanted to alert your readers to another great RV dealer “” ABC RV Sales in Cortez, Colorado. With an intermittent water heater and a contrary refrigerator, I pulled into their shop recently. I got timely help with a loose wire I hadn’t found at the heater, and soot on the refrigerator burner “” as well as some tips about how to keep the refrigerator burner clean. All this, plus good wishes for our trip, and all at no charge!
H.Z. Stough, F330296
Add This Facility To Your List
While on our way to Charleston, South Carolina, where we had reservations for a three-week stay, our HWH leveling jack failed to extend as we parked for the night. We looked in our directory of Newmar dealerships and found Tony’s RV Parts and Service, C4083, on Pond Branch Road in Lexington, South Carolina. They were only 15 miles from where we were parked.
Like most shops, they were very busy, but they willingly took us in for service the next morning. Within two hours the solenoid valve was replaced, the bill was settled, and we were on our way. We will add this dealership to our list of those that provide outstanding service.
Millard E. Ruso, F266245
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
We cannot begin to tell you about the depth of hospitality and kindness we experienced when we had to repair our 36-foot motorhome while in New Brunswick, Canada, on vacation.
We discovered a broken shock absorber and a leaking air bag early in a 40-day tour of the Atlantic Maritimes. We were directed to KV Auto in Rothesay, New Brunswick, the manager of which is Steven Marr. They called nine warehouses across Canada trying to find a replacement air bag. When one could be found only at the manufacturer in Memphis, Tennessee, we were told it would be at least five days before it could be delivered to KV Auto through U.S. customs.
Because we were not towing a car, KV Auto called a nearby car rental agency, which delivered a car there. Until the part was delivered, our motorhome was parked in KV Auto’s secure site and connected to power. Great care was taken by the mechanics not to soil the interior of our coach when they moved it for servicing in their bays.
The part arrived and we were notified that the work was completed well within the promised time frame. Parts and labor charges were fair and reasonable. Steven’s wife, Lori, invited us to park for the night at their riverside home and enjoy an evening beachside campfire with their friends and neighbors. At their home, our coach was connected to water and power for the night.
We have no idea why we should be so kindly received by complete strangers, but we feel strongly that such courtesy and kindness so generously given should be noted, and we are pleased to be able to pass along this gem of Canadian hospitality. They gave us a comfortable feeling of trust and professionalism.
Joan King, F216353