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Old 11-13-2014, 08:48 PM   #1
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Smile 2015 Dutch Star Factory Delivery and Two Month Review

Since a number of people have inquired about our new coach, the factory pickup process, specials we ordered and a host of other questions, I thought I would prepare a summary of our experience. This is long, but hopefully contains information that others find useful. I know several people have a new Newmar on order, and I personally loved reading this sort of stuff while we were ordering and then waiting on ours.

Background
We are a family of 5, so a coach with bunks was attractive. We almost ordered a 2014 Dutch Star 4369, but it just would not work well for our family. We were coming from a 40í Forest River Berkshire with bunks. When the 2015ís came out, not only did the 4312 floor plan excite us, but the changes to the Dutch Star line checked off almost everything on our wish list.

As others have noted, if you plan to do a factory pickup, the choice of dealer may be less important. I still feel it is important as you will deal with the dealer a lot through the process, just not the actual delivery. We live in the Houston area and would not purchase anything from the local Newmar dealer. Not only are their prices too high, they are arrogant and have legendary poor service. I did speak with Newmar about this and they are aware of the problem. It may be that there are no other good choices in the area. In any event, we shopped dealers across the nation and ended up with Myers RV in New Mexico. We chose them due to the excellent dealings we had, and the overall best value given the trade we had. They gave us an approximate 27-28% discount when accounting for our trade. We dealt directly with Jeff Myers and he was fantastic. He actually flew out to Houston and picked up our trade just a few days before I flew to Nappanee to start the delivery process. That saved me a long drive! He also called a couple times afterwards to make sure everything was as good as expected. I'd recommend you give them a chance if you plan to order.

We did have many special requests and dealt directly with Newmar to initiate these (just more efficient that way). I spoke with Rick Powell (Newmar dealer rep) and would regard him as responsive as a 911 operator. Several times I emailed or called him in the evening or weekend and he responded virtually instantly, and went above and beyond in getting our questions answered. He arranged a factory visit and meeting with Michelle Howard, and I can echo the praises of others who have worked with her. Absolutely fantastic! I was able to tour the 4312 demo they had which is currently Matt Millerís coach.

Options and Specials
For our Dutch Star 4312, we ordered most options on the option sheet leaving out the front overhead TV and sleep number bed. Our specials included the following:
  • AGM batteries
  • 4 additional pantry shelves
  • Advantium Speedcook oven (it really is awesome, get this if you are thinking about it)
  • upgraded fresh water pump (Aquajet RV, very quiet and I have pressure/flow like home)
  • Mountain Aire counter tops
  • London Aire carpet
  • Custom paint job (you literally have thousands of colors to choose from. I told Michelle I wanted a sapphire blue and she brought out a sheet with at least a hundred shades of blue! You need to keep the Dutch Star pattern, but can choose any colors you want.)
  • RV Sanicon
  • upgraded solar prep wire to heavier gauge
  • stainless steel baggage handles (now on the option sheet)
  • stainless steel trim on exterior (Summit Products)
  • relocated outlets and rear temperature sensor (now standard)
  • Cat5 network cabling throughout coach. This supports the various a/v components, a media center, cellular router and a very connected family.
  • extra leaf in dinette table and novel support leg

We also had a few specials that were denied. These included:
  • Auto tank fill. Even though the demo 4312 had it, they said that was because it was Mattís coach and normally exclusive to the higher end models.
  • Upgraded Nav system to the Rand McNally unit
  • Different edge design on the counter tops. They said that it would require re-engineering some of the cabinets, which made sense.
  • A tank level monitor panel in the water bay (exclusive to higher end models)

I would love the auto tank fill and am still considering doing it myself, but itís difficult to do right after the fact.

Factory Delivery
I took delivery in mid-September (my wife had to stay back with the kids). In short, the process was stellar and Iíd highly recommend it to anyone custom ordering their coach. To me, the benefits are numerousÖ
  • Newmar allocates 2-3 techs for 2-3 weeks to go over every part of the coach after it is released from the line, and before you arrive. This is after is has gone through its normal quality checks. If you do not take factory delivery, it goes directly to the dealer after completion. I.e., you do not get the benefit of the extra checkout by the Newmar techs. I was fortunate in that a forum member was in Nappanee while mine was being checked out. He reported on this forum about how meticulous the techs were over the few days he was there. I was able to see (by mistake actually) the internal Newmar check sheets. They were a stack of paper about 2 inches thick, with hundreds of individual point checks, by either 2 or 3 different people. I saw several areas where they found stuff, made comments and had corrections made, then a second set of identical checks. It was very impressive. Iím a Professional Engineer and owner of an engineering firm with lots of manufacturing QA experience. Newmar is doing a lot of things right in QA.
  • You get 5 full days of time with 2-3 techs. They are basically at your disposal to go over systems, answer questions or do some extra work. I asked many detailed questions. My main tech did not know all the answers, but his boss knew virtually everything. Their only weak area was the audio/video technology. I asked about how my Traveller satellite was wired. He was not certain, but disappeared for a few minutes and brought me the engineering drawing.
  • You can abuse it for the week trying to expose any issues and have them instantly corrected. I actually had several
    • the shower developed a small leak (my tech was visibly embarrassed that happened). It was a tiny leak and I intentionally tried to make it leak.
    • The ABS brake sensor went bad on the driverís side tag. Freightliner came out and fixed that.
    • My steering wheel was 1 notch off center. Freightliner also corrected that.
    • The radio had static when playing my iPhone via USB. They ended up replacing the entire unit. Itís still bad, so I now just use Bluetooth and blame the Clarion unit.
    • The fridge water supply was pinched when the FWS was closed (read about that on these forums).
    • The full wall slide was squeaky on the floor near the rear. Issue was that not enough silicone like material was installed during construction.
    • you can learn about every detail of your coach if you ask the right questions

An interesting tidbitÖ I asked how many factory deliveries they do, assuming it would be quite a bit. They said about 10-12 per year for Dutch Stars and about that many again for the higher end coaches. 2 dozen total factory deliveries per year!! I would urge anyone ordering a coach to take the time to do a factory delivery. There is no dealer that will even come close to the experience and benefits.

Adhoc Specials
Some have asked about what Newmar will install during the delivery. I had several things I wanted done and they were happy to do it.
  • PI Surge Protector. I brought it with me and they installed it. They said they do tons of them.
  • Different and much better shower head. I brought a Delta In2ition, H2Okinetic. I strongly recommend it. It gives you essentially two shower heads and has several advantages for RVers. It can use either 1.25 or 2.5 gpm with the flick of a lever. See the pictures. They installed this and provided extra bracing behind the wall as itís much heavier than the stock version. Even on low flow it feels like more water and keeps the water warmer. See the sales pitch at 58472 Delta In2ition¬ģ Two-In-One Shower Arm Mounted Shower : Bath Products : Delta Faucet.
  • Extra crown molding in the rear bath and bunk room. They did not charge me for this as they agreed it looked unfinished without it.
  • A full length mirror in the hallway opposite the fridge.
  • Swapped all exterior lights with LEDs. Dramatic improvement in brightness for the patio, docking and security lights. Highly recommended. They are inexpensive and direct replacements. Available at M4 Products.
  • They wired in the repeater for my TPMS complete with fuse.
  • Extra towel hooks in the main bath.
  • Swapped the Sony receiver for a higher level one. I had to do the wiring. If they are weak, itís in understanding the a/v systems. I donít think anyone there knows what hdmi cables can do. They had a whole series of hdmi distribution boxes and did not use the receiver at all for any hdmi cables - not a single one.

I cannot recommend enough the factory delivery. It was awesome in all respects!! The guys were an absolute joy to work with. Iíd say we became decent friends by the end of the process. Attached is a picture of the three guys that worked with me for the week. Left to right... Elmer, Bob and Leander.

Some have shied away due to the cost. I donít understand that. Itís well under 1% of the coach price and you get way more than you pay for.

Overall Impressions after 2 months
Quite simply, we are thrilled with the coach and virtually everything about it. Newmar is fantastic to work with (with one exception noted below). The coach drives like a dream and I am now sold on Comfort Drive. The quality is certainly superior. We did have some disappointments, and since they were so few, its easier to list those than everything we love (which is basically everything else!)

Disappointments
  • On the drive home, the bedroom slide started acting strange. It would not retract/extend reliably. Turned out to be a bad controller. Easy swap out, but took forever to get the replacement.
  • As soon as I got home, my wife sat in the passenger chair and the armrest fell off. A weld on the arm had failed. Fortunately it was an easy fix, but it took the Newmar customer service rep over a month to respond to this.
  • Our induction cooktop failed. Would get warm, but not boil water. Same customer service rep is still searching for a replacement. After a month, I got frustrated and just bought a new one.
  • The lights on the awning are great, but they are controlled off the same switch as the patio light. So the patio light switch turns on the patio light, door handle light and the awning lights. Would have preferred that they were on another switch.
  • The front AC vents do not do a good job of cooling the front cab area. The wooden grate extends well into the cab area, but if you look, there are no vents under it. I called support and they immediately sent me a drawing of the system. Turns out there is no vent there as there are extra rafters for the front cap that would interfere. I may still try to fit one in, but will wait until spring when it starts to get hot again.

Overall not bad. The worst thing is a single bad apple Iíve run into in Newmar customer service. His name is Rick Drinkwine. If you call and get him, you may be better off asking for someone else. It is not worth describing his lack of serviceÖ suffice to say Iím still waiting for my promised cooktop replacement. I have had discussions with other customer support reps and they were consistent with the rest of the Newmar experience - outstanding.

Pictures
Lots of people ask for pictures. Instead of trying to post a bunch here, I placed them elsewhere on the web. If interested, youíre welcome to check them out at the following link. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/zj7iof435...SvoHnGvKa?dl=0

Any questions, let me know and Iíll try to answer.
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Old 11-13-2014, 09:06 PM   #2
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The Advantium is a great option, we ordered it in our present 2002 DSDP and will order it again. We also got the MA countertops. Earlier this year I repalce the "scare" light bulbs with 48 light LED's and the door light with a 24 LED unit as the 48 was too bright.
We also had them remove two walls and a pocket door, substitute a different vanity and a bunch of other specials to the tune of over $35,000 in 2002 $$'s. One of the best was the optional (at that time) roof insulation package for about $100!
Newmar is great to work with even when we found the front axle was overweight when the rig was delivered. To fix that Newmar had Spartan replace the 12,000# IFS with a 14,600# IFS unit.
Our patio light has a switch on it so I can turn it off and only have the door handle on. Hard to find but it's there on our rig.
In fact it's pretty amazing all the customization that Newmar will do!
Thanks for the write up, I plan on doing the factory deliver when we order again.
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Old 11-13-2014, 09:07 PM   #3
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Great write up, it was fun watching your coach go through the Pre-PDI, Bob was the tech that did the custom buffet installation on our coach right after we bought it. He did a great job on my coach and I talked to him a couple of times as he was prepping you coach. He said he goes over the coach as if it was his.

Glad you found their work acceptable, it just reinforced my decision to use factory delivery on our next Newmar coach.

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Old 11-13-2014, 09:07 PM   #4
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WOW! Thanks so much for the detailed write-up, I will hopefully be in your shoes next summer, this is a wealth of info and very well written! Thanks for your time!
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Old 11-13-2014, 09:16 PM   #5
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WOW! I just saw all the pics! Beautiful choices! I am most certainly getting that shower head! Did you ship it to them?
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Old 11-13-2014, 09:21 PM   #6
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I just brought it with me. The stock connector is a 90 degree fitting as opposed to a standard shower head arm. I was concerned about exactly what was behind the wall. They were as well so went out the the production line and checked on one. Glad they did as they determined it needed some extra support. They installed a clamp behind the wall. It's rock solid now.

As a tip, they have these shower heads at Lowes and Home Depot, but they are cheaper versions made of plastic. I got the heavier, mostly metal one on Amazon.
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Old 11-13-2014, 09:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CapuTech View Post
I just brought it with me. The stock connector is a 90 degree fitting as opposed to a standard shower head arm. I was concerned about exactly what was behind the wall. They were as well so went out the the production line and checked on one. Glad they did as they determined it needed some extra support. They installed a clamp behind the wall. It's rock solid now.

As a tip, they have these shower heads at Lowes and Home Depot, but they are cheaper versions made of plastic. I got the heavier, mostly metal one on Amazon.
Awesome, thanks! I copied your post onto my to-do read over's when I get ready to order next year!
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Old 11-14-2014, 06:44 AM   #8
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Congratulations The Engle Family welcome to the Newmar family.
Many happy travels and safe miles to come.
Great write up on a 2015 DSDP will have to add some new blood to the QT's # 3 lineup of coach write ups thanks for the detailed info and pictures.
Enjoy and safe travels.
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:20 AM   #9
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Awesome write up, thanks for sharing your experience.

Congrats on the new coach.
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by "007" View Post
Great write up on a 2015 DSDP will have to add some new blood to the QT's # 3 lineup of coach write ups thanks for the detailed info and pictures.

Thanks. I have gained a lot from these forums and will try to pay it forward for others. I have a number of modifications I've made since getting the coach and will try to detail those over the coming days and weeks. First up will be an overview of the a/v system changes I made. Some have criticized the Sony sound system. I disagree, assuming it has been properly calibrated...
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Old 11-14-2014, 11:28 AM   #11
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CapuTech,

Thanks for sharing the experience, excellent write up and congratulations on your new coach.

My wife went with me for our factory delivery back in April. We could not agree more with you regarding the experience. If I ever decide to purchase another Newmar, I will do factory delivery again. For us the entire process was worth every single penny.

Good luck with your new Dutch Star and again, congratulations.
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Old 11-14-2014, 03:11 PM   #12
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Good write up and pics!

My next Newmar will also include factory delivery. My 3.5 hour delivery was jam packed, I generally have good retention but would have been great to have the time to really learn all the systems.

Looks like one of the best benefits are factory adjustments and corrections that would have saved time in the long run.
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Old 11-14-2014, 03:28 PM   #13
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Congratulations to say the least!!! You(or her) did a wonderful job picking out the custom paint colors!!!!! Great combination! One of a kind for sure, love it! Safe travels to you and enjoy!
Thank you for taking the time to post all that you did, and a 1st class job at that!
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Old 11-14-2014, 05:34 PM   #14
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Great write up and great advice. Thanks so much for posting.
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