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Old 12-05-2015, 10:15 AM   #1
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My 2nd Mtg At Newmar Factory-2016 Overweight Axles and Slide Out Floor Problems

This is a continuation of my first thread below reporting on my first meeting.

Thanks to all who replied. Forgive me if I did not reply to all the personal messages as this is a bit overwhelming and I am still trying to figure out how all the website features work.

Late yesterday I had a second meeting with Newmar managers regarding overweight axles on the 2016 Dutch Star 40 and 43 ft. models. In the meeting were Ken Miller, service manager, Brian Fuchs, customer service manager, Tony Herman, Director of service and warranty, and Ron Stickler, who I believe is VP of engineering. This was quite a long meeting and they clearly explained their position on the overweight axles but not so much on the tilted out FW slide out floors. Ron did most of the talking with Tony participating a little too. Everyone stayed calm and professional but they were very careful with their words.

Ron explained that they have added a lot of weight over the last two years with design improvements to the Dutch Star including the hydraulic slide out mechanism, the steel bracing for chassis frame stiffing (required for the new slide out system), the heavy tile on the main slide out floor in lieu of the old carpet, the DEF fluid crossover fill connection and the passive steering mechanism on the tag axle. I think he mentioned an 1,100 lb increase.

He said that they go through an analysis during design to determine the weight of each model and that using this analysis they make a number of assumptions as follows about load in the coach: a driver and only one passenger, a full tank of fuel, a full tank of fresh water, no water in the waste tanks and 1,100 lbs total of owner items stored inside the coach including the basement. They assume that 45% of the storage load is on the front axle.He said that their analysis indicated that the coach would still have 500 lbs left on the front axle under these conditions. He did not say if this was for a particular model or layout or all Dutch Stars. I told him that his guys just weighed my coach with only me (250 lbs) sitting in the drivers seat and no passengers, only 3/4 tank of fuel and approximately 100 gals of water (I suppose I could have had up to 115 gals since I has a little in my waste tanks and not quite a full water tank), and my storage areas and frig are no where near full since I am still equipping this new 2016 Dutch Star 4018. The weight of the front axle was only 200 lbs short of the 14,600lb rating. So if I had a full tank of fuel, the weight would have been exactly at the rating. That does not agree with his numbers. If I add 400 lbs for more stored stuff (45% on front axle-storage still would not be crammed full) and 450 lbs for 2 passengers (some load goes to back axles), I figure I am at least 600 or 700 lbs short on front axle. I forgot to mention that I want to install a1 KW of solar panels system that would probably add another 150 lbs. to the front axle capacity shortfall. These are reasonable numbers and we should expect to get full use out of the vehicle unless we are warned otherwise before we purchase it. NO ONE warned us of any king of capacity limitations that would limit how we use these Dutch Stars. Ron started to make the argument that it was up to us how we used it and loaded it and we can trade one load for another such as less storage for more passengers. I said that this was just nonsense talk. I said that this argument has already been posted on the IRV2 Forum and that hundreds of others had already agreed that it is nonsense Did they not provide 2 seat belts for my sofa? That would indicate that I could safely carry at lease 3 passengers. And while I am writing this, it comes to mind that they also offer prewiring for solar panels so would we not expect to be able to add their weight to the coach? Get real!

We discussed all the talk about pulling a large trailer that was listed in previous IRV2 posts to improve front axle loading. Ron explained that they had to design the DS line to pull 15,000 lb trailers with 1500 lb tongue weights. That meant that they had to partially compensate for the tongue weight reducing the front axle loading by building in more front end loading to maintain safe stability when towing these trailers. Unfortunately, that places extra weight on the front axle at all times including when n owner is not towing a 15,000 lb trailer with tongue weight. So the proportioning valve change will remove most of the extra front end loading required by the trailers and when they change the valve they have to reduce the trailer pulling capacity to 10,000 lbs for safety. They realize that only a small percentage of owners will pull a trailer with that kind of tongue weight. However, if you do, it would help the front end loading. (The drive axle acts as a fulcrum so extra weight on the back of the chassis lifts weight off the front end).

He also said that owners must arrange storage loads as much toward the rear of the coach as possible to place as much weight on the drive axle as possible and reduce the front axle load. I countered by saying that I only had a bay and a half of basement store and storage in the entire vehicle was quite limited. We were lucky to get everything to fit in (especially full timers) much less be able to move heavy things toward the rear. Also, the doors on the full wall side of basement storage are hard to get at under the very low overhanging slide out so that further limits storage flexibility. Again, get practical!

They indicated that they wanted to keep their customers happy. I indicated that word is spreading fast based on the hits and responses to threads on IRV2. Soon dealers will not be able to sell 2016 Dutch Stars that they have on their lots because a lot of people do their homework before buying. I asked if they had an official proposed fix and they said that they are working on changing the size of the proportioning valve for each model to transfer some weight form the front axle to the drive axle where there is still extra capacity available (their is 2,200 lbs available according to my weigh scale results). All Dutch Stars already have multiple air proportioning valves that get set to properly load the vehicle. The size on one would be changed for each model and they would have to experiment on each model to see which would be the best. I asked how much weight would be transferred off the front axle and he said that they did not have exact figures yet and it would depend on testing. I pushed for a ball park number and he said that he would only commit to about 200 lbs of improvement to the front axle load. He kept emphasizing that that was better than the current situation. I agreed it was a tiny bit better but it was far short of what I determined was I reasonably needed based on the weighing of mu coach that they did. As far as I am concerned it is not an acceptable solution.

I asked about replacing the axle and mentioned that centILRVer had received a price to upgrade the front end on his 43 ft. DS from 17,000 to 20,00 lbs. He said that the XCR series Freightliner chassis used on the DS did not have a 20,000 lb axle option. (Was freightliner proposing a custom alteration?) I asked Ron what their plans were for the 2017 DS models. He said that they were hoping that FL could come up with a larger axle capacity option but that it would not be as high as 20,000 lbs. He said that to get to a 20,000 lbs front end, they have to go up to the next series of FL chassis that is used on the Mountain Aire. I asked them all that if that was the proper fix for the axle problem, why are they now proposing just a change in a proportioning valve to fix 2016 models. I did not get an answer.

Unfortunately, we got side tracked and I forgot to ask about upgrading the front end on the 40 footers from 14,600 to 17,000 lbs since those parts are already used on 43 ft models. It really is more than just the axle that has to be upgraded since hubs, tires, brakes, etc. are all impacted.

I mentioned that I am concerned about the loading on the front tires. The capacity on each of the 305/70R22.5 LRL tires on my 4018 is 7830 lbs at 120 psig. I already had a reading of 7515 on my left front during weighing. He said that there was quite a differential between the LF and RF tires on my weigh sheet (630 lbs with me in the drivers seat) and they should do an suspension adjustment to reduce the differential.

We did not discuss it, but the total maximum weight on the 2 front tires is 15,660 if they are perfectly balanced (never happens in real world). Since I think that I reasonably need about 15,400 lbs total front axle capacity that is getting dangerous on the front tires! (Personally as an engineer, I am not worried that the front end will fail. They use significant safety factors when they design the axles and mechanical components, probably 250 or 300%. I am more worried about the tire rating.)

The bottom line is that they are only proposing to change a proportioning valve that has the potential to reduce front axle loading by about 2 hundred lbs. I indicated that in my opinion that will not help owners use their Dutch Stars in a reasonable manner as they intended when they bought them.

I indicated that there is more involved in just making the vehicles safe under expected use conditions, we are also concerned about resale valve of these 2016 DS's since word will be out there that they have serious problems. We need financial compensation to make up for losses in resale valve if this is not fully fixed. This is just as important as making them usable as expected..

Owners will have to consider what further actions we can take to correct the situation. We will have to think about what to do next and at the least need to start assembling a list of Owners of 2016 Dutch Stars to unite as a group.

One last thing since this is getting long, they indicated that they would get some test valves to experiment with a 2 or 3 weeks, Once they figure which sizes they need, they have no idea how long it will take for FL to get enough valves so owners can swap them out at FL facilities.

I have another meeting on Monday to discuss slide out floor slope problems. I have now learned that these exist in Mountain Aires and higher models as well.

Keith
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Old 12-05-2015, 10:40 AM   #2
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My 2nd Mtg At Newmar Factory-2016 Overweight Axles and Slide Out Floor Problems

Boy, I am sure glad I was able to cancel my order. In you next meeting you might want to discuss how this type of blame the customer will effect sales across their RV line up as people watch their inaction and half baked solution, and wonder why not re think about doing any business with them. I was going to look at another floor plan, model, from Newmar but in the end I cannot trust a company who acts like this, not with this large amount of money at stake. I am now looking at a Tiffin or Entegra, doing the same careful research that saved me from making a 300K mistake buy buying a Newmar that they did not engineer correctly and makes me wonder what other shortcuts have they made. It is not about lost 2016 Dutch Star lost sales but the lost sales across the entire Newmar line.

Keep pushing Keith, you don't have much to loose and you might want to start a list of folks stuck with these models, there might be a lawyer interested in a class action lawsuit, seem like that is a good way for a lawyer to hit the jackpot, getting it classified as a class action is so much better than individual suits. I would hope that it would not come to this but your facing a huge potential loss, what do you have to loose at this point. Think about the discovery phase where they had to turn over the customer records for those folks who do not read IRV2.

As you said, you cannot fill your fuel tank, add the allowed number of passengers with no stuff. What did the advertised CCC say? Ask them to explain how to use that CCC and now overload the front axle, it does not add up when they admit they only calculated about 1,100 pounds. How can they advertise the CCC value? I would bring you paperwork where they stated your CCC for your exact coach and ask them to try and balance the coach using their analysis and why this would not fall under false advertising?

Good luck.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:04 AM   #3
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Well I have to agree that their hint toward 200lbs is probably correct.

I did the math on CentILRVers coach...and the MOST steer axle lightening that can be achieved without taking his drive axle over Max is just barely over 400lbs. That would give you Zero towing capacity. So if they want to retain some towing capacity, the proportioning valve will have to be a compromise...in order to leave some headroom on the rear undercarriage for towing. 200lbs difference is about the middle of the road.

Is their design to carry two people, full fuel, full water plus 1,100lbs of cargo only figured with a baseline coach? No storage trays, no heated tile floors, no options?

They are obviously going to have to add capacity to that front axle...and in future designs consider a more appropriate station for the fuel, water, and 8 batteries to go.

To have the flexibility of going from towing 15,000#, to towing four flat...it seems to me you either over build the steer axle by a substantial margin...or you have to go to a forward/aft station split fuel tank design to help compensate for the large variance in tongue weights being towed.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:54 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmkling View Post
Boy, I am sure glad I was able to cancel my order. In you next meeting you might want to discuss how this type of blame the customer will effect sales across their RV line up as people watch their inaction and half baked solution, and wonder why not re think about doing any business with them. I was going to look at another floor plan, model, from Newmar but in the end I cannot trust a company who acts like this, not with this large amount of money at stake. I am now looking at a Tiffin or Entegra, doing the same careful research that saved me from making a 300K mistake buy buying a Newmar that they did not engineer correctly and makes me wonder what other shortcuts have they made. It is not about lost 2016 Dutch Star lost sales but the lost sales across the entire Newmar line.

Keep pushing Keith, you don't have much to loose and you might want to start a list of folks stuck with these models, there might be a lawyer interested in a class action lawsuit, seem like that is a good way for a lawyer to hit the jackpot, getting it classified as a class action is so much better than individual suits. I would hope that it would not come to this but your facing a huge potential loss, what do you have to loose at this point. Think about the discovery phase where they had to turn over the customer records for those folks who do not read IRV2.

As you said, you cannot fill your fuel tank, add the allowed number of passengers with no stuff. What did the advertised CCC say? Ask them to explain how to use that CCC and now overload the front axle, it does not add up when they admit they only calculated about 1,100 pounds. How can they advertise the CCC value? I would bring you paperwork where they stated your CCC for your exact coach and ask them to try and balance the coach using their analysis and why this would not fall under false advertising?

Good luck.
I asked during the meeting about the advertised 8100 lb NCC for my 4018 and they said that the coach does have this overall capacity but that it must be added so that it does not overload the front axle (perfectly located loads to evenly load each axle). In reality, you cannot ever get to this number unless there was more storage toward the back of the coach. Net Carrying Capacity includes people, fuel and water (about 1625 lbs full for both), trailer tongue weight and items added to storage. It was a long meeting and I could not report everything without a three page long post.

Keith
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Old 12-05-2015, 01:14 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by RetireeKeith View Post
He said that they go through an analysis during design to determine the weight of each model and that using this analysis they make a number of assumptions as follows about load in the coach: a driver and only one passenger, a full tank of fuel, a full tank of fresh water, no water in the waste tanks and 1,100 lbs total of owner items stored inside the coach including the basement. They assume that 45% of the storage load is on the front axle.He said that their analysis indicated that the coach would still have 500 lbs left on the front axle under these conditions. He did not say if this was for a particular model or layout or all Dutch Stars. I told him that his guys just weighed my coach with only me (250 lbs) sitting in the drivers seat and no passengers, only 3/4 tank of fuel and approximately 100 gals of water (I suppose I could have had up to 115 gals since I has a little in my waste tanks and not quite a full water tank), and my storage areas and frig are no where near full since I am still equipping this new 2016 Dutch Star 4018. The weight of the front axle was only 200 lbs short of the 14,600lb rating. So if I had a full tank of fuel, the weight would have been exactly at the rating. That does not agree with his numbers.
Thanks again Keith.

So, what was the net-net of that particular discussion? That's the most interesting bit to me, because it is THE crux of the problem. Newmar is basically saying their "analysis" tells them they don't have a problem, but real owners are proving, using Newmar's own scales, that they do. What did Ron have to say about this obvious discrepancy? His deflection tactic of "it's your choice how you load it" was just a red herring to get you on the defensive. Did he ever come full circle and explain why their "analysis" was off by over 500lbs!?!?!

And obviously their 8100lbs NCC is utter BS. It's pretty obvious that if owners wanted to make a false advertising claim, that's the number to use as the basis of it. There's no way they could load that coach with that much weight and not exceed one of the axle ratings.....
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Old 12-05-2015, 01:25 PM   #6
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The RVIA definitions are:
Quote:
RATINGS are LIMITS established by the manufacturer, which are not to be exceeded. Ratings are based on structural strength, drive train strength, braking power, stability, controllability, and performance. Exceeding a rating invites unsafe conditions, potential damage, may void a warranty, may complicate an insurance claim, and in some cases, may violate a law.

GVWR:
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

The MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE WEIGHT of the fully loaded vehicle, including liquids, passengers, cargo, and the tongue weight of any towed vehicle.



GAWR:
Gross Axle Weight Rating

The MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE WEIGHT each axle assembly is designed to carry, as measured at the tires, therefore including the weight of the axle assembly itself. GAWR is established by considering the rating of each of its components (tires, wheels, springs, axle), and rating the axle on its weakest link. The GAWR assumes that the LOAD IS EQUAL ON EACH SIDE.

GCWR;
Gross Combined Weight Rating

The MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE COMBINED WEIGHT of the tow vehicle and the attached towed vehicle. GCWR assumes that both vehicles have functioning brakes, with exceptions in some cases for very light towed vehicles, normally less than 1,500 pounds. (Check your chassis manual or towing guide.)



HITCH RATINGS

GTWR:
Gross Trailer Weight Rating
The MAXIMUM TOWED VEHICLE WEIGHT. Each component (receiver, drawbar, ball) of a ball-type hitch has its own rating. Some ball-type hitches have separate ratings when used with a weight distributing system.



TWR/TLR/VLR:
Tongue Weight, Tongue Load, Vertical Load Rating Different terms for the MAXIMUM VERTICAL LOAD that can be carried by the hitch.



TIRE RATINGS
The MAXIMUM LOAD that a tire may carry is engraved on the sidewall, along with a corresponding COLD inflation pressure. A reduction in inflation pressure requires a reduction in load rating. Tire manufacturers publish charts that establish the load capacity at various inflation pressures



WEIGHT and LOAD.
These terms are generally used interchangeably. For the purposes of understanding RV applications, vehicles have WEIGHT, which impart LOADS to tires, axles, and hitches. Scale measurements taken when weighing are LOADS carried by the tires. These measured loads are used to calculate Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), Gross Axle Weight (GAW), Gross Combination Weight (GCW), and hitch loads.



UVW: Unloaded Vehicle Weight (1996 RVIA Definition)
The WEIGHT of a vehicle as built at the factory with full fuel, engine(generator) oil and coolants. It does not include cargo, fresh water, LP gas, occupants, or dealer installed accessories.



NCC: Net Carrying Capacity
(1996 RVIA Definition, but no longer used) The MAXIMUM WEIGHT of all personal belongings, food, fresh water, LP gas, tools, dealer installed accessories, etc., that can be carried by the RV.

SCWR:
Sleeping Capacity Weight Rating (2000 RVIA Definition)
The manufacturers designated number of sleeping positions multiplied by 154 pounds (70 kilograms)

CCC:
Cargo Carrying Capacity (2000 RVIA Definition)
Equal to GVWR minus each of the following: UVW. full fresh potable water weight (including water heater), full LP gas weight and SCWR.



LIQUID WEIGHTS (pounds per gallon)

* Water: 8.3
* Gasoline: 5.6
* Diesel Fuel: 6.8
* Propane: 4.2
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Old 12-05-2015, 01:57 PM   #7
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Keith...In your meeting, when discussing your frontend weights and the 305 tires, did you ask what effect going to the 315's would make.
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Old 12-05-2015, 01:58 PM   #8
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Did something replace NCC? Seems like an important spec.....
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Old 12-05-2015, 02:00 PM   #9
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They should add as standard equipment a portable scale so as you add weight you can do so correctly.

After all it is customers responsibility to be certain they stay within the design axle loading criteria,

I ordered a Newmar last year, changed my mind for unrelated reasons thought they were one of top makes.

I wouldn't think of getting one in future, based on your meetings they really don't care about their customers safety or normal requirements of the use of their builds.

A lot of you are saying don't worry, Newmar will fix it, they'll make right.....well folks based of the summary of the meeting herein they are

My son is a lawyer, I mentioned this issue to him, he was surprised that customers have yet to file a lawsuit with their size investment in a poor design that can't be used for it's intended use.

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Old 12-05-2015, 02:05 PM   #10
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Those guys were very tight lipped and thought a lot before they answered my questions. I really got no response to my weighing data. They would only quote their design analysis. They know they have a problem but will not admit that their proposed change of manual proportioning valves solution is only token and will not totally resolve the problem.
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Old 12-05-2015, 02:07 PM   #11
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Unfortunately, I did not in that meeting but it will come up in future discussions. I was greatly outnumbered and could not think of everything. This is just beginning.

Keith
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Old 12-05-2015, 02:08 PM   #12
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Did something replace NCC? Seems like an important spec.....
IMO NCC and MSRP seem to be imaginary numbers dreamed up behind closed doors by the marketing folks to make the product seem better than it really is. In either case you should not believe them.
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Old 12-05-2015, 02:10 PM   #13
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I just learned of the problem on Wednesday and just insisted on getting weighed while here on Thursday. So this is just the beginning.

Thanks.

Eventually we will be interested in getting suggestions on law firms that specialize in vehicle problems.

Keith
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Old 12-05-2015, 02:28 PM   #14
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One other point, they (Newmar) are not notifying the folks that bought these problem coaches to mitigate their liability.

(not all buyers are on this forum and are unaware)

If something bad happens a CEO may be found of gross negligence and get prison time.

By the way if several owners get together you may possibly have a class action lawsuit.
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