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Old 09-14-2005, 04:47 PM   #1
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Alpine Owners Club
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Poulsbo, WA
Posts: 36

I can relate to others on this forum about Alpine lemons, but unfortunately I do not have the warranty safety net that you all have. Yes I purchased the 2004 36MDDS with 5000 miles on it used (it had a month's warranty left, but WRV does not allow transfer of the warranty.) I too agonized over which RV to buy and once I decided a diesel pusher was the way to go, it came down to a Prevost or an Alpine. Of course funding was in the equation, but what sold me on the Alpine was the Homecoming I was allowed to attend, the resulting factory tour, the ability to talk to owners, and the driver's training and drag racing opportunity. I was impressed by all, especially the atmosphere that permeated throughtout that WRV was a company one could trust to be there for you. That they would stand behind their product. So far I have to say I'm a bit disappointed and given my experience I would not purchase another expensive RV because it doesn't matter if you have the best products available in the coach, if there is no QA in the assembly, you do not have a vehicle worth the price paid.

I'll get off my soap box now and if anyone can help me with my "unsolved" issues, I would appreciate it.

1. Speaker buzz: With the inverter on and audio switch on, there is a horrible buzz in speakers when water pump, dimmer switch lights, etc. are turned on. With inverter off, buzz is less noticable, but still there. Grounding issue? How do you run down the lack of ground? Where to look?

2. Front A/C leak: The rooftop cups that capture the condensor runoff do not empty efficiently down the drain tubes, overflow on the roof (and elsewhere), the water finding it's way down the driver side drain tube just under the "capture" cup and onto the carpet directly beneath the a/c return air vent. All lines were blown out with air with no change. I asked WRV to provide a diagram of how the drains were routed, but did not receive any and they just suggested removing the a/c or lifting it enough to reglue the drain to the cup - however this won't help the "not draining" issue which I think is causing the overflow and the drip inside (not enough slope on the drain system). Anyone else have this problem?

3. Exhaust brake/transmission vibration: With the exhaust brake switch in hi or low position and decelarating to a "normal" stop, at around 15 mph or 1400 RPM in a low gear (1st or 2nd)- when the transmission goes into lock up - there is a horrible almost grinding sound that the Allison (Pacific Detroit Diesel - Kent (Steve Harris) - GREAT people) tech thought was a harmonic coming through the frame from somewhere in the coach to the passenger front area. At first it was thought - brakes, however, this only happens with the exhaust brake activated. No noise when braking with exhaust brake off. The sound goes on for a couple of seconds, then off, then on again until stopped. Transmission and engine service was done on time. Anyone?

4. Steering: At any speed, when turning, the steering wheel has a stuttering affect - not a smooth operation at all. Thoughts?

5. Front stabilizer bar bushings: The passenger side bushing on the stablizer bar is totally gone. (Coach now has 10,000 miles on it.) Mark Harrah of WRV is trying to locate a couple of them that might be lying around the plant, but he didn't call back today.

6. Stink from washer/dryer: WRV suggested getting a pvc cap, drilling a hole in top large enough for the washer drain hose to fit through and then replace onto drain pipe. Haven't tried this yet. Bought 360 degree vents and will install them first. Will let you know if that takes care of it. If not, I'm capping the drain and the Provent that's also behind the washer.

7. Peeling paint: On several places on the coach, the paint is peeling off. One can tell it is from the surface having contaminates on it and then paint applied. Also the passenger front window was replaced under warranty and the paint is peeling around it as well.

8. Hydraulic leak in bedroom slide: The connector from the hose to the hydraulic slide was leaking. This had to have come off the assembly line. I had the work done at Cummins NW (Renton) per HWH authorization, but then neither WRV nor HWH would assist Cummins in how to install the line back into the coach (yes, a new connector could not be put on, an entire line had to be routed from the driver's rear to the passenger front). Cummins NW spent hours trying to figure out how to route the line (no help from HWH or WRV) and ended up cutting the old line as far forward as they could, pulling out what they could and blowing out (not too well) the oil and capping what was left. The new line now hangs down into my basement because it couldn't be put on top of the water tank where it belongs. My portion of the cost is over $500, HWH paid $300, Cummins ate $300 and WRV has given me 2.5 hours of labor to have any other thing fixed at the factory! If HWH & WRV had helped Cummins, I doubt the bill would have been anywhere near this. Also, when I asked WRV if they pressure tested these systems after installation, they said they didn't have to because they are supposed to be good from HWH. Thank goodness we have housing codes that require pressure checks on systems in our stationary homes. Heaven forbid that something that goes through "earthquakes" whenever on the road that they be pressure tested!

9. Monitor panel: I couldn't get the monitor panel calibrated - always a full tank of water and LPG. Finally found where the wires in the basement were not connected. Reason: factory had cut the wires too short and it was a pain trying to get them into the connectors so they left them hang! Took two of us holding and crimping and taping to make the connections! Why didn't someone QA that the calibration procedure was working properly? It's quite simple - pop off the screw covers, push the button and turn the screw. If nothing changes, then you don't have the wiring correct! Hello..... But buy gosh, they have the little fuzzy cupboard bumpers covering the screw heads on the cupboard door knobs

10. Batteries: When plugged into shorepower, why doesn't the invertor/convertor - whatever it is, stop charging the batteries when they are fully charged? Why do they boil dry? I still don't get this one.

11. Blinking lights: When running the generator, all the lights pulse and when the generator "shifts gears" they blink big time. This cannot be good for the fridge and electronic gear. It's like a brown out. What causes this? Is there a fix?

12. Coolant leak: Almost forgot this one. Right after purchasing the coach, noticed antifreeze kept disappearing. Took it to Cummins NW (Renton) and the line into the front of the engine was loose and leaking fluid. Another QA check not done at the factory? I don't remember if the radiator, lines, and engines come to WRV ready for installation as a package, but regardless, WRV should do a leak test on the chassis before putting the house on so it's easy to spot! (Another $200 out of my pocket.)

13. Fit & finish: The panel directly in front of the front passenger side wheel was not installed properly and the pop rivet came out allowing it to flap in the wind. On the passenger side of the generator slide is rubbing against the coach and both are down to the fiberglass (size of a half dollar). The electric switch in the step well doesn't fit properly, it needs a washer of some sort behind it. On the radiator grill, a "spacer" of several washers taped together with electrical tape is used. The workmanship on the Flexsteel chairs are atrocious. The fabric is not attached and it hangs out with the stuffing and frame showing. I have cherry trim falling off all over the place. The grout is disintegrating and a tile is cracked - (not caused by dropping anything on it.) The mid door entry door doesn't fit properly and makes terrible noises going down the road. The passenger window rattles. There is a "whistle" around the windshield on the driver's side. A screw holding the driver's side outdoor light has rusted (the other 3 are fine.)

There is no doubt more, but I'm worn out and depressed from rehashing all this so I'll quit. If it weren't for the feeling I obtain when parked by a mountain stream or lake, communing with nature, and feeling self sufficient and more comfortable than in a tent, I would not own an RV. I just want to feel safe and confident in my coach and that it will work as it should since I am more often off the beaten track than on it. AND, I want to feel that I have a product that is TRULY worth it's value.

Thanks for listening,

Lynn
2004 36MDDS
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Old 09-14-2005, 04:47 PM   #2
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Alpine Owners Club
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Poulsbo, WA
Posts: 36

I can relate to others on this forum about Alpine lemons, but unfortunately I do not have the warranty safety net that you all have. Yes I purchased the 2004 36MDDS with 5000 miles on it used (it had a month's warranty left, but WRV does not allow transfer of the warranty.) I too agonized over which RV to buy and once I decided a diesel pusher was the way to go, it came down to a Prevost or an Alpine. Of course funding was in the equation, but what sold me on the Alpine was the Homecoming I was allowed to attend, the resulting factory tour, the ability to talk to owners, and the driver's training and drag racing opportunity. I was impressed by all, especially the atmosphere that permeated throughtout that WRV was a company one could trust to be there for you. That they would stand behind their product. So far I have to say I'm a bit disappointed and given my experience I would not purchase another expensive RV because it doesn't matter if you have the best products available in the coach, if there is no QA in the assembly, you do not have a vehicle worth the price paid.

I'll get off my soap box now and if anyone can help me with my "unsolved" issues, I would appreciate it.

1. Speaker buzz: With the inverter on and audio switch on, there is a horrible buzz in speakers when water pump, dimmer switch lights, etc. are turned on. With inverter off, buzz is less noticable, but still there. Grounding issue? How do you run down the lack of ground? Where to look?

2. Front A/C leak: The rooftop cups that capture the condensor runoff do not empty efficiently down the drain tubes, overflow on the roof (and elsewhere), the water finding it's way down the driver side drain tube just under the "capture" cup and onto the carpet directly beneath the a/c return air vent. All lines were blown out with air with no change. I asked WRV to provide a diagram of how the drains were routed, but did not receive any and they just suggested removing the a/c or lifting it enough to reglue the drain to the cup - however this won't help the "not draining" issue which I think is causing the overflow and the drip inside (not enough slope on the drain system). Anyone else have this problem?

3. Exhaust brake/transmission vibration: With the exhaust brake switch in hi or low position and decelarating to a "normal" stop, at around 15 mph or 1400 RPM in a low gear (1st or 2nd)- when the transmission goes into lock up - there is a horrible almost grinding sound that the Allison (Pacific Detroit Diesel - Kent (Steve Harris) - GREAT people) tech thought was a harmonic coming through the frame from somewhere in the coach to the passenger front area. At first it was thought - brakes, however, this only happens with the exhaust brake activated. No noise when braking with exhaust brake off. The sound goes on for a couple of seconds, then off, then on again until stopped. Transmission and engine service was done on time. Anyone?

4. Steering: At any speed, when turning, the steering wheel has a stuttering affect - not a smooth operation at all. Thoughts?

5. Front stabilizer bar bushings: The passenger side bushing on the stablizer bar is totally gone. (Coach now has 10,000 miles on it.) Mark Harrah of WRV is trying to locate a couple of them that might be lying around the plant, but he didn't call back today.

6. Stink from washer/dryer: WRV suggested getting a pvc cap, drilling a hole in top large enough for the washer drain hose to fit through and then replace onto drain pipe. Haven't tried this yet. Bought 360 degree vents and will install them first. Will let you know if that takes care of it. If not, I'm capping the drain and the Provent that's also behind the washer.

7. Peeling paint: On several places on the coach, the paint is peeling off. One can tell it is from the surface having contaminates on it and then paint applied. Also the passenger front window was replaced under warranty and the paint is peeling around it as well.

8. Hydraulic leak in bedroom slide: The connector from the hose to the hydraulic slide was leaking. This had to have come off the assembly line. I had the work done at Cummins NW (Renton) per HWH authorization, but then neither WRV nor HWH would assist Cummins in how to install the line back into the coach (yes, a new connector could not be put on, an entire line had to be routed from the driver's rear to the passenger front). Cummins NW spent hours trying to figure out how to route the line (no help from HWH or WRV) and ended up cutting the old line as far forward as they could, pulling out what they could and blowing out (not too well) the oil and capping what was left. The new line now hangs down into my basement because it couldn't be put on top of the water tank where it belongs. My portion of the cost is over $500, HWH paid $300, Cummins ate $300 and WRV has given me 2.5 hours of labor to have any other thing fixed at the factory! If HWH & WRV had helped Cummins, I doubt the bill would have been anywhere near this. Also, when I asked WRV if they pressure tested these systems after installation, they said they didn't have to because they are supposed to be good from HWH. Thank goodness we have housing codes that require pressure checks on systems in our stationary homes. Heaven forbid that something that goes through "earthquakes" whenever on the road that they be pressure tested!

9. Monitor panel: I couldn't get the monitor panel calibrated - always a full tank of water and LPG. Finally found where the wires in the basement were not connected. Reason: factory had cut the wires too short and it was a pain trying to get them into the connectors so they left them hang! Took two of us holding and crimping and taping to make the connections! Why didn't someone QA that the calibration procedure was working properly? It's quite simple - pop off the screw covers, push the button and turn the screw. If nothing changes, then you don't have the wiring correct! Hello..... But buy gosh, they have the little fuzzy cupboard bumpers covering the screw heads on the cupboard door knobs

10. Batteries: When plugged into shorepower, why doesn't the invertor/convertor - whatever it is, stop charging the batteries when they are fully charged? Why do they boil dry? I still don't get this one.

11. Blinking lights: When running the generator, all the lights pulse and when the generator "shifts gears" they blink big time. This cannot be good for the fridge and electronic gear. It's like a brown out. What causes this? Is there a fix?

12. Coolant leak: Almost forgot this one. Right after purchasing the coach, noticed antifreeze kept disappearing. Took it to Cummins NW (Renton) and the line into the front of the engine was loose and leaking fluid. Another QA check not done at the factory? I don't remember if the radiator, lines, and engines come to WRV ready for installation as a package, but regardless, WRV should do a leak test on the chassis before putting the house on so it's easy to spot! (Another $200 out of my pocket.)

13. Fit & finish: The panel directly in front of the front passenger side wheel was not installed properly and the pop rivet came out allowing it to flap in the wind. On the passenger side of the generator slide is rubbing against the coach and both are down to the fiberglass (size of a half dollar). The electric switch in the step well doesn't fit properly, it needs a washer of some sort behind it. On the radiator grill, a "spacer" of several washers taped together with electrical tape is used. The workmanship on the Flexsteel chairs are atrocious. The fabric is not attached and it hangs out with the stuffing and frame showing. I have cherry trim falling off all over the place. The grout is disintegrating and a tile is cracked - (not caused by dropping anything on it.) The mid door entry door doesn't fit properly and makes terrible noises going down the road. The passenger window rattles. There is a "whistle" around the windshield on the driver's side. A screw holding the driver's side outdoor light has rusted (the other 3 are fine.)

There is no doubt more, but I'm worn out and depressed from rehashing all this so I'll quit. If it weren't for the feeling I obtain when parked by a mountain stream or lake, communing with nature, and feeling self sufficient and more comfortable than in a tent, I would not own an RV. I just want to feel safe and confident in my coach and that it will work as it should since I am more often off the beaten track than on it. AND, I want to feel that I have a product that is TRULY worth it's value.

Thanks for listening,

Lynn
2004 36MDDS
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Old 09-14-2005, 10:08 PM   #3
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Hello & Welcome Lynn:

Sorry to hear about the problems you are having with the Alpine. I am sure that other owners will be able to help, with some of your problems. As for Warranty check into an extended warranty with the Good Sam Club.

As for some of your questions #2 my front A/C did the same think and the drain tube was cleaned and straitened out and I have had no more problems since it was repaired.

#6. The "S Trap" on the drain for the washer/dryer has no water and you get the smell, I put duct tape around the drain tube and forced the tube into the drain and it has eliminated the smell.

#8. HWH has either a two or three year warranty on its components so take it to a certified HWH dealer for repair. HWH also had a recall on some of its hoses they sold for installation in coaches.

#10. If your Alpine has Solar panels they be what is causing the over charging. WRV may have forgotten to install a regulator like they did on mine. Mine was doing the something until a regulator was installed...

I hope this helps solve some of your problems.

Dave
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Old 09-15-2005, 11:40 AM   #4
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#2- water stands in the drain tubes as a matter of design (true for virtually all coaches), so proper sealing is necessary to preclude leaks. Removing or lifting AC unit may be most expedient to locate & fix leak, & is easy. AC is held to coach w/a sort of compression "sandwhich" using 4 long screws for the compression. Remove plastic ceiling AC cover, back out the screws & the AC unit lifts off a 14mm foam donut. Find & seal the leak, the install & snug down the 4 screws. Don't squash the donut very much, just to get a good seal.

#3 sounds more like a short activation of the ABS than "sympathy" to me. A firm, loud chattering vibration? The only way that could happen is if the Jake was wired wrong & put in a "call" that was interpreted as a locked up wheel. Do you get good braking by the Jake in both stages? If yes, the ABS cross link is unlikely & vibration is probably something else.

#4- I get a slight, intermittent, stutter feedback in the wheel when turning hard @ slow speed only. Not @ high speed. Tires don't always roll, especially when turning hard. Depending on road conditions, they may abrade sideways (like a series of near-diagonal hops effectuating a turn) which can translate to a waggle in the wheel if pronounced. For low speeds, and not as a rule, that is normal for this type of rig. If it happens during all turns at all speeds, it may be your stabilizer bushing and/or other steering geometry hardware and/or its adjustment.

#8- I can't add any joy on this, except to say my Monaco buddies have the same post-delivery issues w/HWH leaks, on coaches costing much more. Seems like everbody has a leak in HWH sometime. Mine was also factory sponsored, and I identified it when picking up the coach (somehow the puddle below the HWH pump being hydraulic fluid was news to WRV) so it was fixed then. I expect to have another some day.

#12- WRV gets engines on pallets & hooks up all the tubing, wiring... The reason anti-freeze is oddly colored is to a) make it easy to distinguish from motor oil in a puddle, and b) add color & flavor to my martini's.

Hopefully you saved enough buying used to make up for the pain of debugging. Welcome to the single best tool in your toolbox, and a good bunch folks besides. Mike
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Old 11-04-2005, 08:36 AM   #5
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These units are very poorly manufactured from my expereince and speaking with other Alpine Owners. I can run a list of over 50 items that have been repaired or replaced due to poor workmanship. How about the WINDSHIELDS? They're shoved into place and loaded up with sealant to seal as they are not aligned properly at all. Look at a new '06 or '05 you can see for yourself. I have also been locked out of my coach and had to break into the coach to get in. The hydralic jacks always have never been truly balanced the coach propely even after 3 factory re-calibration attempts. The jake brake was not wired correctly and had to be re-wired by Cummins. The Posi-lock front door lock is a joke (broke twice). The plasma tv cable were Radio Shack cheapy ones and not the gold terminal correct ones. The p-trap on the washer does have a bad odor and should have been corrected at the factory not mickey- moused by the owners to bandaid the problem. The slides are always out of wack, they never close flush. The steering does creak and squeel when you turn left or right. The instrument panel has been replaced by the factory 3 times now for shorts. I could go on, keep in mind I am in my 30's with two kids and do not feel safe in this coach. I am not your common retired individual RV owner/travler so I do know whats right and whats not good "PR" and unfortnately I would not reccomend a Alpine.
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Old 11-04-2005, 02:04 PM   #6
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John Hatzidakis; we have a 2005 34' Alpine and we have had our share of problems (some major) but I can certainly be thankful that we have never seen, heard, or had any of the kind of problems you refer to. With that much said John, what motorhome would you recommend. I think all of us would be very interested.

Ted & Carol 2005 Alpine 34FDDS
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Old 11-04-2005, 03:51 PM   #7
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Marathon makes a nice coach: Sample of Marathon Inventory
Click on "Invoice".
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Old 11-04-2005, 04:13 PM   #8
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FUNNY
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Old 11-04-2005, 05:53 PM   #9
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Engineer Mike, the Marathon is not bad but I am not real crazy about the color.

Ted

PS: maybe we could buy one like a time-share?
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Old 11-04-2005, 07:19 PM   #10
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Lynn Marie, and John,

Although I can't relate to your specific issues with your coaches, I can relate to the feelings you are having. We bought a new 06 34FDDS at the Redmond Great North American RV Rally in July. We picked up the coach at the factory in August. On our first trip, to the beach in Oregon, we came up with a list of about 20 items to get fixed. The worst, the coach wouldn't even start after three days due to dead batteries, and we were plugged into shore power...I had to jump the chassis batteries with the house batteries. Our apprehension was as high as yours, having just spent a bundle and wondering what we had gotten ourselves into. Well, we got the list whittled down. It took a little longer than we would have liked, but the bugs got fixed. Today, I'm writing this on vacation in Arizona (1,400 miles from home)and the coach has been virtually perfect, and fun, and everything we had hoped for. By the way, the steering wheel has the same feel as you describe when I'm going slow, and so did my previous coach. I will say that the couple of times that I called WRV with problems while on those earlier trips I got advice and help immediatley. My prior coach also had bugs that had to get fixed, but I remember it now as a great coach. My friends just bought a new Discovery and have been in for fixes several times, but they are using it a lot and are happy with it. It seems to come with the territory. I had the knot in my gut a couple months ago, but today I'm relaxed and very happy with my purchase. I certainly couldn't have imagined being able to write this a couple of months ago. I hope you both will have similar experiences within a short time. Good luck, and happy travels.

TerryM
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Old 11-04-2005, 09:40 PM   #11
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We are only in our 40's (and still of right mind ....not like those retirees ) and feel perfectly safe in our coach. I'll put my grandchildren in it too when we are so blessed by our daughter.

Let's see....I'm sure HWH can fix your jack problem. I always lock our SCHLAGE dead bolt, but your linkage must have come loose in the handle lock, that can be fixed. My front door has been literally ripped from my hands by Arizona winds and still works. I'm actually surprised that it didn't come right off the coach! Probably linkage again on the posi-lock door. I had my slide adjusted by HWH reps at N/C in Toppenish this past October.. Many of these problems are just standard upkeep on these coaches. There are complicated and they need to be kept maintained and repaired.

Our coach is a 2000 that we purchased last year. We have driven it 20k miles and have had very few problems. Most of the problems I'll fix myself as we are out of warranty too, and didn't purchase an extended warranty when we purchased the coach.

This week I'll replace two hydraulic soleniods on my galley slide, it creeps in 2 inches $200. I've repaired some loose wires in my transfer switch $20, adjusted my generator slide $0, and refastened the front fenders on both sides with epoxy glue $5.

I think there are owners of other brands of coaches that have similar experience...both ways.

EngineerMike, Patty and I can throw in 100K, that will buy us about 3 weeks of use.....not counting upkeep, insurance....ect. Wait...So far we have used our coach 4 weeks and 22 weekends this year. I think we will stay with our Alpine. I like the way it panic stops . Ask Mike and Nancy

Lynn Marie, since your coach was only driven five thousand miles, the original owners obviously didn't use it much and unfortunately for you didn't take time to debug it. Since we are still working stiffs (of right mind of course ) we will buy another used coach with all the bugs worked out. Looks like I'll keep my eyes on EngineerMike's
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Old 11-06-2005, 06:31 AM   #12
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FWIW,

The speaker buzz problem plagued me too. I think it may be unique to 04 models with the Riverpark DHS sound system.

Factory sent me (and may be willing to send you one too without charge; gotta ask...) a combo signal converter/ground loop isolator (they called it a PIE unit).

It works and removed the hum.

Good luck and try to stick with the shake-down.
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Old 11-06-2005, 09:11 AM   #13
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Lynn welcome to irv2
I'am not an owner of a Alpine coach but of a motor home of like quality. I have had new an used coachs. They all have had problems maybe not your list but minor an major that I fixed and harped on dealer to fix. A used coach with 7500 miles still had the warranties in the folder that the previous owner never filled out. Coach at the time was two years old I filled out all warranty cards and all were recornized by MFG's an I received extended warranties on some of them.
Many in Alpine grp will help you with problems an if you are capable of repairing you will have a coach you can be proud of.
Its not the way it should be but its part of the RV experience. "007"
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Old 11-09-2005, 05:40 PM   #14
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Go to auto parts store and get 11/2" camper mounting tape. It is grey foam one sided tape for seal between pickup bed and camper shell. It is soft and doesnt look durable but will work great for preventing rub of gen slide against front cap. Adhere to slide out side full length. Mine has been on for a year and has not worn any.
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