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Old 06-07-2005, 03:53 AM   #1
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On Sunday the 5th we left Easterm Pa to go on a short business trip to Ohio in our new 34' Alpine coach. (about 540 miles). This was our first trip. We got just short of Pittsburgh (app. 240 miles) and had developed a bad vibration in the back of the coach. It felt like you were constantly driving on the rough area on the shoulder to remind you that you were off the highway. The vibration and noise were all the time when you required power at all. When the coach coasted it was very smooth. Decided to turn around and return home and got past Harrisburg East exit on the PA tpk and had checked all vitals numerous times with absolutely no signs of a problem. Noise & vibration were getting worse. On my last check everything was still visually ok but just shortly after pulling away from that rest stop the noise changed and we got a very large bang. For some unknown reason I found another short area to pull off. On checking this time I found oil all over the back of the coach, the tow dolly and the toad. After investigating for sometime I realized that the rear had blown completely to the point that there were teeth and ball bearings on the ground. Somebody was looking after us because had the rear locked up we could have had a real serious situation with rear wheels locked.Our dealer had given us at time of delivery "Coach-Net" to call for emergencies which I did and they responded quite quickly keeping in mind it was Sunday evening around 6:00PM. They came with a huge wrecker and a service truck as I told them about the rear and that more than likely the axles would have to be pulled and be disconnected which was the case. After spending about an hour getting oil off the toad windows so we could see we left the coach in the hands of the tow folks and got home after a long 17 hour day on the road. Monday morning I spoke with our dealer and later in the day as we are EST I spoke with Mike at Alpine. The coach is in Harrisburg somewhere at a Freightliner dealer who are warranty folks for the Meritor rear. Everyone to this point has been very cooperative (maybe for very obvious reasons). From what I am told the dealer has already begun on the coach. I will keep you posted as progression continues. So much for our shakedown cruise (litterly shakedown). Pardon me,we were boaters for 25 years. It was a **** of a day and not one to be easily forgotten. Prior to us boating we had 3 other motorcoaches, 2 Pace Arrows and a Sportscoach and I never had to have one towed for any reason. That was almost 30 years ago.
Ted Ulmer
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Old 06-07-2005, 03:53 AM   #2
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On Sunday the 5th we left Easterm Pa to go on a short business trip to Ohio in our new 34' Alpine coach. (about 540 miles). This was our first trip. We got just short of Pittsburgh (app. 240 miles) and had developed a bad vibration in the back of the coach. It felt like you were constantly driving on the rough area on the shoulder to remind you that you were off the highway. The vibration and noise were all the time when you required power at all. When the coach coasted it was very smooth. Decided to turn around and return home and got past Harrisburg East exit on the PA tpk and had checked all vitals numerous times with absolutely no signs of a problem. Noise & vibration were getting worse. On my last check everything was still visually ok but just shortly after pulling away from that rest stop the noise changed and we got a very large bang. For some unknown reason I found another short area to pull off. On checking this time I found oil all over the back of the coach, the tow dolly and the toad. After investigating for sometime I realized that the rear had blown completely to the point that there were teeth and ball bearings on the ground. Somebody was looking after us because had the rear locked up we could have had a real serious situation with rear wheels locked.Our dealer had given us at time of delivery "Coach-Net" to call for emergencies which I did and they responded quite quickly keeping in mind it was Sunday evening around 6:00PM. They came with a huge wrecker and a service truck as I told them about the rear and that more than likely the axles would have to be pulled and be disconnected which was the case. After spending about an hour getting oil off the toad windows so we could see we left the coach in the hands of the tow folks and got home after a long 17 hour day on the road. Monday morning I spoke with our dealer and later in the day as we are EST I spoke with Mike at Alpine. The coach is in Harrisburg somewhere at a Freightliner dealer who are warranty folks for the Meritor rear. Everyone to this point has been very cooperative (maybe for very obvious reasons). From what I am told the dealer has already begun on the coach. I will keep you posted as progression continues. So much for our shakedown cruise (litterly shakedown). Pardon me,we were boaters for 25 years. It was a **** of a day and not one to be easily forgotten. Prior to us boating we had 3 other motorcoaches, 2 Pace Arrows and a Sportscoach and I never had to have one towed for any reason. That was almost 30 years ago.
Ted Ulmer
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Old 06-07-2005, 08:34 AM   #3
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Wow, that is pretty bad. At least I was able to drive mine. I wish you the best and keep us posted.

David
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Old 06-07-2005, 12:25 PM   #4
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Ted - did a rear tire blow? Or something else?

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Old 06-07-2005, 01:23 PM   #5
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Please understand this has nothing to do with tires. This is the rear gearing that drives the entire coach. It is what drives the rear wheels after the engine distributes its power. The entire rear gearing assembly became dis assembled by way of destruction due to (I presume) a faulty part.A bad tire would have been a piece of cake.
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Old 06-07-2005, 02:26 PM   #6
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Either a faulty part or it had improper lube level. Usually that type of failure means ruined machined surfaces due to the internal debris so the rear-end carcass will need to be replaced also. did it get hot?
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Old 06-07-2005, 02:47 PM   #7
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I would almost guarantee it got hot. I was not about to stick my hand in it to find out. In my humble opinion which is slight, I raced power boats for Gulf Oil for app. 15 years, was that a ball in one of the bearings detoriated and came apart. Needless to say the casing(carcass) will need to be replaced because lots of the pieces fell on the ground. I would assume there is quite a hole in it.
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Old 06-07-2005, 03:37 PM   #8
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I wasn't sure from your discussion whether the parts exit-hole was in casting or in sheet metal. The cover plate might be cast instead of sheet metal, but I'd still guess there was enough space debris grinding around inside to make Meritor mahem & ruin the whole schmere.
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Old 06-07-2005, 06:00 PM   #9
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Originally posted by Ted III:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">The coach is in Harrisburg somewhere at a Freightliner dealer who are warranty folks for the Meritor rear. Everyone to this point has been very cooperative </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Ted III : First let me say how sorry I am to read of your mis-fortune with your new coach. That failure is as unusual as it is catastrophic, and I'm sure you are glad it happened under warranty IF it had to happen at all It certainly does define the meaning of shakedown!

One of the reasons I started following the posts here in the Alpine owners section is because I think, MAYBE, some day I will be able to buy one. I spent a lot of time looking at the PEAK chassis at FMCA-Perry and was quite impressed. Frankly, the engineering that it represents is what attracts me to Alpine. Your post about yours being at a Freightliner shop got me wondering about Peak repairs. Do they have service centers- or do you have to find one for each component? Where do you go if, for example, the steering box failed? Does WRV have a support center you call to get info about where to go, or what?

Hopefully your differential will be replaced/repaired quickly and you will begin to enjoy your new coach. Good luck, ED
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Old 06-07-2005, 08:31 PM   #10
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Hi Ted

Good luck, hope you get it fixes ASAP. Any good truck shop can handle that kind of job. WRV has been good in the past about facilitating repairs at your convenience.

This is the first I have heard of an Alpine Coach rear end grenadine itself. I had a one ton Ford E-350 van that did the same thing to me in Utah at 35,000 miles.

Hope the rest of your shake down goes well.

Danny
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Old 06-08-2005, 03:16 AM   #11
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Danny, Thanks for your note. We will need to setup another shakedown when we get the coach back. So far everyone has been most cooperative. Mike Glazier has stayed right on top of it and is keeping me well informed.

Thanks
Ted
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Old 06-08-2005, 03:27 AM   #12
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Edgray, I agree with you about the Peak chassis. I think it is excellent. Alpine does have a support group and to this point have been excellent with me. Truth in the pudding is in the eating.I will let you know when it is all done and over. I think you will find that most dealers do not represent the bulk of the chassis components. Re: engine,transmission, rear, steering box, etc. and they will find a location that is an authorized service and warranty station for that particular item which is what Alpine has done for this issue. Personally this is not typical dealer work although I am certain there are some very large dealers that do represent these manufacturers.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by edgray:
Originally posted by Ted III:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">The coach is in Harrisburg somewhere at a Freightliner dealer who are warranty folks for the Meritor rear. Everyone to this point has been very cooperative </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Ted III : First let me say how sorry I am to read of your mis-fortune with your new coach. That failure is as unusual as it is catastrophic, and I'm sure you are glad it happened under warranty IF it had to happen at all It certainly does define the meaning of shakedown!

One of the reasons I started following the posts here in the Alpine owners section is because I think, MAYBE, some day I will be able to buy one. I spent a lot of time looking at the PEAK chassis at FMCA-Perry and was quite impressed. Frankly, the engineering that it represents is what attracts me to Alpine. Your post about yours being at a Freightliner shop got me wondering about Peak repairs. Do they have service centers- or do you have to find one for each component? Where do you go if, for example, the steering box failed? Does WRV have a support center you call to get info about where to go, or what?

Hopefully your differential will be replaced/repaired quickly and you will begin to enjoy your new coach. Good luck, ED </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
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Old 06-08-2005, 06:48 AM   #13
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Wow Ted! What a horrifying experience. Sorry, it wasn't clear to me from your first post what exactly had blown apart, so thanks for spelling it out. I never imagined that the rear differential would come apart !

Hopefully it will all be fixed soon - to "better" than new - and you can enjoy your new coach.

Audrey
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Old 06-08-2005, 02:40 PM   #14
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Engineer Mike, You are quite correct, the cover could be sheet metal. I truly wasn't in the mood to really find out. I would think a rear that size would use a cast cover but I guess that is not necassarly true. I probably will never know and more than likely I really don't care other than curiousity. I think the odds of it happening again in my lifetime have to be pretty slim.
Ted
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