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Old 07-29-2013, 10:25 PM   #1
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My Hurricane 34E pickup experience

Day 1: Pickup

As I've written before, we decided to become first time RV owners in May, ordering a 2014 Hurricane 34E from MHSRV in Alvarado, TX. The unit came in 2 weeks ago, and I had to wait until the 26th to pick it up. After considering several options, we decided to fly into Dallas on the 25th and stay in a motel there. I prearranged pickup with MHSRV, and on the evening of the 25th they called to confirm an 11:00am pickup and gave me the driver's name and number.

The next morning, the driver was there right on time, having picked up some other gentlemen first. We didn't talk much, but I guessed the other two guys were hired to pickup coaches for other people and drive them cross country. Their luggage consisted mainly of sodas and food for their apparently long trips.

We settled into the comfortable van and all started an electronic device to watch movies and listen to music. In less than an hour we pulled up to MHSRV and stopped right at our coach, setup in a spot in their delivery park. Our salesman, Jimmy, was waiting for us in the coach. He helped us load our bags and told us to take our time looking around. After several minutes in awe, he let us know the technicians were very busy but we'd have one in 30-45 minutes to do the walk-through. He said they were serving lunch in the old movie theater that's slated to become their corporate headquarters, and he offered us his golf cart to go eat. At the movie theater they had at least 20 pizzas of all different varieties and a selection of drinks. We filled ourselves and drove back to the dealership to meet Jimmy in his office.

Once there, he asked for my driver's license for the loaner vehicle. I don't remember this being mentioned before, and I was pleasantly surprised. They gave us a Chevy Equinox, completely decked out in MHSRV logos, free of charge for the time we spent there. We drove the car back to our delivery spot and met Cory for a thorough walk-through. As Cory himself said, no walk-through is going to answer all our questions. He encouraged us to try everything and make a list to present the techs on Saturday. After the walk-through, we went through possibly the fastest closing ceremony in history, and by then it was late afternoon. My wife and younger son took a nap in the bedroom while I stayed in the main cabin to check things out. (Not that you care, but our older son was visiting his grandparents. He came back to the big RV today!)

I did everything I could--put all the beds down, aired up the mattresses. Well, I tried to. The air mattress for the drop down bunk is a standard Coleman camping air mattress that came new in the box. It also came without 4-D batteries, which went on our first shopping list. The couch folded out easily, but I don't really like the way the aft leg has to be folded out just right to avoid scratching up the TV cabinet. Not a big deal, but it makes it a touch harder to do alone. Unfolding the air mattress and inflating it was pretty straightforward, and the air mattress was as comfortable as you can expect from one of those. I inventoried the freebies from MHSRV and found a 25' water hose, 12' (I think) sewer hose, brass water pressure reducer, 4 rolls of RV toilet paper, and a starter tank treatment bottle. We also had lots of cold MHSRV water bottles in the fridge and a case of warm ones in a cabinet. And, they gave us a bottle of wine at closing. One thing I'll point out here is the toilet paper holders in the bathrooms do not hold a standard roll. They hold the roll, but it's impossible to turn the roll. I'm going to look into modifying or replacing the existing ones so they work, but for now we keep the roll on a shelf.

After the nap, we loaded in the loaner car and drove north to Burleson. I had seen a Wal-Mart there earlier, and found some good places to eat on Yelp. We elected to eat at Grump's Burgers, and I wasn't disappointed. We then drove to Wal-Mart and loaded up on food for the trip home.

At the end of that day we were all pretty wiped out. I couldn't figure out how to get the dinette table leg off (found out later it unscrews instead of pulling out), so I put our boy on the pull out sofa. I slept a lot better than I expected on the very firm mattress. More later before this becomes a novel. I'll lead with a couple of pics in the next post to keep it interesting.
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Old 07-29-2013, 10:34 PM   #2
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Interlude: 2 pictures



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The inside, complete with mostly naked boy in the foreground and fully-clothed wife in the back mirror.



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The right outside. Notice the beautiful mirror. That comes into play in a bit.
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Old 07-29-2013, 10:41 PM   #3
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Congrats on your new MH! Keep posting the pics, enjoy the rv experience, as that's what it is all about...
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:13 PM   #4
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Day 2: Wherein my heart breaks into many pieces

We woke up around 7 Saturday morning and ate our first breakfast in the coach. The dinette is going to be a bit crowded with 4, especially as the boys get bigger, but with the 3 of us there was plenty of room. We opened the curtains after getting showered and dressed, and that was Jimmy's cue to come check on us a bit after 9. FYI, compared to the Class Cs I've rented, the shower is decadent

My list for Jimmy was pretty short and almost inconsequential. Other than my questions, such as how to remove the table leg, the defects consisted of:
  • broken light cover on side running light
  • one step glue didn't set and came up easily
  • passenger cupholder popped off and wouldn't pop back into place
  • one light bulb in 1/2 bath was loose and shorted out easily

Pretty minor things considering some of the nightmares I'd read about here and other places. Jimmy grabbed a technician who was prepping another coach for pickup in a few days. I'm not sure what kind of working environment the technicians have there, but this technician acted like he would get in trouble if he didn't have our extremely minor problems fixed lickety-split. He was done in about 15 minutes. I appreciated the quick work but also wonder if I got anyone in trouble by finding things they maybe should have.

One of the questions I asked Jimmy was if they gave us a 50A-30A converter or if I needed to buy one. We have a trip planned to a 30A-only spot coming up, and I just wanted to know. He said they used to give those away like candy, but the powers-that-be stopped the practice. No big deal, just asking.

We told Jimmy we planned a test drive to shake up the coach and see if anything came loose. He gave me some driving tips and told me to spend as long as I wanted driving around the MHSRV parking lot before hitting the open road. We took his advice and made a few loops around the place, trying to get a feel for how it handles forwards and backwards. Incidentally, the backup camera audio doesn't work too well in an open area with steady wind. My wife had to yell loud enough that I could hear through the window, but I'm sure most campgrounds will be more secluded sites with less wind noise.

The drive was uneventful, and when we returned Jimmy parked the coach back in the spot (for insurance reasons). While we were out, Jimmy happened to "find" a 50A-30A converter off a "used coach" that just happened to have a new sticker on it We stayed another hour while making our final checks. I decided to raise the backup camera a bit because it was basically looking down where a tow vehicle would be.

Before we got there, Jimmy said we could stay from Friday through Monday if we wanted, but we just weren't finding any reason to stay at MHSRV. We had a last lunch at the theater (burgers and hot dogs) and then said our final goodbye. I can't say enough good about MHSRV, and I gladly recommend them to anyone looking to buy.

From Alvarado we headed north on US-67 towards Dallas. We decided to fill up early (MHSRV gave us 1/2 tank), and got our first fun surprise of the day. I've never seen a gas pump stop at $100 and make you swipe your card again to get some more gas, but apparently that's part of driving a big gas rig like this.

In Dallas I was a bit nervous as the road got more and more crowded, but things were going fairly well and my confidence was up. We were cruising along the right lane of I-30, chatting about something inane when BLAM! all of a sudden it sounded like we'd been shot. I had no idea what had happened, but my wife pointed out the remains of the mirror hanging by the camera/heater cables. I kept driving and asked her to look up RV repair on her phone. We followed the first result because it was 4 miles away, but it led us to a dead-end in an industrial area. I parked in a closed business and we called every RV dealer we could find, including MHSRV. Most service departments were closed (MHSRV closes at noon Sat) or unable to offer any assistance. The only attempt at a solution was Jimmy's suggestion to visit a truck stop and find a temp mirror that could be jury rigged to the right side. We called the closest truck stop, and they said they didn't have anything that would help us. By then almost an hour had passed, and although I was still distraught I was able to think more clearly. We decided to continue the trip with my wife hanging out the window to help me clear the right side when needed. I took the wire cutters from the free MHSRV tool kit (forgot to mention it last post) and snipped the cables. I put the remains of the mirror in a cabinet:



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Just because I'm that kind of guy, I went back and looked over our route using Google Street View. The bridge we hit was the only one on the entire route where the supports weren't set back 5' outside a shoulder. On this particular bridge, the supports are only about 6-8" off the main stretch. In trying to avoid crowding the other lanes, I must have been 6-8" too far right. After that bridge we would have been in the clear, but no use thinking about that now.

We pressed on and eventually got the heck out of Dallas. I was emotionally drained and thought I couldn't make it all the way home to our house near Little Rock. I thought about stopping anywhere and just relaxing, but I got my second wind and kept going. We decided to stop at Lake Catherine State Park in Arkansas, which turned out to be a lot closer to home than I first realized. In true newb form, we arrived just in time to miss the Visitor's Center, and more importantly just in time for it to go from sundown to fully dark as we approached our spot.

The spot was kind of difficult to enter due to the narrow road and several posts that protected drivers from the ditches, but actually that helped get our confidence up about backing the coach in general. I could hear my wife just fine, although we both agree she needs to come up with something better than "move your hiney right."

The best part about this rig came next: I stopped, hit auto level, plugged in the coach, put out the slides and that was it. In less than 5 minutes we were setup and ready. We ate a late dinner and sacked out for 10 hours! My son who likes to get up at 5 and wake everyone was still asleep when we woke up. That never happens
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:18 PM   #5
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Oh yeah, they also gave us a rug, too, complete with the MHSRV logo and contact information. I told them I'd gladly advertise for them. I think it's a good thing when there are so many "freebies" you forget what they all are. I know they must be making money in order to be able to spend that much on a customer, but their price was better--by a lot--than what I could find near me.
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Old 07-30-2013, 12:51 AM   #6
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Congratulations on the new coach. Sorry about the mirror, hopefully an easy repair.

And, thank you for the specifics about MHSRV. I have wondered about this part of their business model as a volume dealer.

Best of luck!
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Old 07-30-2013, 05:30 AM   #7
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Thanks for the write up, it's so nice to hear about a good experience, I wish they where more common...I know it's tough but don't beat yourself up to much, it was only a mirror....thats the one mishap you are allowed.....good luck.
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Old 07-30-2013, 05:33 AM   #8
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Glad the damage was minor.

On our 34F, the volume knob on the radio also controls the volume for the back-up camera. I had to turn it up pretty far in order to hear my wife. Since I can't talk back to my wife that way, we have reverted to using a set of walkie-talkies when we are backing up.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:19 AM   #9
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Congrats on your new purchase.....really a bummer to break your mirrow....Sounds like you were treated well on your visit to MHSRV and makes me wish I had been closer to them. Purchased locally and had to beg for a cup of coffee. Oh well.....again congrats......

Any chance you could send me a picture of the strut that is attached to your door ??? Mine has nothing and I am suppose to take her in next monday to have door hardware put on and I would like to know what should be there.....Also received a recall from Ford this past Saturday. the transmission oil cooling line needs to be replaced. Hope yours made it thru with the correct line....
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:34 AM   #10
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congrats of the new rig sound's like your going to have a lot of happy memories with the new rv

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Old 08-03-2013, 11:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parker21 View Post
Any chance you could send me a picture of the strut that is attached to your door ??? Mine has nothing and I am suppose to take her in next monday to have door hardware put on and I would like to know what should be there.
Sorry, I just saw this. I'm taking her out tonight after work and will try to get you a picture posted here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tanstaafl View Post
Glad the damage was minor.

On our 34F, the volume knob on the radio also controls the volume for the back-up camera. I had to turn it up pretty far in order to hear my wife. Since I can't talk back to my wife that way, we have reverted to using a set of walkie-talkies when we are backing up.
Our volume works the same, but in the wind I had a hard time hearing her at full volume. In the more sheltered camp spot it worked better, but I had my window open anyway. 35' is close enough she can hear me if she comes around my side.
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Old 08-03-2013, 11:10 AM   #12
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I thought I'd give a quick update in case anyone else has to deal with losing a mirror. I took the unit to a highly-recommended local repair shop. The guy there spent 20 minutes on the phone trying to find a way to direct order the mirror from Thor or Velvac. Velvac said they'd sell direct but it would take a very long time because their primary focus is keeping Thor supplied. Thor refused to sell them to anyone but a dealer. My local dealer was closed, so I tried ordering through MHSRV. They wound up taking 2 days to respond and charged $545 plus shipping for the mirror in 3-5 weeks. During that 2-day wait, I wound up calling a dealer in Elkhart in case they had a better price and supply chain. They will also be 3-5 weeks but charged me $470. Thor says they only get the mirrors from Velvac when making a production run, but when they order next one of the mirrors will be for me.

The original mechanic who wasn't able to help me showed me how the 4 caps on the remaining arm will come off easily and expose 4 screws. He said I could take those off, unplug the camera/heater leads from the coach, and then plug in and screw in the new mirror assembly. The whole job should take me 15 minutes and save a lot (posted labor rates were $95/hr). I think helping me save that $ will probably earn my business when it's time for a repair I can't handle.
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Old 08-03-2013, 11:22 AM   #13
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I second the idea of walkie talkies. That way the whole campground doesn't here you yelling at each other and you can talk back and forth easily. Also when your camping in the mountains cell phones don't often work. With walkie talkies you can communicate back and forth from hikes and such very easily.

With the short front end of the Class As it is easy to ride to far to the right. Practice a bit with you wife driving behind you and the walkie talkies on. She can tell you when your in the middle of the lane and you can see what that looks like from the cockpit. It will feel odd but you can set your landmark areas on the hood so you are in a more centered position in your lane.
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Old 08-03-2013, 11:25 AM   #14
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With the short front end of the Class As it is easy to ride to far to the right. Practice a bit with you wife driving behind you and the walkie talkies on. She can tell you when your in the middle of the lane and you can see what that looks like from the cockpit. It will feel odd but you can set your landmark areas on the hood so you are in a more centered position in your lane.
Thanks for the advice. We did this on the way back from the airport after we picked up her car. I rode in all 3 lanes while she told me where I was, and I almost always tended to be too far right. I think on a straight stretch, putting the lines on the green CG sticker (what is that for, anyway) is centered in the lane.
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