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Old 06-15-2011, 07:26 AM   #1
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First Visit to Spartan...OUCH!!!

Hello iRV2'rs:

Well, our very first visit to the Service Center for Spartan here in Charlotte, Mich., kinda HURT!!

Pulled in Sun. (6/12) and parked in very neat parking area adj. to svc. cntr. (Elec. only 30/50 amp). Next morning (Mon 6/13) promptly at 7 a.m. door was opened to service write up area and when turn came, we met with the Svcs. Operations Mgr. and went over our service request. (Very good session...NO pressure). We were in primarily for prev. maint. and routine/required svc. (ie., fluids, filters, and 44 pt. check which was very thorough). We parked our car (toad) next to customer lounge w. our pets inside (water, food, pads, litter box, etc.) as the "tech" assigned to our rig went and drove rig from camp site into svc. bay behind customer svc. area.

Most of you know this routine. Sit in loung, drink coffee, watch t.v., take a nap, maybe take car somewhere for lunch, etc.). Occasionally a svc. rep. would come out to talk with folks waiting for their rigs and to discuss issues that might crop up. All in all, a very pleasant experience.........UNLESS.......that svc. rep. brought you "bad news!!"

In our case two major issues with our rig REALLY hit the old retirement funds HARD!!!:

1. Tech discovered that all our outside tires were indicating the need for replacement (ie., 2 fronts, 2 outboard duals, and 2 tag tires). These were 315 80 R 22.5 Pilote XZA1's Michelins and ONLY 4 YEARS and 27,500 MILES !!!! We hadn't planned on this expense of around $5,500. ish. WOW!! Anyway wherever a letter or number was molded into or embossed on the side wall of the tire, RIGHT IMMEDIATLY along the mostly thelower margin and sometimes connecting between such letters or raised numbers there were overly deep (3/32nds deep +) cracks not readily seen as they looked like shadow from the corresponding letter/number adj. to said crack. Why this occured, how this occured, except due to sunlight damage, we don't know. Looks like tire covers are going to be used from now on.

2. Tech also discovered upon removing engine oil filter that some alarming amount of Final Charge Coolant had somehow mixed with the engine oil !!!!!!!!! and came draining out of the filter when punctured by the tech. THIS IS A BIGGY!!!! Long story short, we're leaving Charlotte today (Wed. 6/15) for appt. up in Grand Rapids at Bidgeway Cummins for troubleshoot inspection re: this coolant IN the oil. DANG!!!!! Right now everyones speculating as to cause/source. Either it's EGR blowback issue (unlikely), OR it could be a leak in what they call the "oil cooler" which I guess uses same Final Charge coolant to cool the oil (maybe), or then we're into head gasket leak, or.....WHO KNOWS. That's why we're headed for Cummins. Only good thing is engine still is under warranty.

Well, so much for now. To depressing to ramble on.

More later....maybe.

Steve & Lynette

2014 Newmar 3103 BAYSTAR/Triton V10 w. Banks/05 Honda Element toad
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:38 AM   #2
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thanks for the story. Please keep us updated...

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Old 06-15-2011, 09:49 AM   #3
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Sorry you got such bad news! Best of luck on the diagnosis.

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Old 06-15-2011, 09:54 AM   #4
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I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. Here's hoping for the least expensive alternative.
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Can't take it with you - don't plan on leaving any behind
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:41 PM   #5
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Did Spartan contact Michelin about the problem and possible warranty coverage. I ask because I had a sidewall separation last year on a 4+ yearold tire and got 60% (remaining tread) coverage on a new tire.
Sorry about the engine problem, Cummins has done well by me in the past. Replaced block wiith a short block due to oil seepage problem thru an oil jacket.
HOPE everything works out.
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:53 PM   #6
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Wow, sorry to hear about the expense

Wow, what a shocker for you. Sorry to hear about the expense. The only silver lining is that you found out in a way that didn't endanger your safety and at a place you could get it fixed.

I wonder why Michelin can't seem to get the RV tires right. I have had them on my SUV (at least 3 or 4 sets) and wouldn't get anything else but when I was researching new tires for my RV, Michelin had so many bad reports that they were at the bottom of the list. I hope you get some money back from Michelin for such a premature problem.

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Old 06-15-2011, 03:23 PM   #7
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Any chance for some closeup pictures of the cracks?

Edit: Oops, never mind, I see you have already left for Cummins.
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Old 06-15-2011, 07:09 PM   #8
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Your telling us Spartan charged you $916/tire? You got ripped. That's $200 /tire for labor.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:01 PM   #9
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Tires were $4,769. for 6 tires + 5 hours labor, (mounting/balance) $450. although labor was for 8 tires not 6 since we moved inside duals onto tag axel since these inside duals were in good shape. Came to $794.83 per new tire. Total tire stuff was $5,200, not $5,500. Sorry,....was just generalizing.

2014 Newmar 3103 BAYSTAR/Triton V10 w. Banks/05 Honda Element toad
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:07 PM   #10
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I have never seen a shop charge an hourly rate to mount/dismount tires. My shop charges a flat rate of 20.00 per tire for mount/dismount. If it took them 5 hours to do all of your tires they are not very experienced at it or took severe advantage of you. I had 8 new drive tires put on my semi, I then had all 8 tires from my semi put on one of my old trailers. My total time at their shop was around 2 1/2 hours. That was mount/dismount of 16 semi tires.

IMO, at nearly 800 bucks per tire they should of mounted them free for you!
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Old 06-16-2011, 01:42 PM   #11
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I finally replaced our Michelins last Sept, they were dated 4701, which made them some 9 years old. No problems other than some small cracks around the letters, just didn't want to press my luck. I got them from a truck tire shop and they charged $20 to mount and balance.
Engine is still under warranty so there shouldn't be much, if any, cost there other than lost travel time.
Maybe I'm glad we didn't pursue buying that 2011 Essex at the FMCA NW rally a few weeks ago. They did have a used 2006 Essex also, but I wouldn't take it without new tires and taking out the semi circle electrical adjusted dinette.
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Old 06-16-2011, 02:45 PM   #12
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Michelin has no(0) warranty on sidewall cracking. But they do ask you to check for it.

During the pre-trip inspection, be sure to check your tires for signs of aging, weather checking and/or ozone cracking these show up as tiny cracks in the rubber surface on the sidewall of the tire.
If the cracks are less than 1/32" deep, the tire is fine to run.
Between 1/32" and 2/32", the tire is suspect and should be examined by your Michelin dealer.
If the cracks are any deeper than 2/32", the tire should be replaced immediately.
Here are a few tips to help you protect your tires from these common damage conditions:
1) Keep your tires properly inflated.
2) Keep your tires clean.
3) Avoid prolonged exposure to heat, cold or moisture.
4) Avoid prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays.
5) Cover your tires when your vehicle is not in use.
6) Do not park near electric generators or transformers.
7) Do not store vehicle in an area where welding is being done or in a garage that has mercury vapor lamps.

On the other hand. Goodyear give a 7 year warranty on sidewall cracking.

The new tire coverage of this warranty ends when the treadwear indicators become visible or five (5) years from the date of purchase, whichever occurs first.

The only exception is weather cracking, which carries a seven (7) year warranty from the date of purchase or when the treadwear indicators become visible, whichever occurs first. Without proof of purchase, date of manufacture will be used
to determine eligibility.
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:14 AM   #13
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First Spartan Visit..OUCH!....(Update)

Hi All !!

Well, we ran up to Bridgeway Cummins in Grand Rapids, MI, (from the Spartan shop in Charlotte, MI) to have the "coolant in the oil" issue diagnosed and repaired. By the way, this Cummins shop is (in our opinion) THE place to go for excellent engine service. Anyway, although a very busy shop, they got us right in, and tech got to work. After thoroughly checking and ruling out the EGR as the possible source of coolant getting into the oil, the tech went to work on the "oil cooler" component, and sure enough, that was the culprit. I can't tell ya the precise malfunction, but part of the tech evaluation included pressurizing the coolant system and that's when he discovered that Final Charge coolant was entering the oil as a malfunction of this "oil coolant" part. At any rate, we were into the shop at about 8 a.m. and out at 4:30 p.m. All was under Cummins warranty so other than $100. deductible charged for warranty work during year 4 and year 5 of a 5 year warranty, there were no other charges.....yipppee!!

Re: the discussion about our tire cracks and replacement, Spartan is still dealing w. Michelin to attempt getting us an adjustment...we'll see.

Also, re: tires, I'm still not sure what is the best way to protect outside tires. I'm thinking about beginning to use tire covers, but, some owners have cautioned us about using covers that don't "breath" (like the mesh type do) since the non-mesh type really hold the heat inside around the tire when used and this heat build up does alot of damage over extended parking time. Sure appreciate your other tips about maintaining tires...ie., keepin them clean, not parking near transformers, keeping proper inflations....etc. So.....whatdaya think about tire covers for extended parking time in sunny conditions???

Thanks again for all your input. Hope I don't have to visit Spartan or Cummins for awhile. Now we're on to Nappanee.

Steve & Lynette
2014 Newmar 3103 BAYSTAR/Triton V10 w. Banks/05 Honda Element toad
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:47 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Chickadee View Post
Hi All !!

By the way, this Cummins shop is (in our opinion) THE place to go for excellent engine service. Steve & Lynette
Steve and Lynette. I agree with you about the Bridgeway folks in Grand Rapids. I live over that way and they are the best. Spartan team is good but when it comes to the CUmmins, they are top notch. I have a diesel generator and the ISC engine and they have been great to me. I would recommend them to anyone and they are great to work with.

Have a safe trip and look at the bright side. The tires were expensive but not as expensive as a blow out on the side of the road. Hospital stays for heart attacks tend to REALLY dampen your budget!

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