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Old 01-15-2007, 06:12 AM   #1
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Hello All:

I wanted to share an experience I just had with the Freightliner dealer in Jacksonville, FL. There's actually 2 Freightliner dealers here. But, one of them told me over the phone that they are not set up to handle RVs.

We bought a new Fleetwood Providence back in April. When we picked it up, there was a brake pull to the right. It only occured when we were braking at less than 10 mph. So, we weren't too worried about it. In September, I called around and found the Freightliner dealer in Jacksonville that could service the coach. Additionally, we had developed a very serious creak in the dashboard area. I was worried that we had a broken weld or something like that. So, I asked the Freightliner dealer to address those two issues. The first open time that accomodated their shop schedule and our travel schedule was the second week in December. They told me that a week should be sufficient to address the two issues. So, the date came and we dropped it off. We were worried because it was predominantly a truck facility and I didn't get the impression that they cared much about RVers'. But, I wrote it off to my imagination. I called several times and ended up leaving voice mail. Finally, I got hold of someone near the end of the week. I was told that due to flu season and the Christmas break, they were only able to address the brake problem. Well, the excuses sounded reasonable. So, I told them that I needed the coach for the weekend and that I'd bring it back after the weekend for the remaining work. After picking up the coach, I noticed that the brake situation was better, but not corrected.

After the weekend, A week later, after several phone calls resulting in the same Christmas and flu excuses, I was told that the coach was ready. So, we went to pick it up. I was told that the body shop tech had reduced, but not eliminated the squeak problem. I was told that a couple of the steering column bolts had worked themselves loose from the wooden firewall (very scary thought) and that the squeak was plastic against metal and could not be eliminated. I went around to finalize the paperwork with the repair facility only to be told that the brakes were not covered under warranty and that I owed the dealer arouind $250. I then told them about the brakes. They said they'd take a look. I made the mechanic take the RV out for a drive with me. He realized that the brakes were still an issue. Furthermore, he told me that the front end was out of alignment also. Since the coach had 9300 miles on it, I figured it was possible. So, I authorized the front end alignment. I called my RV dealer to talk about the brake situation. He sent me to Fleetwood Owner Relations who sent me to Freightliner Owner Relations. The Freightliner rep told me that the brakes should be covered for the first 25,000 miles and that they'd talk to the Freightliner dealer. It took two more weeks to address the alignment issue. It appears that the Freightliner XC chassis needed a longer dowel pin (whatever that is) to allow them to make the alignment adjustment. According to the repair facility, they had to call Freightliner to determine how to address the situation. The repair facility said that Freightliner advised them to "make" a longer dowel pin. When I talked with Freightliner myself, they didn't have any record of the conversation.

When I went to pick up the coach, I found out that the repair facility had to replace the brake pads. Funny how the job grew after we complained and got Freightliner involved. The total for the brake job jumped to $599. But, it was covered by Freightliner. Amazing how much you can save by making a phone call. But, the alignment as about $250. That was funny to me how it was about the same cost as the original brake adjustment.

I still need to address the alignment with Freightliner Owner relations.

I'm telling this story to warn anyone in the Jacksonville area, hopefully find an alternative to the jacksonville dealer, recommend that anyone with a Freightliner warranty problem contact the Owner Relation group at Freightliner and generally get feedback on the experience.

thanks,
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Old 01-15-2007, 06:12 AM   #2
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Fleetwood Owners Club
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 20
Hello All:

I wanted to share an experience I just had with the Freightliner dealer in Jacksonville, FL. There's actually 2 Freightliner dealers here. But, one of them told me over the phone that they are not set up to handle RVs.

We bought a new Fleetwood Providence back in April. When we picked it up, there was a brake pull to the right. It only occured when we were braking at less than 10 mph. So, we weren't too worried about it. In September, I called around and found the Freightliner dealer in Jacksonville that could service the coach. Additionally, we had developed a very serious creak in the dashboard area. I was worried that we had a broken weld or something like that. So, I asked the Freightliner dealer to address those two issues. The first open time that accomodated their shop schedule and our travel schedule was the second week in December. They told me that a week should be sufficient to address the two issues. So, the date came and we dropped it off. We were worried because it was predominantly a truck facility and I didn't get the impression that they cared much about RVers'. But, I wrote it off to my imagination. I called several times and ended up leaving voice mail. Finally, I got hold of someone near the end of the week. I was told that due to flu season and the Christmas break, they were only able to address the brake problem. Well, the excuses sounded reasonable. So, I told them that I needed the coach for the weekend and that I'd bring it back after the weekend for the remaining work. After picking up the coach, I noticed that the brake situation was better, but not corrected.

After the weekend, A week later, after several phone calls resulting in the same Christmas and flu excuses, I was told that the coach was ready. So, we went to pick it up. I was told that the body shop tech had reduced, but not eliminated the squeak problem. I was told that a couple of the steering column bolts had worked themselves loose from the wooden firewall (very scary thought) and that the squeak was plastic against metal and could not be eliminated. I went around to finalize the paperwork with the repair facility only to be told that the brakes were not covered under warranty and that I owed the dealer arouind $250. I then told them about the brakes. They said they'd take a look. I made the mechanic take the RV out for a drive with me. He realized that the brakes were still an issue. Furthermore, he told me that the front end was out of alignment also. Since the coach had 9300 miles on it, I figured it was possible. So, I authorized the front end alignment. I called my RV dealer to talk about the brake situation. He sent me to Fleetwood Owner Relations who sent me to Freightliner Owner Relations. The Freightliner rep told me that the brakes should be covered for the first 25,000 miles and that they'd talk to the Freightliner dealer. It took two more weeks to address the alignment issue. It appears that the Freightliner XC chassis needed a longer dowel pin (whatever that is) to allow them to make the alignment adjustment. According to the repair facility, they had to call Freightliner to determine how to address the situation. The repair facility said that Freightliner advised them to "make" a longer dowel pin. When I talked with Freightliner myself, they didn't have any record of the conversation.

When I went to pick up the coach, I found out that the repair facility had to replace the brake pads. Funny how the job grew after we complained and got Freightliner involved. The total for the brake job jumped to $599. But, it was covered by Freightliner. Amazing how much you can save by making a phone call. But, the alignment as about $250. That was funny to me how it was about the same cost as the original brake adjustment.

I still need to address the alignment with Freightliner Owner relations.

I'm telling this story to warn anyone in the Jacksonville area, hopefully find an alternative to the jacksonville dealer, recommend that anyone with a Freightliner warranty problem contact the Owner Relation group at Freightliner and generally get feedback on the experience.

thanks,
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Old 01-15-2007, 08:12 PM   #3
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I had a substantial pull when I test drove my motorhome when I was purchasing it. The dealer paid for a front end alignment. Freightliner adamantly will not pay for an alignment. They set up the front end at the factory on the rolling chassis and will not pay to further align it since the coach builder adds so much weight. Fleetwood refused to address the issue as well. Sorry to hear about your experience. Are there any Oasis Freightliner repair shops in your area? I have had good luck with the one in Southern California.
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Old 01-18-2007, 03:16 PM   #4
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You will get this advise many times. Go to the FREIGHTLINER center in Gaffney SC. THese folks really know the chassis, really care about the fix and really know how to do it. They do what you hope will happen anywhere else. They find the stuff thats wrong and fix it. period.
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Old 01-19-2007, 07:03 AM   #5
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I think your feeling that the facility was primarily a truck shop and the RV customer is treated as a poor (rich) stepchild was correct. They service RV's because they have to not because they want to. I use a local Peterbilt shop for my Cat service and they charge a labor rate of $85/hr. for trucks and $110/hr. for RV's. I asked why and was told that they were harder to work on. That doesn't wash because if they are harder to work on the RV would require more hours which would net a higher total invoice. I think it's mainly a matter of greed, inconvenience and what ever the traffic will bear.
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Old 01-19-2007, 10:14 AM   #6
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Roger, I had a similar experience with the Ft. Worth Freightliner and agree with your "greed, inconvenience and whatever the traffic will bear" assessment.

In my case, they had worked a particular problem a couple of times (my speedometer) and hadn't fixed it to the tune of over $1,000. When I suggested that, at $110 for labor, I should be getting someone familiar with the mechanics of my vehicle, the service manager told me, in no uncertain terms, that they work on RVs as a special favor to MH owners and they would have more than enough truck work to keep them busy if they never saw another RV. Our mutual problem is that he was 100% on the money, though I sure wasn't happy with that kind of an answer.

The combination of Freightliner's very limited documentation on MHs, the work that truck dealers already have servicing big rigs to keep them on the road so that they can make money, the poor training of truck techs on the differences in MHs and the different physical demands of working on a MH versus a truck all combine to make many service experiences for us less than satisfactory.

Our choices?
1. Cow, wimper, beg and plead with big FL dealerships to please please fit us in and fix our problems
2. Find a smaller shop that has the skills and where the same level of begging and pleading isn't required.
3. Find an independent or several independents for the various differnet areas
4. Do the work ourselves and only seek outside help for those items where we are really stuck.

Personally, the last one is the path that I'm on. Unlike my passenger vehicles, I'm not under the gun the fix most problems on our MH quickly. I've found that if I take my time and do some research, I come out way ahead of the truck techs who cannot afford much research time. I even fixed my own speedometer problem (a bad connection on my ECM)and learned a lot about the Controller Area Network (CAN) that is used to control MHs and a lot of heavy machines. The money saved and the satisfaction from doing the job correctly have been well worth my time investment, at least so far.
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Old 01-19-2007, 12:27 PM   #7
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Chas, I am certain that in the Dallas Ft Worth area there must be a few Freightliner shops that will respect you and your coach. I have in the Phila PA area, I hope.
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Old 01-19-2007, 04:39 PM   #8
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I wish Freightliner Customer Service had to personally visit every Oasis Center. I needed some work done but having never been there I drove my car to the Oasis Center in Tulsa to get information on the work needed. The shop was off on a side street off the Interstate, very hard to follow directions on getting to it, and once there so many semis were setting in the drive way I could hardly find a place to park my car. What I would have done in the MH heaven only knows. I saw one MH setting way in the back of the lot and none in the shop when I went in to talk to the foreman. I would sure hate to leave my coach at one of these Centers overnight, let alone several weeks. Its great that Freightliner makes all these chassis for MHs but then doesn't care whether or not there is anybody around to service them. I'm sure the best deal is to get to Gaffney but how many of us can take a week or two off and drive 1-3,000 miles just for a day's work on our chassis?
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Old 01-20-2007, 09:41 AM   #9
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The other thing that we can do is go to http://RVServiceReviews.com and record your service experience. This is the only place on the internet where RV owners can document their RV service experiences, so that we can all benefit by both their good or bad experiences.
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Old 01-20-2007, 01:17 PM   #10
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Steve, there are just two Freightliner shops in our area - both labeled Oasis dealers. After a series of problems with the one in Ft. Worth, I don't even order parts from them any more. The one in Dallas works with me on parts orders but they are just not set up to service MHs. Fortunately, Cummins Southern Plains is also in Dallas and has a great place to service my engine, although I haven't needed it yet. They are much more MH friendly than Freightliner.
Based on my luck so far, I figure I can handle just about any thing that happens to the rest of the chassis myself and will use Cummins for any engine issues I have it there is any way for me to get it to them.
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Old 01-20-2007, 02:02 PM   #11
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Chas, that does stink, have you spoken to FCCC about your issue's with service. I thought I read somewhwere that if an Oasis shop didn't cut the mustard they were out.

I was wondering who does Montanard's use for their FCCC service?
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Old 01-22-2007, 05:46 AM   #12
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Hello All:

The old saying that "misery loves company" is true. It is somewhat comforting to know that I'm not the only one out here that feels the way I do.

I'll be at a Fleetwood Travelcade sponsored rally in Sefner, FL (just east of Tampa on I-4) from 1/31 - 2/4. I plan to let them know exactly how I feel and how the Freightliner community feels as well.

Also, I plan to call the Freightliner Owner's hotline as well as the Fleetwood owner's hotline to register my (our) feelings and experiences as well.

I don't expect it to do any good, given the fact that Freightliner has a relative monopoly on the service aspect. I would expect to get a little more concern from Fleetwood, since a pertner of theirs is causing a blemish on their name and record. But, that may just be Polyannna talking.

I'll keep you all informed about where all of this is going, or not going.

Thanks for everyone's support and advice. It's nice to know there's a place to turn to share experiences.
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Old 01-22-2007, 06:38 AM   #13
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Kevin, thanks for stepping up and being the David against Goliath. If everyone just sat back and said that's just the way it is, we might as well just roll over and give up. At my job I'm known a the pot stirrer. Sometimes my crusades go nowhere and sometimes I probably should keep my mouth shut but occasionally I do some good and then it's all worth it. Once in a while my fellow employees even thank me. Press on.
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Old 01-23-2007, 01:54 AM   #14
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I solved my problems with them got a spartan chassis, so, what happens, I blow an engine and Spartan has me towed to a freighliner dealer towed to one in San Angelo, Tx. The tech. took could care of me but you have the feeling that you are a step child. I was there for 30 days.
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