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Old 12-07-2019, 04:23 PM   #1
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2016 Anthem Steering issue resolved

This is the final chapter in my 2016 Anthem steering saga that started too long ago for me to be able to post a reply; the last post was in June 2017. I thought I should close the loop - with apologies for my tardiness to all those who provided support and contributions to my initial question. I hope this is better late than never.


For context see an older series of posts about steering issues.

Having had concerns about the steering with my 2016 Anthem, I had some health issues and couldn't drive the coach for some months so Spartan obligingly came to Ontario to pick up my coach and drove it to Charlotte MI. They called subsequently to say they had checked everything in the front end and replaced some components and every element of the suspension and steering were to specification and it was ready to go. I agreed a date to come to Charlotte to pick it up.

I took the coach for a test drive with Spartan's customer service rep and one of Spartan's senior engineers. It was exactly as bad as it was when I last drove it - still wandering and subject to overcorrection. I was just about ready to spit feathers. They said again that everything was to spec. I asked them to confirm that there was nothing else they could do and they confirmed that was the case and just to be for certain sure I asked them to confirm that what I was experiencing was the way the coach was designed to handle and they said yes.

I had exhausted my options with Spartan. I told the customer service guy to advise Entegra that I would be in Middlebury the following morning.

Out of curiosity I asked the customer service guy how many motorhomes he had driven and he said he didn't have a motorhome and had only driven a few. The engineer said he had never driven one.

I've been driving motorhomes for close on 40 years and I knew this coach wasn't right.

I spoke with Joyce Skinner in Middlebury the following day and she arranged for one of Entegra's people to drive the coach. I retold my story one more time and we set off on a test drive. At the end of the test drive he agreed it didn't feel right but wanted to get a second opinion. The second opinion took off on his own and came back with the same view. These were both experienced motorhome drivers with thousand of hours of driving experience across a range of coaches. I felt vindicated.

They arranged for a guy from Spartan to come to Middlebury. They said he was the best. He took the coach for a drive. They then worked on it for maybe half an hour. He brought the coach back and asked me to drive it. Within 100 feet I knew it was fixed. With the Spartan guy and the two Entegra techs I drove for two or three more miles and that just confirmed what I knew instantly. It was fixed. Finally!

The Spartan guy explained that the steering gear should be calibrated to return to its neutral position and it wasn't - it was returning to a non-neutral position and I was having to correct it constantly.

It was the first time in two years that anyone had made a diagnosis. With that diagnosis it probably took ten minutes to fix. God knows how much time effort and money Spartan had wasted throwing solutions at my coach without any idea what the problem was. The Spartan tech also explained that the steering gear is sourced from an external supplier and should not require any tinkering. He couldn't explain why it was miscalibrated

So I take my hat off to Entegra's two senior techs whose experience confirmed the coach was not handling the way it should and for knowing who to call to fix it. And I say shame on Spartan for a quality control failure and an unbelievable acknowledgement that they thought their steering mechanism was performing to spec. I am also disappointed that Entegra failed to identify the sloppy steering in their own quality control processes.

I just wonder how many others might still out there with owners thinking their coach ought to handle better.

The resolution occurred in spring 2018. I am way late in posting this - a few other issues intervened. As they say, the important gets displaced by the urgent. Thank you to all the contributors to my initial cry for help. My coach has been steering fine ever since.
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Old 12-07-2019, 08:02 PM   #2
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Nick

Better late than never. Your post is very informative, and I am sure very frustrating for you.

I never cease to be amazed that people who work on these things or design these things (motorcoaches) are not required to work in them or drive in them on a regular basis.... just because someone finished a tech school training session, or an engineering degree does not make them a motorcoach guru. How any company can put people who know little about the performance that should be expected from some unit or device in the business of interacting with customers who are having problems is hard to understand. Sad

I am glad that you stayed with the issue, and happened to be somewhere where you could force enough people to be confronted with what you are pretty sure is not good performance, and congrats to Entegra for giving you access to enough people who know how one of their coaches should perform to then force Spartan to make it right. Very Frustrating.

However, thank you for the follow-up. This will now go into the knowledge base of this forum... searchable, discover-able for those not yet encountering the problem, and for those owners who read, learn, and file away problems and solution facts, you have performed a nice service!!

Gary
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Old 12-08-2019, 05:50 AM   #3
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What is the name of the Spartan tech who resolved the problem? Since others at Spartan had said it was okay, it would be good for us to know who we should trust.
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Old 12-08-2019, 06:16 AM   #4
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2016 Steering

Nick, Nice report. I too experienced the same responses from Spartan. They had our 2018 Aspire in the shop for a complete day, only to say all components are operating as designed. Only when I pointed out that it was not meeting the Federal code (NHTSA) for proper operation , along with not passing my home states (Pa) inspection did they decide to do a major modification to the front axle.
Anyone who has a coach that either wanders with excessive sawing of the wheel, and / or cant turn wheels lock to lock( what they term Static Steer), are encouraged to contact Spartan to have it fixed. Now before anyone says you should not turn the wheels while stationary, hogwash. The Reyco engineers say the wheels should most certainly turn, and will cause NO ill effects to steering components, these rigs are designed to do it. Feel free to pm me for more info.
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Old 12-08-2019, 08:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Hodson View Post
This is the final chapter in my 2016 Anthem steering saga that started too long ago for me to be able to post a reply; the last post was in June 2017. I thought I should close the loop - with apologies for my tardiness to all those who provided support and contributions to my initial question. I hope this is better late than never.


For context see an older series of posts about steering issues.

Having had concerns about the steering with my 2016 Anthem, I had some health issues and couldn't drive the coach for some months so Spartan obligingly came to Ontario to pick up my coach and drove it to Charlotte MI. They called subsequently to say they had checked everything in the front end and replaced some components and every element of the suspension and steering were to specification and it was ready to go. I agreed a date to come to Charlotte to pick it up.

I took the coach for a test drive with Spartan's customer service rep and one of Spartan's senior engineers. It was exactly as bad as it was when I last drove it - still wandering and subject to overcorrection. I was just about ready to spit feathers. They said again that everything was to spec. I asked them to confirm that there was nothing else they could do and they confirmed that was the case and just to be for certain sure I asked them to confirm that what I was experiencing was the way the coach was designed to handle and they said yes.

I had exhausted my options with Spartan. I told the customer service guy to advise Entegra that I would be in Middlebury the following morning.

Out of curiosity I asked the customer service guy how many motorhomes he had driven and he said he didn't have a motorhome and had only driven a few. The engineer said he had never driven one.

I've been driving motorhomes for close on 40 years and I knew this coach wasn't right.

I spoke with Joyce Skinner in Middlebury the following day and she arranged for one of Entegra's people to drive the coach. I retold my story one more time and we set off on a test drive. At the end of the test drive he agreed it didn't feel right but wanted to get a second opinion. The second opinion took off on his own and came back with the same view. These were both experienced motorhome drivers with thousand of hours of driving experience across a range of coaches. I felt vindicated.

They arranged for a guy from Spartan to come to Middlebury. They said he was the best. He took the coach for a drive. They then worked on it for maybe half an hour. He brought the coach back and asked me to drive it. Within 100 feet I knew it was fixed. With the Spartan guy and the two Entegra techs I drove for two or three more miles and that just confirmed what I knew instantly. It was fixed. Finally!

The Spartan guy explained that the steering gear should be calibrated to return to its neutral position and it wasn't - it was returning to a non-neutral position and I was having to correct it constantly.

It was the first time in two years that anyone had made a diagnosis. With that diagnosis it probably took ten minutes to fix. God knows how much time effort and money Spartan had wasted throwing solutions at my coach without any idea what the problem was. The Spartan tech also explained that the steering gear is sourced from an external supplier and should not require any tinkering. He couldn't explain why it was miscalibrated

So I take my hat off to Entegra's two senior techs whose experience confirmed the coach was not handling the way it should and for knowing who to call to fix it. And I say shame on Spartan for a quality control failure and an unbelievable acknowledgement that they thought their steering mechanism was performing to spec. I am also disappointed that Entegra failed to identify the sloppy steering in their own quality control processes.

I just wonder how many others might still out there with owners thinking their coach ought to handle better.

The resolution occurred in spring 2018. I am way late in posting this - a few other issues intervened. As they say, the important gets displaced by the urgent. Thank you to all the contributors to my initial cry for help. My coach has been steering fine ever since.
I guess Spartan doesnít keep track of their problems. I owned a 2008 Tiffin bus with Spartan chassis and it did the same as yours. Looked like a snake going down the road. Finally an alignment shop in Columbia Mo. found the problem and it was same as yours. Gear box alignment marks not aligned. When they got the gear box aligned correctly my steering wheel was upside down, it was that far off. Canít imagine Spartan didnít check the gearbox first thing. I know there has been at least a half dozen instances people have taken their Mh to the same shop in Columbia and found the same problem.
I donít know who got involved with yours, but I know Dave Martin manager at Spartan knows about this. I guess I was lucky because Frank Wizwana was at Spartan then and he pursued it to the end.
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:28 PM   #6
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It is disappointing that the "wandering issue" has been known, and possibly a 10 minute repair? Steering timing box, and the marks not aligned? Really, and no one at Spartan (well one person) and Entegra knows what to look for first.

Hum.......my coach seems to wander while I try to drive straight, can you look into it? Well, lets change out all the front end components, and it is all functioning to specifications. But wait, lets check the steering timing box too as a last possible cause.... - this seems like "Steering Wandering 101" checklist.

I had my issue looked at Spartan in 2015, and while it seems it is better, still does some wandering. If NIRVC can fix this, or at least check it, I'm heading there.
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:38 PM   #7
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It is disappointing that the "wandering issue" has been known, and possibly a 10 minute repair? Steering timing box, and the marks not aligned? Really, and no one at Spartan (well one person) and Entegra knows what to look for first.

Hum.......my coach seems to wander while I try to drive straight, can you look into it? Well, lets change out all the front end components, and it is all functioning to specifications. But wait, lets check the steering timing box too as a last possible cause.... - this seems like "Steering Wandering 101" checklist.

I had my issue looked at Spartan in 2015, and while it seems it is better, still does some wandering. If NIRVC can fix this, or at least check it, I'm heading there.
They are on top of the box and best I remember requires a mirror to see them.
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Old 12-09-2019, 05:31 AM   #8
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Name of Spartan tech

Quote:
Originally Posted by Butte64 View Post
What is the name of the Spartan tech who resolved the problem? Since others at Spartan had said it was okay, it would be good for us to know who we should trust.
I donít know the name of the Spartan tech. I recall one of the Entegra techs went by PJ. He was outstanding, as was the other Entegra tech. While I forget his name he had come to Entegra with Travel Supreme when Jayco acquired that business in or around 2008. Both these guys had deep experience and were smart. Employees come and go so my almost two year old information might be out of date even if I had a better recall. I expect the Entegra people would probably be the best source for help with identifying the current best resource.
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Old 12-09-2019, 05:54 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Rollin101 View Post
I guess Spartan doesnít keep track of their problems. I owned a 2008 Tiffin bus with Spartan chassis and it did the same as yours. Looked like a snake going down the road. Finally an alignment shop in Columbia Mo. found the problem and it was same as yours. Gear box alignment marks not aligned. When they got the gear box aligned correctly my steering wheel was upside down, it was that far off. Canít imagine Spartan didnít check the gearbox first thing. I know there has been at least a half dozen instances people have taken their Mh to the same shop in Columbia and found the same problem.
I donít know who got involved with yours, but I know Dave Martin manager at Spartan knows about this. I guess I was lucky because Frank Wizwana was at Spartan then and he pursued it to the end.
I wish my memory was better fir the names of the people involved. As I have said the two Entegra guys were outstanding. One of them went by PJ one of whose primary functions was to teach dealers about new Entegra tech when new models were launched.

I would have thought there ought to be a diagnostic protocol that any Spartan tech could have followed. It’s scary when your diagnostic protocol is one guy who knows what he is doing. When that guy quits you lose your protocol.

I get that it might be impractical for Spartan to drive every vehicle that is built on their chassis but you would think they might devise a process control test to check the steering box calibration. But then you would also expect that the supplier of the steering would have control processes that would test the steering box calibration
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Old 12-09-2019, 06:48 AM   #10
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I donít currently own an Entegra Coach but am currently looking at updating our current coach. I think this thread should be made a sticky or placed somewhere within the forum that others can find it. This is very good information for any owner experiencing similar issues.
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Old 12-09-2019, 07:40 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mwoodofd View Post
It is disappointing that the "wandering issue" has been known, and possibly a 10 minute repair? Steering timing box, and the marks not aligned? Really, and no one at Spartan (well one person) and Entegra knows what to look for first.

Hum.......my coach seems to wander while I try to drive straight, can you look into it? Well, lets change out all the front end components, and it is all functioning to specifications. But wait, lets check the steering timing box too as a last possible cause.... - this seems like "Steering Wandering 101" checklist.

I had my issue looked at Spartan in 2015, and while it seems it is better, still does some wandering. If NIRVC can fix this, or at least check it, I'm heading there.

From the same experience, 3 trips to the factory/Spartan before they found that the steering timing was out. Sorry to hear that is still happening.
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Old 12-09-2019, 09:53 AM   #12
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I am pretty sure that the first person that you mention is PJ Clanton. PJ is young but been there a long time and is one of the major figures at Entegra Coach. I would bet a good deal of money that the other person you met and test drove the coach was Don Brubaker. I believe both of them started with Travel Supreme and have been at Entegra ever since. Both nice guys and both knowledgeable resources.

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Old 12-09-2019, 01:39 PM   #13
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Wow Nick, great thread. Good information to keep in mind to possibly resolve future steering issues of other owners.

Good for you for sticking to your guns to get a resolution.
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Old 12-09-2019, 05:38 PM   #14
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I had my coach aligned at Josamís in Orlando today. It was a very professional visit, in and out on time,and the personnel were very friendly. The purpose of the visit was to investigate the abnormal tire wear on the outer edges of both the steering tires. Josamís found the drive wheels were not parallel to the front wheels and they returned the coach to the proper specís. One year ago Spartan had aligned the coach to correct an abnormal steering issue. The abnormal tire wear became quite obvious after that work had been done. I believe if they had checked the drive axle angles, they would have been able to correct my steering issues. The coach drives like its on rails now, I am very pleased with Josamís !
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