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Old 01-21-2013, 03:50 PM   #1
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Comfort Drive

I have been reading about the "comfort drive" feature in the Newmar coach. It is my understanding that this is a TRW product that Newmar had the exclusive rights to for a period of time. Anyone had experience with this? Is this similar to the BlueOx trucenter? Are any of these products worthwile? Love to hear your opionions!
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:10 PM   #2
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Comfort Drive was developed by TRW, Spartan chassis had the exclusive rights and Newmar had an exclusive for a few years.

Now only Newmar and Newell use Comfort Drive.

It is nothing like the Blue OX or any other system.

Comfort Drive is a replacement computerized steering column and you really have to drive one to appreciate it. I've driven a Dutch Star with it and and Ken's test bus with it and it is amazing.

iRV2 member Ken Sherwin is the TRW engineer that developed Comfort Drive.

Actually TRW calls it Column Drive, Newmar calls it Comfort Drive and Newell calls it EasiSteer.

Unfortunately it's not sold as a retrofit and is only available as original equipment.

Search on Comfort Drive for previous discussions on it.
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:55 PM   #3
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I have to be honest, I just returned from the Tampa super show. While at Lazy Days I was able to drive a new Cornerstone. I also went down to North Trail and drove a Newmar Essex. There is no comparison. I do like the Cornerstone but it drives and/or rides no where close as nice as the Essex does. The K3 is a much stiffer ride then the K2 and yes the comfort drive does make a difference......I am in the market for a new coach and the Entegra Cornerstone was number one on my list. Not bashing Entegra but after driving it, looking at the fit and finish and comparing its floor plans to other models this year. I thing Entegra has dropped back a few spots not only on my list but on a number of future buyers list. Last year they were the talk of the show, this year after looking st the other various manufactures new changes and floor plans for the new model year Entegra looked kind of old and out dated. I think Entegra really needs to wow the marketplace with some updated floor plans and fairly soon if it wants to increase its market share
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:45 PM   #4
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Been to the Newmar factory tour but the Essex is another 90K over the Cornerstone for not a whole lot more, minus the Comfort Drive. You get the K-2 in the Essex vs. K-3 in the Entegra, and a 500 HP in the Essex instead of the 650 HP in the Entegra. Side wall construction is the same. I'm not advocating for Entegra and agree they need some new floor plans, but have seen several sites claiming that new floorplans are in the works for 2014 for Entegra. Hope to do a factory tour this fall. Since I'm not buying till 2015, could be good timing.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:18 AM   #5
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The Spartan website lists the Column Drive as a feature on the K3 chassis. Does Entegra special order the K3 chassis without the Column Drive?
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:05 PM   #6
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Correct.

Only Newmar and Newell use Comfort Drive.

Actually TRW calls it Column Drive, Newmar calls it Comfort Drive and Newell calls it EasiSteer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by P&GD View Post
The Spartan website lists the Column Drive as a feature on the K3 chassis. Does Entegra special order the K3 chassis without the Column Drive?
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:46 PM   #7
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There is one thing that I don't understand about Comfort Drive. If it is so great why do only two manufacturers offer it? Assuming that it is the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel, why wouldn't other manufacturers, particularly those in direct competition with Newmar, pick up on the option? I would have expected Entegra, Monaco, Tiffin, or someone else to jump on the bandwagon and no one has.

We have seen things like the bath and half, fireplaces, and L shaped couches take over the industry as good ideas, so why not Comfort Drive?
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:50 PM   #8
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Corey's post suggests while developed by TRW, there are some licensing and sole (Newmar and Newell) ownership to the rights. If that is so, and this is the TRW that was gobbled up about eight years ago by Northrup Grumman, then who knows what the legalities are for use. If it was that big a thing, either you are paying a chunk for it through Newmar purchases, or it is a marketing thing (with the exception of the wheels returning to true at shutdown, which is a nice to have feature). JMHO
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:06 PM   #9
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Part of what I read


Comfort Drive, what is it, and is it all they say that it is? First, it is actually ColumnDrive, and was designed and built by the world leaders in hydraulic steering systems and electronic steering aids, TRW. The name Comfort Drive is what it is termed by Newmar, the only motor home manufacturer that has to date been able to offer it. This was the result of an exclusive arrangement for a given term between TRW, Spartan and Newmar. It is believed that this contract will expire sometime in July of 2008. For reference, going forward, I will use the term CD which is the initials for either Comfort Drive or ColumnDrive.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:36 PM   #10
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I have driven Comfort Drive and it really is an amazing feature. The reason that others do not offer it is because A) Newmar and Newell have the exclusive rights for an unspecified time, and B) it is expensive. Comfort Drive is one reason why Newmar coaches tend to be at the top end of their category, pricewise. All else being equal, I would pay the difference to get a Newmar coach with Comfort Drive. But of course all else is not equal and there are many other differences between different makes to consider. You have to consider the whole package and how it fits your needs.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:56 PM   #11
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Ken Sherwin, an iRV2 member is the TRW engineer that developed Column Drive.

I believe he has stated that any MH manufacturer may use it now as the exclusives have expired.

Originally it was, I believe, around $5K or $7K.
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:32 PM   #12
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It is worth every cent. Drove home this morning with a 25 plus mph cross wind. Can hardly tell that wind is blowing. Drove 7 hours lastnight on interstate in rain and heavy truck traffic. I wouldn't have been on the road with my previous coach. Comfort drive in combination with tag axle is the best thing going.
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Old 02-10-2013, 04:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Route 66 View Post
Ken Sherwin, an iRV2 member is the TRW engineer that developed Column Drive.

I believe he has stated that any MH manufacturer may use it now as the exclusives have expired.

Originally it was, I believe, around $5K or $7K.
Figured something had changed seeing as Spartan was advertising the TRW ColumnDrive on their website for the K3. Why advertise something that you cannot otherwise offer.

If the agreement has expired, why doesn't Entegra go ahead and include the ColumnDrive as configured by Spartan? Given the reputation of the product, I don't suppose the market place would object to paying a few more $$. That would solidify the Cornerstone as an Essex-killer.

That must have been some agreement for a manufacturer to determine that intentionally excluding the product to all except one customer was the more profitable way to go. Doesn't make much sense to me though. I'd be concerned that some government anti-trust lawyer would start thinking that customers were being unduly harmed by that type of behavior. But, hey, I'm not an attorney and (except for taxes) don't work for the government.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:49 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Route 66 View Post
Ken Sherwin, an iRV2 member is the TRW engineer that developed Column Drive.

I believe he has stated that any MH manufacturer may use it now as the exclusives have expired.

Originally it was, I believe, around $5K or $7K.
I'm just going to add my 2cents worth

I just don't see the point of "Comfort Drive." Talking to one of the Spartan guys at the shows, he told me the cost is $6,500.

This is where Im going to get the Newmar guys angry. To me, Comfort Drive is nothing more than a sales gimmick. Something to talk about because the "other guys" don't have it.

This product has been "out of license" for a number of years now, and none of the other brands have picked it up.

Girard Awnings were exclusive to one brand for years, but when the agreement expired, now every coach carries them.

On top of everything else, looking at the stats for Newmar this past year, their sales are down big time for the 2012 year. So, I'm not seeing where Comfort Drive is helping them with anything.

The huge increase in prices per model in one year, without showing the value, is most likely their problem.

I have test driven a Comfort Drive coach and I'll just keep my Entegra, thank you very much.
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