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Old 07-29-2015, 11:27 AM   #1
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Bay Star shakedown trip report

Just wanted to pass along a few notes for those who might be interested. Our family took the first full-family trip in our new Bay Star, a long weekend down to Long Beach (WA).

We stayed at the Sou'wester right on the Seaview approach. Highly recommend this place. They have RV parking, plus many vintage trailers already in place, and cabins, and tent camping. This all gives it a nice character, rather than the typical lot full of concrete pads. We didn't bring a car, making location very important, and in this way it delivered. It's 1/4-mile to the beach and 1-1/2 miles to town, so easy bike riding for the kids. Loved that campfires were allowed, which are currently banned in WA state parks. Wished it had a playground, that's the only knock.

The Bay Star performed admirably both on the road, and on site. We had plenty of space, even for the raining morning when we stayed in. Everything worked out as we expected when we bought it, which is great.

We weighed in at 20,500 loaded with all the gear we'd need to vacation indefinitely, plus 1/2 tank fresh water and empty grey/black. That was a happy surprise. So we could run with full fresh water and still have 1,000 pounds to spare, which it feels like we could never use. Ergo, no weight issues, which is great.

The pillow-top mattress really delivered. I recorded sleep efficiency in the range of 92-95%, which is universally higher than I ever get at home. Not sure yet if it's only the mattress, or also the reduced stress that comes from being on vacation generally.

My primary complaint at this point is the engine noise. I started driving with earplugs, and even that wasn't enough. Next time, I'll try industrial hearing protection. Soundproofing is now at the top of the mods list. Will also experiment with the 5-star tune when that goes on sale.

The second big problem is battery life. This is a new coach, ordered from the factory and delivered immediately after it rolled of the line. There are two 85AH 12V Interstate batteries included. Two nights I experimented with their actual capacity, by charging them fully during the day, then turning off the hookup power at bedtime, then recording the results in the morning, and turning back on the power. Both nights we recorded 20AH of usage, which is consistent with my expectations. The battery meter called this 85% SOC, but the voltage was 12.2V under 2A load. That looks dangerously close to 50% SOC, so it seems to me that we only have half the expected capacity. I did have the batteries tested on my initial drive home from the dealer at a shop in Eugene and they checked out OK. Definitely dissatisfied with the batteries so far.

I do have some feedback for Newmar on more minor issues, which I'll pass back to them after we get some more experience with the coach.
  • Please wire the front and rear speakers from dash the stereo on different channels. As it is, there's no way to reduce the volume on the rear speakers. This creates audio conflict when we're driving. Parents want to listen to music on the dash stereo, while kids want to watch a movie. Yes there are workarounds, but really is it so hard to just make the 'fade' control work by wiring the speakers correctly front/back?
  • Please allow me to disable the horribly loud alarm which sounds after 30 seconds with the turn signal on. I like to keep turn signals on longer than that, to be crystal clear with my intentions to other drivers. At first, I couldn't even figure out what the alarm was. It's very loud and disconcerting.
  • Please move the passenger cup holder. As currently situated, it is EXACTLY in the spot which blocks the convex mirror at the point showing where the coach passes the curb on right-hand turns. Every time we turn right in an urban area, the water bottle has to come out.
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Old 07-29-2015, 11:55 AM   #2
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Just a quick slight touch on the brake pedal should reset turn signal alarm for another 30 sec.
Engine noise. Not a big problem on my CS. Some folks use Hush Mats to dampen noise.
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Old 07-29-2015, 12:32 PM   #3
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Thanks for your trip report. I have only driven the wifes Bay Star home from the dealer but that was a few hundred miles. Compared to my '93 bounder with the p30 chassis and 454 engine, the engine noise is considerably louder, due to a lower reving big block vs higher reving small block. The ride is much harsher than the p30 with its indpendant front suspension equipped with coil springs and air bags. This may improve some after loading our cargo.
Other than the above I have few negatives with the Bay Star and since all the gas mhs come with the Ford chassis my observations about the ride is not a reflection on Newmar.
The wife is just ecstatic about her new rig and is looking forward to her first little trip in a couple of weeks.
I asked this question before but received no response. Did you notice that the low mounted lights on the front of the Bay Star are just reflectors. The Canyon Star has fuctioning lights in this location and I was wondering what the CS has mounted there. I would like to install real lamps on the BS.
Be interesting to hear further observations you have with your new rig.

Kevin
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Old 07-29-2015, 02:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cc8375 View Post
Just a quick slight touch on the brake pedal should reset turn signal alarm for another 30 sec. Some folks use Hush Mats to dampen noise.
Thanks for the tips! Will definitely try the brake tap next time, and research these mats. The posts I've found on the forums are all about installing serious sound-blocking materials, which are way beyond my skills, so I'll need to find someone who does it.

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I asked this question before but received no response. Did you notice that the low mounted lights on the front of the Bay Star are just reflectors. The Canyon Star has fuctioning lights in this location and I was wondering what the CS has mounted there. I would like to install real lamps on the BS.
I never noticed it until you pointed it out... We never drive at night, so this wouldn't bug me. I think you can find these parts on comnet. I dug through the CS parts catalog and found Item #116510, "LIGHT KIT FOG 12EX".
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Old 07-29-2015, 07:24 PM   #5
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Great news on your first trip.As for the turn signals,I'am
with you.I will be looking at the 5 star also when on sale.
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Old 07-29-2015, 08:26 PM   #6
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I have got a story to tell. We have spent 22 nights in our one month old Bay Star 3103 and I have driven her 1,600 miles including the challenging Redwood Highway (US199) to the NorCal Coast and back. Been to the local Ford Dealer, a great experience, after a check engine light and spent more time camping than planned after an unfortunate experience and not one storage place to be had in the entire Rogue Valley. Now we have great secure, covered storage with 20 amp service and are very happy about that.

Vacuum Wheels, by the way, I purchased an inexpensive, highly rated spot temp meter from Amazon after hearing that AM Solar said that the Newmar battery placement was too hot for proper charging. (Or something to that effect) After several hours of climbing out of the NorCal coast the external battery temperature was cooler than ambient by several degrees. They also said that they were too exposed to the elements for Lithium. I will email another provider with that question in the coming days. Will let you know the results.

After eight years driving a MB Sprinter motorhome I am still puzzled about why several of you think the Ford chassis is loud. If you romp on it heck, yeah. What front engine vehicle isn't under those circumstances. I can make my Volkswagen Jetta TDI roar if I floor it.
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Old 07-30-2015, 12:03 AM   #7
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Maybe I should have said a little louder than my 454, especially at from start acceleration in city driving. This was the first thing I noticed when test driving the Ford. The noise level of the Ford is not objectionable at all, but I was used to the 454, which with light acceleration from a standing start would shift into higher gears earlier at a lower rpm. Most of my driving is on two lane roads and not using cruise control. The 454 would lumber along perfectly willing to lug down without down shifting on rolling terrain. I never romp on the accelerator preferring to drive very gingerly and economically.
I don't mean to be critical of the Ford, after driving it for a couple hundred miles, my initial angst after the first test drive diminished considerably. The noise level is very similar once up to cruising speed. Additionally a squeak or rattle is many times more annoying than any noise either engine produces. So in conclusion I don't consider the Ford loud, just a little different than what I formerly drove and much better than I first feared.

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Old 07-30-2015, 05:17 AM   #8
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I have gone to 5 Star and this is a Big driving improvement. May help with your noise. Also have done the CHF, only on the front. Have changed both front and back shocks at different intervals to the Koni's FSD shocks. May down the road add Air bags or Sumo Springs.
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Old 07-30-2015, 10:36 AM   #9
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Vacuum Wheels,
Vacay Wheels,


Sorry about abusing your name in that fashion. Doggone spell checkers attack again.
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Old 08-01-2015, 07:57 AM   #10
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Vacay, I would agree with you on the turn signal deal. It gets real old real fast! We have the 3401. Got her in March and have close to 6k on her now. As far as the engine noise goes,if you've had any other previous gassers they do their best work at higher RPM's. Gets some getting use to, but I did purchase the 5Star tuner and it seems to have improved the shifting patterns noticeably. Our is the 22k chassis and I've done all the upgrades,including CHF, rear trac bar,and Safe T Plus stabilizer up front. It has helped significantly,but she still is a 35 foot box on wheels . We had a roller pop out from under the full wall slideand the front window shade has come apart at the bottom-both will be fixed under warranty. But I still have a big on my face whenever I drive her!
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Old 08-01-2015, 11:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Vacay Wheels,


Sorry about abusing your name in that fashion. Doggone spell checkers attack again.
I was wondering how you came up with Vacuum Wheels.
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Old 08-03-2015, 01:48 PM   #12
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Glad your shake down went well, ours didn't go so well, 1 mile from Stevens Pass up Highway 2 our engine shut down at 10pm Friday night. We coasted to the side as best we could but it was pretty sketchy where we ended up. After an hour spent on the phone trying to get a tow from our insurance company who "couldn't confirm coverage" we called Ford roadside assistance. While were working on a tow we found a blown fuse for the fuel pump, replaced it and go ourselves to safety.


Turns out a wiring loom had been incorrectly secured under the rig and had fallen onto the exhaust manifold melting through, this contained the fuel pump wires, turn signals and god knows what else. So after 2700 miles ours is on its way to a Ford Dealer to have this loom replaced.
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Old 08-03-2015, 02:55 PM   #13
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Our shake down also didn't go so well last may.We were traveling from
Kentucky to South Carolina on the interstate,when we lost all power to our running lights.Thirty miles I had to follow a tow truck in the dark to our home.
The next day I took the coach back to the dealer for repairs.They sent it off
to Ford where they found a broken ground wire.So far so good.
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:28 PM   #14
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Bay Star common problems

The 2015 Bay Stars seem to have some common problems.

During the delivery drive from IN to CO, wiring harness that should have been secured in the frame, fell down onto the muffler and fried all the wires going to tail, brake, backup, & clearance lights.

While dealer was repairing the wire harness, "somehow," the windshield shade went all the way to the top and eventually burned out the shade motor. Discovered that before leaving the dealer so got a new shade ordered. On the way home, the 8' aluminum bar in the bottom of the shade fell out, nearly setting off my defibrillator. Because of all you other guys with shade problems, there was a big back log on shades; so the "it'll be here in a week," turned into more than a month. Finally got new shade installed last week but it wasn't that simple. Old shade had two wires to motor. New shade had five wires and no instructions. Techs had to call Newmar for install help. 30 minute job took five hours.

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