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Old 01-31-2020, 11:26 AM   #1
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How's the winter AIR? Seems pretty good, so far!

For a variety of reasons, we took delivery of our '18 Anthem in February in Florida. That delivery timing worked very well, but, wasn't very "forward looking" with regard to the two year AIR. Middlebury in February??? Really!

Well, it's turned out quite well, so far. In August, when I contacted Danni Knaus in scheduling to inquire about the process for scheduling my AIR in February, she basically let me choose the start date that worked best for me. We settled on the first Monday in February (3rd).

I'd be bringing the coach from Virginia, about 600 miles. Of course, the winter driving conditions were a concern. I was prepared to do the delivery up to a week before the scheduled start date in order to avoid traveling in the midst of a winter storm. I was assured that parking after an early arrival wouldn't be any problem with lots of space available. I had winterized the coach when I put it into storage in the fall, so, the cold weather didn't seem to be much of a problem.

In December, I received an email from Spartan Service in Charlotte announcing availability of chassis service appointments and a 10% savings on parts. Since I had already committed to a winter trip to the mid-west, I thought that I'd just endure a little more misery and schedule the 2 year chassis service in Charlotte. Scheduling for that was easy. With a Monday appointment in Middlebury, the Spartan folks suggested a Wednesday appointment for the chassis service. Two days for the service and an extra day if the inspection turned up anything that took extra time.

In mid-January, I started carefully watching the developing winter storms and it looked like I'd be able to make it from Virginia to Charlotte without difficulty. After departing this past Monday morning, I stopped on the Ohio Turnpike for the night. FYI, the Ohio Turnpike has 8 service plazas (4 eastbound/4 westbound) that have RV parking places. Each has 10 parking spots with 50 amp electric. There's a fresh water fill station and a dump station available. The fee is $20 cash payable in an automated pay station. The four on the eastern side of the state are back in spots and the 4 on the western side of the state are pull thru. WARNING: there's signage at each entry stating a max vehicle length of 40'. With my toad disconnected, my 42DEQ was just barely outside the line of the paved spot. Those of you with 45' coaches might be challenged. However, I was the only RV parked there the night I was there.

So, I arrived just before noon on Tuesday in Charlotte for my scheduled appointment on Wednesday. It seemed that the Spartan Service folks are a little "under employed" this time of the year as they were happy to get started on my service the minute that I had the toad disconnected. As I checked in, I got the distinct feeling that, unless the inspection revealed some sort of problem, it was possible that my service could be finished that day. I made a call to my Entegra Service Adviser to discuss the possibility of moving up my my AIR. He said he'd look into it and that we'd further discuss that when I arrived in Middlebury. As it turned out, I was notified at 4:15 that they were finished.

For those of you who may not have made the drive from Charlotte to Middlebury, or vice versa, it's less than 2 hours. Rather than drive in the dark, I spent the night at Spartan and arrived at Entegra about 11 on Wednesday morning. My AIR Service Adviser, Dan Medina, was able to get my AIR started on Thursday morning.

I elected to leave the coach in his team's care and drive home, looking forward to daily progress updates from Dan. I'm optimistic that he'll keep me abreast of the progress and that a phone conversation will be sufficient to resolve any issues that may come up during the AIR.

A few miscellaneous thoughts: during PJ's presentation at a recent Spartan Academy, he was adamant the Entegra builds a four season coach. I'm inclined to agree. The lowest temperature that I saw was 21 degrees. That occurred during my drive through PA and I found the dash heat to be sufficient to keep the cab area shirt sleeve comfortable. The coach was comfortable warm during my three nights in it with overnight lows in the mid-20's. My AquaHot worked perfectly, perhaps attesting to the wisdom of performing the annual service. I did experience a little precipitation while passing thru PA; mostly light mist with some very light snow flurries.
There was enough precipitation that the roadway was wet and left the coach dirty from that. Although I do take seriously the potential detrimental affects of road salt, I've purchased this product: Salt-Away Home Page and will liberally treat the undercarriage when I return home following the AIR.

In conclusion (I bet you thought I'd NEVER stop), although the process is far from complete, so far it seems that a winter AIR and chassis service at Spartan is working well.

Take care,
Stu
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Old 01-31-2020, 01:54 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by 777 Driver View Post
A few miscellaneous thoughts: during PJ's presentation at a recent Spartan Academy, he was adamant the Entegra builds a four season coach. I'm inclined to agree.
Glad to hear about your good experience, Stu, and I agree about Entegras being four-season coaches. As long as you warm it up before you take off, the cab heat does a fine job keeping everything comfortable. Coming from a travel trailer, I was flabbergasted at how much better it was in the cold. We went to Fort Wildnerness during the recent cold snap when it got to 34 degrees in Orlando, and we hardly needed the heat at all. Not going to lie, though, when we got up in the morning and put our bare feet on that tile floor, we all wished most fervently for Aqua-Hot.

The engine even fired right up when we left to go south, when it was 22 degrees. Though to be fair, I did go over the day before and turn on the block heater.
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Old 01-31-2020, 01:59 PM   #3
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Great write-up Stu! As your "across the river" neighbor, you can pay me for braving the snow in your place when you return. A very special thank you for the Salt-Away mention, as I fiercely worry about coach undercarriage salt myself, and as you can see, I'm gonna' need it! I've previously reported that a chassis made by an established chassis maker and the hung wall insulation are the deciding factors that got us out of our '15 Allegro Bus 45LP. However, one of my Anthem complaints was that the lounge seemed drafty, and struggled to get warm above the mid 60s. While that may be comfortable to some, we've traveled in the Allegro Bus in the teens, and never had a problem maintaining our targeted 70-72 degrees. Dan redid the slide wipers on our front slide, and I'm really hoping, if not expecting, that that was the real problem. This was our punch list visit, and you can bet that we learned that we will be scheduling our AIR for our February 2019 bought coach from Tampa for sometime in October!!! By the way, we regularly saw 11 & 12 degrees the whole trip, and 9 degrees the night before our appointment.
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Old 01-31-2020, 02:10 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by schad View Post
Glad to hear about your good experience, Stu, and I agree about Entegras being four-season coaches. As long as you warm it up before you take off, the cab heat does a fine job keeping everything comfortable. Coming from a travel trailer, I was flabbergasted at how much better it was in the cold. We went to Fort Wildnerness during the recent cold snap when it got to 34 degrees in Orlando, and we hardly needed the heat at all. Not going to lie, though, when we got up in the morning and put our bare feet on that tile floor, we all wished most fervently for Aqua-Hot.

The engine even fired right up when we left to go south, when it was 22 degrees. Though to be fair, I did go over the day before and turn on the block heater.
Hi schad,

Indeed, the AquaHot and heated floor go a long way to providing for comfort in cold weather. The ability to use the AquaHot for engine heat during the cold night before departure seemed to work very well. Although I didn't use a stopwatch, it certainly seemed like the grid heat/wait to start delay was very short, even at 24 degrees overnight.

Our previous coach was a 2009 Monaco. Our '18 Anthem is much more comfortable in the cold.

Take care,
Stu
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Old 01-31-2020, 02:29 PM   #5
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Great write-up Stu! As your "across the river" neighbor, you can pay me for braving the snow in your place when you return. A very special thank you for the Salt-Away mention, as I fiercely worry about coach undercarriage salt myself, and as you can see, I'm gonna' need it!

...and you can bet that we learned that we will be scheduling our AIR for our February 2019 bought coach from Tampa for sometime in October!!! By the way, we regularly saw 11 & 12 degrees the whole trip, and 9 degrees the night before our appointment.
Whoa! Dewey, you're much braver than I! That first photo looks NASTY!!!

I would have preferred an October AIR. I just had "stuff" going on that wouldn't let that happen. IF you're OK to work around the weather challenges in the winter, the schedule flexibility seems to make the process go much easier. Of course, my coach is still in Middlebury. I may be singing a different tune when I get it home. However, I was advised that they'll keep the coach there for 10 days after the AIR is complete before they start charging $30/day storage fee. I'm optimistic that I'll find a window of easy travel time in those 10 days.

BTW, I stopped by General RV in Ashland earlier this month. They're open and indicated that they'll be happy to service Entegra's purchased elsewhere. Their shop has 40 bays. They plan to offer Spartan chassis service, too. They were having a career hiring event earlier this week.

My boat people acquaintances sweat by the SaltAway product.

Take care,
Stu
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:02 PM   #6
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I just left leaving my coach there for the third time since October. This last time is due to an Aqua hot, not Aqua hot problem. I.E. there seems to be a problem with the fuel supply line causing the AH to act up.The line is sucking in air. They may have to drop the tank to access the damaged line.

Anyway, The team at Entegra has been stellar. I get updates daily and although the trip is ~700 miles for me, this last time with no heat it's been a good experience. So far I have been there twice during the snowy months and missed bad weather both times. I will plan my retrieval trip carefully.
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:11 PM   #7
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...
Of course, my coach is still in Middlebury.
...
BTW, I stopped by General RV in Ashland earlier this month. They're open and indicated that they'll be happy to service Entegra's purchased elsewhere. Their shop has 40 bays. They plan to offer Spartan chassis service, too. They were having a career hiring event earlier this week.

My boat people acquaintances sweat by the SaltAway product.

Take care,
Stu

We're in the same position concerning the coach still being there. The pocket door in our rear bath had deep scratches in it on delivery, and Dan told us that he had to order one for us (we have the Platinum interior and my guess is that Platinum wood is probably special order). He expects that to arrive week after next, if not before.


We're very strongly considering a 1-way Enterprise rental when it's time to go back, because based on my homework, it will only cost about $50 more than if we drove our Explorer back up when you consider the cost per mile difference between the efficient compact compared to the all wheel drive Explorer MPG and toll difference for 3 axles instead of 5 on the IN, OH, and PA turnpikes coming back home.


Thanks for the update on General RV, and safe travels when you return.
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:17 PM   #8
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...
I will plan my retrieval trip carefully.

Wishing you the best! That "snow" in my pictures of the Entegra/Jayco campus was SOLID ROCK HARD frozen in place with an ice coating. Not even our coach was leaving tracks as we drove across it. All of the tracks that you see in the pictures were already there before we arrived, to include the pictures of where we parked. We were blessed that someone else was apparently there and pulled out after the snowfall, but before the freeze.


And yes to both of you, the service experience itself has been EXCELLENT!
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Old 01-31-2020, 05:35 PM   #9
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Be safe Stu. Met you at Spartan we were coming in from our AIR, Spartan got us out the next day as we were the only coach in the shop. Went ahead and had them do the full service. Good time to contribute to their local economy.

Tucked the coach back in it's Alabama port late last night. Now to get it washed and rinsed. Thanks for the tip on salt.

Michael
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Old 01-31-2020, 06:25 PM   #10
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Be safe Stu. Met you at Spartan we were coming in from our AIR, Spartan got us out the next day as we were the only coach in the shop. Went ahead and had them do the full service. Good time to contribute to their local economy.

Tucked the coach back in it's Alabama port late last night. Now to get it washed and rinsed. Thanks for the tip on salt.

Michael
Hi Michael,

It was nice chatting with you and your wife at Spartan. I'm glad that your experience there was good and that you had safe travels on your way home.

Contributing to the local economy isn't all bad, is it?

Take care,
Stu

P.S. I like your bumper sticker!
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Old 01-31-2020, 07:12 PM   #11
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Dewey I like those pictures! I came in the day before and made the tracks going right in the last one. I didn't have the foresight to take any and I'm not savvy enough to get my dash cam video to post. We came up I-57 from Benton, Il Saturday morning and paralleled the edge of the eastbound storm all the way to I-80. The drive to Middlebury was pretty uneventful, the roads were cleared. Temperature was around 36 when we drove into Entegra's service lot. At the time it was semi slushy, by morning it was all iced up the way you saw it coming in.

We had our appointment for our two year AIR Monday and had gotten there early to avoid the storm and the freeze behind it. Unfortunately our biggest issue was our Aqua-hot system, several symptoms and no solutions. Sunday morning we woke up to 9 degrees outside. Even with a small space heater in the bedroom and doors closed it was 50 inside and the basement was 28.

Time to call Entegra's 24/7 emergency line. Left a message and got a return call in 10 minutes. Within the hour we had Kirk there to dive the coach inside to thaw out and Michael had booked us at the Hampton. Next morning we were greeted by Allen and went over our list, added a couple more that came up during the drive up (wouldn't have been able to do that normally but being January they had plenty of time to take care of everything).

Over the next several days Allen gave me at least one, sometimes two updates daily and I personally examined every fix. Found a few thing requiring follow up, they were corrected by the next day. I have read several times in this forum to follow this procedure and it paid off. Two of the AH issues were found and corrected immediately, the green light on the VT going out and the system shutting off took a little longer, Chris had to see it in fault.

Once it happened he replaced the control thermostat and the ignition module, parts were available locally, so only a couple hour wait. We are now going on 80 straight hours of continuous heating!

As I mentioned in a previous post everyone I came into contact with was professional, friendly, and competent. Could not have asked for a better experience! Definitely made up for the cold January weather, never got above 30, then I was told that except for my first day, this was 'mild' weather!
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Old 02-01-2020, 07:15 AM   #12
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Glad your trip is going well. We made the same journey last February and fortunately missed the polar vortex by a couple weeks! Much easier to schedule for this time of year! Safe travels!
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Old 02-01-2020, 09:00 AM   #13
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Glad your trip is going well. We made the same journey last February and fortunately missed the polar vortex by a couple weeks! Much easier to schedule for this time of year! Safe travels!
Thanks for your well wishes!

I left the coach in Dan's crew's care on Thursday and returned home to Virginia. Dan has been great with email updates and very responsive to any of my questions. No firm estimate of completion, yet. I'm watching the travel weather and it looks reasonably good through next week. I plan to return a couple of days before completion so that I can personally check any repairs accomplished.

I remain optimistic that I'll be able avoid any significant weather challenges.

The ease of scheduling during this time of the year is in stark contrast to numerous other's comments on various iRV2 threads.

Take care,
Stu
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Old 02-01-2020, 09:10 AM   #14
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I am sure others have already thought of this. I was concerned about salt from my trip north, though the roads were pretty clear and they definitely did not put any salt at the Entegra lot.

I took an oscillating sprinkler and moved it around under the coach. Was a pretty simple way of the giving the underside a good rinsing. Will probably incorporate this in the future just to wash away road grime.
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