We took delivery of our 2016 Ventana 4041 this past week and I will share some pics soon but I wanted to share our factory delivery experience with everyone. I will try to be succinct, but I want to give everyone a little background on our situation so you might understand our perspective on this whole experience, consequently, this could be a long post – sorry.
Our adventure started back in January when we attended the Tampa Super Show. We had a new 27’ trailer and had been only RV’ing for a little over 3 months, but we already knew we wanted something bigger and more conducive to extended stay living. We went through the 5th wheel/motorhome discussion and the new/used one and then finally on floor plan and mfg. After lots of gnashing of teeth and hand wringing we ended up with Newmar, and finally a Ventana. As we had never owned a motorhome before and hardly driven one, we decided on the Customer Pickup Option (CPU) from Newmar. We placed our order on June 1st with Dick Gore’s RV World in Jacksonville, FL and feel we got a great deal based on what others have reported as their discount, especially when you consider we traded in a less than one year old trailer.
Before I get into the delivery, I want to say thanks to everyone on this forum for their advice and counsel throughout this process. We would have never gotten to this point without everyone’s help. There are too many folks to name them all, but I do want to give a special thanks to Scott Wagoner (SWag). I sent Scott an email when I first started this process and asked him a few questions about how to get going. I could not believe the detailed response I received from him regarding the steps he took in ordering his Dutch Star. He was also the previous owner of a Ventana LE so he gave me insight into the Ventana model. He continued to help throughout the process and fortunately we got to meet him during our build week at Camp Newmar. I am happy to provide any assistance I can to those beginning this process and share the knowledge I have gained after going through it.
We arrived in Nappanee at approx. 3 pm. on Sunday, October 11th for our delivery process which began on the 12th. We pulled a Uhaul trailer behind our Ford Edge which was to be our tow vehicle. When we arrived, there were no open spaces in the FHU lot, but plenty in overflow on Delaware. We ended up going into our delivery with a spot in the overflow lot which has electric and water only. Personally, for the money it costs, I believe that Newmar should provide a reserved fhu site for all cpu deliveries. They don’t do that many deliveries each week and they could block off three or four spots out of the twenty four available and then release those not needed. For us, the addition of the sewer would make it easier to test the dishwasher, washing machine, take showers, etc. Plus the overflow is not quite level having a distinct slope to the street. I guess that’s good to check the auto level and slide deployment. Good news is we were able to get a fhu site on Tuesday thanks to a couple who was looking out for us and coned off a spot when someone departed.
My recommendation is to get there on Saturday or early Sunday if it’s important for you to have a fhu site. This is especially true during times of heavy use which seems now to be from March through October. Also, if you happen to rent a U-Haul trailer don’t schedule a return to Jim or Jack Morris Motors in Nappanee as they are not U-Haul dealers anymore. The trailers have to be returned to Bremen or Goshen.
On Monday we checked in at 7:30 AM and went to Bldg. 11 (some Dutch Stars and all MA’s and above go to Bldg. 42 downtown) to meet our team and see the coach for the first time. I won’t go into a lot of detail as others have reported on the process, but it is exciting to see it gleaming under the lights in the building. The very first thing we were asked is if we had closed our purchase with the dealer. They stated that if we hadn’t, we couldn’t stay in the unit overnight. I told them that we had closed on the deal and I had the paperwork if they needed to see it. They didn’t want to see it and we were never asked again about ownership. I’m not sure why they don’t already have this information. The Newmar folks will let you decide on how to proceed, but we let the tech go through his normal procedure for delivery and asked questions as needed. You will receive your “big black bag” with everything in it and instructions on filling out all your warranty cards. We used the whole day and didn’t get through everything. We also talked about any special requests that we might have so that they could provide quotes for the work, if necessary. Our specials involved some wiring for the toad hookup and tpms booster. Unfortunately, there was insufficient space to wire our Hughes autoformer into the service bay so we never got a quote on that one. We did break an hour early so that we could transfer all our gear from the U-haul to the coach. By the time we got done with that, we both felt like we had been kicked by a mule. What a day.
Day two picked up where we left off on Monday. Scott, our tech, went over more of the operations and reviewed some of the important things from the previous day. We had found a few cosmetic items in the coach and brought those to his attention. The biggest issue of the day was the Winegard Dish hookup. We had two receivers to hookup, one being for the televator and the other in the bedroom. Scott had trouble getting a signal and solicited help from another tech and before long they were into all the wiring from the roof to the a/v cabinet and to the cargo bays. After about two hours of work it was found that production “screwed” up the wiring. All the wires were there, but connected wrong and one even started as black at the dish and ended up orange in the cabinet. I’m not sure how a dealership would have handled this one.
Wednesday we drove most of the day. I don’t know if they drive this much with everyone, but since this was my first experience other than test driving, he let me drive all over the area. We also backed and made turns in tight places. It was interesting as I could see the Ultra Steer tag axle actually turn in the side mirror when making the slow turns. There were some squeaks and rattles in the slides and he corrected most of those as we drove. He also corrected a squeaky bushing in the steering shaft that was annoying. Our biggest issue was a rather loud wind noise coming from the driver’s side window when you got above 50 mph. We stopped several times and adjusted the mirror angle and proximity to the coach, but couldn’t get rid of it. Finally, we went back to the shop and Scott got another tech and they took off together to try to run it down. They came back about 45 minutes later and said that they thought they had found it. It turned out to be a small area around the window that wasn’t properly sealed and wind was whistling in. They fixed that, and we had no more issues. My wife also found a small gouge in the end of the sofa that we hadn’t seen earlier as it was only visible when the slides were in. Scott scheduled a visit for the next day from a company that they use to fix these problems.
Thursday, we started out again by reviewing some of the important issues such as slide deployment and how to deal with slides failing to close if it should ever happen. We had him review several items to make sure we understood their operation to include the Oasis and dometic thermostat. The tech from the furniture restoration company came and performed his magic on the sofa. After he finished, neither my wife nor I could begin to tell you where the gouge was located. Needless to say we were pleased. We really finished everything on Thursday afternoon. Scott weighed the coach with all our household items transferred and a full tank of water and between ¾ and a full tank of fuel. The weights are below and required a tire pressure adjustment based on the Michelin chart. The weights:
LF 6095 RF 6095
LR 8140 RR 8290
LTag 4080 RTag 3965
They weights seem to be fine based on my understanding of a 14,000# front axle, a 20,000# rear and 10,000# Tag.
Since we didn’t have a lot of special requests that needed to be completed and the issues we did find were minor, we decided we would run our appliances over night and do one final inspection and meet again at 9 AM on Friday.
On Friday, since no new issues had arisen, we signed off some paperwork and thanked everyone for their hard work and went back to our site to relax for the rest of the day.
The bottom line for us is that this whole process was definitely worth the time and money. If it was our second coach and we had a good dealer, then maybe we would forgo it. However, I have to say that I have never met a more dedicated, attentive, aim to please group than these folks. They work toward saying “yes” to your every request. If they can’t say “yes” they, at least for us, had a good reason. There were a few questions our tech could not answer and a few problems he couldn’t solve on his own, but they have a team of people that with their collective knowledge and skill can fix anything with these units.
We are 300 miles into an approximate 2 week 1500 mile journey home and so far things are running smoothly. I still have almost 2 weeks to break something. Let’s hope I don’t.