As are readers and friends know, we were to take delivery of a new 2014 TOUR 42GD special edition Solar Winds painted coach that we special ordered. We are sad to report today that we could not work out the issues with the build quality and Winnebago said they did not think they could fix it or build one that we would accept.We have chosen to send out this story based on a number of factors. One of which is the amount of time and money that was laid out trying to make this work.
We tried to do the right thing for a long time. We also had a great deal made for the trade in of our current coach and already had removed items from it in preparation for the trade it. In other words, we were all set to take delivery.
Why you might be asking? After all, it is such a great coach from a very well respected company. Well, it all came down to quality control and the lack their of. It is in our humble opinion that Winnebago has grown to fast as of late and thus is under pressure to produce, and more or less, get product “out the door” and clean it up after. That is OUR OPINION.
Let me start by saying this is not our first NEW Class A coach. We do fully understand that all coaches for the most part will have some issues that show up. (Sad, but true as we all know…but it surely does not mean we should accept it.) We went through that with our current coach, and were ready to go though that again with this new one. However, we did not expect what showed up from the factory “as fully inspected and ready to go” to show up.
We also are fully aware that Winnebago stands behind what they make and can fix any of the issues that will be listed below. That is not in question. Upper levels of Winnebago told us that all would be handled. However, we were not going to take possession of a new coach and then sit and have it worked on right from the start knowing full well it is time out of our lives and money out of our pocket.
We also had hoped this will all sort out and we will be the proud owner of such a coach. However, after what we have been put through, we felt we needed to say something.
You see, we received a call on Friday (7/27/13) from Winnebago that they did not think they would be able to repair the coach, new off the line, to our satisfaction. That more or less told us something was clearly not right. When I then inquired about just building a new one seeing that this one was so poorly made, the reply came back that they did not think they could build a coach that we would accept. WOW. Really? Is Winnebago no longer able to produce a quality product based on their recent sales volume increase and needing to get product out the door?
To this end the coach that was made for us had issues from as large as a bent independent front suspension, to as small as wood used not being properly finished yet still installed. Or how about a wall panel not even secured and more or less being held up by seam tape and the top and bottom molding.
Before I present our list of findings when the coach showed up, for it is after all, just a long list and we all have had them. I wanted to be sure to make mention of a possible safety issue with the 42GD. (Not sure on the 42QD)
PSA…PLEASE, PLEASE…Have your coach weighed!
The coach arrived from the factory with a front axle weight of 13,880 lbs! This is with only the driver and 1/4 tank of fuel. (150 gallon tank) The axle is only rated for a max weight of 14,600 lbs. This means just adding a full tank of fuel and a passenger will more than likely already put you over the limit of the front axle!
Now, please note, this is not something that was NOT KNOWN as it has been mentioned on community forum sites before. As such, we knew to check. However, we were told, “it was corrected long ago and seeing ours was just built, it would not have such an issue.” So when we test drove the coach we thought we were going to soon own, we stopped at the CAT Scales and had it weighed. Thus our findings mentioned above.
Now the good news is this can be corrected within reason. It is an issue with the TAG air pressure where there is too much air in the tag and it needs to be adjusted. However, you need to find a Freightliner service center to do it and they must have scales. (Not all do.) If any luck, you will be able to drop enough pressure to offset the weight on the front axle.
Not sure, like I mentioned, if this is an issue with the 42QD or not. But the 42GD has the kitchen upfront and thus the weight is much different. Also the tank placement is different for the holding tanks etc.
This is one reason we would not accept the coach at the time, as we were not going to take on the legal burden if something was to take place. As such, we would want this corrected to begin with. (And yes, we know it also comes down to how you load the coach.) However, as mentioned, it will already be over weight just by adding fuel and a passenger. As such the tag pressure is already to high. And yes, it will need to surely be weighed again after it is loaded.
End of PSA.
As for other reasons…(Photos below)
We do not consider this a small list and we do consider this very poor workmanship and quality control from Winnebago. While the dealer did say “you should see some of the other issues we see with other manufacturers.” we did not find that at all comforting as we are not currently looking at another manufacturer. To think that this coach had special attention given to it, one of 4 built with this paint design reserved for show coaches, and it still came in like this, made us even more concerned.
NOTE…The below list is from just our walk though and test drive and not even living in it. My guess, the list would have grown. Some items may seem trivial to some people, but all in all, it adds up to frustration and lack of care. Again, some of this may seem silly, but even the dealer said it needed to go back to the factory. Most items photo documented below.
- Various Paint issues from a thumb mark to white specs under the clear coat paint.
- End caps on awnings not painted long with a few other missed items. (Part of the special paint package.)
- Outside TV is not Samsung. (It was replaced with a lesser brand because “they ran out”.)
- 3M Shield – Scratches, white specs under it and/or under clear coat, Haziness on top drive side corner of 3G Shield.
- Under body carriage – all welded areas are rusting and were not protected.
- Window Seals – The black seal under the window is very poor on a number of windows to the point of being on the window frame itself.
- Radiator – Compressed cooling fins from something that got in the way when something was installed. (it has in a pattern on it.)
- Moisture inside back driver side taillight. (Bad seal?)
- Door Awning over door does not close all the way on the forward side.
- Backup camera has “noise” in the video feed. (bad video line or camera.)
- 4 wires for the front LED’s not heat sealed and exposed to elements. (How many other wires were missed and not protected?)
- Independent Front Suspension bent on the passenger side. Will need to be replaced and the front end realigned. Based on how long this part takes to come in, we will need new front tires based on wear.
- Screen Door is not flush and as such has sprung and bent. Even to the point of scraping paint off the doorframe.
- Dashboard is discolored and marred in several places. Will not clean off.
- Step cover when in the UP position does not lock in and moves when you step on it. (Unsafe for the passenger standing up.)
- All the under the cabinet lights are not flush.
- Most drawers have unfinished or poorly made wood on the sides. (Kitchen, bedroom, bath, etc.)
- Wood on the left side of the fridge was not finished.
- Cabinet over the couch – Bottom wood is not flush where it is seemed together.
- Couch arm on the extension part that you pull out is broken as if it was crushed. (Lean on it and it collapses)
- Slide out drawer above kitchen counter did not even reach the other side. Only one one side was connected as it was not wide enough.
- Couch rounded back does not line up with the seat backs.
- Ceiling wood treatment stain is poorly matched between the two sections that make up the entire top piece.
- Ceiling vinyl near TV looks like it was ripped and then poorly repaired with a vinyl repair kit.
- Main 55″ TV is not level.
- Main TV does not cover the wood and lights under it. You look right at it.
- Fireplace tile not aligned.
- Around the fireplace itself is not cleanly installed. Gaps.
- Computer Table Top not nicely finished. Rough.
- Bedroom dresser top is not nicely finished, Rough.
- Bathroom shower doors do not line up. Bottom stoppers were not centered, off over 1 1/2 inches! They also were not long enough to stop the doors.
- Bathroom counter top backsplash on the left side has a 2/8″ gap and not sealed.
- Washer/Dryer cabinet is not aligned. Correct at the bottom, off more than an inch at the top.
- Bathroom wall is not attached and is pulling apart at the tape seam as the tape and molding is the only thing holding it in place.
- Jack leveling controller display seems to have had moisture in it.
- Jack levels would not retract without the controller being reset. Put the jacks down, would not come back up even though it said they were UP.
- Counter next to dining room table is coming away from the wall.
AFTER DRIVE TEST…
- Large noise coming from kitchen slide when driving. It is VERY loud creaking sound like two metal items are rubbing together.
- Kitchen counter area is not firmly attached and can be lifted by the counter top. This was noticed when we were driving as it was bouncing up and down.
- Dishwasher will not stay locked and opens when you turn.
- Washer/Dryer Door would not stay closed while driving.
Again, these were all found without us even living in the coach. Not testing any of the living items such as heat, water, air, etc. All if these issues should be able to be corrected but it seems that Winnebago would rather move the coach on to somewhere else vs fixing it for us. Most of these items we feel are small for the most part. Some however are not, ie, the fireplace wall we were told would need to be torn out and redone.
We tried to reach out to the CEO one time about this when we found all these issues, that got us a call back from the same person I was dealing with already. Granted, I was not happy when I called. Would you be? After all, we spent a great deal of time not only selecting a coach, but ordering it, waiting for it, prepping out current coach for trade in, and even buying some items needed to go on the new coach when we took delivery. (Like the AirForceOne Coach side parts for the tow car breaking.) Had our internet sat dish removed with the roof then sealed and now we don’t even have that. We more or less have been harmed in this regard not to mention all the fuel and time spent going to get the coach and then heading to Iowa where we were to meet it after repaired. All the time adding more milage and ware to a coach that we need to trade in.
We even contacted their PR department in hopes that they may care to look into this to make it a happy ending story of Winnebago making it right. I even explained I had been talking about it on-line for months, as we were so excited to be doing this and had people asking about where the new coach was and why we did not have delivery. Even some people questioning Winnebago already just by us not accepting it from the dealer at the time. I figured they at least would know the reach and the impact such a story could have and that we would not wait forever to get this resolved as it had already been long enough. But that turned into that they did not think we would be happy with a product they could produce. So here we are telling the negative part of the story, vs the happy ending part which would have been much nicer.
So I guess ask yourself, if they do not take care in their flagship product at $400K, what care do they give at all. “Just makes them and get them out as we have sales.” is what we think we would hear if we were a fly on the wall.
It is not like we did not try to work with them on this. After all, we had the right deal, we spent the time and the research, we find the floor plan we liked. We waited to have one made and specially painted.
I know their are a lot of owners who have had great luck with their product, that is one reason we also thought we made the right choice. In our humble opinion the Winnebago company of today, as of late 2012 when sales picked up, is not the company it once was based on demand to get the product out the door.
This is not a reflection of all the employees of Winnebago. We feel this starts at the top. Their are some people their that really did care. Not only about making sure we were happy, but about the impression of the company. We feel bad that the company has also let them down. We even had support from some of the Winnebago vendors who found out. (Some knew who we were, thus the concern.)
Camping World – Thank You…
The dealer, Camping World, totally stood behind us with this. Right down to saying they would refund the $10,000 for the special order! Even more…Based on the issues and for the fact it had to go back to the factory, so not to disrupt our lives even more, they would send someone to the Winnebago factory once it was repaired to our satisfaction to finish the deal. They would then drive our trade in back. They understood of us to take the coach would then mean an unknown amount of time waiting on repair thus further impacting our new life on the road. (They knew we sold everything to do this.) For them to do such a thing, surely says something to us (aka…we were not being to picky) and we are glad they stood behind the buyer vs the manufacturer or the sales contract. Thank you Camping World. (And more so, to one individual who will remain nameless.)
For those that wish you voice your dissatisfaction about our issues and encourage Winnebago to step up and do the right thing, as well as getting back to building a quality Made in the USA product, please feel free to send emails to – email@example.com . This is not meant to be an attack against them, however a call to get back building a quality product they were known for and one reason we choose them. We would much rather have this end on a positive note as we surely did like the coach, just not the lack of care given to building a “quality product”. As of this post, we were still willing to accept the coach as long as it was corrected.
Side Note…It is not like we made this post just to make it…we were so excited to be buying the TOUR that we have be taking about it here and other places online for months. We even did a complete photo essay on the painting process of a Class A motor coach thanks to the fine people at CDI Painting. We were so proud to be doing this and already showing it off. Here are the other posts about it…
Coming Soon…The New TOUR – Plans Are A Happenin’ – Coming Soon…First Look – The Amazing Process of Painting a Class A Motor Coach – And We’re Off… – Well..Our House Closed So We’re Officially Full-Timers Now – Another Good-Bye, To Our Motor Coach – New Coach…Not Quite Yet – Still Sitting…Waiting… – The WIT Rally And What Wasn’t
After thinking about this even more for a few days, trying to wrap our heads around what happened. The only thought we could come up with was that once they received the coach back to them on or about the previous Wednesday, they realized it may take longer to repair than they thought. Seeing they already were running high in production and also that the WIT Rally was ending and a lot of owners were their for updates and repairs, they just did not have the time to do it. Seeing we had not taken ownership of the coach as of yet, they had no obligation to us to do the repair at that time. After all, it is a 2014 coach and thus could sit for some time waiting to be worked on and then invoiced to another dealer later.
At least that is our thought it. Right or wrong in that thought, it is what seemed logical to us at this time. The only thing….we were left sitting 20 miles from the factory expecting to take delivery at some point in the near future. We were told to come as the coach was sent their to be repaired. We had planned for months to be in that coach and had not only spent a good deal of money already in travel to take possession more than once, but also in preparing this coach for trade in. We ordered and have matching license plates to the design of the coach. Yes, we were that excited and ready. So, to us, in our opinion, it seemed to be a business choice based on timing and for the fact we did not actually take delivery of the coach based on the issues.
AND NOW THE PHOTOS…
Video of Bad Creaking From Slide When Driving…Brenda actually jumped up off the coach as it scared her thinking the slide was coming out!
Video of bathroom wall panel not attached and being held on by seem tape! In order to fix this, the washer and dryer needs to come out and the cabinet removed.
We never have asked before, see any of our other posts, but…
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