This ended up as a long post. So I will boil it down to three statements: Newmar factory service is awesome; technicians Nevin, Gene and Stewart are rock stars; and we would never go anywhere else for service except the Newmar factory. Read on for more details.
After experiencing uniformly poor service from various RV dealer service shops around the country, we decided to give factory service a try. From numerous posts on the forums (mainly IRV2), it seems like heading to the Newmar home base in Northern Indiana produced more reliable results. So I made an appointment for early November, which worked well as we were traveling from Colorado to Pennsylvania for the holidays anyways, so a one week stop in Indiana was easy to accommodate. Note that Newmar is typically booked out a few months in advance for service, so this is not a great option if you need something fixed ASAP.
We arrived Monday afternoon for a Tuesday morning appointment. Nappanee, Indiana is a small town. You can’t miss the Newmar facility. We arrived from the West on Rt. 6 and turned left onto Delaware St, and down a few blocks on the right is the first camping option, called overflow parking. Ideally all owners would park in the main camping area, which is just a short distance away on Cheyenne St., but all spots were full as is commonly the case these days. The main camping location has full hookups while overflow only has electric and, in warm months, water. Luckily we had filled the fresh tank and emptied grey and black in anticipation we’d end up in overflow.
After settling into our space we drove to the customer service office (which is co-located with the main camping location) to check in. A nice lady informed us a service manager would be at our unit first thing Tuesday morning, between 6-6:30 am. And indeed he was! Nevin arrived just before 6:30 and drove the coach over to building 42 (the high line service building), which is a few miles east. We spent a good 30 minutes going over our problem list I had previously provided plus we added a few things that had cropped up recently.
Nevin assigned Gene as our lead technician and he quickly got to work. We checked our cat into day boarding at Nappannee Veterinary Hospital and explored the town for a few hours. Upon return at 2 PM we found Gene and another tech, Stewart, had knocked an impressive number of items off the list in just one day. Wow, I thought, if this pace keeps up we’ll be out of here early. Around 2:30 PM they stop working and move the coach back to your site for the night. They hook up power, put down jacks, put out slides, turn on heat. Such service!
Wednesday morning at 6:05 AM Gene arrived for the second day of work. We again repeated putting the cat in kitty jail and killing time by doing anything, today it was taking the Newmar factory tour. We went to visit our unit after lunch and found most items were complete! For a long jaded RV owner, the concept of getting things done quickly is foreign, and doing them right is nonexistent. Well, Gene, Stewart and Nevin proved great service is still alive and well. They actually cared about us and our RV. If they noticed something slightly amiss (“your bathroom door handle seems a bit lose”), they fixed it. And they tested their fixes over and over to ensure correctness. Their goal was not to check something off a list, it was to actually fix the problem. I know, I know. This should be the goal of service everywhere, but sadly it is not.
Another cycle of wake up early, board cat, kill time, eat food and we’re done on Thursday, a full day ahead of schedule. Our seemingly long list of issues was no more, and we were free to head back on the road.
I can’t say enough positives about our experience at Newmar. If you own a Newmar and are frustrated with inept dealer service, do yourself a favor and try to fit Northern Indiana into your plans. True, we should not have to travel potentially a few thousand miles just for service, but at least an option exists to get things done right.
I learned that Newmar is expanding their service facilities to handle the increased number of coaches they’re selling. They are also putting in 55 full hookups sites right next to building 42, which would eliminate the constant driving back and forth through town. This would also eliminate the only annoyance I had about the experience (lack of full hookup sites).
Here’s the list of warranty work we had fixed:
- The front passenger window does not open (one of the arms is bent)
- The “X” in Essex on the back of coach fell off
- Getting occasional zone faults on the Oasis unit, preventing heat and hot water from working
- The middle thermostat always reads 70 degrees, no matter the actual temperature
- The mirror on the wall in the kitchen fell off, breaking the vacuum kick plate and damaging some tile
- The full wall slide topper no longer rolls up properly on retraction. The material accordions into pleats instead, and over time this has caused numerous holes to form in the material
- Getting occasional “flame out” faults on the Oasis unit
- The 12v disconnect for house batteries is inoperable
- The aft bed stand Qi wireless charger makes an impressively loud clicking sound 24/7; also doesn’t work
- The built-in tire pressure monitoring system always warns of low pressure on the drive axle tires, even though the reading is the proper pressure (the default from the factory is set to 120 psi and can’t be changed by the owner; I run 85 psi based on actual weight)
- The entrance steps properly retract about 50% of the time (the other 50% they close part way and just stop)