Thursday, September 17, 2015

Hershey Day 2: What we learned

My DW is doing a bang-up job at Hershey.  She spent another day in and out of the coaches, doing research, talking to other people and sitting with factory reps to iron out issues with our order.  She called me several times, at one point even having me on Skype while her and two others talked about some things that had concerned us.

While this won't mean much to people who aren't getting a Newmar, it goes to show the kind of information you get by attending the shows.  Perhaps you can get some ideas of things to ask about your own coach.

Here are some of the things I got from just a few short phone calls with her - when she gets back, I know there will be even more to discuss:

  • Outside LED lights.  We know that our coach is going to have LED lights over the door (the "porch"), along the edge of the awning, and under the curbside slides.  But I had read that the porch and awning lights were on the same switch.  Several people said to make sure that we ordered separate switches.  My wife tested them and found out that they are on separate switches by default.  One special request eliminated.
  • Upgraded solar panel wiring.  I had understood that Newmar ran 10 gauge wire from the roof to the power bay to allow for the possibility of future solar panels.  Numerous people had advised to request upgraded 6 gauge wire because it can support more panels.  I did make the request and it was initially denied.  We figured that they may only put in 8-gauge wire.  It turns out that we were using a basic order form dated in May 2015 that only said something like "solar wiring upgrade".  The latest order form is dated in July and the option has been reworded to say that the upgraded solar wiring supports 1200 watts using 6-gauge wiring.  Obviously, it was denied as a "special" order because it is an option on the standard order sheet.  We'll now be adding that option.
  • Kitchen sink.  Every coach we saw in person had double-bowl Corian (or similar) kitchen sinks.  However, we saw two online videos that showed a single, large stainless steel sink.  Since it wasn't on the standard order sheet as an option, we added it as a "special".   Much to our surprise, it was denied.  As she learned today, the stainless steel sink is the standard sink for our model; it was denied because it's already there as the standard.  It would sure make things a lot easier if they put some indication on their form as to why something is denied.
  • Wiring for External Satellite Dish.  Having read about others who did it and seen it on some coaches myself, I submitted a special request to add extra wiring to support an external satellite dish.  It was denied.  Apparently, the right way to phrase the request is to ask for a "tripod setup".  Yes, words matter.  We'll resubmit.
  • Smoke and mirrors.  I had never noticed this before, but the large mirrors in the bedroom and kitchen are "smoked"; that is, they have a grayish tint.  My wife sure noticed it, and she wants to request that they be replaced by regular mirrors.
  • Engine pre-heat loop.  This is good to have when you're in colder climates.  We don't know when we'll be where, so we thought we'd ask for it.  It wasn't anywhere on the order sheet and we totally missed it in the brochure, where it clearly says that an "engine block heater" is standard. (See the later post called Understanding Engine pre-heat for an update on this)
  • Upgraded Microwave Oven.  I have read a lot of posts that recommend that people upgrade the standard microwave oven to the GE Advantium.  Many folks said it was a major improvement.  We put it on our list of specials, even though we heard that the MSRP on the upgrade was a little over $1000.  She found out today that prior to 2015, a different brand of microwave was used and they received a fair number of complaints.  Beginning with 2015, they are using a Whirlpool and haven't had any (maybe just a lot less) complaints.  Both the Whirlpool and the GE are large convection microwaves, but the GE can also broil.  We decided that we could do without broiling, given the extra cost and the rearrangement of the cabinets to accommodate the larger GE.  So we're going to stay with the standard Whirlpool microwave. [Last minute change when we placed the order:  we're going with the Advantium.  It's vented to the outside and we don't want to regret not getting it]
  • Slide-out trays under the kitchen sink.  Beginning with the 2016 DS4369's, the single slide-out tray under the kitchen sink has been replaced with two side-by-side trays.  We didn't think we would like that as much, so we requested that we get the single tray.  After reconsidering and thinking about how we would use the space, we're going to delete that request and stick with the standard two trays.
  • Table attached to the passenger chair.  The DS4369 includes a table that folds up to a position above the lap of the passenger seat.  My wife doesn't like the table, and said that it's in a position that it could be bumped into when stowed and the chair is re-oriented toward the living area.  She would have liked to have them not install it, but was told that the coach was somehow certified with the table in place and that they would not be able to "not" put it on during manufacture.  If we don't want it, we'll have to remove it after delivery.
  • Air conditioner condensation drains.  I was concerned that the air conditioner condensation would run off on the curb side of the coach, so I made a request that it be "plumbed" so that it only drained to the driver side.  My DW was told that they cannot change that due to something with the gutter trenches or something on the roof.  Apparently, it actually drains on both sides.
  • Pantry Shelves and Lights.  We had seen some models with five shelves in the pantry, so we thought we'd ask for another one.  However, Mrs. G found out that the 2016 DS4369 comes with six shelves in the pantry.  The pantry doesn't have a light in it.  However, one of the higher-end models (I think the London Aire) has a LED light strip in the pantry that turns on when you open the door - and it can be ordered as an option on the Dutch Star.  Another addition to our list.
There may be more later.  If so, I'll come back here and add to the list.  If you follow by e-mail, I don't if you get another one when something is updated.  If you don't (or aren't sure), you may want to check back here in a few days to see if we've been able to expand the list.

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