Friday, August 5, 2016

Attending Camp Freightliner

A while back, in a blog entry called Camp Freightliner, I told you how we found out about it and also provided a lot of background information about what it was.  We said that we were going to go this year, and it finally happened.

Even though both of us planned to go, my DW had to return home early, so I went alone.  Finding the facility at 103 Campus Road in Gaffney, SC was easy.  Just put yourself on I-85, get off at exit 92 (highway 11) and go north about a mile.

The Facility

When I first drove up, the size of the service facility (which also houses the classroom for Camp Freightliner) surprised me:  it's much smaller than you'd expect.  In the photo above, which is on a table in their service lobby, you can see that the larger building is the service facility.  It houses the office/parts area, a lounge/lobby, a break room, 6 large service bays and the classroom for Camp Freightliner.  Along the top of the photo are places you can park your rig if you have a service appointment.  There are also a few spaces in the middle of the photo on the right side.  All of the spaces are large enough to put out your slides and they provide 50amp electrical service.

When you look at the overhead shot above, you'll see something in the middle of the driveway near the turn going in.  That's the dump station.  The station also has potable water.

The door usually opens about 7:30 each morning.  If you have service, there's a window immediately to the right as you walk in.  Pat is usually there to work out all of the details for your service.

Camp Freightliner

Just past the lobby is the classroom.  This is where you spend two days learning all about your Freightliner chassis.  It's a great course with lots of material, good tips, and helpful stuff you'll use every year.  Some of the highlights:

  • A good instructor!  Mike Cody knows his stuff, and he knows it well.  You're guaranteed to get an answer to any question you ask; if he doesn't know, he'll find out.
  • You get a nice full-color notebook of all the course slides.  The slides have tons of useful information and many, many photos to help you find your way.
  • Box lunches are provided both days of the course, with water, soda, coffee, lemonade and sweet and unsweet tea.
  • After class on the first night, you come back about 5:30 for dinner!  The night I was there, they had food from a local BBQ joint:  very good!  As we ate and socialized, we were also able to ask questions of their Service Director and their head of Sales and Marketing.  Good food, good information.  
  • During class, you'll be notified if anything comes up about your service (if you're also having your coach serviced).  As a matter of fact, your service technician pokes his head in the door and asks to see you.  If you request it, they'll even take you for a walk under your rig while it's jacked up in the shop!
  • At the end of the course, you get some great parting gifts!  An "I Survived Camp Freightliner" t-shirt or a ball cap, AND a CD that Mike puts together that has more than 650MB of useful files, manuals, tutorials, videos, and more.  All of it is specifically geared for your type of chassis.  Very, very nice.  It even includes a simulator where you can play with all of the settings for your dash display without ever getting in the coach.

Topics in Camp Freightliner

There was a lot discussed in this two-day course and at every turn information was provided about your specific coach.  For example, if I asked a question about my engine, Mike would look down at his paper and immediately say something like "Well, Mike, you have a 450HP with the Allison 3000 transmission, so you only have to ..."   And he provided this sort of customized answers to all 19 of the people taking the course. 

Topics were wide ranging, and included the following:
  • Engine specifics (types, features, etc.)
  • Inspecting and changing things like the fuel filter and fuel/water separator
  • How to go online to their portal that will show you ALL of the parts in your chassis, how they interact and how they are installed.
  • Tires, inflation, and how to use your coach weights to get it right
  • All about DEF and the system that uses it
  • Types of fuel; what to avoid and what additives you may want to use.
  • Steering systems
  • Tag axles
  • Using the transmission; climbing hills
  • Using exhaust/compression brakes; going down the hills
  • What service you need at what intervals (at the end of the course, he spent the time to provide everyone with customized service-required sheets so you'd know, without a doubt, what you need to have done and when you need to do it.
  • Much, much more

Is it worth it?

This course costs $175 for one person, $225 for two people in the same coach.  Given that you can take it while getting service, use a 50A site while there, are provided three meals, and walk away with a lot of additional knowledge, a thick notebook of data and a packed CD, this course is a steal.  Everyone who rides on a Freightliner chassis should take it.

The instructor also has a tray there where you can take not only his business card, but the service manager's, sales manager's, and the service director's.  Each card has the person's phone number and e-mail address.  They encourage you to call or e-mail if you have issues or questions.

Do they answer if you call or write?  You bet they do.   I had a question soon after I left and I e-mailed the service manager (Shaun).  Within an hour or two, he replied.  A day later, I had some concerns about some tire pressures, so I wrote another e-mail to the service manager and the instructor.  A few hours later, Shaun called me and we talked for about 10 minutes.  

Putting it all together, it's an impressive organization.  I'm glad I've got a Freightliner chassis.  I can go online and get a tremendous amount of information unique to my rig.  I can call them and get answers, and I can rest assured that their 24/7 toll-free phone line is always there to take my call.

If you haven't been to Camp Freightliner, do yourself a favor.  Go.


  1. Hello Mike;
    I attended this course last year and have to agree with you, great course and you can learn a lot. Mike has great knowledge on pretty much everything about Freightliner. I need to schedule now the Part 2 of the course.

  2. Good luck with that, Hector! The Camp Freightliner slots are few and far between and fill up quickly. You better check their site frequently if you want to have any shot at attending.