I signed the deal today with National Indoor RV Centers on my 4551. I am waiting for the specials to come back with pricing, but my build slot has been projected for run #20 with a delivery date of early December 2021.
Here are the specs of the build:
London Aire 4551
Curt Spectrum IBC
Glazed Maple Matte Cabinets
Rear Camera Prep for Stacker
Winegard Auto Open Face + In Motion
Sleep Number Bed
LED under ODS slides
30 Amp Connection for Stacker
Bay 4 – Non-Power Storage
RV Sanicon Turbo
I made a lot of changes to the interior. All of these decisions where made on the phone with my salesperson, getting texts and emails to show the difference. It really was a very simple process.
King Aire Floor
Dutch Star Backsplash in Kitchen & Mid Bath
Dark Shower Floor ILO White
Single tone leather ceiling treatments
single tone leather couch, captain chairs
Removed Nail Heads on Furniture & Bedroom headboard
Adjustable shelves in rear medicine cabinet
Dutch star 4369 Dresser ILO standard dresser
(2) adjustable shelves in both sides of bedroom dresser
LED Lights in dressers & rear ward robe
GE Advantium Microwave – Vent to exterior wall
110V USB outlet in rear wardrobe
110V Outlet in Each dresser
110V Outlet DS Bay 2 – NON Inverted (for power washer)
110V Outlet – Freezer Bay
110V Outlet – Non-Inverted – Under Microwave towards front of coach
12v outlet Front drive – Non-ignition controlled
Conduit from Electrical Bay to Mid Bath Electrical
Just a few weeks ago I started the process of researching purchasing a new coach. The beginning of that process is found in this post.
Since posting, I have been running numbers on both the purchase price of a new RV and the sale of my existing 2019 Dutch Star 4369. After reviewing market data, price quotes on the discounts, and product lines, I decided to upgrade to the 2022 London Aire 4551.
With the 2022 London Aire, I will not have to add the HWH Active Air that I have installed on my prior Dutch Stars, as it includes the Valid air system. In 2017 I test drove a London Air with the Valid system and found it to be very comparable in performance to the Active air. This has the added benefit of being supported by Spartan and included in the chassis warranty coverage.
2021 has turned out to be a very demanding market for new RVs. Sales are at a record high, while supply chain is suffering, and employees are hard to retain. This has caused delays in the production line, and a reduced model run.
Of the dealers I contacted, all where within $5,000.00. I was able to get a 28.6% discount off MSRP, which is comparable to a normal year. I also was able to choose between several build slots. I ended up choosing National Indoor RV centers for my order based heavily on their service model.
With my prior Dutch star orders, I have always done a factory pickup, which allowed me to utilize the factory to fix problems that I identified. This has been a tremendous value to me, and has allowed me to plan trips with confidence.
The downside of the factory experience is the slow pace of Nappanee. The towns motto is “embrace the pace”, and they truly live it. A normal business would have the repair items completed within 1/2 the time that it takes to get things done in Nappanee. Add to this the time of year, projected December of 2021, and the additional cost of $6,000.00 for a factory delivery, it is easy to see why a different experience is welcome.
My expectation of National Indoor RV is that they will exceed the quality of the factory deliver experience, in shorter time, and less cost.
I am going to describe many of the things that I have experienced. I am going to start with the opening statement of:
“WOW – I AM VERY GLAD I DID A FACTORY PICKUP”
The experience I had this week has blown me away. The absolute professionalism, attention to detail, and good ol customer service is just the beginning of why I am happy.
I did a factory delivery in 2013, and during that time I never met my team lead, and had very little feedback. I was still happy then. Part of the issue in 2013 is that I rushed them to meet a deadline, and should never have done that.
This time, I did the exact opposite. I gave them 6 weeks instead of the standard 4 weeks to prepare. This was primarily due to a planned trip to Europe, but also knowing that the time would potentially be used to address items.
I was asked about how you do a factory delivery with a family, and I held of on responding until I tried it. My oldest 2 are in college, but we home school our 11 & 7 year old children. I wanted the entire family to participate, but the 6am schedule was going to be rough, and then there is the whole question of what do we do from 6am to 2:30p.
The new service center is very nice, but it feels like a library when you walk in there with 2 young kids.
To make things easier on our family, I rented a home for the week. We drove from Texas and arrived Sunday afternoon and settled into the home. Monday morning at 8:30 we arrived at the new facility and got to work inspecting and learning.
After the initial OOH’s and AahHs, the kids went to work opening every door, looking for scratches, missing parts, and anything that would later be blamed on them.
My wife started looking over the paint, and I started playing with all the new gadgets inside.
My 11yr old son took charge of testing the electrical circuits using the plug in tester, and made an interesting discovery right away that the kitchen table and couch are not on GFCI but the other side is. (more on that later)
My 7yr old daughter found areas under the slide where the protectant was scratched exposing raw wood…it was just at the right height for her. She was so proud, she wanted to make sure I posted that
The family spent all of Monday with the coach, and then we all went on a test drive. During the test drive it was obvious that the coach was driving much better than our 2013.
Freightliner has really improved the ride. Keep in mind, that we are comparing a 2019 Stock 43′ Dutchstar to a 2013 43′ Dutchstar with Active Air. The smoothness of the 2019 is very noticeable. I think this has to do with better shocks, and larger tires. Our 2013 had 315/80’s all the way around, where as the 2019 has 365’s up front. Being able to drop from 115psi to 105psi up front helps a lot too.
After the test drive we spent the evening testing more, and building our list.
–FPU DAY 1 Items found—
Throughout the day we made lists of items found. Our tech was with us the entire time, making note of what we found and creating work orders. I found it helpful to keep my own list, and then verify that our lists were in sync.
The biggest area of concern I had was the paint. We found many areas where there were buff marks. I am going to get out of chronological order here for this issue because this is not yet resolved. Through out the week, this list kept getting bigger as we would move it into different lighting and find other areas that have problems. The end result is that I will be returning at a later date for paint booth time. There are areas of the coach that need to be painted, and my lead felt that the cut and buff was not done properly, and needs to be fixed. I will know more later, but I felt this was the right answer. Three different days we had areas worked on, only to later see that the area worked on had new problems not previously seen. The lighting in the service bay is not proper for doing paint work, and you cannot see the swirls inside there.
Other issues found Day 1 are below. I am going to list the problem, and the resolution, even though the resolution most likely happened during the week.
Area below Kitchen sink had a trim piece unglued. –Resolution: Hot glue gun applied the trim
Zone 2 of the AC was showing 55 degrees for inside temp when all other zones showed 72 –Resolution: This was an issue that showed up a few weeks ago for another tech. That tech spent about a week trying to figure it out. This is actually an error code that does not exist, so it shows an improper temp. The problem is the freeze sensor was malfunctioning. The freeze sensor is in the rooftop unit, and inserted into the coils. When this malfunctions, it will report a lower than normal temp. There is not a magic number of what will be displayed, it will just be lower than normal. R&R freeze sensor resolved the problem.
Kitchen slide was making a noise during operation — Under the kitchen sink, toward the rear of the coach is a bundle of pipes and wires, all in a wire loom and zip ties. This is a very tight bundle that was catching on a metal trim piece as the slide operates. By trimming the aluminum, enough clearance was possible. The noise was eliminated, and a visual inspection during operation shows that there is no more contact.
Bedroom slide under coating has tear, exposed wood.
Resolution: Sealant applied over tape to prevent moisture entry
Fresh Water hose had kink going to back-flow device
Water reel leaning/bent
Resolution: The kink was due to the way it was routed, and the hose being too long. The water reel had to be R&R in order to fix the bend in the aluminum. Once the reel was removed, the tech cut the line shorter and routed the back-flow device towards the back of the water bay (out of site). This made for a straighter path, with no kinks. The spool was reinstalled, and required a shim on the back corner to keep it looking straight.
12v Electrical panel behind Shore cord was not closing properly
Resolution: The tripod option I had selected for ground satellite connections had 2 cables running in a way that prevented the panel from closing. These cables had to be re-routed.
Caulking Issues: Multiple areas had caulking issues. Day 1 I found about 3, but throughout the week I kept finding more the harder I looked. The areas that had issues are: Girard Awnings, Girard Shades, Drivers window, Front Cap trim on driver side, driver side marker lights, side cameras, front LED lights, Kitchen slide top rear corner, Front foot well, and mid coach roof trim joints.
Slide LED lights Don’t match Girard Lights
Resolution: The Girard lights are preinstalled by Girard and are a “Cool” light. Newmar does not purchase or stock any led light strip that is cool. All of their led strips are a warm light. This is used in multiple places, such as the pantry, the front driver cabinet and the stair entryway.
Newmar does have an led bar that is cool, used in the bays of the coach, but this is a different type fixture, and comes in specific lengths, not cut to fit. The answer ends up being, there is nothing that they are going to do about it, other than make a note to production for future coaches. This is easily resolved on amazon, and something I may do.
Peg board bay extremely hard to close Resolution: Although all bay doors are hard to close when new, this one was not going to close. The tech adjusted it so it would close better.
Diamond brite had stretch marks, bubbles, and scuffs.
Resolution: The Diamond brite section was removed and reinstalled. The guy that did it made it look so simple, I was amazed. I have heard how other struggle to get it to come off. He used a water soap solution, along with a heat gun. Once he got a corner going, he kept it wet and heated and just pulled on it. He didn’t allow it to tear, which appears to be key.
Newmar logo on full wall slide was crooked
Resolution: It was R&R. I thought this was funny, as it wasn’t just off slightly…it was very crooked
Both drive axle outer wheels where scratched badly
resolution: Newmar really came through here. Originally I was told this would not be repaired during FPU, but I would have to deal with Freightliner at a later date. I wasn’t looking forward to a Freightliner visit so soon, but didn’t see any other option. On Wednesday, when my Team leader returned from vacation, he placed a call and had new wheels delivered same day. Newmar paid a local tire shop to R&R the wheels on the coach, and I was able to get the shop to install my Centramatics at the same time. Worked out perfectly!
Chassis battery bay clips broken on fuse box Resolution: A new fuse cover was delivered, and reinstalled
Engine block shows rust, along with rust on several accessories and pullies Resolution: Freightliner treated all of the areas and repainted. They used a wax heat paint, but I was never able to get the brand.
This is the end of the Issues found and reported during the FPU that are warranty items.
While at my FPU, I discovered the doors to the bedroom do not allow for any privacy. I brought this up with my tech on Tuesday. I didn’t know that this was an issue when I placed my order, and it wasn’t until after my coach was built that I even knew they had glass.
I also brought up the lack of what is called a privacy box in the front side windows. I showed him a couple of pictures found here of what I wanted.
They tried to have the wood work completed by Friday, but it was clear on Wednesday it wasn’t going to happen. Since I have a scheduled appointment in Iowa for HWH Active air, I could not wait until Monday, so we have agreed that I will return after my Active air to have the millwork items installed.
Another request I made during FPU is the anti belllow device for the Girard slide toppers.
While discussing this with the team lead and my tech, they agreed that the magnets need to be added to their checklist and checked all of mine. They all needed to be adjusted, and that was done as part of the warranty work.
I asked them to install 2 additional antibellow brackets on my FWS, and 1 each on the other slides. They were unable to put the main awnings out inside the shop, and it was raining very hard, so we didn’t deploy the awnings. I found out today that the rear awning does not clear antibelow device on the bedroom slide, so I had to remove it. The bedroom slide topper is the smallest, and held with the same 2 magnets as all of the others, so it is the least worrisome.
Wednesday was the day that the Air conditioner issue was worked on. The new service center has a nice catwalk system to be able to safely walk around and access the roof of the coach. While the tech was working on the air conditioner, I went up there and took pictures of the roof and accessories.
While I was up there, I started looking for my prewire specials (1 Cat 6 and 1 RG6) and discovered it was not labeled. We had to put in a request for this to be located. Friday morning the techs arrived with a toner, and started hunting. They found it after about 30 minutes of looking, with only a single hole in the roof, and then removing a ceiling light.
The cables where then covered with a plate and sealant. Glad I discovered it missing when I did.
A few of the special projects I did during the down time this week are install the BMK and the HW50C Surge protector.
The BMK installation was a priority for me, as this is the best way to maintain a healthy battery.
In order to install this, I needed 2 4ft 2/0 Cables made. I was able to get this from Newmar as a parts item.
The default battery configuration has 3 ground wires connected to the battery bank, in 2 different locations. I removed those 3 cables, and placed them on the load side of the shunt. I then chose the battery furthest from the positive connection to run my negative wires to the battery side of the shunt, using both 2/0 cables between the shunt and battery.
With this installation, the battery tray will still fully extend.
**CAUTION:: When disconnecting your batteries, you must remove the POSITIVE first. Failure to do so will destroy all of your inverter accessories such as the BMK, AGS-N, and possibly the inverter itself. The positive cable is the first to be removed, and last to be installed. Never disconnect the ground while there is a positive battery connection.
I know this defies how we were all taught to deal with DC connections, but this is specifically mentioned in the Magnum manual.
For the surge protector, I wanted to make sure I could easily return back to the factory setup if I ever wanted to. I removed the cord from the reel to the surge/transfer switch, and installed that to the input side of the EMS-HW50C. I had previously ordered a 4ft section of this same cord from GlennDinning, and used that to run from the output of the EMS-HW50C to the input of the Surge/Transfer switch.
The location I used for mounting the EMS-HW50C was where the cable/ground sat connection was located. I relocated that to the ceiling of that bay, since it is rarely used, and still very usable in the new location. This allows for easy access to the EMS-HW50C. The remote was secured with 2 sided tape to the bay door.
I have a spy at the Newmar factory this week. Mark was in Nappanee to tour the factory while his coach was being built. He went outside on a self guided tour of the coaches waiting for delivery, and took these spy shots of my 2019 DSDP 4369.
It was November 2012 that I finalized my order on the 2013 DSDP. In order to get to that point I had endured 3 bad dealerships, with one being a failed delivery earlier in November. The dealership we chose at the time ended up losing their newmar contract, and ever since then I have been paying attention to dealerships that I would even consider dealing with. There are plenty to choose from that are reputable, but a few really stand out.
Price is always a concern, and often I buy on price alone. Alright, most of the time I buy on price alone. In this case the additional factors that came into play is working with a dealer that there is absolutely no question about their history of standing behind their product and delivering exactly what they say they will. A couple of things that were important to me: 1) Factory delivery, 2) Keeping my RV until then, 3) Not playing games, and 4) Delivery in October.
As we all know, May 11 was the day that all the information was being released. I started emailing several dealers on the 9th, to establish a relationship, and to be on their list for first responses.
When I did receive the initial information about what was new, the changes from 2018 to 2019 are not what I would consider significant. Unlike the 2015 to 2016, there is nothing brand new about the 2019 Dutch star other than the exterior end caps. All of the technology that is in the 2019 has been available for Dutch star for at least a year, and most of it multiple years, with the exception of the Digital Dash. All of the known issues with prior years, such as Tag Axle, Slide Level, and front axle weight have been addressed, so the change to a new model year is going to be much less strain on the production line than some prior years. For that reason, I decided to jump on the order ASAP.
I placed calls or sent emails to my personal top 3, and ended up choosing to deal with Chad @ Midway RV. He not only responded with the information I wanted, didn’t waste my time, but also provided fair pricing up front without haggle. Early on I expressed the concern about timing, with factory delivery in October, meaning a September production date. Because this week was so frantic, and I had specials, it was hard to nail down an exact timeline, but Chad was able to hold a spot for me while we worked out the final details.
On paper, we had decided that the 4362 was the right coach for us. The floor plan is very similar to our current 4347, with several improvements. From the moment I started working with Midway, we were talking about the 4362, the specials, options, etc. I even had Chad send in several requests from Newmar for the specials. I told him before we signed the paper, I was going to another dealer to see the 4362 in person, and would sign afterwards.
After comparing the 4362 to the 4369, and going from one to another multiple times, we ended up choosing the 4369. Both are great floor plans, and it was a tough decision. The reason we choose the 4369 over the 4362 is listed below. This is not a negative to the 4362, just our personal choice.
Shower – The 4369 has the step-up at the bedroom to bathroom. The 4362 has this step up much further back. The result is the step into the shower is a large step-up. We didn’t like this.
Pantry – The 4369 has a pantry nearly twice the size of the 4362…Huge improvement for an area that we really could use more storage.
DS Couch – The 4369 couch is 74” vs 68” on the 4362. We have tall kids, so this is a feature they will enjoy. The ODS couch is larger in the 4362 (92” vs 87”), but they both make the same size bed. The way that the DS Jack Knife bed and ODS side bed fold out leaves room to walk between them. This is not the case in the 4347, and as far as I am concerned, a MAJOR upgrade. Traveling with kids, we use the beds all the time.
Mid Toilet Room – The 4369 felt easier to access. On paper the opposite looked to be the case.
Areas that we felt the 4362 was better:
Washer Dryer Location – We are not crazy about the 4369 location for the W/D, and feel the 4362 location is better.
Walk in Closet – The walk-in closet is amazing. We have really enjoyed this. We are hoping since we are now traveling as a family of 4 most of the time, the room won’t be missed…time will tell.
Linen Closet in Master Bath – This closet is one that we have now, and I am hoping we aren’t going to miss this too much.
That pretty much sums up the differences. When I called Chad to tell him we had changed to the 4369, he almost laughed at me (didn’t but was close), saying that he couldn’t figure out why we weren’t doing that to begin with.
Now on to the order. From the order sheet, the options we chose are:
Bermuda Glazed Maple High Gloss
Dishwasher in a Drawer
Freezer on a slide
2pc Stacked Washer
Prep for Ground Sat
Xite Dash Radio
Euro Booth Dinete with extra leaves & 2 chairs
Heated Drivers & Pass Seats
Recessed Dock Lights
Surge Transfer Switch
Baggage Door Stainless Steel Trim Kit
Large Tray – 1 Side (Opposoite Oasis)
Large Tray – 1 Side (DS Large Full pass thru bay. Only ½ will have a sliding tray )
MCD Power Shades
Safe in Wall
Shower Assist Handle
Hot Water at Generator
Girard Package Upgrade
Large Kitchen Window
The Specials we chose are:
GE Advantium Convection Oven ILO Standard Microwave
KG19-100 FLOOR TILE Laid in the KGDB Pattern /c CREAM rubber strip
RUN CAT6 & RG6 from roof to OHC above driver
RUN CAT6 and RG6 from OHC above driver to AV cabinet above televator
RUN CAT6 from AV cabinet above televator to bedroom av cabinet
DASH TO BE ALL BLACK – NO TWO TONE
I was denied the special to have the Oasis pre-heat option installed, so Midway will be doing this for me after factory delivery. All other specials I requested were approved.
I am told that the production date is in September, with an October FPU. It will be 30-60 days before I get more concrete dates.
he custom color we chose for the exterior is based on the LADP Caprice. I changed the placement of the colors until i found one that looked right using Adobe Illustrator.
The screen representation is no where near the actual, so I am attaching a copy of what one looks like. The Marina Black will have a blue appearance in some light.
I will be working on a list of planned customization’s. So far this is what I have on the list:
OASIS PreHeat Loop
HWH Active Air
Centramatics all the way around
Fence Post Sewer Hose Holder
Weeboost LTE Signal booster
Wifi Directional Booster
Spot Free Rinse / Pressure washer install
Soundbar replacement / Upgrade
Sewer 360 Siphon Vent
MaxAIR Vent covers
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