Thursday, April 16, 2015

New Coach, Old Coach ... What Exactly Have We Gotten Ourselves Into?

We bought our new Roadtrek at night ... let me just say right now that this is a bad idea.

Wait, let me back up.

We purchased our new 2014 Roadtrek E-Trek on a rainy last day of the month. Although I had been looking at small Class C motorhomes for many months, I'll be honest and admit that it was a somewhat impulsive purchase since I had only discovered Roadtrek the week before. We were supposed to be checking them out to see if we even thought the size would work.  Still, we knew that the dealer had in their inventory a new 2014 at a good price, and since they were eager to deal and we liked what we were seeing in the other RTs, we asked them to bring it to the lot.

We worked the deal with the coach unseen; it was at another location.  Here is where our absolute naivety comes into play: we assumed that this would be much like buying a car.  We've bought many (too many!) new cars over the decades and it never occurred to us that the Roadtrek would be in anything but pristine condition.

That evening when we finally saw the coach (before going into finance) we found a few issues inside the coach.  Honestly, we spent so much time fiddling with how to set up mattresses (which we never did figure out that night as the mattress we were trying it with wasn't even for the RS E-Trek) that we didn't go through the coach with a fine tooth comb.  And as I said, it was dark, so it was impossible to inspect the exterior (and we didn't know that we needed to).

The morning we took delivery we were in for several shocks! There was a sizable dent in the back door, and the awning cover looked as if someone had dragged it against a wall for 10 feet. There were other nicks and scratches on all four sides of the coach.  Inside there were broken and missing latches, a missing knob for opening a window, missing equipment (no tables being the major one), tears in the ultra leather, and more. Someone had taken the Micro SD card from the radio. They couldn't even locate one of the keys!

I won't detail the entire process of getting the coach back into shape, but I will say that the dealer has been fine to work with and is getting everything fixed for us. It's just a slow process; we took delivery 45 days ago and we are still missing a table and need a few other things attended to.

Did I mention that our unit had nearly 1200 miles on it when we took delivery? That was a surprise as well, although we learned that motorhomes are often driven to shows, between dealer locations, and even to the dealers from the factory.

We did have to take care of the missing key ourselves, which involved two separate trips to the Mercedes dealer (taking time from work which means lost income). We're still awaiting reimbursement for this expense. Then the DEF sensor went off and adding DEF didn't reset it, so we had to take it in again.

At the Mercedes dealer we learned that the warranty had been activated 4 months prior to our buying the unit. This was unsettling, to say the least. Roadtrek is fixing the issue, but we still don't know how it happened. This was supposed to be a new unit, and only Mercedes or RT can activate the warranty, so we started having some doubts.

Was it really a new unit? We'd heard a horror story of someone who was fraudulently sold a new RT that was clearly used (including having the previous owner's service records in it). I was pretty worried that maybe we'd been swindled, but Papa stayed calm and we really don't think the unit was previously sold, although it must have been "used" by the dealer or employees when going to shows etc.

The biggest hurdle remaining will be the replacement of the inverter (first replacement arrived broken, second replacement was the wrong unit, third replacement was supposed to be expedited but hasn't arrived) and testing the batteries. It is unknown to us how well the electrical system was maintained while on the dealer's lot, another downside to buying a previous model year that has been in inventory for a long time.

I couldn't even write this account while we were deep in it; I had support from the Roadtreking Facebook group but the roller coaster was so wild that I might have said something I would want to take back later. Even though everything isn't yet taken care of I think that we are coming out the other side and that everything is going to be okay.

If I had it to do all over again would I choose the discount of buying from the dealer's inventory over having gotten a more recently built unit? I can't say for certain that I would. Ordering a unit to be built after purchase might have afforded me more peace of mind in the long run.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

To Boldly Go ...

There is a new van in my driveway.  Not just a new van, a 2014 Roadtrek E-Trek class/type B motorhome.  It's significantly larger than my Honda Odyssey; we traded in the Odyssey and while a couple of us sniffed over that the first night, our loss was soon forgotten once we took delivery of the E-Trek.

I should probably explain how the E-Trek came to be parked in my driveway. Just a week ago I wouldn't have thought it was possible. I'd been researching class C motorhomes for several months (at which I can only say that if I was buying a class C I would choose Lazy Daze, but at present the wait is one year for them to build you one, and they are still really big). I talked to Papa about renting a motorhome to take to races, and exploring that avenue I really thought that was the direction we would go. Still, I was searching online for used Lazy Daze coaches, and I showed a few to Papa. Off-handedly, he said, What about something like our neighbor's Chinook?

I fell down the rabbit hole that is the world of class B motorhomes, and once I decided that a Class B would be perfect for us as a touring vehicle that would also be a tiny house on wheels, I emerged with a strong feeling that a Roadtrek would be the best RV for us. First off, they have a fantastic reputation. Second, we need to sleep four people in the coach, and not four small people -- four adult-sized people (but luckily two of them are still teens and can make do with the front twin bed set-up without too many twinges).

At first I thought that the 170 Versatile might work for us, but I was mighty impressed with the E-Trek (an RS Adventurous with a full eco package including solar panel and mega battery storage). Since there is a dealer not too far from us we went to look at Roadtreks and to ask about a 2014 E-Trek that they showed in their inventory. At this point we were thinking that we were doing research for a future purchase, but at the same time we knew that buying a coach now would be a great thing for our family.

But well, we were there on a rainy last day of the month, and they had this unit that had been on their lot for quite some time ... it didn't take long for us to decide to try to work a deal and bring this baby home.

(Soon I'll write a post on the pros and cons of buying a unit that has been sitting around; we're still learning them.)

The day between working the deal and taking delivery of the unit I puzzled over a name for our new rig. I had never come up with a name for our Escape trailer in the three years we'd owned it; the previous owners called it The Grape Escape and while that name didn't work for me (not in the slightest) I didn't know what would, so it still sits being called nothing more than The Escape.  But this van deserved something more.

It was Papa who told me its name ... Enterprise. Or as the boys declared, The Starship Enterprise, because they had already decided that the Roadtrek is more spaceship than ordinary vehicle. How could I fail to see the brilliance in such a name (especially the same week that the world lost Leonard Nimoy)?

Race season is upon us so it will be short trips for now ... I can hardly wait!