Gaffney, South Carolina
Freightliner Lobby waiting for Service
For those RV owners that have motor homes with a Freightliner Chassis, you may be familiar with the Freightliner Service Center located in Gaffney, SC. As opposed to all other Freightliner Service Centers, the Gaffney location specializes in motor homes and is considered by many to be the best place to have your chassis serviced. That’s not to say that there aren’t other great service centers, it’s just that Gaffney focuses on the motor home and treats it’s customer base in a way that builds confidence in their ability to properly handle all your needs. In addition, they offer a two day course (Camp Freightliner) on their product to educate owners in proper maintenance and on performance of the many motor home chassis. There is also a second follow on course that allows the owner to participate in the actual maintenance. To facilitate your stay they have twenty electric only sites with facilities to take on water and/or dump your tanks, if necessary. This certainly helps to make your visit for service more tolerable. The only downside to this location is that it’s popularity usually requires an appointment several months in advance. If you are interested you can take a look at previous posts on my great experience at Gaffney, and also about a not so great experience at another Freightliner service center not specializing in motor homes.
This was our two year service which is determined by the date the chassis is manufactured and not the date of sale. Even though we took delivery in October of 2015 for our 2016 coach our chassis was manufactured in May so that’s the date for our yearly maintenance. We had our first year work done in May of 2016. There is a six month service interval, but we bypassed that as we would have had to have it done shortly after taking delivery in October 2015. I know some folks prefer to do their own maintenance or maybe even stretch some of the recommended service intervals, but for me it’s a small price to pay to have these knowledgeable folks take care of everything. After all, we spent a lot of money to buy this complex home on wheels so it would be foolish to try to save a few bucks and not get the best service available. In fact, this year the techs observed a condition with the tag axle that I was unaware of and probably would have missed had I not taken it to Freightliner. More on that issue a little later.
Below is a copy of our bill which I believe is typical for the two year service. Please note that it also includes service for our generator and to have the coach weighed. It also reflects a 5% discount for being a member of the Freightliner Owners Club.
2017 Two Year Service
Registration and Customer Lounge with Three Service Bays on each side
On the Lift
Now as good as the service in Gaffney can be, it’s not without it’s faults. Since my visit in May, it has come to my attention through the iRV2 forum that there is an alignment issue with many of the tag axles on the 2016 and maybe even through 2017 passive steer chassis. I have not heard of issues with the 2018 model year as it may be too soon to tell as they haven’t been in production long enough. Many owners are discovering tire scuffing and scalping in as little as a few thousand miles. There is a Newmar bulletin on the chassis’ that details what they suspect might be the problem and outlines the proper fix, however Freightliner has not issued a recall. I think that this issue may go further than those listed in this bulletin as mine was affected and it’s not listed. I have read about other 40 foot coaches not identified that are having similar problems. Fortunately, my scuffing seems to be minor at this point and hopefully the alignment will solve the problem so that there is no further damage.
Here is the iRV2 link to the discussion of the issue:
I mentioned earlier that Gaffney was not without it’s faults and this is why. The tech that serviced my unit had to notice the scuffing on my tires to know that the tag was out of alignment and then he took it upon himself to do an alignment to fix the problem which, by the way, was covered under warranty. However, some friends of ours having their coach serviced at the same time and with a unit specifically listed as a potential problem did not have an alignment done. They were unaware of the problem at the time and I’m sure had visible scuffing and/or scalping of their tires present. There seems to be no coordinated effort to identify the problem and correct it. Instead of depending on the thoroughness of the technician that you happen to be assigned, this issue needs to go on a must check list for them. It’s not like they are a truck center and see a motor home on occasion, they deal with only motor homes.
A second issue that arose this year was my coach weight. Below is a copy of the weights done at Gaffney in 2016 and 2017. 2017 is on the left. As you can see there is quite a discrepancy between the tag and drive axles. Unfortunately, I didn’t focus on the weights at the time so I didn’t question it. However, I believe the weights to be incorrect as we are carrying basically the same load distributed in the same manner as 2016 so it is highly unlikely that it would have changed this much. I think they backed the unit up before weighing which would automatically dump the tag axle putting more weight on the drive. I plan to have the unit weighed again this fall at another location which should determine the accuracy of the Gaffney weights. The tire pressure recommendations don’t match the Michelin chart either, but I have to say that Newmar’s recommendations didn’t match when we initially took delivery of the motor home. So the lesson here is to become as knowledgeable about your coach as you can and check the information when you are able.
2016 and 2017 weights
Having said all that, I trust these folks to do the right thing more than any other Freightliner service center and will continue to try to coordinate our trips through Gaffney so that we can get any necessary service performed.
We are about to get back into the RV world again instead of watching from the sideline. We just had two new AC units installed at the house – Ughhhh – and everything setup for our extended absence. Plus, Liz is doing better and ready for an extended trip. WhooooHooo!! We did take three weeks at the end of May to meet some of my retired friends from work at the beach in NC, to get our yearly service from Freightliner in Gaffney and to spend a week at Lake Lure, NC at a nice motorcoach resort that we discovered so it hasn’t been a complete drought. More on our trip a little later.
Below is a map of our upcoming adventure which will start on August 18th and end sometime the last full week of October.
An onlooker witnesses an annular solar eclipse. MY1211 1500684 CC: YS4 COLLEEN PINSKI 05/20/2012 Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Our first stop will be in South Carolina to view the eclipse (see previous blog post). We have tickets for the Roper Mountain Observatory in Greenville, SC. It’s in the path of totality and they have programs all weekend on the event and will have astronomers on site during the eclipse to explain what is occurring during each
phase of it. I’m sure it’s going to be crowded, but they have five viewing areas for everyone and I think it will be a lot of fun. Certainly a once in a lifetime experience. Now, please please let the weather cooperate. One word of caution came to us from, of all places, Amazon. We ordered solar eclipse glasses from their site that were listed as meeting all the necessary safety specs, but Amazon notified us and said that the seller has not verified that they do in fact meet the specs and not to use them!! So be careful and double check your purchase. Thankfully they notified us and they are refunding our money. Here is a link to the Roper Mountain site. They have info on the eclipse too.
We then head to Illinois and will visit with my mother and other friends along the way. We hope to finally make it to Michigan this year for at least a week (Travis Bay). We had a month planned last year that included the UP, but we had to cancel due to assisting my mother with moving to another room in her health care facility. Then we travel to Nappanee, IN to Newmar. We have had issues of premature wear on our furniture and Newmar has agreed to re-upholster all of it even though we are out of warranty. I have to say that they are a company that stands behind their product. Newmar says that it will take seven working days to do the job which will cut briefly into our next event which is the Hoots Rally in Marion, NC. Hoots is a group of Newmar owners who also frequent the iRV2 forum. From there we motor to the Outer Banks of NC to again meetup with fellow retired friends from my former job before we work our way back to Sevierville, TN for a week. Finally we travel to Lake Lure, NC to enjoy the late October foliage before heading home.
Here are some pics from our last trip.
BBQ in Asheville, NC
One of the Many Breweries
Liz at Lake Lure
Hendersonville, NC – A Great Little Town
Motor Coach Resort Lake Lure, NC
Apple Valley – Our Site
Montana on Alert
I look forward to sharing with everyone our upcoming travels and hopefully can provide some information that will be helpful to everyone in their travels.
Hey Everyone!! Sorry to be gone so long, but we had to take care of a serious medical issue with Liz that kept me away from the blog and us off the road. I’m happy to say that after three emotionally filled months with numerous tests and countless trips to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fl, I think we are on the mend. Without burdening everyone with a long explanation, Liz’s vertebrae were collapsing with little or no trauma to her back. She also had a break in one of her shoulder blades and three fractured ribs. Geeez! One MRI indicated an area of concern in her spine that was thought to be cancer. The doctors thought this potential cancer was weakening her bones and allowing them to break easily. However, fortune was on our side and thanks to God the biopsy turned out be benign. So, it appears that she is dealing with severe osteoporosis, which presents its own issues but is certainly preferable to cancer. For now, two vertabrae were replaced by a surgical procedure called kyphoplasty. It has helped reduce the pain and stabilized her spine. Thanks to all our friends and readers who sent prayers our way.
Now on to the main subject of this post. On August 21st of this year there will be a total solar eclipse. Taken from Wikipedia – The August 2017 eclipse will be the first with a path of totality crossing the USA’s Pacific coast and Atlantic coast since 1918. Also, its path of totality makes landfall exclusively within the United States, making it the first such eclipse since the country’s independence in 1776. (The path of totality of the eclipse of June 13, 1257, was the last to make landfall exclusively on lands currently part of the USA.)
Total Solar Eclipse
Consequently, this is a significant event with the opportunity for people to view it from a large part of the United States. The next total eclipse will occur in April of 2024 but will not cross the entire country. It will come from the southwest through Texas and head northeast through Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, New York and Vermont before entering Canada and then back through a portion of Maine. Since I have a better idea where I’ll be this August than in 2024, I’m going to give it a shot this year.
An onlooker witnesses an annular solar eclipse. MY1211 1500684 CC: YS4 COLLEEN PINSKI 05/20/2012 Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Path across the U.S.
Our current plans have us heading to Illinois towards the end of August so we have quite a few areas of opportunity in our travel path to view this event. Of course, it doesn’t matter where you are on the path if the weather doesn’t cooperate. It could only take a few misplaced clouds to ruin your experience. We plan to be in Greenville, SC where there is an observatory located at the Roper Mountain Science Center. In this area of South Carolina the eclipse will last around two and a half minutes (the time of total eclipse varies from a little less than two minutes to a little less than three depending on your location). The science center will have programs all weekend and into Monday that help make the viewing of the eclipse more interesting. Here is a link:
As you can imagine camping in the immediate Greenville area is already booked. I would guess that this will be the case in many areas in the “path of totality.” We found a place about 40 miles away with space available. However, you may want to consider not anchoring yourself to one location and remaining flexible to move with the weather forecast. It could mean parking at some temporary location at the last minute to observe the event, but the flexibility of moving would certainly enhance your odds of a good viewing area due to weather.
Finally, I should advise everyone viewing the eclipse, whether total or partial to wear appropriate viewing glasses. Regular sunglasses are NOT APPROPRIATE. Approved eye ware is available on the internet for only a few dollars. Alternate methods of viewing are also available, but involve indirect techniques which may not be as spectacular.
Solar Eclipse - How to View the Solar Eclipse - YouTube
There is a lot of information out there if you want to take the time to do some research. Below are a few sites that I found helpful.