Livin’ Lite & Ford Introduce Ford-branded RVs

Looking to spend some time exploring the countryside in the all-new 2015 F-150?

TOP-ford-truck-camperNow it’s possible to sleep comfortably inside a Ford-branded camper, thanks to recreational vehicle builder Livin’ Lite.

Livin’ Lite and Ford Motor Company have agreed to license a line of Ford-branded aluminum-constructed truck campers for the all-new aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150 pickup truck.

Beginning in 2013, Livin’ Lite began working with Ford designers to adopt design cues from the aluminum-body F-150 into their aluminum campers.

The 2015 F-150 is up to 700 pounds lighter than the 2014 truck, and Livin’ Lite campers are typically 30 percent lighter than the competition. This weight-saving combination is designed to improve fuel efficiency for RV customers.

The Ford truck camper will incorporate a new and unique fiberglass front nose cap. The exterior of the camper will be fiberglass with full-body paint to match the 2015 Ford F-150.

“I can’t tell you how excited we are to work with a company as prestigious as Ford and bring their iconic brand name back into the RV industry,” said Scott Tuttle, president of Livin’ Lite. “Ford believes enough in our unique aluminum construction to allow us to carry the ‘Built Ford Tough’ label, which says a lot.”

Livin' Lite & Ford Introduce Ford-branded RVs
Livin’ Lite & Ford Introduce Ford-branded RVs

The debut Ford-branded camper model design will appear at the 52nd Annual National RV Trade Show, December 2-4 at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Additional Ford truck campers are also planned. There will be a Ford F-series of campers to match Ford F-250 and F-350 trucks. The design lines will work with those models as well. All truck camper floor plans will work well as Ford truck campers.

Livin’ Lite plans to release other models in time for sale in 2015. The lineup of Ford-branded RVs will include tent campers, travel trailers, truck campers, toy haulers, and fifth wheels for sale through Livin’ Lite dealers.

In the 1970s, Ford had a dedicated RV division with a team of engineers and marketing professionals. In 1973, Ford debuted the American Road, a molded-fiberglass truck camper that was decades ahead of its time.

The 11.5 foot Ford American Road was designed to match Ford trucks and featured a basement with heated and insulated holding tanks, a full-booth face-to-face dinette, sprayed on urethane foam insulation, and a 100,000 mile, 40-degree below zero durability test.

Today, Livin’ Lite licenses Ford trademarks and is fully responsible for designing, engineering, and manufacturing Ford-branded recreational products with input from Ford Design.

2015-ford-f-150-aluminum
The aluminum 2015 Ford F-150.

Details

Livin’ Lite Recreational Vehicles

Livin’ Lite Recreational Vehicles is a leader in lightweight recreational vehicle manufacturing, and is based in Wakarusa, Indiana.

With a dealer distribution network throughout North America and internationally,  Livin’ Lite offers a full lineup of ultra-lightweight, aluminum-constructed RVs to fit every family size and budget.

Livin’ Lite manufactures Quicksilver All Aluminum Ultra Light Campers, Ultralight Campers, Lightweight Campers, and Ultra-Lightweight Campers.

Because the campers are so lightweight, they can be towed by even the smallest cars.

Livin’ Lite’s Quicksilver camper was named Roaming Times’ Green RV of the year in 2008 for its energy-saving lightness, long-life all-aluminum construction, and completely formaldehyde-free construction.

Address: P.O. Box 528, 1025 E. Waterford Street, Wakarusa, IN 46573

Phone: (574) 862-2228

Website: www.livinlite.com

Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Michigan, manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents.

With about 189,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company.

Website: www.corporate.ford.com

Worth Pondering…

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.

—Edward Abbey

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Thor Motor Coach Introduce Super Class C Motorhomes at Tampa SuperShow

The retail public received its first glimpse of the new Super C Motorhomes from Thor Motor Coach with the introduction of the new 33SW at the Tampa SuperShow.

Thor Motor Coach 33SW
Thor Motor Coach 33SW

This new model will be available in the Four Winds and Chateau Class C motorhome brands.

Known for its durability and ride quality, the Ford F-550 chassis serves as the foundation of the 33SW with a GVWR topping out at 19,500-pounds, 300-hp, and 660-lb.ft of torque from Ford’s 6.7L PowerStroke. These motorhomes are capable of towing up to 10,000, according to a news release.

The easy-to-drive Ford F-550 Super Duty platform offers owners the benefit of commercial strength and durability as well as a luxurious automotive cabin and superb ride quality. In addition to Thor Motor Coach’s service center network, these coaches will be backed by thousands of consumer-friendly Ford service centers throughout North America.

The coach comes standard with an electronic brake controller integrated in the dash, so consumers simply get in and go.

The Super C Motorhomes come standard with Thor Motor Coach’s HD-MAX High Definition Exteriors Finishes. Every 33SW comes with a long list of standard exterior features which include a 5.5 Onan generator with automatic start, dual 13.5K air conditioners, slam latch baggage doors, Bigfoot leveling jacks and a fully molded, one-piece front cap.

Thor Motor Coach Super Class C Motorhomes
Thor Motor Coach Super Class C Motorhomes

They also come standard with a Full-Size Residential Refrigerator, 30 inch over the range microwave, solid surface countertops, 1800-watt power inverter, and solar and privacy window roller shades.

“After the first day here in Tampa, we are getting great feedback on the new Super C Motorhomes. The new 33SW is turning heads with the additional living space created using the Ford F550 chassis,” stateded Joel Grimm, National Sales Manager for gas motorhomes at Thor Motor Coach.

“Features like diesel power, more maneuverability, better towing capability, and better driving comfort are what our customers tell us is missing from the larger Class C RV market.”

The 33SW specs include:

  • Chassis: Ford F-550 Super Duty
  • Engine: Power Stroke Turbo Diesel
  • Wheelbase: 255 inches
  • Exterior Length: 34 feet 6 inches
  • Exterior Height: 11 feet 7 inches
  • Exterior Width: 99 inches
  • Interior Height: 82 inches
  • Fresh Water Capacity: 75 gallons
  • Gray Water Capacity: 47 gallons
  • Black Water Capacity: 40 gallons
Model 33SW
Model 33SW

Details

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach was formed when Damon Motor Coach and Four Winds International strategically merged in late 2010. For over 23 years Damon and Four Winds have been building many of the most recognized brands of motorhomes. Thor Motor Coach manufactures Class A Front Engine Diesel motorhomes (Serrano and Avanti), Class A Diesel Pusher motorhomes (Astoria, Tuscany, and Palazzo), Class A Gas motorhomes (A.C.E., Hurricane, Daybreak, Windsport, Challenger, and Outlaw), and Class C motorhomes (Four Winds, Chateau, Siesta, Siesta Sprinter, Citation, and Citation Sprinter).

Thor Motor Coach is a subsidiary of Thor Industries, Inc., Jackson Center, Ohio, the world’s largest manufacturer of recreational vehicles.

Address: 701 County Road 15, PO Box 1486, Elkhart, Indiana 46516

Phone: (800) 860-5658

Website: thormotorcoach.com

Worth Pondering…

As I read, and thought, and stared at my stuff around me, I slowly realized a simple truth. The amount of freedom in my life was inversely proportional to the amount of stuff I had.

—Emily Fagen’s blog, Road Less Traveled

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Trailer Life Magazine Announces 2012 Readers’ Choice Award Winners

The results of Trailer Life magazine’s first-ever Readers’ Choice Awards are in and this year’s winners include many of North America’s most popular RVs, campgrounds, RV products, and services.

More than 220,000 Trailer Life readers were invited to choose from 100 brands and cast votes online at TrailerLife.com for their favorites in 25 categories such as Fifth-Wheel Trailer, Campground/Resort, and Satellite Hardware, according to a news release.

Among the winners are recognizable names such as Keystone, Camping World, Jayco, Banks Power, Pilot Flying J, and Cracker Barrel.

As true RV enthusiasts, Trailer Life readers are the experts. The Readers’ Choice Awards gave readers an opportunity to share their knowledge and recognize the companies that make their passion possible.

“We’re excited to tap into the wealth of knowledge Trailer Life readers have gained during years of experience as RV owners and travelers,” Trailer Life Chairman Marcus Lemonis said.

“Trailer Life readers know what works best, and for the first time—and moving forward on an annual basis—we’ve asked them to rate their favorite RVs, campgrounds, products and ancillary services.”

“The winners are the best of the best in the RV industry and we thank our loyal readers for participating in this valuable asset to the pages of Trailer Life magazine,” Trailer Life Publisher Bob Livingston said.

“Congratulations to all the winners for being at the top of their game.”

Trailer Life 2012 Readers’ Choice Award Gold winners are:

  • ADCO Products for Travel Trailer Cover
  • Banks Power for Performance Add-On
  • Camping World for RV Retailer
  • Carefree of Colorado for Awning
  • Colorado for State to RV In
  • Cracker Barrel for Sit-Down Restaurant
  • DirecTV for Satellite Provider
  • Dometic for Refrigerator
  • Equal-i-zer for Travel Trailer Hitch
  • Ford for Truck
  • Goodyear for Tires
  • Great Smoky Mountain Jellystone Camp-Resort for Campground/Resort
  • Honda for Portable Generator
  • Jayco for Folding Camper and Travel Trailer
  • Keystone for Fifth-wheel Trailer
  • Lance Camper for Truck Camper
  • Lucas Oil for Fuel Additive
  • Pilot Flying J for Fuel Station
  • Protect All for RV Cleaner
  • Reese for Fifth-wheel Hitch
  • Rhino Linings for Truck Bed Linings
  • Shell Rotella for Engine Oil
  • Thetford for RV Toilet
  • Winegard for Satellite Hardware

Gold, Silver, and Bronze levels were honored in each category, and the winners were presented with their awards at the 50th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky, November 27-29.

Details

Trailer Life Magazine

Trailer Life is the best-selling general interest RV publication in the country. Established in 1941, the magazine covers all recreational vehicles, including travel trailers, fifth-wheel trailers, folding trailers, pickup campers, and motorhomes. Trailer Life readers share an active interest in exploring the world and a love of RV travel.

In every issue, RV enthusiasts will find road tests, RV advice, travel features, product evaluations, and RV maintenance information.

Trailer Life is published by GS Media & Events, a division of Good Sam Enterprises, LLC (GSE).

GSE and its wholly owned subsidiaries serve the safety, security, comfort, and convenience needs of the North American outdoor and recreational vehicle market. With various companies, brands, products and services, GSE targets almost every aspect of this diverse and dynamic niche market.

Website: trailerlife.com

Worth Pondering…

Experience teaches only the teachable.

—Aldous Huxley

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More September RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced four recall notices involving four recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers—Ford Motor Company, Spartan Chassis, Winnebago Industries, and Jayco.

Ford Motor Company

Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford Motor Company is recalling 31 model year 2013 F-53 motorhome stripped chassis vehicles manufactured from July 10, 2012 through July 13, 2012.

These vehicles were assembled with incorrect steering gear adapter plate retention fasteners. Steering gear adapter plate fasteners could lead to torque loss in the steering gear attachment, potentially leading to loosening and subsequent separation of the steering gear over time.

Separation of the steering gear may lead to a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash.

Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the steering gear adapter plate retention fasteners, free of charge.

The safety recall is expected to begin on September 7, 2012. Owners may contact Ford at 1-866-436-7332.

Ford’s recall campaign number is 12S38.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to safercar.gov.

Spartan Chassis, Inc.

Charlotte, Michigan-based Spartan Chassis, Inc. is recalling 491 model year 2008-2013 K2 and MM motor home chassis, equipped with a Hendrickson independent front suspension.

The front brake chambers may contact the upper control arm of the independent front suspension. Continued contact may result in damage sufficient enough to inhibit the full release of the brakes. If the brakes do not fully release, as they drag, heat could be generated, causing the brakes to engage even further.

As the brakes self-engage, the driver could lose control of the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

Spartan chassis will notify owners, and repair the vehicles. Spartan Chassis has not provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Spartan at 1-800-543-5008.

Spartan’s safety recall number is 12010.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to safercar.gov.

Winnebago Industries

Forest City, Iowa-based Winnebago is recalling a model year 2013 Winnebago and 2013 Itasca motor home built on a Ford F-53 chassis. The steering gear bracket may have been secured with nuts that may damage the bolts due to an incompatibility between the installation torque and the nut finish.

The bolts may fracture, leading to separation of the steering gear and thus a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash.

These vehicles have been repaired prior to being sold, therefore an owner notification notice will not be issued.

Consumers may contact Winnebago Industries owner relations at 1-641-585-6939.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to safercar.gov.

Jayco, Inc.

Goshen, Indiana-based Jayco, Inc. is recalling 1,596 model year 2008-2009 and 2011 Greyhawk Class C motorhomes, model year 2008-2011 Melbourne Class C motorhomes, and 2008-2010 Octane Sport Utility travel trailers manufactured from May 21, 2007, through Sept. 10, 2010, equipped with Iota-brand transfer switches.

These trailers may have an improper electrical connection at the buss bar on the affected transfer switches. This improper connection may lead to overheating and melting of the transfer switch.

Overheating and melting of the transfer switch increases the risk of a fire.

Jayco will notify owners, and dealers will replace the transfer switch, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in September 2012.

Owners may contact Jayco at 1-800-283-8267.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to safercar.gov.

Please Note: This is the twenty-first in a series of articles relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls.

Worth Pondering…

It is what we think we know already that often prevents us from learning.
—Claude Bernard

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Pleasure-Way Introduces First Class B-Plus Motorhome

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd. introduced their first Class B-plus motorhome.

Pleasure Way Pursuit Class B-plus motorhome

“Aside from spaciousness and efficiency, one of our focuses in building the Pursuit was to produce a stunning interior with extraordinary features that you don’t normally see in a B Plus motorhome,” he added.

The Pursuit starts with a full steel cage that is welded together, and a one-piece seamless fiberglass roof. All fiberglass is bonded directly to the steel which eliminates the need for additional screws and moldings, Rumpel explained.

Full body paint completes the exterior of the Pursuit.

Pleasure Way Pursuit Class B-plus motorhome floor plan

“When you enter the coach you are immediately drawn to the elegant hard-wood maple interior. From the rich fluted molding and custom solid maple cabinet doors to the hand-fitted crown moldings, you feel as if you have entered into a high end Class A motorhome,” said Rumpel.

“Rich ultra-leather encompasses the rear lounge and is lined with three inches of memory foam to ensure your comfort. The spacious bathroom showcases a beautiful Corian and glass curved corner shower.”

The bathroom also features a skylight, maple cabinetry with crown moldings, a Corian vanity with matching Corian backsplash, a porcelain toilet, and a stainless steel sink complete with a waterfall single lever faucet.

Standard features on the Pursuit include multiplex wiring, which simplifies the electrical switches to three convenient panels, an Onan 4-kw generator, a 13,500-Btu roof air conditioner, a 32-inch LED LCD TV, a Blu-Ray player with built in Wi-Fi, Clarion in-dash navigation with Bluetooth, iPod and USB connections, a back-up camera, a 6-cubic foot double-door fridge with stainless steel front, LED lighting, a unique computer work station, multi-position opening skylights with screen and shade, power day and night roller shades, and a 12-foot power awning.

With an estimated 13 -15 miles per gallon highway, the Pursuit is fuel efficient and easy to drive.

Other features and specifications include:

  • Engine: Ford 6.8L EFI V10
  • Wheel base: 158 inches
  • Length: 22 feet 9 inches (includes bumper/spare tire)
  • Width: 8 feet 5 inches (includes awning)
  • Exterior height: 10 feet 5 inches
  • Interior standing height: 6 feet 8 inches
  • Fresh water tank: 29 gallons (includes water heater)
  • Gray water tank: 27 gallons
  • Black water tank: 23 gallons
  • LP gas: 18 gallons
  • Fuel tank: 40 gallons
  • Towing capacity: 6,000 pounds
Pleasure Way Pursuit Class B-plus motorhome

Fully loaded, the Pleasure-Way Pursuit retails for $103,870 USD/CAD.

Details

Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd.

With a dealership network of over 60 dealers in North America, Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd. is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

This family-owned and operated company began manufacturing Class B van motorhomes 25 years ago and has grown into the second largest Class B motorhome manufacturer in North America. Pleasure-Way Industries believes in a customer first and foremost approach combined with an old-fashioned work ethic.

Pleasure-Way is the recipient of the Recreational Vehicle Dealer Association Quality Circle Award in both 2010 and 2011.

Address: 302 Portage Avenue, Saskatoon, SK S7J 4C6

Phone: (306) 934-6578 or (800) 364-0189 (toll free)

Website: pleasureway.com

Worth Pondering…

The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.”

—Alan Ashley-Pitt

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February RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced recall notices involving four recreational vehicle manufacturers—Thor Motor Coach, Navistar International Corp., Winnebago Industries, and Newell Coach Corporation.

Thor Motor Coach

Elkhart, Indiana-based Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling 165 model year 2010 Windsport and Hurricane motorhomes manufactured from April 27, 2009 through September 3, 2010. On these vehicles, the exhaust system is close to the vehicle’s storage compartment. Heat can build up in this area.

Heat buildup could result in a fire, property damage, personal injury, or death.
TMC will notify owners, and dealers will install a heat shield to protect the storage compartment from the heat generated by the exhaust. This service will be performed free of charge.

Owners may contact TMC at 1-877-855-2867.

Thor Motor Coach’s safety recalls number is RC000042.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to safercar.gov.

Navistar International Corp.

Warrenville, Illinois-based Navistar International Corp. is recalling certain model year 2008-2010 Beaver, certain model year 2009-2011 Monaco, and certain model year 2009-2011 Holiday Rambler RVs manufactured from October 25, 2007 through August 26, 2010, equipped with Iota ITS-50R 50-amp automatic transfer switches. The Iota ITS-50R 50-amp automatic transfer switch bus bar and/or electrical connections may be inadequate to handle the electrical load.

Electrical overload of the transfer switch could lead to overheating, and a fire, increasing the risk of property damage, personal injury, or death.

Navistar will notify owners, and dealers will replace the Iota ITS-50R transfer switch free of charge.

Owners may contact Navistar at 1-800-448-7825.

Navistar’s recall number is 12504.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to safercar.gov.

Winnebago Industries, Inc.

Forest City, Iowa-based Winnebago Industries, Inc. is recalling certain model year 2011-2012 Winnebago and Itasca motorhomes built on a Ford F-53 chassis. The ‘prndl’ cable may break at the attachment to the transmission control selector arm assembly mounted on the steering column. If the cable breaks, the transmission gear indicator in the ‘prndl’ display in the instrument panel will remain in the first gear position regardless of the gear selected.

An incorrect gear indication in the instrument panel may prevent the driver from knowing if they are in park or reverse, increasing the risk of a crash.

Winnebago will notify owners, and dealers will replace the transmission selector arm assembly and the ‘prndl’ cable assembly, free of charge.

Owners may contact Winnebago Industries Owner Relations at 1-641-585-6939.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to safercar.gov.

Newell Coach Corporation

Miami, Oklahoma-based Newell Coach Corporation is recalling 210 model year 2004-2010 motor coaches manufactured from January 2004 through December 2009, equipped with SE-GI windows. The adhesive bond between the glass portion of the vent panel and hinge may degrade, and the panel may detach and fall from the vehicle.

If this occurred during travel it could create a road hazard, increasing the risk of a crash or personal injury.

Newell will notify owners, but the notification schedule and the recall remedy has yet to be determined. This service will be performed free of charge.

Owners may contact Newell Coach at 1-888-963-9355.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to safercar.gov.

Please Note: This is the ninth in a series of articles relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls.

Worth Pondering…

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

—Aristotle

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January RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced recall notices involving four recreational vehicle manufacturers— Crossroads RV, Thor Industries, Ford Motor Company, and DRV Luxury Suites.

Crossroads RV, Inc.

Topeka, Indiana-based Crossroads RV is recalling 172 model year 2012 Rushmore and Elevation RVs manufactured from June 1, 2011 through January 12, 2012, with panther style 16-inch 8-lug aluminum wheels. These vehicles have been manufactured with an incorrect wheel center cap. The center cap that was assembled with the trailer did not provide adequate clearance to allow the wheel to fully seat on the hub face of the axle. This can result in a wheel becoming loose and potentially coming off of the trailer. A wheel separation can lead to loss of control of the trailer, increasing the risk of a crash, serious injuries, or damage to others.

Crossroads RV will notify owners, and replace the center caps free of charge. Owners may contact Crossroads RV at 1-888-226-7496.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to safercar.gov.

Thor Industries, Inc

Jackson Center, Ohio-based Thor Industries, Inc. is recalling 437 model year 2012 Dutchmen Voltage and Rubicon trailers, manufactured from July 19, 2011 through December 21, 2011. The trailer wheels may not be fully seated on the hub and therefore may loosen and potentially detach from the trailer.

Wheel separation can lead to loss of control of the trailer, increasing the risk of a crash. A detached wheel also poses a risk of injury to pedestrians and other vehicles.

Thor will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the wheels, and repair the trailers as necessary, free of charge. Owners may contact Thor at 1-937-596-6849.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to safercar.gov.

Ford Motor Company

Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford Motor Company is recalling certain F-53 and F-59 stripped-chassis vehicles from the 2011 and 2012 model years to fix a transmission-selector cable that may break. The F53 chassis is typically used as a platform for motorhomes while the F59 is used in commercial trucks, such as delivery vans.

The company said the “prndl” cable that controls the transmission’s gear indicator display can break where it is attached to the transmission control selector arm on the steering column. “Prndl” stands for the park, reverse, neutral drive and low gear positions. If the cable breaks, the gear indicator display in the instrument panel will not move when the driver changes the gear position. This can prevent drivers from knowing whether the vehicle is in park or reverse, increasing the risk of a crash.

Ford said it built the affected 2011 chassis from February 1, 2010, through July 1, 2011, and the 2012 models from May 10, 2011, through October 25, 2011. The recall includes 13,239 vehicles.

Under the recall dealers will replace the transmission selector arm assembly and the cable free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in March. Owners can contact Ford at 1-866-436-7332.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to safercar.gov.

DRV Luxury Suites

Howe, Indiana-based DRV Luxury Suites (DRV), formerly Doubletree RV, is recalling 1,701 model year 2008 and 2010-2011 Select, Mobile, and Elite Suite RVs manufactured from June 12, 2007, through October 27, 2010 and equipped with disc brakes. Due to the paint applied to the aluminum wheel and hub face, the wheel may become loose.

This situation can result in the wheel/rim moving, shearing of the wheel studs and the wheel coming off of the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

DRV will notify owners, and dealers will remove the paint from the hub face and the back of the wheels free of charge. Owners may contact DRV Luxury Suites at 1-574-457-6472.
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to safercar.gov.

Note: Seven articles relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls previously posted:

Worth Pondering…

Blessed be the Flexible for they shall not get bent out of shape.

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Ford, Chrysler, and GM Feature 8-Speed Trannies on 2014 Trucks

The next generation of GM pickup trucks will feature at least one 8-speed automatic transmission, the goal of course being to reduce fuel economy in order to meet federal fuel economy regulations, reports Automotive News.

By using more gears to make more efficient use of fuel, an eight-speed can boost efficiency by three to six percent, depending on the vehicle, says Mike Omotoso, senior manager of global powertrain forecasts at LMC Automotive in suburban Detroit.

That combined with other fuel-saving technologies, the next generation of trucks coming out in 2013/2014 could see 10-20 percent fuel economy improvements right away.

Of course, these fuel economy improvements don’t come without a cost. An 8-speed transmission, for example, can add hundreds of dollars to the cost of each vehicle depending on the cost of development and how that cost is amortized.

Industry analysts say that developing an all-new transmission costs $500 million to $1.5 billion dollars, which is why it’s a surprise to some automotive columnists to see Ford, Chrysler, and GM rushing an 8-speed to market in time for the 2014 model year.

Dodge Ram is adding an 8-speed automatic to their truck, but it will be based on an existing transmission developed by ZF Friedrichshafen AG. It introduced the gearbox on the 2012 flagship Chrysler 300 sedan and Dodge Charger. As a result, the costs will be quite a bit lower for Ram.

However, one wonders if Ram’s 8-speed transmission will be of the same capability as purpose built 8 speeds from Ford and GM?

Last May, GM CEO Dan Akerson appeared at the Toledo plant to announce a $204 million investment for the production of a new eight-speed, but he wouldn’t say what vehicles would get the transmission. Eight- and nine-speed transmissions are among the tactics automakers are using to meet more stringent fuel economy standards.

V-8 engine versions of GM’s current full-sized pickups, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, get 15 mpg in city driving and 21 mpg on the highway with six-speed trannies.

Spokespersons for Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. declined to comment on whether there are plans to add an eight-speed to their full-sized pickups, the Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan, but that certainly doesn’t mean they aren’t working on one.

However, Toyota’s economics are a bit different than GM and Ford, according to Tundra Headquarters.

The federal fuel economy ratings apply to an automaker’s entire fleet. It’s an average rating you must meet across all trucks in your line-up.

With plans for a Scion pickup (based on the next-gen Rav4) and a new direct-injection engine in the Tacoma that should boost fuel economy, Toyota’s fleet is inherently more fuel efficient than fleets from Ford, GM, and Chrysler. Therefore, Toyota won’t have to improve the fuel economy of the Tundra as much to meet the federal regulation.

Toyota has a viable hybrid Tundra on the drawing board, likely ready for release in 2015/2016. This too will help Toyota meet the fuel economy goals without necessarily requiring them to invest in an 8-speed transmission.

The biggest hesitation with an 8- or 9-speed automatic is related to durability. Six-speed automatics are plenty complicated as it is, but the technology is mature enough to be considered reliable. Eight-speed automatics have never been done before, at least in a pickup in North America.

It should be noted that some medium duty trucks have more than 8 speeds, but they get there using a dual axle, so technically they’re not 8+ speed automatics.

Still, the fact is, marketing from Ford, GM, and Ram is going to harp on the fact that more speeds are better like Toyota did when the Tundra debuted in 2007 with a 6 speed and some manufacturers—GM and Chrysler—were still using 5 speeds.

Worth Pondering…
Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.
Anyone who keeps learning stays young.
The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.

—Henry Ford

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Five Things You Need to Know Today: October 28

Since I like things to come in fives (and tens), here are five things YOU need to know TODAY!

1. Ford to Invest $128 Million for Ohio Chassis Plant

A proposed new contract between Ford Motor Co. and the United Autoworkers calls for the automaker to invest $128 million in the Ohio Assembly Plant to build medium-duty trucks and motorhome chassis, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Workers at the plant, which is in parts of Avon Lake, Sheffield Lake, and Sheffield, currently builds the E-Series vans. The plant is currently on a two-week shutdown.

Ford announced in a news release that it pledged to add 12,000 hourly jobs at its U.S. manufacturing plants by 2015 and invest $16 billion in its U.S. operations, including $6.2 billion for its plants as part of the proposed contract.

The tentative agreement must still win approval from rank-and-file union members across the United States before it goes into effect.

2. The Monarchs Return to Pismo Beach

From late October to February, the butterflies cluster in the limbs of a grove of Eucalyptus trees at Pismo State Beach. (Credit: avilalafonda.com)

State parks officials will hold an opening day celebration tomorrow (October 29) to welcome back the butterflies to the Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove, reports The Tribune.

The Pismo Beach colony of monarch butterflies is one of the largest in the nation, hosting an average of 25,000 butterflies over the past five years, according to monarchbutterfly.org, a site funded by the Pismo Beach Conference & Visitors Bureau.

The butterflies cluster in the limbs of a grove of eucalyptus trees from late October to February.

The event runs from noon to 2 p.m. at the grove, located on the west side of Highway 1, just south of the North Beach Campground in Pismo Beach.

The grove is staffed daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with docent programs at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

3. What To Do If You Smell Propane

If you smell propane in your RV, or if a detector signals the presence of propane, you should IMMEDIATELY follow these suggestions:

  • Extinguish all open flames and vacate the RV
  • Close the gas shutoff valve on the propane tank or cylinder
  • Contact your local fire department
  • Do not re-enter the RV until a qualified propane service technician and/or emergency personnel checks for escaped propane
  • Return to the RV only after a qualified service or emergency technician indicates it is safe to do so

4. Fuel Prices Heading Lower

Retail gasoline prices have dropped about 50 cents a gallon since the spring, and motorists could see them slide another 20 cents before the end of the year, Associated Press reports.

The national average, which slipped to $3.446 per gallon on Tuesday (October 25), should continue to fall at least through the new year, according to the Energy Information Administration.

“There’s a lot of relief at the pump,” said Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com. DeHaan expects pump prices to fall as low as $3.25 per gallon by the end of the year.

Prices flirted with $4 per gallon in May, and a gallon of regular is still about 63 cents higher than it was a year ago.

Overall, gasoline is expected to average $3.52 per gallon this year, a record high.

RV stands for Relaxing Vacation

There’s nothing like RVing when it comes to relaxation and good times. Take peace of mind and security with you as you travel the open road.

Make sure that you and your RV are protected with the right insurance coverage.

Driving an RV is nothing like driving a car, and requires a different skill set.

Have a great weekend.

Until next time, safe RV travels, and we’ll see you on the road!

Worth Pondering…

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the places and moments that take our breath away.
—George Carlin

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