Spartan Chassis Introduces Passive Steer Tag Axle

Charlotte, Michigan-based Spartan Chassis, Inc., a subsidiary of Spartan Motors, Inc., has introduced its new Passive Steer Tag Axle for the Recreational Vehicle industry.

Spartan Chassis Introduces Passive Steer Tag Axle
Spartan Chassis Introduces Passive Steer Tag Axle

This purpose-built Passive Steer Tag Axle produces a 7 percent reduction in curb-to-curb turning radius.

“Spartan’s Passive Steer Tag Axle has been designed, engineered, and purpose-built for motorhomes in the recreational vehicle industry,” said Timothy Hamm, Vice President, Sales and Business Development of the Specialty Vehicles business unit, Spartan Chassis, in a company news release.

“We take great pride in the competencies of the technical staff at Spartan and the ground-up approach they bring to chassis engineering. This passive tag is not an adaptation of an existing design.”

Spartan Chassis has designed and packaged its Passive Steer Tag Axle to minimize intrusion into the OEM’s floor plans. Additionally, reduced system mass achieved through a unique design enables increased cargo carrying capacity, depending on the configuration of the OEM’s floor plan.

When a motorhome equipped with the Spartan Passive Steer Tag Axle is shifted into reverse, the alignment mechanism automatically straightens the tires to further reduce tire wear.

The Spartan rear passive steerable tag axle is purpose-built. This product is not an independent front suspension moved to the rear of the chassis, rotated 180 degrees and decontented.

Other Features Include:

  • Reduces tire wear of the tag axle
  • Design does not intrude into the floor plan
  • Reduced system mass for potentially more cargo carrying capacity
  • When in reverse, the alignment mechanism straightens the tires automatically
Spartan Chassis Introduces Passive Steer Tag Axle
Spartan Chassis Introduces Passive Steer Tag Axle

The Passive Steer Tag Axle is standard equipment on the 2015 Model Year Newmar Essex and King Aire Luxury Motor Coaches on a Spartan Chassis platform.

Spartan custom manufactures chassis to the individual specifications of its RV OEM customers including Newmar Corporation, Entegra Coach, and Tiffin Motorhomes.

Details

Spartan Chassis, Inc.

Spartan Chassis, Inc. is a world-class leader in the engineering, manufacturing, and marketing of chassis and aftermarket parts for emergency-response, recreational vehicle, defense, and specialty vehicles.

End users recognize and request the Spartan Chassis brand, which consistently delivers superior performance, exceptional safety ratings and innovations which distinguish us from the competition.

Spartan Chassis, Inc. is a subsidiary of Spartan Motors, Inc.

Website: www.spartanchassis.com

Spartan Motors, Inc.

Spartan-Chassis-Inc.Spartan Motors, Inc. designs, engineers, and manufactures specialty chassis, specialty vehicles, truck bodies, and aftermarket parts for the recreational vehicle (RV), emergency response, government services, defense, and delivery and service markets.

The Company’s brand names—Spartan(TM), Spartan Chassis(TM), Spartan ER(TM), Spartan ERV(TM) and Utilimaster(R)—are known for quality, performance, service and first-to-market innovation.

The Company employs approximately 1,800 associates at facilities in Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Indiana, and Florida.

Spartan reported sales of $471 million in 2012 and is focused on becoming a global leader in the design, engineering and manufacture of specialty vehicles and chassis.

Website: www.spartanmotors.com

Worth Pondering…

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Spartan Chassis Introduces New Products & Innovations

Charlotte, Michigan-based Spartan Chassis Inc., a subsidiary of Spartan Motors, Inc. displayed its K3 and Mountain Master GT chassis along with several innovations during the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 51st Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky, December 3-5.

Spartan K3 Chassis
Spartan K3 Chassis

“Since 1985, Spartan Chassis has developed significant technological innovations that have changed the RV industry,” said Art Ickes, president of the Specialty Vehicles business unit.

“Throughout the years, the demand for Spartan Chassis has continued to remain strong as owners value the innovations Spartan has and continues to develop. In 2013, we saw a strong increase in the number of prospective Class A diesel motorhome owners requesting a Spartan Chassis.”

Spartan will feature a 24,000-pound drive axle as well as introducing Fogmaker North America into the RV market. The Reyco Granning RD2400 drive axle is designed to take advantage of recent changes in Federal Highway Administration laws that allow the use of a single rear axle rated at 24,000 pounds weight capacity. The RD2400 eliminates torque induced drive line grumble which further extends the product’s life cycle.

Fogmaker North America delivers fire suppression systems for engine compartments and enclosed spaces utilizing a patented water mist technology. This system extinguishes fire by targeting the three components (oxygen, fuel, and heat). The system is environmentally friendly and cleanup after activation is simple and fast.

Spartan,pennwell.web.400.400The demand for motorhomes built on a Spartan Chassis has increased 21.5 percent year-over-year from 2012 to 2013. Spartan Chassis’ unit volume this year outperforms the Class A diesel market by over six percentage points. Spartan custom manufactures chassis to the individual specifications of Entegra Coach, Newmar Corp., and Tiffin Motorhomes Inc.

The goal at Spartan Chassis is to provide its end-users with an exceptional RV experience, no matter the destination, duty-cycle, or configuration. To achieve that, Spartan consistently drives innovation that improves maneuverability, ride quality, and coach handling to name a few. Spartan’s OEM customers recognize the company and its ability to design, engineer and manufacture the Premier Foundation.

The National RV Trade Show presented by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is the preeminent trade show for the RV dealer market, annually showcasing the latest RV technology and new models.

Details

Spartan Chassis, Inc.

Spartan Chassis, Inc. is a world-class leader in the engineering, manufacturing, and marketing of chassis and aftermarket parts for emergency-response, recreational vehicle (RV), defense, and specialty vehicles.

End users recognize and request the Spartan Chassis brand, which consistently delivers superior performance, exceptional safety ratings and innovations which distinguish us from the competition.

Spartan-Chassis-Inc.Spartan Chassis, Inc. is a subsidiary of Spartan Motors, Inc.

Website: spartanchassis.com

Spartan Motors, Inc.

Spartan Motors, Inc. designs, engineers, and manufactures specialty chassis, specialty vehicles, truck bodies, and aftermarket parts for the recreational vehicle (RV), emergency response, government services, defense, and delivery and service markets.

The Company’s brand names—Spartan(TM), Spartan Chassis(TM), Spartan ER(TM), Spartan ERV(TM) and Utilimaster(R)—are known for quality, performance, service and first-to-market innovation.

The Company employs approximately 1,800 associates at facilities in Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Indiana, and Florida.

Spartan reported sales of $471 million in 2012 and is focused on becoming a global leader in the design, engineering and manufacture of specialty vehicles and chassis.

Website: spartanmotors.com

Worth Pondering…

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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November RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced seven recall notices involving six recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers—Spartan Motors, Charmac Trailers, Play-Mor Trailers, and Outlaw Conversions.

Spartan Motors Chassis

Spartan-Chassis-Inc.Charlotte, Michigan-based Spartan Motors Chassis, Inc. is recalling 125 model year 2011-2012 motorhomes manufactured January 28, 2010, through March 12, 2012, and equipped with Cummins ISC engines. The affected vehicles have radiator cooling fans that spin excessively fast resulting in the fan blades breaking without warning.

If this occurs while the hood is open, a person in the vicinity of the engine could be struck by the blade and injured.

The remedy for this recall campaign is still under development.

The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Owners may contact Spartan Chassis at 1-517-543-6400. Spartan Chassis’s number for this campaign is 13021.

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

Charmac Trailers Inc.

newlogo1Twin Falls, Idaho-based Charmac Trailers Inc. is recalling 432 model year 2006-2007 cargo, horse and sports trailers manufactured from January 2006 through December 2006 and equipped with Fastec-brand door locks. It may be possible to remove the key from the lock in a way that potentially jams the deadbolt.

If the deadbolt jams, the interior side of the door lock may also jam. A person inside the travel trailer at the time will then be locked in and be unable to exit the vehicle without using the emergency exit, increasing the risk of injury.

Charmac Trailers will notify owners, and Fastec will coordinate the inspection and replacement of the cylinders, as needed, free of charge.

The recall is expected to begin by the end of Nov. 2013. Owners may contact Charmac Trailers at 1-208-733-5241 or Fastec at 1-800-837-2505.

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

Play-Mor Trailers Inc.

tPlayMorCorp_LogoWestphalia, Missouri-based Play-Mor Trailers Inc. is recalling 241 model year 2006-2013 travel trailers manufactured January 1, 2006, through April 25, 2013 and equipped with Fastec-brand door locks. It may be possible to remove the key from the lock in a way that potentially jams the deadbolt.

If the deadbolt jams, the interior side of the door lock may also jam. A person inside the travel trailer at the time will then be locked in and be unable to exit the vehicle without using the emergency exit, increasing the risk of injury.

Play-Mor Trailers will notify owners, and Fastec will coordinate the inspection and replacement of the cylinders, as needed, free of charge.

The recall is expected to begin by the end of December 2013. Owners may contact Play-Mor Trailers at 1-573-455-2387 or Fastec at 1-800-837-2505.

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

Outlaw Conversions

outlaw_000Stephenville, Texas-based Outlaw Conversions is recalling 10 model year 2006-2013 Hart, 4-Star, and Platinum gooseneck horse trailers with living quarters manufactured January 1, 2006, through April 25, 2013 and equipped with Fastec-brand door locks. It may be possible to remove the key from the lock in a way that potentially jams the deadbolt.

If the deadbolt jams, the interior side of the door lock may also jam. A person inside the travel trailer at the time will then be locked in and be unable to exit the vehicle without using the emergency exit, increasing the risk of injury.

Outlaw will notify owners, and Fastec will coordinate the inspection and replacement of the cylinders, as needed, free of charge.

The recall is expected to begin by the end of December 2013.

Owners may contact Outlaw at 1-254-968-5733 or Fastec at 1-800-837-2505.

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

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

Worth Pondering…

Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.

—Mark Twain

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October RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced three recall notices involving three recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers—Jackson Mfg. Co., Spartan Motors Chassis, and Open Range R.V. Company.

Jackson Mfg. Co., Inc.

Jackson Mfg. Co., Inc. is recalling 250 model year 2006-2013 Jackson travel trailers manufactured January 1, 2006, through April 25, 2013 and equipped with a Fastec-brand door lock. It may be possible to remove the key from the lock cylinder in a way that potentially jams the deadbolt.

If the deadbolt jams, the interior side of the door lock may also jam. A person inside the travel trailer at the time will then be locked in and be unable to exit the vehicle without using the emergency exit, increasing the risk of injury.

Jackson will notify owners, and Fastec will coordinate the inspection and replacement of the cylinders, as needed, free of charge.

The recall is expected to begin by early November 2013. Owners may contact Jackson at 1-405-224-6013 or Fastec at 1-800-837-2505.

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

Spartan Motors Chassis, Inc.

Spartan-Chassis-Inc.Spartan Motors Chassis, Inc. is recalling 313 2011 SU and 2011 through 2012 model year MM, K2, and K3 recreational vehicle chassis manufactured from January 28, 2011, through June 28, 2011, equipped with air gauges supplied by Ametek. An incorrect value may have been used in the formula for calculating the sweep angle of the dial.

This may have resulted in the accuracy of the gauge varying as much as eleven percent from the cutout pressure as opposed to the maximum allowable of +/- seven percent. Consequently, these chassis fail to conform to the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 121, “Air Brake Systems.”

In a condition where constant braking may be necessary, the air systems may deplete sooner than expected. This could cause the application of the spring brake without warning and may result in a vehicle crash.

Spartan Chassis will notify owners and replace the affected guages with compliant ones, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin by early October 2013. Owners may contact Spartan at 1-800-543-4277 – Option 1. Spartan’s campaign number is 11018.

In July 2011, Spartan petitioned NHTSA that the noncompliance was inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. In August 2013, NHTSA denied the petition and instructed Spartan to conduct a recall campaign.

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

Open Range R.V. Company

Open Range RV LogoOpen Range R.V. Company is recalling 9,600 model year 2009-2013 travel trailers manufactured from October 1, 2007, through July 12, 2013, and equipped with Fastec-brand deadbolt locks. It may be possible to remove the key from the lock in a way that potentially jams the deadbolt.

The travel trailer models covered by the recall are: 280RLS; 322RKS; 328RLS; 335BHS; 337RLS; 385RLS; 391RES; 392BHS; 399BHS; 400BHS; JF280RLS; JF287RLS; JF335BHS; JF392BHS; JT287RLS; JT315RLS; JT331BHS; JT337RLS; 287RLS; 310RLS; 345RLS; 379RKS; 393RLS; 399DBR; 399SRL; 427BHS; 429BHS; H341RGR; H395RGR; H396RGR; H397RGR; JF399BHS; JH341RGR; JT301BHS; JT305RLS; JT340FLR; PE119TH; R398RLS; R398RSS; R416RLS; RF316RLS; RT266RLS; RT281FLR; RT296BHS; RT303BHS; RT331BHS; 375BHS; 413RLL; 424RLS; H320MPR; H345MPR; JT359FKS; MR243F; MR274B; MR281FLR; MR285F; MR287B; MR289H; MR293R; MR303BHS; MR325B; MR331BHS; R412RSS; RF270RLS; RF280RLS; RF287RLS; RF298BWS; RF335BHS; RF392BHS; T247FLR; RT316RLS; 359RKS; 386FLR; H304RGR; JT353FES; LF289RES; LF297RLS; LF305BHS; LT252FLR; LT305BHS; MF316RLS; MF329BHS; MF337RLS; MF338RLS; MF357RES; MF395BHS; MR281F; MR316R; R430RLS; RA398FLS; RF329BHS; RF337RLS; RF338RLS; RF357RES; RF395BHS; RT320RES; 389BHS.

If the deadbolt jams, the interior side of the door lock may also jam. A person inside the travel trailer at the time will then be locked in and be unable to exit the vehicle without using the emergency exit, increasing the risk of injury.

Open Range will notify owners, and Fastec will coordinate the inspection and replacement of the cylinders, as needed, free of charge.

The recall is expected to begin by early Nov. 2013. Owners may contact Open Range at 1-260-768-7771 or Fastec at 1-800-837-2505

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

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

Worth Pondering…

You don’t pay the price for success. You pay the price for failure.

—Zig Ziglar

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More September RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced 4 recall notices involving 4 recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers—Aluminum Trailer Company, Starcraft RV, Peterson Industries, and Spartan Motor Chassis.

Aluminum Trailer Company

ATCNappanee, Indiana-based Aluminum Trailer Company (ATC) is recalling 17 model year 2013 Quest trailers manufactured February 26, 2013, through April 10, 2013. Due to a design change in the Dometic-brand power awning motor assembly, the motor assembly screws may unknowingly shear.

If the motor assembly screws shear, it is possible that the awning can unfurl unexpectedly, either while the vehicle is at rest or while in transit, increasing the risk of personal injury or a vehicle crash.

ATC will notify owners, and Dometic staff will replace the affected motors with one of a different design.

The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Owners may contact ATC at 1-574-773-8360 or Dometic at 1-888-447-0003 for more information. Owners are being instructed not to drive their vehicle until repairs can be performed.

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

Starcraft RV Inc.

starcraftMiddlebury, Indiana-based Starcraft RV Inc. is recalling 22 model year 2014 Comet Camping Trailers manufactured September 18, 2012, through May 6, 2013. The spare tire bracket mounted on the rear wall is not secured sufficiently and could detach.

If the spare tire bracket detaches from the vehicle while it is being driven, it could become a road hazard increasing the risk of a vehicle crash or injury.

Starcraft will notify owners and dealers will add a metal strap to secure the spare tire bracket, free of charge.

The recall is expected to begin in September 2013.

Owners may contact Starcraft at 1-800-945-4787

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

Peterson Industries Inc.

excelSmith Center, Kansas-based Peterson Industries Inc. is recalling 28 model year 2013-2014 Excel travel trailers manufactured February 2013 through June 2013. Due to a design change in the dometic-brand power awning motor assembly, the motor assembly screws may unknowingly shear.

If the motor assembly screws shear, it is possible that the awning can unfurl unexpectedly, either while the vehicle is at rest or while in transit, increasing the risk of personal injury or a vehicle crash.

Peterson Industries Inc. will notify owners, and Dometic staff will replace the affected motors with one of a different design.

The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Owners may contact Peterson at 1-800-368-3759 or Dometic at 1-888-447-0003 for more information. Owners are being instructed not to drive their vehicle until repairs can be performed.

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

Spartan Motor Chassis, Inc.

Spartan-Chassis-Inc.Charlotte, Michigan-based Spartan Motor Chassis, Inc. is recalling 113 model year 2009-2012 MM, 2011-2014 K2, and 2010-2012 K3 motorhome chassis. Due to contact with the steering relay rod, the ABS modulator valve may fracture, resulting in air not being applied to the affected wheel end.

This may increase stopping distance of the vehicle or cause the vehicle to pull to one side. Either condition increases the risk of a crash.

Spartan will notify owners and dealers will reorient the ABS modulator valve and install spacers for additional clearance, free of charge.

The recall is expected to begin in September 2013.

Owners may contact Spartan at 1-517-543-6400.

Spartan’s recall campaign number is 12008

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

Please Note: This is the twenty-second 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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June RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced five recall notices involving four recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers—Fleetwood RV, Jayco, Spartan, and Forest River.

Fleetwood RV

Fleetwood logoDecatur, Indiana-based Fleetwood RV is recalling potentially 184 certain model year 2014 American Revolution, Bounder, Discovery, Expedition, and Southwind motorhomes. Fasteners that attach the solar panel may become loose during normal use.

A loose solar panel may separate from the vehicle during travel. This may cause personal injury and/or a road hazard to other vehicles, increasing the risk of a crash.

Fleetwood will notify owners, and dealers will install new locking nuts to secure the solar panel, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in early June 2013. Owners may contact Fleetwood RV at 1-800-322-8216. Fleetwood’s recall number is 130517FRV.

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

Fleetwood RV

Fleetwood logoDecatur, Indiana-based Fleetwood RV is recalling potentially 113 certain model year 2013 Bounder Classic and Terra motorhomes manufactured between July 9, 2012 and January 16, 2013. The tire load index letter printed on the Federal Certification Tag is incorrect. Due to the inaccurate label, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Part 567, “Certification.”

As a result, the vehicle may be inadvertently fitted with incorrect replacement tires, which could lead tire failure, increasing the risk of a crash.

Fleetwood will mail the corrected tags to dealers and owners. Owners who are not comfortable installing these labels may get them installed at a dealer, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in June 2013. Owners may contact Fleetwood Owner Relations at 1-800-509-3418. Fleetwood’s recall number is 130417FRV.

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

Jayco

Jayco Color logo birdMiddlebury, Indiana-based Jayco is recalling potentially 17 certain model year 2014 White Hawk travel trailers manufactured May 17, 2013, through May 21, 2013. The A/C to D/C converter may not be properly grounded to the frame.

If the converter is not properly grounded to the frame, there may be an excessive buildup of heat and melting of the wiring, possibly resulting in a fire.

Jayco will notify owners and dealers will inspect the wiring for the converter. If needed, they will add the provided ground wire, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in June 2013. Owners may contact Jayco at 1-800-283-8267.

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

Spartan Motors, Inc.

Spartan-Chassis-Inc.Charlotte, Michigan-based Spartan Motors, Inc. is recalling 62 model year 2012-2013 K2, K3, and MM motorhomes manufactured March 2, 2012, through July 30, 2012 and equipped with a 1660 independent front suspension supplied by Reyco Granning. The motorhomes may have incorrect wheel bearings installed in the front suspension.
Incorrect wheel bearings may cause the vehicle to pull to one side and with continued use, there is a risk of a fire starting at the wheel.

Spartan will notify owners and dealers will inspect the bearings and replace them, as needed, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin by the end of June 2013. Owners may contact Spartan at 1-517-543-6400.

Spartan’s campaign number is 13-009.

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

Forest River, Inc.

forest-RiverElkhart, Indiana-based Forest River, Inc. is recalling 289 model year 2014 Sunseeker, Forester, Lexington, and Solera motorhomes manufactured between April 1, 2013, through May 21, 2013. The battery isolation manager (BIM) can develop a short circuit.
A short circuit may result in smoke, melting or a fire.

Forest River will notify owners and will replace the BIM. The recall is expected to begin in early July 2013.

Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-574-206-7600.
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

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

Worth Pondering…

The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.

—Benjamin E. Mays

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Rebirth of an American Classic

Streamline design first captured the American imagination in the 1930s, when smooth, continuous, shiny aluminum skins were found to increase efficient movement.

Aerodynamically engineered, all-new Bowlus Road Chief
Aerodynamically engineered, all-new Bowlus Road Chief

At that time a series of sleek aluminum aerodynamic travel trailers designed by American entrepreneurs make their way to the marketplace: Bowlus Road Chief, Airstream, Streamline, Silver Streak, Avion, and Spartan.

The only manufacturer to survive the economic conditions of the time was Airstream.

But the company wasn’t the first to build a streamlined silver travel trailer. The design actually originated with design engineer William Hawley Bowlus, the Superintendent of Construction on Charles Lindbergh’s aircraft, the Spirit of St. Louis.

Bowlus was an expert at soaring flight and at building gliders and sailplanes, established numerous records, trained many of America’s earliest glider pilots, and gave gliding lessons to both Charles and Anne Lindbergh.

Bowlus took inspiration from this work with building aircraft to design and build the first all aluminum riveted silver trailer called the Bowlus Road Chief in 1934.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t very successful.

Only 80 Road Chiefs were built, but a similar design was adopted by Wally Byam in 1936 for the much more successful Airstream line.

And in the decades that followed, the Bowlus brand and the original design were virtually forgotten, except by few of devoted collectors.

Bowlus Road Chief interior
Bowlus Road Chief interior

But now the Bowlus brand has come-up with a bang with the release of an aerodynamically engineered, all-new Bowlus Road Chief.

Earlier this year the Bowlus Road Chief was revived by a fan of that trailer, John Long.

The new Bowlus Road Chief features the classic streamline, modern riveted aluminum design updated with luxurious interior finishes along with every convenience to support an active, digital life.

“The new Bowlus Road Chief will inspire people to rethink luxury travel,” said Long.

The path to the launch of the Bowlus Road Chief began when Long embarked on a painstaking 10-year restoration on his own 1935 Bowlus Road Chief.

His passions led to writing a book on the Road Chief history along with securing the rights to the brand.

Launching the Bowlus Road Chief as a business venture was the natural next step for Long and his family who are backed by two decades of entrepreneurial success in the design and technology fields along with a shared passion for vintage automobiles, photography, and design.

“We’ve been truly overwhelmed by the response to the new Bowlus Road Chief,” says Long.

Long and a carefully assembled team of craftspeople and designers embarked on the next leg of the Bowlus journey seamlessly integrating advanced technology with classic American design. The new Bowlus Road Chief includes storage options for laptops and tablets, and sports gear such as bikes and paddleboards.

It has all the luxuries expected of today’s adventurer including solar panels, central heating, indoor/outdoor showers, and a cook’s kitchen.

The new Bowlus Road Chief is rolling art, and is all you need whether you’re escaping for a weekend of relaxation or a cross country tour.

The Road Chief’s aerodynamics begins with an effective front surface area, which is critical for towing efficiency at highway speeds. The rounded front gently leads to a tapering tail that effortlessly directs air around the travel trailer without creating a drag-inducing vacuum, all the while enhancing stability.

Combined with an extremely low weight of just under 2,000 pounds dry, the Road Chief offers unparalleled towing ease with a wide range of vehicles whether pulling your way through a mountain pass or simply cruising down the highway.

With everything from the propane tank to the air-conditioning unit tucked safely inside the strong shell, the Bowlus Road Chief is the world’s most aerodynamic travel trailer. Even the windows are flush and curved to maximize aerodynamic efficiency.

There is no need for external sports racks to interfere with drag or security, since gear like a pair of bikes or a kayak fits easily in the interior.

The Bowlus Road Chief epitomizes everything that’s brilliant with exceptional American design.

Details

Bowlus Road Chief LLC

Bowlus Road Chief cutaway
Bowlus Road Chief cutaway

Inspired by timeless American style, the Bowlus Road Chief is expertly handcrafted from honest materials for a lifetime of adventures.

Each Bowlus Road Chief is expertly hand-built, customized to order, and named by the owner. Because of this high level of craftsmanship, production of the Road Chief is limited and available only by prior reservation.

The price of a fully equipped Bowlus Road Chief is $100,000 plus applicable taxes, vehicle fees, and custom options, when picked up in Ventura County, California. (Delivery anywhere in the USA is always available.)

Phone: (800) 651-7396 (toll free)

Website: bowlusroadchief.com

Worth Pondering…

If you do nothing unexpected, nothing unexpected happens.

—Fay Weldon

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And Still More May RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced five recall notices involving four recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers—Forest River, Spartan Motors Chassis, Fleetwood RV, and Gulf Stream Coach.

Forest River, Inc.

forest-RiverElkhart, Indiana-based Forest River, Inc. is recalling 9,526 model year 2013-2014 Forest River models Blue Ridge, Cardinal, Cherokee, Columbus, EVO, Georgetown, Flagstaff, Forester, Lexington, Puma, Rockwood, Sabre, Salem, Sandpiper, Sandstorm, Sierra, Stealth, Sunseeker, Wildcat, Wildwood, Work and Play and XLR; Coachmen models Brookstone, Catalina, Chaparral, Concord, Encounter, Freedom Express, Freelander, Leprechaun, Mirada, Pursuit, and Sportcoach; Prime Time models Avenger, Crusader, Lacrosse, Saniber, and Tracer; Palomino model Maverick Truck Camper; Cargo Mate model Eliminator and Shasta models Revere, Phoenix recreational vehicles manufactured from February 13, 2013 through April 18, 2013.

Due to a design change in the power awning motor assembly, the motor assembly screws may unknowingly shear.

If the motor assembly screws shear, it is possible that the awning can unfurl unexpectedly, either while the vehicle is at rest or while in transit, increasing the risk of personal injury or a vehicle crash.

Forest River will notify owners and Dometic staff will replace the affected motors with motors of a different design. A notification schedule has not yet been provided. Owners may contact Forest River at 1-574-389-4600 or Dometic at 1-888-447-0003 for more information. Owners are being instructed not to drive their vehicle until repairs can be performed.

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 Motors Chassis

Spartan-Chassis-Inc.Charlotte, Michigan-based Spartan Motors Chassis is recalling 2,694 model year 2006-2011 K2, and K3 and 2006-2010 MM motorhome chassis manufactured July 20, 2005, through December 17, 2010. The steering gear mounting brackets may crack and detach resulting in a loss of steering.

A loss of steering control may increase the risk of a crash.

Spartan will notify owners. Starting in mid-June 2013, dealers will install a replacement bracket or a reinforcement to the existing bracket. Until the remedy is available, owners may have their vehicle inspected at any Spartan service center. All repairs will be performed free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on, or before, May 17, 2013.

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.

Fleetwood RV, Inc.

Fleetwood logoDecatur, Indiana-based Fleetwood RV, Inc. is recalling 196 model year 2013 Jamboree Sport Diesel, Providence, Tioga DSL and Tioga Ranger DSL; 2014 Excursion, Expedition, Jamboree Sport, Montara Commercial, Searcher Commercial, Southwind, Storm, Terra, and Tioga Ranger; and 2013-2014 Bounder, Bounder Classic, and Discovery recreational vehicles.

The vehicles are equipped with Weatherpro and 9100 series power awnings. Due to a design change in the power awning motor assembly, the motor assembly screws may unknowingly shear.

If the motor assembly screws shear, it is possible that the awning can unfurl unexpectedly, either while the vehicle is at rest or while in transit, increasing the risk of personal injury or a vehicle crash.

Fleetwood RV will notify owners and Dometic staff will replace the affected motors with motors of a different design. Fleetwood RV has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Owners may contact Fleetwood RV Owner Relations at 1-800-509-3418 or Dometic at 1-888-447-0003 for more information. Owners are being instructed not to drive their vehicle until repairs can be performed.

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.

Gulf Stream Coach, Inc.

gulf-stream-logoNappanee, Indiana-based Gulf Stream Coach, Inc. is recalling 126 model year 2001 Ultra, Conquest, Independence, Ultra Supreme, Yellowstone, and Cavalier motorhomes with floorplans 6316 or 8325. The motorhomes were manufactured May 17, 2000, through December 31, 2000. A portion of the electrical wiring may not be properly secured. This condition may cause wear and possible heat development between the refrigerator coils and the wire.

A failure of the wiring could result in property damage, fire, or injury.

Gulf Stream will notify owners, and dealers will repair the motorhomes free of charge. The recall is expected to begin by May 30, 2013. Owners may contact Gulf Stream at 1-800-289-8787. Gulf Stream’s recall campaign number is 13WG-2000.

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.

Gulf Stream Coach, Inc.

gulf-stream-logoNappanee, Indiana-based Gulf Stream Coach, Inc. is recalling 27 model year 2013 Canyon Trail, Sedona, Ridgeline, Kingsport, and Trail Master recreational vehicle trailers manufactured February 13, 2013, through April 24, 2013. The vehicles are equipped with Weatherpro and 9100 series power awnings. Due to a design change in the power awning motor assembly, the motor assembly screws may unknowingly shear.

If the motor assembly screws shear, it is possible that the awning can unfurl unexpectedly, either while the vehicle is at rest or while in transit, increasing the risk of personal injury or a vehicle crash.

Gulf Stream will notify owners and Dometic staff will replace the affected motors with motors of a different design. Gulf Stream has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Owners may contact Gulf Stream at 1-574-773-7761 or Dometic at 1-888-447-0003 for more information. Gulf Stream Coach’s recall number for this campaign is 13AW-0204.

Owners are being instructed not to drive their vehicle until repairs can be performed.

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 sixteenth in a series of articles relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls.

Worth Pondering…

The older I get, the more I learn to tolerate human shortcomings—and the less I tolerate bad attitudes.

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Spartan Introduces New Innovations

Charlotte, Michigan-based Spartan Chassis, a subsidiary of Spartan Motors, Inc., introduces new innovations which highlight recent progress and define the Company’s strategic intent.

With over $8 billion in annual revenue, the North American RV industry represents a core market with strong growth opportunity for Spartan Motors, Inc. and a strategic reset for Spartan Chassis, according to a news release.

Innovation

High Output/Performance Front Engine Concept Chassis: Code named the Extol and powered by an 8.8 Liter gas engine that offers 430 HP and 512 lb.-ft. of torque (@3400 RPM). This Spartan-branded engine offers a sizable performance improvement over current Class A gas offerings in the market today. This brand extension is uniquely positioned to target the growth segments in the Class A market.

High Performance/Low Cost Concept Chassis: Code named the Revel, this Class A body-on-frame design utilizes a low cab forward chassis architecture and enables the RV OEMs to realize up to 13 percent of additional living space. Powered by a 6.0 Liter gas engine with an established performance record, and an optional Allison 1000 series transmission, this brand extension can re-establish the value equation at the low end of the Class A market.

Redefining Next Generation Ride and Handing: A new Compression Fluid Strut (CFS) that offers reduced response time and greater damping power than a hydro pneumatic system. Spartan is exploring this as an option on all Spartan Chassis.

“The journey or getting there is just as important as being there,” said Tom Gorman, Chief Operating Officer, Spartan Motors.

“Spartan has been known for over three decades as the industry-leader for ride and handling and we just got even better.”

Customer “First” Care
Spartan has always led the industry with after-the-sale support and will continue to prioritize the treatment of its customers.

Customer support: The Company’s service network continues to expand. Delivery of superior after-the-sale service is provided by over 585 authorized Spartan service providers.

Customer service: the best Roadside Assistance program provided in partnership with Good Sam and their network of over 40,000 mobile service providers.

Go-to Market
The established Spartan Chassis customer base continues to drive the strategic focus of the RV business unit.

Featuring the frame: As the RV Class A Diesel Chassis manufacturer with the most comprehensive warranty coverage available, Spartan will visually enhance this feature by painting every chassis with the bright “Spartan” red.

Every Spartan customer matters: Effective January 7, 2013, Spartan will once again provide his and hers Spartan leather jackets to all new owners that buy a new coach from one of our RV OEM partners.

Details

Spartan Chassis Inc.

Spartan Chassis, Inc. is a world-class leader in the engineering, manufacturing, and marketing of chassis and aftermarket parts for emergency-response, recreational vehicle, defense, and specialty vehicles.

End users recognize and request the Spartan Chassis brand, which consistently delivers superior performance, exceptional safety ratings and innovations which distinguish us from the competition.

Spartan Chassis, Inc. is a subsidiary of Spartan Motors, Inc.

Website: spartanchassis.com

Spartan Motors, Inc.

Spartan Motors, Inc. designs, engineers, and manufactures specialty chassis, specialty vehicles, truck bodies, and aftermarket parts for the recreational vehicle, emergency response, government services, defense, and delivery and service markets.

The company’s brand names—Spartan Chassis, Spartan ERV, and Utilimaster—are known for quality, performance, service, and first-to-market innovation.

The company employs approximately 1,700 associates at facilities in Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Indiana, Florida, and Texas. Spartan reported sales of $426 million in 2011 and is focused on becoming a global leader in the design, engineering, and manufacture of specialty vehicles and chassis.

Website: spartanmotors.com

Worth Pondering…

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Spartan Introduces Compressible Fluid Strut

Spartan Chassis, a subsidiary of Spartan Motors, Inc. introduced a Compressible Fluid Strut (CFS) that offers a collection of performance benefits and opportunities for part-count reduction.

The single unit combines fluid spring, shock absorber, damping, and actuation functions into a lightweight and compact design.

The CFS is currently undergoing Spartan testing and is manufactured by Horstman Incorporated of Sterling Heights, Michigan, according to a news release.

“The psychographic profile of today’s RV owner is far more diverse than years past. The outdoor activities they enjoy run the gamut and the amount of equipment carried on the coach continues to escalate year after year. The additional weight places greater demands on the RV suspension,” said Tom Gorman, Chief Operating Officer, Spartan Motors.

“Concurrently, the customer’s ride quality and vehicle handling expectations are also increasing so we need to continually explore development of higher performing suspension systems and early indications are the CFS out-performs current technologies.”

CFS benefits include:

  • Reduced response time and greater damping power than a hydropneumatic system
  • Fluid compression requires no hydraulic flow to respond to load inputs, providing instantaneous response
  • Performs well in severe, high-speed and cross-country applications
  • Improved heat rejection eliminates “damper fade”
  • Strut is compatible with trailing arm, leading arm, McPherson, and wishbone suspension configurations
  • Significantly longer life than traditional shock absorbers

“All of these benefits ultimately lead to significantly reduced vehicle roll and pitch, and increased vehicle stability and handling,” stated Drew Lippert, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Horstman Incorporated.

“For nearly 100 years, Horstman has been dedicated to using technological advances to significantly improve the safety and comfort of vehicle operators. To this end, Horstman has partnered with Spartan to bring this life saving technology to market.”

The CFS is also suited to vehicle upgrades for original designs by replacing the shock absorbers. CFS can operate as a bolt-on suspension upgrade alongside a traditional spring, or in a stand-alone configuration. Units can be supplied with a variety of end fixtures depending on the suspension geometry, as well as an optional Ride Height Control System to expand vehicle capability, states the news release.

After-the-sale support provided by Spartan includes the following:

  • Customer support: superior after the sale service provided by over 585 authorized Spartan service providers
  • Customer service: the best Roadside Assistance program provided in partnership with Good Sam and their network of over 40,000 mobile service providers

Details

Spartan Chassis Inc.

Spartan Chassis, Inc. is a world-class leader in the engineering, manufacturing, and marketing of chassis and aftermarket parts for emergency-response, recreational vehicle, defense, and specialty vehicles.

End users recognize and request the Spartan Chassis brand, which consistently delivers superior performance, exceptional safety ratings and innovations which distinguish us from the competition.

Spartan Chassis, Inc. is a subsidiary of Spartan Motors, Inc.

Website: spartanchassis.com

Spartan Motors, Inc.

Spartan Motors, Inc. designs, engineers, and manufactures specialty chassis, specialty vehicles, truck bodies, and aftermarket parts for the recreational vehicle, emergency response, government services, defense, and delivery and service markets.

The company’s brand names—Spartan Chassis, Spartan ERV, and Utilimaster—are known for quality, performance, service, and first-to-market innovation.

The company employs approximately 1,700 associates at facilities in Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Indiana, Florida, and Texas. Spartan reported sales of $426 million in 2011 and is focused on becoming a global leader in the design, engineering, and manufacture of specialty vehicles and chassis.

Website: spartanmotors.com

Horstman, Inc.

Horstman, Inc. designs, engineers and manufactures specialty suspension systems for a wide range of markets. Horstman has been known for its development of high performance suspension technologies worldwide since 1913.

With facilities, in Michigan, Louisiana, Toronto, and the United Kingdom, Horstman is truly a global supplier of mobility solutions.

Website: horstmaninc.com

Worth Pondering…

We aim above the mark to hit the mark.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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