Just as with the Spartan chassis service, we have learned (the hard way) that it is far, far better to have our rig serviced by those who built it. We had our original fabulous Entegra Factory service experience last May, and booked an appointment to come back far out we could (6 months in advance). The service is understandably popular and slots fill up quickly.
Our list wasn’t all that long really. The biggest issue (for me) was that the hot water in the shower wasn’t working right. Jeff had ordered and replaced the shower valve, but we still weren’t getting adequate hot water flow. It was likely that the hot water line was either blocked or crimped. And there were several other minor things, like, the driver seat footrest was inoperable. The trash drawer slide hardware was shedding ball bearings. The entry door tends to stick in cold weather. We asked them to tighten the bolts on one of the slide out motors that we couldn’t get to, and check/adjust the slides. Things like that. Just a week before our appointment, our super slide topper ripped away from the side of the coach. A timely failure, we added that to the list. The service shop was also going to do their usual comprehensive Annual Inspection Report (AIR) and let us know of anything they found. We were allotted three days in the shop to address all issues identified.
In these COVID days everything is a done bit differently, and our Entegra service experience was no exception. In the past, we stayed in our rig each night. Now, that wasn’t allowed. We arrived the night before our appointment and retrieved our name tag from the mailbox outside the service entrance. We checked into a nearby pet-friendly hotel (Hampton Inn) and moved in for a several day stay – Pumpkin and all. Going back to the rig, I disinfected every surface they were likely to contact (per their request) and left for the night. The next morning, we drove back and turned over the keys to the technician at 6:30 am. He pulled the bus into the shop, where it would stay until they were completed with all service items. We waited in our truck, and about 20 minutes later, Jeff was called into the service office to go over our list. By 7 am, we were free to go back to a leisurely (free) breakfast at the hotel while Entegra did their thing. The Entegra customer lounge was open and available during daytime hours, but we didn’t need to go there.
Our hotel experience was also a bit different than usual. During our stay, there was no housekeeping service, unless we specifically requested it. We elected not to have anyone enter our room, and simply waylaid the housekeeper for additional towels and consumable items. Masks were required except in our room and while eating at a table in the breakfast area. In a way, it was easier to stay in a hotel — we didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn every day to vacate the bus for service. Pumpkin wasn’t very happy at the change in venue, but he wasn’t happy to be trapped in a pet pen in the customer lounge either. Pumpkin just wasn’t going to be happy.
During our free time, we toured the Recreational Vehicle/Manufactured Home Hall of Fame in nearby Elkhart. It was fascinating to climb into some of the earliest recreational vehicles from the 1930’s and to see how the RV design esthetic reflected the tastes of the various eras. Interestingly to me, the layout of various recreational vehicles (tent campers, trailers, motor homes) really haven’t changed all that much. I mean, there’s only so many logical ways to lay out kitchen, bathroom, seating and beds. The museum also celebrated the manufactured home, and provided a modern example of one to tour. The place is an interesting visit, but only takes about an hour to go through everything. They could enhance the exhibits by providing more videos of old RV’s either in commercials or documentaries. I was also surprised that the “vendor hall” didn’t have more displays and the “new RV” hall had only a couple of new rigs to view.
We also wandered about the shops of quaint Shipshewana and dined at the famous Dutch Essenhaus. I do enjoy being in Amish country!
Back at Entegra, the tech completed their exhaustive AIR and found a few minor items that we weren’t even aware of. A deflector plate under the dash was misaligned, causing low heat flow to the drivers side of the cockpit. The passenger security light sensor was broken. Some rubber seals needed replacing, and aquahot lines needed to be sealed/insulated in one spot. The front door deadbolt was bent. Those items were added to the repair list.
We had figured on 3 days for repairs, but late on the 2nd day, we were told that our bus was nearly finished and just needed final cleaning. So, we thought we would get it back quickly (that day, even) and could get an early start the next morning. It turned out that our bus wasn’t actually returned until noon the next day, because our final touches got delayed. Our service writer could have managed our expectations a bit better, but that is a very minor quibble in what was otherwise a stellar service experience. Not only were all of our requested items completed, they also efficiently fixed the items they found within the time allotted. The interior was returned sparkling clean, nicer than when we gave it to them. And the best part was the bill — less than $200! Even though we are technically out of warranty, they simply fixed a lot of these minor issues for free. Entegra really treats their owners right. We love our bus.
In a couple of years …. we’ll be back!