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.
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:
Here is the link to the identified chassis and procedure to correct:
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.
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.