Thursday the 6th July dawned and with some trepidation we set of to Palm Beach RV for our training course and to pick up the RV and the Spark with the towing hitch fitted.
Got there after picking up a rather large certified cheque from Citibank and the day started with an introduction to their Finance guy to hand over the cheque and sort out our Warranty and Paint cover.
All completed we waited for the guy who was going to walk us through the RV and introduce us on how to use everything. He turned up and first showed us the Spark with all the towing brackets etc. sticking through the front grill. At first glance all looked great(more of this later).
Then onto the RV. I suppose we should of guessed that we weren’t going to get all we thought we were when he opened up by saying “this is my first time doing this on an RV”. Anne asked if we could video his talk and he said he wasn’t happy with that so Anne got the notebook out and started writing. First came the tour around the outside where we were shown the outdoor entertainment centre, the various storage lockers, the on-board generator and how to start it from the outside, and then the important bits on how to connect to the Black (sewerage), grey(dirty water) and white(drinking water) tanks, and the electrical, TV and cable hook-ups.
First thing we found out was something we already knew but our guide didn’t was that there was a separate black tank for the front bathroom which was connected to the back black tank for dump purposes via a macerator pump. Got that sorted out and then moved on to the front of the vehicle, where he didn’t know how to open the hood (bonnet). Luckily I knew how to do this and had already seen all the important bits (oil fill, radiator top up, washer bottle etc.), so we completed the external tour and moved inside.
Opened up the door and out popped the steps and he took us through the 4 batteries on board (2 engine start, 2 house batteries for running unconnected to power). Next to them he pointed out the external awning controls, and then then the various fuses and breakers that were in the panel next to the switches. Then we introduced to the screen door and the main door locks etc. and finally got out of the Florida heat into the air conditioned interior!!
This is when we discovered that the bits they were supposed to be repairing hadn’t been done! The end of the tow/haul lever was still missing, and the pull that opens the sofa into a bed that was pulled off during our sales tour was still off!!
We proceed on round the coach (will not bore you with the multitude of switches, functions etc. we were introduced to), although there was quite a few things that he was unclear about how they functioned. Finally got to the bottom of most things after asking more questions.
I then noticed an extra pedal next to the automatic pedals and asked what it was and he said it was the parking brake and proceed to show us how it worked. He released the brake and at this point the levelling jacks all automatically closed, a safety feature he had forgotten all about, since you are not supposed to drive off down the road with jacks down!! After a bit of rocking and rolling as we settled onto the wheels he apologised and tried to explain what had happened!!
We then moved onto how the slides worked and said that he would now show us how they retracted. Now I was a bit puzzled by this and said so, since I had read that you should never move the slides unless the vehicle was level on the jacks, which due to his mistake were now closed. Luckily Winnebago had put another safety feature in that stops you operating the slides without being level, so when he pressed the button nothing happened!!
So we found out how the levelling system worked!! First you must turn on the engine to provide pressure for the hydraulics and then you hit the Auto Level button. At this point the jacks come down and the RV goes into a sort of dance at it figures out what jack it needs to get the RV level. After about 3 minutes it declared success and sure enough we had one green light in the middle of the levelling system saying it was level.
Then we could retract the slides!! Which we did by pressing the appropriate buttons, but noting that you must make sure you switch all the lights etc. off at the back of the RV as once the bedroom slide is in the only way to do it is to climb across the bed.
At this point the “instructor” declared it was time for lunch and he would take us through how to attach the Spark to the hitch after lunch.
Anne and I looked at each other and said fine we will go and get lunch as well and meet him back there in an hour. In reality we wanted time to write down what we thought was missing so far and what we still needed to know and get fixed.
Our list was quite long so we decided after lunch to get our main contact Will and explain to him that we were not that happy with what had happened. To give him credit all sorts of people appeared out of the woodwork and we suddenly had access to more experienced people who explained all the outstanding questions (i.e. how did the left/right turn cameras work, obvious when you shown but it was omitted!).
Then we went through the things we thought we had paid for but not been done, black/grey tanks had not been emptied and flushed, LPG was not full, gas tank was half empty and supposed to be full and we weren’t too impressed with external “detailing” (water streaks all over it).
So finally it was agreed that we would leave the RV with them until Wednesday 12th July so they had time to fix all of this and also service the vehicle/generator which had not been done. Ho hum.
Then I was shown how to hitch the Spark up to the RV (it looks tiny at the back of the RV!!), which to be honest was impressive with so many safety features to stop it flying off into the woods if it became disconnected!!
We needed the Spark as the hire car goes back on Sunday 9th and we had promised to take Lilia to Miami airport on Tuesday (going to Mexico) as Christopher starts his training course on Monday and cannot get away. So we parked it in the Customer Parking and drove back to Chris’s to get him so we could pick it up.
We then drove back with Chris and it was then that he noticed that they had damaged the Spark front bumper installing the hitch!! The dealership was closed so we drove back got something to eat, and called it a day.
Next day we went back again to have this investigated and we are getting a new bumper to fix the problem!! Result!!
Other than all above we have been continuing to shop for the RV which if some of you have seen Anne’s Facebook post has not exactly been my favourite bit!!
That’s all for now, probably will leave it until Wednesday to post again when we pick up the RV (hopefully) !!