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 > Mandalay? No thank you!

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SmokyS1

Kalispell MT

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Posted: 03/19/05 04:10am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Despite meeting some VERY nice Mandalay drivers like Titanium, I feel I must realate my own experiences with this lovely but frail motorhome.

I feel I need to warn everyone of our experiences with the new Thor Mandalay. Maybe our experieinces were just a rare string of coincidental oddities. But I don't see how I could spend any more time trying to evaluate this new entry into the Class A motorhome market.

We first ran across the Mandalay at the Chantilly Virginia show in January. It came out of left field at us by surprise.

We had settled down to the Beaver Santiam and the Newmar Kountry Star as our final choices. Our purpose at the show was to give a last look at the brands we had crossed off our list. We were looking at the See Ya Gold, one that almost made our list when the See Ya dealer said, “I have one other brand you really ought to look at, given what remains on your list.”

We were swept over by the initial look at the new Thor Mandalay, in its third year of production. It has independent front suspension, Cat 350 engine, Freightliner chassis, 7.5 kw Onan, even 2 bathrooms in one of its 40 foot floorplans. All kinds of wonderful amenities.

Our first sign of trouble occurred when after waiting for 30 minutes to talk to a Mandalay manufacturer rep, he sat down, spent 5 minutes with us, then got up and announced he had to go to lunch. Hmmm.

This did not dissuade us as the dealer salesman was very nice and helpful. We also met Titanium who spent a lot of time with us as a satisfied owner and vice president of the Mandalay owner's club.

We then arranged to visit the dealer in Richmond VA and test drive the Mandalay. Ut oh.

We did not go more than 2 miles and heard a terrible racket in the back of the bus. I pulled over to the side. I looked back and the salesman was standing by the bathroom door in dismay. Not only the door, but the door frame itself pulled out from the bulkhead. I could see two screws stocking out of the side of the frame and 6 inches of space between the frame and the bulkhead.

The dealer suggested I come back another day.

Instead I went to another Mandalay dealer in northern Maryland. The first Mandalay we tried did not even start. The second one had a mirror fall off, but it ran great. When we got back I asked to see the storage under the bed. The bed got stuck in the up position when the dealer raised it and he could not get it back down.

We went back and got another Mandalay. This time we did not even get out of the dealership and another mirror fell off the wall.

We went and looked at a fourth Mandalay, and two mirrors were lying on the bed and you could see where the paste was still on the wall and no screws were visible. Pasted on mirrors?

Then the dealer suggested I try a 2004 Mandalay that had never been sold. He should have quit while he was ahead.

That one fired right up, nothing fell off, but in spite of IFS it shook like a Banshee. He mumbled something about getting the wheels aligned while I hastily ran away from the place.

The crowning blow came this week. I actually called Mandalay hoping someone at the factory could convince me that these were all just unfortunate coincidences and not reflective of Mandalay quality. A lady answered the phone and told me no one could speak with me because they were all away at a show in Georgia. I explained this did not reflect well on the company that no one was at the factory. She said she would have someone call me within 24 hours.

I called again this morning to explain she had missed her commitment. She was very rude and asked what I expected of a company that was growing faster than they could staff it. I told her I expected I would cross them off my list as I was NOT going to spend better than $200k on a manufacturer who was growing too fast to support me.


Smoky
2005 Newmar KS3910 Kountry Star Pusher

Ford Taurtus Toad with Remco axle lock


SmokyS1

Kalispell MT

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Posted: 03/19/05 04:16am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Oh, I should add that this same weekend morning I also called Newmar with a question about the Kountry Star headboard on the bed. I did not get 5 words out of my mouth and the lady answering the phone connected me to a gentleman to answer my questions. He spent 30 minutes with us on the phone and covered all kinds of topics. I could not resist telling him about the Mandalay phone call. He laughed, thanked me for sharing the story, and said the Newmar people were at the same show. Didn't slow them down any as far as I could tell.

Anyone have any bad stories to tell about Newmar or their Kountry Star pusher? This is a good time for me to hear about it as my property settles on May 17 and we plan to become full-timers living on a Kountry Star diesel.

Over_the_Horizon

North Shore, Massachusetts

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Posted: 03/19/05 05:47am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You think your experience with Newmar was positive, you ain't seen or heard nothing yet. These people are the nicest, most responsive in the industry. After wandering around in the Winnebago desert for 2 and a half years, we traded in for our new Dutch Star last fall and can not believe how much of an improvement everything is. Well built coach right out of the showroom. Quick response to questions and issues (mostly my ignorance not Newmar's). And behind it all is the confidence of a 3 year no-questions-asked warranty. If you're still on the fence, my recommendation to you would be to go Newmar. Thanks for sharing your experience with Mandalay.


2012 Winnebago View

TMitchell

Punta Gorda, Fl.

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Posted: 03/19/05 05:59am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We are on our second Dutch Star and have been very happy with the quality and service. I have read a lot of complaints about various things going wrong with some of the other brands of new MH's and the poor service following the sale. After buying each Dutch Star, I kept waiting for the bad things to start happening to ours, but so far no problems or complaints.


Tom,Pat and Buster the Boston Terrier
2004 Dutch Star 3807 Spartan 370HP
Jeep Grand Cherokee


Locomotiveman

Willmar, MN

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Joined: 03/07/2005

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Posted: 03/19/05 06:45am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Monday March 14,2005 in Mpls MN.MRC Auctions sold a 2004 Mandalay 40b w/4slides,330hpCummins,2 plasma TV's etc. loaded,loaded. $$137,900


Locomotiveman..Yes I am a career cross-country Locomotive Engineer. Wife is an RN. We are CLOSE to retiring and 'downsized' to a Monaco Executive w/450hp Cummins and nice drapes. Locomotiveman

bagman

Land Of Milk & Honey!

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Posted: 03/19/05 07:08am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

SmokyS1, Personally I think Newmar and Beaver both build fine quality motor homes. I have toured the Newmar plant and I was very impressed with the work ethic there. The majority of their worker are either Amish or menonite. As far as Beaver is concerned, to me they have always looked so classy. Tiffin motor homes are built down in Red Bay, Alabama and their owners are very loyal and I happen to be one of them. Their customer service takes a back seat to no one! I've never owned a Thor product and have never been in, let alone test drive a Mandalay, but I do believe what you said. One thing is for sure, and that is if you are going to spend up to $200,000.00 on a new DP, you want to make sure you are making the right decision. Good luck, Chuck.


Land of Opportunity & Liberty 4 ALL!

Bruce Brown

Northern NY

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Posted: 03/19/05 07:31am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Our Kountry Star DP is our second Newmar, and for good reason. They have earned our business by building a quality product.

Enjoy your new coach!


There are 24 hours in every day - it all depends on how you choose to use them.
Bruce & Jill Brown
2008 Kountry Star Pusher 3910


Retired_Smitty

Fulltime RV'r

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Posted: 03/19/05 07:41am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ok SmokS1, you wanted a bad story about Newmar, so here goes. Last summer we were at the FMCA rally in Redmond, Or and was parked in the overflow area(another story I won't go into) with our friends who have a 2002 Newmar. We stopped at the Newmar factory rep's booth(the first day of the rally) and our friend asked to have someone come out and look at a the slide to see if there was a problem. Newmar hadn't showed up by the morning of the last day (rally ran from Monday through Thursday) so we stopped by again and he was told that his work order was the next one to go out. No rep by 3PM so went back to booth and he was told "Oh we don't send our people out to the overflow area". Funny, Monaco, Country Coach, A&E, Allison, Detroit and others were out there. Now I am not saying that Newmar is a bad company, just the opposite, they make an very good product for the price. Just saying that every company has their bad days and employees that are, well lets just say the south end of a north bound mule. Sounds like you hit the coaches that really had bad days in the assembly line.

Razrbck

Arkansas America

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Posted: 03/19/05 09:34am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Like all RV manufacturers Newmar has made some stinkers. My limited experience with the company has been positive. The quality and fit and finish of Newmar class A, will generally rival any coach. A good Newmar dealer will work with you and if he is a stinker, the home company will see to your satisfaction. They didnt get big and successful by screwing over people on the way up. There may be better coaches out there, but I dont think so for mass produced coaches. three year warranty is BIG. My onan genny went bad, onan wasnt really helpful, so I called Newmar, they had it fixed that day, no cost, only an apology for my trouble. neat hey??

JohnnyT

On The Road

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Posted: 03/19/05 09:59am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I was sorry to hear the account of your Mandalay experience..The coach has enjoyed a good reputation from the owners on the forum. Hopefully your experience is an anomaly. While we do not own one I have looked at them and came away liking the coach.. Mandalay has a lot of features normally found on higher line coaches.

Some of what you described was clearly on the heads of the dealer.. They do owe it to the manufacturers to insure that the coaches are in a ready state to be shown and sold.. The type of problems you encountered I have seen with several other manufacturers, where the coach would not start due to dead batteries, or trim laying loose and the like..

The other side of the coin is that manufacturers ought to build them where they are less likely to have the sort of problems that you encountered.

You might consider sending a letter to the President of Thor letting them know that they lost a sure sale based on what you encountered..The might help others down the line.

Good luck in your search for the right one! [emoticon]

JohnnyT


2004 40DS02 Travel Supreme ISL 400
Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford F150
M&G Brake & Break Away
Blue Ox Aventa LX Tow bar


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