I posted the story about a complete failure of my transmission in mid-February. It was called “My Allison Transmission is Cooked”, and there were over 7500 views last I looked. The radiator assembly had been the subject of a recall campaign, TSI 124 (technical service instruction) during 2002-2004 to fix a serious risk of transmission failure resulting from vibration between adjoining coolant and ATF fluid lines. If the lines fractured between themselves, it would cause the engine coolant to mix with ATF. When ethylene glycol gets in the transmission clutch plates, it is all over, requiring a complete rebuild. And for the record, Monaco will not refer to this as a recall. But when they send out registered notices to come in for free repairs, folks, that’s a recall.
Last week I wrote to Kay Toolson, CEO of Monaco to plead my case, and as you might expect, it was referred back down the line to Tech Support where I started in the first place, this time from Indiana rather than Oregon. During the course of an hour, I was presented with all the exclusions and expired time limits that could be mustered by this giant conglomerate to justify why they were not accountable for any part of my transmission failure. What I was really hearing was why they “legally” could avoid taking any responsibility. Many of you will note that I have never stated I felt they were neglecting responsibility for their warranties, nor was I legally justified in demanding that the expired TSI should be reopened and compensatory damages covered. That was not my issue. I am going to insert a portion of my letter to Mr. Toolson here, which should clarify my position. (Note that I just found out I was wrong about being 1 year out of warranty. It is actually 3 years out of warranty. I was given bad information, but then out is out.
(mid-letter) Here is a summary of the pertinent facts that surround my request for reconsideration:
My coach is a little over a year out of warranty (understood). I am not the original owner of this coach (understood).
An aluminum intercooler failure as defined in TSI 124 caused the failure of my transmission. It required a complete rebuild and my repair bill was $5713.13.
Monaco was aware of the problem and in 2003 issued TSI 124, a campaign to correct problems with the intercooler assembly.
Monaco made an attempted to notify owners of record in writing.
The campaign notice for my coach was sent to dealer Paul Evert in Fresno, CA, and Paul Evert signed the receipt for the TSI on August 21, 2003.
Paul Evert had, however, sold this coach to Douglas “X” on June 13, 2003, a full two months earlier.
Monaco Tech Support is swearing by Paul Evert’s claim that the notice was forwarded on to Mr. “X”. But there is no registered or certified documentation, and no other proof of receipt. Moreover, Mr. “X” claims that he never received anything about this notice from Paul Evert, and he has confirmed that he is more than willing to put this in writing, or if requested, give a sworn deposition.
As soon as Monaco had the perceived legal security and protection of a signed piece of paper from a warm body with a pen, they felt their obligation was fulfilled, and there was no further effort made towards owner notification or tracking compliance with the TSI.
Mr. “X” could not have responded to the campaign since he never knew about it. Note that he is the party here with nothing to gain either way.
I purchased this coach from DeMartini Sales on August 31, 2005, and with absolutely no knowledge of a potential intercooler problem, I drove the coach for 6 months until I become a victim of the flawed intercooler design.
Numerous opportunities to avoid this event were sabotaged by Monaco’s internal policies and lack of adequate tracking systems. Consider that this coach passed through the hands of not only dealer Paul Evert, but also another authorized dealer, Tim DeMartini. Then I placed a call to Monaco to register my ownership. I also placed a number of calls to Tech Support while troubleshooting various technical issues. And if all that exposure isn’t enough, I was physically in the Harrisburg Service facility for three days, leaving for home the morning of the failure.
“Every step of the way, where there was a logical opportunity to check the compliance status with critical campaigns relative to my coach, there was not a word uttered that some action was required.”
Not at the dealer level, and not at the manufacturer level. Essentially, you never gave me a chance to be responsible for this failure!
The most amazing information to come from this phone call what that if you call in to register your coach, your coach records are not updated to your new ownership unless you submit or they somehow acquire proof of ownership. The phone call doesn’t do it, rather it just logs your data on a call sheet. So access to your coach records is even further restricted than I originally thought. And it was re-confirmed, not that it needed much additional confirmation, that no history, not even the “filling of a staple hole”, will be given out for any period prior to your ownership, assuming that is, that you have proven you really own your coach. Man, this all borders on self-serving preservation in my book.
So after owning three Monaco products, a ‘92 Dynasty, an ‘01 Imperial, and now this ‘02 Endeavor over an 11 year period, I am realizing blind loyalty is not always very rewarding. I feel Monaco contributed to this episode on so many levels, and the power to simply say “ Sorry Charlie” is very disturbing at best. I am quite certain that I will look to other manufactures in the future. But the real question is what will the court of public opinion select as the appropriate level of justice here? It could be none if I am off base. But it could be a notable if the motorhome community does not like what they have seen. Only one lost Monaco sale will more than offset my repair bill, any more would be considered punitive for bad judgment.
* This post was
edited 03/07/06 01:59pm by StuartT *
I would never buy a Coach until I have cheked on all recall for that model to see if they have been corected. it takes 1 phone call to the manuf. Sorry for you loss of $$$ but they did issue a recall, unfortunally the owner before you did not seem that is that important.
I feel for you but have to agree with Don Don. When I bought my coach I contacted CC and asked for a status of all recall work. They did handle it a bit differently... they couldn't confirm one recall had been done an invited me to take it to the dealer of my choice at their expense to have it checked out.
There was one BIG difference (other than it being a CC ) - my recalls were SAFETY issues, I suspect your's are not (at least not NHTSA).
Skyranch, They didn't say anything about service records they said look into Recall notices. I think Monaco would give that info out.
Anyway that is a tough lesson but you do take a chance buying used coaches.
Even being a huge company you can't expect them to cover issues that are that far out of warranty.
Maybe the previous owner dumped the coach rather than deal with the issue, is that Monaco's fault?
Rob and Karen kids Kevin 10 and Kayla 8
06 HR Ambassador 40 DST
05 Odyssey Toad
What a rough experience. You would think that a repair of less than $6,000 would be be a small item for Monaco to pay just to keep customer goodwill. You next coach will most likely NOT be Monaco. Also, this story will affect some other prospective buyers. Maybe I am missing something, but this does not seem to be forward thinking on the part of Monaco.
If you asked about recalls you should have been told about the recalls. If they do not specifically say your particular coach was fixed, that is their policy. If you never asked if there were any recalls then you did not heed the "buyer beware" warnings we all have heard about. Now if you asked if there were issues/recalls and were told there were none then you may be justified in wanting some restitution. After all then you did what you could do to avoid a problem. On the other hand if you never asked, which it sounds like you never did, you have no reasonable claim to any type of restitution. But thats just my opinion.
2005 Gulfstream Crescendo 36' DP (8356)
2003 Jeep Wrangler Sahara (toad)
My wonderful wife, 2 sons (17 and 15) & 2 dogs
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"Just because you can doesn't mean you should"