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Old 01-03-2013, 11:59 AM   #11
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My 2012 Solera "S" came with Continental Vanco Four Season Load Range "E" tires. Have been in light snow (Sequoia National Park in October) and in rain; they seemed to do well.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:37 PM   #12
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One thing is that no tire alone does well on Ice, on the chemical issue once you get home get to a good pressure washer and wash off the underside. Chemicals are not going to do that much damage on one trip it takes years of chemical contact to do damage. I've got a 2002 pick up that I wash off every year and I don't have any rust spots on it at all and haven't had any problems.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:50 PM   #13
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Visit California. We do not use salt or chemicals on the roads. We just plow them and add sand to improve traction.

I always thought that allowing salt to run off from the roads into lakes and streams was not a good idea.


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Old 01-04-2013, 10:27 AM   #14
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I just got caught with my TT in the recent blizzard that hit the midwest and northeast. Was trying to beat it to get back home and missed by a couple of hours. I've hauled horse trailers over glare ice and was never scared. This storm, trying to haul the camper scared me. It was life threatening conditions and I have extensive experience. As well, it's the idiots on the road, not even your own driving that is scarey. I ended up stopping at friends and we just pulled in and decided to figure out how to get me out, what to do with the dogs, etc. later. It was 2 days before I could get out and I was super stressed when I finally got there.

If you're not experienced, you can do one of 3 things:
1)Wait until spring.
2) Take a southern route and hunker down should bad weather head your way. If you do that, make sure you are settled the day before any expected storm hits and that you have supplies, etc. to last a day or two longer than the storm is expected to last. Also, if you have slides and you're in a snow storm, either bring them in or make sure you are tarped to keep the snow off slider covers help, but won't keep snow from blowing up under them. Also, make sure you have sufficient snow removal equipment as well as a light weight step ladder should you have to climb to get up high to brush slides off. Another thing to consider on the southern route is spring storms. They have been a lot more severe in recent years and unexpected things are happening weather wise.
3) Take the northern route, but make sure you have chains as others recommended and likewise, hunker down if a storm is coming. Especially on the northern route, make sure you have adequate clothing for extended outdoor exposure. In the unlikely event you have to walk for help or get stranded, parkas, snow pants, cold weather sleeping bags could become life savers. It might take you quite awhile to get home this way, but as they say, arrive alive!
Personally, I think the south is beautiful this time of year!
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:54 AM   #15
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Quote: "It makes sense to wait to get it til spring, but as a lot of you know with RV Direct, you pay for it when it comes offline, then wait and wait til it's delivered to the dealer, and then don't really know what kind if shape it's in til you see it, and doing a lot of hoping that the Des Moines dealer has done a good check of all he systems. I know the PDI will not be exhaustive. So many worries. (That overactive imagination, and lots of FR Forum reading...)

So, thank you again for taking the time to share all of your thoughts. I needed some smart minds to step into my own limited and naive thinking.

I wonder, too, can I trust RVDirect? Will I find someone local to help with warranty work tho I bought elsewhere? Oh lord. OK. I'll stop. You're all great! Thanks!"


Local Forest River Dealer should be no problem for warranty work. Now if you tried to buy it there and didn't because of price they might be a little grumpy. Considering all the negatives and stress you seem to have over this, I hope the amount you think you saved is worth it.
Another option would be to check it out and take delivery but store it at the RV Direct facility or a local storage area and bring it home in the spring. Not sure if you plan to store it inside at home but if not you probably would be buying a cover which you could use as well now.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:03 PM   #16
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Hi Marionap,

I just did exactly what you're planning to do. I purchased a 2013 Forest River Solera 24S from RV Direct and picked it up in Des Moines. i live in Vancouver, BC, Canada, so I needed to drive it all the way to the border North of Seattle, WA. I bought an in-stock model, so it was ready for me just a few days after payment was received. I picked it up on Dec. 28th, 2012

My inspection was scheduled for 1 PM and lasted over 4 hours at their service area which is not at the Des Moines RV dealersip, but in the back of a warehouse facility north of town. The technician gave me a pretty good overview, answered my questions, was patient, and went about other things while I was checking the unit. When I was complete he re-winterized the unit, showing me how to do it (I had asked for them to not re-winterize it until I arrived so that it was possible to properly check the unit).

I would recommend that you prepare a detailed checklist of things that you want to inspect. There are several available online. I found about 6 or 8 defects (all minor), some of which were corrected by the technician immediately, and a few which will need to be handled by warranty claims.

At the end of the inspection you will be asked to sign a Forest River document which says that you have checked many things to your satisfaction. I recommend that you ask for this form before you begin your inspection so you know what to cover. The document also says that any damage (dents, scratches, chips, etc.) other than what you have noted on the form will not be eligible for warranty claims, so it is really important to find and identify any cosmetic flaws (interior and exterior) during your initial inspection. Perhaps even more so than mechanical things that can be handled by warranty at a later date. I missed a chip in my dinette table that I'm probably going to need to live with.

I left the building at 5:30 PM and the snow was falling. The side roads were very icy due to a major storm a few days earlier, but the freeways were good, wet with some snow in sections. I headed west and stayed at a Walmart north of Omaha that night (about 4 hours drive). Driving the first night was a bit challenging as I got used to the vehicle handling (a bit of sway when trucks pass) and poor visibility due to snow.

The next two days were without precipitation, and the roads were clear and mostly dry. I took advantage of the good weather to drive 2 very long days to make it Seattle. There was some fog on the 2nd evening, so I followed the truckers. I drove about 65 mph during the day and 60 in the dark.

I was very fortunate to have good weather. I did not have chains with me. I asked RV Direct and they said that their delivery drivers did not use them. I was prepared to wait out any storms that made driving difficult or unsafe. I brought a lot of cold weather gear with me, including an actic sleeping bag in case I got stuck. I bought bottled water and some food just in case, and ate at restaurants and used their facilities. I would have gone to a hotel if I had needed to wait longer than a day for good weather.

I stayed in Walmart parking lots all 3 nights. Temperatures went as low as 10 degress Farenheit during the first 2 nights. I set my Solera furnace at 50 degrees F to take the chill out of the air, and cracked a roof vent to reduce condensation. I slept comforably with a warm sleeping bag. I didn't put the slide out.

My Solera was very dirty when i got home, especially the rear. I washed it yesterday and it cleaned up nicely. Lucikly no noticible rock chips on the front. I did give it a rinse underneath to remove some dirt and salt, but I'm not sure how advisable this is given the wiring underneath (easpecially near the step). Does anyone else have recommendations regarding cleaning the underside of an RV?

I hope that this information helps you, and that your trip is a success. Enjoy the drive!
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:24 PM   #17
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The coach is fiberglass the only concern is to the chassis itself and the front cab. The wiring should be able to stand up to harsh conditions other wise what good is it? So I say go ahead with a good washing underneath.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:07 AM   #18
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Such wonderfully good advice from you all. I wish I could respond to each of you, as the advice is so good, and so generous. It takes time to write on here, and I am grateful.

So I am stressing less now about the RV Direct experience, and need for warranty work. Thank you. I will bring chains, for sure, and hope I won't need them. I'll also bring warm clothes and sleeping bag. I had been told it was not an option to store the Solera at the RV Direct facility, but called again and was told I could keep it there til early April, and come then for my PDI. Weather can be bad in early April. Also, I'm thinking I'd rather not have it sit there outside for another two months. But, of course now that's an option.

Kingoftheroad, you nailed all my concerns. Your experience is helping me get over the fear. I'd like to be able to communicate with you directly but see you don't want that (and I don't blame you). Your suggestions about how to get thru the PDI, what I need to be thinking about was great. I'd love a list of what warranty work you found you'll need, what your PDI checklist looked like, the name of the patient tech who helped you, etc., but will figure all this out myself. (I asked whether they could leave it unwinterized after their prep so I could watch them winterize it and was told "no" or it would cost me more money for the additional time. Now I can use you as an example. I wonder whether you made this arrangement thru the sales staff, or directly with the dealer before you got there. I'll get it figured out.) Thank you especially for your long and thoughtful response.

But thank you, everyone. You've generously shared your experienced brains, making mine a tad smarter, and able to make the best decision for myself.

I'll let you know how it comes out...
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:44 AM   #19
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Hi Marionap,

I think that I've turned on the 'private messaging from other members' feature, so please try to send me your questions directly.

The items that I found were:
- dangling wires near step (technician zip tied them up)
- water in rear tail light (tehnician emptied it, and re-attached/tightened). Hopefull it won't corrode now. I'll monitor it.
- chip in dinette table (didn't notice until after the inspection)
- mouldings along front edge of house, where the vertical corner joins the underside of the cabover had pulled out a few inches at the corner on both the passenger and driver sides of the RV (technician re-fitted them, but one has since pulled out again). I'll take it for warranty if I don't find an easy solution myself.
- a small section of paint is missing on the rear bumper, driver's side, along a seam (this is a steel bumper so this will need to be touched up so it doesn't rust). A warranty item.
- some red fluid was dripping on to the propane tank. The technician said that it was from the slide gear box (it's mechanical so it's probably lubricant and definitely not hydraulic fluid). I'll monitor this as I use the slide in future and ask about it at a dealer.
- an apparent paint scratch on the leading edge of the slide (the technician cleaned it and it came off)
- a delay in the transfer from generator to shore power (or perhaps it was the other way around?). The technician said that the transfer can take up to 30 seconds. Once again I'll test it and ask at a dealer.
- there are screw tips sticking through the front edges of several of the valences (or just under the surface). I scratched my thumb on one. The technician said that the screws were probably overdriven during manufacture. This will need to handled under warranty.

I don't recall the technician's name. He was a probably in his fifties, and the only other technician there that day was a young fellow.

I also asked about de-winterizing/winterizing with the RV Direct sales person (or perhaps it was the business manager) before I arrived. They also told me that any extra work would be charged at $125/hr. I later called the Service Department (you'll get the contact number and address when you book your appointment), and asked the same thing. They said that they needed to de-winterize the unit to prep it anyhow, and would delay re-winterizing until after I had done my checks. This may be part of their normal procedure for winter pickups, but I'm not sure. It might just be that sales and service aren't on the same page on this one. I'm pretty sure that they'll do the same for you if you ask the Service Department.

Good luck and enjoy your Solera!
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:47 PM   #20
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From my experiences with our 2012 Solera "S", things to check thoroughly at PDI:
-Rear dual tire valve extenders / tire pressures. Mine has the "new" airless extenders. They were installed such that the centrer shafts of the extenders did not actuate the valves on the outer dual tires. I believe the dealer set the pressure of those tires in the extenders rather than in the tires, as there was a ten psi difference between the inners and the outers. Also, one of the extenders' inner shaft would jam the tire valve slightly open after driving and deflate the tire over night - suggestion from this forum is to tie the extenders to the wheels with wire ties to prevent their whipping around while driving. This fixed mine.
-THOROUGHLY check the slideout. Run it in and out several times (someone on this forum has suggested ten times). Don't accept if it doesn't work right. The motor mount to the frame broke off on mine while on our second camping trip (I had highlited a concern at PDI - dealer said was a lubrication issue - I believed ...).
-Check ALL functions of the radio. Check for noise when playing a DVD in the dash unit through the house TV. If it is GPS enabled, set the GPS and drive around some - 20 plus miles - see if it re-sets. Mine required ground loop interrupters to play a DVD through the house TV without noise; Magnadyne has supplied three software updates to overcome the GPS re-boot issue (now okay - hopefully fixed on your 2013).
-If they have driven it a ways to deliver it, have them top off the DEF - the vehicle uses about 1 gallon every 2000 miles; DEF warning light comes on when down about 2 gallons (just over 4000 miles).

It is a GREAT unit. Enjoy it!
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