Friday, June 09, 2006
TETON / TRAILER 2006-2007
Manufacturer : TETON HOMES
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number : 06V168000 Mfg's Report Date : MAY 11, 2006
Component: SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC
Potential Number Of Units Affected : 16
ON CERTAIN FIFTH WHEEL TRAILERS EQUIPPED WITH DEXTER AXLES, THE DISC BRAKE CALIPER MOUNTING BOLTS ARE STRIPPED. INSUFFICIENT CLAMP LOAD BETWEEN CALIPER AND YOKE CAN CAUSE THE CALIPER TO DISASSEMBLE AND ADVERSELY AFFECT THE TRAILERS BRAKING SYSTEM.
LOSS OF BRAKING CAN INCREASE THE RISK OF A CRASH.
DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE CALIPER MOUNTING HARDWARE FREE OF CHARGE. THE MANUFACTURER HAS NOT YET PROVIDED AN OWNER NOTIFICATION SCHEDULE. OWNERS MAY CONTACT TETON HOMES AT 307-235-1525.
CUSTOMERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATIONS VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.
KEYSTONE / NRG 2006
KEYSTONE / RAPTOR 2004-2006
KEYSTONE / TAIL-GATOR 2000-2006
KEYSTONE / HIDEOUT 2002-2006
Manufacturer : KEYSTONE RV COMPANY
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number : 06V192000 Mfg's Report Date : MAY 22, 2006
Component: EQUIPMENT:RECREATIONAL VEHICLE
Potential Number Of Units Affected : 9486
ON CERTAIN RECREATIONAL VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH A 9 VOLT BATTERY OPERATED CARBON MONOXIDE (CO) DETECTOR, IF THE BATTERY IN THE DETECTOR GOES DEAD OR IS REMOVED, THE DETECTOR WILL NOT FUNCTION AND THEREFORE CAN NOT WARN THE OCCUPANTS IF CO REACHES A HARMFUL LEVEL.
IF CO REACHES A HARMFUL LEVEL, SERIOUS ILLNESS OR DEATH COULD RESULT TO THE OCCUPANTS.
DEALERS WILL INSTALL A HARD WIRED 12 VOLT CO DETECTORS FREE OF CHARGE. THE RECALL BEGAN ON JUNE 5, 2006. OWNERS MAY CONTACT KEYSTONE AT 866-424-4369.
KEYSTONE RV RECALL NO. 06-068. CUSTOMERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATIONS VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.
RV INDUSTRY TRAINING
Thursday, June 8, 2006
The Distance Learning RV Technician Training Program, offered online by Northampton Community College (NCC) in partnership with the Pennsylvania RV & Camping Association (PRVCA) and based on the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) textbook and curriculum, is entering its eighth consecutive semester.
According to a press release, the program currently has 24 students enrolled and has produced five certified technicians, four of which became master certified.
“This learning environment really works,” said Gary Bunzer, renowned “RV Doctor” and instructor for the program. “But it's extremely gratifying to see the results manifested in this manner.”
The program is offering several courses over the summer including “Introduction to RV Service,” beginning July 24 and running through Aug. 26.
The course focuses on the history of recreation vehicles, the various tools and equipment used to service the vehicles, shop safety, industry codes and standards, customer service and proper record keeping.
The RV courses are administered three per semester using the Blackboard learning platform. The discussion board feature of the Blackboard technology is where most of the “conversations” take place, seven days a week, according to Bunzer.
“As with all our courses, the discussion boards are very lively with everyone contributing to the discussions,” Bunzer says. “This is the heart of our program and the most beneficial to all students.”
The courses utilize textbooks published by RVIA and are further supported by on-line lecture notes and articles written by the instructor. Completion of all online course requirements is mandatory, as is satisfactory completion of all hands-on requirements conducted and monitored by field mentors.
The summer 2006 semester includes the following courses:
• RV Plumbing Systems - May 15-June 17
• RV Preventive Maintenance - June 19-July 22
• Introduction to RV Service - July 24-Aug. 26
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
TRAILER WHEEL SEPARATION
Monday, June 5, 2006
Armed with the preliminary results from extensive testing and research, the Trailer Safety Industry Coalition (TSIC) hosted a half-day seminar May 16 at the Century Center in South Bend, Ind., to share information regarding wheel separation in the RV and related sectors.
Around 75 representatives from the supply, distribution and manufacturing ranks, including a significant contingent from the recreational vehicle industry as well as the cargo/utility market sector, reviewed recent study results measuring the forces acting on the joint mating the trailer hub and wheel.
Attendees also received data on the influences of surface contaminants, such as excess paint or grease, that can affect clamp retention, along with a detailed rundown on assembly procedures that can help prevent wheels separating from the hub, most notably proper and consistent torquing techniques. Representatives said TSIC will be issuing a publication approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) on recommended assembly procedures and quality processes by the end of the year.
Bruce Hopkins, vice president of standards and education for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and co-chair for TSIC, said the coalition’s intent is to “proactively address a very complex issue” by taking the lead in establishing recommended guidelines.
“The trailer industry is aware of wheel separation,” Hopkins said, noting that RVIA was joined by the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM), National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and National Truck and Equipment Association (NTEA) to comprise TSIC, which was formed to address the “wheel-off” issue – a potential concern of government regulators. “What we found out in the early going is that there wasn’t any existing research to show why this was happening. You also had a lot of different component suppliers involved, so it was important to establish a unified front where everybody was on the same page, which is what the coalition provided.
“Our goal,” he added, “was to be proactive in gathering data instead of dealing with some type of government regulation down the road.”
Behind the unusual meeting, in large part, was the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which had initiated several RV industry-related recalls. Richard Boyd, chief of the Medium and Heavy Duty Vehicle Division in NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), delivered the keynote address at the seminar, outlining current findings while also explaining the agency’s responsibilities.
“The problem really showed up on our radar in the summer of 2004,” Boyd said, noting that ODI’s provisions for opening an investigation are based on the frequency and severity of failures. “Since then, we’ve conducted five investigations and three of those have resulted in the recall of 6,836 vehicles. Right now we’re concerned with the towable industry’s approach to design, product qualification, component selection and quality systems.
“The OEM has the legal responsibility for a recall. If there is a problem in the vehicle, we’ll be knocking on the OEM’s door.”
Boyd readily acknowledged the “cooperation” his office had received from the trailer industry to address the problem. “TSIC has really taken the ball and run with it,” he said. “I don’t foresee any type of government regulation at this point. I think that would just interfere with what the industry is doing.”
In response to the problem, the coalition conducted a study to probe the causes behind wheel separations. Around $175,000 has been contributed to the coalition to perform the study, including $80,000 from RVIA, $40,000 from NATM plus donations from other associations and component manufacturers.
The study, which included on-site testing of a fifth-wheel and cargo trailer at the Bosch Automotive Proving Grounds in New Carlisle, Ind., is being spearheaded by Columbus, Ind.-based wheel supplier Enkei America Inc. Ted Schorn, Enkei general manager for corporate quality and chairman of TSIC’s technical committee, offered seminar attendees an overview of the study’s initial findings. “One of our goals was to identify exactly what happens to the wheel-hub joint and the forces and moments that occur during operation,” he said. “We also wanted to provide a basic understanding of the ability of the joint to resist those forces.”
According to Schorn, test results showed:
• Lack of necessary clamp load is the primary reason for separation. This loosening at the joint can occur during operation of the vehicle or through insufficient assembly practices.
• Load assessment and component selection are important to maintaining clamp load.
• Assembly process control is vital to preventing wheel separation.
Schorn identified several “critical” areas in the assembly process that could lead to wheel separation, including having a clean surface area at the wheel-hub joint, using a star pattern during the torqueing procedure and also using controlled, calibrated equipment.
He also emphasized the need for rigid and consistent quality controls, placing the burden on management to implement recommended assembly procedures while also following up through consistent auditing practices.
Schorn noted that responsibility extended beyond the manufacturing floor, as transporters and dealers also needed to be educated on maintaining necessary clamp load. “The TSIC activity is going to end up benefiting the industry greatly,” Hopkins said. “I think the fact that NHTSA isn’t planning to pursue any regulatory action indicates we took the right direction in being proactive on this issue.”
IT'S ONLY BECAUSE THE OTHER STATES CHARGE TOO MUCH
Tuesday, June 6, 2006
Thousands of Americans are avoiding millions of dollars in taxes by registering their motorhomes in Montana — and there’s not much anyone is doing about it.
The Kansas City Star reported that many state officials elsewhere, including those in cash-hungry Missouri and Kansas, bitterly complain that the tax-free RV road show is turning the Treasure State into a tax scofflaw haven.
“This is a tax scam and fraud,” said Matt Moser, manager of the Title and Registration Bureau for the Kansas Department of Revenue.
Whether it is legal depends on whether you’re talking to state officials and lawyers in Montana or other states. Montana authorities maintain it is completely legal. Missouri and Kansas officials argue it isn’t.
Legal or not, the practice has been going on for years and appears to be growing.
Kansas and Missouri motorhome enthusiasts taking advantage of the loophole in Montana law, for example, can save up to $10,000 a year in taxes on a $150,000 vehicle. In Montana, registering that same motorhome costs about $1,300 in fees and legal costs.
Dean Roberts of the Motor Vehicle Division for the Montana Department of Justice estimates that officials have registered about 30,000 motor homes for people living elsewhere, bringing in about $5 million in registration fees a year for the state – a fraction of what other states are losing in taxes.
“It’s pretty extensive, and it’s becoming more popular,” Roberts said. “From our perspective, there’s something ethically wrong about it, but there isn’t anything we can do about it at all, because it’s perfectly legal from Montana’s standpoint.”
Here’s how it works: A person who wants to buy an RV establishes a limited liability company, or LLC, in Montana. Then the RV is purchased and registered under the name of the company — not the individual. Under Montana law, a business may legally own a vehicle, even though the owner of the business does not reside in the state and the vehicle is not “garaged” there.
John M. Bennett, a Montana lawyer who helps RV owners in Missouri, Kansas and other states set up the corporations, called the practice tax avoidance, not evasion.
“By establishing a limited liability company, you’ve made a legal registration in Montana,” Bennett said. “And if the client also complied with the exemptions from their state’s tax laws, then it wasn’t evasion. It was legal tax avoidance.”
Montana’s attorney general proposed legislation in 2001 to close the loophole, but lawmakers sided with Bennett and other lawyers in viewing the practice as a way of avoiding taxes.
“This is a practice that has been sanctioned for a while,” said Brenda Nordlund, an assistant Montana attorney general. “There is a philosophy in the state that, ‘Why can’t we capitalize on low registration and being different in terms of our tax policies compared to other states?’?”
Because Montana has no sales tax, no property taxes on vehicles, and relatively low registration fees, an RV owner can save a bundle. And because of the way the business is set up, the name of the RV owner isn’t traceable, which makes law enforcement authorities nervous if criminals or terrorists ever decided to use a motor home for evil purposes.
Records show only the name of the limited liability company, whose address is generally listed as that of the Montana attorney who handled the paperwork.