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Osborne to Head Monaco & Workhorse Units

May 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

William Osborne

William Osborne

Navistar Inc. announced today (May 3) that William H. Osborne has been named vice president of custom products. In this role, Osborne will have accountability for Navistar’s Monaco RV and Workhorse business units, according to a news release.image001

Osborne was appointed to Navistar’s board of directors in September 2009 and was a member of the board’s finance committee. He resigned his board position to assume his new role.

Osborne was previously president and CEO of Federal Signal Corp. and a veteran automotive industry executive.

“We are fortunate to have Bill join our team and apply his knowledge of the industry to our business,” said Daniel C. Ustian, Navistar chairman, president and CEO. “As a former member of Navistar’s board of directors, Bill has unique insights into our company. His manufacturing and automotive experience and expertise will be of great value to Navistar as we continue to diversify and expand globally into new marketplaces.”

Osborne, 51, spent more than 30 years in the automotive industry. Prior to joining Federal Signal in September 2008, Osborne served in a number of senior-level positions with Ford Motor Co., most recently as president and CEO of Ford of Australia. Previously, he served as president and CEO of Ford of Canada. Osborne’s earlier assignments included a variety of roles in product design, development and engineering. Before his career at Ford, Osborne held positions at Chrysler and General Motors.

Osborne holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Kettering University, a master’s degree in engineering from Wayne State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.

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Alliance Coach Flourishing at Ex-Monaco Site

June 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Alliance Coach Inc., Wildwood, Fla., has become a full-service RV dealership.

Alliance Coach Inc., Wildwood, Fla., has become a full-service RV dealership.

A sprawling RV service center in Wildwood, Fla., built in 2003 near the junction of I-75 and the Florida Turnpike by now-bankrupt Monaco Coach Corp., has become a full-service motorized and towable RV dealership.

Alliance Coach Inc. opened in September under new ownership — 10 days after the 62,000-square-foot service center went on the auction block during Monaco Coach Corp’s. Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

”When Monaco built this, they needed a factory service center on the Eastern Seaboard,” said Cy Whisnant, Alliance Coach general sales manager, who for 15 years was vice president of Tennessee-based Buddy Gregg Motorhomes overseeing that company’s sales operation in Lakeland, Fla., until it closed.

The new owners are Brett Howard and Carolyn Champion, who had operated the facility as Monaco employees, and Holiday Rambler motorhome owner Alan Shapiro, all of whom teamed up to bid on the property.

”With his help, they bought the entire facility and the ground around it and formed an alliance, hence the name,” Whisnant said. ”Over $1 million in parts came with the building.”

The facility sits on 30 acres and has 40 indoor and 26 outdoor service bays along with a 40-site campground.

Alliance Coach initially operated as a service center. But the company in December took on the Monaco McKenzie and R-Vision towable lines from Monaco RV Inc., a new company created when certain Monaco Coach assets were purchased by Chicago-based truck and engine builder Navistar International Inc.

Alliance Coach later obtained the local Holiday Rambler and Monaco motorized franchises, and expects the first shipment of Monaco  motorhomes to be delivered by early July. More recently, the dealership added Holiday Rambler towable brands.

A motorhome undergoing repairs in one of Alliance Coach Inc.'s 40 indoor service bays

A motorhome undergoing repairs in one of Alliance Coach Inc.'s 40 indoor service baysmotorhomes to be delivered by early July. More recently, the dealership added Holiday Rambler towable brands.

Currently, Alliance Coach has $1.8 million in Monaco RV motorized and towable inventory, and in addition to new models, also is selling used RVs, some on consignment.

Alliance’s sales department is open six days a week, while the service center, headed by Michael Hawkins, operates Monday through Friday. Dennis Burke will join the company as F&I manager on Monday.

Currently, Alliance Coach will service any brand of motorhome or towable RV and is certified to provide warranty work on Tiffin motorhomes and Workhorse and Spartan chassis.

As a service center that can do collision repair, Alliance Coach also has its own metal fabrication, woodworking and upholstery shops in addition to two 65-foot paint booths. Alliance Coach employs 35 people, 25 of whom are service technicians.

”It’s incredible what we can do here,” Whisnant said. ”We can do everything here for an RV but build them.”

And good fortune came quickly, he reported.

”Since the day they opened here, it’s just been absolutely packed,” Whisnant said. ”And here it is in the middle of summer, which isn’t the high season in Florida, and the shop is nearly full.”

Since Alliance Coach opened as a Monaco RV dealership in March, business has steadily increased, Whisnant said, with floorplan and retail financing arranged through Bank of America.

”Sales have been picking up and we are seeing people putting more significant amounts of money down to get financing in place and a lot of cash buyers have been coming in who don’t need any financing whatsoever,” Whisnant said. ”Right now, we are exclusively Monaco RV, but we are leaving our options open.”

Alliance Coach plans an open house Friday and Saturday (July 2-3). An updated website — www.alliancecoachonline.com — will be completed by the end of July.

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Workhorse Addresses Bosch Brake Defect Recall

January 13, 2010 by · 13 Comments 

Workhorse logoEditor’s Note: This is the second in a series of  technical reports from Workhorse Custom Chassis Inc., Union City, Ind., with information that Workhorse considers most important in helping motorhome owners avoid potential problems and maximize the economy, safety and enjoyment of their driving experience. This particular report addresses a number of RVer questions surrounding a recent Workhorse recall concerning a Bosch brake defect. For more information, a copy of a previous technical report or to speak with a Workhorse source in more detail about a topic, contact Mike Knaack at (574) 294-8844/mknaack@taigmarks.com.

What you need to know about the Workhorse Bosch brake recall

In May 2009 Workhorse mailed an “interim notice” to alert affected Workhorse owners of a defect in certain Bosch brake caliper assemblies used on Workhorse W20, W21 and W22 motorhome chassis models. Pending an approved recall remedy for the problem, the interim notice described the authorized interim repair procedure, at no cost to the customer, for those brake problems related to the defect. However, brake repairs related to typical wear and tear or other issues are still the financial responsibility of the customer. As with any recall, misunderstandings about the defect and about who is responsible for what often arise. This article will briefly explain the nature of the problem and how owners and technicians can determine whether a brake problem is related to the defect or not.

Warning signs

The problem is usually noticed as a sudden seizing or locking up of the brakes. It also typically appears in motorhomes five years old and older that have not been driven for extended periods of time.

Signs of the problem may include:

  • A distinct brake burning smell.
  • Having to apply more engine power to overcome an unaccounted for slowing of the vehicle commonly associated with brake drag.
  • An ABS light that is continually on.
  • Smoke coming from the wheel end.
  • A soft or spongy feel when applying the brakes.

Owners of the affected chassis models who experience any of the signs indicated above should have their brakes inspected at an authorized Workhorse service center. The inspection is at their expense; however, if the problem is related to the Bosch defect, Workhorse will provide an interim repair at no cost to the chassis owner.

Caliper assembly at fault

The defect is related to the Bosch 2 X 66 mm brake caliper assembly. Each caliper contains two pistons that are made of a phenolic material that technicians will recognize as similar to Bakelite. If the motorhome is not driven for extended periods of time (typically six months or longer), the phenolic material may absorb and retain moisture from the atmosphere, which may result in an increase in the piston diameter. Motor homes operated more frequently are not likely to experience any problem because the heat generated during braking under normal conditions inhibits the absorption and retention of moisture in the phenolic material.

The piston clearances in the caliper are fairly small — the specified clearance of a new phenolic piston is .004 to .008 of an inch. Measurements of certain phenolic pistons taken from motor homes that have been in service for several years have shown an increase in diameter of up to .0035 inches.

The caliper piston is designed for some expansion due to normal heat absorption during braking. During normal operation, the internal piston caliper seal pulls the piston back into the caliper bore when the brakes are released. However, if the phenolic piston expands due to moisture absorption and heat, the seal may not be able to pull the piston back (called “binding”), which may result in the brake pad dragging on the rotor.

This can be hard for a technician to diagnose because if the brake pad drags as above and then the motor home is parked for a period of time (as short as 20 minutes), the piston may cool and decrease in diameter, releasing the piston from its binding condition.

What technicians will look for, what is covered

Diagnostic signs of the defect include:

  • Piston dust seals/boots that are cracked or appear discolored (white powder markings).
  • Front wheel seals that show signs of damage.
  • Front spindle caps that show signs of heat damage or leaking.
  • Heat damaged ABS sensors and wheel speed sensors; ABS sensors that have stopped functioning at various speeds and may have intermittent loss of function and associated fault codes.

Rotors with radial cracks are NOT considered recall related damage unless there is other evidence of damage. Such cracks are typical of “riding” the brakes downhill, absence of a tow car brake system and continued hard braking. If the cracks are severe enough to merit replacement, that would be at the owner’s expense.

Rotor colors also vary from vehicle to vehicle, and some discoloration and transfer of brake pad material along with brake pad wear is normal. However, if the rotor exhibits significant transfer of brake pad material, that may be related to the Bosch defect. Similarly, if the brake pads show a rough and damaged surface associated with significant material transfer, that would be considered defect related damage. Replacement of both rotors and pads in this case would be covered by the interim repair procedure.

Affected owners will be contacted

Again, Workhorse will notify all affected owners with instructions when the recall remedy is available. In the meantime, affected owners of W20, W21 and W22 Workhorse chassis should simply be aware of the warning signs noted above and have their brakes inspected just as they normally would should any question arise about their functioning.

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Workhorse Chassis Makes Mark in RV Industry

December 3, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Workhorse chassisThe Workhorse W-20D/W-22D front-engine diesel chassis with its International MaxxForce 7 engine has taken a big leap in improving motorhome fuel economy, while providing outstanding torque for Class A motorhomes along with the quietest V8 diesel engine you might ever drive, according to a news release.

Independent tests at Bosch Proving Grounds in South Bend, Ind., had this chassis-engine match-up achieving up to 13.2 mpg, an almost unheard of figure for a Class A motorhome. The tests were conducted with a 32-foot Four Winds Serrano coach body and loaded to the maximum 20,500-pound GVWR. The Serrano has been drawing heavy consumer interest throughout 2009 and was named a “Best of Show” at the September Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show by RVbuddiesonline.com. The W20D chassis and MaxxForce 7 engine are both on display at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville this week along with the Serrano.

The latest version of the MaxxForce 7, V8 tuned for motorhomes generates 230 hp and 620 pound-feet of torque. “This high volume, rugged mid-range diesel engine is the heart of many International medium duty trucks. Now it is making its mark in the RV industry,” said Tony Monda, Workhorse Custom Chassis Corp. vice president of marketing. “Coupled with the six-speed Allison transmission, our W20D and W22D front engine diesel platforms do not sacrifice power and performance in order to achieve better fuel economy.

“These platforms have incredible grade ability and pulling power. Our proprietary RV consumer research indicated that class A potential buyers still want power and performance — but they are also demanding better fuel economy and that is what the new W-Series delivers. Our strategy is to continue to integrate MaxxForce engines into Workhorse products where applicable, creating synergies with (parent company) Navistar(International Corp.)  along with true market differentiation.”

Quietest diesel V8

Drivers will also immediately notice that MaxxForce 7 is quiet. The noise level measured at 68.9 dBA in a low idle test. A high-pressure common rail fuel system, piezo actuated fuel injectors and a block and head design with a single-piece nodular iron bedplate are among the features that contribute to reduced noise and vibrations, a key to the MaxxForce 7’s front-engine application.

 Selling well

Presently, the Serrano coach from Four Winds International exclusively uses the W20D for both its 31Z single-slide out and 31V double slide out models. Four Winds Director of Marketing Jon Krider said dealerships with the product find that “it retails quite quickly. They’re seeing consumers that traditionally look at diesel pushers and longer coaches. These customers are finding many features with the coach and chassis that they like, starting with things like storage and the whole aerodynamic look and contemporary feel of the coach. So instead of spending $200,000 to $300,000 for a bigger coach, they can get a lot of what they want at a much lower price point.”

Regarding the W20D and Serrano matchup, Krider said, “Retail customers comment on how quiet the cockpit is for having a diesel engine right under their feet. We get a lot of comments about just how well the coach drives because of the 50-degree turning radius and being able to turn a short coach around in a tight area. And we get many good comments about the overall stability of the coach moving down the road.”

For such reasons, Krider believes spring sales of the Serrano will be even better.

High performance technology

The series sequential EVRT turbocharger provides exceptional response over a wide range of engine speeds for impressive acceleration, grade climbing, towing capability and high altitude performance. The turbo is tuned to improve fuel economy while also making the vehicle very responsive to the driver. The MaxxForce 7 also provides unaided cold-starting performance from -20° F within four seconds. Routine maintenance is economical, with oil changes every 10,000 miles.

Workhorse is an affiliate of Navistar International Corp. 

For additional information about Workhorse, call (877) 294-6773 or visit www.workhorse.com.

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