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Old 07-30-2013, 10:18 AM   #1
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Default 3 months with our 2013 WGO ERA 70A

After 3 months and 6k miles of ownership, here's my take on this van.
By far the best value out there. Only issue with the coach part of the equation has been the bone headed decision they made to put a 22" tv right on the usable end of the kitchen counter. We've since rectified that by installing a 15" there which has taken care of the space problem, and my hitting the tv with my shoulder when getting in & out of the sliding door. We sold the 22" for $30.00 less than we paid for the 15", so we can live with that. Only one other minor thing is that a small wood trim strip came loose on an upper cabinet which I fixed easily with some wood glue and a clamp.

Have had 2 issues with the Sprinter part of the vehicle. One minor and one could be major. The cab AC was freezing up, or would just quit working. Found out that was a climate control system programming issue. The other is an intermittent bad vibration in the drivetrain when slowing down from about 14mph when the trans is either downshifting to first or the torque converter can't decide to unlock or not. The dealer said because it hasn't thrown a CEL, so there's not much they can do about it. The jury is out on that one.
A getting a front end alignment issue popped up on my dealer visit. Only MB Sprinter dealer in town can't do an alignment on a long & tall. Won't fit in their bays, (they worked on the AC in the aisle), or on to their alignment machine. So that means a visit to the Freightliner dealer sometime in the future probably.

That's it so far. We'd do it again in a minute.....
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Old 08-02-2013, 07:29 PM   #2
Rok
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Default Re: 3 months with our 2013 WGO ERA 70A

Hi Bob,

A few questions if you will indulge me:

(1) I liked the Winnie 70A when we were shopping (primarily due to the price--we could get one between $80K and 85K brand spanking new (I see some on RV trader for that price level right now), but my wife had an issue with the very heavy "new car" smell. Did you notice that as well? If so, has that dissipated much after the 3 months of ownership? She also didn't like the positioning of the TV, and neither did I.

(2) What did you pay for yours. When you write that it is the best value out there, I presume that you got it in the $80-$85K range. Is that about right?

We ended up paying a little over $20k more for our Great West legend SE because of the features and a bit of customization. The others on our list were the Pleasure Way Plateau and the Winnie 70A (although the 70A was vetoed because of the new car odor).

Thanks in advance.

..........Rocky
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Old 08-03-2013, 11:42 AM   #3
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Default Re: 3 months with our 2013 WGO ERA 70A

Yes on the smell, but has dissipated a lot. Why would someone not buy because of that? Crack one window & open the roof vent(s). Ours, the vent(s), at least one, are always open, always.
The van was 2 days out of WGO's factory, and 3 months out of MB's plant when we picked it up.

You are right on with your price. Lower $80's.

GW makes a really nice van, but the money is not worth it to us for sure. Also, if you damage any of the GW specific exterior body pieces, good luck getting a new part in a timely manner.
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Old 08-03-2013, 02:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: 3 months with our 2013 WGO ERA 70A

The company that makes the body pieces on the Great West Vans is the same company that makes the Great West Vans. They are no longer second sourced since it is the same company and same building since Sterling purchased GWVan. Why would it be any different than any other B manufacturer that provides custom fiberglass fabrications?

When you speak of new car smell I assume you are speaking of the cabinetry and conversion work because aren't the Sprinter vans the same? From my observation Great West Van does not get stock in that sits around long enough to dissipate new car odors.
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Old 08-03-2013, 04:17 PM   #5
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Default Re: 3 months with our 2013 WGO ERA 70A

David, basing my parts statement on 2 guys I've recently talked to that have LTV vans. Both had minor wrecks with their units that destroyed exterior LTV specific parts. Took over 6 months for both of these to get their replacement pieces.
Now GWV may have a better setup for replacement pieces than LTV does currently. Hopefully they do.....
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Old 08-03-2013, 08:04 PM   #6
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Default Re: 3 months with our 2013 WGO ERA 70A

Hi Bob,

Although your question might be rhetorical, I'll answer it anyway.

Why would someone not buy becasue of new car smell? There are a number of reasons.

(1) Different people have different sensitivities. My wife, for instance, is very sensitive to any types of smells. She gets headaches (it triggers migranes in others), a runny nose, eyes watering, etc. This type of sensitivity has been recognized recently elsewhere. Some of our college campuses are now "scent free" and many hospitals now ban colognes and perfumes from being worn by employees and guests. While to some it is just another fragrance, and some even like the smell because it means "NEW", for others it can be a severe irritant, and for some it is a health hazard.

(2) It can be a sign of unhealthiness: When we bought our 2010 Honda Insight, I had to sign a document that said that I understood that the "new car smell" had been shown in tests to be carcinogenic. I almost didn't buy the car because of that. I don't know if the same disclaimer form is required when you buy a Winnie ERA, but we found that the Winnie had substantially more new car smell than the Roadtrek, and a ton more than the Pleasure Way. I think this comes from the plywood emmiting formaldehyde from the resins used in its manufacturing. I don't know if you recall the FEMA Trailer incident, but a number of people got sick because of this.

Anyway, formaldehyde has a particular odor, and if it is present when a rig is new, it will be emitted for the life of the vehicle although in ever diminishing quantities. There are a couple of travel trailer manufacturers who use special plywood that is made without formaldehyde. Unfortunately, I don't know of a Class B manufacturer who chooses to source the special materials for this. (My understanding is that the special plywood isn't too much more expensive than the standard.)

Unfortunately the only GW we could look at before our purchase was one that was over a year old. We didn't notice any smell. As DavyDD pointed out, the turnaround on materials at GW must be quick because when our new Rig arrived (we bought it sight unseen) it was pretty heavy on the odor like the Winnie. Even with a lot of windows open and the Fantastic Fan going all the time, it was hard for my wife on our first trip. Now that we've had it for almost a half a year, we feel that the smell will dissipate out in time and it is already nearly acceptable to my wife. She is still concerned about the long term health effects, however.

I guess this is another reason to look for a used rig.

Regarding the price differential between the two, I think one gets a lot for the extra bucks with the Great West, and we got some customization as well--although I agree that the Winnebago ERA is one of the best values, and certainly the best for its price point (in fact, there is no other Sprinter Based "B" is in that price point.) We both got pretty good deals, I would offer.

Anyway, the new car smell issue is very important for some people, and obviously not a concern for others.

...........Rocky



Quote:
Originally Posted by bobojay
Yes on the smell, but has dissipated a lot. Why would someone not buy because of that? Crack one window & open the roof vent(s). Ours, the vent(s), at least one, are always open, always.
The van was 2 days out of WGO's factory, and 3 months out of MB's plant when we picked it up.

You are right on with your price. Lower $80's.

GW makes a really nice van, but the money is not worth it to us for sure. Also, if you damage any of the GW specific exterior body pieces, good luck getting a new part in a timely manner.
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Old 08-03-2013, 10:40 PM   #7
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Default Re: 3 months with our 2013 WGO ERA 70A

I would guess one smell contributor would be the ERA uses a lot more laminate woodwork compared to the more solid woodwork of the Great West Van. The other thing is, and I don't know for sure, but the Canadians could have stricter requirements on the use of VOCs in adhesives and coatings. The import of the cargo van itself for USA consumption comes from the same source whether converted in the USA or Canada. Canadians get a different import MB Sprinter but they can't be sold in the USA. I don't know if there are differences in them other than the assembly requirements for import.
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Old 08-04-2013, 02:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: 3 months with our 2013 WGO ERA 70A

We now have 3 months and 5K miles on our ERA. Absolutely love it. We are still busy making it ours, so to speak. A few squeaks and rattles, now fixed. The counter top TV gone completely and now has a portable stand so it can be placed where desired (presently in our bedroom at home we will see if we really want it on the road). The wires for it still under the counter and the hole has a removable cover so it can be put back if we decide we really want it.

The side screen door and rear door screens are wonderful. And thanks to Bob alerting me to the battery charger not being a smart charger, we now have that rectified as well. We also put a shelf in the rear under the TV for a satellite receiver and carry the dish cube. For $450 up front and $7 a month of use, great deal. I must have my college football. The other six days a week we can travel! Most of our cupboards are only about 1/2 full. Plenty of storage. 20 MPG. Wow! I have a hard time getting the wife out of the drivers seat.

The only complaint of any consequence would be that the dashboard GPS is not intuitive to use at all. We still use and will likely continue to use our portable Garmin. Since that one is lifetime updated, paying for updates with the installed one just doesn't sit well.

All in all, we couldn't be happier with our purchase.
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Old 08-04-2013, 04:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: 3 months with our 2013 WGO ERA 70A

Quote:
Originally Posted by georgelesley
The only complaint of any consequence would be that the dashboard GPS is not intuitive to use at all. We still use and will likely continue to use our portable Garmin. Since that one is lifetime updated, paying for updates with the installed one just doesn't sit well.

All in all, we couldn't be happier with our purchase.
George, agree with you 100% on the GPS in the dash unit. Not intuitive at all. And as far as the updates go, if we need to we'll carry our 8 yr old Garmin with the lifetime updates for the on road help along with Google maps on the phone/tablet.
Can't wait to see your screen setup.....
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:20 AM   #10
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Default Re: 3 months with our 2013 WGO ERA 70A

I'm just waiting for car makers to throw in the towel, and just make a mount for an iPad.
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