Wednesday, October 7, 2015

AutoMotion Shades Installation - Finally!!

So as I said yesterday, I began this post about the installation of our RV shades last week but life got crazy and I had to stop.  I am now ready to give some info about the shades and how our week went in Woodland.

Beware, this post is a little long.  Sorry in advance!!

As a reminder, we went to Woodland on Monday, Sept 21st and spent 3 days at Columbia Riverfront RV Park.  It is about 1 mile from Dave and LJ’s RV Interior Design so it is the perfect place to stay.  Our blinds were installed on Thursday and Friday of that week.  Installation was supposed to be done about Noon on Friday so we had planned to travel back to Seattle Friday afternoon.

Well, we made it back to Seattle safely but we were delayed leaving due to some unfortunate events with the installation of the new shades.

Dave and LJ’s ran into several issues and it took them longer than planned.  They actually didn’t get done until 5:30 Friday evening.  We didn’t want to drive back to Seattle that late so we ended up going back to Columbia Riverfront RV Park Friday night and then drove back to Seattle on Saturday morning.

I don’t even know where to start about the installation of the shades.  So many little crazy things happened.

First of all, when they measured for the shades back in September, I asked them if there was enough room for the shades behind our valances because I was concerned.  Dave measured and said that they would fit.  He stated that there would be about a ¼ inch to spare.  Well, when they went to install them, there wasn’t enough room so they had to cut a piece of wood to place behind the valances so that it would extend the depth.  This was necessary on all of our windows.  They stained the wood piece to match the other wood in the RV, so if you didn’t know it wasn’t original, you might not notice it.

See the little strip of wood behind the valance?
That is the piece that was added.

The next issue is about the dash shades.   The dash shades are electric and cannot be ordered manual.  This is a safety feature because you don’t want the shade to malfunction and fall down on the dash when driving.  Dave and LJ’s connected the new shades to the switches that powered the old electric shades that were removed, which is perfect.  The only problem is that the new shades are wired so that the only way you can use them is if the ignition key is turned halfway on. 

This is a problem because every time we turn the ignition key, it starts the glow plugs etc. to warm up the engine.  I am not sure on the technical wording but you get the idea.  This is bad because this puts extra wear on the RV each time we want to raise or lower the shades. 

They stated that Newmar has funky wiring in the dash and that Newmar will not tell them how to wire the shades so the ignition key doesn’t have to be turned on.  I find this very hard to believe (and we later found this to be untrue).  As I stated earlier, the shades installation were already delayed because they had to extend the depth of the valances and I just think that they either didn’t know how or didn’t want to deal with the wiring issue.

We had no option but just to let it go at the moment because it was late Friday and they were all ready to go home.

Another mistake/problem that they created is that they cut a piece of molded plastic wrong.  The plastic part is the part that covers the wires along the side of the drivers side window.  These wires run from under the dash, along side the drivers side window up into the cabinets above the dash. 

This is the part that was cut wrong.  These holes should be at the top

They had to cut this plastic so that it could fit around the new shades and valance.  Well, the technician cut the wrong end so now they have to order the part from Newmar and we have to go back down there for them to cut it again and install it.  This means more days off for Tex and another trip to Woodland.  Dave and LJ’s took a few hundred dollars off the price of the shades in order to cover the cost of diesel for us to drive back down whenever the part comes in.

So the combination of the wiring issue and the technician cutting the plastic part wrong kind of put a damper on the excitement of the new shades that day but we really love them and it was well worth the cost and problems we encountered. 

So a very long story short, we got the shades installed and drove back to Seattle on Saturday morning. 

Last week, we called Auburn Kent Valley RV Center, who are the wonderful people who installed our new residential fridge and inverter a few months ago.  We needed a few minor repairs done on the RV and already had a mobile appointment set up for after we got back from Woodland.  We talked to Dave who is the guru on everything electrical and we felt confident that he could re-wire the shades correctly so we didn’t have to use the ignition to work the dash shades, so we added that to our list for him to look at.

Yesterday was the day that Dave came out to work on our RV.  We needed new valves on the grey and black tank, as they would leak when we were disconnecting the hoses.  We also needed him to look at the inverter and make some adjustments because we felt it wasn’t quite charging the batteries as it should be. 

Dave fixed all of our issues and then took a look at the wiring of the shades.  Lo and behold, he knew how to re-wire them and fixed them very easily.  Yippee!  We can now extend and retract the front dash shades without using the ignition key.  We now have privacy at night!  Yea!

So now, the only problem left is the plastic piece that Dave and LJ’s cut wrong.  Tex called Newmar and got the part number and provided that to Dave and LJ’s.  In 2 weeks, they still had not connected with Newmar to get the part number and order it.  Hopefully they order it this week now that we gave them the info.  We really would love to go down there in November to get the part replaced because we are flying to OKC in December for the birth of our second grandson.  If November doesn’t work out, it will have to be January before we can go back.

Here are a few pics of the new shades.

Day Shade down
Night Shade down


Night Shade down

Black Day Shade down.  We can see out but no one can see in.

We absolutely love the new shades.  They are AutoMotion Shades.  The name may not be as familiar to those in the RV world as MCD shades are but they are exactly the same.  There are several reasons we went with AutoMotion instead of MCD. 

First off, we did a lot of research on MCD and AutoMotion both. We were told by several dealers of MCD that the quality of the MCD shades is in a decline.  The shades are breaking more than ever before and they are having trouble with post-sale service and support from MCD.  Many dealers have quit selling and installing MCD and have switched to AutoMotion shades. 

Second, we also talked to several prior customers who have MCD shades and they also stated that the shades break a lot and are hard to get repaired. 

We also liked the fact that AutoMotion has a lot more color and fabric choices than MCD so you can be sure to find just the right shade for your RV.

The final reason we went with AutoMotion was because of the local dealers.  First off, we checked the website RV Service Reviews.  Next, we talked with the local MCD dealer closest to Seattle and prior customers of them.  This dealer has a horrible reputation, not just with shade installation but overall customer satisfaction.  They are known for not completing jobs in a timely manner and taking weeks longer than scheduled.  We were told that their employees are not very knowledgeable and that we should avoid them at all costs. 

We then researched the local AutoMotion dealer.  They got rave reviews from everyone.  In fact, there were several RVers who were at our home RV park that had appointments to get their entire interior redone by them.  That dealer was Dave and LJ’s RV Interior Design. 

Unfortunately, we had a few issues during the shade installation but they did overcome some of the obstacles and we love the new shades.  The problem with the plastic piece being cut wrong was that they were hurrying because it was 5:00 on Friday by that time and he wasn’t paying close enough attention.  The wiring issue was either they didn’t know how to wire it correctly or they were in a hurry. 

Either way, both of these issues have ended up costing us additional money.  We had to pay Auburn Kent Valley RV Center to wire the dash shades correctly and Tex is going to have to take additional time off work in order for us to go get the plastic piece installed.  They did pay us for the diesel cost to drive back down and they are paying for the replacement part.  It is just an additional hassle to go back down there.

I would still recommend Dave and LJ’s with the caveat that you plan extra time over what they quote and not to have the work done on a Friday.  If we had to do it over again, I would schedule it for a Tuesday or Wednesday so they would have time in case they ran into any difficulties.

Even with these issues, we LOVE our new shades.  The night shades keep it so dark that we don’t even know the sun is coming up in the morning.  If we have the night shades down during the day, it is complete pitch black in the room. 

The day shades are great as well.  We never used our day shades before because they were so hard to pull up and down.  These new shades go up or down super easy so we can use them or decide later to put them up and it isn’t a compete chore.

These shades really help make living in the RV so much nicer because they are something that gets used every day.  I highly recommend AutoMotion Shades.  They look classy and are super easy to use. 

Well folks, sorry this post is so long.  Just thought I would detail what we went through and how we came to the decisions that we did.

I will try to keep the next post shorter! 

Until next time!

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