Imagine that you and your significant other spent months trying to determine which RV would be your next new coach. Both of you agree on the 2021 make and model however your dealership does not have any similar model coaches on the lot, nor any paint or color swatches for you to look at. Fortunately, you were able to converse with the dealer’s factory representative and he was able to paint a picture by describing the new color scheme and how it differed from the 2020 models. Then, you placed an order during the 2020 pandemic, for a new Class A. You could not see or drive any, since at the time, none had been produced. The potential delivery date was indeterminable. The factory was behind on production due to Covid-19 shutdowns. Priority was being given to orders to meet the dealer display needs at upcoming Retail and Dealer shows.
Such was the environment, we found ourselves in when we placed an order for our 2021 Bounder on the newest Ford F53 chassis with the new V8 engine and upgraded suspension.
As time proceeded, various States enacted Covid-19 Restrictions and RV shows were cancelled. Suddenly, our new coach was entering production and delivery was expected in just over six weeks, far earlier than our most optimistic prediction. Our Bounder arrived at the dealership in the middle of August 2020. Our dealer’s personnel loved our chosen color and interior trim choices, even though it was not the ‘recommended’ combination. Delivery was scheduled for August 28th and we picked it up that day, driving to our storage lot, where we loaded the necessities for travel. Camping reservations were made for a couple of weeks of use and soon we were off on our first trip. We drove it about thirty-five (35) miles or fifty-six (56) kilometers, registered and arrived at our site. That time was a period of adjustment. Not only was the coach equipped with features we had never had before (including multiplex controls, much newer and upgraded electronic systems for entertainment and control), it is also eleven (11) years newer, seven (7) feet (2.13m) shorter and over 10,000 lbs (4,535kg.) lighter! These changes did make it quite different. Having a coach with a front gas engine, rather than a rear diesel pusher, is a big change. The interior is very well designed, with lots of room for what we need to take with us. Thus, making the necessary adjustment was not too difficult. Outside, the basement took some time to get used to however; amazingly with a little patience, the cargo bins were loaded and organized.
What is all the Racket?
The on-the-road experience is different. Not only does the engine dominate the interior with a lower pitch; it is louder than our diesel pusher. At highway speeds, the engine produces a steady drone, which we expect will diminish somewhat as the engine breaks in. The sharp clacking sounds were off-putting. What is constantly banging?
A close examination showed that the wider MCD blind assemblies over the couch and dinette were banging into the window frames and walls as the coach was driven. We thought that these blinds and shades were going to be a significant improvement over the pleated blinds in our previous coach. No more routine re-stringing blinds as the cords break. Smooth and simple operation of both the day screens and the night blinds. No venetian blinds with the metal strips that are finicky and hard to clean. No woven blinds with wood inside that were heavy and temperamental to adjust and gave an ‘all or nothing’ approach to shades. What more could you ask for?
The Dreaded Design Flaw:
There is a design flaw in these MCD shades that could be eliminated with a simple change of material used to form the end caps used on these blinds and shades. These shades have an upper roller containing either screen or solid blind material that is pulled down over the window, weighted with an aluminum rod through lowest portion of the material, finished with hard plastic end caps. When the blind is released, the metal bar in the lower section of the blind or shade ‘flops’ loosely allowing the hard plastic end caps to slap on the wall surface, window frame or the screen blind behind it. The front bar also bangs onto the rear bar of the other blind/screen, and/or the window or screen frame. When each shade and blind hits the offending surface, it sets up a cacophony of sound. When you have multiple blinds, the noise is very irritating. Fortunately, driving on smooth highways reduces their swaying and banging and resultant noise.
There Has to be a Way to Eliminate these sounds!
A careful examination shows that when the blind and shade are separated so that the aluminum bars do not hit each other, the noise is reduced (see larger photo below).
However, the black end caps of the bars (shown in the photo removed on the (left) shade and affixed on the (right) blind, swing and strike the window frame or the wall, with a resounding crack. An examination determined that the rear shade cushioned the sound.
The noise of the shade hitting the surface behind can be eliminated by placing a 1” (2.5cm) piece of the soft loop side of Velcro on the wall side of the shade bar at each end. Install a 2’’ (5cm) strip in the center of the rear of the bar where the two sections of the windows meet on a wider window. (see photo) Placing the blind and shade at slightly different heights (as in photo) controls the noise of the two bars hitting each other, when the coach is driven.
The Proper Solution: Have MCD Make a Manufacturing Upgrade:
The simple solution that should be implemented by the shade and blind maker (MCD), is to install a soft rubberlike end cap, that would provide a cushion on the ends of the bar and a small rubber movable section that can be slid onto the rear bar near the center of the longer shades to eliminate the slapping in the middle.
Blind & Shade Adjustments:
I recommend that MCD provide to RV makers, (and REV Group should adopt) only externally adjustable blind and shade models. The height that the blind and shade stop at, as well as the speed that each retracts, is adjustable. Unfortunately, the typical adjustment requires that a flat screwdriver be inserted into the screws at each end of the applicable blind or shade. (Blue Arrows in the photo.) Complete instructions are available on the MCD website along with YouTube videos. I found it is best to phone their customer support, since the video needed for our blinds was not easily accessible on their website. The call resulted in a link to the proper video. The challenge with these blinds when installed in our RV, is that the entire assembly must be removed from the valance, to provide access to the blocked adjustment screws.
This requires the complete valance to be removed from the RV. Externally adjusted models, eliminate the need to remove them from the valance, greatly simplifying the initial and future adjustment. On our coach they were not properly adjusted. Overall, with each blind and shade properly adjusted, the blinds operate properly. With the pads installed, the noise of blinds slapping the window frames while driving is gone! What an improvement!