Friday, December 15, 2017

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse Review


2018 Winnebago Fuse 23T



I was able to take a look at the new 2018.5 Winnebago Fuse.  Both the 23A and 23T versions.   They were debuted at the RVIA show in Louisville and then moved down to LazyDays RV in Tampa for the SuperShow happening at the Florida State Fairgrounds in early January.

First things first.  If you have never been to LazyDays in Tampa, go!  They have a stellar facility and it is an experience just to visit.

Now for my perspective.  I have a 2017 Fuse 23A.  A very early 2017 23A, one of the first.  I am going to wind up comparing the 2018.5 to my 2017.   There have been changes in the 2017.5 and 2018 models, but from what I have seen they were mostly refinements.  The 2018.5 makes serious changes to an already good motorhome.  If some of these changes were on the 17.5 or 18 forgive me for pointing them out.

Exterior


2018.5 Winnebago Fuse

The first thing I noticed looking at the 2018.5 Fuse is the color.  It is now a Dark Grey and White.  The pattern is called Winter Gray.  Color is a personal thing.  I don't discuss color much, but it looks reasonably sharp.

As I walked around the unit I saw several differences:

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse hatch

On the 23A the passenger side access panel for the batteries and LP have been combined into one long access panel.   I like this better.  The larger opening makes it much easier to get to the LP and batteries.  You no longer have to navigate through the 2 small access hatches.  I am sure it also makes the manufacturing process easier.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse battery compartment 23a
Group 24 Batteries - Fuse 24A
2018.5 Winnebago Fuse battery compartment 23T
Group 31 Batteries - Fuse 23T
The battery bracket inside the hatch also appears to be new.  It is designed to hold 2 batteries (Winnebago has made 2 batteries standard now) just like the last bracket.   The new part is that is is sized to hold Group 24, Group 27 or Group 31 batteries.  With AGM group 31 batteries you can have 250 amp hours of capacity if you choose.  They are shipping standard wth group 24 wet cell batteries for 160 amp hours of storage.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse zamp solar controller


Speaking of power, the Fuse also comes with 200w of solar now.  Still uses the same Zamp solar controller which is a nice controller.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23a storage compartment2018.5 Winnebago Fuse winter flush


On the 23A and T the winterization valves and the slide controller (both located in the upper rear storage bay on the 23A) are now well labeled.  Making things easily identifiable is one thing I really appreciate since it helps with all of the general maintenance tasks.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse bike rack 12018.5 Winnebago Fuse bike rack 2

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse bike rack 32018.5 Winnebago Fuse bike rack 4

The bike rack is new.  It is a summit bike rack that was discussed on this post.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse license tag


The license plate holder has been moved up from the bumper and is much better illuminated.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse black tank flush

The black tank flush and city water connections have been moved up some and the black tank flush is now on top.  This is good since on my fuse the septic system cover can not be locked open when you have a hose connected to the black tank flush.
2018.5 Winnebago Fuse slope


2018.5 Winnebago Fuse rear slope 12018.5 Winnebago Fuse rear slope 2

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse rear slope 32018.5 Winnebago Fuse rear slope 4


The biggest change on the exterior is that Winnebago sloped off the rear end.  This is a big, big deal.  The Fuse is a low rider.  One of the reasons I like my Fuse is that it is close to the ground and easy to get in and out of.  Well several of us have managed to scrap our rear ends going up steep driveways or getting onto crowned roads.   Well Winnebago sloped up the rear end.  Starting from about 4 feet from the rear, Winnebago sloped the rear end up 2".  On the 23A that means it goes from a 12" clearance to a 14" clearance at the rear bumper.  On the 23T it went from 11" to 13".  A good improvement.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse stair height

The stairs have also been a point of concern as they are low as well.   In this picture of the 23A stairs you can see the body is at 11".

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse aluminum wheels


Both units I saw had the optional aluminum wheels.  In addition to just looking nice, since they do not use the wheel simulators that the standard Fuse has, checking the air on the outside tires should be much easier.

Interior
The floorpans are the same.  I have not noticed any changes.

One of the main changes to Fuse for 2018.5 is a new compressor refrigerator.   They are different units on the 23A and 23T, but both are from Nova Kool.   On the 23A it is the model RFU6209 DC.  On the 23T it is the model DE0061R.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23T refrigerator2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23T refrigerator control

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23T freezer2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23T refrigerator open

The model DE0061R on the 23T looks like a normal everyday refrigerator.  Freezer on top, refrigerator on bottom.  It runs on 12 or 110v automatically switching as necessary.  It is nice and large

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23A refrigerator

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23A refrigerator open2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23A freezer


The Fuse 23A has a Nova Kool model RFU6209 DC.   This one appears to be 12v only.  Not sure this really matters since if you are plugged into 110v current, the converter in the Fuse will convert to 12v anyhow simplifying everything.   The different thing about this refrigerator is that the freezer is on bottom instead of on top.  Why would Winnebago do this?  Easy, with the 23A drivers side bed extension out for a tall person the refrigerator door is blocked.  By putting the freezer on bottom, the bed can be made out and you can still have access to the refrigerator.   A pretty decent design tradeoff if you ask me.

Why is a compressor refrigerator such a big deal? Well a compressor refrigerator is the same type as you have at your house.  Most RV refrigerators, including the ones in previous Fuses are absorption refrigerators.  They can be powered by electricity or LP gas which is a big plus.  They use ammonia as the refrigerant and have to be level to operate. If you are not reasonably level they will not work and eventually will break. The compressor refrigerator can operate at pretty much any angle but they only work off of electricity.


2018.5 Winnebago Fuse inverter control


Another thing that is now available on both Fuse models is an inverter. It is a 1000w Magnum pure sine wave inverter.  The plugs next to the TVs are connected to the inverter in addition to a separate plug next to the bed(s).

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse usb plug2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 12v plug


Another feature that Winnebago has added is 12v outlets next to each of the USB outlets.  This is a nice feature especially if you have a CPAP machine or have other devices that will work off of a cigarette lighter plug.  You could even recharge your laptop without having to use the inverter (not the most efficient way) or turning on the generator (even less efficient).

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse bathroom fan2018.5 Winnebago Fuse bathroom fan blades


The exhaust fan in the bathroom appears to be slightly different. It is probably just a newer model but it was quieter than mine.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse Window panel

One other point of confusion I will clarify is the privacy shades/panels for the cab windows.  The new brochure called them shades.  All Winnebago did was change the description.  They are still the same panels that have been supplied since the first Fuse.  I found them in the closet and they were definitely the same as mine.

Friday, December 1, 2017

2018.5 Changes in the New Brochure


Winnebago Fuse 23T - 2018.5 Marketing photo

The marketing materials for the 2018.5 Fuse are now out on the Winnebago web site now.  The link is https://winnebagoind.com/products/class-c/2018/fuse/overview


Here are the changes readily apparent from the brochure:


Fuse Compressor RefrigeratorFuse Compressor Freezer
  • Compressor Refrigerator from Nova-Cool 5.5 cu ft.  Changed from a 5.3 cu ft absorption refrigerator
  • 200w solar standard  from Zamp  - 2 panels 
  • 2  batteries standard  (still wet cell - group 24)
  • Optional 1,000w inverter
  • LED ground-effect lighting on cab steps
  • Cab Window Blinds as opposed to Privacy Panels 

Winnebago Fuse Angled rear end
  • The rear end has been angled off by 2 inches
Winnebago Fuse Aluminum Wheels

  • Optional Aluminum Wheels
  • Colors have changed slightly
    • Glazed Kona wood has been added.  Washed Maple is not listed
    • Spark and Element are the two interior color palettes.  Jumper and Blueprint are not listed
    • Body Paint is now Winter Gray.  It appears a little darker than the Magnetic color on the 2017 Fuse
So how can I tell if I am looking at a 2018 vs a 2018.5 model?  There is a X2 in the serial number vs an X1 and it has all of these changes.



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

My Sumo Springs


Sumo Springs SSR 121-54


I recently had SuperSprings Sumo Springs installed on my 2017 Winnebago Fuse 23a.  It has been so far one of the best upgrades to the Fuse I have had done.  I recommend it to everyone.

Lets start at the beginning.  I have scraped the rear of my Fuse once.  This was going from a driveway on to a crowned road.  I have scraped the stairs once.  This was going over a speed bump when I bounced because I was going a little faster going out than when I was going in.  In both cases  I was not being careful but in each case if I had had 1/4" more clearance or  less bounce I would not have had a problem.

So what to do.  I had read on several other sites about Sumo Springs and I have talked about them here as an option to raise the Fuse.   They were recommended unofficially by the Winnebago engineering team.  It appeared with a small amount of modification to the unit you would get a large payoff.  So I decided to give it a shot.

I had the local RV dealer do it. It appeared I could have done it if I had the right jacks and stands but  I just did not have the time and had been putting it of for a while.   I should have brought it to a local suspension shop to do the work. I could have saved a good amount of money (30%). But I had the Fuse in the shop for a recall and time is what I am short supply of so I just said make it happen.


Rear bumper before SumoSprings     Rear bumper - after SumoSprings

So before I had the Sumo installed the fuse stood at 12" at the rear bumper.    After they were installed it was at 13.5".  An increase of an inch and a half.   Good.

Step before SumoSprings Step after SumoSprings


Before I had the Sumo installed the stairs on the fuse were just under 7.5".  After they were just over 8".  An increase of a little over 1/2 inch.  Again - A good change that would have saved me in the past

So the real proof is in the pudding.  Did doing this modification change how well the Fuse rides and  drives?   It did and it did for the better.   I have always thought that the Fuse rode like a nice SUV.  Now it rides like a luxury car.   All of the little bumps and cracks in the road have disappeared.  And so did the noise and rattles in the Fuse when you went over them.  I have never noticed any real sway in the Fuse but I could tell on our first little drive (650 miles) that that there was even less now.  It now rides like a Cadillac.

I even rode on the back bed for a little bit.  Before the Sumo Springs it was pretty bumpy riding back there.  Way more noticeable than in the front.  Now with the Sumo Springs installed the ride has calmed way down in back.

How do the Sumos do this.  I posted an earlier article and the Sumo Springs act like airbags would in a traditional motor home.  You can't adjust them but they absorb the bumps and provide a better foundation for the coach to ride on.

The next question is did I do anything to the front suspension?  The Sumo folks sell something for the front springs as well.  I did not do anything to the front.  The Travato group members who have done this don't seem to think that the Sumo product for the front do much or anything to help in an RV configuration.  They are probably right since all of our weight is in the rear.

Another question is did it change the level and do I need blocks now?  The answer is no.  The Fuse seems to be as level as it always has been.  I don't have exact enough equipment but in my driveway and a the campsite we stayed at everything was still in the center of the bubble level.  The extra inch over the length of the vehicle did not seem to throw anything off much.

What about the warrantee?  Per Ford it will not void the warrantee if it did not cause the problem.

From a overall perspective, just the improvement in the ride would justify adding the Sumos to me.  If you have a 17.5 or 18 you already have some additional clearance but you will get a little more.  Not as much as if you added an additional leaf spring but every little bit helps.

From a technical perspective the shop replaced the original bump stops with Sumo Spring bump stops model SSR-121-54.   They used a 1" spacer .

Last question -  How much?  This seems to always come up.   You can buy the SumoSprings on sale for as little as $223 but they retail for around $300.   Installation takes 1-2 hours.

Don Moody did a great video for anyone who want to do it themselves or just see what this involves:




Sunday, November 26, 2017

3.2 Diesel Engine


Ford 3.2L Power Stroke Diesel Engine Coffee Table Book


There is a Ford publication with a huge amount of information about the 3.2l turbocharged diesel engine in our Fuses.   Found on the forddoctorsdts site and part of a series called the "Coffee Table Books"

Here is a link in case you can not find it on the original site: Link

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Scenic Mountain RV Park


Scenic Mountain RV Park


For Veterans Day we took a trip to north/middle Georgia.  It is now camping time in the south and it was time to get out and do some exploring.   Our destination this time was Milledgeville, Ga.   Well not really the town, but the Scenic Mountain RV Park and Campground.

The main reason that we took off was to try out the new Sumo Springs (they are great by the way).    Oh, and it was Sonya's birthday.

So we traveled from Tallahassee to Milledgeville on all sorts of roads, 2 lane roads, 4 lane roads and Interstates. The next day we headed north to Commerce, Ga and then back to the campground.   A little different for us since normally we try keep moving, but we were scared that with the holiday weekend spots might be hard to find.  But Scenic Mountain was a nice place to make a base.

After we checked in at the office next to the main road, we drove down the hill and then up to the top to our campsite.  We were in site 13, but not a problem.  Sonya's birthday is November 13 and we were celebrating and that looked like a good omen.

Winnebago Fuse Scenic Mountain RV Park


Everything we saw was in good repair and the place was spotless.   Our site could have accommodated a 40-50' Prevost, so our Fuse looked rather small on the site.  The site was level  all the way from the front to the rear so we parked near the rear to stay close to the utilities.

Every spot had a nice table, fire ring and plenty of space to walk Lily and explore.  The one thing that was missing was a grill.  Not to worry since we always have our UCO Flat Pack Grill.  The first night we had steak and mashed potatoes and enjoyed talking to our neighbors around the fire.

The next morning we got out and drove some more.  We explored Milledgeville and headed up to Athens and Commerce Ga to see what we could see.    On the way back we stopped at the Farmview Market just South of Madison, Ga.  A really nice grocery store with lots of locally produced items.  The butcher shop was wonderful.  And connected to this is a Cafe.  Unfortunately we missed it by 5 minutes (we stopped just after 3:00) but the menu looked wonderful.

Scenic Mountain RV Park


Back to the Campground.  There is a pool, clubhouse and a fishing pond.  The showers were spotless and overall it was just a super nice place.

RV Dump Station Tifton Rest Area I-75


On the way back to Tallahassee we stopped at a rest stop on I-75 above Tifton, and low and behold what did they have - a RV dump station.   Florida used to have these at a number of places but have been taking them out.  We will have to remember this for the future.

We got back home and decided that the Sumo Springs were definitely worth it.  A much better ride.   We drove 650 miles.  The mileage was between 15-16mpg traveling at speeds from 45-75.   And Sonya had a Happy Birthday in the Fuse.


Monday, November 20, 2017

Coasting or Engine Breaking


Here is an interesting video that Richard Kozloski shared with me.  I am not sure it applies to the Fuse, but it is interesting never the less.

 I keep the Fuse in gear going down hills and and kick the transmission into manual.  Then I can downshift and use the engine to help with breaking.


Friday, November 10, 2017

Cabin Door Noise fix from Winnebago


One of the common problems with the Fuse is excessive noise coming from the cabin door when driving at highway speeds.

On my 2017, the wind noise was on our punch list before we picked it up.  The dealer adjusted the door and added some weather stripping and that helped - but it was still there.  I added some additional weatherstripping and filled some weep holes in the stairwell and would only get the noise above 65mph and even then it was not too bad.

Then during the Spring Get Together, the Winnebago engineer told us that they had found some issues with the airflow around the door causing noise at the door hinges.

This is an excerpt from the Spring 2017 Get Together notes:
Side door noise -  There are two door vendors that have been used.  Atwood is the original door and Lippert is the current door.  The door has been used on other units with no noise issues but the thought is that the placement of the awning arm on the other unit and/or the curved front of the Fuse is making the air flow different and it is hitting the hinges. Winnebago is working on a hinge cover that may solve this issue.  (Whether this solution can be retrofit is still unknown. One issue being the aesthetics of the graphics and the other being the change in door heights.)

Well Winnebago now has their fix.

Wind Deflector diagram

Winnebago has come out with a Wind Deflector Screw Cover.  Part number 321703-01-01A.  311996-01-02A. Part name is: Wind Deflector Screw Cover. Looking at the Winnebago Parts lists it looks like it started being installed on new units in late August 2017.   


Fuse Wind Deflector - thanks to the Netzleys



I am not sure if it will work on the older 2017s with the Atwood door, but if you have a 2017.5 or better there is now a solution.   Reports from the Netzleys who had them installed at the factory are very positive.
The wind deflector they installed for us at the factory made a BIG difference. We can now hear the radio, cell phone and carry on a conversation! We'll post a picture and more information in the next day or so. - Sharon Netzley