Monday, May 1, 2017

Get Together in the Smokies - Winnebago Tech Talk


We had a great day with experts talking about the Winnebago Fuse and the Ford Transit it is built on. These are the notes Sonya and I took during the talks.    

First up was Winnebago.   Lee McInroy, is the Project Engineer for the Winnebago Fuse.  There was a great discussion from 9:30 until noon.   

Winnebago Notes
Lee McInroy - Project Engineer

Lee is taking all feedback with him to share with his team at Winnebago.  He will also get clarification or additional details on any issues that he was unable to answer and get back with us.  We will distribute these through the Facebook group and the blog as they are received.

Lee started the morning giving a background on how RV coaches are developed at Winnebago, then provided some specifics on the evolution of the Fuse.

  • Planners determine the floor plans and styling
  • Engineers then have to package that design into the constraints of the RV

The First Fuse was the 23T.  Winnebago was wanting to build a compact coach with a full bed without it being a corner bed

They wanted to provide both a gas and a diesel version, but they hit curb weight limits on the gas version.

Winnebago has to make sure they stay inside the guidelines in the Ford design guide for the Transit

Winnebago tried to install a diesel generator in the Fuse, but it had ground clearance issues.  It was 4 inches too tall.

They thought about installing a 18gal LP tank but they had both ground clearance issues and weight issues on the front end.

The trailer hitch was installed originally as a 2000 lbs capacity for the gas chassis.  It was not changed for the diesel version at rollout.  Changed in the 17.5 .   They had to do some work to figure out a way to strengthen the part.   

With a small coach such as the Fuse weight is always a concern.  Everything that is added takes away from the carrying capacity.  A small motorhome has just a small amount of weight it can carry.  It is an engineering and design challenge to add things without impacting the carrying capacity too much.  Each Fuse has a different carrying capacity on the yellow sticker.

Winnebago uses continuous improvement on the line to get changes out to market fast.

Ground Clearance - Ford provided a stiffer leaf spring in the back gaining an additional 1” of clearance starting in August 2016.  Winnebago has not done anything to gain clearance, the change came from Ford. 

Stabilizing jacks had been added in the back.  They hang down lower and replace skid bar when the Fuse has that option.

Winnebago brought the Fuse out on the Winnebago test track and did not see any issues with scraping before rollout.   The track has all sorts of features.  But everything can’t be found in testing.

There was a comment that some would like to see the Fuse on the gas platform to lower cost.

First prototype was built in March of 2015.  It was a prototype T on the gas chassis.  It was probably the unit Lee brought to the event.

Winnebago has to build to the Ford design guide.   Winnebago worked with Ford to resolve issues with the swivel seats and side curtain airbags.  This postponed the product announcement .

The 23 T went into production in November 2015

The 23A went into production in January 2016

The 23A was actually the second twin bed unit.  The Trend 23D was designed first and concept was mostly moved intact to the Transit chassis for the Fuse 23A.

The  23A has a pocket door so when you have set up the back into the king bed configuration you can still use the bathroom.  The 23D is less convenient.

Question -  The Generator location on the 23A has poor for access.  This is being looked at.  Also looking at a way with Onan to have some sort of remote circuit breaker/reset switch .

Winnebago is also working with Onan to see what can be done to make the generator quieter.  They found one issue is that the hole that the exhaust pipe goes out is not quite big enough/not centered and causes some noise.

Discussion on sewer hose.  Lost of feedback that no one uses the Blue Hose (ok most people don’t). Lots of feedback on this to Winnebago.

Discussion on A/C noise.  Because the air conditioner is not ducted it can't get much quieter, they are working with the vendor on a diffuser to distribute the air better.

A spare tire for the Fuse is 64 lbs - 32 of the tire, 32 for the rim.  There is no spare to cut down on weight.  There is no room on the 23A  but there might be space under the T.  Originally was going to include a spare under the 23T but the weight is an issue.  The Pinsons showed those interested later how they had attached a spare to their RV on a rear rack.

There was a request that Winnebago comes out with new wheels.  Aluminum wheels are an option in 2018.

The wheel covers are a Winnebago part.   A number of issues with noise coming from wheels come from covers not on right.  There is a method for getting them on correctly.

Candy said there was an option called “multi-seal”  they purchased from Lichtsinn to fill the tire to keep from getting a flat.  About an $800 option

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.)

A question about a macerator for the sewer - Yes that is a way to deal with the sewage.

A question on the TV hinge being noisy -  Tightening the screws tends to help

A question about when the 2018 would be out and new features -  Not allowed to talk about future products.

12v vs USB ports.  Winnebago understands the issue.  A large rental customer has been asking about them for users with CPAPs.  Winnebago has started to install both on some of their other models.

Leaks - No answer -  Some of what has been seen is missing sealant.  They were going to take a look at the 2 units at the rally to get more info on the end cap cracks after the talk.

Other Water Issues
  • wheel well gap (recall issue)
  • power cord compartment should have weep holes so it can drain.  

Quality Control Questions -  Winnebago has moved the Q/C management next to the line so they an be more in the loop.  Shooting for 100% units at the end of the line.

Question why fresh water drains over support.  Can it go direct to ground?  Someone in group said they added a hose extension over the supports to go over support to ground.

Question about moving the plug under the table on a T up so it can be used easier. One member noted that they add a short extension plug that brought it up to the table to resolve the problem.

Question on the T mattress design.  Was taken from the View mattress.   There is a great desire to maximize parts from other models for efficiency.

Suggestion - 23T put drawer under dinette seat where there is currently empty space (Gary Sanford has done this in his rig)

Suggestion - 23A - flip the hinge on TV in the living area so it can be pointed toward couch. Add a hinge to TV over bed so it can be viewed from the couch. (Background - TV in 23A was based on that for 23T for consistently in installation.)

Will Winnebago add compressor refrigerator as a option at some point?

Question - what is the likelihood that some of the improvements can be retrofit to older vehicles?

LP Sensors - Inside sensors are available but not as accurate as the one on the tank

Suggestion - table in front of sofa can not be used when slide is in, can a second hole be added for use when slide is in?

Contact Winnebago Owner Relations if you have a question about whether a local dealer can handle an issue or not.


  1. Morning Don,
    I'm a prospective23A buyer. Not withstanding the issues discussed in your post, are you and the other Fuse owners pleased with your units? Would you buy again? Are the concerns mentioned "show stoppers"?
    Thanks in advance for your thoughts,
    Aubrey Blalock

  2. I would say almost everyone is happy. Yes I would l buy again without any hesitation. None of the concerns are show stoppers but things you should be aware of, look at and check out at delivery and your first couple of times out to make sure there are no issues. I have friends that have purchased $1,000,000+ motorhomes and they have issues that have to be addressed.

    I would say 90%+ of the issues people have are adjustment issues. Some people get build issues which the dealers are quick to fix but a lemon or two does manage to get out.

    The goal is to identify them before you leave the lot while you are a priority to the dealership. Some dealers are really good about service after the sale but unfortunately in the RV industry they are not the majority.

    What you manage to read here and in the Facebook group are the warts magnified because people who are not having problems don't report anything. This is the majority of the units sold. You also have to remember that a motorhome is like a house on wheels. If you ever built a house you will remember the punch list that you had when you first moved in. This is pretty similar.

  3. Thx Don for excellent and timely response. These are last minute questions as we have a contract on one but have not taken delivery.

    I must say that your blog has been more than beneficial to us on this matter.

    As we get started with Fuse, it would be great to stay in touch and to meet you guys.

    Thanks again for your efforts,


  4. Glad to help. Make sure you join the Winnebago Fuse Owners Group on Facebook. There are a lot of folks smarter than me over there that are happy to help.