Winnebago/VW Rialta Motor Home

If you plan on buying one of these, READ THIS FIRST

I bought mine on 4-28-2000. So far as of May 25,2000 I haven't been able to use it at all.

On the way home from the Winnebago Dealership that I bought it from, the check engine light came on. I looked in the warranty pack that comes with the new home and found that this was a problem for the Volkswagen people. The warranty states I could go to any Volkswagen dealer in the U.S. to have the warranty repairs done. DON'T YOU BELIEVE IT !!!! I phoned all the VW dealerships in the Capital District (Albany NY) and none of them would work on the vehicle.

After getting in touch with VW customer relations, the closest dealership was 125 miles away, that's a 250 mile round trip to have the problem checked. I complained to both VW and Winnebago about this, and they just didn't seem to care. The Winnebage stooge even told me that is not what the warranty says, like I can't read!!!. I finally got an appointment with the VW dealer in Oneonta NY (125 miles each way) on May 17, 2000, that's right, 20 days from the time I bought the vehicle. I left the vehicle there on May 17, 2000 to have the following problems fixed.

Check Engine Light
Engine Overheating light blinking with coolant loss in my driveway
The power door locks didn't work at all
The windshield rubber seal was coming off and inside the window the plastic was poping off
The right side running board feels and sounds like it is about to crumble.
The screen in the entrance door is coming apart

The panels under the doors and just behind the doors had paint runs that looked like something my 12 year old had painted.
Missing door seal near the latch

On May 22, 2000 I picked up the vehicle. The door lock wiring had been burned beyond recognition, they fixed that. They replaced the O2 sensor which shut off the check engine light. They repaired leaking coolant lines at the transmission. The rest of the stuff was either on order, or needed to be approved by Winnebago. I was kind of satisfied that at least it was driveable now.

Well not quite. On the way home from the dealership, about 25 miles up the road, the check engine light came back on. We also noticed an odor and a pst - pst - pst noise when we stopped for coffee. Seems like now the vehicle has an exhaust leak, wonderbar!!!!. In the meantime I called the VW repairshop in Oneonta, and hopefully will be able to bring it back down in a week or two to have it checked out and the other warranteed items replaced. For now it sits in my driveway, 4 or 5 weekends gone without being able to use it.

The customer relations gal at VW at least seemed to care, and did get me a VW dealer to work on it, but the winnebago people are simply fools. They could give a darn less about my problems. I phoned them on May 24, 2000 and asked if I could simply get a replacement vehicle (Read Lemon). The answer was we don't replace vehicles. I now have about 500 miles on it, all driving from the selling dealer, and to and from the repair shop. I am now contacting a lawyer concerning the lemon law. The vehicle has been basically out of service since the day I bought it. Counting today May 25, 2000, that's 28 days.

By the way, I hold no ill against the VW dealership in Oneonta, they have been more than helpful in at least trying to work on the vehicle for me. I simply dread driving all that way every time I have a warranty problem, major or minor.

I will continue the saga in the next few days, after I talk to an attorney. In the meantime, think twice about buying a Rialta. Call all your VW dealerships locally and make sure they can work on it. Get a list of dealerships that can work on it nationwide if you plan on going anywhere other than to the local market.

June 7, 2000 Update: VW sent a tow truck to my house on June 2nd. The driver never saw a Rialta before and said they would guarantee damage free towing. He suggested it be flat bedded to the dealer, but he didn't want to do it as he thought it may be too tall for the underpasses. Hmmm I thought they were sending a flat bed in the first place, so did VW. On June 6th they finally sent another towing company to see if they could tow it to Oneonta, N.Y. This guy is a heavy equipment mover, so he suggested it be put on a low boy trailer, the same type of trailer they mover heavy equipment with. The only problem is, they are too busy during the week, so they hopefully will pick it up on Friday evening June 9th and bring it to the dealers on June 10th. Well maybe I will get to use this thing for 4th of July with much luck.

In the meantime I received a list of VW dealers that will actually perform warranty service on the Rialta. There are only about 40 in the entire U.S. - Remember the warranty states "Any Volkswagen Dealer"
This really gives me confidence for a long trip huh?. Some states don't have any !!!.

Sad thing is, if I lived in Oneonta NY, I never would have found this out until I was in the middle of that long trip to Colorado. I bet there are quite a few owners out there who are lucky enough to be living close to a servicing VW dealer that don't know about this. All along Winnebago is the one at fault here.

June 9, 2000 - The Rialta was picked up and towed to the VW dealer in Oneonta, NY

June16, 2000 - Still waiting for the repairs to be made and the Rialta returned to me.

June 18, 2000 - Still waiting, it has been 9 days since it was towed to Oneonta, NY

The saga will continue when (if) the Rialta is returned to me in running order.

June 21, 2000 - The Rialta was delivered to my house. Everything that was broken, seems to be fixed. The VW Dealer in Oneonta, NY is excellent. We have only taken it on local trips, but the check engine light seems to be staying off, so far. We will be taking it on a 4 day trip (about 1500 miles) next week. I just hope that if it breaks down, there will be a VW dealer that will work on it with a few miles (Ha Ha!!)

June 25, 2000 - We decided to make the trip shorter, no confidence in getting it repaired if had a breakdown. Put about 700 miles on it. Thank God, no breakdowns.

I will keep everyone informed on a weekly basis.

August 24, 2000 - Still in a holding pattern -- Went to Gloucester MA. this weekend. Checked the list of VW repair centers, but found no VW shops capable of doing any repairs in NEW ENGLAND. So the Rialta sits in the driveway. We took to car and stayed at a motel.

We are seriously considering doing some planters and maybe some mulch around the outside of the Rialta. What the hell, if it is going to become a permanent fixture in the driveway, we may as well make it look like it belongs there.

September, 2000

THE END !!!!! VW has refunded the entire purchase price including taxes and license fees and Attorney fees ..

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