Sunday, October 17, 2021

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A “Thank you” to Russ and Tiña De Maris and RVtravel.com

[Editor’s note: This is a contributed piece, and the author has asked to remain anonymous. This was not solicited; the author contacted us to ask if we’d publish it.]

I was one of Russ De Maris’ anonymous sources in the whole DEF sensor debacle. Who knows – if you look over, I may be the guy parked next to you in the RV park. Before I was de-rated, I had never heard about RVtravel.com, didn’t know Russ or Tiña, really wasn’t very active on RV social media or RV websites. And yes, I asked RVtravel.com to publish this piece because you should know that they worked – and worked hard – to help us out.

Before heading out on my trip this summer, and having read about bad DEF sensors and the lack of availability of replacements, I took every DEF precaution known to man. But no matter, my DEF sensor failed mid-trip and I was de-rated in my RV. It was dangerous, terribly inconvenient and expensive – but mostly dangerous.

My background

I’m from the tech industry. Before retiring, my company designed custom chips, firmware and software. Once I understood the scope of the problem it became apparent to me that the fastest path to getting everyone back on the road was Cummins’ software related with a dose of EPA waiver. But how to get Cummins and the EPA to pay attention to it?

I wrote to the EPA and Cummins, but as an individual it is hard to get any attention. I found that Russ had written one article about it and began to give him as much information as I had so that he would hopefully continue to write about this on behalf of RV users. Thinking that RVtravel.com was (a) not the Wall Street Journal, but (b) a good starting place, I figured that I would have to go to bigger media outlets to get the support needed to effect change. Turns out I was wrong. Really wrong. RVtravel.com must have a passionate, focused following.

“Blowing up their inbox”

When Russ published the names and business email addresses of the Cummins leadership team in support of the software solution, they must have gotten a deluge of email (the current phraseology is “blowing up their inbox”). Cummins’ leadership begged for mercy after only two days, and shortly thereafter announced their support of the proposed software solution. Two whole days. This is when I first realized RVtravel.com was punching way over its weight. The EPA then also issued a statement that they would be supportive of bending the Clean Air Act due to this problem. This fix is announced and not yet available, but remember, this is asking the EPA to bend their most sacred rules, and an engine manufacturer to fix a problem that was not of their making. Difficulty factor of 10.

One guy emailing does not make this happen. I don’t know enough people to make this happen. It took Russ and RVtravel.com writing about it every week, and staying on top of it as a public interest and safety topic for their readers.

Journalistic integrity

One more thing about Russ. There were times when I had to explain things to him that had to be held for publication, but were helpful for him to know in the overall context of various solutions. Even with the EPA and Cummins making positive noises simultaneously, another group was developing an alternate solution, the DSS (DEF sensor simulator). I was fortunate to play a small part in that group of guys. A separate topic – and thanks to them also. I briefed Russ regularly on the progress. He knew about the DSS before anyone knew it would work, but he agreed not to write about it until it was tested. Russ held every confidence with the utmost in journalistic integrity, and was the first to announce its availability on RVtravel.com.

So thank you, Russ and Tiña, on behalf of all of the RVers who benefited from your reporting. It’s less likely we will get rear-ended, stuck, or marooned at a dealer with our rigs today than it was two months ago, when you wrote your first article. In my opinion, it wouldn’t have happened without you.

They didn’t ask me to do this, but we can show our thanks by subscribing to RVtravel.com. If we want to maintain a free RV press that will continue to take on the corporates that build our RVs and the government that regulates them, we all have to pay up.

With best wishes for safe travels, see you on the road.

Anonymous RVer

##RVT1018b

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Jim B
27 days ago

In this day of “journalistic propaganda” it’s so refreshing to have journalists and a publication with integrity. I encourage all readers of RVtravel to become paid subscribers.

Joe
27 days ago

While at the 2021 Hershey show I asked both Freightliner and Spartan what they were doing to help solve the issue. Spartan had no answers and Freightliner said that they had a small problem and pointed at the Spartan display and said ask them, their system has most of the problems.

Paul S Goldberg
27 days ago

I don’t always agree with everything you publish, but I read it all with an open mind because it is well thought out and well documented. Maybe just maybe I am wrong 🙂 and I will learn from what I read. Or as I write my own response I may sharpen my own thoughts and how I present them. Fortunately for me my coach is a 2012 so the DEF disaster is not in my future, which isn’t to say some other problem may soon haunt me. Thank to to the anonymous author for taking the time to credit Russ and Tina for their good work.

Sharon B
28 days ago

I have been reading RV Travel for years way before it became a formal Newsletter. The amount of knowledge I have obtained by reading this invaluable information has pushed me to a different level far above many people I speak with. I cannot ever thank Russ enough for sharing his invaluable knowledge of the ever-changing RV industry. Now with a different era of newbies out there I just hope that some of them will take the time to educate themselves by reading this newsletter. Not only will this help with increased safety measures for all of us, but also I would hope that it will enlighten those who trash our precious land to maybe think before they dump their black water tanks in our pristine forests or dump their trash leaving their filthy trail of dirt ultimately causing many beautiful camping sites to be closed to all of us. I also hope that severe fines if not imprisonment should be implemented to those who violate our precious lands.

Chris
28 days ago

Agree with this as well. I too wrote to Russ and Cummins with responses as well. We’re still not through this though.

Richard
28 days ago

We’ve been with RVtravel since the beginning of our 16yrs of full timing. It’s been a wealth of help and information. So happy to see a media outlet that is honest, with the original journalistic ideal of reporting facts, informing the reader, without an agenda of propaganda.

I’m sure the inventors of the DSS are way ahead of the curve, but a helpful idea would be a Transfer relay/switch that could enable the DSS from the cockpit in a timely manner. Rather than a physical trip to the engine bay to unplug/plug. M2C

Bob p
28 days ago

I am proud to be a paid subscription, and I don’t even own a diesel. The info I get here is worth the monthly subscription price. Much more info than I get from GS with my monthly subscription to their new consolidated rag mag after dropping Motorhome and Trailer Life. The first issue was January and I counted 28 pages of ads before the first article about RVing.

TIM MCRAE
28 days ago

Big thank you to everyone involved!

We all get frustrated and angry about ‘things’, but the biggest is not having a voice or being heard.

Everyone involved in resolving this mess deserves our gratitude and respect.

FYI I passed the link for the DSS to some horse friends in Oregon. Two PU’s used for hauling horses to shows etc. Both down because of DEF issues. One truck is brand new. Just ridiculous!

But now because of RV Travel they know about two possible temporary solutions.

BTW Is this not an example of over regulation and the nanny state we live under! Good lord, someone spends multiples of 50k for a vehicle they can’t use and gets taxed to death on top of it.

Tommy Molnar
28 days ago
Reply to  TIM MCRAE

It’s not? It sure seems that way to me!

patti panuccio
28 days ago

I am a member because this is the most honest rv publication we have.

tom
28 days ago

The power of RVtravel!

Wren Grace
28 days ago

Kudos to anonymous for a great letter and to RVtravel for the positive influence you exert in the industry. We continue to pay our monthly pledge of support and hopefully this article will spur other to initiate a monthly pledge as well.

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