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Is There Quality In Today’s RV’s?

January 4, 2009 by Lug_Nut · 583 Comments  
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It seems that we see more and more reported quality control issues from RV owners today. Is the quality of today’s motor homes and trailers really that bad when compared to earlier years?  To understand that, we need to look more closely at what the common problems are and determine why they are happening.

By far the most common issue is failure or improper operation of a supplier component like refrigerators, electronic entry key pads, air conditioners, sidewall panels, engine sensors, engine fan assemblies, leveling systems, automatic steps and more.  But why do these items fail?  It seemed like this was never near the issue ten or fifteen years ago that it is today.  Let’s look at what may have contributed to these failures.

  • Poor quality control at the component factory.
  • Improper installation at the RV manufacturer level.
  • Improper operation or maintenance at the owner level.
  • Improper component application at the RV design level.
  • Poor material or workmanship.

Then there are the manufacturer’s failures and misfits.  Some of these problems include incorrect fitting of structural coach body mounting, poorly mounted or supported windshields, misaligned slide mechanisms, cosmetic faults and more.

There are chassis/engine issues also, seen all too often.  Some of these deal with failed engine sensors, engine internal failures, fan drives, shock absorbers, pneumatic valves, axle bearings, seals and more.

So looking at the entire cross section of typical flaws and failures, it would be fair to say that the RV manufacturer is not the sole problem.  In fact, perhaps far more times the issues land clearly with others, yet the RV manufacturer gets the blame.

In talking to many owners of relatively new rigs, it is interesting to learn that many are unhappy mainly due to the need for repeated repairs involving the same item.  That is, the issue is not properly repaired, or soon breaks again.  Also, perhaps of no surprise, most of these warranty repairs were carried out by a dealer, not the manufacturer’s service department.  It appears the satisfaction level is considerably higher with those owners that choose to have the O.E.M. (Original Equipment Manufacturer) repair their rig.  Likewise, the need to repeat a repair appears to be a very low to nil in frequency.

The somewhat less satisfying service record reported in regards to dealers may be due to several factors.  First, the modern RV’s are now coming equipped with far more sophisticated gadgets than earlier years, like computer driven devices and multiplex  wiring systems.  In addition, these systems are changed or enhanced each year.  Things as simple as operating the air conditioning are software controlled on some makes and models.   This raises the next issue, getting experienced trained dealer technicians.  This is a challenge given the dealer’s profit margins, not only the salary, but the cost of ongoing training, too.  Then there is the dealer’s parts inventory.  In most cases, the dealer may have to order the parts required from the factory.  Many times this requires a minimum order size, creating more dealer costs.

Now, please don’t read this to say that all the dealers have inferior service, because that is not correct.  There are excellent service facilities at a number of dealer locations, and in particular some excellent individual service technicians.  Unfortunately, I believe these and they, are not the majority.

Is it possible that this apparent quality control level has not really declined, but rather the modern communication formats and media have made these items more well known?   Blogs, forums and websites are capable of reaching all corners of the world in a fraction of a second.  While this is certainly possible to a degree, we can not dismiss the increasing technical challenges of this ever increasing computer driven world.  Simple auto tune up mechanics were made obsolete 20 some years ago unless they upgraded to the new computer age.  This now extends far past what we would think, would ever be controlled or driven by logic or computers.  Likewise, this technology also applies to the manufacturing, setting up, and testing of these vehicles.

So, what has your experience been?   Is your dealer one of the elite servicing providers?  Let’s hear from you.

With Some Quality Thoughts   -   Lug_Nut   -   Peter Mercer

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Comments

583 Responses to “Is There Quality In Today’s RV’s?”

  1. Nick Russell on January 4th, 2009 11:09 am

    I have said for years that the biggst drawback to the RV lifestyle is the RVs themselves. In 1998 we bought a new Pace Arrow Visin that was a total lemon, and neither Fleetwood or the dealer we bought it from could resolve its many problems, I haven’t seen any improveemnt in what’s come down the line since then from many manufacturers.

    All of the points you listed:
    Poor quality control at the component factory.
    Improper installation at the RV manufacturer level.
    Improper component application at the RV design level.
    Poor material or workmanship
    are a part of the problem, as well as the total apathy so many manufacturers and dealers have for the customer once they have made the sale.

  2. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 11:15 am

    Nick, Great summary of the overall issues. The thing is, it is not just one or two makes, they all have had and will have these faults from time to time. We just need to enjoy them in between some how. All in all, I’ve had my times too, but I have learned to mamage and can say I’m within a reasonable level of being satisfied.

  3. pdelorey on January 4th, 2009 2:36 pm

    You say that the manufacturer is not the sole problem – but really, they are. They are the ones that set their specs for their suppliers and they also select their suppliers, often based on cost, rather than quality. On dealer repair vs the O.E.M., the manufacturer sets the rates and the allowable hours for warranty work, so if the dealer can’t show a profit on the work, that also often falls back on the manufacturer. Also, if manufacturers set minimum orders for parts, that would seem to throw another problem at the dealer.

    I purchased a 2008 Class C and I’m very unimpressed with the quality of manufacture or the resolution of some simple problems. My windows keep sliding open while driving. Not a problem so lng as it’s not raining. I had TV problems. The manufacturer referred me to their vendor for a solution. The problem got fixed after a long delay – but I remember thinking at the time that they should be following through with their supplier. I wasn’t their customer – I was the manufacturers customer.

  4. Robert Tiefel on January 4th, 2009 2:48 pm

    Your article concerning the poor quality control of RV’s coming off the line in today’s market is quite interesting. We also take issue with some dealers and the poor service and workmanship they provide.

    We have RV’d for nearly 50 years, starting out with a Scotty and moving up in size through the years. We have had pull trailers, 5th wheels and motorhomes, but prefer the 5th wheel best. We just purchased a new Milabu, less that a year old, with which we have had some issues. First off, there were small issues which we returned to the dealer for correction, The dealer gave very poor service as far as we were concerned. Then we found there was no access panel into the manuel in & out crank for the slide out. Believe me, there is a good possibility of needing to manuelly crank the slide in or out at some point. We have had to do it on another trailer with slide. You can’t very well go down the road with your slide not cranked in.

    Also, there was a water leak underneath the kitchen sink, just plain a bad connection betweel the flexible hose , solid hose and an improper fitting. It leaked to the point of getting the carpet wet in the living area.

    We opted to have our local Camping World correct both of these problems, after explaining to the manufacturer that we did not want to return the unit to the dealer because of their poor service attitude and poor workmanship provided by their employees. Seemed there was new service employees every time we were at the dealership. Camping World completed the repairs on both problems and we sent the invoice to the Manufacturer for reimbursement.

    We still have one issue with the dealership concerning a warranty insurance policy and after many calls with there not returning the calls at all, we are seeking out what other recourse we have.

    Thanks
    Robert Tiefel

  5. Larry J. Guthrie on January 4th, 2009 2:51 pm

    Several years ago, I had a new to me motorhome with an extended warranty. Close to the end of the warranty period I had several items, fuel pump, entry step and one of the leveling jacks; that needed repair. I took the motorhome to the dealer I bought it from and they announced yes they would fix me up. Ha McClains RV in Oklahoma City. Several times they called me to come get the MH as they had it repaired. Three times when I got there it was not ready. Twice they didn’t even have the parts ordered. Once it might have been ready, but as soon as I entered I saw greasy shoe prints all over the carpet.

    This when on for at about 90 days. And they never did get the leveling jack to work correctly. All three items were purely mechanical, no electronics involved. Any repair shop should have been able to do the repairs. McClains could not . The only item that actually worked like it should was the fuel pump, which they farmed out.

    Larry

  6. Truman on January 4th, 2009 3:31 pm

    You hit the nail on the head 4 out of 5 Quality control is nil Too bad they that build these units don’t live in them for a few months Then i wonder what the Quality would be!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Cliff Thew on January 4th, 2009 3:42 pm

    I have to state that I believe the RV manufacturer is not the sole offender but perhaps the primary. In 2000 I bought a Wilderness LX fifth wheel based primarily of a positive experience with a 29 foot Wilderness trailer. The LX was supposed to be an upgrade in quality, fit, finish, etc. WOW what a disapointment!! All three slides had problems, Fit and finish were terrible and the bedroom slide when extended split the fiberglass siding of the trailer. Fleetwood ultimately had to tow the 5er back to Indiana and replace the entire fiberglass skin on the street side. Two of the three slide problems were due to bad crimps on connecters. I found them when looking and saw a bare wire sticking out. I found the mating connector and realized that the wire had just slipped out of the crimp. In checking around I fount two more crimps that were so loose I could pull the wire out with my hand.
    I bought a 2009 Open Range and have so far had no problems what so ever. Now Open Range is a new company and I am sure they are “trying harder” but I expect there is a mind set there that will cause them to produce great RV’s for a long time.

  8. Gary H on January 4th, 2009 3:48 pm

    We had a 1999 Winnebago Adventurer and a 2002 Itasca Horizon. Biggest problem with both were hydraulic leaks and/or failures. With both we had wind noise and slight windshield leaks. With the Horizon we had periodic problems with the electrical connections in the dashboard. We do feel that the Winnebago products have better quality than some. I do some RV transport driving and have had difficulties that relate mainly to design.

    We currently have a 5th wheel and have had few problems.

  9. Peter Hickey on January 4th, 2009 3:59 pm

    Great summary and analysis! There is another consideration:
    We are in a severely truncating rv building/selling period. What preceded was a 10 year run-up of constantly increasing production of rvs and a large expansion of different model designs by all builders as they tried to capture more market share and cover all elements of the market. Expanded production lines, accelerated build schedules and a large growth in production workers resulted. Delivery time and market share became primary, quality control secondary. As I have seen in other industries, the result often is less experienced personnel on the lines. Good people, but without the experienced to build quality in. Kind of an on-the-job training. Perhaps with a lessening of the pace, higher quality in both parts production and rv construction will result.

  10. Jerry Pippin on January 4th, 2009 3:59 pm

    We purchased a new 2007 Country Coach from Buddy Gregg last June.I just read an article on Country Coach closing there doors in March if they can’t get financing. We have had a lot of small problems. We have had it in the shop probably 8 times if not more. Buddy Gregg of Texas has taken good care of us. Now what will happen to the rest of my 1 year factory warranty if the shut there doors? All my problems have been poor quality control from the factory.

    Jerry

  11. bob on January 4th, 2009 4:15 pm

    When the President of a company, which supplies Newmar and several Prevost lines, rear view/controlled cameras told me that Newmar gets 5% of his business, but makes up 98% of his problems, I asked why. He said they install his sytem wrong, and he was going to stop selling to Newmar if they continued to fail following his explicit instructions/directions.
    Makes you wonder what else a company does and does not do?

  12. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 4:18 pm

    pdelorey, I would have to disagree. The manufacturers are not the total problem here. They use suppliers, some like G.E. with their Advantium range. This is a top quality household appliance, as is Fisher Paykal dishwashers. Can you blame the RV manufacturer if they fail? My take is no. Well, I’ve got one that’s waiting for a repair this week, and you can’t buy alot better than what they chose. So, please, don’t throw the RV manufacturers under the bus totally. I believe they have done reasonably well under today’s circumstances and in today’s media light. Thank you for bring up your point and for your input.

  13. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 4:25 pm

    Robert Tiefel, Your input is appreciated with the experience you bring. Fifty years of RVing is very rare. I agree with much of your feelings and think you are quite correct. Of course with the new age came new issues, including a new way to broadcast problems. It is questionable just how much the new form of instant media broadcast created, or brought to light, these issues. Thank you very much for your great input and participation on this topic

  14. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 4:30 pm

    Larry, Extended warranties are almost an entire separate topic, and I know where you are coming from. The issue of repair facility re-do’s are really unaceptable. Thanks for sharing your service experiences with all of us. and for your input.

  15. John Christman on January 4th, 2009 4:40 pm

    I’m on my 4th motorhome in 10 years. This 4th one should have been my FIRST, cause the other three (from different manufacturers) were for the most part either lemons or just plain JUNK. The really GOOD news is that one of the manufacturers and representing dealers have all gone belly up. A second one is just about to even though they have gotten financing–just not enough!

    My feelings about these “good ole boys” that are having to close up shop, is–it’s about time! I’m sorry for the outcome for the poor souls that own these products–especially if they still have any kind of manufacturers warranty. But certainly all OUR complaints over the years have fallen on deaf ears. So if these guys refuse to listen to their customers and do things RIGHT, then it serves these top execs and all their whoopee design engineers (who have never spent a night in one of their pieces of junk) right. I say let them all go belly up. After all the proof is in the construction and finally I have a motorhome that I’m PROUD to own and will show it off every chance I get. And do! In fact people STOP and admire it every time they see my coach. It has never had a coat of wax on it and is now six years old and looks just as nice as it did when it came off the showroom floor! Everything inside works great too! I love my 40 foot single slide Class A Foretravel.

  16. Donnette Cowgill on January 4th, 2009 4:40 pm

    We had a Montana (by Keystone) and had some problems, but it seems when we upgraded to a Carriage Carri-Lite is when our major problems began. This is 5th wheel with five slides. Two of the slides are not working properly and last week the plastic bottom hinge to the fridge door just broke off. The whole door fell in the floor. We took it in for warranty work in October (mainly for the slide problems). Whatever they ordered still isn’t in. We bought at Explore USA in Mesquite and that’s where we are going for the warranty work.

    We’ve had several problems with the Norcold 1095R fridge with the door problem just being the last of many. We have a local man we pay to do the repairs we can’t do. Haven’t even tried to get reimbursement. Just a couple hundred here and a couple hundred there. But the slides worry us.

  17. Don MacConnel on January 4th, 2009 5:12 pm

    Good post. Seems to me that most RV manufacturers are assemblers, not system designers beyond layout, features and cosmetics.

    RV’s are comprised of systems that are specified as to form and fit but rarely as to how they may interact with other systems or survive the shock and vibration of a rig. We also have add in the quality problems that occur in production.

    With so many systems to learn about it’s small wonder that repair shops don’t always get repairs right but instead go into a mode of replacing components until something works. There’s plenty of blame to go around at almost every aspect of building, repairing and using RV’s. Somehow it doesn’t stop us from enjoying the darn things—most of the time.

  18. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 5:40 pm

    Truman, Thank you, 4 out of 5 stacks up to 80%. But seriously, your point is well taken. Thanks for your input.

  19. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 5:43 pm

    Cliff, I believe you are correct. The RV manufacturers are not the sole issue. At times, they certainly stand out to be, but not for much that we see today. Thanks for sharing your experience with us and for your initiative in posting.

  20. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 5:49 pm

    Gary H, Yes certainly Winnebago has a great following and, in some ways, speaks perceiver quality. But, all manufacturers do share in these issues.Thank you very much for your well stated input.

  21. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 5:53 pm

    Peter Hickey, Great points! You may very well have a contributing element of this issue. Quality drops when demand rises. Thanks for your thoughts, they very well may be largely responsible.

  22. Sue on January 4th, 2009 5:57 pm

    WOW! All this is very discouraging. I have a 1995 Thor Residency that I bought second hand. I have put 2 engines in it and on the second one it was recommended I change the radiator to a three core type instead of 2 because the original radiator was too small for the engine. I have replaced the refrigerator, water pump, radiator, gas pump, had the gas line insulated as it would vapor lock on a hot day, and have learned hoe to fix the steps and dash air conditioner myself. In replacing the curtains and valences on the windows I had my first clue about how poorly it is put together. Is it common to use staples to attach the flooring, paneling, etc. It shouldn’t take too much thinking to realize some of those components might shake loose going down the road. This includes the TV cabinet which almost let go of the TV when I was going down the road! And here I wqas anticipating getting a brand new motorhome because I enjoy traveling and the people I meet. Is there any group that ranks RVs the way Consumer’s Union does cars?

  23. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 6:01 pm

    Jerry Pippin. Country Coach is a quality name in motor coaches. Don’t panic yet, they may well be buyers in the wings. If not, there are other ways, which in future we will be looking at. Thanks for your honest input. Many owners are afraid to mention that they have issues. Let’s face it, we all have from time to time.

  24. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 6:06 pm

    Bob, Today I doubt they are about to cut any manufacturer off for anything except inability to pay. I have not heard of problem from Newmar owners concerning their remote controlled cameras. However, we will see if issues develop. Thanks much for your valued input.

  25. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 6:10 pm

    John Christman, As usual you have great input. The Foretravel is a well designed coach. A single slide certainly reduces a boatload of potential problems. Thanks, much John.

  26. John Christman on January 4th, 2009 6:13 pm

    Sue,

    You asked about an organization like Consumers Union. Yes check out http://www.rv.org great outfit has been around for years.

  27. Alpenliter on January 4th, 2009 6:26 pm

    I think the more gadgets and gizmo’s we demand for our RVs, the more problems we are going to have. Software for AC? Residential appliances, computer controlled window shades all these things are convenient when they work, but when the wheels fall off everyone complains. I cannot in good conscience recommend anyone buying a new RV. Aside from the fact manufacturers are dropping like flies, the product coming off the assembly lines are not built as well as units 10 to 15 years ago.

  28. Jerry Shea on January 4th, 2009 6:41 pm

    Robert Tiefel has the right answer to RV problems. If you take it back to the dealer and then go to another state and the problem pops up again your just out of luck on what you have to now spend at the new dealer. However, take it to Camping World, go to another state and if a problem pop us again you will have some recourse. I have never had a bad experience at Camping World. Even had one Tech discover a problem that I didn’t even bring it in for.

  29. bill mittel on January 4th, 2009 6:54 pm

    Hi, I have owned and worked on 3 motor homes,I am a retired appliance service tech.After full timing for 2 years I’ve come to these conclusions.1,The motorhome you purchase is only 85% finished,you get to complete it. 2,If you aren’t handy,you are at the mercy of these cro— I mean technitions,find a class and hone your R.Vskills3,Research the dealer.I just purchased a motorhme in Crystal River fl and the dealer couldn’t even tell me what size engine was in it.I dug through the glove box and found the original owners name,He told me all about the coach including the bad brakes it had.
    I did buy the coach,but at a big price reduction.They sure safety em.

    Good Luck with your purchase

    Bill

  30. Dan Morrell on January 4th, 2009 7:19 pm

    Hello Folks, we live in a 35 ft excel fith wheel and love it. The best thing we did was buy a 1993 freightliner cab over semi to pull it with. we have however had issues with our rv fridge! but all in all it is all good!

  31. Tim Millington on January 4th, 2009 7:42 pm

    A good article! Having worked in the Defense Industry for 36 years as an engineer and in management–quality issues are the responsibility of the outfit that puts it all together. The components must meet the quality standards set by the RV manufacturer–low quality standards will result in low cost and low quality units at the component level and final assembly. If the industry was certified to a national or international quality standard like ISO 9000, then I believe you would see a difference in the quality (improved) and probably in the upfront cost (higher). We pay for what we get.
    My Montana 5th wheel is 3 years old and I have had few problems. Yes, Dometic fixed the refig. I am pleased with the quality of the Montana product as related to the cost.

  32. Chuck on January 4th, 2009 7:55 pm

    Both the manufacturers and dealers share the problems of quality AND service. We just bought a 09 Titanium, and the dealer provided a one hour PDI. On our first night out, fuses blew, water leaked, and the tires had bubbles. And we paid cash! It was delivered without a fire extinguisher and no unloaded weight certificate. We complained to the sales person, and we were bascially told “most buyers are smarter than us and can fix the things that break on the coach”…We asked this person, the daughter of the dealership owner, to have the owner call us to review our expereince and perhaps help us with the items that have yet to be fixed. We have been waiting now over a month for his call!

    Until states pass Lemon Laws for RV’s (some states have them I think but not Michigan) some dealers and manufactures will continue to sell poor quality products with limited customer service.

    Hopefully this economic turndown will continue to eliminate the poor manufacturers and lousy dealers. Most of us will travel to find a quality product, great service, and people who care for their customers. I guess we just did not drive far enough!

  33. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 7:57 pm

    Alpenliter, I agree with you in regards to the more gadgets more problems. But, let’s not throw the RV manufacturers under the bus for this, The market demands newer and spiffer stuff. They rely on their supplier to deliver a relatively trouble free product. Guess what, it does not work as advertised. But they can’t wait for full test results as the competition will beat them to it. It’s a tough trade, no matter how you look at it. Thank you for your well thought out comments and input.

  34. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 8:05 pm

    Donnette, I know what you mean and have gone through. Sometimes just paying a third party to correct the issue is an easier answer. Life is too short to worry about such things that you paid so much for not to just get enjoying it. Thanks for sharing your experience and thought on this with us.

  35. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 8:09 pm

    Bon McDonnel, You have a great attitude, one we should all adapt to. Thanks for your very insightful, but positive inpot.

  36. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 8:13 pm

    Jerry Shea, Glad to hear of your great experience with Camping World. I too have heard great reports on some of their service location. Thanks for your input, I know many people are very interested in this type of recommendation.

  37. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 8:18 pm

    Bill Mittel, Sorry your purchase experience was not that good. When you say the dealer did not know the engine size, it comes as little surprise. The changing engine sizes, in particular horse power, has little to do with normal servicing. That said, I agree, it could be viewed poorly. Thanks for your input.

  38. Steve White on January 4th, 2009 8:20 pm

    After reading through all these comments I’m starting to feel pretty lucky. We have a 2003 Jayco Granite Ridge we bought in N. Carolina and other than a few minor gliches have been trouble free for 40K miles. There were definitely some quality issues (cheap drawer slides that broke and basement doors that didn’t fit correctly). One of my “lessons learned” was that I better have a basic tool kit with me when we travel, because all that bouncing and bumping going down the road makes for a lot of loose stuff. One other lesson is that most Ford Truck dealers are not interested in servicing a 31′ RV no way, no how. I did buy Good Sam’s CSP extended warranty, but haven’t used it and am wondering if it’s worth the money. What do you folks think?

  39. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 8:23 pm

    Sue, WOW! You sure know your stuff. On a ‘95 rig, probably built in ‘94, it is not a surprise to have some issues. However, your comments on the basic construction are certainly valid. All great input, thank you.

  40. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 8:28 pm

    Dan Morell, Great to hear from a happy, happy camper. And you are right. Frig’s break, get over it. I would be pleased too. Thanks for the positive input and upbeat tone.

  41. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 8:33 pm

    Tim Millington, Oh yes, ISO standards would definately make a big difference. The Montana product is a popular choice and represents a great value. Thank you for taking the time to post and your valued input.

  42. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 8:41 pm

    Chuck, That is not acceptable from any dealer/manufacturer. I would contact the manufacturer and get things corrected. Thank you for not naming the dealer in question. Although it sounds like they are totally in the wrong, slamming them without their ability to respond may be equally wrong. Thank you for your input and I hope you get the product corrected to what you should have got in the first place.

  43. Lug_Nut on January 4th, 2009 8:47 pm

    Steve White, I know where you are coming from. They love to tell you how many North American dealers there are for your Ford Chassis, but just mention it’s in an RV! Good night nurse! “Hmmmmm……………We don’t work on those…..but there was a guy about 50 miles from here that did, but I think he closed up” Next!
    Thanks for your input Steve. Best of luck.

  44. Fred on January 4th, 2009 8:54 pm

    I see all the usual complaints about problems. I have experienced every one of those printed here, plus a whole lot more. When each problem is traced back to the root cause, it reveals a much clearer picture. Of all my problems that were traceable, 99% were caused by human error. The remaining 1% was material failure.

    Two things I would like to point out. One, problems with RV manufacturers, with component vendors and with dealers/repairs are not exclusive to the United States. The second is, that I don’t believe problems are exclusive to just our era.

    A couple of examples of number one above are; repairs I’ve had done in Canada were of similar low quality, and parts installed in new RVs that were made in China and other countries.

    To address my second claim; as a kid growing up post WWII, my dad taught me the “right way” to custom fabricate and repair things. I thought that his “right way” was the norm. I found out later that the “right way” was the exception in the real world of mass production.

    However, my dad’s principles are also my principles. When I discover a problem, I start analyzing for a solution. I do complain of course, but those responsible for the problem don’t listen anyway, so I now repair or fabricate for my own solutions. I am also my own quality control inspector and won’t accept anything less than 100% from myself. I am lucky though, not everyone can do it my way.

    Three years of repairing one problem after another in my 2005 Keystone Laredo fifth wheel, have kept me busy, but I know things are done the “right way” and I haven’t lost weeks of time just sitting and waiting for repairs to be completed.

    Another thing in the RV industry is that there’s a greater percentage of problems per unit sold than there is in other industries. One reason for that could be that RVs are a product sold only to a specialized body of buyers. RVs are almost “luxury” items, not essential to our survival. (I say almost because some people really do live in them or are full-timers). This reason alone instills a different attitude in RV designers, assemblers, and repair people when compared to products of necessity.

    Attitude seems to be everything, and that hasn’t changed since Cain and Able. We can always remedy the problems, but we can’t always remedy the attitudes.

    What I don’t see are viable solutions. Any good ones out there?

  45. Brent on January 4th, 2009 8:59 pm

    I agree with Tim Millington. I too have been in quality for 35 years with a company known for quality, Michelin. The RV manufacturer is responsible. If the supplier is sending him defective components he needs to find a new supplier. Belive me when I say that “our” O.E. customers (Toyota, Honda, Ford) will not put up with an inferior product.
    One issue that I have not been able to understand is the Chinese tire problem. Why on earth do the RV manufacturers put up with this? I just changed all four tires from my “07″ 35ft. Mountainer. Two of the five were already bad. I was not going to wait on the other three to fail. They were “Mission” brand, a nice “western” sounding brand name from China. I replaced them with Michelin Rib’s. To me that is the best insurance policy I could get. RVers don’t be fooled. My friend just replaced his 7 yr. old tires from his fifth wheel with Goodyear. After looking at them I didn’t have the heart to tell him they were made in China.

  46. Fred on January 4th, 2009 9:28 pm

    Brent,

    Your tires and your friend’s tires certainly lasted a lot longer than the ultra-cheap Chinese ones that came with my Laredo. I bought the new fiver in February of 2006 and by April I had to replace all of the tires except the spare. The miles traveled in two months of camping? Less than 4000.

  47. Lug_Nut on January 5th, 2009 5:53 am

    Fred, You may very well have a good point in regards to the ability of previous generations to re-work or repair a problem. Today, there are many people that are not what you would say are “Hands On People” Additionally when a person had an issue with a new, or near new, product, only his neighbour heard about it. Now, via the internet through blogs, forums and the like, the world hears about it 10 minites later.
    Thanks for taking the time to post your great comments.

  48. Phil Schoner on January 5th, 2009 9:11 am

    I am on my second Monaco Class A RV. I have been very impressed with their 800 line tech support. They talk you through the trouble shooting steps to your problem, and usually get to the root cause.

    I have experienced many problems that turned out to be a loose connection, electrical grounds in particuar. Vibration is a fact of life for an RV.

  49. Jim Smith on January 5th, 2009 10:36 am

    I must admit, I must truly be blessed, I bought a 95 Prowler 5th wheel in 2002, used it every weekend April through November until 2008. I had a toilet valve and a relay on the furnace go bad, thats it. Prior to that I owned a 1989 Wilderness for three years with no problems. Thank you Lord.

  50. Drew Mueller on January 5th, 2009 11:03 am

    John,

    Thanks for the link –http://www.rv.org. Lots of great stuff here even before paying anything for membership.

    We bought our 2008 Winnebago Sightseer in April last year, and have had few problems-all were mfg. related. We were however, sad to see our dealer close up. They were always more than fair and have fixed everything right the first time. In addition- they washed our rig free. La Mesa still has at least two other locations, but none close to us- we hope nothing else happens in the warrantee period.

    Peter, this was obviously a popular topic and a hot-button issue for many. Thanks for your input and insight as well as all the other responses from everyone. I’m continually enlightened by what I learn from fellow rv’ers- thank you!

    -Drew

  51. Jerry Batt on January 5th, 2009 11:26 am

    I took delivery of a 40ft 2009 Itasca Ellipse class A diesel in June. With all that I had read, I was prepared for lots of bugs and headaches. I was also worried that the factory had cut staff and hours while ours was on the line. But, I’m happy to report that the important components have all given us good service so far. The usual latches, windows, doors and a few crossed cables have been easy to repair–generally by my screwdriver. There are a few items, like window blinds and furniture slides that you have to constantly fuss with. And you need to re-read the manuals constantly to understand how the mechanical aspects work.
    But, so far I’m very pleased with the quality of my Winnebago-made coach

  52. Lug_Nut on January 5th, 2009 7:49 pm

    Phil Schoner, Technical support on-line or phone can do wonders in reducing issues, or at least resolving them. Glad to hear of you luck with Monaco products. Thanks for your input.

  53. Lug_Nut on January 5th, 2009 7:52 pm

    Jim Smith, Good for you. There are people that have had near zero issues with a particular coach or trailer. I believe there are probably similar stories with fairly new rigs too. Thanks for the comment and your participation.

  54. Lug_Nut on January 5th, 2009 7:55 pm

    Drew, Thank you, I think we all learn through this type of exchange. I guess it is a topic that may hit home with many people. Thank you for your comments.

  55. Lug_Nut on January 5th, 2009 7:58 pm

    Jerry Batt, It’s always great to hear positive response on a topic like this. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience with us.

  56. billk on January 5th, 2009 8:24 pm

    I purchased my 2nd 08 Allergo Bus last summer. We have had all of the above problems listed either on the 06 or the new one. Yes “Bob” fixed the problems but the time to get them fixed was really nerve racking. On the 06 the Hyd oil cooler blew out on the road in Richmond, Va. then the Transmission line Burnt thru and ruined the Transmission in WV.(had to be towed 50 miles) on our way to the FMCA Rally in March, then Frieghtliner sent me to a Allision dealer and I got to pick up the Coach in MAY. On the way home it over heated again and I just got tired of it and got an 08.
    The 08 had its problems but all small compared to the last one. Just slides not going out without a little extra push, the awning not retracting on windy days, and a waterline for the shower burst in Skagway one night, someone traveling with us just happened to have a fitting to repair it. they use the cheaper waterlines instead of a pex tubing. All in all they build a great coach for the money but their quality control still needs to Step It Up a Level. I do carry a full mechanics set of tools,(7 draws) in the one bay on a slide out. You do have to be handy to keep them going. Great article and wonderful feed back.

  57. Bob on January 5th, 2009 8:39 pm

    I suspect that many or most of the problems have their origin in the factory, probably because it doesn’t take too much skill to, for example, to staple things together (fit & finish), cheap materials, and possibly a lot of employee turnover due to low pay. Having visited a couple of factories, that was my observation. BTW, my 1997 Holiday Rambler Alumalite, bought used a year and a half ago and having had 10 years of use, is probably as close to being in perfect condition as anything you could find.

  58. Pkunk on January 5th, 2009 9:29 pm

    I’ve often thought of trading up from the old ‘89 Allegro, but having read all of this I’m sticking with the old ‘tried & true’. It is from a simpler time, carb vs elec fuel inj., yet still is new enough with all the mods to be more than comfortable and reliable. I know almost every inch of it, & what I can’t repair, I can at least point the mechanic in the right direction. Thanks for making me happier with what I already have!

  59. Lug_Nut on January 6th, 2009 6:10 am

    billk, Wow, you have had issues. Many people would probably throw in the towel if they had to go through all of that. Good you carry lots of tools, generally they usually get a good workout, at least for the first year or two. Thank you for your input.

  60. Lug_Nut on January 6th, 2009 6:20 am

    Bob, I don’t entirely agree with you in regards to the majority of the problems starting from the RV manufacturer. Components not assembled by the RV maker like refrigerators, key pads, A/C units, engines and accessories, back up cameras and much, much more also fail, yet were operating perfectly when they left the factory. In those instances, and there are many, the RV maker gets the blame but really had little control or fault. I do, however, agree fully with you on an older coach. Once the bugs are ironed out, they generally will run trouble free. Thanks for sharing your experience with us and your input.

  61. Lug_Nut on January 6th, 2009 6:26 am

    Pkunk, Yes, there is a lot to be said about trued and tried designs of the past. Thanks for commenting. It’s nice to hear from people like yourself that want to stay with older technology. I don’t think you are alone.

  62. Gail Clark on January 6th, 2009 1:14 pm

    We have had problems with our motrohomes. one was new and the other used. The one that was new had the most problems and most of them cold have been caught by good quality control. Not all of the problems were satified by the manufacturer or the vendor. So we still have some issues that won’t get adreses ever. If Toyota or Honda took over the RV industries, I bet the quality would increase 100 fold!

  63. Bill Chaffee on January 6th, 2009 3:55 pm

    We purchased a new 38′ Travel supreme in April 06 and have been living in it full time ever since. We have been extreamly happy with it. Have had a few very minor problems. Went back to the factory last fall and they went overboard fixing things that we were not that concerned with. I’m sorry that they have since gone out of business. We will keep this motorhome as long as possable as we will never find another as well made for the same money.

  64. Lug_Nut on January 6th, 2009 8:40 pm

    Gail Clark, It is probably not that surprising that the new units had more issues than the used. However, had the records been available since the used was new, the story may be different. That seems to be the point here, new quality may be in question. It might not be as simple as saying that if Toyota or Honda took over, they don’t build near “one of a kinds” like the RV makers do often. Additionally they have home like appliances and equipment that has to work after, and while bumping down the road. I still say, don’t throw them under the bus.
    Thank you for your input and your sharing of your ideas with us.

  65. Lug_Nut on January 6th, 2009 8:49 pm

    Bill Chaffee, The Travel Supreme is a well built top level coach. The fact that the company had to shutdown should not affect most of your warranty. Things like, microwaves, refrigerators, back-up cameras, etc. may likely warranty most of their products if you contact them within their warranty period.
    Thank you for your participation in this topic discussion, your input is informative and appreciated.

  66. David E. Veasey on January 8th, 2009 12:44 pm

    Not to make light of anything above; I have experienced most of them over my 20 years of RV’ing.
    Reading the discussions of this thread, I find that sometimes the RV Buyer is the the biggest “Fault” in the equation. High disposable purchase price does not guarantee a turn-key problem-free vehicle. Some equate one-to-one with some people’s expectations as if this was an automobile purchased. And, it’s not the same….in any sense of the word. Simply put: ” we are not being a more demanding consumer up front at the time of purchase.”

    In the pure joy of RV ownership, our eyes glaze over to very visible fit-n-finish blemishes, an annoying fit, the small squeak…all.is.well…until the first true inconveince pops up. Then, we suddenly begin to add up all the minor items to form a decent sized list.
    Tolerable items now become a sizable gripe avenue with the builder. We forget that appliances are not warrantied by the home builder, etc. We just want satisfaction of what was rightfully expected in the first place. But here’s the rub.

    If we are to place better “demand” for product before we drive it off the lot..then you might see some improvement. Your purchase check is the only “hold” you have over the seller. Have him prove to you that everything is operational. I don’t mean the default walk-thru demonstration.

    Take it for a 30 mile drive down winding roads, the freeway, up hills, etc. Have the slideouts demonstrated 10-12 times, Add water to holding tank, flush it. Run the genset for several hours under load. Set the antenna, run TV, stereo. Live in it overnight on the sales lot. Don’t commit to payment until every system check’s out. Then sleep in it for 2 more nights right on the dealer’s lot before you even think of taking off on a 500+ trip. These efforts will reveal any factory hiccups &

    There is no joy when you experience the inevitable; but the initial “check-out” that you do is the most important thing that you must do. It should not be an instructional walk-thru…but rather a “performance” proofing display that everything in this complex set of wires, relays and appurtances….really works just as promised. Play the devil’s avocate: assume nothing performs until you personally see it for yourself. Then, and only then, should you drive it away from the dealer’s lot.

    To hurry the buying process is tantamount to depriving one of the parties of their
    primary right in a contract: the right to refusal. Use this leverage at purchase time & you will never regret it.

  67. Lug_Nut on January 8th, 2009 1:28 pm

    David, You make a very valid point which would probably eliminate many of the faults that were existing at the time of the build finish. However, it seem that a fair portion of issues happen after a few thousand miles, new unrealted problems. An awning motor fails, a slide starts failing, the microwave stops, an A/C unit fails, etc, etc. But, you are quite right, your suggestion would save a bundle of frustration and at least guarantee a mostly trouble free begining. Thank you for your very detailed comment. Input like yours is very much appreciated.

  68. Roger on January 8th, 2009 9:46 pm

    One has to wonder if any of the owners or managers at the various RV manufacturers ever stop to think about the general decline of the “Detroit Big 3″ in the 70’s and 80’s when imports demonstrated a real commitment to mproved quality while Detroit thought the quality of the 50’s was good enough to compete.

    I just bought my first new RV. A Coachmen Freelander. While I am still generally happy with it I am definatly very unimpressed with not only the quality of their manufacturing process but also ther lack of a “final inspection” check and even some very poor design decisions.
    One simple example of the failure in the design phase is the location of the water drains. When I was winterizing I discovered that the water was directed to drain onto the LP tank and across the electrical connections for fuel level. While this is no big deal in itself and when the connections fail I will be the one that has to pay, if anyone of the design “engneers” ever bothered to spend 30 seconds thinking about the location they would have specified the location to be 5″ to the rear. The drains would have missed the LP tank and Coachmen would even have saved about a foot worth of water pipe on every unit.

    Manufacturing quality comes in question when I can see the ground at the junction between the coach and chassis behind the driver seat.

    Final inspection is lacking based on the failue to provide the proper cover for basement storage area or to include fuse information that was not two years out of date and 100% wrong in the owner’s manual.

    Its a good thing Honda, Toyota, Hyundai etc don’t enter the RV market as it would be real interesting to see any of the current RV manufactrers or part suppliers survive against 5 year 50,000 mi bumper to bumper warranty they would bring to the market.

  69. rene blei on January 8th, 2009 11:10 pm

    All the above comments are very interesting.
    My 1st motorhome was a ‘92 Bounder with the small Cummins. We loved the unit, but was underpowered for pulling trailers with a vintage car in it. It was well made and well thought out, efficient use of space.
    Then we bought a ‘94 Europremier with the 8.3 ltr. Cummins. Now we had the power to pull and with the air suspension a much better ride. It was put well together with good quality materials. However, it was not well thought out asfar as use of space. The electrical side of it was poorly planned.
    Now we have a ‘98 Monaco Dynasty again with the 8.3 ltr Cummins, and no slides. This unit is by far the most expensive of the three, but paid far less for it than the first two.We love everything about this unit. My hobby is vintage cars, for one I like to keep things simple and effective. Not that this motorhome is simple, but I don’t want to go any newer than this one. All these new gadgets are great untill it breaks down. And most of them are not needed.
    Just look at the share prices of all the motorhome manufacturers and you see how much they have come down in price, and commonsense will tell you that this will have negative consequences in the product they sell.
    Respect , responsibility, honesty and hard work are commodities in short supply and this too will have negative consequences in the quality of ones output. If you do find a technitian with these, he soon will set up shop for himself and soon he will sit in an office and hiring less qualified technicians.
    Anything mobile manufactured in the last 10 years is way to complicated, way too many items that will brake down, and thus way too expensive too keep up.
    Our first camping was down in tents. I now tell my wife, if a 36ft motorhome without slides is not big enough, we better stay home.
    As was mentioned before, you have to be a handiman with a technical background, to fully enjoy the best hobby around, RVing!!

  70. John on January 8th, 2009 11:43 pm

    Hi Lug_Nut,
    Wow! A lot of response on this topic. Interesting to hear the varied experiences. Regarding some of the questionable dealers, it demonstrates the need to do your homework about their reputation.
    The same goes for looking for your new or used RV’s. The RV consumer group at http://www.rv.org. is a great RV consumer resource and organization. Last year I purchased a membership for about $170.00 shipped to my door. At first, I was a bit hesitant thinking I could research on my own. I soon realized the value of the books and cd’s was worth it’s weight in gold. It is refreshing to see the independent point of view. All the legwork has been done for you.
    Having worked in the transportation industry all my life, I think the most important equipment starts at the frame structure. As in any engineered object, you build up from a solid frame. A plane, a house or car and buildings. RV’s are homes built on wheels. A complicated piece of equipment, and after all, a piece of machinery that will have some problems. How serious and frequent can sometimes be determined by the owners maintenance intervals. Being handy and familiar with your RV will keep both of you going for a long time. Not all motor homes or 5 ‘ers are created equal. And if you buy used, make the sale subject to an inspection at a shop of your choice, it’ll be money well spent. You can also learn how to inspect a potential coach yourself.

    Cheers,
    John

  71. Lug_Nut on January 9th, 2009 5:47 am

    Roger, You are quite correct, but such poor design is found throughout the industry. I recently observed a fuel filter that was installed a distance above the muffler. Any leak, or during replacement, the fuel would land directly onto the muffler. Oh, and let’s not start on the inverted mirror issues. Thanks for the great input and best of luck with your new coach.

  72. Lug_Nut on January 9th, 2009 5:58 am

    rene blei, There is a lot to say about a non-slide coach. Less issues and more comfort in overnight rest stops that would prevent slide use. It’s the old K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid), that back to basics that seems to be flawless.
    It is also great to hear someone, like yourself, express their love for the hobby. Thank you for your comments on this topic.

  73. Lug_Nut on January 9th, 2009 6:12 am

    John, Thanks for the link. The RV Consumer reference is certainly a valuable tool to assist in selecting a coach. Some parts of the required maintenance on an RV can be enjoyable, or at least satisfying. But, either way, the maintenance must be done, and you can learn a lot if you choose to do some or all yourself.
    Thanks John for your participation and always great input.

  74. Davidsan on January 13th, 2009 2:04 pm

    This is a great blog and service for all RVers. Recently I talked with an RV Solar supplier who has an excellent reputation for quality work. He owns a Class A and shared with me that when he talked with the President of a large Class A RV manufacturer about quality control, the Pres. said, “Look we are aware of the problems, but we make the most profit by getting them online and out into the sales lots as fast as possible. Yes! There may be over 100 defects with each new RV, but the new owners have several years to work the kinks out under warranty.”

    I sat there flabbergasted at the first hand report. If you want to know what’s wrong with the American manufacturing industry…this is a prime example. And, of course, it extends to GM, Ford, etc. Money, money, money and to hell with quality. American industry deserves to go down the tubes and let new ones come in to focus on quality, qulaity, quality.

    As for myself, after doing the research with RV Consumers and various websites and visitn gthe factories, I selected a Class C motorhome. Only two were rated five stars: Born Free and Lazy Daze. I selected the LD because of its outstanding reputation, floor plans, and costs about $30,000 below BF. Our sis a 1998 MB (bought it last year) and it runs and looks like a brand new model. We love it. After 20,000 miles of our own driving, the only thing to replace was a waterpump for $95.

    It’s the responsibility of each RV owner to do the necesaary homework and research before puchase. Also…demand…yes! demand a higher quality of service and workmanship for each RV out there. I just read that six more RV companies in the Oregon area are on the verge of bankruptcy (Eugene Register Guard). Having had my own business for 20 years…this extreme capitalist economy of America rewards the fittest and toughest as survivors. Maybe it’s time for RV companies to finally focus on QUALITY. Interesting to note that at the FMCA Rally yesterday in Indio, one seminar leader said Coachnet tracked its call for help for 1) Tire Problems, and 2) Slideouts (getting stuck or not working). Both Born Free and Lazy Daze do not have slide outs! Is there a message here?

  75. Lug_Nut on January 13th, 2009 3:01 pm

    Davidsan, Wow, great input. Quality is certainly an issue with many RV owners. It’s hard to believe any one in the industry would make such a statement as you quoted. Thank you for your added participation and super input.

  76. Jeff on February 26th, 2009 9:37 pm

    My first RV purchase was a brand new 2000 Arctic Fox 22H. I only had one problem that was due to poor workmanship and a few minor issues over the years and one AC unit replaced. It never went back to the factory or a dealer for anything. It was about as good as a TT could get.

    Not sticking with what I know, I choose to purchase a brand new 2009 Komfort 256ts. The workmanship has been aweful to say the least. It has been to the factory after a serious electrical failure while traveling and the dealer once each and I have fixed more problems myself in the first two months than I ever had to do with the Arctic Fox in eight years. Only two or three of two dozen problems were supplier part issues. ALL the rest are on the workers at the Komfort factory not the part suppliers.

  77. Lug_Nut on February 27th, 2009 3:42 am

    Jeff, I’m sorry to hear of your issues with your Komfort 256t unit. Further more it is interesting, albeit disappointing, that most are factory, not supplier related. Has the quality gone downhill over the years? Perhaps it has. It may be from a lack of skilled people to replace those from former years. It seems young people today don’t want to do things with their hands and are only interested in computer related work. Thank you for sharing your experience with us and for your input on this topic.

  78. Al Paschen on March 1st, 2009 1:37 am

    I have been reading all the thoughtful comments on this subject with great interest. I have a few comments to add, from the viewpoint of a long-time Rv dealer. As a dealer for 47 years and an avid RV user for somewhat longer, I have experienced many of these same things, from the vantage point of a user or a servicing dealer, and often both. My experiences have been with many different brands, as I generally use a different new or used unit every trip.

    Our procedure at our dealership for pre-delivery service of a new motorhome involves 6-8 hours of testing and inspection of systems and appliances. Plus a
    1 to 2 hour demo for the customer to show it all works. Longer time on the pre-delivery service for used motorhomes and somewhat less for trailers. That is aside from any needed repairs and cleaning. If I am going to use a unit myself, I take it home a few days before my trip to get familiar and make sure I know how everything works. I usually have a thing or two that doesn’t seem to work. I call or bring it back and it usually is something that I just didn’t understand. Then, when I get back from my trip, my wife usually has a short list of things that didn’t work right and I have another short list. Stuff that worked at the dealership, worked at home, but after bouncing around over the road for a few hundred miles, it doesn’t work! Or a screw jiggled loose, latch stopped working, etc. Sometimes it is something serious but usually it is not.. It is always annoying. My point here is that this is a very complicated machine — a truck plus a house with all the systems and appliances that a stationary home would have. We all remember what it is like to move into a newly-built home. There is a period of de-bugging. But then we bounce this newly-built motorhome around over highways and bumpy backroads for a few hundred miles. Stuff jiggles and shakes.

    This is not to say that manufacturers couldn’t improve their quality control. They could and should. Some do a far, far better job than others. Higher price doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality, but within a size and class, it often does. There are poorly built diesel pushers that are very expensive and there are high quality, trouble-free small trailers that are not very expensive. Even a well-built diesel motorhome usually has more problems because there is so much more that can go wrong.

    As RV owners move up the ladder, over the years, from a travel trailer to a mini to a motorhome and then to the big diesel, there is often a perception that quality has gone down as the price has gone up. Complexity has also gone up and along with it, more things that can go wrong. Plus, we all expect more quality at $200,000 than we did at $20,000. Not all manufacturers can deliver that extra quality, especially if they are trying to be cost competitive.

    With regard to the subject of the quality of dealer service, I could go on for pages. At our dealership we are getting a big increase in the volume of service work on diesel motorhomes that we did not sell. Partly because we have heavy duty lifts and qualified technicians that can do the work, but partly because the number of dealers that can do the work is shrinking. And it will shrink still more in coming months and years. We are very happy to get this work because most of it comes in the fall and winter when our NW Indiana dealership needs all the business we can find. But there are problems when you must bring your motorhome for service at a dealer that does not sell that brand.

    Servicing the refer, A/C, appliances, chassis, etc. is no problem. Even re-skinning, roofs, collision repair, etc are no problem if the manufacturer will supply the parts. But when it comes to electical systems and complex body parts that are only found on that particular brand, the dealer is at a huge disadvantage if it is not a brand that they sell. No service manuals, no parts catalog, no brand-specific training, no relationship with people at the factory. It will take longer, cost more and the liklihood of a bad job is greater. Most of the service complaints we get come from trying to help out an owner with a brand motorhome that we are not familiar with.

  79. Lug_Nut on March 1st, 2009 5:41 am

    Al Paschen, Your comment is very well thought out and certainly highly qualified. It is great to hear from a dealer’s view on this subject. I think you have summed up what may very well be the entire issue and cause regarding RV quality. Thank you for taking the time to write such a full response. Your participation and valued input is appreciated.

  80. Al Paschen on March 1st, 2009 2:22 pm

    Parts availability isn’t exactly on the subject of “RVQuality”, but it does have a lot to do with the quality of the RV experience. I have some additional comments from the dealer perspective.

    First off, some dealers have thousands of $ worth of appliance parts in the back room, out of sight. Many do not have any or have mostly obsolete parts. Obsolescence is a huge expense for dealers that do try to stock adequate parts. Appliance manufacturers do a good job supplying parts drawings and price lists. Getting the right appliance part in a timely manner should be no problem if a competent parts person has the correct model and serial number (of the appliance, not the RV) Our dealership is near the source of many parts and can often get next day delivery.

    How often has the complaint been heard that, ” I had my unit at the dealer for 3 weeks in the middle of camping season and they still don’t have the right part”? It happens and there is nothing more frustrating for the owner of the RV and for the Dealer. Why it is still happening in a 50-year-old industry is hard to understand. It is a problem that must be fixed and some manufacturers are trying.

    The dealer ends up looking like a dunce when we cannot get the right part in a timely fashion. Sometimes it is our fault, but usually we are just as much a victim as the RV owner. Here’s how it happens:

    Coach parts are usually the culprit. Only a small handful of RV manufacturers have a part number for every part used in their product. Most do not. There is usually no parts diagram, no parts list, no exploded diagrams, etc. Wooden pieces, fabrics, carpet, cabinet latches and many other items have no part number, come in different colors and patterns, and are sometimes changed in mid-season without notification to the dealer. Ordering coach parts from the manufacturer often involves a phone call or fax or e-mail describing the part in essay form. Often a hand drawn sketch is a help in describing what is needed. Even with a skilled parts person at both ends of the phone line, the odds of getting the right item in the right color are not good. This is a horrible situation that must be addressed by the manufacturers. A few are doing it right. As you might expect, Winnebago is the leader on this. I don’t know about the other makers of the big diesels

    Delivery time also varies widely. A few of the more sophisticated manufacturers can supply an in-stock part overnight, for a special handling fee. A few more are trying and getting close. Many aren’t even trying. Coach parts that must be manufactured to order — like body panels, cabinetry, fabrics, etc — present a special problem. It can take weeks to get it built. Then it must be crated and shipped via truck. If at all possible this kind of work should be done off-season — it cannot be done quickly.

    Most consumers are not thinking about parts availability when they buy a motorhome or trailer. They are thinking about floor plan, decor, price, etc. It’s like insurance — no one likes to think about it till the day you need it. If prompt service is really an important consideration, then picking the right manufacturer and the right dealer should be the first step in purchasing the next RV.

  81. Lug_Nut on March 1st, 2009 2:36 pm

    Al Paschen, This is very valued input. Hopefully, those that have been following the comments on this topic are still keeping an eye on it. You are answering some of the questions that many have wondered about. Again, thank you for your welcomed and valued input.

  82. mcgillagorilla on March 6th, 2009 9:36 pm

    i have to disagree with you on the quality of the rv’s today. i bought a desert fox 28 ks trailer which is the middle of the road one. the manufacturer stood behind the two problems i had without any quibbling. one problem was a vendor’s fault and the other was over glueing of the black water valve. i am very happy with the build quality and would buy another one from northwood manufacturing in a heart beat. i feel very sorry for customers who have to fight with companies to get simple things fixed that never should of left the factory. thoese companies will either fail in the future or have already failed.

  83. Lug_Nut on March 7th, 2009 7:02 am

    mcgillagorilla, It sounds like you are one of the people that believes quality has not changed in the RV industry. The problem is, as of late, there are fewer and fewer that think that way. My article speaks generally, and not specifically, at the issue. There are, of course, many that have had little, if any issues with their new RV, but these are not the majority of the purchaser’s. Thank you for your input on this topic.

  84. Shallyn1 on March 9th, 2009 1:00 pm

    We are new to camping with a travel trailer ( camped from horseback until now ). We are looking at the Keystone Cougar and the Wilderness. We will be both hooked up and dry camping in all seasons. This is our first unit and would like any information possible from seasoned professionals.

    thank you for your time,

    Shallyn

  85. Lug_Nut on March 9th, 2009 1:47 pm

    Shallyn, I can’t give you personal experience with the Keystone Cougar product, but have friends that have them that are very happy. They have certainly built and sold many accross the country. Wishing you the best and hope you enjoy it as much as we have over the years. Thank you for your input. Enjoy.

  86. Al Paschen on March 10th, 2009 12:28 pm

    Shallyn, you will want to look at today’s news regarding Fleetwood, manufacturer of Wilderness. Fleetwood announced that they are discontinuing their travel trailer manufacturing! Fleetwood is betting the farm on their Motorhome business. A pretty risky bet!

    This means that Wilderness and other Fleetwood travel trailers have become orphans, overnight. Fleetwood claims that they have established a fund to cover warranty claims on travel trailers. Exactly how that will work out remains to be seen. How long parts will be available is very much in doubt.

    Eventually, some other manufacturer may buy the Wilderness name. The same scenario probably applies to Trail-Lite, formerly manufactured by Monaco ……… and maybe others. These are times when buying from a good, stable local dealer becomes very important. Will that dealer be willing and able to handle warranty problems if the manufacturer cannot provide backup?

    Everyone should be aware of what happens when a manufacturer goes out of business and then sells the Brand to another manufacturer. The buyer does not buy the whole business. They typically buy just the assets, not the libilities. Their warranty obligation evaporates into thin air! The dealer and the consumer are left high and dry. That happened to our dealership once, many years ago, and we vowed to never let it happen again. We ended up footing the bill for a lot of repairs that should have been covered by warranty.

    I have not investigated brands other than the ones we sell, so I cannot speak to the risks of buying other brands. We have great confidence in Jayco, Winnebago, Forest River Puma and Dutchmen, which we handle.

    But, don’t be frightened by my negative comments regarding orphan brands. This is the perfect time to buy a new travel trailer. Interest rates are low, prices are competitive and the good dealers are trying extra hard to make sales and provide outstanding service. Just pick one of the many good, solid local dealers and investigate the manufacturers, as you are doing via your posting.

  87. Lug_Nut on March 10th, 2009 1:54 pm

    Al, They can’t bet much on the farm as they filed chapter 11 yesterday. While operations will still continue in a fashion, it’s not positive news. I agree with you on not being frightened by buying an out of business brand. There are lots of good buys, far exceeding the value of warranty. Go for it. Thank you for your input.

  88. PHDiesel on March 11th, 2009 9:11 am

    The rv industry will builds over the long term what the people are willing to buy. Buyers have accepted for a long time, the concept that , you just have to work out the bugs during the first year of ownership. This holds true even more so for motor home buyers. The industry will build a better product when the people refuse to pay high prices for poor quality. If rv buyer demand fairly priced, high quality , and fuel efficient rvs, the industry will either adjust or go out of business. The fact that the rv industry led the way into the current economic mess is a fairly strong indicator that more than high fuel prices and tight credit were driving the decline of the rv industry. The future of the rv industry will be fantastic for any company capable of building high quality, honestly priced, fuel efficient rv’s with long term comprehensive warranties and truly functional sales and service network. If I were a younger person, this is the type of industry, In which I would invest my future,

  89. Lug_Nut on March 11th, 2009 2:46 pm

    I agree with much of your comments. Perhaps now that the market has really tightened up, we may see better quality and a more non-accepting purchaser, as far as quality shortages are concerned. Thank you for taking the time to participate and make your voice heard.

  90. Al Paschen on March 11th, 2009 5:18 pm

    Yes, hopefully better quality and other improvements will come out of all this. It is true that the RV industry led the way into this recession as it did in the 1970s and again in the 1980s. RVs also led the way out of those previous recessions, six months or so before the rest of the economy recovered. I always thought it was because RV buyers are better informed than the general public and they sensed the downturn and the upcoming recovery before others did. And manufacturers did respond to those earlier downturns with lower profile, sleeker units, overdrive, lighter weights, more diesels and even LP engine conversions. We’ll see how it turns out this time.

  91. Ron on March 11th, 2009 6:40 pm

    Quality does not exist! It apparently died years ago. Purchase of a Sunnybrook RV,

    Lets see, TV antenna did not work from factory as well as all cable hookups resulting from someone at the factory driving a nail or staple into the wires. Electric water heater not working from day 1 due to improper installation. No air conditioning in rear bedroom thanks to…. factory installing the AC unit backwards. Pilot light in oven non functional due to improper assembly. No power to slider unit , again due to factory neglect. Leakage in slide out due to improper installation at factory.

    Hope it gave them a big laugh when this lemon left the factory equal to the one I will have when they lose the jobs they didn’t do

  92. Lug_Nut on March 11th, 2009 7:17 pm

    Al Paschen, Only time will tell. The positive side is that the real skilled people are hopefully the last to be let go, therefore a quality improvement may well be seen. Like the construction industry, when times are good they will hire anyone that can hold a hammer. When times change, like now, the true craftsman will shine. Thank you for your wonderful input on this topic.

  93. Lug_Nut on March 11th, 2009 7:21 pm

    Ron, I’m sorry for your issues with a product that should deliver at least half what you hoped. Perhaps this economic change may result in a total change in what we have been used to when it comes to quality. Thank you for your participation and input on this topic.

  94. PHDiesel on March 12th, 2009 5:02 am

    It is important to take note of the fact there are many fine people and many truly quality rv products out there. However, for the individual consumer who spends a lot of money, on what is often a life long dream, just one poorly made rv, coupled with an uncooperative service center and there goes the reputation. Rvs today are much better than they were in the 70’s, that ought to get someones attention!, But the more elaborate they become, the more complex they become, the more expensive they become, the greater the expectation of the consumer.The industry needs to stop the long standing practice of pretending that they have no responsibility for the multitude of components that goes into their products. They selected the component, they put it in place, They should be responsible for its performance. More importantly they should fix it if it goes bad. Let the manufacturer collect from the component supplier on the warranty not the consumer. It would be wild if the auto industry sent you to the hundreds of component manufacturers in each car for warranty service. There .is quality in the new rvs, even many of the companies who have gone out of business. Until the rv industry achieves a standard equal to the other large consumer product manufactures, many people wont believe it.

  95. Lug_Nut on March 12th, 2009 5:35 am

    PHDiesel, You may have a point regarding the expectations of purchasers paying far more money today for their dream machine. However, there seems to be a very high frequency of issues that occur on today’s built RV’s and many would say it is much higher than that of past units. Thank you for your input.

  96. Al Paschen on March 12th, 2009 5:26 pm

    Ron, I wonder why your dealer didn’t catch some of those problems before you got the unit, and why the problems didn’t show up at the demo during delivery. I don’t want to throw stones at someone else’s work but many of these problems seem like they didn’t develop on the way home. We sometimes joke about the dealership being the final station on the manufacturer’s assembly line. It isn’t a joking matter and it shouldn’t be that way, but it is one last chance to catch the mistakes.

    Someone, in an earlier post, suggested insisting on a thorough demonstration that everything works at the dealership on the day of delivery. Seems like a good idea to me. But, I know there is a lot of information to absorb in a demo that only lasts an hour or two. And the new owners are anxious to get home with the new toy. A good idea might be to pause in the dealer’s parking lot after the demo and play with things a while. Better, for everyone, to find a problem there than later at home.

  97. Don Simmons on March 13th, 2009 1:51 pm

    Well, I have to agree with good old Harry Truman on this issue — “The buck stops here.” And here, in this case has to be the RV manufacturer’s doorstep.

    No matter who was the original equipment manufacturer, the problems should belong to the RV mfr. It is not hard to take responsibility, it is just inconvenient.

    Bad refrigerators? Find another supplier. Delaminating walls? Find a new OEM. Lousy dealer service? Appoint a quality dealer. If there were no finger-pointing or “pass-through” of blame; if these guys were required to back-up what they sell, then I think most of the quality control issues would disappear.

    We also need to rid ourselves of all of the apologists in the industry. Did you ever read a poor review in an RV magazine? Was there ever a 5th wheel or diesel pusher that didn’t have a glowing write-up in Trailer Life or MotorHome? Until we have honest discussion and appraisal of these vehicles, it will continue to be difficult for people to make educated decisions.

    Having said all this, I must also admit I have had few problems with my RV. But I am not sure why as there are many instances of cheap materials, bad techniques, and slipshod workmanship. I think I was lucky this time; but I am realistic enough to know I might not be so lucky the next time.

    Don Simmons

  98. Jack on March 21st, 2009 7:30 pm

    I still think there are good RV manufactures and dealerships out there, however, the bad ones give the entire industry a black eye. Hopefully this economy will cull the bad apples out of the lot. A new RV MH has many complex systems and then take the fact they are all bounced down the road for hours things are bound to come loose. I was really into boating before MHing and that industry has the same problem with quality control. I have a Winnebago Journey 05 that we bought used from the original owners and they have very few problems and so far we haven’t had any problems. My father-in-law is on his third Winnebago and has had really good luck with them. You can’t be a leader in the industry for 50 years without producing a good product for a reasonable price. I’m sure some will crop up, even in a home things occasionally break. As far a the American car industry, I have a Ford Escape Hybrid and its the first Ford product I have ever owned and I love the car, built with real quality and I haven’t have a lick of trouble with it. I can’t say that for some of the Honda’s and Toyota’s I have owned. Sounds like Al Paschen runs a quality dealership and thank you for all your honest input.

    Jack Halpin

  99. Lug_Nut on March 21st, 2009 9:47 pm

    Jack,, Great input. You may be very right, the reduction in RV production may very well yeild better quality as an end result. We all know, when construction booms, anyone can get a job providing they know which end of a hammer to hold. When times get bad, only the skilled sought after tradesmen remain. This may be what may happen and result within the RV builder’s scope. Thank you for your valued comments.

  100. Joseph Kleinsmith on April 5th, 2009 11:02 am

    The question should NOT be “Is There Quality In Today’s RV’s?”

    The question SHOULD be “Is their Quality Control in the RV industry?”

    The answer is NO. Quality control in manufacturing of RV parts is bad, and Qualify Control in the manufacture of RV’s themselves is worse. The only quality control I can depend on is the person who leaves their inspection tag #7 in my underwear. He or she takes his job seriously.
    If inspectors did inspected for quality and employees were held accountable for their job performance, We the consumer would not be taking our RV;s back to the Dealers for initial warrantee work and extended warrantees would not be necessary to purchase.

  101. Larry cook on April 5th, 2009 12:13 pm

    Quality control on the manufacturing level has some serious problems. I’ve been an RV owner for over 40 years, I think that I’m speaking from a certain level of experience.
    RV’ manufacturers have been notorious for buying the lowest cost components, and assembling them with unskilled labor..
    Dealers “service” personnel on the most part are poorly trained even though they may be considered “Master Technicians”.
    Camping World and their service centers are the crowning touch when it comes to the poorest and least competent service in the RV industry. Since the same company owns Camping World and all of the major RV publications in the industery, they are attempting to create a monopoly in this industry.
    How can they justify an hourly service rate in excess of $105.00 per hour, is beyond me.
    Perhaps I’m just a cynical old fart, but I’m really tired of getting ripped off every time I need service…
    Larry C

  102. Lug_Nut on April 5th, 2009 12:28 pm

    Joseph Kleinsmith, I think we’re talking about the same thing. Quality control and those that work assembling the units. I know each worker employed by Newmar prides themselve in good workmanship, and in doing so, are their own QC. They do, however, have an after built QC department. I believe that is faults are found, it is up to the person that installed that component to correct it, after hours on their own time. Thanks for the great fitting comment.

  103. Lug_Nut on April 5th, 2009 12:37 pm

    Larry C., I agree that many technicians, or so they may be called, are not properly trained. This has much to do with ther lack of skilled labor, or at least people that really care. This is found throughout the work force, not only the RV industry. I don’t know that your referrence to Camping World is really fair, or for that manner justified. Several friends of mine have used their services and raved about it. One was having a separate dish installed on his ‘09 King Aire. He was very happy. So I guess they also have some good service people. The fact that they have so many service centers probably results in “poor service” stories. It’s a shame we never hear of those that are very happy. Anyway, you made some good points and thank you for your well qualified input.

  104. Tom Blackburn on April 6th, 2009 8:01 am

    What about decent design engineering? See http://blog.rv.net/2009/04/tricks-for-a-trek/ for a list of the extensive modifications needed to compensate for poor initial design in a safari treck.

    I have dificulty finding sympathy for the companies in Elkhart – they, like GM, are getting what they deserve.

  105. Lug_Nut on April 6th, 2009 3:16 pm

    Tom Blackburn, Design engineering certainly has something to do with it. But, often new inovative designs are forced to the market early due to competitive reasons before adequate beta tests have been completed. Thyanks for your input.

  106. Don Simmons on April 9th, 2009 2:24 pm

    Lugnut,

    I take issue with “forced to the market early…” That is a conscious decision to put something on the market that is not ready. They have made a choice to take the bucks without regard for the customer. That sounds like the software industry.

    Don Simmons

  107. Lug_Nut on April 10th, 2009 9:21 am

    Don Simmons, There are many products that are “Forced to the market early”, and RV are no exception. The thing is, an RV producer wants to be the first with an innovation in hopes to capture a good chunk of that years buyers. Stalling while the design is beta tested, usually results in some other company hearing about it, making it, and putting it out there. Think about it, how many of the builders spent a lot of time testing the full wall slide? Business is business, you have to do and give people what they want, albeit with whatever testing has been done or not.
    Thanks for your input on this broad topic.

  108. Is Better Quality In The Future For RV’s? on April 12th, 2009 11:00 pm

    [...] of RV’s today. It was titled “Is There Quality In Today’s RV’s?”  (Link Here if you missed it)  It drew many comments with a variety of different points of view.  But now, could there be [...]

  109. Dennis Myhre on April 23rd, 2009 12:43 pm

    In my opinion, work product AND quality control has ALWAYS been in the sewer as far as the RV industry is concerned. The only reason that it has appeared to decline is because we as RV owners are becoming more aware of the problems via the internet. Prior to the mass access to blogs and RV forums, the RV industry was able to keep their problems to themselves, while deceiving the public into thinking the ONLY problem was with THEIR coach, or trailer, or whatever.

  110. Lug_Nut on April 23rd, 2009 1:06 pm

    Dennis, This is a very good point as I stated (Quote) “Is it possible that this apparent quality control level has not really declined, but rather the modern communication formats and media have made these items more well known? Blogs, forums and websites are capable of reaching all corners of the world in a fraction of a second.” It certainly is a portion of this even if quality has declined. Thank you for your valued input on this topic.

  111. Zee on April 28th, 2009 1:41 am

    This is a great topic – having just watched a wheel literally fall off of my Forest River Cardinal, I was extremely disheartened at the litany of problems that I’ve had with my coach that isn’t over 2 years old. But they have been major problems that literally stop your vacation in its track.

    I believe the largest source of frustration for many of us is that this is a recreational purchase – many simply don’t have the construction expertise to know how to construct and deconstruct their coach just like many don’t know how to fix some of the basic components on their cars. We all have different jobs – many auto mechanics and home builders alike wouldn’t even know how to address all of the systems on a modern coach.

    I do feel there is an unfair expectation of perfection in these 24000lb rolling homes – no house that I’ve ever lived in was devoid of defects; but rarely do those defects in a house prevent you from living in the home, or cause you to not be able to use your home.

    Personally, as long as the drivetrain/driveline are secure (tires, axles, frame, king pin etc) – most of the other quality problems with refrigerators, microwaves, air conditioners etc are not going to be complete show stoppers. Where I do feel the industry needs improvement is the instances of tire failures or improper engineering resulting in wall separation, frame bending, axle failure, slide mechanism malfunctions and such.

    I can forgive a microwave that stops working. It was made by Sharp – not the RV builder’s fault. But I’m much less likely to forgive a bent frame, improperly aligned axle, malfunctioning slide-out or tire blow out when used within the expected parameters of a road-faring vehicle.

    I guess for me these coaches are vehicles first, and temporary homes second. But if my safety or the integrity of my coach is compromised, then I feel there is a lack of accountability on the part of the manufacturer – after all, it is my life on the line if some catastrophic event occurs at highway speed.

    If I just can’t make popcorn for the night in the microwave, I guess a PB&J is in order, but I’m much less likely to be upset.

  112. merrill rininger on April 28th, 2009 2:03 am

    MY 2007 Bounder sucked on every level, Bought a 79 APOLLO 33ft that is much better made, 440 upgraded, lots of power, handels good for a m600 truck, and the kicker is; I can fix the thing myself!! sorta!

  113. Lug_Nut on April 28th, 2009 3:54 am

    Zee, I agree. Failures of items that cause you to cancel or interupt your vaction are not acceptable. Unfortunitely, they do happen. Everything from blown engines to rad fans flying off, have been experienced. I’m not sure we can paint all RV manufacturers with the same brush. Clearly some are better than others. Thank you for sharing your experience on this topic and your valued input.

  114. Lug_Nut on April 28th, 2009 3:59 am

    merrill rininger, Your statement would support the theory that quality has gone down today compared to years past. Going from an ‘07 to a ‘79 is certainly going back. Perhaps the simpler design and lack of gagets helps reduce the issues. Thank you for your comments on this topic.

  115. Yom Wahl on May 9th, 2009 8:12 am

    We own a Newmar Allstar and am very happy with it. The quality is astounding and the service from Newmar is fantastic. We’re on the road for a year seeing the country with our three kids and we haven’t had a problem that I would classify as “lemon” or poor manufacturing.

    Tom Wahl

  116. Chris Gentile on May 10th, 2009 9:25 am

    My experience has been that the factory service is no better than the dealer. My new 2008 Holiday Rambler Navigator was back to Monaco 5 times, many of the issue kept being repeated. No one seemed to have any pride in “doing the job right.” It took threats from a lawyer until I finally got their attention. Luckily, I got my coach back just 10 days before Monaco declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Most of the items were addressed this time, but I still have some issues. I did learn that on a coach this expensive, the manufacturer builds in as much as 18% of the price for warranty work. I can’t believe it would be more cost effective and profitable for the manufacturer to spend a little more on QA and produce a better, more reliable unit. But then, in addition to the economy, maybe that’s why so many builders are now either out of business or trying to reorganize. Let’s hope they’ve learned some lessons.

  117. James Fram on May 10th, 2009 2:36 pm

    I have been reading these posts and had to send you mine.Last year we bought a 2008 Forest River product. Georgian 373. It is our first R.V. and we have had lots of problems, but the dealer and Forest River have been good at solving them. All but one. On our first trip from Ontario to Florida we had problems with the auto slide out steps. It wanted to keep trying to open. We just started shuting off the power to it when it opened and that would stop the clicking noise . That was Christmas 2008. We took it to the dealer and they said they fixed it along with numerouse other things. We then went back down to Florida in March and the step started doing the same thing again, and finaly stopped working. Back to Outdoor Travel…they said it was fixed. Last summer on our first trip in the spring the stair started agian, this time we had a fire in the control box for the stair. And finished our holiday stepping up on a box and jumping down from the motorhome. Again we took the unit back for repairs and we were told the box was replaced and the control card for the steps was also replaced, all would be fine. Well another summer trip it was “running on”, it kept trying to open until you killed the power and incredible loud clicking noises were coming from it. Again back to the dealer. Again we were told it was fixed. Finaly this past Christmas we drove down to Blue Water in Key West again. And the second day into the trip on the way down…click click again. I had a RV dealer in florida look at it, and were told the motor’s gear was missing teeth and another gear needed to be replaced. But they needed the unit for two days to wait for the parts and get the repairs done. We decided to wait until we were home and not miss any holiday time. I did call our dealer from Florida and left a message about how unhappy we were regarding the ongoing saga of our steps. Upon our return we arranged to bring the R.V. in for repairs in late March or early April as there was no hurry because we did not plan another trip until spring and they said there was no hurry regarding a recall about aluminum trim work from Forest River. Well, it seems that all along Forest River has been making Outdoor Travel deal with the manufacturer of the step as it is a “parts problem not thiers”. And the manufacturer now says that the warranty on thier parts expired just after Christmas and they won’t replace anything. Outdoor Travel says its not thier problem, its the manufacturer of the steps. Now that I have discovered all this great news what would you suggest I do? Every owner of a motorhome I have spoken to says the steps motor and gear should have been replaced the first time the clinking started because it damages the teath on the gears. Please keep in mind that ALL of this has occured under the warranty period from Forest River.

  118. Lug_Nut on May 10th, 2009 5:41 pm

    Chris Gentile, I don’t know whether it is fair to judge all factory service by one experience, albeit, repeatable. In defence of Monaco, I know, due the downturn in the economy, many employees were layed off. This left few, to deal with many. Monaco perhaps had more unhappy customers than it would seem others. However, let’s keep in mind the number of units they sell, or sold. It is quite normal to have the more visible issues. I do understand your frustrations, and believe you should have been looked after better. Thank you for sharing your experience with us and your valued input.

  119. Lug_Nut on May 10th, 2009 5:59 pm

    James Fram, Sorry to hear of your experience trying to right an issue. There are many poor attitudes in the industry as late. While many of these may well be caused by frustration in this economy, those that pass the buck, will be remembered when things return to being somewhat normal. Manufacturers and dealers should try to work through issues, not ignore them. Thank you for your valued input, and best of luck getting things corrected.

  120. Lug_Nut on May 11th, 2009 12:25 pm

    Yom Wahl, Newmar’s seem to yeild less issues, or at least they take care of them prior to it becoming a real big problem. Actually your comments arrives to me on a day that I’m at Newmar’s service. Their service has always been outstanding for me. I find the factory service excellent which has lead me alway to have them and Spartan do 100% of my service for this and my last coach. Having said that, Newmar, like all others, have had issues. Many have been caused, or at least dragged on, by some of the dealers. I’m glad to hear of a sucess story on this topic. Thank you for your positive input.

  121. CaptTom on May 11th, 2009 3:25 pm

    I find it interesting that so many have so many problems. I must be fortunate that I did my research and found the Tiffin line to be the highest rated MH manufacturer (for the price) on the market.

    I have just returned for a four month trip (4615 miles) driving an 05 Allegro Bus. I had no problems on this trip or my previous two trips that totaled an additional 11415 miles.

    I have had two minor problems 1) step motor failure (replaced by dealer) and 2) fogged windows (all three were replaced by Tiffin at no charge).

    I am very pleased with this level of quality and when it comes time for a new purchase, you can bet it will be another Tiffn product.

  122. Lug_Nut on May 11th, 2009 5:30 pm

    CaptTom, Tiffin is certainly one of the 2 or 3 manufacturers that have a good reputation of both quality and service. Again, it is great to such positive posts on this topic. Thank you for your valued input.

  123. bud white on May 20th, 2009 6:30 am

    we bought a fleetwood revolution new in may 2005 from holiday kamper in spartanburg s.c. after 7-8 mos. 11 -12 trips of 150 mile trips to get it repair and each time they did more damage — cabinets falling off the wall –galley table falling and breaking –cornice with window shade fallin off . ( it took 6 mos. to repair the windshield washer ) we finally got a atty. and file to get our money back as of today may20 th.2009 we still haven’t got our money or a r.v. to used it is setting, rotting to the ground from water leaks the inside wall is full of mold and mildew and caving in behind the wall paper . and now with fltw. in chapter 11 who knows when , the bad thing i turn 70 this yr. thanks to the courts we be to old to safely use it . bud

  124. Lug_Nut on May 20th, 2009 10:44 am

    Bud White, I’m sorry to hear of your delema with your coach. Perhaps you should take another look at the issues and see if someone can not correct all the problems once and for all. There are good qualified dealers out there that may be willing to work with you. As it stands now, it is worthless. It may very well be able to be turned into a reliable unit. Thank you for sharing your experience with us and for your input on this topic.

  125. Ola Mitchell on May 20th, 2009 12:26 pm

    Hind sight is 20/20! Had we known how poor the quality of Rv’s are we would have never gone fulltimers and just bought a condo somewhere to retire at. We put our life savings into buying a motorhome we could travel in and go see places in this great country of ours but here we are stuck in a RV park and can’t go anywhere. No one wants to take reponsiblity for poor quality manufacturing.
    We are being denied to have the differential fixed by Workhorse Industries. The service dept tells them what’s wrong but they state that they won’t pay for repairs.
    Who can you turn too? Very frustrating and dishearting that we are stuck with a piece of junk only had for two weeks and can’t take chance of breaking down out in the middle of nowhere. Stuck in Oregon!

  126. Lug_Nut on May 20th, 2009 1:37 pm

    Ola Mitchell, Sorry to hear of your frustrations and apparent poor service support. Obviously the unit is off warranty, but what exactly is the warranty period for Workhorse? I would think it would exceed that of the coach maker, but with a milage limit. What was the cause and nature of the differential failure? How much are they asking to repair it? I presume you know the answers to these questions and have no immediate answers. You should contact Navistar yourself and ask for some help on this issue. They are located in Elkhart Indiana (Custom Chassis). I hope you find an answer. Thank you for your input.

  127. Ola Mitchell on May 20th, 2009 5:04 pm

    Lug_ Nut Thanks for support. My RV is new 2008 Itasca Sunrise still in warranty but workhorse will not give approval for inspection to see what causes noise in rear end. They are saying this is normal on 6 speed Allison transmission that
    causes the high pitch humming noise in my right ear while driving at starting 55-65mph.
    I bought two weeks ago and only had 1980 miles on it. Does this sound familiar to any one who already owns a Chevy Workhorse custom by GM. I am being told nothing can be done so in other words “Live with it”. To anyone thinking about buying a Motorhome, please test drive it and put it up to at least 60 and hear how it sounds before buying it. Just driving around the block like I did is not enough.

  128. Lug_Nut on May 20th, 2009 10:34 pm

    Ola Mitchell, Not being able to actually hear it, I can assume it does make some sound. It is possible that Workhorse believes it is within reasonable spec’s, and they may be correct. The fact that you hear it above all else may indicate it is at a herz range that is particularly penitrating to your earing. Differential whining can sometimes be corrected by re-shimming the the crown gear, I believe. Additionally, the sound may change with different lubricates used, perhaps even synthetic. I guess it may be possible to correct this fairly cheaply. I might be well worth your while to talk to a driveline specialist about this issue. Thanks for sharing this issue with us and your input on the quality issue.

  129. Victor on May 24th, 2009 5:24 am

    Last year we went through the new rig mill with our brand new Seneca as well. What I saw was speed in manufacturer over quality. The dealer, which is now out of business, was no better. Speed and guess work over quality. It got so bad that I, a former diesel technician, ended up diagnosing and repairing most of the problems myself.

    To clarify the speed issue: One of our main problems was BAD wiring shorts. To make a long story short the manufacturer slammed interior panels together and sliced through various wiring harnesses. Screws were driven into fan blades in the microwave and components were never tested to make sure they actually worked before leaving the factory. Doors being so poorly installed that body work had to be done to repair the issues. Simple stuff that can really create big problems after everything is assembled.

    At the dealer: The technicians were clearly over-loaded and spent very little time trying to track down a problem. I personally blame flat rate pay but that’s just my opinion. Either way they never correctly diagnosed a single problem.

    I can say that since clearing up the initial problems, the rig has been a joy. If something does come up I usually fix it myself or, at the least, diagnose it and tell them exactly what’s wrong before I bring it in. No one has as much interest in fixing your rig as your self. Unfortunately not everyone has the expertise to track down things like wiring shorts. My advice in this area is to write down very very detailed information about the fault. Don’t tell them, write it down….be very specific. The tech won’t have the time or first hand experience with the problem like you do.

  130. Lug_Nut on May 24th, 2009 7:08 am

    Victor, Great detailed comment. Your point on the small issues is well said. You are lucky that you are skilled somewhat to tackle some of the issues. Great advise on writting the problem down instead of just telling them. Good clear communications can certainly help convey the real issue and hopefully the correct repair. Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed input.

  131. Simon on June 9th, 2009 10:59 am

    I was thinking of trading in my current 1998 Fleetwood Tioga SL 32′ Class C motorhome with full basement and buy a newer model with slides. I guess I have to give a second thought after I read all those. We bought the Tioga in 8/2005 and It now has 39K miles on the Ford Triton V10. No issues with the motor, starts with every turn of the key. Everything inside the coach works, stove, water pump, oven, water heater, roof AC and of couse the domestic refrigerator, no leaking pipes, drains and roof. We don’t have slides but we have enough room to move around our motor home and I don’t know if we really need slides in the future because they just simply add more parts to be maintained and they are not user friendly when it is on the road when all slides are in. I guess that I am just being lucky. I had zero problem with the motorhome so far, just routine engine oil changes. Happy camping!

  132. Lug_Nut on June 10th, 2009 5:50 am

    Simon, The Tioga is a very popular coach with a good following of happy owners. Thanks for sharing your experience with us and for your great input.

  133. Rick on July 8th, 2009 12:53 pm

    A shame the Japanese or Europeans arent building Motorhomes here – like they are cars – it would bring the quality of the coach up I think — perhaps this economic downturn forceing some businesses out of business and slowing down the sales will help over all – comments?

  134. Lug_Nut on July 8th, 2009 1:12 pm

    Rick, Actually your comment regarding the economic downturn improving the quality was an article of April. Here’s a link http://blog.rv.net/2009/04/is-better-quality-in-the-future-for-rvs/
    Thank you for your great input.

  135. HJ Lamb on July 10th, 2009 5:12 pm

    I recently retired and after much thought and discussion with the wife, decided to invest in a new Class C motorhome. I visited several local dealers and got the full monty demos on all the variety and lengths of class Cs locally available. I also rented one for several weeks to see what it would be like before taking the plunge. In addition, I thoroughly researched company ratings and web sites for owner comments on all kinds of RVs. As a result, we decided on a 32 ft. class C Itasca Spirit. The local Winnebago dealership had one available on their lot but were sticking close to the retail price. So, I decided to check for other state and out of state dealers for a better price. I found a place in Indiana that undercut the local dealer by 28000 dollars for the same exact unit. Since it was the middle of February, I decided to try the local dealership one more time and take a copy of the offer from the Indiana dealership. Interestingly they matched the deal! Then the fun began. When I arrived at the agreed upon date/time, the RV was not ready because the storage batteries had to be replaced along with the Inverter. During the pre acceptance inspection, we discovered warped closet doors, a damaged mirror and several other small problems that were supposed to be fixed later. After the weather warmed a bit, we took it on a trip to Bozeman Montana. When we arrived at the campground, the rear slideout would not extend and I had to do it manually! 3 hours later and we were able to access the drawers where our clothing was stored and the bed clothes were stored. Ditto the effort when leaving. Upon return we contacted the dealership and it took them 3 tries to get a replacement part (module) to fix it. Since that time we have continued to have multiple problems – Onan generator stopped working due to a broken valve spring (only 13 hours on it), the electric step stopped working, the gray water valve stuck, a screw holding the inside front bed rail portruded from the exterior skin causing cracking in the exterior skin, the air conditioner vent had 2 screws pop out, the front TV vibrated loose from its mount due to wrong size screws, the water valve access panel broke loose, the faucet in the shower would not adjust, and numerous stripped out screws on panels and mouldings started to back out as a result of overtorquing during the assembly process. I contacted the dealership manager and his reply was that it was a mobile home on wheels and I should expect such issues and learn to deal with them. I contacted Itasca and asked to speak with their Quality Assurance manager and repeated the issues I had only to hear that they should be covered under warranty and they try their best to ensure a quality product.

    I won’t ever buy from this dealership or Winnebago again if this is how they treat their customers. Maybe I’ll go to Canada next time and see if they have better customer relations and Quality control efforts.

  136. Lug_Nut on July 10th, 2009 8:39 pm

    HJ Lamb, Sorry to hear that you experienced so many issues on something you expected to be reasonablely trouble free. The attitude of the dealer is totally unacceptable. A problem or two is expected, the amount you had is not acceptable in anybodies book. Winnebago’s opinion that the items were on warranty was not the issue. You already knew that. I hope somehow things get righted for you. I don’t think buying in Canada would necessarily be much better. Thank you for sharing your experience with us and for your participation in this topic. Great input.

  137. Simon on July 21st, 2009 2:51 pm

    HJ Lamb,

    I am so sorry to hear that you have experienced so many troubles with your New Class C motorhome. How could a new couch have so many problems? Must be a lemon! We just came back from a week vacation in Lenanon, NH with our 11 year old Tiogo SL and the coach still runs beautifully and nothing has stopped working yet. This is our fifth year with the coach. Our Onan generator has clocked 376 hours and still runs strong and starts right up everytime we use it. The roof is original and 11 years old and some of the white paint on it started to fade out but it is still no leaks of any kind. I am thinking of recoating the roof with roof paint next year. The roof A/C shell got a 2 inch long crack due to heavy snow fall on the RV cover this past winter and I taped it with Enternal Bond tape. It worked fine during our week vacation. I was told that CLASS C tends to leak easily in the over the cab bunk area due to heavy wind resistance and shakes on the road. Fortunately we have not yet experienced any leaks over the area. Our roof is domed so the water can easily run off. Prior to this coach, I owned a 26 ft travel trailer, which has a flat roof and water tends to collect in some areas. I think that I am very luck so far with this one and it looks like that I have to hang on with it a bit longer. I might never want to buy a new coach with slides and I heard many nightmares about slides problems. Once again. sorry for your trouble and wish you good luck with the dealer.

  138. Darthvagrant on August 2nd, 2009 6:41 pm

    .Hello all…..most of the posts here allude to new or fairly recently built RVs. I have what is now an OLD Coachmen class A. I bought it used 16 years ago. Let me assure the buyers of the newer units there never was any quality in most RVs. My Coachmen through the years has displayed (not in chronological order):
    [1] No inner front wheel wells (a common Coachmen trait). All the mud, water, salt, etc, gets thrown on the back side of the headlights and all over the crappy Atwood dash heater A/C. , power brake unit, etc.
    [2] The fresh air intake for the Atwood dash heater- A/C is drawn out of the rt. ft. wheel well, directly behind the rt. ft. wheel. (choke, gag)
    [2a] The foregoing were corrected early on with the installation of plastic basement window wells as inner fenders. Fit like OEM….scratch that….fit marvelously. Fresh air properly provided by creating a grilled opening on the rt. side of the front cap with two 8” flex ducts to the modified Atwood heater.
    [3] Brackets on the entire length of the rt. frame rail (to body) were only pre-fit tacked in place. All came loose, dropping the floor onto the frame rail. Lt. side brackets WERE finish welded. Rt. brackets properly welded after jacking floor (body) up in place
    [4] Hardwood “nailer” in rt. side wall improperly located. Hence, the lag screws holding the floor to the side wall at the front from cap to rt. door were only anchored in 3/16 Luan plywood. Sidewall came loose on an early-on trip and a gap opened up from the dash to the side door. To keep my small dogs in the coach I got some Harbor Freight ratchet straps to bind it together for the abbreviated trip home.
    [5] Tub/shower drain routed through rt. rr. wheel well without ANY tire clearance. ABS pipe cut in two in ft. of inside dual. Plumbing to tub/shower rerouted with extreme difficulty.
    [6] Bath sink drains into black water tank.
    [7] Front frame extensions welded on VERY inaccurately. Lt. extension welded so that battery carrier was 5” low on lt. side. This created a strange bulge on the bottom of the front cap, as Coachmen just forced the front cap on over the low frame extension. Fix: Extension carefully cut loose with a torch and positioned properly, re-welded.
    [8] Entire dash had come loose and dropped so low the sales guy couldn’t even drive it. I immediately was obliged to fashion a steel cross span from the rt. sidewall to the steering column to secure dash up in place. (this really should have been # [1])
    [9] Finished coach was within 900# of the max. GVW rating of the chassis.
    [10] Dealer owed me a new black water tank, tank discontinued / not available from Coachmen. (coach was only 3 years old at the time) I was obliged to tig weld a replacement aluminum tank.
    .
    Let me hasten to admit: I knew I was buying a piece of crap when I bought it. It was cheap, and had less than 14K miles on it. I just failed to be cognizant of just how BIG a piece of crap I had purchased. Fortunately, I have a strong RV / automotive background and have been able to accomplish all the foregoing repairs / modifications myself. Through the years, I have referred to it as my “RV Kit”. It has been sort of like the 1974 AMF Harley-Davidson I bought new. It’s a toss-up on both if more time has been spent on construction / maintenance or actual use as intended. The 12 ounces or so of R-12 required annually is slowly depleting my hoarded supply of R-12. That said, the dash air is the high point of the coach. It’s the only feature that has exceeded my expectations.
    .
    Conclusion(s): The original buyers must have been vision impaired. NO ONE has owned a worse RV of any description. The D.O.T. should not have allowed this coach on the road in 1992. My friends have been correct in questioning my sanity ever since I bought it..
    .
    The truly unbelievable fact is the coach has always been outside in the weather, and there is no delamination, in spite of a leaking rear window on which I’ve given up.

  139. Lug_Nut on August 2nd, 2009 8:17 pm

    Darthvagrant, Wow, you really covered your issues in detail, thank you. This brings up one of the things I touched on, is quality really going down as of late, or is it just because things like the internet have made them more visible. Sorry to hear of your issues. Thank you for taking the time to participate in this topic, your input is very interesting and informative.

  140. Darthvagrant on August 3rd, 2009 8:49 pm

    A side note to my previous post. Another admission: When I was initially in the market for a motorhome I had absolutely, positively decided on a class C. That puts all the RV ….errr….CRAP…behind you. Gaining-OEM quality wipers, instruments, heater, A/C, windshield, full wheel wells, nice fitting doors and roll-up windows, better seats,etc, etc., locating dependable manufacturer OEM quality where it’s most important. NOT a bunch of mis-matched R/V ill-fitting crap in front of you too with an add-on York A/C compressor mis-matched to an Atwood heater / A/C evaporator and too much rubber A/C hose, . (Hence, porous hose= continual refirigerant ongoing loss) plus crappy non-OEM instruments. I could go on and on.
    .
    My bad. And have I ever paid for it!. I wore the portable strap-on ass-kicker for quite awhile.
    .
    The purchase was, unfortunately predicated on a really cheap price. D’oh! A frequently occurring event in my life which is usually regretted. Something like the old cliche of paying too much can be forgotten, paying too little is always remembered. Sadly, I could’ve easily afforded a upper mid lineNEW Class C. My business was booming. If only life had a rewind button.

  141. Lug_Nut on August 3rd, 2009 9:26 pm

    Darthvagrant, Interesting side note. If you had purchased an upper/middle line new class C, there is no guaranty that it would not lack the quality and have as many issues as the unit you got. Thank you for sharing your experience on this topic and, again, for your great input.

  142. Ralph Cooke on August 15th, 2009 8:07 pm

    About 5 years ago I was in the market for a 22-28 Ft. Travel Trailer for use as a Mobil Office and Lab in my Oil Service Business, that would double as a vacation trailer for my own use.

    After much checking and evaluation, I passed on all of the $20,000-$60,000 new units and bought a 26′ 1972 Silver Streak with a professionally added gray water tank. After 5 years of use on rough oil field roads and 15,000+ miles of towing on vacation use, this 37 year old trailer is solid, completely dependable and with only $5,500 in it after all purchase and maintenance, this trailer has proven to be an excellent value. Will ever purchase a new unit with all of the initial costs and then LOTS of ongoing problems, NOT A CHANCE!

    Ralph

  143. Lug_Nut on August 15th, 2009 8:21 pm

    Ralph, There is a lot to say about the older rigs. They were built pretty heavy but had far less gadgets on them. Thank you for sharing your experience with us and for your valued input.

  144. Mel on August 19th, 2009 3:35 pm

    Bret if you have worked for Michelin for 35 plus years then you must know that they have chinese partners and that some of their tires are manufactured by the chinese. I have had blowouts with michelins as well as other brands. I now change tires every 5 years regardless of milage or wear. BTW I am now using a set of double coin tires on my 37 ft pace arrow I have 30,000 miles on them and they are 3 years old no problems so far.
    Mel

  145. Al Paschen on August 21st, 2009 11:16 pm

    Well, I just spent two hours writing a profound comment and then this monster didn’t like my CAPTCHA code. All gone!!!

  146. Lug_Nut on August 21st, 2009 11:30 pm

    Al Paschen, I hate when that happens! Generally, what I do, is copy it entirely to the note pad prior to posting. That way, if a error happens, I can re-do it. Sorry for all your time spent, but glad to hear from you anyway. When you feel like trying it again, give it a spin. There are people that may be very interested in it.

  147. OntheRoad on August 28th, 2009 8:47 pm

    We bought a new Winnebago class A diesel and had problems with the computerized slide locks from the beginning. After 3 attempts for repairs at dealers with no success, we finally drove to the Winnebago Factory in Forest City, Iowa. They professionally took care of this and a few other issues in ONE DAY. Our problem appears to have been with the dealer techs who kept our RV for months and returned it without performing all of the repair(s). We even found one refrigerator part had been glued back together! Wouldn’t a thorough quality control check at the factory where the experts are prevent much of this frustration? Is this too much to ask when spending a quarter of a million bucks? However, Winnebago’s excellent customer service left us very satisfied customers, and we would purchase another Winnie product. The next time I would go to Iowa buy it (or right after buying it), camp there until the warranty repairs were resolved, or buy one a few years old from a diligent owner that got the bugs worked out. Either way, you can’t beat touring the US in your own hotel suite on wheels. It’s better than we ever imagined.

  148. Lug_Nut on August 29th, 2009 2:34 am

    OntheRoad, Your experience certainly supports factory service. This type of thing also applies to all the other manufacturer’s products. If the dealer does a poor job it reflects poorly on the manufacturer. Thanks for sharing your experience and for your great input.

  149. Al Paschen on September 1st, 2009 10:46 pm

    As a long-time RV dealer, I have some comments about RV warranty coverage: ( I must point out that one company that the following comments do not apply to is Winnebago)

    There are many things changing in the RV industry these days, as RV manufacturers struggle to survive. One of these things that everyone should be aware of is the handling of warranty claims submitted by dealers. It is only important to consumers when a new RV suffers some kind of mechanical or structural failure.

    As a dealer, it is very important to me, because I know that a high percentage of new RVs will be back for some amount of warranty service. A few will be back for really expensive, serious problems.

    Travel trailer/fifth wheel manufacturers have cut back on all expenses. Handling of warranty claims appears to be at the head of the list of cut-backs. They are making the dealers jump through all kinds of hoops, in order to get paid for the parts used and the work done by the dealer to fix the defects in the product. In a large proportion of cases, the administrative work needed to get paid is so large that it is more cost-effective for the dealer to just absorb the cost of the “warranty repairs” than to try to collect from the manufacturer. Yet the manufacturers love to tell consumers, “Just take it to any dealer. We pay them for doing warranty repairs”.

    The RV business is not as sophisticated as the car business, yet. It often takes days or weeks for the dealer to find out from the manufacturer if a repair will be covered by warranty and if so, just how much the manufacturer will pay. I will relate a few actual experiences at our dealership, and what is now required by the manufacturer:

    1. DIGITAL PICTURES of the problem and the repair are almost universally required: Example: COMPLAINT: Sofa moves around when traveling. CAUSE: Screws came loose and broke off. SOLUTION: Replace screws. There is a labor flat-rate for the operation of replacing the screws – roughly 10 minutes. NOW TO GET PAID FOR THE 10 MINUTES OF WORK, DEALER MUST: Take digital pictures of location of the missing screws and the replaced screws, download the pictures and attach the picture files to an electronic warranty claim. The claim form must be filled out with complete information describing the RV unit and the customer, as well as a written narrative describing the complaint, cause and correction. It is also necessary to locate in the manufacturer’s digital flat rate manual, the operation code for replacing screws. Also, to get paid for the 10 minutes of actual work, the dealer must get the RV off the lot and move it into the shop, diagnose the problem, get his tools and find the right part, screws in this case. Unless the tech has a camera in his tool box along with his tools, he must go get the camera from the office. After the work is complete, someone must bring the forklift and take the trailer from the shop and park it. Then move it again when the customer comes to pick it up. The customer signs the repair order indicating the problem was corrected. Now the dealer gets paid for the 10 minutes. This isn’t a made-up situation – it is a typical real-life thing that really happened.

    (Question: Is this a safeguard against dealer/customer collusion to defraud the manufacturer? Or is it a procedure to dissuade the dealer from submitting any claim at all?)

    2. SPECIAL PART NEEDED – This one really happened last week: COMPLAINT: Running lite lens color faded. CAUSE: Defective lens. SOLUTION: Replace lens. Simple enough, except this lens is not a common one. It must be ordered from the manufacturer. Cost $2.43, plus packing and shipping. Dealer pays the parts and shipping cost but manufacturer will reimburse – if dealer jumps through enough hoops. Dealer must find the labor operation codes for replacing this lens (.1 hr) and the part number for the lens (computer now says we need digital pictures of the old and new lens). Dealer can also recover out-of -pocket cost for shipping, but must find and photocopy the shipping bill. But wait!! A new message has come up on the computer ; Dealer must package and return the old faded lens to manufacturer. Then, he must file another complete warranty claim to recover the return shipping cost on the old lens. If dealer fulfills all the requirements and the customer signs the warranty claim, dealer will get his money back for the lens and all shipping, plus he gets paid for 6 minutes work.

    (Question: If dealer must spend 20 or 30 minutes in order to recover payment for 6 minutes of work, is it cost-effective for the dealer to even attempt to recover payment for the part, shipping both ways and 6 minutes of labor time? Is the manufacturer really afraid the customer and dealer will conspire to cheat them out of a $2 lens?)

    3. RETURN OF DEFECTIVE PART is required. Often, big warranty jobs involve some major parts. We are trying to get paid right now for a job involving replacement of an axle. We got manufacturer pre-approval before doing the work. They require return of the defective axle. We are owed several hundred dollars of labor plus the cost of an axle, by the manufacturer. We will not get paid until the axle is returned. We cannot return the axle without a “return authorization” tag, which can only come from the manufacturer. Three months and many phone calls later, we are still waiting for a tag.

    (QUESTION: Is the manufacturer short of people to process the paperwork, or just not very motivated to pay out money?)

    4. JUST DENYING THE CLAIM (OR REDUCING IT) is becoming all too common. Another real case that is now being contested. A big total-rebuilding job that was pre-approved by the manufacturer for $6,000. Four months after completion, a credit comes in the mail for $4,000. No explanation! Outright denials come the same way. Just stamped “Denied”, without explanation.(months after we did the work)

    (QUESTION: Why would a dealer do warranty work on any travel trailer that they didn’t sell? Consumers should be aware that dealers know they will lose money every time they do a warranty job.)

    If anyone has read this far, you may wonder why I have gone to all the trouble of telling this story. I would hope that people will begin to understand that when their RV dealer solves their warranty problem, he is doing it at considerable cost to the dealership. The manufacturer is not footing the whole bill — not even close!

    We, and other reputable RV dealers, are more than happy to do whatever it takes to give our customers a good experience with their new RV. We sold it and we accept responsibility for getting it fixed. And we will gladly help a traveler in distress. But, except for the traveler-in-distress exception, it isn’t realistic to expect a local dealer to do warranty work on a trailer that they didn’t sell.

  150. Lug_Nut on September 2nd, 2009 9:15 am

    Al Paschen, This is an excellent description of what obviously is a growing problem and leaves the dealer looking like the bad guy. I had no idea that this was as bad as your examples illustrate. I have seen similar happening in other industries, like electronics, but they are on a very much smaller scale. I totally understand your reluctance to do work on a non-dealer sold unit. Doing so would eventually financially force you out of business.
    I an currently writting a piece for a November release that deals with RV service from the dealer and manufacturer’s side, and would love to referrence some of these points.
    Thank you for taking the time and giving us this insight into the reality of what actually happens. I’m sure it is an eye opener for many. Again thank you for sharing your experience and for your expert opinion on this topic.

  151. Lynn Gillard on September 27th, 2009 9:57 am

    We’re just buying our first rv, a 2003 Vanguard from Canadream In Calgary, Alberta, Canada. We’re thinking of purchasing “after market” warranty coverage from a company called SecureRV (LGM). After reading this forum, I am a bit concerned that dealers won’t be willing to do warranty work on the vehicle….any thoughts out there?

  152. Nancy on September 27th, 2009 1:38 pm

    I have been reading the ratings provided by the RVConsumerGroup, but rarely hear it mentioned in any of these BLOGs. It has tight criteria on length vs wheelbase and power vs carrying capacity that seem to make a lot of sense. The problem is very few of the Class C or smaller Class A manage to meet even the basic requirements. I am looking at the smaller ones because I am a traveler of one and not interested in a huge motorhome. Just enough for one person. Fleetwood, Winnebago, Itasca, etc don’t even have one that theRVConsumergroup will give 5 stars to or recommend for more than just usage for a few weeks of the year. Very few of the large volume producers meet their quality requirements and some of the “popular coaches” are actually listed as unsafe. Usually due to overweight chassis; or engine provided.. If I go with their recommendations I will have to go to Canadian manufacturers like Triple E, Chinook or Bigfoot or stay with smaller or more regional manufacturers like Tiffin, Coach House, Lazy dazy, Born free, Dynamax. More expensive and not easy to find in Texas. All of which I have also been warned that repair may be more difficult due to lack of dealerships. I will be living full time on the road by myself. I want something that doesn’t need to be fixed every time I stop and am trying to do the research up front. Does anyone have any input on RVConsumer Group or the coaches they recommend for longterm fulltiming use?

  153. Lug_Nut on September 27th, 2009 6:27 pm

    Lynn Gillard, There are many third party warranty companies to choose from. I have never been a supporter of after-market warranties mainly because of the cost. I don’t think it would be difficult to get repairs done on most of these as you have a choice of repair shop to go.. They pay the shop. Perhap someone with direct experience in dealing with these will chime in. Thank you for your input.

  154. Lug_Nut on September 27th, 2009 6:35 pm

    Nancy, Actually the topic of the RV Consumers Group has been discussed in many threads in RV.NET. Here’s one LINK http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/15380454/gotomsg/15413894.cfm
    Much of their information comes from RVers themselve. It is worth the study. Thank you for your participation on this topic.

  155. lee metz on October 5th, 2009 6:31 pm

    I purchased a 2009 Heartland North Trail 5th wheeler.Two months after I happened to crawl under this new trailer and was surprised to see the amount of rust on frame and slides.I contacted Noble Rv (where I purchased) and they in turn contacted Heartland rv and Lippert ,who produces frames,and all they would do is paint over rust.I contacted Mn.Attorney General and there was no way they any power to force these people to cover warranties.
    I have talked to dealers and have been told warranties are rotten and if they can get work done,they have to add one hours labor to cover the amount of time they spend fighting with rv companies.

  156. Lug_Nut on October 5th, 2009 7:34 pm

    lee metz, That is disappointing, but certainly not unheard of. Sometimes the frames are in stock for a considerable time, in all types of weather. Additionally, an issue with the primer paint with the outer frame paint can result in this kind of problem. If warranty is not an option, there are reasonable priced solutions. Sand blasting of the frame and refinishing is an option, and usually at a low cost. The end result can well be worth the work. Best of luck with your rig and thank you for your input on this topic.

  157. Ed Nickerson on October 25th, 2009 3:40 pm

    I think the problem is both the manufacturer and the suppliers. We bought a new Holiday Rambler Motor Home. Within the first 3 months we had to replace every vent cover. The TV came through the bottom of the cabnet. When DTV came out I thought I would have no problem but I went on RCA web site and it told me the ancient tv set required a box ( the motor home was 1 year old). I should have junked the tv then but I bought a DTV converter box and the second day of vacation the tv died. (under 2 yeard old to me) Everything the put together is secured with staples. The seats, and the roof have fallen in. The auto jacks will not level the coach ( Thanks to EZ Level I get it done by running jacks manualy.) The fresh water tank had a leak due to loose clamp (black mold) HR had no idea how to get the smell out. Now the Norcold N611RT fridge freezes everything (nobody carries the part and norcold does not respond to E-MAILS). There were other things too but this is the majors.
    No wonder HR went out of business.
    I thought I was alone but the list above me tells me otherwise.

  158. Lug_Nut on October 26th, 2009 4:42 am

    Ed Nickerson, I believe the TV manufacturers switched to DTV ready about mid 2006, but that is not guaranteed. My ‘07 coach has one of four DTV ready. Thank you for sharing your issues with us and for your input.

  159. Bob on December 4th, 2009 8:21 pm

    What’s the deal with some screws or so many minor repairs. I have logged 70+M miles on two different units that have never gone back to a dealer for repair. Most of these repairs cost more fuel to and from the dealer than the part is worth, just fix it anyway. I will continue to research my problems through internet blogs and the RV books until I am convinced no one nearby can help me fix it. These rigs have more systems that most folks house, is everyone that unhappy with the home they live in?

  160. Matt Morris on December 14th, 2009 8:29 pm

    I think the reason we see more quality control problems with RCs is that they are not held to the same stringent requirements as the rest of the automotive industry. It seems like they follow the boating industry in the fact that they accept higher PPMs and dont expect perfection.

  161. Matt Morris on December 14th, 2009 8:31 pm

    I think the reason we see more quality control problems with RCs is that they are not held to the same stringent requirements as the rest of the automotive industry. It seems like they follow the boating industry in the fact that they accept higher PPMs and don’t expect perfection.

  162. Lug_Nut on December 15th, 2009 6:41 am

    Matt Morris, Great point. But, that would also apply to the suppliers of frig’s, micro waves, chargers and the like. Many times it is a component failure. Thank you for your great input on this topic.

  163. Rick and Julia Irrgang on December 18th, 2009 1:24 pm

    Our 2005 Dolphin 5376 has been the best RV we’ve owned. Going on three years, never back to the dealer. Oh I forgot he’s not in business any longer. Never back to the MFG. Oh, I forgot, they aren’t in business any more. Ok, I gotta tool box and I’m not afraid to use it. All in all. National gets a 8 out of 10 from me!

  164. Lug_Nut on December 18th, 2009 5:03 pm

    Rick and Julia Irrgang, I agree. A friend of mine had a Dolphin and had nothing but good to say about it. It is too bad they are not made anymore. Hang on to that bad boy, it’s a goodie. Thank you for your participation on this topic and your valued input.

  165. HJ Lamb on January 19th, 2010 12:11 am

    Update,
    After a trip from Montana to Pennsylvania and back I have come to the conclusion that Interstate highways are nothing more than paved over and broken up wagon trails. I got cut off at a few exit ramps by inconsiderate drivers and had to follow the service roads for several miles in order to get back on. The service roads were better! Anyway, the Interstates in Illinois and Indiana about rattled my jaws out of alignment. To boot my air conditioner panel inside the RV popped off due to stripped screws that had been glued. In addition the floor covering in the bathroom came loose, the outside shower somehow managed to vibrate itself open on the hot water tap and filled the inside of its compartment with hot water. The entry step stuck in the closed position and the rubber on my windshield wipers came off. The ladder going up to the overhead bunk broke while my daughter was climbing up on it and had I not been in a position to catch her the ragged edge of the ladder might have cut her. After returning from our trip, I attempted to get in to our dealer and had to wait until November due to all of the required repairs including a trip to the body/paint shop for chip repairs on the side and that also included some long waits to get parts. I just recently had the rig returned and went over it with a fine tooth comb. Still a few rattles and noises to track down, but in February the Mfr warranty goes tango uniform. I did purchase a Good Sams Club extended 4 year warranty and am hoping should any more gremlin attacks occur, that it will be covered for the most part. The dealer tried to sell me one of their extended warranties, but I did a check with the local BBB only to find out that they had a terrible record and rating. In addition, it would have cost me almost 2X as much as the Good Sams version. When I told the financing officer what I found out he kind of stopped the selling schpiel and meandered away. Have put my rig in winter storage inside a big shed until this coming May. I worked a deal with my insurance plan to cover it for eventualities while in storage and am saving several hundred bucks on a 6 month use versus 12 months use. Have not yet decided to try full timing as we have 2 large dogs and a handicapped daughter requiring special needs. Hopefully next season will be better and less stressful now that most of the so-called bugs have been fixed. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

  166. Lug_Nut on January 19th, 2010 6:31 am

    HJ Lamb, Wow, I hope the trip was otherwise worthwhile. Sorry to hear of your list of issues, certainly an extreme case. I agree regarding the condition of many roads and highways throughout the country. I always try to alter my route to avoid known bad road suurfaces if possible. Thank you for sharing your stories with us and the best of luck for smooth sailing starting in May.

  167. Steve on January 19th, 2010 5:27 pm

    It is unfortunate that MOTORHOME, TRAILERLIFE, RVLIFESTYLE and other magazines do not do long term tests ala CONSUMERS REPORTS and give a rating on the quality of build of tested vehicles.

  168. Lug_Nut on January 19th, 2010 5:53 pm

    Steve, I doubt they have a budget for such things, but they do pick up and write about such test results by people that do. I think RV forums and the likes are a great way to get honest reports from real owners. Thanks for your participation on this topic.

  169. Loretta on March 26th, 2010 10:38 pm

    One question: What does the manufactors’ Quality Control Department do?
    We purchased a new 2010 Jayco Melbourne 29D. With it came the following problems before we had a chance to camp in it:
    1. AC was not a heat pump for which we paid. Unable to determine even now if the propane furnace should come on at the same time as the heat pump when the thermostate is set on electric heat
    2. Water pump switches were wired wrong
    3. Water pump made horrible noises upon delivery and had to be replaced.
    4. Numerous water leaks
    5. Missing 2 eyelets on which to hook the front curtain
    6. Under the motor home, there were wires hanging down waiting to get snagged
    7. Main power conduit from the generator was lying across the exhaust of the generator and had almost burned through the conduit.
    8. No rubber grommets where wires went through holes in the frame of the the vehicle or through holes in the sheet metal
    9. Refrigerator decorative panel was very loose and had to be reglued.
    10. Shower had a towel rack running through the middle of the shower. This had to be moved to one side so person could stand up in the shower
    11. Pleated curtain would not stay in upright position
    12 One large window would not lock and would come open
    13. Dealer was not knowledgable regarding the nav system and the satellite TV.
    All of the problems 1-12 were fixed by our dealer. But we wonder what else is going to happen as we have only used the unit for an approximate time of 8 wks.

  170. Tom Kolby on April 14th, 2010 8:58 pm

    The volume of mail on this issue says it all.

  171. Alexandre Tarcitano (Brazil) on May 29th, 2010 9:29 pm

    Just to let you know but here in Brazil we suffer to have a motorhome. There are only 5 or 6 manufacturers producing 100 to 120 units a year. It means they are handcrafted. We don´t have RV parts and accessories locally made, they are imported from USA and if one of them fails you have two choices: you can try to fix it or replace the unit, RV manufacturer does not assume any responsability for imported items, even a Shurflo pump has to be discarded because there is no replacement parts. The same for air conditioning ( Coleman) or fridges (basically Dometic units) not to mention that these items costs 5 or 6 times from original price in USA. Warranty? if you have an engine problem just go to the dealer (Mercedes Benz, Volvo or Volkswagen). Plumbing, wiring? You have to send RV to the manufacturer because they don´t have dealers, sometimes driving more than 2500 miles not to mention those poor owners who live north country and all factories are at extreme south of Brazil.
    Yet I´m still surprised to see how many comments above complaining about defective new RV´s with all support you may have along the country.

  172. Lug_Nut on May 30th, 2010 8:29 am

    Alexandre Tarcitano (Brazil, That is an eye-opener. Thank you very much for sharing your country’s story of RV buying and mainaining. Great information. Thank you for your great input.

  173. David McCracken on May 31st, 2010 8:40 pm

    I recently purchase a 2006 Fleetwood Bounder 38S diesel. I plan on doing much of the maintenance ( oil change, fuel,and air filter change ) myself. Does anyone know where I can purchase a complete manual for my specific vehicle.

  174. Hastings Lamb on June 3rd, 2010 11:06 am

    Unfortunately, more of the same old stuff, different day! After pulling my rig out of winter storage on 5/1, we had it dewinterized at the local dealership and that included a quick inspection. Free and easy down the road we went – about 200 miles to the Bozeman, MT KOA. Got everything hooked up and were ready to sit back and relax a bit. Then the fun started. The furnace, yes it got a tad chilly, ran for a while and then started to “short cycle.” It eventually stopped altogether, so I attempted to use the heat pump option, which also refused to work. I checked the thermostat and made sure the propane was opened, vailable and full. Check on all of those. I began to do some checking on the thermostat and te furnace short cycled about 4 times then kicked in and began to operate properly. Ihate gremlins and intermittent problems! It ran OK after that. Then I noticed one of our Atwood, dual pane tinted windows in the bedroom had internal fogging. No heartstopper, but add that to an ever-growing list of problems. After a few days we pulled up stakes and headed home, shaking, ratteling and rolling all the way. Called the dealership and they immediately informed me that the unit was no longer in warranty for the window (proved to be false) and that I had to wait for 3 weeks to get in ruining any chance to camper on the memorial day holiday (Rained all weekend anyway!). Of course they could not find any issues with the furnace or thermostat and wrote it off as a possible air bubble in the propane. The window issue came to a head when I contacted Atwood and Winnebago, at first getting 2 different stories because of mis identified parts (sliding window, versus my tilt out double pane insulated glass). Just one of the single panes of tilt ou need replacing but since the entire window with tilt outs comes in a single assembly, the price is $1000. That did not include shipping or labor to R&R. Finally got it worked out and now have to submit pictures and window markings sto Atwood, followed by the wait for a replacement and scheduling with a glass place for R&R. I will have to pay for the R&R (labor) but thats a far sight better than the unit, shipping and labor. Hopefully, by July sometime we may be able to take a few trips before our RVing season closes in November. I never had this many problems with the used RVs I previously owned and come my 65th birthday may just sell this thing and give up my DL permanently. My Itasca Spirit remains broken, no stisfaction from Winnebago or their local dealership and can neither recommend nor be persuaded to ever buy another unit, part or even go to their dealership toilet ever again. I am soooo very disappointed with Winnebago!

  175. PHIL mitchell on June 12th, 2010 6:14 pm

    As evidenced by all of these complaints and my own personal experiences I submit that the RV Industry is made up of used car salesmen, horse traders, finance types,
    CPA’s and fast buck artist. No one in thesystem has any instittutinal experience in the evolution of producing anything of quality. Fastbuck during the RV boom was the bottom line. THERE ARE NO METRICS OR STANDARDS in the RV Industry for the finished product or any kind of Certification of so called maintenance technicians. ALL RV shops I have visited the knowledgable and qualified personnel left years ago leveing the BULL LABOR help to take up the slack. Some MAJOR chain operations employ personnel so marginal that answering a simple question about the products in their stores is a major challenge.
    If you do not have considerable mechanical experience and are a do it yourself type I cannot reccomend RV ownership for you.

  176. Elaine Cundiff on June 12th, 2010 9:34 pm

    We bought a very cheap R-Vision Max-Lite 28RL trailer not knowing if we would like the lifestyle. After three years of full-timing in this cheap trailer we are thrilled with it and plan on keeping it longer than we thought. We figured it paid for itself in two years. The one-ten light fixtures are crooked, the drawers are held up with small screws and barely any wood and yet it all works. The one slide looks like it would fall apart but we continually slide it in and out and it continues to work fine. Of course our expectations are not much since it was so cheap to begin with and it was not meant to be used full-time. We did soon after purchase replace the tires for larger ones with E ratings as the ones that came with it were unacceptable. The worst and a very bad problem was the gas pipe went over the axle and of course got a leak in it. Luckily we never drive with our propane on. We rerouted the gas line and have reinforced the drawers but have had no other problems. We feel lucky as we have driven it over thirty five thousand miles and not always on paved roads. We like to boondock and often take off to quieter areas on not so nice dirt roads. We are not very sedentary as we have been to Alaska, the Florida Keys, Newfoundland, Baja California and many places in between especially in the west and Rocky Mountains. We often think about getting a rig with automatic leveling and easier hook ups but then as long as we are physically able to do the work it takes to set up and take down our rig I guess we will keep it. It seem that the more gadgets the more likely things will go wrong. We don’t have many gadgets in ours. The appliances have worked fine and we have 525 watts of solar to enable us to use the one/ten electricity daily without hooking up. Since we love the lifestyle and are getting older and slower we think that one day we will get a rig that is easier to set up, so we hope the quality of those rigs improves soon.

  177. Al Paschen on June 16th, 2010 9:26 pm

    A previous contributor mentions that there is no Certification of RV service technicians. It is probably true that many RV dealers have no certified technicians. But, there is a very robust RVIA-RVDA Certification Program available to all RV Dealers that are willing to invest the time and money in their employees. The RV Technician Certification requires classroom work, practical hands-on experience and testing, leading to basic certification or the most advanced Master Certification. There are also RVIA-RVDA Certification programs for RV Service Writer/Advisor, Service Manager, Warranty Administrator and RV Parts Specialist.

    As I have said on previous occasions, choose your RV Dealer carefully if quality of service really matters to you. If the dealer has certified technicians, the certificates will be on the wall in the dealership. Also, check the shop facility to be sure there are bays, lifts, equipment and tools to do a proper job of service.

  178. Tireman9 on June 29th, 2010 6:41 am

    Lug
    In Jan you responded to a comment about the RV mags not doing any long term reports. I agree that they probably do not have the budget. However when you look at their “reviews” of the new rigs they borrow I just do not see much critical evaluation. The articles read more like PR Brochures than any real evaluation. The writers follow no consistent reporting format or provide objective data that can’t be found on the RV Mfg web site. Some quick and simple examples are; 1. “Tight” turning radius where they give the turning angle of the front tire as an indicator of the “radius”. 2. Fuel economy. Some figures I have seen are real questionable. The writers need to use some accurate measure and each needs a “standard” loop and each review needs to provide that writers last five MPG ratings for their loop. 3. “Nice” ride, “Quiet” engine are not meaningful measures.
    If you take a quick look at Car & Driver and possibly a couple of other car mags, you can see that they are more than willing to identify not just the “Pro” but also the “Con” of the vehicles they are reviewing.
    I bet it isn’t just a budget thing. Based on reply I received from an “editor”, I think they are not willing to print anything negative about the product of a potential advertiser.
    Do you really think that few people sent in a well written “long term” one two and three year use report on their personal RV it would get published? I would not hold your breath. I do plan on putting this to a test with my 2.5 year old Coachmen Freelander. It will be interesting to see if anyone is willing to publish an article on “After the new wears off”.
    The final measure of the editor’s willingness to publish less than positive reports on an RV manufacturer is seen in their conflict resolution columns where they seldom mention by name the brand and model RV with the problem under discussion.

  179. jim on July 19th, 2010 6:33 am

    rv industry could use better quality components: the crank up hatches were paper thin plastic that the sun got to after 2 years. a better grade could not possibly add more than $ 10 to an rv for the set.
    my kitchen sink faucet leaked under the cabinet but only when it was on. finally found the mixer part of the faucet was cracked…made of plastic. a replacement did the same thing after 4 years. probabal cause of the crack was due to getting air out of the system and the pressure encountered form the water being pushed up the sink faucet. i babied the 2nd one and believe that is why i got 4 years out of it. i have put one in tha has a metal mixing manifold…like u would encounter in ur home.

    product recalls: dometic produced a frig that had weak welds in some models. although i have not experienced a problem, their fix was to put a shield around the burner with a heat sensor in it. in the event or a failour, the sensor would shut down the gas. this fixes the results of a failour but not the failour.

  180. jim on July 19th, 2010 8:50 am

    read the post from Roger on Jan 8 2009 9:46pm. the japanese turned out a junk product in the 50’s. they hired a guru from the US (Demming?) who believed that u made ur money by turning out a quality product the first time–rework was expensive. the US auto industry rejected this idea and continued to turn out products with problems that would be caught and repaired by the dealer. Slowly, the japanese cars became known for quality and reliability and the US auto industry suffered. the US auto industry adapted and now makes a quality product.
    Most of what i am seeing posted here points to a product that is turned out with the same quality control standards common in the 50’s. The fact that it takes abuse going down the road and that the RV manufacture has to rush a new product to market or be left in the dust is an excuse. an excuse that causes rv manufactures that adopt these excuses finding themselfs filing for bankrupcy. Cars and trucks also encounter the same road conditions and usually in far greater frequency. the auto industry had to learn to deal with the problems. if ur an rv manufacture that buys form a vender that supplies u with a poor product, don’t buy from them.

    to me the best review that i could give a dealer or manufacture abt their service would be that “I can’t answer–haven’t had to use them.

  181. HJ Lamb on July 21st, 2010 5:03 pm

    Took the rig to Bozeman this spring and upon return noticed that one of the bedroom windows was delaminating and all fogged up. Wouldn’t you know it! Warranty ran out and extended warranty thru Sam’s club did not cover glass. However, the manufacturer did have a second year of coverage that the dealership was unaware of. Initially they contacted the company and told me it would cost over one thousand to cover the cost of replacement window as the entire window had to be removed and replaced. In addition, the shipping would be over 200 bucks and then a separate glass installer would have to do the work and I would also be responsible for the labor. I contacted the manufacturer on their non toll free line and was told that they needed pictures of the damage and that if it showed delamination, they would send the replacement parts at no charge. Went back to the dealer, talked with the owner instead of the maintenance hack and got it straightened out. Took a month to get the parts and now I have to find a glass place to do the job. Never in my life have I ever experienced such a basic lack of customer support or quality craftsmanship. What a turd this coach is turning out to be.

  182. Bill Forrest on July 24th, 2010 4:42 pm

    first RV we had custom built a 35 foot Vacationeer fifth wheel in 1979. We bought it hooked it up to a new one ton Dooley and went on a five year full time trip several times around the US. Only problem we ever had was a 2 inch water pipe nipple freezing in freezing weather. NO warranty issues.
    next was a 1985 30 foot Georgie Boy motorhome used with a dealer warranty. Used it four years and no warranty issues.
    next was a 1990 Suncrest Sunbus 35 foot ( an orphan), but never a problem other then replacing one oxygen sensor on the Engine.
    THIS one we bought a new 2004 Rexhall Rexair 33 foot. we had 145 warranty items in the first year. it had to go back to the factory. the factory driver wrecked one side of it in the gas station. We contacted the foremost lemon law attorney in California but they wouldn’t take it as they felt by the time the appeals were done this company would be out of business. we have had a lot more repairs to do since we came out of warranty. We were unable to use it the first two years because it was always in the shop or back to the factory.
    We haven’t been using it the last two years because it is too dangerous to drive as it is under the NTSC recall to replace all disc brake assemblies if and when Baush and Workhorse ever get around to doing it. It is 6 months old this month and we now have almost 10,000 miles on it, and it is currently in storage depreciating. It is now worth 70,000.00 dollars less then we paid for it, probably unsaleable, and unusable.
    The biggest warranty problem was the bedroom slide out was square but the hole in the wall was 3/8 inch out of square and leaked like a sieve on us in bed. we got it back from the factory and now it is still an 1/8th inch out of square so the wipers don’t touch the sides on the bottom half and jam way to tight on the top half.
    So now at its age and not mileage it needs new tires, new hoses, new belts. etc.
    Just replaced the Engine A/c condenser for 1300.00.
    I know this is a bit long winded but it explains my attitude that RV’s sure aren’t what they used to be and probably getting worse in this economy.
    Bebop Bill Forrest

  183. Bill Forrest on July 24th, 2010 4:45 pm

    typo in my post above should say the RV is now 6 years old, not 6 months old. I don’t see any way to correct it so here is my correction,
    Bebop Bill Forrest

  184. Lug_Nut on July 24th, 2010 4:58 pm

    Bill Forre, Yes, that one way to correct it. I don’t believe the quality is directly related to the issues, at least not initially. Perhaps it is a factor now, but the leading edge of this issue seemed to be in advance of the economic crunch. Thanks for your great input on this topic.

  185. Wally Mayo on August 25th, 2010 7:41 pm

    2008 I purchased a Escalade 5th wheel toyhauler manufactured by KZ from Kings Campers, Wausaw, WI. I had six problems of which the Dealer promptly to care of. A couple had to have prior approval from KZ, they were approved and promptly repaired at NO cost to me. I have since traded in the Toyhauler for a full house 5th wheel. Needless to say, from Kings Campers and a KZ StoneyBrook 5th wheel. I would not hesitate to recommend the Dealer and KZ to all my Friends.
    Wall~eee.007

  186. Tireman9 on September 6th, 2010 6:36 pm

    How to know the real quality…

    When you shop for a new RV ask the cost of extending the Factory bumper to bumper 12 month warranty to say 5 years. I bet initially they will just say “We don’t do that.”
    Try offering $2,000 or $4,000. If they still say NO then the dealer and factory are telling you that they expect that you will probably need to spend more than $4,000 to keep your “quality” RV running correctly for 5 years.

    If Hyundai, Kia can produce cars at low price with 5 year 50,000 B2B plue 10 year 100,000 drive train and GM & Ford can offer 3/36 + 10/100 on their RV chassis & trucks THEN IT CAN BE DONE BUT THE MFG HAS TO CARE ENOUGH TO MAKE THE EFFORT.

    Oh yes for every day the rig in in the shop the warranty is extended two days.

  187. Lug_Nut on September 7th, 2010 6:12 am

    ■Tireman9, Very interesting comments. It seems everyone is quite aware of the quality issue, or lack there of. Thank you for taking the time to post and for your great input.

  188. Al Dente on September 7th, 2010 10:04 am

    I owned Georgie Boy Pursuit from 1999 – 2000. The factory took care of my problems but it was a long ride to get there.

    In the waiting room I overheard 3 men discussing their experiences and one said that his former $300,000 motorhome was not any better than the $100,000 model that he had then.

    All of experience the ‘let the dealer fix it’ attitude of the assemblers. Several dealers that I went to had people w/ limitied motivation and/or skill.

  189. Lug_Nut on September 7th, 2010 11:57 am

    ■Al Dente, The skill level of many dealer’s tech’s is questionable for some. Thank you for your input on this topic.

  190. J W Hutt on October 28th, 2010 9:17 pm

    I see the lack of knowledge about how things work or designed to work in conjunction with other features of the RV. In my opinion, this is one of the
    problems with the RV manufacture as well as the dealer’s service technician.
    Fortunately for me, I made the choice to purchase from a dealer that has high
    standards for service work and the fact that I can fix or re-engineer most anything
    to a better product. That capability often works to my wife’s displeasure with the RV because I am always working to something to make it better. A lot of great
    ideas are floating around on the RV forums that would or should help the RV
    manufacturer to improve his product, if only they would listen. I believe a lot of these ideas would actually improve the quality and save $$ at the manufacturing
    level. To often the attitude is get it out the door and let someone else fix the problem. This was GM’s attitude back in the 70’s and 80’s until the Japanese
    came along with the Demming quality concept that proved that build junk or scrap was not in the best interest of the manufacture or the end user. It would be interesting to know if RV manufactures out side of North America have the same
    design and quality issues that are expressed in the above comments.

  191. HJ Lamb on October 31st, 2010 9:22 pm

    Just placed the rig in storage. The delaminated window was finally replaced at $69.00, a far cry from what I was originally told. On a lark, I asked the dealership to give me a trade-in price for one of the smaller 2011 Winnebago VIAs. Said they would give me 77K trade in allowance on my Itasca Spirit against 135K retail for the one on their lot. Decided to keep my clunker and ride it as hard as I can for the next 2 to 3 years as long as Good Sam’s club “warranty” is in force and then hope to have it paid down sufficiently to trade it for something else of equal or slightly more value. This dealership is something else. Never will I ever own anything winnebago or itasca again.

  192. Lug_Nut on November 1st, 2010 9:30 am

    ■HJ Lamb, I don’t know if the trade in offer is good as you did not state the age of your rig. Thank you for your input on this topic.

  193. Allan MacLellan on November 2nd, 2010 3:44 pm

    We’re on our 4th fifth wheel, although we haven’t had real “major” problems we certainly have had our share of issues. The worst has been our current one, it’s an 09 Sundance by Heartland, we like the unit but when we bring it to the selling dealer for service, LEISURE DAYS RV, in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada, we encounter nightmares. It all started when I went to pick up the trailer, two technicians came to do a walk through with me, they both admitted that they “hadn’t done this before” first off all it apears their technichans know very little about the product that they’re supposed to service. I ended up explaining to them how things worked. We’ve had many trips there and many problems, one in particular was when our underbelly was sagging I brought it in and their answer to my problem was to put a bolt in to hold it up, they put the bolt right through my water tank, need I say more. I live 75 miles away and when I was called, “your trailer is ready” I went to pick up my unit and upon inspection I noticed the leak right away, the service manager said oh “I’ll fix that” he removed the bolt and water flowed like Niagra Falls, so I go home without it AGAIN. That dealership has caused me more headaches, almost every time I brought the unit in for warranty work they made it worse. I must say however that Heartland has been excellent to stand behind their product, in my case, thank God for them.

  194. HJ Lamb on November 17th, 2010 5:46 pm

    Lugnut,

    The trade in question was a 2011 Winnebago Via and I found out that I would have to travel about 220 miles to get any powertrain services as the local Winnebago dealer did not handle that aspect and there were no local dealerships that worked on the mercedes power plant!

  195. HJ Lamb on November 17th, 2010 5:51 pm

    Ooops, too much network news! My rig is a 2009 Itasca Spirit 31C with 7800 miles. The dealership was offering me exactly what I paid for it against straight retail – @ $130000 for the smaller Via.

  196. terry on December 26th, 2010 8:12 pm

    i shoped a long time for a class a motorhome. talked to many owners with different makes and brands, high end and low end.even my dad who had a daiman intruder new. after all the problems and rigs that sat in shops time and again for months on end i decided to look for a used rig with low mileage. i finally bought a 1989 malibu cobra 36and a half foot class a with 70,000 mi. i have all receipts from the second owner . there was one recall on the saburban heater in 1990 that was taken care of by the manufacture. all other receipts were all up grades .stereo, new tires, interior day and night shades ,ect.this is a full walk around queen bed sliding mirror large clost doors ect.this rig was kept as new.it has a gas 460 c.i. ford motor. it also has an after market steer – rite system thats keeps this rig driving straight down the road even when semi s blow by me on both sides at the same time. it drives like a caddilac. i will never buy a new rig. i love this rig..

  197. Al Paschen on January 2nd, 2011 11:22 pm

    I am pleased to see that, after 2 years, this post is still receiving comments. Definitely a hot topic. Surprisingly, I don’t find comments regarding rain water leaks, even though I know leaks are a serious problem. It is really a maintenance issue that doesn’t usually show up till years later when the ceiling starts to sag. Class C motorhomes, 5th wheels and travel trailers seem to be victims of water damage more than Class A’s.

    A large number of RVs, maybe 25 a year, of all brands, come in to our shop with serious water damage requiring expensive rebuilding. All currently built RVs that I know of depend on seam sealants to keep the rain out. Sealants deteriorate at unpredictable rates depending on weather and storage conditions. Manufacturers recommend visual inspection of all seams at least every 6 months, some say 90 days. Any RV owner who hasn’t checked sealants recently would be well advised to do it now. A lot of damage can happen before spring.

    Anyone trying to assess the quality of an RV should really study the number of seams, (roof, windows and corners) that depend on a bead of sealant to keep out the rainwater. Less seams is better. Less fittings cut through the roof is better. A gasket between two rigid surfaces is better than sealant squirted on the seam. A very small number of manufacturers are trying, but it does cost more.

  198. Jim Stevens on February 2nd, 2011 6:01 pm

    If you’re not driving a full steel framed bus with steel walls you’re driving crap that will fall apart in an accident or burn like crazy given half a chance. Styrofoam sandwiched between fiberglass and luan plywood is all you’ll ever get if you don’t raise hell and demand more. Tell your significant other to kiss your ass when they demand slides, glitz and glamor over substance and safety.

  199. terry on February 5th, 2011 10:24 pm

    this is why i purchased a 1989 ,36.6, class a malibu cobra in top shape and only 70,000 original miles.it has a full rear walk around bedroom , a ton of cabinett space . full bath and shower private with a door from the kitchen and from the bedroom. three digital tv s.my point here is , it had all the bugs worked out from the prior owner who was a mechanic.i have every receipt that was ever worked on and totally upgraded with a steer rite front axle system which allows this osh cosh chassis ride like a caddalac in any weather or highway simi passing situation. i love it. i dont trust a newer one.

  200. Ralph Compton on February 16th, 2011 6:49 pm

    I guess I am just lucky. I have a 1998 (I think) Avion 5th wheel and have had no problems at all. Wife just loves the trailer. I also have a Winnebago Ultimate 40 ft with a Cummins 370, 2004. No issues with the Ultimate other than the price of diesel. I have 36000 miles on it and only use it for personal travel to doing conventiion shows.

  201. brian on February 26th, 2011 8:08 pm

    i’m an rv tech by trade.i take great pride in my workmanship.when we pdi new trailers, it’s amazing the low quality these rv’s were assembled at the factory.it is odiously no true tradesman working at these factory’s . these trailer we buy now come from the factory with a list of defects a mile long.ie roofs not sealed properly,leaky plumbing, bad electrical,and overall bad fit and finish.we have had 2 trailers delivered to us last month, froze up solid because the factory forgot to winterize the trailer.we don’t have any problems with the appliances or any of the secondary vendors stuff much,just how the factory installed them.the last one i did a PDI on the home theater speakers were not working right ,and found the factory wired it up wrong,easy fix next one of the speakers in the bed room didn’t work,dead short in the wire,3 hour later found some moron at the factory drilled a hole for a power awning right through the wiring harness for the bed room.he knew he did this because he fed the awning wire through the harness he just drilled through ,and you could see the bare wires.i understand that people pay huge money for these things and want them flawless, heck i would.but i my opinion is these things are not worth the money,the quality is not there.we used to sell extreme trailers until they closed their doors (thank god). they were bar none the worst trailers i have ever worked on. a week to fix the crap from the plant before we could sell them.
    i guess that’s why i buy older trailers and motor homes and fix them my self. better quality. In my opinion
    just a comment from an insider

  202. Lug_Nut on February 27th, 2011 8:46 am

    Brian, Great input. Thanks for the inside tech view. Much of your comments are felt by others.

  203. gary sheldon on February 27th, 2011 7:21 pm

    Our 2006 Keystone Sprinter (a 5er) was excellent except for the Carlise tires which shredded in spite of paying close attention to air pressures etc. We replaced them w/ Tow Masters from Costco with no more trouble at all. I only hope our new Cougar 5er performs as well in all aspects. I expect it will if I do my part.

  204. Lug_Nut on February 27th, 2011 8:20 pm

    ■gary sheldon, Hopefully your next experience will be as good as the previous. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  205. Jim Stevens on May 6th, 2011 4:57 pm

    Brian thank you….. You have to buy something older to get any quality. There is nothing out there that isn’t fiberglass and worse…..by that I mean fiberglass and crap. Interiors are luan plywood, crap hinges, stick and staple construction. They are nothing but Tupperware plastic crapolla boxes. Rise up everyone and refuse this shite. Buy a used Bluebird or a new/used Newell or Prevost.

  206. Lug_Nut on May 7th, 2011 5:10 am

    Jim, You seem to think Bluebird, Newell and Prevost coaches are without issues. I can assure you there have been many owners that would dispute that. Your refference to “Tupperware boxes” makes no sense, the quality issues rarely involve the outside structure. Conversions can have roof leaks too, there is little difference. Additionally they use many of the same components and appliances, the same ones that breakdown in other coaches.

  207. Jim on May 7th, 2011 6:41 am

    Jim, & Lug_Nut ,

    I have used a lot of Tupperware boxes, never had any break on me. they were always tough little buggers. To me he’s commending these newer units.

  208. VT Big Dogs on May 16th, 2011 10:32 pm

    I just joined this forum and have only read a couple of comments on this thread but I’m wondering if anyone has commented on the incredible integrity of the Lazy Daze Class C motorhomes made in Montclair, CA and the Lazy Daze Company. We have owned one for 8.5 years and have haven’t had one thing to complain about. We have had questions that have been answered immediately and by highly qualified personnel. They are readily accessible and very helpful. You can check out owners comments on the Lifewithalazydazerv yahoo group forum.

  209. Little Big Horn on May 29th, 2011 10:00 pm

    Have a 2010 Big Horn by Heartland 5er, have had some issues with brass water valves, mfgr will not take responsibility (out of warranty by 9 months) for faulty components from outside supplier. The valve design is such that it would never have worked from the get go. I believe that we will see more of this type of poor quality in component design in the future. It is up to the RV mfgr to check out the supplies components prior to installation in their RV. Afterall it is their good name that is on the RV, not the component supplier.

  210. Becky Engle on June 27th, 2011 7:05 pm

    Quality control sucks for RV’s, RV components and most RV repair shops. We were newbies when we bought our rig (Dynamax Touring Cruiser 34′) which I picked out because we both wanted to be able to drive for safety reasons and we took RV driving lessons.. We have a Freightliner chassis and a Catepillar C-7 engine. I picked it out because the front end was like my pick-up truck and I thought I could easily learn to drive it and we thought repairs on the engine would be easy. We thought we were buying quality. HA! The only thing we have been happy about is the Freightliner chassis, the engine and Freightliner’s 24/7 service -FANTASTIC. My husband got so upset with all the things breaking that I finally had to say “we’re going to have one breakdown per trip and if you can’t accept that and just go with the flow, we’ll sell the rig” The engine cut out twice on me on the way home from the dealership – low coolant because installation of the hydro-hot system had sucked all up all the coolant and no one bothered to check it after installation. You have to go out and “clang the solenoid with a wrench” to get hot air from the hydro-hot furnace/hot water system if the solenoid is stuck, so check it before you go to bed in cold weather locations.. The surround sound speakers cut out because the woofer connections shake lose and you have to plug them back in from time to time, the Dometic microwave/convection oven has failed, our Dometic fridge in under recall, the gas regulator on the Dometic stove top leaked and had to be replaced and that repair fixed on our next trip out. The dealer, Richardson RV, totally screwed up the wiring of our towing pigtail and there was no power flowing from the rig to the tow vehicle which destroyed the battery in the brand new Yaris and it took 3 repair stops and about $1200 to get that fixed, one of which was Camping World in El Paso and in addition to not fixing the problem, they stole our emergency road kit. Not going back to Camping World ever. The fresh water compartment heating fan didn’t heat and only circulated cold air so the water filter froze at 17 degrees in Santa Fe and we had no water.(The bigger problem was that the boiler in the main building had also gone out so no hot water there either.) The muffler fell off on our first long trip because it had not been strapped on properly – the fault of the RV manufacturer. So far the HRH levelers have worked and the slides are still sliding but we pray a lot over all the remaining unbroken parts. We are members of a small RV group many of whom have been RVers forever and they all tell the same stories about poor quality and stuff that breaksi We should all band together and demand better quality or we will be stuck with crap forever.

  211. Sean Williams on July 12th, 2011 10:16 am

    Hello everyone,

    As I see that you are all talking about RV’s, I am new to the RV scene. Me and my family are very interested in getting a unit, but aren’t real sure on where to even start looking. We think we want a travel trailer because its just me, my wife, and our little one. Does anyone have any suggestions on units or on a where to look?

  212. Roger Marble on July 28th, 2011 4:53 pm

    I know that it’s easy to provide general complaints but I have data. See the pictures on this thread.
    http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/25201759/srt/pa/pging/1.cfm

    I have not included all items of poor quality. Seems Coachmen didn’t bother to set front end alignment after they added all the coach weight so I have irregular wear and of course they didn’t bother to tell me to get the new RV aligned on the way home from the dealer.

    To those that want to use the excuse that the Rv has to go down the road, I would suggest that the manufacturer and suppliers provide components intended for their use.
    If you built a new home in North Dakota and you had heating problems in the winter, would you accept the excuse that it was built to the same standards as used in Florida. Of course not. you expect the builder to provide components intended for the expected service and conditions.

  213. Lug_Nut on July 29th, 2011 8:04 am

    Roger Marble, You make a very valid point and I totally agree. Thank you for taking the time and sharing your ideas with us.

  214. Rob LeBoeuf on August 4th, 2011 4:45 pm

    My wife and I bought a new 2010,31 foot, Palomino 5th Wheel to replace our tiny 19.5 foot Roadrunner, this past april.
    The fit and finish on our new rig is terrible, moldings not even close to touching, doors hung croocked and mis-aligned, and general faults that the dealer has had to repair/replace. I realize that even a brand new house will have things wrong with it, and requires maintenance, but it would appear that either the manufacturer decided that we would not pay enough, or it was a “Monday” trailer.
    Maybe I am becoming a grumpy old guy, but what ever happened to quality control, and care?

  215. Lug_Nut on August 5th, 2011 8:50 am

    Rob LeBoeuf, You are not alone as posted by many new owners. However you have bought it, so get things corrected and hopefully you can enjoy years of happy camping. Thank you for sharing your experience with us and for your paticipation on this topic.

  216. Michael McInerney on August 20th, 2011 8:09 pm

    I recently had some repairs done to my McKenzie Starwood 28 ft Fiver, On going to pick the unit up I hitched to the truck and lo and behold one of the landing legs would not retract (both were working fine when we dropped it off to the dealer) this was on Saturday August 13, one of the mechanics looked at it and said he would look at it and call me on Monday, nobody called by Wednesday, I called and was passed from pillar to post, finally I was contacted on Fr5iday, was told a new leg was needed but was not yet ordered, would be ordered on Monday, so it looks like I will be without the unit for a further couple of weeks. I told them I did not think I should be responsible for the cost of repair as the leg was working fine when I dropped it off at their dealership but I feel I will be tilting at windmills, needless to say I do not think I shall have any further work done at this dealership.

  217. Lug_Nut on August 21st, 2011 5:34 am

    Michael McInerney, Poor dealer service has been a common complaint. Dealer’s can not attract enough skilled talent or perhaps pay enough. Thank you for your valued input.

  218. Hastings Lamb on August 27th, 2011 7:19 pm

    It has been a while since last commenting on this topic. However, I just partially (will explain later) returned from a visit with my grandkids in Michigan. I replaced and downsized my 2009 Itasca Spirit with a 2012 Winnebago Via. I looked at several other brands and models, but a very good friend let me try his Via and explained he had downsized from a 40 foot class A to this and was really enjoying it despite the much lower weight accomodations and more limited space. So, I decided to trade in my old one after trying to sell it with no luck, and did get a decent trade. I purchased it on 6/28 and made several local trips with nothing but very minor issues. Then the big test came on 8/8 when the wife, daughter and I mounted minimum amounts of take along stuff, like using all plastic microwave safe ultralight cookware, plastic cups and paper dishes along with similar utensils and only a 5 day change of undergarments with clothes that we could alternate and a limited supply of on the road food items that could be grilled or microwaved. Our 2 dogs also came along and after weighing everything out, we were only 5 pounds over the authorized weight limit and I dropped from 3/4 tank of water to 1/2 tank to make sure we were lower than recommended. Everything worked like a charm and off we went from Great Falls Montana to Grand Rapids Michigan by way of MT 200 to I-94 thru North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and into Michigan with the only issue being a floor level speaker cover popping off but was easily replaced. We spent 10 days with the kids and grandkids, even taking them camping to a local campground for several days to try the camping experience they never had. It was great times, grand kids went fishing for first time ever and caught plenty of sunnies and crappies. On 8/22 we started our return trip and had just made it within 25 miles of Bismarck when the bottom fell out!

    Our brand new 2012 Winnebago Via lost all power as I was just passing a slow moving semi. It was almost as if the ignition was turned off! I had a 53 foot semi on my right, another withing 30 feet of my rear and several others behind the slower one on my right. I had nowhere to go but left with flasher blinking and onto a very narrow strip of shoulder. As these trucks passed and several cars went wizzing by, I was aable to nurse it over to the right shoulder and park it. I dismounted from the driver side as there was no traffic close and immediately looked for a fuel leak. Nothing. I popped the hood with the usual know nothing attempt to discover if anything was visible to reflect a problem. Nothing, again! I remounted from the passenger side, got into the drivers seat and started the engine. It immediately fired up as if everything was OK. When I placed it into gear I got something else entirely. It proceeded to move very sluggishly and eventually got up to 40 MPH with the accelerator pedal floored. With flashers going I limped into Bismarck and parked in the visitor information parking lot to get information as to location and phone numbers of the local Winnebago dealer. I called them and the person I spoke with said sorry we don’t handle engine issues and I should take it to the local Dodge truck dealer, click, buzz! I call the Dodge dealer and they say they are not certified to work on the Sprinter chasis and I would have to contact Mercedes Benz and take it 100 miles north to get it checked. I call Mercedes Benz number in the Vehicle manual and they say that I will have to get it towed to either Rapid City or back to Fargo and that at least they would pay for that and the repairs. But, and there is always a but, I and my family could not go along and would have to stay in Bismarck while the RV was towed to Fargo. Then they tell me to wait while they make arrangements to obtain a wrecker service to take the Via. Meanwhile wife and daughter getting frantic because we would have to either get a hotel and stay or rent a vehicle to get my daughter back to Great Falls for upcoming appointments and work as well as accomodate our 2 dogs. Paradise in hell!

    I call to obtain a rental car and none available of a size to fit everything and everyone. I call and after contacting about 5 hotels finally find one allowing pets. We pull everything out of refrigerator that would possibly go bad and take to a local dumpster, still in the visitor info parking lot. We then focus on taking minimum amounts of clothing and pet food to make it for a possible 3 to 4 day stay in a motel. Get a call back from Mercedes and a wrecker is to come from Fargo to haul our rig back to Fargo but wont arrive for another 3 hours! I call taxi service to haul us over to our Motel (132.00 a night!) and get everything and everyone into taxi van making it in one trip and then call for another taxi to come pick me up and take me back to RV. While waiting I call Good Sams extended service concerning possible assistance with trip interruption and get the run around as to that it all depends on whether it is a covered part that breoke down. I did not know at that time what the cause was and the man I talked with did not sound very optimistic. I call Mercedes Benz to ask about trip interruption only to be told that the Sprinter does not qualify for that. Wrecker finally arrives and driver makes me very nervous stating he never hauled a motor home before. RV gets winched up onto trailer with much groaning noises making me very uncomfortable and then driver asks me how tall it is. I make big gulp and check owners manual finding it 11 feet tall plus distance from groud is another 3 to 4 feet. Driver checks with boss and finds out it is good to go. Takes off for Fargo and I am left in parking lot watching baby go down I-94 and spend 10 minutes waiting for cab to take me back to hotel.

    Get up early next AM and call car rental places and find a van available to take family back to Great Falls. Call Fargo Valley Imports to make sure RV arrived and get idea when it would be fixed. Service manager says it is being looked at and will call me back when problem is found. Gert Van loaded up with intention of going to Fargo but a call back shoots that down. The EGR valve is bad, no replacement available and will try, no guarantee, to get it 24 hour shipped and then worked into schedule with a hopeful fix by late afternoon on 8/26. Homeward bound to Great Falls and arrive on 8/25 around midnight after driving all the way through. Call next morning and vehicle would be ready by 3:30 PM for pick up. Bad news as I am now in Great Falls and RV is in Fargo. Wife, daughter and dogs glad to be home. Now I must return to get RV and decide to fly. Big mistake, short notice flight one way + $1100.00. Go on Internet to browse for cheaper deal, find one but have to wait until 9/2 to get there (now down to $416.00). Call Valley Imports in Fargo and they agree to hold it for me until I get there.

    Now the kicker – that EGR valve is a known issue and has been since the Sprinter was designed or put up for sale. The problem is pretty well documented and I even asked about it at the local Winnebago dealership before purchase. I was told it had been resolved. They lied!

    I e-mailed my disappointment to Winnebago and asked for some reimbursement from Winnebago for all the problems but have yet to hear anything. What a nightmare this has come to be!

  219. Lug_Nut on August 28th, 2011 7:22 pm

    Hastings Lamb, Unbelievable! This is what people talk about. I’m sorry your experience was that bad, and it certainly was. Some have issues, but your’s really takes the cake. Glad you lived throughn it. Thank you for sharing your experience with all of us. And for living through it all.

  220. Hastings Lamb on August 30th, 2011 10:29 pm

    Update:

    get the following in an e-mail from Winnebago:

    “Mr. Lamb,

    Winnebago Industries regrets any difficulties you have experienced with your Via. We sincerely desire to provide quality products and service to all Winnebago owners.

    When you purchased your Winnebago motor home, you received two separate warranties: the Winnebago limited warranty, which covers the body portion of your motor home, and a chassis manufacturing limited warranty, which covers the chassis. The engine, transmission, and other related components may carry their own individual warranties.

    Winnebago Industries under any circumstances does not assume responsibility for loss of time, inconvenience, or other consequential damage, including expense for gasoline, telephone, travel, lodging, loss or damage to personal property, or loss of revenue.

    Since we are unable to assist you directly, we suggest you contact Mercedes Benz at 877/762-8267. As the manufacturer of the chassis portion of your vehicle, we feel they are in the best position to assist you..

    If you have further questions, please feel free to call me at 800/537-1885.

    Thank you.

    Jay Swearingen
    Service Advisor
    Winnebago Industries, Inc.
    P: 800/537-1885
    F: 641/585-6981″

    So I call Mercedes Benz back and find out that the Sprinter is the only Mercedes Benz vehicle that does not carry a trip Interruption guarantee. Something beginning to smell very bad here!

    Go back to Winnebago and contact district sales rep to relate problem, he says that this is the first time he has heard anything negative about the Via/Sprinter. More funny odors! Nevertheless he is going to see if there is anything that can be done but can make no guarantees!

    I will get to Fargo this coming Friday to fetch the RV and hope I make it back unscathed, wish me luck!

  221. Lug_Nut on August 31st, 2011 6:37 am

    Hastings Lamb, Thanks for sharing that with us. It seems the saga continues. Please keep us posted as to your finds and your return run.

  222. Hastings Lamb on September 1st, 2011 1:26 am

    Very sorry for the recent tomes. Still no resolution regarding the $1700 it took to get everyone home safe and pay for the trip back. I will probably have to write the costs off to experience and never ever will I recommend anything Winnebago, Dodge, or Mercedes Benz. These smaller class A RVs definitely aren’t the cats meow they are touted to be nor is the service that should go along with them. I must add, in all fairness however, that MB did get a tow and pay for that and repairs, but Winnebago left me hanging out to dry and I won’t be forgetting about that very soon. I intend to take this thing back for warranty work every time the slightest issue arises. I intend to get my money’s worth for as long as the extended warranty is in service.

  223. Lug_Nut on September 1st, 2011 11:00 am

    Hastings Lamb, How disappointing your experience with the manufacturer has been. Ultimately Winnebago should be responsibile, they were the one that dealt with Dodge and MB. Thank you for posting this update. Best of luck in future.

  224. bonnie marsh on September 1st, 2011 4:17 pm

    We have been camping since the late 70’s and now on our second camper. We bought a 2010 Keystone Springdale 32′ fifth wheel new. It had the floor plan we liked, a price we could afford, and it is light weight allowing us to tow with a 1/2 ton Tundra. We have had absolutely no problems towing this unit with the Tundra. Knock on wood we have had no major problems. The unit was purchased at Campers Inn in Byron, GA. There was no pressure to purchase the unit and service has been excellent.

  225. Lug_Nut on September 1st, 2011 7:25 pm

    bonnie marsh, Wow, what a great thing. That’s the way everybody should experience their RV purchase and use. Thank you for a wonderful post on this topic.

  226. Hastings Lamb on September 5th, 2011 12:03 am

    Just got home after flying from Great Falls to Fargo and driving the Via back. The service department manager at the Mercedes-Benz dealership said the EGR valve was damaged due to a design defect in the way Winnebago matches the chassis to the whole coach allowing water intrusion into the engine compartment that floods the air filter and shorts out or damages the EGR valve. The fix of course is to replace the EGR valve and refrain from driving in the rain. Mercedes Benz refuses to acknowledge any resolution and Winnebago continues to point their finger at Mercedes Benz saying they don’t do chassis work and meanwhile the consumer is left holding a bag of hot air. My only resolution in obtaining satisfaction would be to hire an attorney and sue. If I win the lottery I will paint this thing yellow and green and park it across the street from the dealer with a huge signboard detailing everything that has happened, recommending that buying from winnebago would be a big mistake!

  227. Lug_Nut on September 5th, 2011 6:24 am

    Hastings Lamb, Well surely Winnebago will modify the air intake box that will avoid water entering, won’t they? Also, was MB’s service covered on waranty? The air intake issue was experienced by other makers and was corrected in their cases. Oneof the most frustrating things is to have the body maker and the chassis maker blaming one another. Yours however seems more obvious. Please keep us posted on this dilemna.

  228. Hastings Lamb on September 6th, 2011 3:43 pm

    Winnebago dealer in Great Falls says they don’t do anything on the chassis (i.e. engine, engine components, drive train, exhaust, tires, transaxles, etc. so I guess the answer to your question is no.

    Mercedes Benz “authorized representatives only” as per MB can work on those issues. Insofar as the “house” on the wheels, well Winnebago does that stuff and only that stuff unless you have a combined Winnebago with authorized MB rep in the same outhouse.

    MB did pay for the 400 mile round trip wrecker service and the EGR R&R since the Sprinter portion was still under warranty. I also was informed by the Fargo, ND MB dealership that the EGR defect was caused by Winnebago BUT, and there is always a BUTT, I also found several complaints online about the Winnebago View as well as the Via having the same problem and that also included the Itasca Reyo as well. Something is definitely remiss and I am not the only one who had a rig decellerate on the Interstate. Somebody is going to get severely hurt or killed as a result of this and the childish bickering between these two has got to stop and get the problem properly fixed. All I can do is continue to tell my end of it to whomever will listen and maybe somewhere along the line the issue will get fixed ala unsafe at any speed format if nothing else.

    I am trying to figure out a way to get the message out without incurring any legal attacks by MB or Winnebago. In Montana, they do have lemon laws for “vehicles” (e.g. cars and trucks, biut no mention of RVs, so that also limits any possible legal recourse and I don’t see any reports on the national traffic safety web page re this issue either.

  229. Hastings Lamb on September 6th, 2011 4:29 pm

    Just reported this problem to NHTSA and guess what, there were several other reports for the same problem. I have amassed a listing of complaints about not only the Via but also the View and Reyo as well. So if anyone out there is experiencing the same issue I will be happy to share what I have.

  230. Lug_Nut on September 7th, 2011 5:22 am

    Hastings Lamb, The fact that similar complaints have been filed is interesting. Usually the manufacturer reflect that you are the only one with this issue, Thank you for sharing this with us and best of luck reaching a reasonable resolution.

  231. thomas wessels on October 16th, 2011 10:27 am

    We have a 1971 Revcon motorhome and are in constant awe at the weird direction motorhoming has taken in 40 years.

    It cannot be fun to

    1) pay $150K and up for the ‘privilege’ of owning an overloaded, complex behemoth that has inevitable failures that only the manufacturer can (maybe) fix.
    (Start peeling off the hundred dollar bills here).
    2) drive a 14 foot high, flat-sided (read top-heavy), swirly painted (what’s up with that??) box that is too big for many State / National Parks, not to mention myriad routes with overhead clearance issues.
    (I see the white-knuckled focus of on-coming big-rig drivers, have driven busses short distances…it is NOT fun)
    3) try to back the whole rig up with a tow car attached
    (I can back our rig and toad around the block)
    4) Wonder when the 3 (4?) heavy, bulky slideouts will extend/ retract/leak.
    (and why are slidouts required equipment nowadays???)
    5) realize that someday, the roof will leak, the sides will bow and bubble.
    (of course, there’s always Elkhart, IN. ..I know 3 people now scheduled to be there for MONTHS to fix aforementioned problems)!

    Our Revcon was designed to ‘motor-home’…not ‘home-motor’. If one needs a washer/drier, dishwasher, garbage disposal, 3 tvs and slideouts, perhaps one does not really enjoy the sublime experience of ‘motorhoming’.

    That said, our light weight riveted-construction, low profile, front wheel drive, gas powered rig (10 mpg with toad) excells in side winds and will likely be around another 40 years. It was designed by the step-son of Wally Byam of Airstream fame so they’re constructed similarly.

    Not many of today’s motorhomes will in the same condition …or even around… in 20 years.

    I contend that we have more fun for less money, can keep up with any diesel-fume-spewing big rig…at a fraction of the cost…every time!

    That’s the reality.

    ‘Rosebud’ 1971 Revcon 250

  232. Lug_Nut on October 16th, 2011 10:35 am

    thomas wessels, Love your descriptive post, and very true too. Thanks for taking the time to post and good luck with your smaller timeless vehicle.

  233. thomas wessels on October 25th, 2011 4:09 pm

    Thanx, Lug_Nut.
    I do tend to rant sometimes!
    Really enjoy the banter here and the good info the blog provides.
    Cheers.

  234. Lug_Nut on October 25th, 2011 5:43 pm

    thomas wessels, Thanks, I’m glad you enjoy such topics. I would do more, but, I’m feed up with “New Sam Announcement” for weeks on end being the feature spot. Wow, with 7 comments, you would think they get the message!

  235. Rod Mann on October 25th, 2011 10:55 pm

    Between the electronics and plastic parts of today’s vehicles you can’t expect much… Friends GMC 3/4 ton TV radio knocked out the computer… $3,000 and 8 months later the cure for the never ending problem was to disconnect the factory radio which had been the original cause for computer data link failure… dealers had replaced engine computer, body computer, egr, one of the massive fuse block boxes in that 8 months and problem of all dash gauges going dead always came back. Dealer service writers in both California and Nevada were told radio face plate felt hot to touch and would quit before anything else… computer data link is connected through the every electrical appliance and a failure can occur anywhere in the system.. Its the New World Order-Cost By Design

  236. Lug_Nut on October 26th, 2011 11:32 am

    Rod Mann, I can agree mostly with you, however the electronics used today, have for most worked quite flawless. When you consider that everything including what used to be mechanically controled is fully lodgically operated on micro volt pulses. But, I;m not disagreeing with your general theme. Thanks for your valued input.

  237. Scott on October 28th, 2011 12:18 pm

    I have my speculations as to why RV’s aren’t as well put together as they could be.. First off.. The companies that push “amish” quality construction is just good for advertizing. The amish have nothing to do with quality craftsmanship.. They are just employees there… Would it make any difference if every assemblier was college educated?? The RV companies hire bodies to work their assembly lines, much the same as Henry Ford did.. 1 person does 1 job..

    About the parts they use for assembly.. They use the lowest bidder… not the “best” parts available.. I would LOVE to see any RV company get ISO 9000 Certified or better!!! The employees at those companies are mostly just “kids” that don’t care..or just don’t know how to do it any better.. allignment is “close enough” and fit & finish is “looks good from my house”.

    These are just observations I’ve made in todays workforce.. Heck even union workers no longer take pride in their job… they’re just out for themselves and to heck with anyone else.. More than once I have been told to “slow down… Milk it… Your working too fast… With the job philosophy of “It’s good enough for government work” Ya see….NO Pride! Thats my opinion..

  238. Lug_Nut on October 28th, 2011 5:40 pm

    Scott, I can agree with the majority of your post with the exception of your comments regarding the Amish. While, of course there are just bodies like any group, the Amish have a higher than normal share of true tradesmen, a rare thing today. Their woodwork in some cases exceeds the craftsman quality of what it the norm today.
    Thanks for your posting on this topic.

  239. Roger Marble on October 31st, 2011 6:51 pm

    Mr. Lamb
    Per your question “I am trying to figure out a way to get the message out without incurring any legal attacks by MB or Winnebago.”
    It would seem to me that as long as you stick to the facts you could post your tale of woe on a number of different RV forums & blogs.
    You might even consider a YouTube video.
    Glad to see you filed a complaint with NHTSA. Having your vehicle suddinly slow to below legal limit is definayely a Safety Defect.

  240. Roger Marble on November 1st, 2011 7:12 pm

    Mr. Lamb
    Maybe you could post (just the facts) on this thread about poor quality.

    http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/25517587/srt/pa/pging/1.cfm

    I also think that small claims court should be strongly considered.

  241. Lug_Nut on November 1st, 2011 11:40 pm

    Roger Marble, It’s a shame to think you should have to go to that extent. Especially with a good manufacturer. Thanks for your post.

  242. David Bond on December 1st, 2011 3:47 am

    hello all,
    I know for a fact that some manufacturers are skimping on Quality,I have ran a couple , Howerver i now own my own manufacturering company , we build slide in truck campers with slides , and custom units , I assure you our quality is number one and thats what we strive for , If the manufacturers would build in quality starting with quality products then end with quality ,

  243. Lug_Nut on December 1st, 2011 8:34 am

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