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Old 12-06-2010, 09:29 AM   #1
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Big problem with a coachmen travel trailer

Sorry to show up with problems, but need some forum help and feedback, please. My father is fairly "un-tech-savvy," so depends on me for help. He asked that I post this to try to get some direction.

He has a 2009 Coachmen Spirit of Americal 30 RLS. He bought it brand-new 18 months ago from Travel Country RV Center in Lake Park, Georgia. He's had a few little nit-picking warranty items, but nothing major. Recently, he discovered a HUGE problem, however.

On both sides of the bed (in front of the coach) he has rot in the floor. I should add that his coach has been sheltered from the day he bought it, only exposed to rain and the elements before he bought it (on the dealer lot) and when they are travelling. In total, it probably has not spent 15 days out from under the shelter in 18 months.

The rot is pretty severe, so much so in fact that it is likely one could almost fall through. There is no visible evidence of water intrusion, although he "thinks" that it may have come in around the pass-through storage doors on each side (because they are not caulked.)

He's carried the coach to the dealer, and they have filed a warranty (manufacturer's defect) claim, but are not optimistic at all that Forest River will do anything, because this was one of the last Coachmen-built units and the warranty is out. They recommended that he contact Forest River directly, as well as "All-American Group." He called them on Friday, and Forest River was sympathetic. All American was rude.

Any ideas how to proceed, who to talk to, etc. This is an extensive and expensive repair. The dealer quoted 40 hours of labor to repair, plus materials.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:30 AM   #2
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All I can do is wish you the best, but I will be surprised if they cover it under warranty. You may have better luck with All American if that's the insurance co. You'll have to read the contract real well though cause they're not going to offer anything.
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Old 12-06-2010, 04:09 PM   #3
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had the same problrm with our. And I fixed it myself before it ruined our floor. Our is a brand new Rockwood 2011 trailer. Here is what I found. Under the baggage flange there was no caulking at all. The other item that was causing the water to seep in was the screws: I removed all the screws that hold the door insert and filled the screws with silicone before they were put back. When I removed a few screws the holes were full of water. I discovered this leak because the menbrane was leaking under the baggage door when it was raining. I made an incision in the menbrane and the wood under the menbrane was soak wet. To tell you that a leak like this can go a long way before you notice it and when you find out after a year or so it is too late. Your floor is rotted. Since I did these fixes I have not had a single leak under the baggage door flooring
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Old 12-10-2010, 01:13 PM   #4
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Unfortunately, this story does not end happily. I've just spent the last few hours on the phone with the dealer, with Forest River, and with All American Group.

The service department at Travel Country Rv: Their hands are tied, which I understand. The warranty claim was filed with Forest River, and passed along to All American.

Forest River's Warranty Department: Forest River administers warranty claims for "in-warranty" coaches. In other words, if the coach has less than 1 year from the in-service date. My Dad's coach was built on 6/24/08, and he bought it on 5/1/09. It is out of warranty, even for an obvious manufacturers' defect. If the coach is out of warranty, it gets passed along to All American Group. Steve Brandenberger at Forest River is sympathetic, but unwilling and/or unable to help.

All American Group is what's left of Coachmen: Coachmen sold the trade name and the fixed assets to Forest River on 12/26/08. Forest River did not purchase any contingent liabilities, and did not purchase Coachmen as an ongoing concern. Mel Williams is the "decider," and he has denied the claim.

The end result: Claim is denied. Dad must pay to have it fixed (or fix it ourselves.) Rest assured that I will document the repair process, and this is not over.
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Old 12-10-2010, 02:48 PM   #5
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December 10, 2010
Mr. Mike Terlep, President
Coachmen RV
PO Box 30
Middlebury, IN 46540
Dear Mr. Terlep,
I am writing to you regarding my 2009 Coachmen Spirit of America 30RLS travel trailer that I purchased from Travel Country RV Center in Lake Park, Georgia on May 1, 2009.

My wife and I were recently camping when much to our horror, we discovered “soft spots” in the floor on both sides of the bed. This troubled us greatly, particularly since we had traded in our 2003 Coachmen 249QB for the same reason! When we returned home from our trip, we carried the trailer to the servicing dealer and asked for help in obtaining the necessary repairs. Mark Ciroli, the service manager at Travel Country agreed to submit a warranty claim on our behalf, but was not optimistic since the coach was more than a year old. I explained to Mr. Ciroli that the coach is always stored under a shelter at our home, and it appears the soft spots were due to water intrusion from a manufacturing defect.


Several weeks have passed, and Mr. Ciroli suggested that I contact Steve Brandenberger for follow up assistance. Both my son, Scott, and I have spoken with Mr. Brandenberger, who was very cordial but unable to assist. He recommended that we contact Mel Williams with All American Group for further assistance. We have spoken with him, again to no avail. Mr. Williams and Mr. Brandenberger both shared the story of the sale of Coachmen’s assets to Forest River, the process for handling warranty claims, etc.

I’d like for your assistance with this matter, and ask that you please reconsider this warranty claim. It is obvious from outward appearances that the water damage on this trailer is due to inadequate sealing from the manufacturer, rather than from a neglect of maintenance on my part. Quite simply, it took the right set of circumstances and length of time for water to intrude and cause the rot which has ruined our trailer from
further use without extensive (and expensive) repairs.

I understand the circumstances surrounding Forest River’s purchase of Coachmen, and the difficulties surrounding warranty administration. However, I respectfully ask that you consider the circumstances regarding this unfortunate damage and that Coachmen/Forest River would please stand behind their product and support a loyal Coachmen customer.

Sincerely yours,
"Bud"
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:10 PM   #6
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any pictures of damaged area and areas suspected of allowing water intrusion?
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Old 12-10-2010, 06:45 PM   #7
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Manley. This is a very nice well written letter. I hope you will still get your warranty validated for this problem. It is certainly a lack of caulking that went unnoticed and should have been fixed before your dad took possession of his new trailer when it was sold to him. Unfortunatly I think these occurences are happening more often than we think on new trailers.
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:55 AM   #8
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Just a followup:
It has been almost six weeks, and Forest River has not even acknowledged the letter. I am VERY disappointed in their lack of concern for this problem.
Scott
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:10 AM   #9
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Really don't understand how you can be disappointed with FR? They bought the name and assets, NOT any previous warranty issues. Sorry to put it this way, but that is part of the problem when you buy an orphan RV. You are totally responsible for any structural issues that may occur.
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:13 AM   #10
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Donn, you don't understand how I can be disappointed?
1. My 70-year old father has a Coachmen travel trailer with a completely rotted out floor
2. Coachmen (All American Group) refuses to pay
3. Forest River won't even acknowledge a letter

Whether it is a Forest River coach or not, they own the Coachmen brand and now produce Coachmen travel trailers. Seems like they would want to do the right thing and stand behind their customers...

Oh well, it is what it is.
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