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Old 06-06-2012, 02:02 AM   #1
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Why such poor quality and design with RVs?

I've owned several RVs aside from the new Salem TT I just bought so this is really just a critique on all RVs not just FR.

Why are things made so poorly? Of course, money is the main reason but there sure are a lot of things that wouldn't cost much more that would make a HUGE difference.

As an example, I took my new TT home and have been playing around with it in the driveway. About the 5th time I go to open the cabinet door to under the kitchen sink the lower hinge just rips completely out. So, I look at the screw the hinge is put in with and it's about size of a small thumb tack. Really? That's the best they can do. What would it cost to put real screws in all the hinges? An extra $2 per trailer. This is just lame IMO.

Next, I go to open the jack knife sofa. Okay.... pull up the bottom and, oops, it runs right into one of the brackets for a window curtain and rips the bracket off the wall (same crappy screws, of course). Is that really the best someone can do? In looking at it slowly/carefully, there is NO WAY to open the sofa without ripping this bracket from the wall. Really? No one noticed this?

Next come the valance trim above the windows. Has anyone actually touched these? If not, DON'T! Mine have about as much glue as dries at the tip of a bottle of Elmer's. I swear one fell off just from me looking at it. Again, a tiny amount of effort would make all the difference.

Don't get me wrong, I'm overall fine with the trailer. I'm a contractor by trade and can easily fix this stuff. It really just makes me laugh. It sure seems that with a very small amount of effort/planning and a very minimal amount of money these trailers could be much more durable. And, again... this is every RV I've owned. Not just the FR.
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Old 06-06-2012, 06:16 AM   #2
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I had the same thing happen to the cabinet below my sink. I found the hinge to be to tight against the door and was hard to move even by hand. I ended up putting a longer screw in so it grabbed the wood strip inside the cabinet. But like you say about they cheap screws I can expect to replace more in the future .
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Old 06-06-2012, 06:38 AM   #3
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is this how they keep making trailers lighter weight? less screws and glue?
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:27 AM   #4
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Screws are very easy to strip specially when screwed in the luan paper thin and the styrofoam . If the screw dont hit an aluminum brace it is like they are installed in next to nothing.
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:47 AM   #5
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I think even those trivial bits and pieces add up cost. Over the last several years TT units and even 5ths have become accessible to the everyday man, many TT units are competing on price against nicely-outfitted popups... Costing and building to a target pricepoint i think has the most direct impact on quality... Now when the supplier market for appliances and systems is pretty limited and standard, there become few ways to reduce cost to achieve the target price without looking at labor and raw materials.

I suspect also that some workers in these plants are not carpenters and electricians and dont see themselves as such, they are assemblers putting part A onto piece B and doing that 30 times a day. So there is probably an experience gap and maybe even a pride and workmanship issue too.
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:03 AM   #6
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This is has been mentioned before, but part of the problem with the TT industry is that is has no competition (pretty much everything is made in Indianna). Not a knock on the state of manufactoring in N. America, but basically the same situration existed in the car industry before international competition occurred, ex. Japan, Germany, Korea etc. Look how many years it took the big three auto makers to finally smarten up and increase their quality baseline. Some of them had to get government bail-outs, just to stay afloat. I totally believe in keeping things at home, however, the quality standard bar may not be raised in the TT industry, until some competition, i.e. foreign enters the fray. Sad, but true.
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:13 AM   #7
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Thats an interesting point.... I wonder what type of innovation and exploration a more globally competitive marketplace would create.

Id love to see more innovation in construction, materials and design.... Modularized designs, ruggedized designs... New composites that combine lasting strength eith light weight... Designs that incorporate energy-saving concepts from the drawing board rather than an add-on at the end. Designs build around the systems rather than treating them like cargo that needs to be put into a box.

It seems like there has been a lot Of innovation in the class A market but most of that has not trickled down to the towables... Which are basically the same concept theyve been for 60 years.
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rawlus View Post
Thats an interesting point.... I wonder what type of innovation and exploration a more globally competitive marketplace would create.

Id love to see more innovation in construction, materials and design.... Modularized designs, ruggedized designs... New composites that combine lasting strength eith light weight... Designs that incorporate energy-saving concepts from the drawing board rather than an add-on at the end. Designs build around the systems rather than treating them like cargo that needs to be put into a box.

It seems like there has been a lot Of innovation in the class A market but most of that has not trickled down to the towables... Which are basically the same concept theyve been for 60 years.
Composites would probably add thousands of dollars to the cost and most people wouldn't pay the price when they can get a "regular" unit for half the cost. I agree, it all comes down to money. Build them as cheap as they can as they watch their bottom line grow. After all, doesn't Warren Buffet need MORE money? LOL.
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:19 AM   #9
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I think the consumers ( yes , us) has come to accept the level of quality put into RVs. This is quite evident by the number of posters to this forum who are happy to take the Rvs home and start in with their own modifications. I trhink if we continue to demand higher standards, we should expect to receive them. As you stated, there are very minor improvements that could make a big difference. Compared to the automobile manufacturers, quality control is certainly not on par, while we pay the same dollars for a RV as we do a car. I just recently purchased a 2012 VW Passat built in Chattanooga. Why is it that the quality of this vehicle far exceeds the quality on my RV built in Indiana. The VW cost about $12 grand cheaper. I don't need to go and start tightening screws, bolstering structural components, replacing tires, greasing bearings because not enough was added at the plant and the list goes on. the Rv industry as responded to consumers demands in manufacturing "light weight" RVs, but why compromise build quality.
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:28 AM   #10
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Cars are built be robots, campers are built by people. That simply costs more, not to mention the volumes prodcued are mush higher in a car plant, which also lowers cost/unit.
I am definitely not defending FR, and would gladly have paid another 5 grand for a better quality unit.
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