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Old 12-02-2014, 09:32 PM   #1
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Our Foresterís Maiden Voyage (long post)

This past long weekend we completed our first trip in our 1-week-old Forester. Overall it was a great first trip. We experienced high cross winds, rain, snow, icy roads and single digit temperatures. We drove just under 1000 miles and averaged 7.8 mpg driving around 65 mph on highways that included some very significant climbs through the mountains. This is our first motor home so we had no reference points and we were open to our first experience.
There are many things that stood out for us after living in our MH for 3 days. 1) The V10 performed very well, with plenty of power and torque to get us were we wanted to go. For as big as it is the MH handled very well even in the 35 mph cross winds.2)There is more than enough storage inside and out for the two of us along with our daughterís family and the grandkids when they come along.3) The furnace performed flawlessly even in the 8 F temperatures we experienced. Two very cold nights, one electric space heater and the heavily used furnace did the trick and it only used 1/3 the tank of propane. I was surprised how little propane we consumed.4) The Jensen radio performed fine, with a somewhat clunky interface and controls. The Bluetooth audio and phone worked great and it had great sound. The GPS was on but not used for directions, I still depend on my Garmin!5) We really liked that the MH came with the portable Dyson that made clean ups easy and the 4 outlet USB charger over the dinette worked great for our phones and I Pads.

There were a few small things that I felt are opportunities looking ahead for Forest River if they are interested and yes I would be willing to pay for some of these.
1) The Ford chassis/cab area Ė These are things I am accustomed to having in my other vehicles that I consider more than just extras.
a. You need to consider adding a dashboard clock, there is one in the GPS but it is not always readable due to glare. I gave up wearing a watch when I retired!
b. Should also consider an outside temperature read out to help evaluate road conditions this time of year.
c. In a vehicle of this expense, why no floor mats! An additional ~$100 expense for me.
d. Heating controls are too basic. At a minimum you should have the ability to choose recirculated air v. fresh.
e. Heated and power seats would also be a nice option to be able to choose. Not that we drive these too much in weather like I had this weekend.
2) Regarding the coach area.
a. I was disappointed that I needed to lower the dinette table to install my grandsonís car seat. Having to do that eliminated 3 seat positions in my unit for people to use while underway.
b. The bathroom is too small. There is so little room that FR didnít install the TP holder, they left that for me to figure out where it would fit.
c. The toilet is raised so high, my wife and daughter need a stool to allow their feet to touch some support!
d. The wiring for the bedroom TV is the worst I have ever seen. There is very little room to walk around the bed, now add a power cord and coaxial cable sticking out another 3-4 inches and it is ridiculous. Is there no such thing as 90 degree connectors?
e. The bed is too soft for me and when it was installed in the MH the sidewalls were scuffed pretty bad.
f. I think a hose on the inlet side of the water pump for winterization should be standard. It can and will be added but it would have been easier to do during the build.
g. The rain gutter down spouts in the front empty the water directly onto the drivers and passenger doors window controls when the doors are open. Moving them a few inches forward would allow the drainage to miss the doors completely.
h. Here are the worst ones Ė the water filter, water pump, and FW tank drain valve are located under a plywood sheet held down by six screws under the mattress! Every time I want to drain my FW tank I need to undo six screws and hold the mattress up to turn the valve. I am sorry but this is a very poor design. Other Sunseeker models have these controls in an outside storage compartment, where they should be. I spent 26 years of my life in R&D and this would never pass any customer focus group!

It sounds like I am complaining and I probably am to some extent but overall my wife and I are very happy and glad that we have purchased the Motor Home that we have wanted for over 30 years. Thanks everyone for your help to answering my questions on the forum and to Mr. Clemens for his support and contributions to the Forum and the Class C line at Forest River. Sorry for the length of the post.
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Old 12-03-2014, 01:50 PM   #2
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Perfect post. Many of the things I thought of on our first trip home. We really love it and are filling in those areas we feel need fixin! Overall, it is a great MH. Most of the small items just got done from the FR. local dealer. Which model do you have? We have the 3051.
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Old 12-03-2014, 02:02 PM   #3
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Thanks West Cactus, we have the shorter 2651S. For the most part it is just the two of us and when my daughters family comes along they sleep in their tent so it will work great. I agree that most things I listed are small and easily fixed but I was especially irritated with the location of the FW drain valve. I have a few ideas to eliminate having to remove the plywood but will still have to hold up the mattress. Oh well.
Overall, we remain excited and look forward to warmer days. Happy Holidays.
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Old 12-03-2014, 02:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilm2113 View Post
Thanks West Cactus, we have the shorter 2651S. For the most part it is just the two of us and when my daughters family comes along they sleep in their tent so it will work great. I agree that most things I listed are small and easily fixed but I was especially irritated with the location of the FW drain valve. I have a few ideas to eliminate having to remove the plywood but will still have to hold up the mattress. Oh well.
Overall, we remain excited and look forward to warmer days. Happy Holidays.

I don't have the same model but is the end of FW tank drain line reachable from outside? If so you could add a valve there and leave the hard to get to one open. However you may have to go back to the original way for winter camping.
It's hard to identify all the issues before you buy and I often wonder "what were they thinking?" when things were designed. Some of your concerns are the way Ford made it and will likely be corrected when the aging Econoline chassis is replaced by the Transit. Other things like the dinette table conflict with the car seat can be remedied by changing the table from the slider design to a dual removable chrome post configuration. Toilet height would be corrected by replacement with a lower toilet. Bathroom size, you are stuck with.
When I was deciding what unit and layout to purchase I made a list of the things I didn't like for each one and whether it was something I could correct after purchase. If the item was something I couldn't reasonably fix after the sale I had to decide if it was a deal breaker, if so that model got eliminated. Of course I didn't think of everything and there were some surprises I had to deal with.
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Old 12-03-2014, 06:09 PM   #5
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It is interesting because they take what appears to be the FW tank drain and connect it to the low point drain which runs into the box and down. I was going to do that at first but then got worried if it mattered that it was also the low point drain. I cam up with two possible solutions, the first is to break the connection between the low point drain and run a separate drain down through the same hole as the low point drain with the valve on the outside. The second option is to cut a hole in the plywood cover which would allow me to open or close the valve with a homemade PVC tool that fits over the valve. I would still have to raise up the bed with #2 but it would be quick.
The rest of it is as you put it livable whether or not I make the changes. They were not and still would not be deal killers. My thoughts after spending 26 years in an R&D group is that if they asked a group of customers if this would be acceptable I think the answers would be a big no.
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Old 12-03-2014, 08:01 PM   #6
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I see no reason you couldn't put a valve on the end of the common drain line. However your solution to put an access hole under the matrice should be fine. Unless you do a lot of dry camping you probably don't have to access it very often. In my case it's basically never since I have only camped once without hookups in 6 years.
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Old 12-03-2014, 08:23 PM   #7
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Thanks ATV'r, I wasn't sure if putting a valve on the common drain would work. We do frequently camp without hookups in many of Idaho's Forest Service campground throughout the year. For me, carrying water is necessary. I will give the options more thought, it's too cold to do much right now anyway!
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Old 12-03-2014, 09:39 PM   #8
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Tying the two drains together and putting a valve on them may not work. My guess is that one drains the fresh water tank and the other drains the hot water lines. One is on the suction side of the water pump and the other is on the pressure side. With the two drains tied together the water will short circuit, flowing from the pressure side of the pump to the suction side.
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Old 12-05-2014, 12:09 PM   #9
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The Ford chassis/cab area: Unfortunately (as this has been discussed above)....this is all on Ford. Every year they come to us with a request for suggestions,every year we give them...and every year we are ignored. There will be no major changes due to the pending change over to the transit. So the E450 is sort of a legacy design that has not been updated.
a. I was disappointed that I needed to lower the dinette table to install my grandsonís car seat. Having to do that eliminated 3 seat positions in my unit for people to use while underway.

It actually only eliminates one. The rear facing seats don't have seat belts. You could also make the table smaller, but car seats used to fit. They just seem to keep getting bigger.
b. The bathroom is too small. There is so little room that FR didnít install the TP holder, they left that for me to figure out where it would fit.

We actually do that on all models, not just the 2651.
c. The toilet is raised so high, my wife and daughter need a stool to allow their feet to touch some support!

I think this one is due to wheel well location.
d. The wiring for the bedroom TV is the worst I have ever seen. There is very little room to walk around the bed, now add a power cord and coaxial cable sticking out another 3-4 inches and it is ridiculous. Is there no such thing as 90 degree connectors?

There is 90 degree connector for coax, but not the 12V. I wonder if we can find an angled plug or a 90 degree wall place. I'll get engineering on that.
f. I think a hose on the inlet side of the water pump for winterization should be standard. It can and will be added but it would have been easier to do during the build.

Working on this. We already do it on our Sprinters.
g. The rain gutter down spouts in the front empty the water directly onto the drivers and passenger doors window controls when the doors are open. Moving them a few inches forward would allow the drainage to miss the doors completely.

This got moved back due to the cap design. I looked at other Class C mfgs to see what they do...and they don't even offer gutters. So that is our other option.
h. Here are the worst ones Ė the water filter, water pump, and FW tank drain valve are located under a plywood sheet held down by six screws under the mattress! Every time I want to drain my FW tank I need to undo six screws and hold the mattress up to turn the valve. I am sorry but this is a very poor design. Other Sunseeker models have these controls in an outside storage compartment, where they should be. I spent 26 years of my life in R&D and this would never pass any customer focus group!

Unfortunately the 2651 is a legacy floor plan. It has been around since 2004. As we have crated new floor plans, we start with the things we want (easier access) and the adjust the floor plan accordingly during the design process. The 2650 was already designed and when we get a chance we will go back and adjust that floor plan to incorporate some of the design standards that we use today.

Having said all of that...the 2650 is the model that I travel in most. I find the upgrade mattress to rival what I have at home (Temperpedic). The bathroom is tight, but that is the nature of the beast. To make the bathroom bigger, the unit needs to get longer, bedroom or living room smaller. I shower and get ready in that bath and while it is tight, I would not want to give up any other space to make it bigger. Some of this of course is personal preference...but that is also why we offer 15 floor plans.

We do appreciate the feedback. Please don't take these as excuses...all of the things you mentioned are things we talk about internally with ourselves. Some of it is just limitations by Ford, floor plan design, etc.

2 Things I would add. Why does the Ford not switch from Miles to KM with a setting change like every other vehicle being built today.

Why can't I get an HVAC control with a temperature reading. I hate the high-low nature of things. In my jeep I set it to 70 degrees and just leave it. That is one that I would love to see on the next Ford design.
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Old 12-05-2014, 02:43 PM   #10
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Mr. Clemens --
Thanks for the feedback as always, please understand that my wife and I are still very excited with the motorhome. These are just some things that you don't see or realize when you are looking at the different units. None of the items I listed are show stoppers, some can be "improved" to remove some of the frustration.
1) I realize that the initial complaints fall on Ford. I am a Toyota person and have gotten used to having certain things in all my vehicles. I realize the E450 is a commercial type vehicle being used for a recreational application so some of the amenities are not present. I wasn't aware that Ford is transitioning away from the E series to the newer Transit.
2) As for the car seats, you are correct they keep getting bigger! Kids today are more fragile than we were i guess. As for the two rear facing seats, I think we all know that they are used by most people even though there are no seat belts.
3) I have found 90 degree 12V adaptors that go from one plug to two. I will try one of those but I still think it will stick out too far. I have the 90 degree coax adaptor already.
4) As for the hose on the inlet side of the water pump, I am just hoping I can fit it into the tight space.
5) As far as the rain gutters, I just need to learn to go in through the side door when it is training. They are nice to have to keep most of the water from flowing down over the windows.
6) As for the equipment under the bed, I will adapt. I have a few ideas on making it a little easier to get at the valve to drain the tank. I am assuming that the valve on the passenger side of the tank IS the drain valve. (I have not received a definitive answer that that is it, but I couldn't find it anywhere else!)
7) You are correct, we will adapt to the floor plan and the size of the bathroom as you have, again this was our first three days we spent in the unit before putting it away for the winter.
8) As for the two additions you added, the km/mph one is important from the sales in Canada perspective but after working in a field that did all of our development in metric and converted it to US measurement for production, I can live with that. The climate controls are somewhat primitive compared to our 3 Toyotas. I agree it is nice to be able to set a temperature and not worry about it again!

Thank you for taking the time to offer your feedback to my points in my original post. I appreciate that you are here for us. Can you answer if the valve I am referring to is in fact the FW tank drain?

Sincerely,
alan
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