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Old 05-02-2013, 04:56 PM   #1
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For FR design engineers

This is specific to my Sunseeker 2250LE, but I'm sure similar situations exist in other models. Yes, I know space is at a premium, but perhaps so is a little more common sense. First of three items--water pump access is by removing nightstand drawer. Sorta squeeze in there to remove inlet water line to hook up the anti-freeze hose when winterizing. So, I'll install a tee to make it simple. Nope, cannot get fittings to line up, would have to rework the lines, can't really get in there to work. Why not factory installed tee. Second, move to the right, remove four screws from a panel to access the back of the water heater and bypass valves. Why not just put a cabinet door on here? Finally, in between the two above items is the electronic module for the bedroom slide. On the floor. With water lines and water line connections on top of it. If there is ever a leak, one fried module. If you ever have to access the module to reset it you have to be a contortionist. Why not just mount it up in the closet. Done with the rant, I really hope this to be positive. My recommendation: When a unit is built, make the design engineers do everything the owner has to do...winterize the unit, try to get to stuff you hope you don't have to but just might. Yes space is at a premium, yes cost is a consideration, but common sense should not be an expensive item.
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:11 PM   #2
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I hope your post doesn't fall on deaf ears. I often wonder if the designers/engineers ever camp in them or do stuff like winterizing? I think FR should form a user group and ask the people that actually use their products what they like, don't like, and would change. Maybe they have one allready, I don't know. I'm not suggesting a b*tch group, but a constructive discussion with the designers/engineers to help make their products even better and more user friendly. Do I like my Sabre? Yes, alot! Are there a couple little things I could suggest, yes again. I fully understand there is a cost factor with adding a tee, or a door, or anything else, but I think people would pay a few $ more knowing that it's a well thought out design. Plus the fact that FR could use all those little suggestions in their product description/brochures to show potential buyers how well their units are designed and built. Sometimes it's the little things that make a big difference.
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:23 PM   #3
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And one more thing I forgot to mention, the silly little vent you have to open to use the fan above the stove. I'm 6'1" and can just reach it. Then, I have to fight to get the silly little tabs unhooked, then fight the same silly tabs to hook them up again. Anyway, we are lucky to have this website where we can point out problems or make suggestions. And, we even have bclemens who takes our ideas back to the factory. I've spent a lot of time on motorcycle websites and have never seen one where you have a voice back to the factory. Sure is helpful.
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:25 PM   #4
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The engineers should all spend a month living\working out of these units. I bet there would be a lotta design changes.
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:30 PM   #5
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I cannot locate the site, but when Boeing was designing the 777 airplane, they brought in groups of people who would be working on the airplane (mechanics, fuelers, caterers, etc) and listened to what they had to say regarding past design failures on previous Boeing models so the same mistakes wouldn't be made on the 777.

One thing I remembered is an antimated (sp) video showing how certain components would be changed showing antimated figures actually gaining access to a component and how Boeing would leave enought room in the compartment so a mechanic could actually change the component.

Another thing showed how the fueling group suggested that the ground refueling receptable be located further inboard (lower) on the wing bottom so the current fueling trucks could be used to fuel the 777 without being modified. The reason being that the 777 is much higher than earlier aircraft and the stand the operators stood on to reach the receptable would have to be higher for them to reach the receptable.

I am not suggesting that FR go to the lenghts that Boeing did here, but i agree that a little more common sense on their part would certainly make it easier on us owners.
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:55 PM   #6
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Couldn't agree more. I've already created 2 access points, and still have one to go. Water tank on ours is under bed, with slideout controller, converter, transfer switch and back of AC / 12v panel. I understand the space is limited, but there are better ways. Just weird. Definitely would be beneficial for engineers, several of them, to perform all things that we have to do, prior to finalizing design and putting it on the market. We deal with the same thing on the new build offshore drilling rigs. Engineers that don't really know what we do design them, and we spend the first 2 years fixing, rearranging and so on.
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Old 05-03-2013, 06:07 PM   #7
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I got one and it cost FR nothing. Move the sewer hose access left about 1.5" and back about 1". I use a clear 45 elbow and a flush king. Can not use neither. You would think the hole would be on the same centerline as the the dump. If FR requires a sketch, PM me..
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Old 05-03-2013, 06:36 PM   #8
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Wow, so many points, so little time. lol. Let's try and hit them in order...

1. I've been asking for a winterizing take up tube for some time. I do them for orders (those that know to ask). There is a long boring back story on this...but I have not given up. If you place a factory order...just ask for a "Winterizing take up tube". There is a small charge for that.
2. Slide module is a pre-fab item if I'm not mistaken (from Lippert). We try and keep it close...and in a place that doesn't interfere with other stuff. Is it in an ideal spot, probably not, but we're really not counting on you accessing it on a daily basis. Put it in the closet and it gets banged into it/poked/prodded. I will mention this though.
3. Vent. there is a really nice powered vent...opens the louver when the fan comes on. I spec'd it for a rental dealer of mine. Then they up and stopped building it...because no one else wanted to pay extra for it. Why pay $40 for something that you can get for $10? In many cases we are at the mercy of our suppliers. At 18 units a day right now...we need a dependable supplier that can supply us. Not everyone wants to source a part just for us...we need others to come along.

4. Our engineer actually owns a trailer. I am involved with the product design and also use an RV. Not as much as I'd like with my traveling..but I did get to spend a week skiing in a 2650 so far this year. I also spend 3 days every year with a rental company (over 400 in their fleet) to see what calls they get from their guests...what issues they may have had, how to enable easier service and what we can do to improve the product. Average usage is 14,000 miles a year....that is pretty good feedback. We learn very quickly if a new change doesn't work. I like the people on this board...they are hands on like myself...however I would not consider most of the people on this board "typical" buyers. Just like the majority of car owners take their car to the dealer for everything...in my experience so do most motorhome owners. So yes, a take up tube would be great, easier access to service points also great...but I don't get a lot of support in the office on these issues, because we don't hear it a lot. A person that takes their unit to the dealer never has to deal with this stuff.

Another salesperson in the office had an engine light come on. I said let's go take a look. grabbed my OBD reader and headed out. him "What's that?" Me "an OBD reader". Him "what's that?" Me "it spits out a code and tells me what could be wrong" him "and you carry that in your car" me "why not...does no good at home" him "no one does that" me "sure they do" He proceeded to ask every one in the office. No one did and they all thought I was a freak (until their engine light comes on that is). How many people on this board have a voltmeter? Now what percentage of all owners do you think own one?

Now let's get to the root cause of all this. We have several companies (I shall not name names...but one is a sister company). Their primary goal is to build it as cheap as they can for their dealers. We are under CONSTANT pressure from dealers and customers to keep the price down. So yes, doors cost money, Take up tubes cost money, etc, etc. So for every dollar we add...we take a long hard look. It is certainly a juggling act.

An antifreeze take up tube is not that expensive...and yes, we can sell it as a "feature", but then we're at the mercy of salespeople with 60 different lines to communicate that to the customer. We try and make every dollar that we add "dummy proof"...something that does not require the salesperson to explain.

There are (2) other companies...well known motorhome companies that just came out with new lines. Completely De-Contented. In an attempt, just to be cheaper in price. There is constant pressure to put in every bell and whistle and equal pressure to hold pricing.

Having said all this (and yes...it was a lot)...your ideas and comments do not fall on deaf ears. I'm like Chinese water torture...drip...drip...drip. I just keep at it until they either agree with my suggestions...or just give up trying to resist. I think we do A LOT of things that other companies won't because they cost a little extra...not everything we want or need. However, just like a marriage, I have to pick my battles.
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Old 05-03-2013, 07:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bclemens View Post
Wow, so many points, so little time. lol. Let's try and hit them in order...

1. I've been asking for a winterizing take up tube for some time. I do them for orders (those that know to ask). There is a long boring back story on this...but I have not given up. If you place a factory order...just ask for a "Winterizing take up tube". There is a small charge for that.
2. Slide module is a pre-fab item if I'm not mistaken (from Lippert). We try and keep it close...and in a place that doesn't interfere with other stuff. Is it in an ideal spot, probably not, but we're really not counting on you accessing it on a daily basis. Put it in the closet and it gets banged into it/poked/prodded. I will mention this though.
3. Vent. there is a really nice powered vent...opens the louver when the fan comes on. I spec'd it for a rental dealer of mine. Then they up and stopped building it...because no one else wanted to pay extra for it. Why pay $40 for something that you can get for $10? In many cases we are at the mercy of our suppliers. At 18 units a day right now...we need a dependable supplier that can supply us. Not everyone wants to source a part just for us...we need others to come along.

4. Our engineer actually owns a trailer. I am involved with the product design and also use an RV. Not as much as I'd like with my traveling..but I did get to spend a week skiing in a 2650 so far this year. I also spend 3 days every year with a rental company (over 400 in their fleet) to see what calls they get from their guests...what issues they may have had, how to enable easier service and what we can do to improve the product. Average usage is 14,000 miles a year....that is pretty good feedback. We learn very quickly if a new change doesn't work. I like the people on this board...they are hands on like myself...however I would not consider most of the people on this board "typical" buyers. Just like the majority of car owners take their car to the dealer for everything...in my experience so do most motorhome owners. So yes, a take up tube would be great, easier access to service points also great...but I don't get a lot of support in the office on these issues, because we don't hear it a lot. A person that takes their unit to the dealer never has to deal with this stuff.

Another salesperson in the office had an engine light come on. I said let's go take a look. grabbed my OBD reader and headed out. him "What's that?" Me "an OBD reader". Him "what's that?" Me "it spits out a code and tells me what could be wrong" him "and you carry that in your car" me "why not...does no good at home" him "no one does that" me "sure they do" He proceeded to ask every one in the office. No one did and they all thought I was a freak (until their engine light comes on that is). How many people on this board have a voltmeter? Now what percentage of all owners do you think own one?

Now let's get to the root cause of all this. We have several companies (I shall not name names...but one is a sister company). Their primary goal is to build it as cheap as they can for their dealers. We are under CONSTANT pressure from dealers and customers to keep the price down. So yes, doors cost money, Take up tubes cost money, etc, etc. So for every dollar we add...we take a long hard look. It is certainly a juggling act.

An antifreeze take up tube is not that expensive...and yes, we can sell it as a "feature", but then we're at the mercy of salespeople with 60 different lines to communicate that to the customer. We try and make every dollar that we add "dummy proof"...something that does not require the salesperson to explain.

There are (2) other companies...well known motorhome companies that just came out with new lines. Completely De-Contented. In an attempt, just to be cheaper in price. There is constant pressure to put in every bell and whistle and equal pressure to hold pricing.

Having said all this (and yes...it was a lot)...your ideas and comments do not fall on deaf ears. I'm like Chinese water torture...drip...drip...drip. I just keep at it until they either agree with my suggestions...or just give up trying to resist. I think we do A LOT of things that other companies won't because they cost a little extra...not everything we want or need. However, just like a marriage, I have to pick my battles.
Very well said and keep fighting for the consumer. Not to debate you, but to offer this up....who has ever polled us "consumers" to see if, let's say $500 worth of these trivial little items would be a deal breaker on a $40000 unit, or even a $15000 unit. Even if, what harm is there in making them reasonably and fairly priced options, just to see, and not even having to conduct a poll. At the point an ordered unit is an ordered unit, then there goes the monotony anyway......

The link in my sig (and I'm sure many threads on this and other forums) has mods that most of us all do or would like to do, just to make the units "ours". We don't assume they are free, as we know we did and paid something to accomplish them, but most of us would pay a reasonable amount to have them already done when we take delivery......Now that would be a good poll/study for any manufacturer to put out on a forum......throw some of the most requested but not offered items/options out and get a feel for what the true "consumers" would be interested in and pay. It's what the auto industry has done, they've looked at the aftermarket industry and started including a lot of what were aftermarket items, as standard or optional items.
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Old 05-03-2013, 07:39 PM   #10
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I don't doubt that consumers would pay a little extra for features people want. But it takes convincing the dealers of that (they have to buy it first). Sunseeker was the #1 Class C brand sold last year and so far this year. So our madness is slowly starting to work....but we've made many packages standard so dealers wouldn't keep taking them off.

I can't tell you how many times a dealer comes in to our wholesale show and says "hey, did you see what so and so had? They can deliver a 2857 for $XXXX" at that price, they'll sell like hotcakes" "Yeah, but it looks terrible and they took X, X, X, X and X out" <dealer> "yeah, but its $XXXX...why can't you sell something for $XXX?"

I do take great pleasure when we destroy that "can't miss" manufacturer in retail sales. We take great pride in focusing on "Value" not price.
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