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Old 06-25-2012, 09:16 PM   #1
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Unhappy 2013 Solera issues - poor quality control

I Bought a Solera 24M on Mercedes Sprinter chassis in February new and have not yet been able to use due to multiple on going and new issues that still aren't resolved by Forest River. Just so you are aware that all is not well with production and quality control at Forest River. My fear now is that the warranty will run out before I get resolution to the ongoing issues and new ones that may loom ahead. Here are the items I have/am dealing with since February: Day I purchased from Wilkins RV in Bath NY the electric steps would not stow - at the showroom they tried to fix but fooled with the fuses which subsequently resulted in Murphy bed not being usable (wouldn't come down as chairs would not flatten out) when we tried to spend the night on the road in Massachussetts and had to use a hotel instead (fixed this at smaller Forest River dealer in Maine the following week which is where we live). Upon leaving the motel a rear cargo door came open spilling stuff along the road - the latch was miss aligned on assembly and subsequently adjusted by the dealer here in Maine. Noticed at showroom when we bought it that there was a cigarette burn in the drivers seat (fixed this at Mercedes dealership in Maine - 1.5 hours away from my home). Outdoor barbecue Grille that came with Solera came without a regulator - after much coordination with Wilkins, FR sent me a new grille complete. Hot water heater then would not ignite with gas so dealer an hour away fixed it saying an ignition wire had come loose. Several weeks later and a Day before we were headed to visit my son in the military, we had a valve go on the inner dual tire while it was sitting in the driveway - repair man from coach-net drove 1.5 hours to fix. Next morning the rear lights completely went out so had to use our pickup to go to the midwest and use motel rooms instead of the Solera which remained parked in our driveway. Upon return 2 weeks later took to Mercedes place where they discovered a screw had penetrated the junction box (done by Forest River - which FR acknowledged) in the rear bath area. Also noticed Paint flaking off the front grille of the Mercedes. Mercedes dealer noted that radiator grille was never supposed to be painted by Forest River and replaced with a new grill which was installed by a local body shop. Electric steps then failed to operate and dealer here in Maine had to replace the servo mechanism which malfunctioned rendering the steps unusable for three more weeks awaiting parts. At same time the control board which shows the level of LPG, battery power, and grey and black water showed false readings - the grey water indicator read the level of the black water and black indicator the grey water. Upon trying to fix as per dealers verbal instructions, the entire board failed. New board finally arrived and replaced yesterday by dealer here in Maine (planning our first overnight trip tomorrow) and that board was faulty and needs replacement again - but we will go camping anyways (have reservations) not knowing our levels of sewage and fresh water (and we are dry camping). Two weeks ago the murphy bed began shimmering upon stowage even though I applied lubricant - called the dealer in New York about it (times 2) but they have not gotten back to me as they said they were going to call Forest River. I have asked the dealer where I bought the Solera for an extension of the warranty because, except for going to the repair facilities, I have been unable to use. I have also asked them about repurchasing it back from me but have heard nothing back. So I am not a "happy camper". Were my expectations too high? Seems so. Just wanted to let others know who are thinking of buying a Forest River Solera that there are issues with their quality control that may tarnish your expectations of future travel. I wish I could give a better report - and perhaps after these issues are fixed I will - but as for the past four months since our purchase, I've been very disappointed with Forest River.
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Old 06-25-2012, 09:23 PM   #2
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This is a 2012 Solera, not 2013. Sorry, my mistake - issues remain the same.
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Old 06-26-2012, 03:58 AM   #3
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I feel your pain!
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:55 AM   #4
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We bought our 2012 24M in March and have had similar experiences with the bed, awning, plumbing, and a few other minor things. I also think FR needs improvement in quality control. I also am hoping all the bugs get worked out before the warranty runs out.
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Old 06-28-2012, 08:16 PM   #5
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Hey thanks for your posts on QC. I am cocked, but I have not pulled the trigger on my purchase of a Solera. I would appreciate an update as to how your dealer and FR handle your issues. Thanks and "Good Luck!"
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Old 07-03-2012, 06:15 PM   #6
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We've had a massive long list as well. The QC is on the horrible side for sure. We've been lucky enough most have not stopped us from camping. But we've just chalked it up to its the trade off on saving by going with Forest River. The amount of issues they let go out the door they should really give a 24 or 36 month warranty. As by the time you deal with/find them it's hard to get it done within a year.
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Old 07-03-2012, 08:18 PM   #7
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Hey bclemens where are you on this? Your thoughts as the Forest River Representative please!
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Old 07-03-2012, 11:11 PM   #8
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Sorry, I've been on vacation myself...so this is the first I am digging into this.

Here are some initial thoughts (take them for what they are...thoughts).
1. Steps. it appears as though the steps may have caused a chain reaction in problems. Steps, then fuses, etc. I wish we could incorporate the steps into the sidewall like we do our other lines, but its just not workable on Solera. Dealer should have been able to remedy this issue before it ever delivered.

2. Outdoor grill gets shipped in a box. Complete set. I know, because I have been at dealer shows...found the box and set the grill up for the dealer (Assembled the ENTIRE grill). I'm guessing this unit got set up at a show, they just pulled the grill out of the box, not all the pieces and then the box got thrown away. When you get the grill it is missing the regulator. That is why when I put it together...I put it all together instead of just trying to "show off" the main grill section. That way, nothing is lost or missing.

3. Cigarette burn. Could have been delivery driver, there is no smoking in our plant. If it was a weld burn...we normally leave plastic on the seats...so maybe it is something we missed.

4. Solera bed. I was at a dealership when they were taking it in and out, in and out at a show. They caught the bedspread in the track, it jumped and became "misaligned" in the track. One side was 2-3 teeth higher than the other. Instead of fixing it, they kept running it in and out causing further damage.

5. No reason for an inner dual to lose air sitting there. No idea on that. What did the repair guy say?

Don't get me wrong...I know that sometimes things are missed, but it's not always on Forest River QC. We can't catch a cigarette burn after it ships, the dealer has to catch that one.

We have a pretty extensive checklist that goes with the unit down the line. We have a final finish QC department and an "online" QC department. They are tracking issues beginning and middle of the line. No way do they catch 100%, but there are certainly checks and balances in place to try and catch it all. If I can find a copy I'l post the checklist. In the meantime I hope the dealer is doing everything they can to rectify the issues.

As for warranty, I have never seen our guys deny something that was clearly an existing issue (non-resolved issue) even if it was out of the warranty period. Just don't let it linger on too long.
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:09 AM   #9
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"bed, awning, plumbing"

Our bed mechanism failure was caused by an error in manufacturing at Lippert. A drill bit used for drilling holes for pop rivets to secure the nylon bearing blocks was broken off with the tip of the bit lodged against the motor shaft creating significant friction (cut a groove in the shaft during operation) creating an imbalance and and a failure of related components in the mechanism. Lippert shipped a replacement drive system under their warranty for the slideout and I replaced it myself.

The awning motor burned out twice - appointment for replacment of the second one next week. I diagnosed the cause as the switch - it occasionally stuck in the extend position leaving the 12V applied to the motor with the awning down. The switch will be replaced as well this time.

Our first pluming failure was under the sink. The PVC pipes were not aligned with the center of the sink drain and the installer forced them into a position where the coupler was cross-threaded under significant residual bending stress which eventually broke the collar on the coupler and drain water started leaking under the sink. I fixed this for $18 in parts from the hardware store plus a section of radiator hose and two hose clamps from the auto parts store.

Our second plumbing failure was the toilet valve which was installed on the toilet without the two retaining screws provided by Dometic for securing the fragile plastic body of the valve mechanism to the base of the toilet. Every press of the pedal jammed the valve back against the water pipe until the valve cracked and started dripping water on the floor every time the pedal was pushed. I also repaired this myself and the new valve was $60.

Good thing I'm retired and I'm a good engineer (manufacturing and QC) and mechanic - otherwise we would have been without the use of the 24M for extended periods waiting for service appointments for diagnosis followed by service after waiting for parts. (replacing a murphy bed mechanism is no small task.)

Warranty service at the authorized local shop would have been nice if they were not booked up for a month or so at the time of year when you need them most.

We are now planning on buying an extended warranty package from Good Sam because I don't expect us to run out of problems at the end of 12 months.
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:51 AM   #10
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"WOW"- Time is Money- where you could be enjoying yourself instead of working on your Solera and buying extra coverage on your new purchase!!! I guess I will look @ the View/Navion for my backup purchase next year when I pull the trigger as I fully retire in March 2013. Depends upon Forest River QC and how they handle all these problems! "Good Luck & Happy Travels!!"
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