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Old 03-12-2016, 03:22 PM   #41
Dr Travel
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Full timers
Posts: 81
Talking Are they all junk?

No, not really. Unfortunately the industry is still mom & pop in nature. Not many mfg companies would survive long with some of the stuff they throw in these things. And being manufacturers they are concerned with two things: speed of assembly and nickels and dimes. That is the nature of the industry, from the assembly lines at the plants to the suppliers (and they almost all buy from the same suppliers, which compounds the problems.)

But that is the nature of the beast. Within that, there are some better than others, and I believe Rockwood to be one of the better. I used to sell these suckers so I have seen some amazing things that manufacturers let out of their plants and shipped to customers.

We bought our Rockwood Signature Ultralight fifth wheel 8280WS because it was the perfect size and we could easily tow it with an F-150 Ecoboost with the heavy duty tow package. In the first 18 months we traveled 40,000 miles, towing the trailer about 8,000 of those miles. We've been over backroads, through deserts, up and down mountains in Colorado, Tennessee, West Virginia, California, Washington, Montana and Wyoming, across the great plains, and down to the Orlando area. Not one hitch in our fiver. A window in our slide out disintegrated one evening when I put it back down from being open all day, for apparently no reason. Rockwood fedexed me a new one to a nearby dealer and it was fixed in 90 minutes after I arrived for my appointment. Tough to beat that.

Things do and will wear out. To keep things light, they put in mucho plastic. So now I am replacing my bathroom faucet with a real metal one after the handle came off in my hand. And we are getting several day/night shades replaced...under warranty. Having sold them, I bought the additional year warranty when I bought for a mere $150. That more than pays for the blinds replacements. An example of building good but putting in junk: our day/night shades are made in China and are almost 100% plastic. The way Rockwood installs them is ridiculous and it almost guarantees that some will fail. The blinds manufacturer patiently explained that they also make those blinds in the U.S. and they have metal in the important areas. Any guess as to what we are replacing with?

All said and done, those are minor concerns given the great times we have had on the road. have not had to go see a dealer yet, other than that one window mishap. I do have to get my replacement blinds from a dealer and we will be doing that next week.

They also do some dumb design things. I spend 15 minutes on the phone with Rockwood last week, explaining to them the absolute stupidity of where they put the internal water filter. Almost impossible to access and remove/replace. Better off installing a bypass link and using external filters which work just as well. While on the phone with me, the sales guy checked this forum to see if there were as many complaints about that water filter thing as I told him there were - he admitted there were five pages of complaints and fired off an email with a link to the complaints to his engineering department while I was on the phone. Most manufacturers won't listen to customer feedback, but I do believe Rockwood is better than most.

If they sent the engineers out into the field with these things and they had to live in them for a month straight, there would be many improvements made rather quickly.

As for should you or shouldn't you? Hey, we were committed to the lifestyle before we bought. It is the most fun you can have in the U.S. with your clothes on. And we have found it to be an inexpensive lifestyle as well. In 18 months we have made tons of memories that we would be very reluctant to trade for love nor money. The thing is just be prepared to roll with the punches, remember that life is short and memories long, and most everything is fixable. We have learned t slow down, relax, enjoy the moment and the day/week/month, and to appreciate what surrounds us when we are "out there" seeing the world.

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Old 03-12-2016, 03:41 PM   #42
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Location: Virginia
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We have owned 4 campers mover 30 years The last two have been PUMAS I can easily say the quality of the last two has far surpassed the two Fleetwood campers we bought years ago.

Unless you buy sometime like an Airstream for over 100K the quality of all brands is similar.... even cars have issues ............



2005 Dodge 3500 Cummins
2013 Puma Unleashed 356 QLB
1966 Mustang GT
1986 Mustang SVO
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Old 03-12-2016, 04:06 PM   #43
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Stanfordville
Posts: 95
Is Forest River junk?

After reading all the previous post I agree. I've been a FR owner looking to trade up. I have only looked at FR until recently. Iam a retired home builder,and realize that they can't be framed, and buiit like a house, but some of the work is pretty shoddy. I've been to a FR dealer and was not impressed with everything that I saw. The dealer assumes we are all prepared to accept inferior quality work as a trade off for the joys of camping. Having said that I invested in a book written by third party neutral group. Found the book on Amazon for $69.00 IMO it is worth every penny, it gives a point system and a evaluation and summary of almost every major manufacture. They numeric score everything from construction to customer service, dealer service, and resale value. Current issue covers 2006 to 2016 so you can see a trend, and you may find an amazing deal. It's called Travel Trailer and fifth wheel guide by Randall Eaton..hope this helps.
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Old 03-12-2016, 04:09 PM   #44
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 74
Go For It

My experience is only with a single FR 07 Cardinal 5er bought new in 08. But we've been from the east coast to the west coast and back 6 times, with many stops in between, and I've spoken to a lot of RVers about the quality issue. Bottom line seems to be as mentioned above, there are going to be problems regardless of what brand you buy. Try to make sure you have a good dealer and a decent extended warrantee.

I've found that owning an RV is much like that old saying about owning a boat: A boat is a hole in the water you keep pouring money into. I guess an RV is a highway with a hole in it.

Unless you are a skilled mechanic or very talented DIYer, RV ownership is going to cost you more than you initially thought it would, over the long run. However, travelling around the country in an RV is a spectacular and fun way to see this great country. Just understand that some of your adventures may be unplanned, and not pleasant. But RVing is worth the hassles that may arise. I expect to be doing it until I'm too frail to drive, or until I run out of money.
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Old 03-12-2016, 04:42 PM   #45
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 229
We have been RV'ing since 1970, always with travel trailers, which we prefer over 5th wheels and motor homes. As other posts have said, there are going to be possible problems with anything you buy, car, truck ,boat. The key is a good responsible dealer. We currently have a 2013 Rockwood Signature Ultralite, 8415BSS. We have been very pleased with the quality of the unit. Also, as said previously, it's helps to be a good DIY. If you have problems, talk to the dealer and Forest River. Like said earlier, forums get mostly complaints. The Happy Campers just enjoy camping.
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Old 03-12-2016, 04:45 PM   #46
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Oops, I listed the wrong model number of our trailer, it should be 8315BSS, not 8415BSS. Sorry about that
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Old 03-12-2016, 05:12 PM   #47
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 1
Coachman Encounter

We originally had a 2009 Cedar Creek 5th wheel by Forest River and had virtually no issues with it. We decided that driving a unit rather than towing one would be less daunting so we traded up to a 2016 Coachmen Encounter (class A) thinking we would have the same quality since they now manufacture the Coachman line. We bought it in November 2015 and brought it home and started moving in our camping furnishings eagerly awaiting spring and many camping adventures. However, as we were setting it up, we noticed a few things that didn't work or we in need of some tweaking. We weren't concerned because we felt we had plenty time before camping season and thought for sure our dealer (Mcgeorge Rolling Hills) would have us ready in short order. We were overly optimistic. It has been back at the dealer for over two months now and we are told most issues are resolved but we are still waiting for parts for the heating unit. When ever we get it back and actually get to use it, I will update you on the repaired quality of our new Forest River product.
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Old 03-12-2016, 06:12 PM   #48
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Warsaw,NC
Posts: 2,478
Originally Posted by weldon182 View Post
Hey Spock123 which Wildcat did you have just curious

2012 RAM 3500 Cummins
Laramie Longhorn w/rambox
2015 Wildcat 317RL

I had a Wildcat Sterling 32RL, it was a pretty camper, I think it was the first one from the factory with arch ceilings. We had a bedroom fireplace installed from the factory, it had level-up. It had garden windows and dual pane windows. It had a 3D TV installed with a fireplace, we got a lot of compliments on how pretty the camper was

Sent from my iPhone using Forest River Forums
2015 Cedar Creek 32RL
2012 Silverado 3500HD SRW
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Old 03-12-2016, 06:30 PM   #49
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 2,196
Basically, yes.

But it's not just FR.
We went to the Rv show today, they are all junk.

There were only two there, that actually had very nice fit and finish.

The winnibego tour @425k
Also the leisure travel vans.

One is too big ( and crazy $$)
The other is too small. ( 24')

Cmon goldilocks. Where's my middle one!!!???

We're going on a road trip, end of the month, to look at a dynamax Force. Hopefully it won't be a waste of time.....

2016 Sabre 36QBOK
2015 Ram 3500 CUMMINS
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Old 03-12-2016, 06:58 PM   #50
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Posts: 111
Originally Posted by Jz5g52 View Post
I just bought my first camper last year and here is what I came up with

All manufactures have initial problems some worst than others found this out by going to the other MFG forums

In reviewing and looking over some surveys it seemed that Forest River had fewer issues than most mfg

All feedback said Forest River stood by their products. I have found this true on some of my issues.

Your dealer is the biggest thing, you need to find a good dealer. I drive 3 hours to get mine worked on

That being said there are some horror stories

#1, Dealer, #2, Very complete PDI, #3, ID independent authorized dealer as a backup for repairs, #4, Hopefully your handy with small repairs. Most dealers are overloaded with a repairs a handyman could easily fix at home.

I am very happy with my Forest River 21FBRS, and with factory customer service. I would buy another.

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