Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-16-2016, 04:50 PM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 69
Three Years with A Thunderbolt

I bought my XLR Thunderbolt 300 x 12 in April 2013. I am posting this note to share my XLR experiences. I feel like I have had more than my share of trouble. I have been fortunate to work through my problems, both because I am "handy", and because Forest River suppliers have stood behind their products. Unfortunately, the amount of trouble I have had, the money I have spent, and the resultant down time means that I would not recommend an XLR to my friends and neighbors.

I bought my trailer form RV Wholesalers in Ohio. I had it delivered to my house, so the first time I saw it was when the delivery driver turned into my driveway. My first impression was, "it's big".

I had one issue with my new trailer. The fresh water tank was leaking around the drain fitting. These fittings are heat welded, and in my opinion, the plastic welder had been too hot when they welded the drain fitting. I called my dealer and sent them some pictures. My dealer and Forest River agreed that the tank was defective. My dealer arranged for Forest River to ship a new tank to a local RV repair shop. The local repair shop called me when the tank was delivered. I made an appointment with the local repair shop, delivered my camper to them on a Monday, and picked it up the next Tuesday. Down time = 1 week.

My first trip was a one week visit to Junction, TX. My wife and I had a great trip until it came time to leave. When I was closing up the camper, the bedroom slide would not go in. I was on a time schedule (wanted to get through Houston before the rush hour) so I got some help and pushed the slide in manually. Later that evening, when we stopped for the night, I found a loose wire on the slide controller (driver's side of pass-through storage). I terminated the wire. That fixed my slide problem and it has not re-occurred.

During an inspection at home, I found that my CO2 detector wasn't working. I contacted the vendor for the CO2 detector and was able to get a replacement (they sent it to my dealer who sent it to me). I installed the replacement myself and returned the defective detector.

I had one other short trip in the first year of ownership and did not have any trouble with my camper.

My wife and I retired in FEB 2014. Our first retirement trip was a late March to early May excursion to Mississippi and Missouri. On the way home, while traveling on I-20 near the Alabama/Mississippi line, I had a blowout. The tire blew apart, and the tread damaged the side of my trailer when it separated from the tire body. I put on the spare and limped home. The damage estimate for my trailer was more than $1000 (lower side panel, wheel opening fender skirt, rim). I decided to change all of my tires to load range G, LT tires. When I pulled off the intact original tires, I noticed that another tire showed signs of separation, and was close to blowing up. I contacted my dealer and they were sympatric, but they also noted that I was out of warranty. I contacted Forest River and they would not talk to me. I called my dealer again, and got contact information for the tire distributor. I had a long email string with the tire distributor about the quality of their product. The end result was that they would not pay for damages to my trailer, but they agreed to buy back the 5 "china bombs that came on my trailer. I spent $1000 on new tires and had to repair the camper damages myself. The tire problems occurred at 15 months and ~5000 miles.

I had to replace my fresh water pump.

I had to replace the radio in my living area (CD/DVD player would not eject).

Several knobs used to open my windows or ceiling vents vibrated off.

I had some issues with the seals on the outside metal parts of my slides. I repaired the problems using eta bond tape (upper inside corners of the outside wall of the slides).

My factory battery was dead in 14 months.

The fan for the ceiling vent in the living area quit working. I did not replace it. I just removed that fan (we don't use it).

I had to delay my fall 2014 trip when I found a spring hanger was tearing off of the frame. The spring hanger was located on the passenger rear. The hangers for these trailer are welded to a small piece of C channel which is in turn welded to the I-beam of the frame. The hanger was OK, but the C-channel was tearing. I called the manufacturer of the frame, Lippert, INC. Lippert agreed to make the repair, but they would not pay the amount of the estimate that my repair dealer submitted. Lippert was going to send one of their techs to my dealer to do the repairs. My concern was that they could not give me a date when the repairperson would be able to do the work, and they would not commit to beefing up the other hangers. I negotiated with Lippert to let my dealer do the repair and their liability would be limited to no more than the cost of sending their tech to South Carolina (~$900). When I insisted on beefing up the other parts of the suspension, Lippert agreed to pay half of the cost up to $900. My bill was $1550, and my down time was 6 weeks.

I was in Florida in the spring of 2015 when I noticed my ramp door was coming apart at the hinge line. The cause was determined to be water damage because one of the aluminum trim pieces on the edge of the door had come loose. Lippert was the manufacturer, and they agreed to replace the door. It took nearly 3 months to get the new door and get it installed. Some of the delay was because my repair dealer was busy.

My new door ramp door started failing (just like the first door) on my next trip. I finished my trip, took some pictures, and sent the info to Lippert. Lippert would not agree to replace my door based on the info I was sending them. I had to take my camper to the repair shop to and let them negotiate with Lippert. In the end, Lippert agreed to replace the door again. There was considerable delay in communication with Lippert but the new door finally came in and was installed. My camper was in the shop from JAN 6, 2016 till the end of March.

I noted that the new door was made just like the other 2. I also observed that the hinge was flexing the first time I opened the door. I spent $200 and 2 weeks making and installing aluminum pieces to reinforce the hinge line. I also removed 3 of the six springs that make the door easy to raise and lower. It is my opinion that the door is poorly engineered. I contacted Forest River about my problems and sent them some pictures. After a few emails, they have stopped responding. I am particularly aggravated because the Forest River people act like they have no knowledge of quality issues with Lippert components.

I have had my camper for 3 years. It has been "down" for a year of that time. I have been lucky that Lippert has paid most of the cost of repair for the items that they made, but I have still spent a lot of my own money.

RV warranties are strangely written. The camper manufacturer accepts responsibility only for the parts that they made. If you have a problem with one of their suppliers, then you have to deal with the supplier's customer service department. It is a strange way to do business to allow a companies reputation to hang on the customer service of a vendor.










__________________

__________________
andy29847 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2016, 05:57 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
R3Jones's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Florida
Posts: 234
Sorry to hear your troubles but thanks for sharing. I'll be keeping a close eye on the components you had an issue.




-R.Jones
Nitro 31FQSL
__________________

__________________
R3Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2016, 06:40 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
chpence1's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 149
Thanks for sharing your perspectives. ...... wow.
Good luck in the future.
__________________
2005 Dodge Ram Laramie, SRW
5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel 24 valve
2013 Forest River Thunderbolt XLR 380 AMP
Cow Bell
2010 Star Motorcycle Stratoliner Deluxe
chpence1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2016, 01:21 PM   #4
Member
 
F350TH's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 78
So if you were to buy a new camper, what would you buy?
__________________
2015 XLR Nitro 39DKS5 Toy Hauler
Towed by 2016 Ford F350 CCLB DRW 6.7
F350TH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2016, 04:08 PM   #5
Member
 
darvinstone's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Lexington, NC
Posts: 93
Sorry to hear about your troubles, but most of the problems you have had were FR vendor components...not XLR. Every RV manufacturer uses the same components and vendors so you could have easily had the same issues with any other brand. I have had a few problems with my 375, but nothing I would consider major and XLR took care of everything. If I was going to order a new rig tomorrow, it would definitely be an XLR. I like knowing if something happens they will take care of it. I made a trip up to XLR a couple months ago and spent some time with Bob and met some of his workers....very impressed. I will continue to recommend XLR to everyone I know until something changes.
__________________
Stan Stone
Lexington, NC

2016 XLR 375 AMP Thunderbolt
2014 F350 Lariat FX4 DRW (Fully Deleted)
darvinstone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2016, 05:40 PM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 69
Quote:
So if you were to buy a new camper, what would you buy?
That is the million dollar question. I almost wrote Jayco as a quick reply. Jayco makes campers in my price range and has a good reputation. However, internet research finds that Lippert recently bought the company that made Jayco frames and axles (Dexter). Today the answer to your question is, "I don't know."
__________________
andy29847 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2016, 05:43 PM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by darvinstone View Post
Sorry to hear about your troubles, but most of the problems you have had were FR vendor components...not XLR. Every RV manufacturer uses the same components and vendors so you could have easily had the same issues with any other brand. I have had a few problems with my 375, but nothing I would consider major and XLR took care of everything. If I was going to order a new rig tomorrow, it would definitely be an XLR. I like knowing if something happens they will take care of it. I made a trip up to XLR a couple months ago and spent some time with Bob and met some of his workers....very impressed. I will continue to recommend XLR to everyone I know until something changes.
How long have you had your 2016 trailer and how many miles have you towed with it?

You are right about the components being similar in almost all the trailers. Lippert seems to dominate the industry.

FWIW, Forest River would not talk to me after the warranty period expired. Even when the problem was with components supplied by a vendor.
__________________
andy29847 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2016, 02:13 PM   #8
CDR USN Ret
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Full-Time
Posts: 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by darvinstone View Post
Sorry to hear about your troubles, but most of the problems you have had were FR vendor components...not XLR. Every RV manufacturer uses the same components and vendors so you could have easily had the same issues with any other brand. I have had a few problems with my 375, but nothing I would consider major and XLR took care of everything. If I was going to order a new rig tomorrow, it would definitely be an XLR. I like knowing if something happens they will take care of it. I made a trip up to XLR a couple months ago and spent some time with Bob and met some of his workers....very impressed. I will continue to recommend XLR to everyone I know until something changes.
X2
__________________
2015 XLR415AMP
2011 3500HD Duramax/Allison/90 Gal Aux
2015 HD Limited Low
DSQR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2016, 09:48 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 109
Good write up thanks for sharing. I have always wondered the carnage if a tire went.

When you went to your dealer does that mean the local forest river dealer or rv wholesalers in ohio?

I have had some issues with my trailer, dealer has fixed them but it did take some fighting for a landing gear repair.

I personally think brand of trailer is like picking GM, Ford or Dodge. Some people have a brand preference but really they all have their own issues and then you can sometimes get a good one or a bad one.
__________________
2017 GMC Sierra Denali HD
2014 XLR Hyper Lite 30HFS5


Toys-
Yamaha G9 Golf Cart
2010 Harley FLHX with lots of mods
bowtie_guy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2016, 05:03 AM   #10
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 69
Thanks for your reply. My "dealers" have all been first class.

I bought my camper from RVWholsalers. They did everything I expected for the warranty period. The big issue that they handled was replacement of the fresh water tank. RVWolesalers handled the paperwork and arranged for the tank to be installed locally at CSRA Camperland.


Tony's RV Repair Service has done all of the major repairs.

Since almost all of my problems occurred after the one year warranty period, I have done most of the talking with the companies that supplied the components for my Forest River Trailer. Generally, when I took my trailer in for service, I knew what it was going to cost and who was going to pay. One of the "hard" facts about RV service in my area is that the dealers are very busy and it can take 2 or 3 weeks to get an appointment for repair.

To restate my complaints, I think the life expectancy of major components (doors, tires, frame) should be more than one year. I think Forest River XLR should show more concern about what they are buying to put on/in their trailers.

My trailer, with it's load range G tires, re-enforced frame, and re- enforced ramp door, makes me happy. It wouldn't be hard or very expensive to make these thing "right" from the factory. The first step in the process is to acknowledge the problems.
__________________

__________________
andy29847 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




ForestRiverForums.com is not in any way associated with Forest River, Inc. or its associated RV manufacturing divisions.


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:34 PM.