Originally Posted by kdanie
I'm new to the forum and after spending some time looking around it seems like many post their experiences with issues/resolutions so I thought I would post mine. I suggest you grab a glass/bottle of your favorite beverage and some snacks, this will take a while...
After much looking at shows and dealers we decided on a Sanibel 3500 but we lived in CA at the time and could not get a good deal there so I found an unsold '12 (the 175th or so 3500 built) on line at Colton RV just north of Buffalo NY, it was $20,000 cheaper than anything I could get in CA.
The issues started on the trip from NY to CA.
The rearmost hanging light over the kitchen broke at the base and was hanging by the wires. Colton RV sent me a new one and I installed it. It is 1" longer than the others but most people don't notice it.
The refrigerator started breaking out of the cabinet work. It appeared the upper and lower screws that hold it in place were installed too close to the edge. A FR dealer in Eugene OR pulled the fridge and replace the upper and lower cabinet pieces with real cherry wood from a cabinet shop. Nice job on the wood and they adjusted something on the fridge so the auto mode works better when going to gas. 8 months later the fridge is trying to get loose again. The long screws from the cherry pieces into the particle board sides are breaking out. Why would you mount a fridge to particle board???
The kitchen faucet plugged up. PT sent me a new one and I installed it.
One of the dining chairs broke on the cross piece between legs, an obvious knot in the wood making a weak point. I glued/clamped it back together. A dealer said he would get a replacement if I brought it 100 miles to him so he could match the material. Haven't gotten to that and likely never will, we don't need the chair.
Numerous cabinet door hinge screws have pulled loose. I fix them with some wood glue and match stick. Once dried they never come loose again.
The kitchen slide started rocking when moving it in and out. It got progressively worse until this morning I had to go outside and push the back edge in by hand for the last 18" or so.
Last January we noticed a seam starting to open up when we put it on the truck. It turns out the Lippert chassis AND the PT aluminum super structure are too weak. It seems the first 400 or so built have this issue.
I am typing this as I sit in an Elkhart IN motel room while the trailer is at the contractors facility getting the chassis flex, kitchen slide and refrigerator issues fixed. They will likely fix the fender/body damage from a blowout a few weeks ago too, I'll find that out tomorrow.
The computer desk light keeps coming loose, I keep tightening it but I think I'll just remove it all together.
The yellow exterior light by the door quit working, a new bulb didn't fix it so I will pull the fixture and switch and check voltage-one of these days.
The airbed couch is unusable, I tried it 3 times-twice the mattress lost air within an hour. I sold it for $25 at a garage sale and put in a Jennifer Convertible's hide-a-bed.
Several of the window valances have come or been knocked loose. Same fix as the hinge screws.
A couple of the roman blinds quit working. I fixed one and found frayed cord to be the culprit caused by a burr inside the blind. I removed the burr and re-strung it. I'll get to the other soon.
Heater air intake panels in stairs are particle board, one has broken already-I replaced it with a panel I made from oak.
The shower pan cracked near the drain a couple months ago. PT offered to have it replaced but I asked for them to just provide the pan so I can reenforce the area with epoxy and fiberglass or maybe even some carbon fiber I have in my shop so it doesn't happen in another year or so.
The rear AC quit a couple weeks ago. We were at a place with low voltage and didn't realize it. I think the circuit board in the unit popped, PT is trying to get me a new one and I'll replace it.
Those are the big issues but there are MANY things they could/should do better, ESPECIALLY now that they are plugging the Sanibel line as the "Intellegent" 5th wheel:
1. Cabinet frames are particle board, should be real wood. It won't add that much cost and won't add ANY weight if they choose the wood correctly.
2. Recliners are WAY too big, hard to position to retract slides, falling apart from all the wrestling to move them. One was so messed up I just tossed it out last week. I'll find something slimmer/trimmer and not made of particle board.
3. Fireplace cabinet won't stay closed when underway. I made a nylon strap/clip to keep it closed.
4. Shower nozzle should have an ON/OFF valve to conserve water when sewer hookup is not available. I bought a new hose/shower head with the valve built in.
5. Spice cabinet would not stay closed once spices are in the racks, I added a second "bullet" catch.
6. Spice cabinet racks have wire bottoms, spice containers fall over. I installed some thin boards over wire grill.
7. LED spot lights over bed are too far fwd to use for reading, there is NO suitable reading lamp in the bedroom. Move the spot lights as far toward the head of the bed as possible.
8. No place in bathroom for toilet paper holder or towel racks. A medicine cabinet would be nice.
9. Air bed couch is unuseable. It was even uncomfortable as a couch! Needs a real couch/hide-a-bed.
10. Installed surround sound/DVD system won't play the TV through the speakers only DVDs.
11. No coat storage/rack near front door. I put portable coat/hat rack in corner of dining area, giving up 1 of the 4 chairs.
12. Kitchen sink should not be plastic, Stainless and with two compartments for washing & rinsing.
13. The slides should be able to operate individually. There are times when you CAN'T or don't want to run them all out together.
14. Label the gray/black/galley drain valves, nobody at the dealer or PT could confirm which was which. It took me a while to figure it out.
So it sounds like I'm not very happy with it BUT I have found PT response to our issues pretty good and overall It's been a decent 16 months of full timing. I spent much of my life in the boat/ship world and realize it takes at least a year to get all the bugs worked out. After this week I hope we are almost there!
Hey Ken, sorry to hear about your issues. As with any RV, manufacturers (for the most part) do make improvements to their units with each new model year. So, it appears that issues such as yours have been addressed by PT. Unfortunately, you have one of the earlier units that they have since improved on, for example;
One of our "pendant" lights over the dining table pulled loose from the wood ceiling bezel, swung into the light next to it and broke the glass globe. The broken glass then fell on the dining table top putting a large gouge in the table top. This all happened during transport to the dealer and was addressed/repaired before PDI.
We have the larger double door Dometic fridge and shows NO signs of coming loose so, maybe they've improved their mounting.
Bathroom faucet plugged up once. Took screen airator and water saver off and found a small piece of left over plastic (left over from drilling the tank for fittings etc.)
They have switched to Lane furniture (couch and recliners) and the couch has a "real" convertible mattress which is fairly comfortable considering (we put an additional 2" foam topper on it and my mom says it was quite comfortable). And, it does fold up with the topper still on it!
No problems with our valences or blinds and DW opens and closes them daily.
My heater air return vent appears to be of better construction (doesn't feel like particle board).
We have the 5' shower and the floor seems very solid.
1. No change in cabinet construction (as far as I can tell).
2. They've switched to Lane furniture (more durable and comfortable).
3. Good mod.
4. I bought an on/off valve at CW that installs between hose and shower head
5. Another good mod.
6. No change.....still wire rack.
7. Mine are swivel kind and can be "aimed" for improvement but, not perfect.
8. No change here but, they did put in a medicine cab. in this model.
10. Sounds like they mis-wired something somewhere.
12. Sink is now recessed stainless steel double sided.
13. X2. If yours are electric over hydraulic, there is a valve in your compartment that you use to isolate one or more slides. I had my PDI tech label the valve for me after he showed it to me. It has come in handy a couple times!
14. Good idea and........I keep forgetting to label them myself.
Now, in no way am I making light of your issues Ken, I'm just trying to show that PT does read & listen to our concerns and continue to improve their units.
I hear that their factory repair facility is excellent and I feel all your issues (and maybe some you haven't found yet) will be PROPERLY taken care of.