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Old 08-05-2019, 03:51 PM   #1
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New owner, fast learning. Apex UL 289TBSS

This has been an interesting 3 week experience.

(Typed on a cell phone, sitting at a bar. May need to edit tomorrow!)

I'm an average middle class working stiff who buys cars, trucks, motorcycles and other mechanical and electrical toys. I typically buy products with little to no expectation to go back to the selling dealer for any help or service aside from normal scheduled maintenance. In 50 years, that has generally been what I've gotten.

Tractors, motorcycles, farm tractors, ATVs, UTVs, jet skis, sports cars, stereo and entertainment systems, appliances and more.

Then comes the idea that my wife and I want a camper. We are both pushing hard on the 50th birthday, grandkids are being born and it just seems like a good idea. So we go to the shows, walk the lots and decide on a Coachmen Apex Ultra Lite 289TBSS. This thing is beautiful for our specific needs. Perfection! Totally in love.

So we do the paperwork, take delivery of the agreed upon product and drive off to the tune of around $28,000. Done and done. Happy!

So we take off for an 80 mile away destination to spend 2 days. A test run, if you will.

So after 2 days and 160 miles total..... This is the list of issues.

1. Drawer hinge on rear diner bench, screws stripped wood, door sags and does not align consistently.

2. Slide out dragging on carpet and flooring. Possibly creating drag that forces the motor to demand higher than expected amperage, thus melting the 15a fuse. This is also scrubbing grease into the carpet and imparting rub marks and grease onto the vinyl flooring. (Photo attached)

3. Slide out delivered with 15a fuse that melted repeatedly(even after selling dealership cut open the black underside and wired in a completely new circuit due to blowing fuses on the lot during delivery), After calling the dealership, I was instructed to replace OEM 15a rated fuse with 30a fuse and report back if it still melts. I refused to go to 30a fuse and instead installed 20a. It has not melted that yet, but I questionable dealerships repair method to say the least. And doubling a fuse that provides safety to the unit from wire damage and potential fire is a horrible idea. I am not a fan of running a 20a fuse in a system designed to operate with a 15a fuse.

4. Heating duct to rear bunkhouse getting no airflow with heat on. My guess is a disconnect, a crushed hose or a physical blockage within that duct hose.

5. Cabinet/wardrobe located across from the bathroom door, the internal slide drawer framework collapsed by dropping free from staples. The 2 slide drawers are all that is holding the boxed frame work up at this point.

6. Behind the toilet, there is pex tube coming from wall has wall plate hanging free and laying on pex tube. The reason appears to be that the wall was punched out larger than the wall plate diameter. (not cut, literally punched as if a hammer was used to make the pass through hole).

7. The awning plastic protective cover for the wiring on the vertical wall mounted awning leg that is bolted to the trailer body fell off and is sitting inside. This was observed as loose initially and I had pushed it back in to the best of my ability, but this past weekend I opened the awning and the black cover fell completely off.

So I have it at a third party Marine and RV repair center being dealt with since my dealership experience was less than stellar.

Coachmen has been very agreeable so far, with the agreement that I'll pay up front and submit the invoice to them for reimbursement. No problem, I'm cool with that.

So here is the point... I'm appalled at the shoddy workmanship, poor design and general/overall product. For$28,000 I bought a box of air that is literally made with the cheapest products known to the construction world. The frame is weaker, thinner, lighter and far under built compared to any equipment, car hauler or utility I've owned. The Jensen electronics (Radio and Television as well as the cardboard junk speakers) used are total junk, things that I would laugh at and walk past at Best Buy... Yet are equal to everyone else in this market. The shelving, the drawers, the assembly, the couch, the mattress. Yep. Junk. All of it.

I really expected light weight through the application of modern materials and technologies. For $28,000 I can buy a half decently equipped brand new Honda Accord with leather that will run 250,000+ miles over 20 years and maybe see a dealer... Maybe not.

So I've pulled back the curtain a bit and I have seen "the wizard". Nothing in these beautiful new travel trailers is built anywhere near the quality level to match the price paid.

Your buying a crap frame from Lippert, literally cheap junk.
You are getting industry standard axles, but the axles and the tires are down sized to the point of being an inch above the minimum legal requirement.
Your getting luann board interior with wallpaper that looks like wood.
Your getting the cheapest junk electrical/charging system. Not what you would ever pick.
The television/radio/speaker system is of the Walmart auto isle quality. Junk from end to end, nothing that anyone would buy. Literally.... Your buying a stereo/speaker system that I can far beat for $400 using cheap Pioneer and Rockford Fosgate or Polk marine speakers. The TV? It's 2019 and it's not a smart TV. Really? You wouldn't buy this on a bet.

The battery? Oh, the dealer tosses in a wet dual purpose that you never buy.

Tires? The cheapest trash on the market, and down sized so that you need to account for 15% tongue weight to make it legal. You would never buy that trash.

So from end to end, everything you see from workmanship to material and product selection... You start to realize that your a fool and that the manufacturer and dealer are laughing all the way to the bank.

But I will tell you, it sure is a pretty, nay a beautiful pile of steaming dung!

So pretty, so beautiful and with such romantic visions of the future that I'm having it all dealt with and I'm having custom work done to it to make it more complete.

Adding this week:
blacked out super vent over the master bedroom with the blacked out vent cover.
Blacked out vent cover over the bathroom.
Rear ladder to get up on the roof.

So let's get this back next Monday or Tuesday and then we will be doing a 4 day weekend with 6 people at a full service camp. And let's hope that things hang tough!

For the fall, swap to 2 x 6 Volt Costco batteries and have the electrical/charging system pulled and replaced with something better along with a battery monitor.

Let's hope that this is teething issues. Wish me luck!
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2017 Ram Rebel 1500 5.7L / 8 Speed, Max Tow 10,160 lb / 1,100 lb payload rating.
2019 F-150 King Ranch 3.5 Eco-Boost 10-speed, 12,800 lb / 1,680 payload.
2020 FR Coachmen Apex Ultra Lite 289TBSS
2019 Quality Trailers 16'x7' 7K GVWR Utility Trailer
2019 Iron Bull 22'x102" 14K GVWR Equipment Trailer
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Old 08-05-2019, 03:56 PM   #2
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The frame is lighter because "we" the consumers demand to pull these new things with a Yugo Sedan.........or at best a 1/2 ton pickup. Truck dealers make a new name for engines, and folks buy it up and pull anything with it. It's the biggest argument on this site, and I swear, I think people would fight over their opinions. Look at the Lippert frames on a 15 year old unit, and look at a new frame. Any of them.


$85,000 units have a lot of the same problems..........SOMETIMES. You learn how to A) fix stuff yourself and B) avoid all dealers after the sale.


Wish it were different. But it is my worthless opinion that if they built them like a battle wagon (sort of what they did in the 2005-2009 time frame) today, they'd cost about 5 times as much.


No way I'd tell you in public what the manufacturer has spent on mine since I got it, fixing things. But they did fix them all!! And I've spent another $20,000 I'd bet on trailer and truck upgrades. I still love it. I'm NOT rich, I borrowed most of that. It's just what it is.



Your post is common. Lots of disappointment in first time buyers. It's usually why hardly anyone stays with their first one.

Good luck with it all. If you get it fixed, it's still a lot of enjoyment.
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Old 08-05-2019, 04:57 PM   #3
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Yes, I'm not dissuaded from owning it. Everything that I listed is mental midget level repairs that a person like me could handle while slobbering drunk... I own a fabrication shop and I build rock crawlers as a hobby. But on principal I want them to pay for this. Unless they pay for it, they would never consider remedying some of the build quality issues.

If they pay to repair the collapsed drawers on 6 out of 10 sold units, they will likely react to it. If owners spend $2 on 1.5"x1.5"x8' furring strip and brace it up in the driveway, they change nothing.
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2017 Ram Rebel 1500 5.7L / 8 Speed, Max Tow 10,160 lb / 1,100 lb payload rating.
2019 F-150 King Ranch 3.5 Eco-Boost 10-speed, 12,800 lb / 1,680 payload.
2020 FR Coachmen Apex Ultra Lite 289TBSS
2019 Quality Trailers 16'x7' 7K GVWR Utility Trailer
2019 Iron Bull 22'x102" 14K GVWR Equipment Trailer
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Old 09-21-2019, 01:21 PM   #4
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I did some Cat Scale measurements today. The tongue weight.... Wow. That is one heavy trailer.... With no food, no drinks, no clothes, no water. This is with the front passthrough full of the normal stuff for water/sewage hookup, levelling, tools, chocks, 4 camp chairs, power cables and power defender, 2 fishing poles. I'm with 2 20lb propane tanks and 1 cheap crap Interstate dual use battery.

Truck rear axle with no WDH is seeing 1620 lbs from the trailer. Think of that and that Coachmen says 715 lbs. I literally have nothing in the camper but the essential set up equipment and some folding chairs. Think of that as you shop for a truck or a camper.Attachment 215479Click image for larger version

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2017 Ram Rebel 1500 5.7L / 8 Speed, Max Tow 10,160 lb / 1,100 lb payload rating.
2019 F-150 King Ranch 3.5 Eco-Boost 10-speed, 12,800 lb / 1,680 payload.
2020 FR Coachmen Apex Ultra Lite 289TBSS
2019 Quality Trailers 16'x7' 7K GVWR Utility Trailer
2019 Iron Bull 22'x102" 14K GVWR Equipment Trailer
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Old 09-21-2019, 01:25 PM   #5
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Yep, actual loaded tongue weights are normally way more than published "dry" weights. Dry weights are for stripped-down versions of the trailer.
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Old 09-21-2019, 03:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikendan View Post
Yep, actual loaded tongue weights are normally way more than published "dry" weights. Dry weights are for stripped-down versions of the trailer.
1600+ lbs tongue weight kind of surprised me.
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2017 Ram Rebel 1500 5.7L / 8 Speed, Max Tow 10,160 lb / 1,100 lb payload rating.
2019 F-150 King Ranch 3.5 Eco-Boost 10-speed, 12,800 lb / 1,680 payload.
2020 FR Coachmen Apex Ultra Lite 289TBSS
2019 Quality Trailers 16'x7' 7K GVWR Utility Trailer
2019 Iron Bull 22'x102" 14K GVWR Equipment Trailer
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Old 09-21-2019, 07:21 PM   #7
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Somehow this one didn't upload. This is the truck only.
The truck is rated at 3,800 lb for both front and rear axle in the door. Payload is shown on my yellow sticker as 1,050 lbs.Click image for larger version

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Views:	44
Size:	122.9 KB
ID:	215517
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2017 Ram Rebel 1500 5.7L / 8 Speed, Max Tow 10,160 lb / 1,100 lb payload rating.
2019 F-150 King Ranch 3.5 Eco-Boost 10-speed, 12,800 lb / 1,680 payload.
2020 FR Coachmen Apex Ultra Lite 289TBSS
2019 Quality Trailers 16'x7' 7K GVWR Utility Trailer
2019 Iron Bull 22'x102" 14K GVWR Equipment Trailer
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Old 09-21-2019, 11:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry0071 View Post
Payload is shown on my yellow sticker as 1,050 lbs.Attachment 215517
OUCH!
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Old 09-22-2019, 02:11 AM   #9
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Our 2018 Apex 300bhs just turned 1 year old. So far the trailer actually has been good. Did not have any big reasons to go to dealer for warranty work. I knew when we purchased an 'ultra lite' trailer, these are the things that we should expect. RV industry is sloppy compared to the car business but it is what it is. You will learn how to fix things through Youtube, talking to other rv'ers, plus it is kinda fun once in a while to do little projects on the trailer now and then.
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Old 09-22-2019, 05:42 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by alvinmb View Post
Our 2018 Apex 300bhs just turned 1 year old. So far the trailer actually has been good. Did not have any big reasons to go to dealer for warranty work. I knew when we purchased an 'ultra lite' trailer, these are the things that we should expect. RV industry is sloppy compared to the car business but it is what it is. You will learn how to fix things through Youtube, talking to other rv'ers, plus it is kinda fun once in a while to do little projects on the trailer now and then.
I'm passed the repairs part, I had an independent shop do the things from week 1.

What I'm on to now is trying get my truck and trailer legal as far as weights go.

Since those initial repairs we've used it around 20 days and had no new issues.

Looking forward to some colder weather November use and then putting it into winter hibernation out behind the house. I may run the furnace set it's lowest setting all winter since my buddy has a giant house sized propane tank that is full but decades out of inspection. I can screw into it and run it out over the winter, then cut it up and scrap it.
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2017 Ram Rebel 1500 5.7L / 8 Speed, Max Tow 10,160 lb / 1,100 lb payload rating.
2019 F-150 King Ranch 3.5 Eco-Boost 10-speed, 12,800 lb / 1,680 payload.
2020 FR Coachmen Apex Ultra Lite 289TBSS
2019 Quality Trailers 16'x7' 7K GVWR Utility Trailer
2019 Iron Bull 22'x102" 14K GVWR Equipment Trailer
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Old 09-22-2019, 11:00 AM   #11
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Our trailers have a somewhat similar floorplan, there is 'no' heat to the bunkhouse, a small ceramic heater works great in the kids room. I added a heater vent under the dinette and installed an adjustable vent in the bathroom as that vent was hot as hell. AC works fine for us. Overall I think the quality for these are not bad. Seen some different brands at a recent rv show and had trim that has literally fallen off! The weight concern does need to be fixed to be safe. Good luck.
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Old 09-22-2019, 11:05 AM   #12
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The place that did my warranty work changed up the flex pipe going to the bathroom, under belly and bunk. I get good heated airflow to the bunkhouse area now. The way they had it, the bathroom had the shortest run and largest diameter. They put smaller flex pipe to the bathroom to create a restriction and that applied forced air back to the bunkhouse.
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2017 Ram Rebel 1500 5.7L / 8 Speed, Max Tow 10,160 lb / 1,100 lb payload rating.
2019 F-150 King Ranch 3.5 Eco-Boost 10-speed, 12,800 lb / 1,680 payload.
2020 FR Coachmen Apex Ultra Lite 289TBSS
2019 Quality Trailers 16'x7' 7K GVWR Utility Trailer
2019 Iron Bull 22'x102" 14K GVWR Equipment Trailer
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Old 09-29-2019, 07:50 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Larry0071 View Post
This has been an interesting 3 week experience.

(Typed on a cell phone, sitting at a bar. May need to edit tomorrow!)

I'm an average middle class working stiff who buys cars, trucks, motorcycles and other mechanical and electrical toys. I typically buy products with little to no expectation to go back to the selling dealer for any help or service aside from normal scheduled maintenance. In 50 years, that has generally been what I've gotten.

Tractors, motorcycles, farm tractors, ATVs, UTVs, jet skis, sports cars, stereo and entertainment systems, appliances and more.

Then comes the idea that my wife and I want a camper. We are both pushing hard on the 50th birthday, grandkids are being born and it just seems like a good idea. So we go to the shows, walk the lots and decide on a Coachmen Apex Ultra Lite 289TBSS. This thing is beautiful for our specific needs. Perfection! Totally in love.

So we do the paperwork, take delivery of the agreed upon product and drive off to the tune of around $28,000. Done and done. Happy!

So we take off for an 80 mile away destination to spend 2 days. A test run, if you will.

So after 2 days and 160 miles total..... This is the list of issues.

1. Drawer hinge on rear diner bench, screws stripped wood, door sags and does not align consistently.

2. Slide out dragging on carpet and flooring. Possibly creating drag that forces the motor to demand higher than expected amperage, thus melting the 15a fuse. This is also scrubbing grease into the carpet and imparting rub marks and grease onto the vinyl flooring. (Photo attached)

3. Slide out delivered with 15a fuse that melted repeatedly(even after selling dealership cut open the black underside and wired in a completely new circuit due to blowing fuses on the lot during delivery), After calling the dealership, I was instructed to replace OEM 15a rated fuse with 30a fuse and report back if it still melts. I refused to go to 30a fuse and instead installed 20a. It has not melted that yet, but I questionable dealerships repair method to say the least. And doubling a fuse that provides safety to the unit from wire damage and potential fire is a horrible idea. I am not a fan of running a 20a fuse in a system designed to operate with a 15a fuse.

4. Heating duct to rear bunkhouse getting no airflow with heat on. My guess is a disconnect, a crushed hose or a physical blockage within that duct hose.

5. Cabinet/wardrobe located across from the bathroom door, the internal slide drawer framework collapsed by dropping free from staples. The 2 slide drawers are all that is holding the boxed frame work up at this point.

6. Behind the toilet, there is pex tube coming from wall has wall plate hanging free and laying on pex tube. The reason appears to be that the wall was punched out larger than the wall plate diameter. (not cut, literally punched as if a hammer was used to make the pass through hole).

7. The awning plastic protective cover for the wiring on the vertical wall mounted awning leg that is bolted to the trailer body fell off and is sitting inside. This was observed as loose initially and I had pushed it back in to the best of my ability, but this past weekend I opened the awning and the black cover fell completely off.

So I have it at a third party Marine and RV repair center being dealt with since my dealership experience was less than stellar.

Coachmen has been very agreeable so far, with the agreement that I'll pay up front and submit the invoice to them for reimbursement. No problem, I'm cool with that.

So here is the point... I'm appalled at the shoddy workmanship, poor design and general/overall product. For$28,000 I bought a box of air that is literally made with the cheapest products known to the construction world. The frame is weaker, thinner, lighter and far under built compared to any equipment, car hauler or utility I've owned. The Jensen electronics (Radio and Television as well as the cardboard junk speakers) used are total junk, things that I would laugh at and walk past at Best Buy... Yet are equal to everyone else in this market. The shelving, the drawers, the assembly, the couch, the mattress. Yep. Junk. All of it.

I really expected light weight through the application of modern materials and technologies. For $28,000 I can buy a half decently equipped brand new Honda Accord with leather that will run 250,000+ miles over 20 years and maybe see a dealer... Maybe not.

So I've pulled back the curtain a bit and I have seen "the wizard". Nothing in these beautiful new travel trailers is built anywhere near the quality level to match the price paid.

Your buying a crap frame from Lippert, literally cheap junk.
You are getting industry standard axles, but the axles and the tires are down sized to the point of being an inch above the minimum legal requirement.
Your getting luann board interior with wallpaper that looks like wood.
Your getting the cheapest junk electrical/charging system. Not what you would ever pick.
The television/radio/speaker system is of the Walmart auto isle quality. Junk from end to end, nothing that anyone would buy. Literally.... Your buying a stereo/speaker system that I can far beat for $400 using cheap Pioneer and Rockford Fosgate or Polk marine speakers. The TV? It's 2019 and it's not a smart TV. Really? You wouldn't buy this on a bet.

The battery? Oh, the dealer tosses in a wet dual purpose that you never buy.

Tires? The cheapest trash on the market, and down sized so that you need to account for 15% tongue weight to make it legal. You would never buy that trash.

So from end to end, everything you see from workmanship to material and product selection... You start to realize that your a fool and that the manufacturer and dealer are laughing all the way to the bank.

But I will tell you, it sure is a pretty, nay a beautiful pile of steaming dung!

So pretty, so beautiful and with such romantic visions of the future that I'm having it all dealt with and I'm having custom work done to it to make it more complete.

Adding this week:
blacked out super vent over the master bedroom with the blacked out vent cover.
Blacked out vent cover over the bathroom.
Rear ladder to get up on the roof.

So let's get this back next Monday or Tuesday and then we will be doing a 4 day weekend with 6 people at a full service camp. And let's hope that things hang tough!

For the fall, swap to 2 x 6 Volt Costco batteries and have the electrical/charging system pulled and replaced with something better along with a battery monitor.

Let's hope that this is teething issues. Wish me luck!

We have a 2016 Apex 279RLSS, bought new. Early on found leak at outside shower, and a finishing strip under the slide was separating. Dealer, a good one, fixed it while I waited. After a 7300 mile cross country trip, I still have not had any major issues. Yes, cheap finishes and poor assembly, but my wife and I have made a number of enhancements. Sort of personalized it. I did put new Goodyear’s Endurance tires on a few months ago.

Here’s the thing, I was in turbine engine, auto, motorcycle, and industrial truck manufacturing for 40 years. The level of quality and reliability in those products continues to evolve. TT quality is still suspect, and slow to improve. The level of effort and cost to achieve current auto quality would near to kill the average TT manufacturer...low wages, poor training/inconsistent process standards, and volatility in market demand will keep these products as they are.
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