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Old 08-07-2011, 03:41 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Eastern NC
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Question How do you know if you got a lemon?

My husband and I recently bought a our first travel trailer, a new 2011 Flagstaff 26FKSS. We are newbies to the whole camping/RVing thing but, so far, we are hooked! The only downside to this experience has been the multiple issues we have had with our camper. We have been on 3 trips, so far (all within 2 hours of our house) in the past 3 mos since we bought our camper brand new. We have had to return to the dealership 4 times to repair problems and are scheduled for another trip back this coming week. This seems wrong to be having this many problems with a NEW camper.

Here's is are a few of the issues as I understand them:
1. Radio/DVD player does not work once power is restored following a complete battery drain. In order to make it work, the entire unit must be removed and it must be "reset". The dealer has done this so many times that the screw holes are starting to get stripped in and the unit is loose in the wall now.
2. The water tank literally fell out of the bottom the FIRST time we tried to fill it with water. It tore off some of the stuff on the sides as it went down. The dealer "rigged" it to work for now, but we are still awaiting a permanent solution.
3. One of the wheels on the trailer slings oil up the side - we noticed this after our first trip which was a 2 hour drive from the house, so it's not like we had put a lot of miles on it.
4. The shower leaks out onto the bathroom floor and makes a mess.
5. The bathroom door "fell out" of the track.
6. The power jack has quit working 4-5 times at the most inopportune moments (when we are running late). But, then it starts working again a few moments later. Wondering it there is a short in the wiring?
7. We had some sort of issue with the refrigerator and it quits working periodically without warning.
8. The AC works better sometimes than others - again, no rhyme or reason to this.
I'm sure I'm missing a couple other problems, but, you get the idea!

For those of you who have had several campers and have been doing this for awhile, I need advice. Is Flagstaff a good name brand, or is this the norm for this line? Are problems like this normal due to the nature of camping and dragging a "house on wheels" down the highway? At what point should we suspect we got a lemon? If we have reached this point, how do we get in touch with the manufacturer if we don't feel like the dealer is really trying to do the right thing here?

Thanks for your help!

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Old 08-07-2011, 04:03 PM   #2
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No, I don't feel these are "normal" issues.
1.) Radio should have been replaced. Mine works great. I did have it replaced within the first month I had my unit. Don't remember what the issue was, but it wasn't acceptable.
2.) Get it fixed...correctly and permentaly. Should be a warranty issue. Not normal, however I have heard of this happening.
3.) Not sure how oil can get slung up sides of camper as wheels are under a wheel well...correct? Also wheels contain grease not oil. Not sure what it could possibly be from.
4.) Sounds like to door isn't adjusted correctly and/or bad seal.
5.) Normal occurance for sliding doors. Roads get bumpy and the doors do come out of the track. I have 2 of these and occasionally they come out. Not a big deal to put them back on track on my unit.
6 & 7.) Hard to troubleshoot occasional issues. Again I would request replacement under warranty.
8.) Not sure I understand comment. How are you determining this? Hand held pyrometer to check actual temp out of AC?

You are correct that issues will arise as you are pulling this thing down highways.
I don't have a Flagstaff unit. Mine is a Rockwood and I have not had that many issues with it. I recommend you work with mfg to get these issues resolved. I've yet to hear of the "perfect" RV

I don't know if I would classify this as a lemon, but definately some major issues which need resolution.

Wishing you the best in getting it all worked out.

Walt-N-Terry Sanford
03 Dodge Ram 2500 Diesel
08 Rockwood 8317
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Old 08-07-2011, 04:17 PM   #3
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My first question is why is the battery being drained so low. Low battery could be the reason the jacks quit working. When they stop and start a short time latter you most likely have tripped an auto reset fuse. If our TT is not leveled properly our shower also leaks. If the bathroom door is a pocket door is sounds like the stop has come off. We had the same problem with our door. Your low battery could also be part of the problem with the refrigerator. Is the AC always on the same power source. What else is running in the TT when the AC is not working right. You might be near the limit of you amp usage. The oil from the wheels is most likely excess grease from the bearings.
Terry and Janet
2008 3001W Windjammer
2007 Ford F150
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Old 08-07-2011, 04:58 PM   #4
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I know right now these issues seem like you have a lemon. However this seems to be the norm with new RV's. Take your list and take it to the dealer. Insist that it be fixed right or replaced with a different unit. The radio should be replaced. The wheel bearings are over greased. Dead battery will cause all of the other issues you are talking about, except the AC unit. Since that requires 120VAC if you have low voltage at the pole ( power input from the campground) your AC unit will brown out. If that happens it is very easy to burn out the compressor. To check the AC unit functionality, take a cheap thermometer and place it in the AC air outlet You should see around 38 degrees. Lower and the unit will freeze (ice0 up/ Warmer and there is a problem.
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Old 09-18-2011, 06:21 AM   #5
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Batteries could be drained if T.V. antenna is not turned off.
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Old 09-18-2011, 12:29 PM   #6
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by the way, the Flagstaff and Rockwood lines are twins of each other. same trailers with different decals and interior fabric designs.

i wouldn't call yours a "lemon". a lot of your issues are pretty common to new owners. remember, quality control in the RV Industry is pretty poor, anymore, no matter what brand or manufacturer you buy from.
the key is a good dealer. of course, a lot of these things should have been caught by the dealer when they received it from the factory. they're supposed to go through it BEFORE they put it out for sale.
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Old 09-18-2011, 02:49 PM   #7
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Some of the problems should not be happening but except for the water tank I don't see anything unusual to me.

My bathroom floor can gets wets unless I secured the curtain by placing the shampoo bottle on it. I also stand toward the corner and will remove the shower head hose to rinse off while keeping the water away from the shower curtain. This is a small area so it doesn't take much to get water outside the shower much less a small flood. Also I'm assuring the drain plug is in the open position.

The Electric Tongue Jack problem is something I can relate to. I had a major problem with mine but once it was replaced I have not had any trouble with it.

Draining the battery completely is not good. Do you have a battery disconnect? I had one installed for about $80 and it's well worth the cost. I was originally going with the simple cheap flip-switch type that my dealership was installing for free but the battery lid would not close with it on it. I opted for the upgraded pull/push knob instead.

Put your smartphone to use - I found it helpful to take pictures and even better video taping when the issue pops up. I was having a problem with my microwave oven working and had it in service twice. Funny how the tech guy could cook oatmeal in it but I couldn't. Once I video taped the problem he saw what was happening. Problem - user error (Being short I didn't noticed the door was not closed completely).

One would think a new RV would be problem free but in real life it's usually not. Being new to RVing this stuff can feel overwhelming but give it time and you will be a pro at it.

Take care and keep us updated on your camping trips. Remember we love pictures so feel free to share.
Great choice for "Living within my means" and camping for one...

2011 Salem Cruise Lite 20RBXL & 2011 Toyota Tundra Dbl Cab
Camping History: 45 Trips / 133 Nights / 3736 Miles
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Old 10-01-2011, 11:11 PM   #8
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As for the jack...I had problems with mine untill I removed it and ground off the paint from the bottom of the flange and on the frame. It was not properly grounded.
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Old 10-02-2011, 08:22 AM   #9
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a FEW OF YOUR PROBLEMS WERE DETECTED ON MINE. tHE BRACKETS THAT HOLD THE water tank should be more solid. 2 small tin braces that can slip from the tank holding frame is not enough to hold a full tank of water. As for your oil on your wheels: the rubber plugs that seal the grease can let a bit of grease and create a little oil deposit on the rim. I would not see this as serious unless the rubber is really not sealed. As for your ac it is very important to understand that ac" are giving a less output when the weather is very humid. The coils is getting saturated with condensation and give a less airflow inside the trailer because of the saturation with the condensation. For your leaking shower it is probably the cartridge. Remember that shower with a hose will take much longer to stop dripping after use.
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Old 10-02-2011, 08:51 PM   #10
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It sounds as you and I own the same unit though mine in an 09. I thought Flagstaff was first rate, but now I am really wondering. Campers are subject to a lot of road stress and failures can be anticipated. I have been doing this since the 70s and have had a lot of problems along the way, but my Flagstaff has given me more issues than the four previous campers combined. It is my first and last one.

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