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Old 07-26-2015, 08:24 AM   #11
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Pop ups tend to represent the entry level into the RV world. As with all entry level products it is a tug between cost and quality.
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Old 07-26-2015, 12:38 PM   #12
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Yeah, don't take this personally, but I've heard the 'pop ups are entry level' excuse before and honestly I don't really accept it. At least, not within the same brand. Entry level can/should define features but never quality. Some brands are known for quality others are not. FR should decide where they stand on that. The best companies have entry level products that are still of world class quality - just without the rich features of their higher end products. There is of course a huge spectrum there.

If that's truly their excuse for making an 'inferior' product and if the dealership or factory told me that buying their top of the line 'Premier' brand pop up was going to be low quality because I wasn't buy another line of their products that didn't fit my needs I would be appalled. I simply don't want a TT or 5'er, so I got the best pop up they make.

Thy should protect their brand with quality standards across the product line. Otherwise, at what price point can a customer expect to 'get one of the good ones'? A friend of mine recently sold his StarCraft Pop up and got a 23-24k Forest River Freedom Express. Does that price qualify for 'good quality' yet? They make much more expensive TTs. Is it only the 5'er that qualify for decent build quality? He did look at a Cherokee that was about 5 thousand less and indeed it had a wood frame vs. aluminum so the 'feature' of aluminum vs wood defined the quality to some extent and there is overlap there, but I would still expect the wood framed Cherokee to be built to the best standard available to the manufacturer. They should toss out warped sticks and fix mis-applied fasteners as it moves down the production line. I doubt FR (and likely others) have employees that care about that though as I don't think it's in their culture.

In my experience, any time a company starts to allow 'good enough' on any of their products that speaks to the culture of the organization. I wouldn't allow 'good enough' from any of my teams or employees. Once an organization starts to allow such a concept to permeate their standards they start to slip IMHO.

I understand productions systems, assembly, delivery and supply chains fairly well. Granted, I don't have first hand behind the scenes experience with the RV industry but the entire purchase and support experience with campers in general is very last century (disconnects between dealers etc) but apparently it's 'good enough'.

I'm not a long time customer of the RV industry - this is my first new purchase, and I'll take it for what it is, but it's a very strange business where new sales seem to be one step above the used car sales industry. Forest River, Thor Industries et al make no effort to have a consistent customer experience across their dealerships. The independent dealerships lead the experience and I think lack of vision/strategy from FR follows through to the product line because the current customer experience has been 'good enough'. Just my perception based on my experience in person and reading around on the forums about the disparities between good dealerships and bad. FR corporate doesn't set the tone.

That said, I still enjoy my pop up for what it is - a 'cheap' $12,500 box of cabinets, thin wiring and vinyl that was put together as fast and cheap as possible. It's 'good enough'.

We'll see how the warranty experience goes. It will be my first with them. Who knows, perhaps it will be a transformation experience where they go above and beyond. But honestly, I'm only expecting 'good enough'.

And that's what I would expect if it were a >$30k TT or 5'er.

I hope this doesn't come off as combative. But I truly feel if a brand wants to be seen as high quality they will put that effort into every aspect of their organization from sourcing to production to marketing to sales and finally customer service. Within the same brand, cost should define features and they should never skimp on build quality. Especially on the 'entry level' prospect customers.

Sorry for the rant. It's the businessman and manager in me disliking the idea of 'good enough'.
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Old 07-26-2015, 03:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinmaker View Post
As with all entry level products it is a tug between cost and quality.
Don't believe that is true with many products. For many manufacturers it is a feature issue and not a quality issue.
If I purchased an entry level Silverado, I would understand the features are limited and I would know this when purchasing the truck. However, I sure would want the quality to be as good as the high end Silverado. If not, I won't come back and purchase a high end or even another Silverado. Same holds true for Ford/Chrysler, etc. If the quality is not there, people don't return.

But it sure does appear that Forest River cuts the quality for some reason; not sure if it is price, or just bad quality control.

Still trying to figure out who the morons are who decided it is ok to install items with screws into thin veneer pressed wood and expect them to remain. They can't even align the items correctly so that they open as designed.

It's just shoddy manufacturing and if I was ever in the market for a different trailer, I can almost guarantee it would NOT be manufactured by Forest River. And I could never recommend a Forest River product to anyone I know.
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Old 07-26-2015, 08:48 PM   #14
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Makes me a little nervous on our new purchase!!
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Old 07-26-2015, 08:55 PM   #15
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Great points guys. Not much more to say to that.
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Old 07-27-2015, 01:57 PM   #16
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For my part, I feel the whole 'good enough' thing is more of an industry issue than a Forest River specific issue.

I looked at Jayco and Starcraft campers when I was looking to purchase and in my opinion the ones I looked at were of lesser quality (plastic drawer sliders) than the FR ones.

I also liked the FR features and aesthetics. The value for the dollar seemed better on the FR campers I looked at. Not a big fan of the dealership.

That said, if I could justify the cost, and if my wife would let us go smaller, I'd take a hard look at an Alto or Cricket if if could. Maybe when we're retired and it's just the two of us.

Or an Airstream...

And we really do like going on adventures in the camper even it if is 'good enough' in some ways. It's been a lot of fun and we expect to make some great memories for many years.

Got it all washed and waxed yesterday, pulled everything out and got the interior spotless. Sitting with the cover on it now. Appointment to drop it off next Tuesday. I have a theory that clean cars, trucks and campers get taken better care of by mechanics than dirty ones.
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Old 07-28-2015, 09:48 PM   #17
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I agree with others too, the roof needs to be replaced, but you have already got to that decision. I agree though too, it probably won't be a quick fix if it has been anything like the bigger warranty issues I have dealt with. After our first season of camping, we had a lot of rain while camping and the dinette leaked in both corners, and also on the sink bump out. Took it in to show them, which is an hour and half away. They had to take pictures and send them off to FR for approval. That took awhile. Once that was done they could remove the canvas and send them to FR to be repaired or replaced. It was up to FR what they would do. FR replaced the sink bump out and repaired the dinette. The dealer basically told me it was going to take weeks to get done so bring it back after the camping season was over. So, we brought it in during December and got it back in February I think. Had a few other small items taken care of while we where in there.

Agree, quality isn't what it used to be for sure. Have had several screws come loose or come out. My show lines have leaked, and other various small issues that I have just addressed myself.

Good luck with getting a new roof. They should take care of it. It isn't right for sure.
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Old 08-04-2015, 05:56 PM   #18
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Took the camper in today and the lady who was working the service writing desk was very friendly. I gave her a printed out list of the issues and when we got to the roof (I had a picture on the print out) she immediately said "that's gonna need a new roof".

She said it's pretty common to see this issue and it's caused by a problem with the heat as they roll the roof laminates through the press roller. She said if I don't fix it the ripple areas will dry out and get cracks.

Here's how she said it's going to go:

They'll take a bunch of pictures and send them to Forest River, then order a new roof and it will take 6-8 weeks to arrive, and it will be damaged, so they'll order another one and it will take 6-8 weeks and it might be damaged too. Hopefully not, but usually by the third one they get a good one. Apparently it's the shopping of them that is the problem.

There was a man outside with a high wall that just had his replaced - it was a customer pay job. It had a hole in it so they installed a vent and gave him a steep discount.

Otherwise she said the new lid should arrive and be installed within 10 days, the furnace will get fixed and they'll take a look at the screw and see what they can do. She was very helpful about the whole thing.

I also asked her to order another support strut for the storage area as I feel like having only one strut causes the lid to 'twist' and this may be what caused the adhesive separation. I'll install that myself.

Replacing the roof is about a 6-8 hour job. I hope they don't screw something else up while they're doing it. But she said they do them a lot and it's no big deal to the techs.

So, I should get it back in a couple of weeks.

Our next trip isn't until October. Driving from Denver to San Diego. So no hurry. Will probably schedule the roof replacement for Nov, Dec. Jan.....
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