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Old 08-04-2015, 05:03 PM   #1
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Puma 253FBS Build Quality

We took a 90 mile trip this weekend to do a walk in/around a Puma 253FBS. We're narrowing down our picks for a 5th wheel and this is one that fits our requirements - size, rear living, and full bath primarily. We went to Best RV in Turlock (despite what the ratings said) because we didn't plan on buying a trailer anyway and they seem to be the closest to us that has one of these units. We liked the layout and the general look of the trailer, but there were some little issues that didn't really sit well with us. I guess the most noticeable was the staples in the ceiling. Most looked like they were covered with caulking using a single swipe over each row and barely wiped off. One row had no caulking. The "back splash" in the kitchen was pulling away from the wall - I kept smoothing it out in front of the salesman. The bathroom wall paper was the same. And the framing on the inside of the left side propane compartment didn't quite line up the way it seemed like it was supposed to.

We asked both the salesman and the finance guy if they had any other models like this available to look at for comparison. We were told that they didn't, but were expecting some this week. When we left, we drove past some other 5th wheels at the other end of the lot and noticed what appeared to be another 253. So, we stopped and found 2 more 253's. Why would they lie about not having any others? Maybe, the reviews are right...

So, here's my question. Is this just a one time thing that we came across and Best RV was just trying to push off a crappy unit they got? Has anyone bought a 253FBS? And what was the buildmanship like? I just can't believe that these all come off the line like this.
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Old 08-04-2015, 05:22 PM   #2
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The other 253's on the lot could be units that are sold.
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Old 08-04-2015, 05:56 PM   #3
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I suppose that's possible, Wiscampsin, but I'm thinking not probable - no sold sign posted on it, parked with a bunch of other Pumas, 5 other 253FBS's listed on their web site. But, Best RV's sales tactics wasn't what I was really after. I would have liked to look at the others to see if they had the same issues. I just didn't feel like barging back in there and asking about the other units I found at the end of the lot. We're looking at a few different models and wan't to know if this was normal for that model.

I like the Sabre you have in your link. It's just a little long for us. Sabre does make a 250RLUD that is basically the same floor plan as the 253FBS - just a hair longer. We just haven't located one to look at. That's another option we are looking at. By the way, is that awesome RV pad built in your backyard? I love the setup!
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3 Kids, 5 G-Kids, 4.1 Dogs, 2 Cats....
2005 Salem T25 (Sold - looking for that 5th wheel now)
2002 Ford F250 CC SB 4X2, 7.3 PSD, auto, 3.73LS
1998 Ford F150 SCab, 4.6, auto, 4x2 w/3.55 (Gone But Not Forgotten)

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Old 08-04-2015, 09:54 PM   #4
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We're on our second Puma TT and no problems or issues on either one except the staples in the ceiling and a couple trim pieces that are lacking stain where they were cut.

My in-laws have the same floor plan Puma your looking at but in the TT version and the only problem I know of was some problems with the radio that was replaced under warranty.
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Old 08-04-2015, 10:25 PM   #5
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So, the staples are a normal thing on this model, cyclepuck? I can deal with it as long as I know that's standard on all of them. I thought it was an issue with that particular unit. I've read really good things about the Puma models and the 253 fits our needs perfectly.

Thanks, cyclepuck, for the info. I guess I'll keep it on our list.

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3 Kids, 5 G-Kids, 4.1 Dogs, 2 Cats....
2005 Salem T25 (Sold - looking for that 5th wheel now)
2002 Ford F250 CC SB 4X2, 7.3 PSD, auto, 3.73LS
1998 Ford F150 SCab, 4.6, auto, 4x2 w/3.55 (Gone But Not Forgotten)

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Old 08-04-2015, 10:35 PM   #6
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Yes the staples showed a little on both of ours. Like you said it looks like a little caulk smeared on it. To me the Puma line is one of the best bang for the buck units out there.
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Old 08-05-2015, 09:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phinner View Post
By the way, is that awesome RV pad built in your backyard? I love the setup!
Not our backyard. We're on a seasonal site.
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:38 PM   #8
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We owned a 253FBS for 2 years. Had a couple of minor warranty issues the first couple of months but nothing show stopping. Traded it in last month for a Coachmen Chaparral 2016 28bhs. Kept at home one week and took back to dealer for 12v electrical issues the next. Haven't camped in it yet. Always expect a few problems in new units.
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:41 PM   #9
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All part of the joy of buying new camper. Later RJD
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:51 PM   #10
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We have owned two Pumas and will buy another when the time comes. Staples issues are minor & not uncommon for any make.

We did have to replace the paper surround at the stove but it was a non issue and done under warranty.

Other than a couple cosmetic issues that were very minor both of our Pumas have been trouble free.

I too feel the Pumas are the best bang for the buck. Our RV dealer is a straight shooter & so is his mechanic both have commented that the Puma line gives them the least trouble out of any make they sell. I have hung around there alot for other reasons & never seen a Puma need major repairs other makes is a different story.

Personally I think Pumas are a great kept secret............. (Cause they rarely need major work.

The only issue I have seen with them as they are heavy and not a "lite" trailer.


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