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Old 05-09-2021, 12:46 PM   #1
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Location: Wentzville, MO
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Just took delivery of my 2021.5 30DS...initial thoughts

Ordered in late December from RV Wholesalers in Lakeview, Ohio. I'm in the western suburbs of St. Louis so not a bad drive to get there. Locked in price of $95,000 out the door. RV Wholesalers does not pass price increases on to the customer which is nice!

Took delivery on a Friday May 7th around 12:30. The place was busy but right on schedule. I think there were about 8 deliveries that day with 17 on Saturday. Walk through and paper work very efficient and answered all questions. One of their tech guys was very helpful as well with a couple questions I had. Overall great experience...so far. I'm still in the area with a few issues I'll need resolved before heading out.

Overall the motorhome is about everything I expected it to be and should fit my needs perfectly. What are some of my initial thoughts? Let's look at the issues I'm having first that are on my list when I go back to the dealer.

1. The V8 seems to have plenty of power (flat towing a 2005 Malibu) but I am hearing a humming, whining type sound that to me sounds similar to a power steering pump having issues. Pulling the doghouse today for a closer look.

2. The brake pedal is extremely spongy...almost scary. I'm a little surprised nobody noticed this while moving it around the lot prior to or after my arrival. The engine noise and this WILL BE addressed before I leave the area.

3. The weather has been cold and wet the whole time. Boondocking first night at Wal-Mart the bedroom was extremely cold with the furnace running. I'm not sure what Forest River was thinking here with the vent layout. 4 vents total in the entire rig. 2 by the entry door pointing forward. If you're sleeping in the passenger seat up fron it would be perfect. One in the bathroom so if you're sleeping on the toilet it's nice and toasty. The final one is in the bedroom down by the floor on the wall. The airflow is really weak and any overhanging blanket or sheets will block it. Very aggravating. Looking under the shower I don't see any kinks or pinches in the ducts but could be something I can't see. Plugged into shore power now with space heater in the bedroom it's fine.

I read that the heat pump operates down to 45 degress and then the furnace takes over. You can set the system to furnace only but I can't find a way to set heat pump only. The heat pump does distribute the air more evenly through the ceiling outlets.

4. The entry door is very stiff when latching. Almost has to be slammed to insure it catches good. That may change as the seal loosens up some but I could see it leading to problems eventually with the latch and door handle.

5. Not a flaw but something to be aware of. Be ready for the "waterfall" faucet in the bathroom to spray your shirt and pants every time there's a little bit of air in the line. Stupid design in my opinion. I'll probably be changing that if I can.

6. Another small surprise with the bedroom. The side of the wardrobe area where the washer/dryer sets is not the same as the area on the left. The overhang of the washer/dryer side sticks out quite a bit further making access to the drawers underneath a little more difficult. I was expecting the overhang to be not quite that far and equal to the left side closet.

It's not all negatives....what have I really liked?

1. The split bath is great with being able to close it off from both sides.

2. Lots of windows so a good view no matter where you are (lots of shades to open and close though...LOL!)

3. The electric shade in the windshield is fantastic after years of pulling curtains closed.

4. More storage space than I was expecting inside and out.

5. Bigger fridge and large kitchen sink is really nice.

6. Solar will be a great thing to have once I'm out of an area that doesn't rain 24/7.

That's about it off the top of my head. I've only owned it 48 hours so still learning. If anyone needs specific pictures let me know and I'll try to get those for you.

Scott
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Old 05-09-2021, 01:03 PM   #2
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I'll continue adding to this as I find things...

Cockpit design is great! Wraparound dash with LCD is perfect. Tons of switches to control various things up there.

My first time with auto-leveling jacks. Wow that makes life a lot easier.

Living room is plenty big with slide out. Make sure there's no close obstacles on that side since it goes out a lot further than what I'm used to.
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Old 05-09-2021, 01:23 PM   #3
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The water service panel seems a little flimsy and it's mounted pretty close to where the door closes. This requires the hose to make a nearly 90 degree bend down to go out the access panel. I added the 90 degree brass elbow and works great now. I'll probably put the elbow on all 3 connections and leave them there permanently. The threads on the FR3 ports are plastic so the less they are messed with the better I think.
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Old 05-09-2021, 02:05 PM   #4
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The generator is a little louder than I was expecting. Other than that can't tell what the brand is. Starts, runs, and supplies electricity. We'll see how it holds up over the years. Since it's located in the forward part of the rig it's not a big deal when sleeping. When running it while spending time in the front it does get a little noisy.
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Old 05-09-2021, 05:30 PM   #5
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Got the Winegard 360+ and the GW-1000 router all configured. Very straight forward other than I had to pull the router down to get the password from inside the unit since no manual came with it (downloaded the generic manuals from Winegard).

The KOA park WiFi signal went from barely 2 bars to full strength with about a 50 percent increase in speed. I don't have my T-mobile sim card for it yet so can't report on the LTE capability.

OTA antenna seems to work fine also. Watched the golf broadcast today on a station 55 miles away with minimal dropouts and showing a 720p signal. Channel scan and antenna reception similar for all 3 TVs.

The power switch for all this is located behind the TV above the kitchen sink. Appears to be a power button for the 360+ and the router on the same panel as an antenna style connection. I can only assume (and hope) that connection is coming from the roof satellite pre-wire.
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Old 05-09-2021, 05:37 PM   #6
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Here's a link to what I'm pretty sure is the solar panel that's pre-installed on the roof. I believe the system can handle 2 more. I got to this site by scanning one of those weird symbols that came on a tiny little solar tag that came with the rig. Very little info out there until I came across this. Still looking for a manual for the controller. It does appear that the controller displays all charging going to the house batteries not just the solar.

https://www.wayinterglobal.com/colle...ed-solar-panel
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Old 05-09-2021, 06:16 PM   #7
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Great thread! Keep the info coming as you discover new things...
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Old 05-09-2021, 06:34 PM   #8
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Here's a link to the Merlin TravelPro 30 charging monitor that's mounted on the end of the cabinet by the entry door.

https://bit.ly/2R4yvK8
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Old 05-09-2021, 06:45 PM   #9
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Starting to investigate the washer/dryer combo. I had already bought some Tide Pods but may not be such a good idea.

https://www.montanaowners.com/forums...ad.php?t=54331

Here's a pretty safe option:

https://amzn.to/3exKZ5X

Sold at local Camping World type retailers too so might try there until I get home for an Amazon order.
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Old 05-10-2021, 05:45 PM   #10
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Just a couple comments to your original post.

- We agree with the heater vent issue. We purchased a vertical ceramic space heater (about a foot tall) that oscillates and has a thermostat. We sit it in the counter under the bedroom TV. Works like a charm, even during some nights in the low 30s.
- The engine noise is probably our biggest challenge and is just something we need to live with due to the frontmgas engine. We did by some Dynamat and installed it under the engine cover. We put it on top of the original insulation. We also bought some cheap rugs that match the decor and trimmed them to fit under our feet on both driver and passenger side. We added the Dynamat under these rugs. Both mods made a difference in the noise. Not a huge difference but we on the highway we are no longer shouting when talking. Would do both again.
- The shelves in the pantry are very deep and difficult for my wife to access. I built and installed pull out sliding drawers for each shelf in the pantry. Problem solved.
- We love the washer/ dryer combo. My wife uses liquid Tide. She uses the express setting. Number nine setting.

After three years of camping in our 2010 Jayco Melbourne 29D we knew what floor plan we liked and we love our 2020 FR3 30DS.
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Old 05-10-2021, 05:57 PM   #11
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The DW hated the Splendide soap for the machine.

She uses tide pods exclusively.

Loves the washer dryer in the rv. You will be amazed at how it moves the rv!
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Old 05-10-2021, 08:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzball View Post
Here's a link to what I'm pretty sure is the solar panel that's pre-installed on the roof. I believe the system can handle 2 more. I got to this site by scanning one of those weird symbols that came on a tiny little solar tag that came with the rig. Very little info out there until I came across this. Still looking for a manual for the controller. It does appear that the controller displays all charging going to the house batteries not just the solar.

https://www.wayinterglobal.com/colle...ed-solar-panel
FR now has all of the manuals available for downloads for the 2021's. They're in PDF form, so I downloaded them to my iPad to ensure I'd have access to them when I was in a remote location.
https://forestriverinc.help/#/forest...216-fr3/browse
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Old 05-10-2021, 08:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzball View Post
Starting to investigate the washer/dryer combo. I had already bought some Tide Pods but may not be such a good idea.

https://www.montanaowners.com/forums...ad.php?t=54331

Here's a pretty safe option:

https://amzn.to/3exKZ5X

Sold at local Camping World type retailers too so might try there until I get home for an Amazon order.
When we read how much water they use, how small the loads are, and how long it takes to go through a wash & dry cycle, we sold the splendide w/d that came with the unit. We added a 15-bottle wine fridge and additional shelving in that space and it works well for us.
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Jackson, CA
2021 FR3 34DS (V8)
2011 Honda CRV toad
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Old 05-10-2021, 08:51 PM   #14
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#1 and #2 not for the dealer

Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzball View Post
Ordered in late December from RV Wholesalers in Lakeview, Ohio. I'm in the western suburbs of St. Louis so not a bad drive to get there. Locked in price of $95,000 out the door. RV Wholesalers does not pass price increases on to the customer which is nice!

Took delivery on a Friday May 7th around 12:30. The place was busy but right on schedule. I think there were about 8 deliveries that day with 17 on Saturday. Walk through and paper work very efficient and answered all questions. One of their tech guys was very helpful as well with a couple questions I had. Overall great experience...so far. I'm still in the area with a few issues I'll need resolved before heading out.

Overall the motorhome is about everything I expected it to be and should fit my needs perfectly. What are some of my initial thoughts? Let's look at the issues I'm having first that are on my list when I go back to the dealer.

1. The V8 seems to have plenty of power (flat towing a 2005 Malibu) but I am hearing a humming, whining type sound that to me sounds similar to a power steering pump having issues. Pulling the doghouse today for a closer look.

2. The brake pedal is extremely spongy...almost scary. I'm a little surprised nobody noticed this while moving it around the lot prior to or after my arrival. The engine noise and this WILL BE addressed before I leave the area.

3. The weather has been cold and wet the whole time. Boondocking first night at Wal-Mart the bedroom was extremely cold with the furnace running. I'm not sure what Forest River was thinking here with the vent layout. 4 vents total in the entire rig. 2 by the entry door pointing forward. If you're sleeping in the passenger seat up fron it would be perfect. One in the bathroom so if you're sleeping on the toilet it's nice and toasty. The final one is in the bedroom down by the floor on the wall. The airflow is really weak and any overhanging blanket or sheets will block it. Very aggravating. Looking under the shower I don't see any kinks or pinches in the ducts but could be something I can't see. Plugged into shore power now with space heater in the bedroom it's fine.

I read that the heat pump operates down to 45 degress and then the furnace takes over. You can set the system to furnace only but I can't find a way to set heat pump only. The heat pump does distribute the air more evenly through the ceiling outlets.

4. The entry door is very stiff when latching. Almost has to be slammed to insure it catches good. That may change as the seal loosens up some but I could see it leading to problems eventually with the latch and door handle.

5. Not a flaw but something to be aware of. Be ready for the "waterfall" faucet in the bathroom to spray your shirt and pants every time there's a little bit of air in the line. Stupid design in my opinion. I'll probably be changing that if I can.

6. Another small surprise with the bedroom. The side of the wardrobe area where the washer/dryer sets is not the same as the area on the left. The overhang of the washer/dryer side sticks out quite a bit further making access to the drawers underneath a little more difficult. I was expecting the overhang to be not quite that far and equal to the left side closet.

It's not all negatives....what have I really liked?

1. The split bath is great with being able to close it off from both sides.

2. Lots of windows so a good view no matter where you are (lots of shades to open and close though...LOL!)

3. The electric shade in the windshield is fantastic after years of pulling curtains closed.

4. More storage space than I was expecting inside and out.

5. Bigger fridge and large kitchen sink is really nice.

6. Solar will be a great thing to have once I'm out of an area that doesn't rain 24/7.

That's about it off the top of my head. I've only owned it 48 hours so still learning. If anyone needs specific pictures let me know and I'll try to get those for you.

Scott
Items #1 and #2 are not for the RV dealer to work on. You don't want an RV tech doing work on the engine and brakes. Get RVW to set you up with a chassis mechanic nearby. It's still warranty work.,
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Old 05-10-2021, 09:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickemo View Post
Just a couple comments to your original post.

- We agree with the heater vent issue. We purchased a vertical ceramic space heater (about a foot tall) that oscillates and has a thermostat. We sit it in the counter under the bedroom TV. Works like a charm, even during some nights in the low 30s.
- The engine noise is probably our biggest challenge and is just something we need to live with due to the frontmgas engine. We did by some Dynamat and installed it under the engine cover. We put it on top of the original insulation. We also bought some cheap rugs that match the decor and trimmed them to fit under our feet on both driver and passenger side. We added the Dynamat under these rugs. Both mods made a difference in the noise. Not a huge difference but we on the highway we are no longer shouting when talking. Would do both again.
- The shelves in the pantry are very deep and difficult for my wife to access. I built and installed pull out sliding drawers for each shelf in the pantry. Problem solved.
- We love the washer/ dryer combo. My wife uses liquid Tide. She uses the express setting. Number nine setting.

After three years of camping in our 2010 Jayco Melbourne 29D we knew what floor plan we liked and we love our 2020 FR3 30DS.
I'm using a ceramic heater as well so it's all good. Still annoying that the design was so poor in the heating aspect.

Thanks for the idea on the noise. I'll probably do something similar. Agree on the pantry shelves. They are deep but at least they hold more than I was expecting.

Just did my first load in the Splendide and it was quieter than I expected. I think I'm going to get some good use out of it. I like the idea of the express. This first load seemed like it washed a lot longer than was necessary using the default settings on "regular".
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Old 05-10-2021, 09:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomkatb View Post
The DW hated the Splendide soap for the machine.

She uses tide pods exclusively.

Loves the washer dryer in the rv. You will be amazed at how it moves the rv!
My first load ever today. Used the Tide Pod. Didn't seem unusually soapy or anything. Worked great and clothes smelled good coming out.

You are right! That spin cycle was hauling as*. I could feel it up front. I'll probably tone that down to a medium or low spin speed. LOL!
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Old 05-10-2021, 09:16 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVwino View Post
FR now has all of the manuals available for downloads for the 2021's. They're in PDF form, so I downloaded them to my iPad to ensure I'd have access to them when I was in a remote location.
https://forestriverinc.help/#/forest...216-fr3/browse
I was digging through the bottom of my manuals bag and found this. Out of everything included in this rig it's one of my favorites (crazy I know). A USB drive with all sorts of info pre-loaded including manuals and many detailed parts descriptions and links. Only error I found was the washer/dryer section was for the previous model (WD2100XC). The actual one being shipped currently is the WDV2200XCD. Easy enough to replace on the drive.
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Old 05-10-2021, 09:17 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by RVwino View Post
When we read how much water they use, how small the loads are, and how long it takes to go through a wash & dry cycle, we sold the splendide w/d that came with the unit. We added a 15-bottle wine fridge and additional shelving in that space and it works well for us.
Haha great idea!
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Old 05-10-2021, 09:19 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Larry-NC View Post
Items #1 and #2 are not for the RV dealer to work on. You don't want an RV tech doing work on the engine and brakes. Get RVW to set you up with a chassis mechanic nearby. It's still warranty work.,
Thanks! That's a fantastic idea. I will talk to them about that. They did return my call today and I gave them my list. Still waiting to hear back when I can bring it in.
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Old 05-10-2021, 09:32 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVwino View Post
When we read how much water they use, how small the loads are, and how long it takes to go through a wash & dry cycle, we sold the splendide w/d that came with the unit. We added a 15-bottle wine fridge and additional shelving in that space and it works well for us.
That's my kind of RV'ing.
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