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Old 01-11-2015, 12:48 PM   #1
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RV Quality?

I'm no authority but I do know quality when I see it... and I believe I know crap when I see it. I am a licensed aircraft mechanic (A&P) but i do not work in that industry... because IT pays better. So enough about me... just so the reader knows I'm not affiliated with the RV industry in any way other than as a consumer.

I went to the Tarrant County RV Show yesterday at the Ft. Worth Convention center. Sorry to say that I didn't any improvement in quality over my first travel trailer that I purchased 5 years ago. There were a couple of bright spots but just a couple. Their price tags reflected that improvements in quality would definitely come at an increased cost. To me, that's understandable and OK... to a point. What I noticed was, as the quality improvements went up, the price increased exponentially. To top that off, the appliances and all were the same. Really?!?! Again, I come away from this feeling disappointed. Will this industry ever come up to a better standard?
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Old 01-11-2015, 01:01 PM   #2
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Short answer....Nope. Not as long as people continue to purchase the new crap coming off the assy line.
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Old 01-11-2015, 01:12 PM   #3
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I once was a Top Salesman for a Winnebago, Fleetwood, and Gulf-stream dealer. In my opinion unless you spend 400 Gs up you will experience disappointments. (quality control + the challenges of keeping the weight down, along with competitive pricing contribute to ho-hum product) In 10 years they all end being chicken coops in West VA or cluttering the scenic deserts of NM

Why buy one, crazy I guess. (just traded a Pleasure Way that I put ove 100K on)
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Old 01-11-2015, 01:15 PM   #4
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RV Quality

I 'd have to agree. We've had 3 RV's over the years. As are almost all, they were RV mfg'd on truck chassis; two fords and a dodge. In each case, as you went through the machine you could tell where the frame manufacturer finished and the RV began. Difference of day and night with unfortunately night being the RV folks
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Old 01-11-2015, 01:29 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by schrederman View Post
I'm no authority but I do know quality when I see it... and I believe I know crap when I see it. I am a licensed aircraft mechanic (A&P) but i do not work in that industry... because IT pays better. So enough about me... just so the reader knows I'm not affiliated with the RV industry in any way other than as a consumer.

I went to the Tarrant County RV Show yesterday at the Ft. Worth Convention center. Sorry to say that I didn't any improvement in quality over my first travel trailer that I purchased 5 years ago. There were a couple of bright spots but just a couple. Their price tags reflected that improvements in quality would definitely come at an increased cost. To me, that's understandable and OK... to a point. What I noticed was, as the quality improvements went up, the price increased exponentially. To top that off, the appliances and all were the same. Really?!?! Again, I come away from this feeling disappointed. Will this industry ever come up to a better standard?


Amen! In my opinion, as long as there are enough first time purchasers as there are now, nothing will change but aesthetic properties and colors of wall coverings and fabrics.

Unfortunately, a new buyer doesn't spend enough time in a model before he buys it to see poor quality.(And you'd need to live in it a while anyway.) It almost, unfortunately, takes buying one, travelling and living in it for a period of time to discover poor quality and to know that next time you won't settle for that particular item!

Also, in my opinion RV/TT salespersons are worse than car salespersons. Our salesman told us whatever we wanted to hear and then later didn't recall ever discussing that with us.

Ever see an RV or TT after a tornado or horrendous traffic accident? If so, I doubt you'd ever buy another one. My wife and I are full timers in a 2014 Puma. We are miles away from a dealer, so most things I fix myself. (Retired home remodeler). In a half year I've spent several hundred dollars. We are building a cabin on our land. When it is finished I will sell the Puma.

We, at one time, were going to buy a Park or Destination model to live in. I've inspected several of those and talked with the owners. They are only marginally better built than what we have. It is very unfortunate.

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Old 01-11-2015, 01:29 PM   #6
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Kind of reminds me of the auto industry into the 80's. It took foreign competition to make the industry produce better products. I'm surprised with the current demand that's out there, that there is no real foreign competition yet.

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Old 01-11-2015, 02:17 PM   #7
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They all have eyes when you buy them. When the honeymoon is over is when you know. Like I said, "I sold them" I wasn't blind by any means. i knew exactly what I was doing. The coach will deliver the pleasure that i expect.

I remember when i bought my first house. I had a professional inspector do the walk-through. i had paid 29,000 for a new single home (gives you an idea to my age) i mentioned that the quality was disappointing for a 29K home. He replied, " had you spent 80,000 all you would have received was a bigger pile of crap"
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Old 01-11-2015, 03:22 PM   #8
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Rv qc curve

When evaluating rv quality its best on a big curve. When I bought my 2013 It was gut wrenching experience of shoddy workmanship.

So we shopped again.... only to back the same mfg, because in our price range they had the best quality.

Certainty nothing to be real proud of.

I think its the first year you have to get all the bugs or pigs out.

I agree, as long as we keep buying em the will keep making em.
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Old 01-11-2015, 03:22 PM   #9
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We had 3 starcraft popups 71,77,84 that were very good. 4 tt's that were very good, 2010 flagstaff, 2000 sunline, 1995fleetwood prowler and 1991 coachman. Our 1989 Mallard and 2006 holiday rambler were totally junk. Our only 5'r, a 1999 wildwood was so bad we only kept it 10 months.
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Old 01-11-2015, 11:13 PM   #10
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Back in October this interview with Peter Liegl was in RV business. (Page 73)
Per Liegl said "business is utterly phenomenal. 4 billion in sales versus last years 3 billion."
Hopefully they will reinvest some of that in quality.
RVBusiness, September-October 2014
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Old 01-11-2015, 11:26 PM   #11
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those of us poor folks can only buy what we can't afford, if I could afford better junk then i would have bought better, I guess we could not buy at all and stay home, but we want to travel also, and the way we can afford to is to buy what we have to to have a little fun
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Old 01-12-2015, 09:01 AM   #12
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those of us poor folks can only buy what we can't afford, if I could afford better junk then i would have bought better, I guess we could not buy at all and stay home, but we want to travel also, and the way we can afford to is to buy what we have to to have a little fun
X2. I guess we have a right to grumble, but then a lot of us will go right back out and buy what we can afford all over again. I know I don't have $400K to spend, but, dang, I just went & bought a new fiver! And I'm not new to this!
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Old 01-12-2015, 09:14 AM   #13
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We went to the Cleveland, OH RV show this weekend, and while there are a lot of good units out there, after the purchase of our first TT last spring (at the show) there are a lot of things now to look for. (I am a Quality Director for a major global chemical company, so Quality is my business).

while I realize I'm not buying a 300K home and can't have input on the details of construction of an RV, still there are simple construction quality areas that are universally overlooked by almost all manufacturers. Particularily in the lower end models. If attention to detail in those models would be paid, there would be a greater customer satisfaction, as that is the market that is most serviced. Things as cabinet construction, cabinet and door hinges, door alignment, etc. While these may be minor, it's the attention to details that makes the customer's life easier and not subject to agrivations that makes the difference between being satisfied or not.
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Old 01-12-2015, 05:55 PM   #14
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I hear you when you say "we buy what we can afford". I am not rich by financial means. The lower-end market is where almost all RVers start. In a way, that's where we gain the most experience at camping, and unfortunately at fixing our own RVs. I can't afford to spend my dollars paying for someone that's less handy than myself to change out a pump, or attempt to fix my wiring, etc. It seems to me that the industry would serve itself better if they would bring the initial quality up a notch or two to entice people to continue to upgrade, and stay in RVing. The guys that added my power tongue jack did a poor job of it, and I rewired it when I got it home... when it was new. My unit isn't expensive, and the quality shows it. That being said, it hasn't had any major problems... all minor stuff. However, it's just now 3 years old. I wonder what it's going to be like in another 3 years. I do all I can. It's in covered storage, and winterized properly, kept clean, etc... but I expect something major to go bad sometime soon.


Some of the folks at the show looked at me a little funny when I didn't go inside anything until I had looked at the slide mechanisms and seals, etc. Nor could they answer any of my questions about frame material, flooring structure, etc... I was sad to see vinyl-covered woodwork in some more expensive TT units. The new solid-surface countertops are nice, but it looked like they scrimped elsewhere to make up for the extra cost. I had to change out my plastic kitchen sink for a stainless one last year, The cost of the stainless sink was less than the plastic one... for me at least... by a bit more than $100-.


I have a couple of friends that have owned one TT, and swear they will never own another. This is due to ruined vacations with new units. I was fortunate, I guess. I've said it before... I guess mine was thrown together on a Wednesday. I lived in it for 7 weeks by myself, when my job moved us here from Amarillo. Then Dee and I stayed in it for another week while we were having our belongings moved into the new house. I didn't have any problems with it at all, other than needing a second A/C unit in the Texas heat.


I survived the RV show... more importantly... I survived getting home because I just didn't see anything that would compel me to spend money and trade up. So, maybe the industry did me a favor. I didn't have to come in and ask... "It followed me home... can I keep it?"


Your mileage may vary... but there are many too negatives posted here and elsewhere about RV quality... It's a shame if the industry doesn't monitor these boards and see what the buying public really thinks. Maybe they're smart enough to do that but as long as they're profitable... and apparently they are... they won't care.


Just my take on it.
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:49 AM   #15
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I am ready to buy a new cedar creek 38rd fifth wheel but after reading so many neg reviews about the quality of forest river products not anymore.... anybody have problems with cedar creek fifth wheels?????
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:03 AM   #16
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So far, we've had two PUPs (one Jayco, and now a Rockwood High Wall), and though we have had some minor problems, we don't put any of them down to the quality of the units. We camp mostly in Forest Service 'grounds, and go over some pretty rough roads to get there, so when, for example, we knock out a stab jack, the solution is to have the unit raised. (The FRs have the torsion axle, so flipping is right out.) We have had no trouble with cabinetry, floors - not even canvas or window plastics. No problems with the roof or the slide out (though one of the locks came off, and we are a bit peeved that the part we ordered to replace it hasn't come in after a month) or the beds. The locks work, the Velcro's stayed where it's supposed to, there've been no leaks. The toilet works, the door works. The raise-it-up motor came disconnected once, but was pretty easy to fix and didn't bother our trip at all.

The table has gotten a little wobbly, but we put those cane-end thingies on kitty-corner legs, and it's fine now. There's a teeny bit of table-scrape on the slide-out, but we consider these to be cosmetic issues, and put it down to the bouncing and jostling the trailer endures several times a year. We're pretty satisfied with both Jayco and FR - and we're looking forward to being able to get the Mini Lite 2304 at the end of this season.
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:19 AM   #17
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Like so many posts, the folks that have good luck with trailers say nothing....I hope I am in the say nothing group, as I have a FR 5 er and no real complaints in 3 yrs....I bought new and anything wrong with unit, all minor stuff....FR addressed it promptly and made sure anything that was done in construction was taken care of....after 3 yrs of living in the unit over 50% of the time all still fine....have wintered in Fla, Tx and NC
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:22 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Back in October this interview with Peter Liegl was in RV business. (Page 73)
Per Liegl said "business is utterly phenomenal. 4 billion in sales versus last years 3 billion."
Hopefully they will reinvest some of that in quality.
RVBusiness, September-October 2014
No Question. The economy is roaring like crazy. Cheap money and plentiful jobs = Americans spending. I tired to find the pop up I wanted and was not able to locate one within 500 miles. I had to order one sight unseen. Bought based on an old picture. Took months to come in because the factory was so busy.

The problem with the whole quality question is that people really just do not want to pay for quality. Try shopping for quality furniture made out of wood. Good luck. Economists call this the Walmart effect. It is basically a race to the bottom. Europeans think we are crazy how Americans will constantly buy crap only to replace it all over again in a few years.

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Old 02-15-2015, 10:34 AM   #19
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I will second what Ash and Sail mentioned. I have had no major problems with either of my FR units.

I guess I have a different attitude when it comes to my camper as I basically feel my pop up is a glorified tent on wheels and I have low expectations. The unit retails for around $22K so I am not into it that much. If I had spent $200K, I think I would have a different attitude.

I will say that I find the quality to be adequate. I understand that the unit must be made with an eye towards saving weight. This has to cause quality issues because lightweight materials are less durable than heavy steel items (Carbon and other new age materials aside). It is the durability that most complain about. I also understand that these units are not really engineered towards the full time RV'r either. I think the manufacturers expect about 30 days a year of usage for the average family. How many days can a working stiff get off a year anyhow? They just do not make them like a house.

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Old 02-21-2015, 10:34 AM   #20
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If folks are unhappy with the quality of new rigs and they expect them to fall apart in X number of years, then why not buy an older unit with the floor plan you like and rip through it rewiring and refitting as you go? As long as the outer shell is solid it seems to me that this would be a good way to get what you want without breaking the bank. The kicker here is that you would need to get creative in your choice of hardware likely working with plumbers, electricians, welders, cabinet makers and trade workers to get parts made that match up with your expectations. Staying away from the dealers that will likely install the same materials you're unhappy about currently. Manufacturers cannot spend the time needed to make the light weight custom items that will keep the weight down and give folks the "quality" they are looking for. For that matter once folks start in on making changes I think they'll find that the same is true for their rebuild but at least you can pick and choose your changes
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