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Old 07-03-2020, 01:08 PM   #1
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Impressions of Rockwood ESP tent trailers?

Hi,

I'm considering replacing my 2003 Coleman SunValley popup with a Rockwood ESP popup. Looking at the 1970 and 1910 models. Can owners let me know what your experience has been so far with regard to:

Quality of build
Issues encountered
Towing behavior
Layout/design disadvantages?
Comfort of the "Pleather" fabric (is it "sticky" in warm weather)?
Any other impressions you think would be helpful for a potential buyer (I'm a very experienced boondock tent trailer camper).

Thanks,
Brian
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:59 PM   #2
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We did our first trip last week in a new to us unit.
I have nothing to compare it to but not noticed any stickiness coming in when it's hot. The AC gets it cool pretty quick but you may not have that off grid.
While the unit is only a couple of years old I'll have to deal with some rust on the stabilisers and frame that's just starting. Previous owner stored it outside.
Door assembly seems flimsy and the runners in the ceiling are plastic stapled into the ceiling so you have to be careful to take the weight of the door as you set it up and take it down.

Took the spare tire off for cleaning and found that the mounts to the bumper are held with self tappers and one is loose already so plan to change these to nut and bolts.

Towed like a dream on a 700+ mile round trip with a friction anti sway bar. I have not run at speed without one.
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Old 07-12-2020, 06:55 PM   #3
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Thanks for sharing your experience to date. My impression from other's comments is that quality is an issue, but nothing terrible so far.
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Old 07-12-2020, 07:08 PM   #4
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I've decided to change the stabilisers as its quicker than cleaning up and painting mine and will give me more time to clean up and paint other rust spots on frame joints.

I've also changed the fixings on the spare tire mount for nuts and bolts today.
They other issue is that the old self tapping bolt heads were digging into the spare sidewall where the tire rested on them.
So I've put a little spacer wedge to hold the tire off the spare bolt heads

Overall impressions are that FR assembly is a bit too reliant on self tapping screws and bolts and could do with using better fixings and finishings like cable entry and routing could be better.

More time spent under the unit I notice more things like power cable runs (unprotected 12v & 120v cables and one 120v line pinched by the water tank mount), I plan to put it all in plastic flexi conduit as I can see road FOD getting kicked up especially off-road.

Overall nothing you cant deal with if you are handy with a screwdriver but a bit annoying on a newish unit.
I have no comparison...are all RVs like this?
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Old 07-12-2020, 07:11 PM   #5
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Yep!
Especially on lower end RVs.
Our 1972 Starcraft popup was built like a tank but almost weighed as much as one.
Our 1986 Viking popup was much lighter but built like a house of cards. Lots of particle board and weak fasteners.
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Old 07-14-2020, 06:10 PM   #6
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We have the Flagstaff 228BHSE (which i believe is the same as the Rockwood 2280BHESP) so "fairly" close other than model and brand I guess....

Build Quality: Decent. Had some loose screws here and there. The water filter housing broke on the way home from the dealer. My wheels were mismatched. Everything else seems good.
Towing with it is super easy. Have used it on a few Forest Service Roads to get to more remote sites this year and it's done well.
The layout in ours suits us well. My family had an 80's era pop up when I was younger, so this one is huge compared to that.
The "pleather" seems really easy to clean. We don't get too much of the super hot stuff, but spent our last week out in it in 80-90 highs. Didn't notice too much stickyness, at least not enough to complain in comparison to trying to clean fabric.
Since you are an experienced boondocker this stuff might come in handy. I took the group 24 off the tongue and added two Group 31 AGM's under the dinette and carry a Renogy 100w suitcase. Between those two, a pretty efficient furnace/ fan and LED lighting, power isn't really a concern anymore!
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Old 07-17-2020, 07:16 PM   #7
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Identical basically.. I found this label on my frame yesterday:
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Old 07-28-2020, 06:49 PM   #8
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Terrible!

Hi. I bought a new 1650ESP just before COVID. I spent the 2 month lock down finding and fixing stuff I couldn’t believe. The list is long but I’ll give you a couple of examples; the roof rack was (still is) mounted on the top 8 inches different from side to side, the distance between them on one side is about 36” and 28” on the other side. The cutout for the door is 2” wider on the top then the bottom and neither edge is square to the floor. The roof leaked at the exhaust fan and I found that they had trapped a wire nut under the flange. The hot wire from the battery where it connects to the first safety breaker was not crimped and came off in my hand, this was a direct line to the battery and could have started a fire if it touched the frame.
The quality is nonexistent! I will never buy a Forest River product again. I know this camper is their low end but ........
I can live with a couple lose screws (we shouldn’t) but everything needed attention and I’ve spent so much time now I just want to use it.
As for returning to the dealer; I had then install a screen room on the awning and it was as crooked as everything else.
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Old 07-28-2020, 08:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forjunk235 View Post
The quality is nonexistent! I will never buy a Forest River product again.
Good luck finding any better built RVs since it's an industry-wide problem, not just Forest River. Read some reviews of Thor Industries products.
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Old 07-28-2020, 08:58 PM   #10
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You may be right. I worked in manufacturing for 40 years, this is a sad commentary on this country’s ability to make things. Never mind that, I see you are from Camano Island. We are headed your way, in Idaho now. Are the camping areas opened? Any local input would be appreciated.
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Old 07-28-2020, 09:25 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by forjunk235 View Post
You may be right. I worked in manufacturing for 40 years, this is a sad commentary on this countryís ability to make things. Never mind that, I see you are from Camano Island. We are headed your way, in Idaho now. Are the camping areas opened? Any local input would be appreciated.
Some are, some aren't. Camano Island SP appears to be open for camping. But not sure if it's booked up.
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Old 07-28-2020, 09:27 PM   #12
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Thanks, visiting my son in Bellingham. We will at least make it a day trip.
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:00 PM   #13
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I bought esp 232. Tows great. Used it 6 times. I had to take it back to dealership twice to get stuff fixed. Cheaply made.
First trip: lug stuffs sheared off lost tire.
Awning missing a leg, part that attach to trailer is sun rotten in first year.
Battery drains even with everything off

Front wall separated from support wall.
A bunch of trim and seals falling apart.

If you want to spend 20k and have problems then it's a trailer for you
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Old 08-05-2020, 10:35 AM   #14
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I wouldn't

Hey. I just bought a 1970ESP in July and my fault for not insisting on looking at the one I was getting because it was stuffed in the back of the dealers lot so I just looked at another model. I got mine home and found a dented ceiling. Loose bed rail bolts. set screws on the floor that attach the nylon to the frame. Wire clippings and garbage under the bench and their wiring looks like it was done by a 3 year old with a blind fold on. VERY poor workmanship. If you like them take every panel apart you can before you drop any money on it.
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Old 08-06-2020, 06:32 AM   #15
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Another trip...
Leaking Fantastic vent Fan after 10 hours of rain (can't see any obvious breach in the seal around it).

Front end wall bows out about 1/2 inch in the middle when the front bunk is out and the support struts are hung off it.
Not sure I can fix this without major stripping down and strengthening of that front panel.
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Old 08-10-2020, 06:49 PM   #16
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Doesn't look promising

I'm driving 2 hours tomorrow to look at a 2020 flagstaff 2280bhesp. Reading the comments make me want to cancel. I just sold a 2018 salem197bh travel trailer which had multiple problems i had to fix.I guess I'll look it over good and not be afraid to walk away. Anyone open to say what they paid? I'm in Michigan and only a couple of these left in the state. I've already negotiated a bit to 14,500 otd but I still think that's high.
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Old 08-14-2020, 01:47 AM   #17
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Your TV

Quote:
Originally Posted by PathfinderESP View Post
Identical basically.. I found this label on my frame yesterday:
GarmFam,
Kind of off subject for this post but we have a Flagstaff 228BHSE a F150 and a Rubicon to tow it with. How does the Jeep handle your camper. I see you are on at least 35's what gears do you have? We have not towed with the Jeep yet.

Back to this post. Things could be more heavy duty for sure but with all the extras people want this day and time (me included) they have to build as light as possible. If you load the trailer to GCW it is over 3500 LBS. most small sav's the max tow weight is 3,500. The difference is light weight flimsy components and poor craftsmanship. Craftsmanship is not acceptable to me but, it is there.
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Old 08-17-2020, 05:01 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrahamFam View Post
We have the Flagstaff 228BHSE (which i believe is the same as the Rockwood 2280BHESP) so "fairly" close other than model and brand I guess....

Build Quality: Decent. Had some loose screws here and there. The water filter housing broke on the way home from the dealer. My wheels were mismatched. Everything else seems good.
Towing with it is super easy. Have used it on a few Forest Service Roads to get to more remote sites this year and it's done well.
The layout in ours suits us well. My family had an 80's era pop up when I was younger, so this one is huge compared to that.
The "pleather" seems really easy to clean. We don't get too much of the super hot stuff, but spent our last week out in it in 80-90 highs. Didn't notice too much stickyness, at least not enough to complain in comparison to trying to clean fabric.
Since you are an experienced boondocker this stuff might come in handy. I took the group 24 off the tongue and added two Group 31 AGM's under the dinette and carry a Renogy 100w suitcase. Between those two, a pretty efficient furnace/ fan and LED lighting, power isn't really a concern anymore!
Nice popup, im looking for mine tomorrow. Question did yours come with trailer brakes?
Thanks Dave
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Old 08-29-2020, 07:02 PM   #19
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I just bought a 2021 Freedom 2318G sight unseen. Iíve owned many campers over the years and like to look close before I buy due to quality control issues, but had AC installed before I picked it up.I drove 5 hours one way to buy this since no one had them in stock locally. I have to say I picked a good one. Whoever built mine on that day did an awesome job. The most attention to detail Iíve seen in all the campers Iíve owned. The moral of the story is it all depends on the day, time, and individuals building your camper that make the difference in the build quality. Look at it close before signing on the dotted line.
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Old 08-30-2020, 04:03 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FR27 View Post
I just bought a 2021 Freedom 2318G sight unseen. Iíve owned many campers over the years and like to look close before I buy due to quality control issues, but had AC installed before I picked it up.I drove 5 hours one way to buy this since no one had them in stock locally. I have to say I picked a good one. Whoever built mine on that day did an awesome job. The most attention to detail Iíve seen in all the campers Iíve owned. The moral of the story is it all depends on the day, time, and individuals building your camper that make the difference in the build quality. Look at it close before signing on the dotted line.
Thanks yeah just put a deposit on one that just came in from the factory to the dealership. Going over it Monday to make sure its good.
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