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Old 04-28-2020, 08:36 AM   #1
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2019 Columbus Compass 378mbc

I am about to pull the trigger on a new (last years model) 378mbc. I have never bought a new rv before. We bought a used one 8 years ago. We love it but really want to upgrade. We really like the layout and features of the 378. Two things have me concerned. Online horror stories about the Forest River brand and the fact that the dealership is five hours from us. I know most of what you see online are unhappy people and you usually donít hear from satisfied customers. But what kind of percentage of new campers have issues that require a return to the dealership? Can you take your camper to any Forest River dealership or do you have to take it to where you bought it at? And if anyone is willing to share their general thoughts on their Palimino camper, I would be grateful.
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Old 04-28-2020, 03:59 PM   #2
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We're starting our third year with our Palomino Puma. Bought it brand new from a dealership in Ohio and pulled it back to NJ. We love it, and (knock on wood) never had any problems with it.

We bought it in Ohio because our local dealership (just across the border in PA) wanted to charge us nearly $10K more for the same unit! Didn't cost me 10K to drive to OH and spend the night.

When it's time to get winterized, I do take it to that local dealer, and never had any issues with them working on it--of course, they've only winterized it over the last couple years.

That also means we've never had any problems with ours. The one minor issue we had was the sound system/sound bar. I simply bought a nicer system from Crutchfield and upgraded it myself. No other issues at all! (Again, knock on wood).

What I would highly recommend is that you bring your significant other, or a friend. When you do your walk around before taking delivery--video record it! Your new unit will likely have newer features and options that you may not be used to. The excitement of taking delivery may distract you from key things being pointed out. For example, for me it was the first time owning a camper with two propane bottles that are connected together with a special distribution valve, blah, blah, blah.... I got home, forgot what I was told on my walk around on how to use the propane tanks, and had to do some research on my own so I didn't screw up the system. Just a suggestion though.

Regardless, congrats on the new purchase, enjoy it, and travel safely!
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Old 05-05-2020, 11:53 AM   #3
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We purchased a 2019 Palomino Puma last year, and thus far have had only 1 issue with it. It was also the sound bar/radio/dvd player/cd-player. They are all 1 unit, and as you can imagine, are NOT the best quality. Ours wouldnt' eject a DVD / CD, unless I removed the bar from the cubby hole, and unplugged the device, forcing it into a reset. Otherwise, it all works, but leaves something to be desired in the sound quality. Instead of driving an hour each way, twice (drop off, and then pickup) to get it fixed, I just purchased a cheapo DVD player from walmart, and that's what we use. If you want better sound, it can be had with a nice bluetooth portable speaker anyway, that can be used in more places than just the camper.

Otherwise, we've been very happy with our Puma, and it is very comparable in quality to my parents' 2018 Coachman that they purchased new in 2018.
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Old 05-05-2020, 01:14 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by tokenfinn View Post
Can you take your camper to any Forest River dealership or do you have to take it to where you bought it at? And if anyone is willing to share their general thoughts on their Palimino camper, I would be grateful.
If it's a Forest River warranty (not a third party), you can theoretically take it to any Forest River dealership. As a practical matter, many dealers don't like doing warranty work on a rig that they didn't sell. You tend to go to the end of a long line.
However, many mobile mechanics and independent shops will do the work.
I don't think anyone keeps a record of the percentage taken back for warranty work. If you're willing to do small repairs yourself, you might never have to take it back. Things like walpaper peeling at a corner, screws falling out, etc. we fix ourselves.
Just make sure you get anything you find wrong before you sign the final papers and you'll be fine. Once you sign those final papers, you're shuffled off to the service department and that can be a nightmare.
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Old 05-09-2020, 05:13 AM   #5
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Also have to chime in and report that we are also very happy with our 2019 Puma. Minor issues last year that were all corrected on site under warranty. About to start our second season - just went to check it out yesterday and everything wintered well! For what it's worth we have also had soundbar issues.
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Old 05-09-2020, 05:28 AM   #6
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We had a Palomino Columbus (320RS) the first year they came out - 2012. We kept it for over 5 years and considered another until we fell in love with the floor plan, layout and extras on the Cardinal Luxury.

But, I can tell you we loved our Columbus. We purchased the extended warranty (7 years) and it paid for itself with repairs, but most were not the fault of Forest River, but rather their vendors.

1) Black tank cracked and had to be replaced. This was a product made by a vendor for Forest River.

2) Squirrel cage fan in the furnace (plastic) disintegrated and had to be replaced. Again, not the fault of Forest River. It was replaced with a metal one and never had other issues.

3) Schwintek motor on the bedroom slide burned out - once again, not a Forest River product that failed, but rather that of a vendor.

4) And a few other issues that under the extended warranty could be repaired by any authorized RV dealership.

We have owned four RVs - the first was a small bumper pull, then we've had three fifth wheels. Every one of the fifth wheels have been Forest River and I have never even looked at another manufacturer. Talk about horror stories...some of my friends own other products and have had extreme horror stories.


Bottom line - I think you'll be happy and get a great deal of enjoyment out of a Columbus.
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