Family sours on RVing over new RV’s problems

37

letters to the editorMy wife and I purchased a new 2017 Thor Miramar 34.3 bunkhouse, a dream motorhome that we hoped could be enjoyed by the entire family while our kids were still young. This was our third RV (we previously owned a 2001 Coachmen class A and a 2011 Winnebago class C).

We immediately found that the RV had serious quality control issues on our day of purchase (screws lying around, fuses missing, brake lights and the chassis air conditioning completely inoperable to name a few).These things were all eventually worked out. We felt that this is “par for the course” with this RV and were willing to deal with it.

AFTER OUR FIRST TRIP, however, we realized we had a major malfunction due to obvious quality control shortcuts (or none at all). Our RV had a 30-foot full-wall slide powered by the Lippert Schwintek 500/1 motor system (a poorly designed system for such a slide in my opinion). The slide stopped working on our first trip. We returned it to the dealer and found, to our dismay, that it was missing an entire track of the 3TRAX system advertised in their 2017 brochures.

The dealer remanufactured the slide. But we continued to have problems, mainly slide drift while driving and circuit faults. We sent the RV back to Indiana this past winter, only to have it returned to Connecticut with the same defects (mainly slide drift).


We had to hire a consumer rights attorney and now find ourselves still in litigation while missing out on an entire camping season. Our RV purchase has caused us tens of thousands of dollars due to a lack of simple quality control measures. I am embarrassed to admit I missed the faulty slide myself but even more upsetting is the fact that no one at Thor caught it either. Clearly, this RV never went through a quality control protocol.

I have read so many similar issues about poor quality control, many of which cause heartburn and threats of litigation. The manufacturers are just taking advantage of good economic times by shortcutting the quality control part of RV craftsmanship.

We were once a young, happy RVing family who shared many positive RVing experiences and encouraged friends and others to RV, exactly the type of family we think the RV marketing community values. Now we are disgruntled and skeptical, certainly not proponents of the RVing life any longer.

I could go on. But I think you have the point. — Jason L.

NOTE FROM EDITOR:
You and others may enjoy this video, where the owner of a Thor A.C.E. motorhome shows off its many quality issues.

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Brian Templeton
Guest
Brian Templeton

I am thinking of buying a used 2006-8 ALFA GOLD motorhome from somewhere in the States. I live in Calgary up in Canada, and I would much appreciate any and all comments about owners experiences, problems etc., with these units. Thanking to everybody in advance for their advices.

Michael Thornton
Guest
Michael Thornton

Don’t feel bad. I have had the same problems with Camping World in New Braunfels. Had the motor home in the shop for three weeks to fix the backup camera and nothing got fixed. Camping World is a terrible place.

Older VN Vet
Guest
Older VN Vet

We sold a 2 year old Mercedes chassis Forest River Class C and purchased a 13 year old Tioga SL with just over 10k miles on it. Why? the depreciation on the Benz in the next 2 years would have been more what we paid for the used Tioga. The build quality on the oldie but goodies is fantastic compared to barely mediocre on the newer one. Benz dealers get $275 for an oil change. The Tioga costs me $25 for synthetic Mobil1, filter and 20 minutes of my time. If it breaks, the Benz can’t be towed due to… Read more »

PappaJ
Guest
PappaJ

As to Thor, my daughter purchased a 2015 Thor ACE Bunkhouse. Nothing but problems. I am thankful that Thor conducted a 200 point inspection before it left the factory (so the dealer said) and the dealer (Mobile Home Specialist in Alvarado, TX) said they conducted a 200 point inspection. WOW! How can so many defects be overlooked by two separate 200 point inspections. Unit is now in service to have the slide out repaired. I am thankful Thor began using the newer track system; otherwise I do not believe the slide would have ever worked!! Too many other defects to… Read more »

Roger Scott
Guest
Roger Scott

#ThorLacksIntegrity We special ordered a 2017 FourWinds 26b from Tiara RV in Elkhart, Indiana. I decided to support the local economy. Not sure which is worse, the dealer or Thor. Thor evidently has written us off as being not worth satisfying. We did a lengthy search, attended RV shows and spoke directly with factory representatives of Thor, then made a decision to order a new 2017 Four Winds 26B specifically because of the advertised GCVW of the unit on an E450 chassis. Much to our dismay our rig was delivered on an E350 chassis. We didn’t realize it at first.… Read more »

Ray Shaw
Guest
Ray Shaw

I have bought 1 pop-up, 3 travel trailers, 1 fiver, and 7 class As. All of them were bought used. All of them served our family well. The only one that wasn’t all I hoped, was 2007 Georgetown XL. The build quality was not as good as any of the others. Equally the owner did not maintain it well. We now have a Itasca, and couldn’t be happier. Another issue is service. We use a local small RV dealer. It is also where we have bought most of our RVs. There service department is fantastic. They are fair, good, and… Read more »

Bob
Guest
Bob

Had a 2014 Thor Chateau. In for repairs more than not. Traded for Pheonix Cruiser 3100. Couldn’t be happier. Great engineering, great quality! Last summer 16000 miles thru Western Canada and Alaska. Not a single problem even with all the bad roads. Will never have any other than Pheonix Cruiser.

Roni
Guest
Roni

Two years ago, I bought my first RV – a 2007 Phoenix Cruiser 2900 diesel. The previous (original) owner had taken great care of it. I flew to VA from CA, bought the RV, and drove it back home. No problems at all. In the past 2 years, I’ve had minor problems, most of them unrelated to the quality of the Phoenix Cruiser (tire losing its tread, engine AC condenser replaced). I just wish they made a Class A.

Jim Bennett
Guest
Jim Bennett

A catch 22 problem is while many older vehicles,and trailers,are built better than a lot of the new “stuff”…the problem is many RV parks wont allow rigs older than 10 years.I have ran into this problem in many areas,so some food for thought.

Linda P
Guest
Linda P

I agree with the other folks who said to buy an older model, but quality built RV. I retired in December, and we bought a 1995 Prevost Marathon. My husband had researched all of the options and decided he did not want any slides. Also, this particular brand is built to last. While the color scheme (interior and exterior) were vintage 1995 (all original decor and equipment) we were able to redo the interior ourselves as my husband is a general contractor with lots of additional handyman skills. We took it to the Prevost repair facility in Jax, FL to… Read more »

David + Liz
Guest
David + Liz

We have also been soured out of the RV lifestyle by the poor quality and new attitude of the RV industry. We have owned several RVs throughout the years, all of which took one or two dealer service visits to work out one or two minor factory defect issues within the first month or two of ownership. We knew which brands/makes to steer away from, as they had bad reputations and/or you could already see the quality issues while touring the RV during the purchase process. We traded up to a 2014 new unit of the same brand and model… Read more »

Karin Callander
Guest
Karin Callander

Just like the original poster, we researched quite a bit before we purchased a 2017 Holiday Rambler Vacationer 32A XE from Alliance Coach, in Wildwood FL. One of the major reasons for making a purchase from THIS dealer was his stellar reputation for quality service. WHAT A JOKE! And a cruel one at that. This coach has been a nightmare from day 1, where we first noticed the shower stall leaking. Day 2, we found the slideout collecting water on the roof. Water from the air conditioner, not even rain. Numerous fit & finish issues, including screws loose or in… Read more »

Dennis R Strope
Guest
Dennis R Strope

I first researched, in expectation of buying, for approx 10 years prior to buying an RV, and after reading “Steels On Wheels”. I fiscally settled on Crossroads and purchased a 2011 Rushmore. Things went well the first year, with normal (I considered them normal) deficiencies and problems. After all, it’s on wheels and bounces down roads. I attended a rally, in Indiana, for owners and toured the Crossroads factory. I posed the question, “what about quality control?” The answer I received; “if something is found wrong at the end of the line, the responsible party has to walk to the… Read more »

Joan Richardson
Guest
Joan Richardson

I found my RV (2001 Dynamax 28ft) on Ebay. I won the auction, much to my surprise, for $29,500. I flew to Oregon and drove it back to the Bay Area. This rig had 12k miles, plus garaged by previous owners. Were there issues?sure, but minor. I wouldn’t buy a new rig due to the price and undependable quality. Mine is going strong with about 20k miles now. Go with better quality used.

Lynda
Guest
Lynda

You are right! I bought a 2008 Gulf Stream tourmaster with only 27000 miles on it. I paid $75,000 for it. New it was $300,000. The previous owner didn’t take very good care of it, however only required minor fixes, new tires, and new batteries. My bank says it’s worth a lot more. Glad I bought used. Wanted new but couldn’t afford the $479,000 one I loved. ????

Rosemary
Guest
Rosemary

Thor workers were handing out flyers on street outside the FMCA rally in Indiana earlier this year listing complaints about the working conditions at the factory including what they said were unrealistic timeframes for work to be accomplished and working conditions in the plant. I wish I kept the flyer to share.

John
Guest
John

I think it really is the luck of the draw, the day of manufacture (Monday, Friday?), etc. As Chuck mentioned, two ‘identical’ models-one a nightmare and one a dream RV. There seems to be no consistency in the quality of construction. Those completely happy rarely voice their satisfaction whereas those who have purchased a nightmare, rightly shout from the rooftops.

Mik and Jennifer McCauley
Guest
Mik and Jennifer McCauley

My husband and I traded in our Glendale Titanium on September 18th and purchased a new 2018 305rl Montana High Country 5th Wheel from Camping World in Roanoke VA. We were treated like Royalty as we signed our name on the dotted line. We also purchased the extended warranty and Good Sam’s Insurance. So we left as happy campers! When we got home we pack all of our personal things and made it camping ready. We went over it with fine tooth comb making sure everything worked, which it did UNTIL we tried our tailgater. When we would connect from… Read more »

Lynda
Guest
Lynda

I will NEVER go to any camping world ever again. Things not fixed right, other times can’t even get them to answer their phones!!!

Jim Bennett
Guest
Jim Bennett

KUDOS on that about camping world…rippoff experts.

Chuck Woodbury
Guest
Chuck Woodbury

Mik and Jennifer, I will respond to your question on the RV Travel.com website. There will be a link in next Saturday’s newsletter so you can read my response. Positing your issue on RVT may get Keystone and Camping World to get the job done for you NOW so you can enjoy that RV.

Michael Thornton
Guest
Michael Thornton

Don’t feel bad. I have had the same problems with Camping World in New Braunfels. Had the motor home in the shop for three weeks to fix the backup camera and nothing got fixed. Camping World is a terrible place.

Bill
Guest
Bill

Chuck, in Jason L’s comment above, I was wondering why he was on his third motorhome. What happened with the other two? Did he have problems and thought “third time’s a charm”?

Paula
Guest
Paula

Is “what do you drive or tow” no longer a part of the rv travel newsletter?

bjensen6
Guest
bjensen6

We bought a 2007 Four Winds 23′ Class C new. The thing had loud rattle from the first day. We figured out what it was when the microwave fell out of the cabinet. We traded for a used Coachmen Leprechaun and even though we have had to fix a few things everything was put together right to begin with. I am proud to recommend Coachmen and always warn people away from Thor products.

Marilyn
Guest
Marilyn

Interesting, the only good 5th we had was a Thor product, however friends bought the same product and had nothing but trouble. Our nightmare was with Forest River, I would recommend never buying their product. We now have an Itasca Meridian MH, purchased used & have had no problems.

Gary Holtzman
Guest
Gary Holtzman

I’ve been in the market for a Class A RV, been seriously considering the Thor Outlaw Residence. After reading the article that the RV delivery driver wrote and some other horror stories, I’m not really sure if it is worth the risk. Who has the best rated quality control? Is it just a crap shoot? I’m looking for any advice I can get and would certainly appreciate it. I’ve also read several horror stories regarding dealerships. Any highly recommended dealers out there?

Dave Albright
Guest
Dave Albright

The comments “par for the course” and “willing to deal with it” in my opinion are part of the problem. As long as buyers continue to accept these these poorly built units with the expectation that dealers will quickly repair them, the manufacturers will go on their merry way raking in the dough. Stand up for yourselves! It’s your hard earned money you are giving up. Is this the type of work you do yourself or accept in other products you buy?