How RV manufacturers hide shortcuts from you


Look at the photo below. It’s the heater in a cheap RV. A couple posted this at RV Horror Stories. They were having trouble heating the front part of their RV. They checked around with a camera but couldn’t find anything wrong. So, “we removed the board under our bed which gave us access to the furnace.”

And this is what they found. To save labor, the RV manufacturer simply coiled up the heating ductwork to fit in the small compartment rather than shorten it to fit properly. The result is that the hot air had to travel much farther to reach the front of the RV, losing precious heat every extra foot of the way.

Of course it doesn’t help that the ducting is not even connected to the heater. It may have come from the factory that way or vibrated out.

But the obvious shortcut here is that rather than spend a little extra to shorten the ducting, the manufacturer saved on labor by coiling it up. And the buyers got suckered because they didn’t examine the “stick and tin” RV close enough before buying it.

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2 months ago

My fiver had 2flexible duct pipes leaving the furnace.The outlets where extremely hot. Too much heat and not enough air movement. Also no heat register in the bathroom which was right on the same wall. I added a heat here and added another duct to the forward bedroom,separating the factory ductwork to reduce Static Pressure on the existing lines. The temperature was reduced and a lot more comfortable and less noise. They won’t spend an extra dime to make it right. Who does the engineering, 1st graders with crayons?

Ray Leissner
4 months ago

Kinda makes you wonder what the rest of the systems are like. But if you don’t test them all before purchasing you run the risk those may not work properly.

Abe Loughin
4 months ago

More than the extra length, all of the sharp bends is what was causing the heat loss. Ducting should be as straight as possible and any turns should have as large of a radius as possible.

Joyce Collins
1 year ago

In my 2018 Thor class C there is a gap about 1 inch wide you can see the road. Heater did not work, called an electrician none of the wires tucked up in the A/C area were connected. Very poor workmanship

Joyce Collins
1 year ago

My Thor class C has a gap at the passengers side about 1 inch wide you can see the street. None of the wires tucked in the A/C were connected. Very shoddy work on an expensive RV

1 year ago

This is exactly what I found on my Class-C. The heater hose was not hooked up to the heater and since there was not a hose clamp in the space or on the hose I can only deduce that it came from the factory unassembled. When you by a new or used rig, assume nothing and look very carefully under and behind everything.

1 year ago

I would think that this would be more in the area of either forgetfulness or laziness. If the mfg heater installer had shorten the duct, the remaining part could be used in another rv….thus a savings for the cost of ducting overall for the mfg. Also, pointing to the fact that the duct was not even attached to the heater, also makes me believe that this may be just another case of poor installation practice and maybe even isolated to this one rv.

Fred G
1 year ago

A careless building detail for sure. What’s new?
Speaking of duct work, while nosing around in the guts of our motorhome when first purchased, I replaced all accessible flexible duct work with flexible INSULATED duct work. Made a big difference in the temperature of the heat delivered into the living space.

Mike M
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred G

I thought of that also, but realized that some of that lost heat was helping to keep my water lines from freezing on my winter trips.

1 year ago
Reply to  Mike M

Can the water lines be insulated? Does the freezing of water occur at the outside water source or inside the RV?

1 year ago
Reply to  Jay

Jay, the answer is yes. The water lines can be insulated (where you can get access to them) but they will still freeze if there is no source of heat. Most campgrounds that operate in freezing weather use frost proof hose bibs at the campsite, but they will freeze if left on in freezing weather. The idea is to fill your tank, then turn it off and drain your hose. Some will put heat tape on the hose bib and allow heated hoses, but that runs up the electric cost. Leaving a faucet dripping may help to keep the lines from freezing, but your sewer hose (and valves) can freeze too.

Roger Marble
1 year ago

IMO When this kind of shoddy workmanship is discovered both the MGF and Dealer should be named. The dealer needs to know what they are selling. With enough bad posts, one would think the dealer would demand better quality. The MFG probably doesn’t care about an individual owner since MFG don’t seem interested in developing brand loyalty.

1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Marble

X2 on Roger’s post.

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Marble

Even seasoned RV’ers who are looking to buy a new RV, would probably not get this far into the guts of the unit while doing a pre-buy inspection. The dealer is not going to let you disassemble half the RV while you look for shoddiness.

1 year ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

You are right however you could test the heat, test the air conditioning and everything else in the RV. Don’t just look at it. My gosh people are so willing to be taken advantage of. And not naming names just lets these huge previously private held companies get away with murder. All the junk being produced needs laws to impact the builder. Thank the Congress for being bought off by the likes of Buffet.