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No hot water shows RVer his rig is in big hot water

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By Russ and Tiña De Maris

A man who owns a new Forest River Vibe, one of the company’s “ultra light” travel trailers, had a different sort of “light” problem – as in, the water heater in his rig just wouldn’t light up. What could be the problem?

Photo: forestriverforums.com

Apparently, LP gas wasn’t making its way to the water heater, so all the cycling in the world wouldn’t help this problem. A little investigative work revealed what was behind the “no flow” problem. Poking around – presumably in a storage compartment – helped reveal an interesting routing issue for the rubber LP gas supply line that served the water heater. Apparently at the factory, someone routed the LP line under the tub – and under a 4 x 4 support. That support helps keep the tub from sagging when weight is put in it. But mashing a rubber LP line between the floor and a 4 x 4 support does not make for good gas flow.

Happily, the rig hadn’t been driven over enough miles of pounding road to chaff the rubber line to the point a leak developed. But it does beg the question, where on earth is quality control? How do you even build a rig with a defect like this, without even noticing? Compound that issue with, why didn’t the dealer find that the water heater wouldn’t light on the pre-delivery inspection? Maybe the dealer did, but didn’t want to trouble himself with actually running down what the problem was.

The RV industry has been plagued for decades with customer complaints about shoddy workmanship and seemingly non-existent quality control. With dealers across the country selling RVs at a fast clip, and RV manufacturers churning out rigs at a record pace to keep up with the demand, one can only expect quality control issues will get worse, not better.

##RVT953

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Drew
1 year ago

Sorry to add insult to injury but if you do your diligence before you buy- it can save you many pains. That mfgr. is one of the 2 worst in the business. It doesn’t take long or much research to find out. The list of weekly recalls is just one tip- and those are just safety related issues. Sorry for your mishap- I hope there won’t be too many more!

Marc Stauffer
1 year ago

I’ve done a number of upgrades to my new travel trailer. Some of the things I have found and reworked while doing those upgrades just make you shake your head….some of which actually posed safety issues. Quality is not “job one” for many in the RV industry. I’d have paid a little more for higher quality and more careful work.

Leon S
1 year ago

There’s a saying in engineering: Good, Fast, Cheap…you can only pick two! The industry is picking the latter two.

Thomas D
1 year ago

Theres only one way to get better quality and thats to hit them where it hurts. In the wallet. I know it goes against the grain but Don’t Fix thing’s yourself. Make a list and have dealer fix problems. It may not be convenient but you rob the manufacturer of some profits. Only then will qualify control come into play. Have stuff fixed when you can be without the rig. Maybe even over winter. Let them store it for you FREE.

Snayte
1 year ago

I love how the rubber hose appears to be in a protective sleeve to go through the hole(?) in the floor only to be subjected to being pinched under the tub support.

Pierre Woody
1 year ago
Reply to  Snayte

I noticed that too! Good eye Snayte

Bob
1 year ago

The way the flooring is deformed, it looks like the tub floor was not properly supported to begin with and they just jammed the block in not even looking or caring if it was correct.
Of course, being on the hose added some cushioning and stopped squeaks!!

Bob Hill
2 years ago

We look at RV’s at all the local shows and are very disappointed in the quality of the products from low to high end. The construction, fit and finish is horrible!
The industry needs to get their act together!

Cody Bartosh
2 years ago

The faster they sell the less chance a thorough PDI is happening at the dealer. But also the less chance of units becoming damaged while sitting on the sales lot. I would rather get a unit fresh from the factory with whatever defects it has and work those out with the manufacturer myself. But thats why I became an RV tech.

travilenman
2 years ago

I say ” QUALITY COSTS MORE & TAKES LONGER TO COMPLETE “

Captn John
2 years ago

Didn’t have the HW running on gas at PDI? Should be started on gas and switched to electric during PDI.

steve
2 years ago

We have a older unit that has been quality built with no issues. I WILL NEVER buy a new rig unless they have a warranty plan that is way better than the cheap basic bare bones one that they all have now. People need to get a lawyer involved and take these cheap frugal manufactures to court!

Walt
2 years ago

Could this have happened after final assembly? How is that 4×4 attached in there — or is it just “placed”?

By the look of how that propane tube is run, it appears it’s not out of the realm of possibility that, while traveling over the road, jostling/bouncing/flexing of the trailer (and the tub) could have allowed the rubber propane tube to slide itself under that 4×4 support. Maybe.

Cody Bartosh
2 years ago
Reply to  Walt

Maybe….

Bob P
1 year ago
Reply to  Walt

RIGHT! It’s going to jiggle right on top of that hose and then press down to cut off gas supply. That sounds like an explanation one of the non-drug tested employees they have working there. I wouldn’t buy a new RV now for nothing, as someone else suggested it’s time to get a lawyer involved. Maybe if they have to pay out several settlements they’ll rethink their no drug testing policies. What will happen if some “high” person forgets to hook up brake wires, or safety cotter pin on the axle bearing nut? Big time accident, these are not part of a PDI, so the customer buys it and going down the road it falls off, ACCIDENTS!

Pierre Woody
1 year ago
Reply to  Walt

I agree, was the block nailed down? We can’t tell!

Montgomery Bonner
2 years ago

We had about 30 major “gotchas” happen to us over the 1st year, none prevented use or function, but made some of the processes hard to accomplish. One window had to be replaced, the cord wind up reel had to be replaced, and all the slides have been leveled twice. Hopefully, that all the bugs have been found and it’s now maintenance plus inspections from now one.

M. Will
2 years ago

They just build them. Quality control would cost you alot more!!

mdstudey
2 years ago

I would still take it in and make them replace the line. Just to stay on the safe side.

PennyPA
2 years ago

There’s a lawsuit just waiting to happen. I think he should have first contacted his lawyer instead of Facebook. This was not an exceptional problem; it was a problem of potential life or death. What if it HAD rubbed through and caused a leak. I know we’ve developed into a litigious society (and I hate what we’ve become) but this, had it gone unknown, could have had disastrous results.

Alan Wood
2 years ago

“There’s not enough time to do it right the first time, but always enough time to do it right the second time!!” Doesn’t make sense.

LeeP
2 years ago

We owned a Forest River Wildcat MAXX, never again will we own a Forest River Product. There was NO quality control and NO workmanship. NO pride at all in the product they built. My 9 year old granddaughter would have done better quality job with much more pride. There are just too many problems here to go into in this comment section. I will say, that we never had a problem on the road, but every time I dug into something on the trailer I found shoddy workmanship that I fixed.

R A
2 years ago

On a positive note, the owner contacted Forest River directly and they (eventually) contacted him back. They also advised him that they have bi-weekly meetings between the Warranty Department and the Plant Managers to review warranty claims of concern. But as he had not yet contacted his dealer, just posted the picture on Facebook, Forest River did not know of the issue.

I expect Forest River to issue a formal recall and notify the NHTSA. That’s what they did early this year when a single dealer reported a problem with a misrouted flexible propane line on a motorhome. They recalled every one of that model for inspection and rerouting of the line if needed because they determined the routing by installers was “inconsistent”.

In a perverse sort of way, the people who proudly proclaim that they never took their rig back for a warranty claim and fixed everything themselves, yeah, you’re helping validate the business model that allows this nonsense to persist.

The only way pervasive quality problems will be fixed is if we collectively raise the cost of doing business of the manufacturers by filing warranty claims for everything warrantable and by filing NHTSA complaints for items that could threaten life safety.

Herb
2 years ago
Reply to  R A

We live fulltime in our RV and everything we own is with us. If I can fix the broken widget myself vs having it at a dealer for a week or more, I’m going to fix it.

Glenn
2 years ago
Reply to  R A

And then wait the 3 or 4 months for the dealer to fix it while you lose the use of your rig. That’s IF they repair it properly!

want2racer
2 years ago
Reply to  Glenn

I don’t know what other industry can get away with the poor quality workmanship that the RV industry does. I don’t know why we put up with and industry that take month to get things in for repair. Sad truth is they get away with both. Is it really to much that if I am on the road and I need a small repair to get some help right away. Who wants to lose an RV for a month or two, summer is to short in the northern part of the country to begin with. And no for the kicker, nothing will change in the next 10 years.

Carlos B Lourenco
2 years ago
Reply to  R A

I disagree with your acessment that it is the do it yourselfers who compounding the issue . Rather look at dealers who try to discourage rv owners by dragging out time frames on repairs and or not addressing the real problems,

Pierre Woody
1 year ago
Reply to  R A

Well said!!

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