Readers Speak Out!

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To read RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury’s comments about this in RV Travel issue 752 click here.

What’s your opinion of these two issues affecting RVers?

  1. Has it become harder lately to find a site at a campground or in an RV park than it was 5 years ago?
  2. How would you describe the quality of the workmanship on your RV? This question for RVers who have purchased a new RV in the last few years.

Please leave a comment on one or both these questions. Try not to exceed 200 words unless necessary.

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Thomas Worley

My wife and I have owned an RV for 15 years. After much research and tire kicking, we purchased a 2015 Keystone Montana High Country 305rl from RV Wholesaler in Ohio during May of 2015. We drove 1500 miles to pick it up. There was a major rain storm during our walk through, which was on a Saturday. The only major thing we found was that the bedroom was not laid out as we ordered. We refused the unit. The saleman was able to make arrangements for us to take the unit to the Keystone factory on Monday morning for correction of the problem. We accepted the unit. On Monday morning at the factory, a cable bracket on the l/livingroom slide snapped. The slide couldn’t be closed. Since we had overnighted a the factory, factory techs repaired the slide, and 2 more brackets that were about to break. We brought up other problems we had found, but were told that these were a dealer problem. While the bedroom problem was being corrected, we were given a tour of the assembly process. The factory rep continually touted the excellent workmanship and quality. By the time we had traveled the 1500 miles home with the unit, the interior was falling apart. During the trip home we found evidence that the unit had either been loaned out, or used as a demo without our knowledge. (This was to have come direct from the factory just prior to us picking it up.) RV Wholesalers told us to take it to an authorized Montana dealer for correction of our problems. When we took it to the repair shop, it was for the cabinets falling apart, plus cracks in the fiberglass on the front cap and on the l/side of the unit, water damage from the refrig leaking, and one of the TV recliners that wouldn’t recline (in the shop again for this one), and the black water valve that wouldn’t seal (in the shop again for this one also). Since then, the MorRyde suspension system broke because it wasn’t installed by the factory properly. The unit was down most of this past summer for this problem. MorRyde was more than helpful, but am still waiting for the factory reimbursement. Now it is down again because one of the cables on the r/slide is frayed, and only attached by 2 or 3 strands. Also, the living area flooring has detached from the floor and is bubbled in 3 large areas. Keystone doesn’t want take care of this because now it is out of warranty. So much for the great quality control the factory rep touted. Thank goodness we purchased an extended warranty.

laurel jones

We have a 2008 Fleetwood Tioga. Knock on wood it has been problem free. When we had an issue with the toilet break. We were shipped a whole new toilet no charge. But friends have told me so many horror stories about their newer trailers major leaking roofs and sides shabby workmanship

Steve

Has it become harder lately to find a site at a campground or in an RV park than it was 5 years ago?
Yes. we used to be more spontaneous with RV travels but its getting more and more crowded. Reservations are becoming a must and there are little to no places to find that arent heavily regulated. The Go RVing marketing ad type places dont seem to exist…..
How would you describe the quality of the workmanship on your RV? This question for RVers who have purchased a new RV in the last few years.
Workmanship has always been terrible and continues to remain that way. Its a given that any RV I purchase, I have a laundry list of items to fix or modify in order to use it without causing future problems.

Jim Langley

We recently picked up our 2016 Lazy Daze Class C RV motorhome and we couldn’t be happier. The quality of the construction throughout and the features and appliances exceeded our expectations and are functioning perfectly. In comparison, we previously owned a Roadtrek Class B that we enjoyed a lot, however there were quite a few problems, such as the generator not working, interior cabinet latches frequently locking you out of the cabinets, windshield rubber trim flapping at highway speeds.. all fixed under warranty, but frustrating to have the problems in the first place. So far with the Lazy Daze we have found no such issues. It’s a carefully crafted, expertly designed and fully functioning home on the road. The only hard part was waiting for Lazy Daze to build our motorhome as each is built for its owner. Ours took about 9 months to be built. On the finding campsites issue, yes, it does seem that it’s harder to find campsite availability. We are dealing with this by doing more boondocking and camping more in the “off” season. Happy camping everyone!

Chris Potter

The Baby Boomers (I’m one of them) have started to reach retirement age during the last few years, and they want to enjoy life while they are still young enough to able to. This is causing an increase in the number of tourists and travelers in general. Its not just the sites in RV parks that are getting difficult to find without a reservation. We also stay at motels sometimes. Motels in tourist areas that we used to be able to walk into and get a room, as little as 3 years ago; now need a one month reservation and have increased their prices. This is particularly noticeable in the fall foliage color season, when only a few years ago, the same motels used to be deserted. Now there are a lot more retirees traveling in the fall. (Although fall always was a favorite travel time for retirees.) The more desirable retirement locations have also seen a huge increase in real estate prices over the last couple years. Of course, the low cost of gas also contributes to the RV boom- but I don’t think too many RVers are complaining about this issue.

larry williamson

2016 keystone high country has sewer vent stack left open in trailer, broken screws causing slide leakage, refrigerator not installed correctly, defective blinds installed, wheel skirts missing several screws, wheel hub covers lacking inserts allowing dirt etc to go to axle, useless manual as it is so generic it provides no help at all and disgusting customer service and refusal of non selling dealer to deal with problems.

Cindy Martin

I can only say that some trailers have always been cheaply made. People love vintage, but they had their issues. Scotties, for example, were badly made and sold cheaply. The last trailer we bought is a 1999 Fleetwood Terry Ultra-lite. I own a 1963 Terry and I don’t think you could break it if you rolled it over, but I can’t say the same for my ’99. Leaks everywhere (even when we take excellent care of the roof), saggy floor, linoleum that discolors if it gets wet, cushions that are so poor they are impossible to sleep on……you get the idea. All I can say is, if you have an ultra-lite, good luck. I do know from being at the RV shows that floors of that era were awful land they have improved them in most coaches (not Jayco). But other things are cheaply made. How about those painted countertops that aren’t real laminate? How about drawer fronts that are just glued to the sides, not jointed in any way? How about the slide outs that malfunction regularly because people don’t know how to service them? There are lots of issues.today, but I suspect there always were in some units. Much of that is due to the concerns about weight – lighter materials must be used which means it doesn’t hold up as well. I would hope a class A or class C would hold up better, but I’m not convinced. One comment I DO see a lot is that RV manufacturers use lousy and ugly soft good. I have to agree with that. And carpets on the floors? Only men would think that’s a good idea. What brings me to ….where are the women in the industry? I’m not sure we even have any input. If we did, RVs would look a bit different. Thanks for listening.

Lynn Padgett

2014 Winnebago Travato, , 1st year in the shop more than in a campground. Refrigerator rarely worked on gas, bad thermocouple, bad gas line, still – sometime it works other times it just shuts off. Can’t trust it. Broken vent fan housing at delivery, ceiling flooded, they would only pay to dry it out! Electrical problems from day one, been in shop at least 4 times for that. Usually takes a month to get a service appointment. Winnabego does not care about their customers.

John Yellowolf

OK – I know that my experience isn’t with a newer RV, but rather, it’s a challenge to newer RV’s. I own a 1978 Fleetwood Tioga. All the original appliances still work. The refrigerator doesn’t even have to be level to work! It has just shy of 170,000 miles on it. I’ve had to do some maintenance on the suspension and transmission, which is no surprise at all.
My challenge is simply this: I challenge ANY manufacturer to put out an RV that will still be roadworthy and fully functional 38 years from now! I personally don’t think this is possible, but at some point in the past, RV’s were actually built to last! And mine was considered an “entry level” RV at the time! Perhaps it’s time to start digging up some of the older RV’s and getting them back on the road!

Buddy Pickler

My wife and I bought a new 2016 Fleetwood Bounder 36E last June from Camping World. We had selected another manufacturer’s unit and the sales manager convinced that the quality of Fleetwood was much better than the other vendor. The first 6 months it was at CampingWorld more than we had it. We identified 30 issues with it. We had purchased it locally because we had been told that we would get better service. That is not what we experienced. Time and time again we would take it to CW, half of the issues would not be corrected. We ended up taking it to the manufacturer to correct some tings. A 400 mile drive and it took 3 trips.

Just when we thought things were all working two things popped up on our last trip, one a repeat from other times.

One issue I had was that there were numerous coax cables in the wiring compartment that were not connected to anything. On one of our trips I asked the manufacturer to at least label them. Well, this summer we decided to add a satellite receiver. I went to the wiring diagram to see how to hook it up. The diagram that I got from the manufacturer showed that the receiver needed to be hooked up to a 6 way splitter. The problem was there was no splitter in the coach. No wonder we had so many cables not attached. Seems someone would have noticed that.

Every trip out we have an adventure, but not what we planned

Bd2

When buying new RV’s, or even slightly used RV’s be ready to lower your expectation levels. They build these vehicles like the cars from Detroit in the 50’s & 60’s. You buy it, get a large pad of paper, and then write down all the things that need fixing…..a punch list. Then try to get into dealer for multiple tries to get issues fixed and have to argue what is/is not on warrantee [with the added fun of the coach vs. chassis argument for identifying responsibility]. Summary, they work quick to build/sell as fast as they can, people buy junk and either play the rework/shop game or get worn down and give up….. As long as they can sell, they will not improve, especially since two huge conglomerates have ~80% of market share and there is little competition.

As to getting campsites with no reservations or rolling into one last at night, YES, it is noticeably harder to do this. Plan in detail your stops a month [or for national parks starting in February] or be prepared to park in interstate rest stops at night.

IT IS NOT AS MUCH FUN OUT THERE AS IT USED TO BE.

don magel

So I can’t spell tile!

don magel

My suggestons: buy older upscale diesel coaches. They are much less expensive and were built to last. My wife and I full timed in a used 1994 Beaver Patriot for over two years crossing the country several times without problem. Our only repairs were wearout items but not the 250 cummins power train or framing. We did lose it to a tornado in Alabama and purchased a used 1996 country coach integra with a 300 Cummins, which we still use frequently and do florida for the winter. Each of these coaches had/have over 150,00 miles. Wearouts occur but not to the coach basics and hardwood cabinets, ceramic towels, leather seating etc, etc make for comfortable traveling/living.
I do not understand folks who pay so much for junk and then buy a another poorly made coach. Our CC will last longer than I will. Buy Quality, you’ll like it. Note: Our coaches only had two TVs each.

Pat Engle

My feeling is that most RV owners expect their RV to be as reliable as their cars. The problem for the RV manufacturers is that if they built them to last like cars they would be too expensive for us. Whereas most of use our cars everyday, less than 5% use their RVs everyday. RVs are built for the 50% of the families that use their rigs for 3 weeks out of the year. But, the consumer needs a model of RV that is for full timing, that they are willing to pay more for. Would Forest River and Thor be willing to do that and would it be to their advantage financially?

Lastly, an RV is only as good as the parts that go into it. So, the converter and furnace and blinds and faucet and tire and axle, etc makers have to step up as well. A lot of us have replaced or upgraded our rigs because what we had was not as good as what is available to upgrade to.

Jim Streeter

We have seen a definite decline in the workmanship of RVs. We bought a 20ft. Nash 12 years ago and sold it 2 years ago and bought a new 24M Nash. The only problem with the old Nash was a heater element that went bad. During the last 2 years our new Nash has had slider problems twice, a broken leaf spring and camp with a faulty heater bypass valve for winterizing. Sad to see the decline and worry each time we go out. Have to make our plans in the winter for next summer to get reservations.

Marcel Ethier

We will comment first on the availability of camping sites. We believe that only on 3 occasions, in the past 5 years, has a campground told us that they had no available sites. It did not cause any problems as we found other sites nearby. We are flexible and have not had any difficulty in finding sites during our travels.

Now as to the quality of RVs. We have purchased 2 new 5th wheels (both Rockwoods) in the past 3 years. Both had quality control issues. Forest River has been great and not so great in dealing with warranty issues. The dealer leaves much to be desired and we will not be purchasing from him again. We’ve read all kinds of forums and the quality issues with Class As is what made us go with 5th wheels. The quality of RVs, 10 years ago, was better than today. We previously owned a 2005 Damon Intruder and had one warranty issue with it which was resolved by Thor and our rig was repaired within a week. We would rather that the RV industry spend a bit more time and put in better quality products in their units than save a few hundred dollars. That is what it usually amounts to when you read about all the problems. It could have been preventable if a better products was installed or an extra 1/2 hr taken to inspect the unit. We know there is competition in the RV industry but it has got to the point that quality is taking over from price with the RVers. We believe that most would pay a few dollars more for a quality product than a few dollars less for basically crap. We know that we would.

Frank Dajnowicz

Well I guess we are kind of lucky. In 2012 my wife and I bought a new 2013 Heartland North Trail 22FBS. A 30′ Ultra Lite from Lloyd Bridges Travel-land in Chealsea, MI. We did a lot of research and went to many RV Shows. I went to Elkhart IN, twice and watched the trailers being built in the factory. I have had it in for service twice.

The first was to replace the front axle of the tandem axles. No, it wasn’t defective until I made a too sharp of a turn after my first trip and tried to push a 2 ton boulder with my stairs and leading tire. The alignment was so bad that when I drove it to Lloyd Bridges, 30 miles from home, a lot of the tread of the tire was worn away.

The second was to have the black water tank sensors replaced. I kept getting false readings. I had Lloyd Bridges pull the under skin and drop the black tank and put in Valterra Model:T21301VP probes. The service company has been treating me very nicely and have no complaints.

My last review will be on campgrounds. 95% of our camping has been in Michigan State Parks. Getting reservations has been a chore. We have to sit down in November and decide when and where we will camp in May and the rest of the summer, because we have to make reservations in December for May. Six months from the date we plan for starting our trip. and that is only if we are going to be there on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Now Sunday through Friday is usually no problem with sites only weekends

From what I have read, we have been born under the right stars, blessed by the gods and downright lucky.

Angie Lee

I’m writing about the scarcity of campgrounds that allow new arrivals without a reservation. I think the reservation thing is great but sometimes situations rise making it necessary to find a campround at last minute or over night. Also, the campgrounds ht discriminate because of RV age. That’s a lot of bull. You can’t discriminate to anyone checking into a motel or renting an apt. There should be no difference. I could see if the RV were falling apart, spewing fumes or a danger to everyone. But as long as it’s mobile, and taken care of,, it’s wrong. My husband and I keep our RV in good shape despite her age. We have a 2001 class A. And if anyone would be bias and deny us a site on account f our RV’s age, they can go scratch. We don’t want to be anywhere we are made to fee unwelcome. There needs to be a mandate on campgrounds for a price ceiling to avoid rice gouging, and discrimination bans set in place.

Ron and Pat Schlesch

Our experience with Entegra Coaches has been a fine experience. Few problems and great factory service. We have a 2014 Aspire model. We purchased it new.

Campground availability means you play their game and reserve early. This works for us. We are half timers.

Janet Poell

Last year we bought a Jayco Greyhawk class C. the salesman told us it would easily tow our car, and that we could fill it up with our “stuff” and we would love it. Fact is, we had very little in the basement storage, and had many empty cabinets inside. Only two of us, only neede 2 plates, 2 cups etc. we took it to get it weighed….and were only 400 pounds short of the maximum. What if we had kids with us? Add in the kids weights and their clothes and we would be over the maximum!! The engine was so loud we couldn’t hear the radio. The couch was so cheaply made it was soooo uncomfortable. And towing? Barely made it up the hills. Had the gas pedal to the floor. Very scary. We had several things that needed fixing, and it took a year for the dealer to get one of the simple little parts that needed replacing. So unhappy with the false sales pitch and poor quality design, after the one trip, we traded it in for a new class a diesel. As for campgrounds, we make reservations when we can. It just makes life easier in the end.