Sunday, February 5, 2023


Really? RV industry survey doesn’t even suggest improving quality

By Chuck Woodbury
Did you see all the recalls we posted in this weekend’s newsletter? We reported eight for the week but that’s far from all issued. We don’t print those that affect very few RVs except in our monthly RV Recalls Newsletter. The one we like the very best in this week’s parade of mishaps is from Lance, warning that a trailer’s RV battery could fall out when the RV is moving! Hope you aren’t following behind! Then there’s the recall from Forest River: It seems someone didn’t notice a rear exit emergency window was missing.

The pace of recalls seems to have moved into high gear in recent times. Is it because RV manufacturers are racing so fast to get new RVs out their doors that they are screwing up in the process? That’s our guess.

We know that some RV manufacturers, for example, do not even conduct a final inspection of a new RV before shipping it off to dealers. Once delivered, dealers are supposed to find what’s wrong and fix it. Some do. Some don’t.

So here comes a survey sponsored by RV Business and Wells Fargo. The introduction to the story and its survey begins:

“Will the North American recreational vehicle industry extend its sensational year-end run and generate more record-breaking financial returns in 2018? . . . Is it possible that the RV arena, given its seven-year growth streak and recent surge in incoming new buyers, is on the brink of a new era in which it is more insulated from the deeper cyclical swings of the past?”

Question #5 really got me. Look at the responses to this question: Which of these, in your view, is most crucial for ongoing growth? (choose more than one if applicable).

Look at the third response: Maintaining product quality at all levels.

It doesn’t say “Improve product quality” . . . Just maintain!

Are you kidding? They aren’t even asking about increasing quality. Is everything just fine as is — RVs rolling off the assembly lines with no flaws, RVers buying them and living happily after without slides dropping off, batteries falling out, propane leaking, wiring configured ass-backwards — little things like that?

What is wrong with this picture? Look at this week’s recalls. Then scroll through the hundreds of other recalls issued in recent months.

Improvement is needed. Not maintenance!




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Kaye Bouska
4 years ago

We had issues with the floor in our 5th wheel (2015) referred to as soft floors. Was a flaw in design. Forest River transported the RV to Indiana for repairs and 5th wheel is now on way back to Oregon no cost to us. An inconvenience yes, but must say they have been excellent to work with us and resolve the only issue we have had with the unit. Love it. Our third Forest River RV.

D Southern
4 years ago

We bought a brand-new Coachman 260DS Leprechaun 9/6/17. We had in our posession for 4 hours before returning to dealer for service—myriad of issues. First 120 days we owned, was in for repairs 91 days. In service even now for—hopefuly—final two issues. As former Quality Manager of an ISO9001 manufacturing concern, I am appalled by lack of quality and concern in rv industry overall.

4 years ago

Don’t even think about a Grand Design product.I bought a 2017 Reflection fifth wheel…one week out the gate and the problems started adding up.Their so called “factory PDI” is a joke..and the dealer’s PDI was even worse.There is not enough room here to list the many problems I have had with this coach,and had to fix myself because the dealer is AWOL.America in general has a quality control problem..and GREED has taken over where common sense used to prevail.

4 years ago

As an outsider looking in – an Australian who rents RVs in America on a regular basis (like right now as I write) – I’m surprised/dismayed by several things: The sameness of the interiors and the low quality of the fit and finish on at least the mass produced, big brands I’ve used (Winnebago/Fleetwood/Coachman). It seems the race to the bottom in terms of price; the sheer volumes produced by low-paid workers who probably aren’t ‘engaged’, and the endless pursuit of higher profits to satisfy investors and corporate bean counters is producing a perfect storm of consumer discontent that is already coming back to bite the industry. I wouldn’t buy a new RV here, but I’d buy one three to five years old with (hopefully!) all the problems fixed. Just sayin’…

Gene the Machine
4 years ago

Quality, well, when we bought our Jayco Pinnacle last year, I thought we were buying one fine 5ver, For the most part it was but there were things (stupid things) wrong. We had upgraded to thermal windows but when they were closed, there were gaps to the outside. What good is that? The table leaf brackets were a half inch off from matching. Door latches in den were mismatched (an inch off). One of the awning endcaps had stripped screws causing the endcap/arm to almost fall off. Fixed using good ole duct tape until dealership could repair. Chest of drawers had broken slide causing drawer to not shut. Shower door not sealed at bottom. A couple of the tv’s were extrememly crooked. My list was actually 2 pages long. I was told that my 42 foot 5th wheel was assembled in only 2 days. That’s the rub!!! Actually, I don’t have regrets buying the RV, but feel the industry needs to slooow down a bit.

4 years ago

Ya think??

Colin Flagg
4 years ago

i spent 30 years designing machines. we always used lock washers. i found screws for the seat belts behind the couch half out. i had the track for the curtains coming down. Doing this one thing would be a big improvement.

4 years ago

clearly there is no profit in better quality. Or another way to look at it, not enough penalty for poor quality. If you can save $2k on every trailer but warranty repairs typically cost only $500 – then why improve? Because of scheduling and distance to dealer, I did all warranty repairs on my first trailer. Unfortuneately that sort of thing just contributes what manufacturers “get away with”.

4 years ago

Hey Chuck, I always read your RV Travel from beginning to end, even all the side comments & videos. I read today that you don’t actually list all of the recall’s for a lot of reasons. But I bet readers would like to see a complete list of recalls, as not all RV’s get the notice of recalls. I know for sure, but from a different matter & it was our Honda Civic that slipped through the cracks, so when that issue showed up, well we had to pay as it was past the recall time period!
Anyway keep up the great writing.

4 years ago

I was told once by someone who took a factory tour about how things are done and I was shocked. He told me the assembly line workers have 22 minutes at each station to do whatever it is that they do. And if they run out of time, too bad. The line moves on. No wonder screws are in crooked and things are missed, over and over again. Then, as mentioned, the dealer has to deal with it which translates to unfair and unreasonable hardship to the customer.

David Osborne
4 years ago

I am on my fourth NEW rv since 2005. Seems the more you pay is no guarantee of better quality. Still have the same annoying ridiculous flaws that plagued my first one. With the current state of rv quality i don’t expect perfection but am weary of fixing door latches installed backwards and showers draining into the bathroom floor. I love my 5th wheel and love tinkering on it. So, I have decided that this will be my last one. No more new for me. Have all the bugs worked out and do not see anything better on the showroom floors. Buyer beware and be prepared to fix a lot of nuisance items. RV industry needs to get with the program. Not expecting that to happen anytime soon. Regards

marty chambers
4 years ago

I would love to know the percentage of recalls and complaints about the lack of quality and workmanship are brands owned by Thor. Seems to me that most are from them. Should RV’ers boycott Thor if that is the case?

Richard Russell
4 years ago

Chuck: quality survey is right on from our experience with a new Tiffin-! Seems productivity and $$$ for manufacturers and dealers are more important than producing a quality product! We have experienced major service and warranty work for our Tiffin that ought not to occur for 5-10 years if ever.

marty chambers
4 years ago

And they were one of the better made coaches. I guess the desire to keep up with Thor was too much.

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