RV delivery driver tells workmanship horror stories

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This letter was received unsolicited from a reader of RVtravel.com. We posted this in 2017, but here it is again for those who missed it first round.

Dear Chuck,
I’ve towed RVs to dealers for more than a decade. Half of that time I averaged well over 100,000 miles a year. All together, I’ve delivered more than a thousand RVs.

I delivered two new motorhomes where they forgot to hook up the filler tubes for fuel, resulting in dumping fuel on the ground. Now I look under the motorhome when I start fueling to prevent major dumping. I’ve had the overhead front beds fall within inches of my head driving down the highway.

Nine out of every ten RVs I’ve delivered had scratches or imperfections on the exterior. I take pictures of every issue to protect myself.

I’ve seen water running throughout the motorhome from a heavy rain because of slide issues. I delivered one this summer where the overhead light in the bathroom was full of water.

We are told by the transport company not to tell the dealerships about any of the problems we find in our inspection before we leave the factory. But I do just the opposite because I feel it only right for the dealer to know. I show the photos to the person inspecting the unit when I arrive at the dealership. I tell them I will lose my job for showing them the issues but I feel it is only right for them to know what I found in my inspection. I gain their trust and they take the credit for finding the things wrong.

I have delivered several RVs with torn material in the sofas and benches in the eating area. Just a week ago the escape window in the rear bedroom area of a motorhome would not lock because the latches were not even close to matching up. I spent over an hour making adjustments so I could leave.

WITH SEVERAL MOTORHOMES, the interior trim fell off before I got to the dealership. One big issue on some motorhomes is the sewer outlet is inside a compartment with an opening through the floor for the hose to connect. Some of holes don’t come close to lining up and it would be impossible to attach a hose.

I delivered one class A where the gasket for the windshield was flipped over in one corner above the driver, so the dealership would need to remove the windshield to correct the flaw. In 2016 I refused to take more than a dozen motorhomes because of the issues I found. They all went back to the manufacturer.

I delivered a travel trailer where the tongue broke off. Thank God it broke completely as I pulled into a gas station. The manufacturer hired a company to build a new front hitch assembly for the trailer and they strictly told me to say nothing to the dealership.


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The quality issue has grown worse since I began delivering RVs. Some of these motorhomes I deliver today, I just think to myself that some nice person who has saved all his working years to buy an RV to fulfill his dreams, is going to buy a nightmare. And the RV manufacturers couldn’t care less and the dealerships are not much better.

More than once I have thought about selling RVs but I could not bring myself to deceiving the public just to make money for myself. I hope some of these experiences help you understand where I come from. I admire you Chuck for addressing this issue because the public should be aware of this before they spend their hard earned money. I imagine there are some issues I have forgot but these are some of them.

Name withheld so he doesn’t get blackballed from future deliveries.

Read more stories like this at our Facebook group RV Horror Stories. You do not need to register with Facebook to read the messages from group members, only if you want to contribute to the discussion.

##RVT816; ##RV123

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66 Comments
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Cal 20 Sailor
1 year ago

I’d love to hear about the experiences of RVers in Europe who seem to have a better selection of quality vehicles and campers to choose from. Reputation still seems to matter to European manufacturers more than the bottom-line mentality that prevails among American manufacturers, but I’m open to hearing otherwise…

Rory R
8 months ago
Reply to  Cal 20 Sailor

In Europe they may have a perceived better selection, but most American buyers wouldn’t want to pay the price for what they are getting. Most buyers want a rig that can be manuvered and parked almost anywhere, they want all the storage and amenities you find in 45′ DP’s and they want it in a 20′ rig that gets 22 mpg and costs less than $30,000.00. All ridiculous I know, but not far from reality…

Oh and on the problems encountered in used RV’s It stands to reason if you have a 37 yr old RV or any other vehicle, no matter how good the maintenance is, that was performed on it, it is a 37 yr old vehicle and major parts will wear out. That goes back to my point on perceptions and expectations. Who purchases a 37 yr old car from a used car lot or individual and expects it to perform as if it were brand new?
A message to newbies, join these sites where people are complaining, but also join a site where owners of the brand, model, and class of RV you have or are deciding to buy and see what they are saying. You can get advice from owners of the same rig you have/want. And that advice will be specific…

Sink Jaxon
1 year ago

Thanks Chuck for the article…

James Charters
1 year ago

I have purchased three new class A motorhomes since 2002. First a Fleetwood, the problem with that one was the dealer who took four tries to fix a leaking leveling Jack and three tries to fix a hole in the sidewall I created.the second was a tiffin gas, there were several problems that should have been noted by the delivery driver, rear view camera did not work and the exhaust pipe was mangled by hitting something. The last another tiffin DP. The dealer did a great PDI but we found a problem while loading the next day still in the dealers parking lot. It was fixed that day which was Sunday in the middle of labor day weekend. Much of the problem is the dealer. The major problem I have with this coach is I have replaced six squirrel cage blowers in my two AC’s in 4 1/2 years.

Larry
1 year ago
Reply to  James Charters

That’s not a Tiffin issue, it’s a Coleman issue. I’ve replaced Two in 4 years

Den
1 year ago

As much as I enjoy reading RV related news, I refuse to give much credence to unsourced articles

Someone who cares
1 year ago
Reply to  Den

I am the source for this article. I delivered rvs for over a decade before leaving the job in 2018. Everything in this article is true and I could add countless more experiences I encountered during my years delivering new rvs. It is your choice to believe the facts I reported to this newsletter. But I live to this day with a clear conscience that I showed dealerships what I found to be wrong with the units I delivered even if the transport company insisted I keep my mouth shut and just deliver the unit.

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
1 year ago

Thanks, Someone who cares! We appreciate your original information, and stepping up now to further verify the info. —Diane at RVtravel.com

Bill Buron
1 year ago

One reason I will never buy new. I believe every word you said because I had a friend that also delivered New RVs and had the same issues as you did.

Bill Kent
1 year ago

It amazes me that we will pay $40,000 + for a new RV and it will come with a one year warranty. I recently noticed a manufacture that offers a two year. It would be nice and helpful if a complaints filed report was available, sort of like Consumers Reports, (maybe there is but I’m not aware of it). It might make the manufactures give the issue of QC a second thought. I have a 2011 Sundance that is made of the lightest materials to accommodate all the creature comforts that we buy a new RV for. My 5th doesn’t have what’s available in the newer models so I guess that newer models have thinner wall panels and shower paneling? Have to ask, what would Good Sam do?

Roger
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Kent

Why not a one year warranty? Factory warranties just tie you to dealers who really don’t want to do warranty work because of delays in reimbursement and reimbursement rates in general. Lots of people bought Roadtrek Class Bs because of their all inclusive 6 year warranty. How’s that working out? Many of them reported lots of trouble getting warranty work done even before the collapse. Now, the whole company is gone – not because of warranty costs exclusively, but I’m sure it was a contributing factor in their overall financial demise. For best results, either don’t buy an RV, or buy used and find a good RV tech businessman to look out for you. Use the money you saved on a new coach to pay for inevitable repairs.

artie
1 year ago

My My. Such bad news. How about some good news. Down sized a year ago to a 2016 Forest River
Rockwood from a dealer. Went over it top to bottom. Found 2 items to be repaired. Came back in 2 weeks to pick it up. Both items were repaired, they adjusted the hitch for my pick up & off we went.
Went on 10 trips last summer. Not one thing wrong yet. We love it. The dealer is,
Vacationland RV, Big Rock, IL.

Shawn
1 year ago
Reply to  artie

Reply with Artie’s comment

Shawn
1 year ago
Reply to  Shawn

Reply with Artie’s comment. I also purchased a new 5th wheel last spring.
Crusader 34rst by prime time. Sure not the most expensive rig on the market by any means but everything I read these days on trailers makes me regret buying one. The fact is other than a couple small issues that I fixed myself we had a fantastic first summer. We pulled it 2000 km as that’s all our working lives would allow and had a blast every weekend. There are many horror stories to read because that’s what drives people to open up. My wife and I are having a great time rving and I hope there are more unwritten happy experiences to this life style. It’s supposed to be fun.

artie
1 year ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

Thanks

Don & Donna
1 year ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

We also bought a new Jayco in Sept of 2016 and it had few if any problems. We found a GREAT shop in Buford, GA (Southland) even though we bought the extended 5 yr warrantee thru CW.
The one issue; safety related; was when we had the TPMS mounted by a tire supplier and he showed us a “temporary” tire plug in one of the tires. Deadly potential as we had driven 11,000 + miles on it.
We have replaced all five tires and are as happy as can be with our WhiteHawk.\We got lucky!!!

Clayobx
7 months ago
Reply to  Don & Donna

Indeed!

Donald
1 year ago

I like Buzz Electric’s idea. Could the lawyer s at RV Travel put together a contract for the dealer to sign before the sale?

E Richards
1 year ago

I live within an hour of nortnern Indiana where many are made & have been in the plants, know several people that work in those plants & was in the building material business my whole career. IMHO from what I’ve seen I’d never buy one as they use the cheapest material, push them thru as fast as they can for the least build time & cost. They doll them up like lipstick on a pig but they are looking for profit, that’s all. But they are made for a 2 week per year family vacation also. As for me I bought a low milage rust free diesel ambulance from a small suburb fire dept. Built 100 times better & properly maintained. Fireman take care of their equipment & this was their spare unit. The worst investment you can make is a new RV IMHO.

Einar Hansen
1 year ago

I have some friends who just last year bought a new trailer. It is a seasonal site they just gotten.And a few of us hung around with our new friends just to see there new trailer and help them get it set on the site. They had bought a rather good size 38′ trailer.
Well the delivery driver called to let them know that he was going to be late. So we still stayed to see it when it got there. It was almost dark when he showed up. He had backed it onto the site and stayed to help with getting it level and the hookups and it took a while and it was dark when we all got done. The driver was a really nice guy to stay and help. So we all insisted that he stay and have a bite to eat with us and maybe a cold one or two. In which he did stay to eat but no cold ones for him.
He was telling us about some of the trailers and class A’s that he has dropped off over the years of doing deliveries. WOW some of the things he told us about the campers that he was told to deliver and keep quite about them when he picked them up. And of course he didn’t he let the dealers know just what was wrong. At the end of the camping season the driver called our friends to let them know that he was in the area and just wanted to say Hi and to make sure to say Hello to the gang there. He went on to let them know that he was no longer doing deliveries for the big companies that make RV’s because he was getting tired of all the crap he saw going on with new RV’s.
He is now helping dealers with deliveries up and down the coast.

TP
1 year ago

All the delivery drivers need to stand up and refuse to deliver the RV’s. Once they are all backed up at the factory, and the factory isn’t getting paid from the dealers, maybe they will start to do something.

E Richards
1 year ago
Reply to  TP

Yea right. All the buyers need to educate themselves on what junk looks like & only buy from the very few quality producers but they cost a bit more so the junk keeps rolling.

Douglas Boo
1 year ago

I bought a class c 2012 and thought it was a dream come true. First trip out water came in. The dealer (only dealer in Barboursville wv) had it two months put a band aid on it
6 months later was replaceing fiber glass and everything in the bunk all the wood
They took us to the cleaners for our money and told me to fix it and don’t drive it anymore I think there’s no more hand shake deals where people and dealers stand behind what they sell

BuzzElectric
1 year ago

I’m not a lawyer. Could a generalized contract be written up that would include certain guarantees that would protect the buyer that could be taken up in court to get your money back from the dealer, like your own lemon law? You would present it to the dealer and they would sign it if they wanted a sale from you. I’m just saying because I will never be buying another rv in my lifetime. I have an ’93 Fleetwood Bounder. Oh, did I mention it has been sitting in a local shop for 3 months trying to get it to pass a California smog test. No one wants to work on them or have the capabilities. We need more qualified repair people….

Lisa Thompson
1 year ago

So who are the manufacturers making such crap and why isn’t there a law against this? Why aren’t RVrs DEMANDING better quality? This is why my husband and I will not buy an RV right now although we could afford a very elite one. We don’t trust the industry. We’ll rent when we would like to take a road trip with an RV, thanks. Until we see some major quality changes, we won’t be buying.

Sue
1 year ago
Reply to  Lisa Thompson

There are some very sturdy, well-made used RVs out there for sale that were built by companies that cared about quality. One good example is Carriage, which was around for 42 years before it went belly-up during the recession. At the time we bought ours new in 2010 it was one of the few companies that made 5th-wheels well enough for full-timing or extended travel. Another was Mobile Suites. Perhaps you can find a good deal on a well-maintained *used* RV of some type.

Karen Tillery
1 year ago
Reply to  Sue

We had Canadian built 29 foot class C Bigfoot bought new in 2008 and it was great quality. Unfortunately I don’t think that company now makes RVs, only trailers and campers.
Our next purchase was a 2018 Tiffin Open Road 36 foot class A gas engine. We have had a few little things we wanted fixed, but the company really stands behind its products. All issues were timely fixed without charge. We love it!

Roger
1 year ago
Reply to  Lisa Thompson

Smart.

Steve
1 year ago

This is why pre delivery inspection is vital.

littleleftie
1 year ago

Wow! What a testimony against the industry! He obviously cares enough about the new and/or potential owners to make the defects known to the dealers at risk of his own livelihood. For that, we all can be thankful. He makes me even more glad to be a subscriber to this newsletter, to enable Chuck and his team to continue to expose the manufacturers and their total disregard for safety and complete goal of lining their own pockets. Thanks for bringing his letter to light.

Chris
2 years ago

I just found this site. I am thinking about going to an RV show today. My wife and I have been looking at RVs for two years. I try to be smart with my money. Due to all the defects and flaws, I see and read with RVs about. I find it hard for me to spend that money, even though we really want an RV.

Thank you for the information.

Jeff
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris

Chris: Continue to do your research, but please don’t buy an RV from an RV SHOW! That is one of the worst places to purchase an RV, even though it may be a “SHOW SPECIAL”! Dealers do the show specials to move their OLD inventory that has been sitting on their lots. And the RV “Show Special” you see, will probably NOT be the one you take delivery of! Continue your research, BE Careful and Good Luck!

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff

This is not entirely true. We were at a show in Phoenix last year and, while not looking for a new RV, enjoying looking at the new stuff. There was one 5’er with the dining room in the front that we really liked. Went back the next day (just to look at it, not buy it), and it was GONE. Someone bought it and had it taken out. Guess they didn’t want folks traipsing through their new trailer. Smart move. I only hope it turned out to be as good a trailer as it looked to be.

Pat hall
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris

Don’t buy from General RV. Yes they will shake your hand for another sale notch in there belt and that is the last time you work with them. Make sure you do your homework and maybe it’s not bad looking for mom and pop dealer ship who like there return customers!

Berny B
2 years ago

Are RVs made overseas have these issues? Is the quality better than the USA? In the auto industry foreign competition seemed to help.

James Fulton
2 years ago

It is obvious RV owners need more political pull and get lemon-laws enacted. The RV manufacturing industry is able to buy the politicians so laws are not passed to protect those purchasing RVs out of good faith. It would be great if one sincere honest politician would step up to the task and say that he or she would be a politician for the RV’ers.

Robert Pulliam
2 years ago

With all these horrible stories of the quality issues with new RVs, I guess the value of my 2002 motorhome must be rising. I think we’ll keep it until we can’t travel any longer and sell it for a profit. Lol

L. Z.
2 years ago

I cant believe people are finally allowed to tell the truth about RVs. I have been an RVer for more than 45 yrs and have owned just about every kind of RV in the industry even an expensive Diesel Pusher; And I wouldn’t give any of them a passing grade on quality control. It is simply a disgrace that that industry is even allowed to survive. If a person spends a few hundred thousand dollars on anything that industry better bend over backwards to satisfy that customer. It is way past due for everyone to voice their dissatisfaction with every unit out there. Lets get’ter done !!!!!!