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.

RV delivery driver tells workmanship horror storiesI 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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Cal 20 Sailor

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…

Sink Jaxon

Thanks Chuck for the article…

James Charters

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… Read more »

Larry

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

Den

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

Someone who cares

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.

RV Staff

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

Bill Buron

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

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… Read more »

Roger

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… Read more »

artie

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

Reply with Artie’s comment

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… Read more »

Donald

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

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… Read more »

Einar Hansen

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… Read more »

TP

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

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

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

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… Read more »

Lisa Thompson

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

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

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

Smart.

Steve

This is why pre delivery inspection is vital.

littleleftie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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… Read more »

Art DeSalvo

Here’s a good one. On my way back from having the drivers side windshield replaced in my 03 Chieftain Winnebago, I was told it was ready to pop out due to rust caused by leaking. So as I was getting close to home a smash and bang scared the pants off of me and when I turned around my huge 150 lb RCA TV came out of the cabinet it has been in since I bought the vehicle new. If someone had been sitting on the sofa opposite it, their legs would have been broken. This is only the icing… Read more »

Dawn

My husband and I have been looking at new 5th wheels, wanting to buy a little bigger one than we have, but after reading all the horror stories we are afraid to buy. Does anyone have any advice on how to find one that isn’t a piece of junk or are there no good quality ones out there?

Glenda

I highly recommend the RV Consumer Group (www.rv.org). When I was shopping for my last RV, I checked them out and was very glad I did. They rate all types of RVs.

Mark

Look at Nash products from LaGrande Oregon. Bought a 2007 32′ Arctic Fox 5th wheel used in 2013. It travelled from AZ to Alaska, to TX, cross country to MI, down to the Keys, back to the west coast over 3 years of full timing. Normal wear/tear problems, but very well built overall. Had a delaminating side panel, don’t know what the fix would be. Small company, builds their own gear. They have other product lines. Worth looking at, for sure.

Jim Petrell

I had Jayco feather that had the slide out tent extensions a few years back. The siding started having bubbles or delamination of the outer skin. It was sent back to the factory to have it repaired. It came back from factory saying it could not be fixed plus the vent hood above the stove fell down during the return trip from the factory I left it at the dealer saying I will not accept an RV that cannot be repaired. The dealer finally refunded my purchase price.

Gary Patellaro

Chuck, I have a 2006 Cardinal Travel trailer 31ft bunk house model, I know about these problems, when I pick it up from the dealer and got it home I did a full PDI on it myself, then call the dealer and told them what was missed and the parts I needed to fixe it, and I still had to take it in for other issues. The only lifetime warranty I have now is the new ARMOR roof I just had installed, first roof EPDM only lasted five years and that was with constant cleaning and sealing, the second roof… Read more »

Robert R Roberts

The issue of road worthiness has become an alarming problem on motorhomes. It is becoming increasingly standard practice to replace OEM front & rear sway bars with more capable after market units. Owners are adding trac bars, and aftermarket steering stabilizers and in some cases expensive performance shock absorbers to achieve what they consider to be acceptable driving safety and ride comfort. These modifications are necessary in many cases and can cost between $2k – $8k. depending on size and make of the motorhome, and the owner’s capabilities as “do it yourselfers”. Choice of an appropriate chassis is a responsibility… Read more »

Karin Callander

I wish our 2017 HR Vacationer XE had been left at the factory! We spent hundreds of dollars and hours upon hours returning our coach to the dealer, trying to address the water intrusion issue on the slide, as well as about 30 other fit and finish issues. Finally, REV Group asked us to return it to Decatur, Ind, where factory techs could work on it. We did. We spent 2 weeks in their parking lot, with them working on it daily. And now, after repairing damage done by an incorrect dealer slide rebuild, and rebuilding the slide once more,… Read more »

Chuck

We had a 2012 American Tradition and it was a similar story as above BUT, at 6 months and 6,000 miles We took it directly back to Decatur after a letter to the Vice President of production
They then spent 4 days and 164 man hours to correct the problems..(it looked like a Nascar crew working on it daily)…….The sad part it only fixed the problems we had found…in the next couple years MORE problems showed up…
It was nothing but a POS….AND I couldn’t get rid of it fast enough
ONE American COACH and DONE….FOR ME

Dan from Indiana

Our 2012 Vacationer bought new and traded with only 27K miles in 2018 for a travel trailer. The front slide popped and cracked going down the highway from the get go. After three trips to factory with no results or statisfaction (including REV Group) and countless calls for road service to help push it in, takes a minimal of 4 men. Also several motors for the slide were replaced by a independent repair shop and thier comments about this slide system was unrepeatable. Finally we discovered that Lippert Industries who built the slide mechanism has a small repair facility in… Read more »

Terry Carter

It would take a lot of space for me to share the problems I’ve had with my 2010 Fleetwood Tioga Ranger. Mostly cosmetic but aggravating just the same. It spent the first several months in the shop. I bought it. new thinking I would avoid all these problems. Wrong. I sent a full single spaced typed letter to Fleetwood plus several phone calls before getting most of the initial problems fixed.

Butch Ballot former RV'er for 33 years

We need more lemon laws to protect us from manufactures who produce rolling JUNK. AND dealers who are willing to refuse bad products and make them take them back to the factory to fix. After 3
or 4 go back maybe they will smarten up after paying huge transportation bills.

Tommy Molnar

Great idea Butch, but if dealers send units back, they would most likely have to pay the freight, and I don’t see them doing that. And, if you don’t have any inventory, you can’t sell anything. Dealers are in business to sell, not do QC – unfortunately.

Dr4Film ----- Richard

I am thankful that I purchased my last Class A diesel pusher 2002 Monaco Windsor first after doing significant research back in 2003. I would not want to purchase any of the “junk” that they are making and selling these days. We are just finishing a summer trip after driving nearly 7000 miles without any mishaps or problems other than I need to replace my aging House Batteries once I get back home. They are just over 5 years old and were installed in August of 2012 while in Fairbanks Alaska back in 2012.

Arthur Jacobson

You said you could not sell RV’s to poor unsuspecting people. What is the difference between selling junk or delivering junk. I think the writer is part of the problem.

George B

The driver may as well deliver the “junk” or the manufacturer will hire someone else to do it. The driver is not the problem unless you bring in lemon laws, a union for drivers so they can, as a group, refuse ALL bad deliveries. and you know that will never happen.

PeterD

At least this driver has the b#>>s to tell the dealer the problems at the risk of losing his job. How many whistle blowers are reading this today who didn’t pay for it?

Charles

Arthur,why does Everyone want to SHOOT the messenger and not the Mfg???

Roger

Everyone doesn’t. Many of us are rightly commending this fellow for standing up and speaking out.

Andrew Richardson

Wow, sad state of affairs where product problems are not owned by manufacturers but covered up before delivery to their customers. Aligns with this series of articles about sad state of industry as a whole. There are some good brands out there, but buyers must do their due diligence and/or hire an expert to inspect before accepting units.

https://rvdailyreport.com/opinion/opinion-the-rv-industry-death-spiral-part-1/

john stahl

We love you Chuck. Keep addressing the needs of the RV industry. Thank you. for all you do.

David Birchell

I agree with John Stall, Chuck! I do have a problem although not severe. No need to elaborate at the moment.
I would ask if there is any knowledge of how many people you need to start a class action suit though, seems that something of that nature might get the industries attention!!