Tuesday, October 3, 2023

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116-point inspection and RV is still ‘crap’

In this column, we summarize some of your emails and comments regarding RV service centers and repairs (we asked you to submit your stories here). We’ll tell you all: the best, the good, the bad and the ugly. At the end of this article, you’ll find a place to submit your own comments. I encourage you to do so.

Keep in mind, we typically only present one side of the story in most of these. Also, any remarks about service centers and mobile techs mentioned are the opinions of our readers and not necessarily RVtravel.com. 

Here’s what you had to say:

Is this a common or shady sales practice?

Anthony T. asks us if this is a common practice when buying an RV. He relates, “So, we upgraded from a 2005 Holiday Rambler to a 2018 Forest River FR3 30DS. Got it from GRV. Was not pleased with the prep work before we could pick it up. Also had to sign paperwork protecting them from Florida Lemon law; thought that was a red flag. Also, the prep fees were a bit high, in excess of $1,000. Even though we put money down, we were told it was refundable upon purchase. What got us was the finance guy stated that if we did not sign papers claiming the down payment was non-refundable the unit can be sold out from under us. Just wondering if this is a common practice.”

116-point inspection and it is still “crap”

Gerald H. needs to look at his log book to tell us all the things that have been wrong with his trailer. He writes, “I bought a Forest River Vibe 25RK after looking at quite a lot of travel trailers. I have to say that the quality of the unit was crap. I bought it from a large dealer who did a 116-point inspection (or something like that), and I wonder how badly it could have arrived from the factory.

“Some of the things that happened early on prepared me for the RV experience. The first time I put out the slide out (in the RV lot at home) it got stuck halfway. The dealer’s tech told me to unscrew a panel near the power converter, where I found the controller for the slide out. ‘Press the reset button 8 times and see if the slide will move.’ It worked. I put a handle on that panel and magnets to keep it latched in place so I can access it in the future.

“The amount of wood chips, scraps of insulation, metal shards and stuff surrounding that controller prepared me for how shabby the construction was. There were so many other issues that I’ve dealt with that I can’t remember them all. Perhaps I’ll look at my log book and share other things from the last 2-1/2 years of owning the trailer.”

Good news! Happy, happy camper with his Lance

Gary F. is a happy camper with his RV and tells us about its quality construction: “I am on my second Lance 1995 RV and couldn’t be happier with both the trailers and my dealer, Hi-Way Campers in Plainfield, CT. They have made warranty repairs like the front window fogging up, replaced the defective tongue jack, and did a major repair on my brakes and drums due to an inverted plug on my truck (which was verified by the insurance adjuster!) that caused the brakes to be activated while moving. They spent over an hour introducing me to my new 1995 even though I had my previous one for 5 years! I got a nice trade-in value for it, as well, because they knew me and how well I took care of it, as well as their servicing it completely.

“I have recommended them to several people, and my neighbor bought a unit from them based on my recommendations and has been very happy, as well. I just wanted to also plug Lance for their quality construction and attention to detail, like three hinges on overhead doors! Ducted A/C! Two 12V batteries! 3 LP tanks! 6′ sliding storage tray! Carefree awning with no side supports to bang your head on! Heated floor and all holding tanks for cold weather travel! One-piece roof you can walk on! Too many other great features to mention! They are pricey but you definitely get what you pay for!”

Traded a disaster on wheels for no issues

John C. had a “disaster on wheels” and sold it. He tells us about having no issues with his new one. “In 2006 I bought a $300,000 Monaco coach in Denver. It was a disaster on wheels. It spent more time in the shop than on the road. I sold it at a huge loss just to get rid of it. I currently have a Forest River Sunseeker and have taken it on four long trips including to Alaska without an issue. Just came back from a 4,000-mile trip thru the Rockies, again no issues other than two draw latches failing.”

Bought RV that was small, simple and should have few problems… Not!

Dave S.’s awning alarm was going off by the time he got his new RV home! He writes, “I bought a brand new 2022 Thor Rize 18M. I figured it was small, simple and should have few problems. By the time I got it home, 30 minutes later the awning wind sensor alarm went off and would not stop. The dealer could not fix it, so pulled the fuze. It took three months for the parts to arrive. It was ‘fixed’ for three months before the same problem.

“On the first trip, the roof leaked. The dealer could not find the leak and wanted to charge me for labor because Thor says you have to reseal every three months. It took three months to get it in the shop! Seriously? Massive amounts of sealer did not stop the leak. I finally figured out water was splashing off the A/C shroud directly into the air vent during heavy rains. I had to place a shield between the A/C shroud and the vent cover—problem solved.

“Fridge door faces front—had to install a door lock because it opened every time I hit the brakes. The bathroom cabinet magnetic latch is worthless. Had to replace it with Velcro to keep closed when driving. I am now waiting to get it in the shop for its third recall. 20+ years of RVing and never had such a poor product.”

Worst customer service ever experienced

Andrew C. had five major water leaks on his brand-new RV. He tells us, “Bought a Forest River Wildwood 27RKS in September of 2021. Bought from a dealer in Jersey at the Hershey RV show. Clearly never tested the water at the dealership or manufacturer. Five leaks including toilet and sink faucet in the kitchen, water pouring out from under the sink etc… Forest River customer service is the worst I’ve ever experienced. They definitely don’t stand behind the crap they are putting out. I would never go back to Hitch RV in Jersey either, none of these issues should get past a dealership that is legitimate.”

Beat the “crap” out of the RV the first year under warranty

Don T. has had a lot of problems with his RV but the dealer has really stepped up. He says, “The dealer where I purchased my latest RV has been very good about taking care of the crappy Forest River Salem Hemisphere I purchased from them. Forest River could care less about the quality of their product, but my dealer has bent over backward to help ‘rebuild’ my trailer. The dealer is RVs Northwest in Spokane, Washington. My service manager, Luke, has been fantastic.

“I’ve always had a philosophy that when you purchase an RV, you beat the crap out of it for the first year, while everything is still under warranty. This applies to trailers, class Cs and even expensive class A diesels. By the time the warranty runs out, the RV has been ‘rebuilt’ by the dealer, hopefully making the dealer money because of the manufacturer’s level of incompetence. And hopefully, the manufacturer has lost money on the unit. If this happens enough, manufacturers might start getting the message.”

Editor’s note

Note from RVtravel.com: If hiring a mobile tech, a small or mega service center, make sure that they are experienced in the issue and have insurance in case something goes wrong. Also, check their warranty policy on the work they perform. Check reviews too and read between the lines—if the review sounds way too good to be true it might be. Compare with several reviews and not just the ones on their website.

Questions for you about RV service

Over the next few weeks, we’ll share stories of your RV service experiences. We want to know:

  • Have you had good luck with great service or not so much?
  • Did you get good service from knowledgeable technicians?
  • Are you waiting to get into a service center or have a mobile tech come out?
  • What has been the average time to get an appointment?
  • Has your RV been in a service center for a while?
  • Are you able to get any mobile techs to come out?
  • Are the service centers able to get parts?
  • When you do get the repairs done, is the price reasonable?

Please fill out the form below and tell us what your experiences have been like. It can be a horror story, an opinion about what’s going on, a positive experience, or anything else related to the topic. We want to know the great, the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Check back next week for more on RV service centers. See you then.

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

Last week’s RV Service Centers and Repairs Report:

##RVT1112

Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon has been a full-time RVer living “The Dream” for the last six years and an avid RVer for decades more! She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.

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Neal Davis
2 months ago

Thank you, Nanci!

Chris
2 months ago

As someone who works on rv’s for a living… There’s not one brand I like over another. I will say certain niche brands like Casita, Oliver, Escape don’t have the TON of issues an average stick and tin or fiber board and pop can framing the majority have.

Buying used is one thing… Average RVer doesn’t do maintenance… So just like buying a used truck you gotta do your home work.

Mitzi Agnew Giles and Ed Giles
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris

Noticed you listed only molded fiberglass trailers. I LOVE mine!

Mitzi Agnew Giles and Ed Giles
2 months ago

Only had two issues in 7 years- leaking belly band and all the electrical outlets went bad at once -about 2 years later

Bob P
2 months ago

There is an easy solution to all these and more, DONT BUY NEW! If everyone quit buying these new POS manufacturers would take note real quick. As long as people are willing to buy this junk, they’ll keep building junk.

Dan
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

Amen. I would also avoid dealers. Rather roll the dice on buying from an owner.

G13
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

Though the used ones are those that owners dumped for that same reason. It’s a never-ending cycle.

Roger B
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

Junk doesn’t improve with age. I’ve seen plenty of used garbage RVs as well. Professional inspections are a great idea, but $500 – $1,000 for each inspection adds up fast too. You’re right though, it would be nice if the industry stopped cranking out garbage in the first place.

Will B.
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

>>>  If everyone quit buying these new 

Someone, first, has got to buy it new so we can buy it used! 🙂

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