RVer’s new trailer is a continuing nightmare

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By Chuck Woodbury
EDITOR

Here’s an example of why we created the Facebook group RV Horror Stories, and why we’ll publicize it as hard as we can to get it to 100,000 members so the RV industry takes notice. It must be held accountable for turning out an unacceptable number of terrible RVs and then not fixing them for customers, who bought an RV to use, not sit in a repair shop month after month. Here’s the post by group member Andrew Christensen, edited slightly for space considerations: He writes:

I’ve pretty much had it with my [Keystone] 287QBS. 

When we picked up the trailer from the dealership in February 2017, they did a walk-through with us. I pointed out a few things that were just generally small, like nicks in the veneer from the staples that hold things together. They quickly patched most of that stuff. One thing I pointed out is that the pulleys for the cables that drive the slide were crooked. The wood plate against the wall was mounted at an angle. So the cables don’t line up. Dealership tech said he couldn’t touch it under warranty unless/until it breaks. Being naive and having never bought a new RV, let alone an RV with the cable drive system, I accepted this because they said that if/when it breaks they can fix it, no problem.


We used the trailer a few times for weekends not having much of any issues to speak of. Then we went on a long trip (about 4k miles or so). The trailer performed fine except their A/C design is horrible. It can’t keep up with 100-degree weather. Not even remotely. We had to buy a portable A/C unit to run in addition just to keep it cool enough to not kill ourselves.

I took it on another 800-mile trip. On the way back the people we were with who were following us called to say that my wheel was all crooked. I pulled over and discovered that the rear axle was bent. Just the rear. I had 200 miles to go and had no option other than to continue towing it. I was able to get it home. This was in July. I called our dealer to get it in for repairs. October was the earliest appointment they had. So the rest of our summer was canceled. I swapped wheels on that axle to put the spare on to avoid blowing out the now ruined original tire to tow it the 20+ miles to the dealership.

They immediately told me no it won’t be covered. Keystone denied it almost immediately blaming me for hitting something. I’m towing this with an F150. If I hit something hard enough to bend the axle I would have felt it.

SO WE HAD TO FIX THE AXLE because it was unusable without it. Keystone approved a few other things like the shower wall liner coming off the wall and a couple window seals not staying in the windows. Cool. Axle was thankfully covered by extended warranty we paid for when we bought it.

It took them until mid to late November to get it fixed all the way and I still had to buy the replacement tire out of pocket.

So, being winter, the trailer sat in the driveway until early March 2018, when we decided to take a weekend trip. When we got to the campsite I noticed a few issues. The gaskets around the slide out were coming off the trailer and the weather stripping in the channel along the top edge was hanging out in the middle of the trailer. I wanted to get it serviced before our next big trip. They were able to get me in about a month later. So this was April of this year. Upon delivering the trailer back to them, they immediately told me based on visual inspection that my wheel bearings all needed to be repacked. It had less than 6k miles on it and the rear axle was BRAND NEW. I smelled a scam and contacted Lippert. They went ahead and approved the repacking under warranty.

Anyway after a day they called me saying that Keystone wouldn’t cover the gaskets around the slide or the weatherstripping because those are parts that wear out. It’s a year old! Of course by this point my warranty had just expired. Extended warranty wouldn’t cover it either. I told them to screw off and took my rig home.


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I purchased a new, more powerful A/C unit for it and paid a different service facility to replace it on the roof. While doing so they fixed the weather stripping for me, no charge. It took two minutes apparently to pull it back into the channel. The original dealership couldn’t be bothered with such as courtesy. Pathetic.

Well, we took it out again in June and discovered some major problems.

IT TURNS OUT KEYSTONE installed broken plumbing on the gray tank. We were getting the funky smell problem I’ve heard others talk about so I finally got a reservation at a different repair shop to take a look at it. When they went to diagnose the problem, the plumbing was holding on by a broken thread. It suddenly gave way and broke into pieces. I think the tank itself is what broke but it wasn’t clear on the phone. This was in mid August this year.

Also one of the cables on the slide popped off the pulley as I had predicted. I was able to wrestle it back onto the pulley after a few hours of struggle. Keystone used crappy OSB board for that plate that holds the pulleys. That plate is supposed to be aluminum and straight.

The repair shop submitted a claim anyway about two weeks ago. Still no response from Keystone. I think they will deny it even though these problems didn’t crop up, they were there from the beginning.

Why is it when you buy a car for $30k you get a 100k mile warranty and 5 years. But you pay almost as much for an RV that has a MUCH longer loan on it and they stiff you on warranty? Just goes to show how much they believe in their own product.

Never buying Keystone again, that’s for damn sure.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have an RV like this, please click to this page, where you will find resources to help you, including several lawyers to contact who specialize in RV lemon laws.

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Steve Fisher
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Steve Fisher

Yes, please mention dealership and brand names when talking about your problems. All I ever hear is “I will never go to that dealership again”, which doesn’t help at all. How can the “buyer beware” if we don’t know who is being referenced?
Thanks
Steve

Roy
Guest
Roy

Until pressure is brought on the manufacturers of junk units, nothing will happen except that it will get worse.

Most, if not all, of the big companies post RVIA stickers on their units and in many cases, the RV buyers pay for those stickers. RVIA needs to be held accountable for their failure to pressure the manufacturers into better construction and QC.

The recent 10 million $$ announcement by RVIA to sponsor ‘tech training’ is a joke. Hey RVIA, spend 10 Mil $$ making the manufacturers responsible and we will ALL benefit.

Glenda Alexander
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Glenda Alexander

I agree with Ken Rupkalvis that this newsletter needs a section for giving kudos to the good guys. They deserve the publicity. One that I particularly like is a mobile tech service in the Austin, Texas, area: RV Specialists (Rick Bott, owner). Rick is a perfectionist and he hires and trains good technicians. They arrive when they say they will and they do the job right the first time.

Anthony Vinson
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Anthony Vinson

We have a 2015 28′ Cougar and we also bent the rear axle. To this day, the only thing I can figure is Northern roads got it. I had to replace mine out of pocket, so I put a 6K axle under there. We’ve had to have the entire floor replaced in ours, due to sagging in the living room. Keystone replaced the entire floor at the factory. After our factory warranty went out, our dealer acted like they didn’t know us anymore, so I’ve learned how to repair ours on my own. There isn’t an ounce of craftsmanship in… Read more »

Glenda Alexander
Guest
Glenda Alexander

Chuck, I agree with Ken Rupkalvis about including a “good guy” section in your newsletter. They deserve some publicity. One that I am extremely pleased with in the Austin, Texas area is a mobile tech business, RV Specialists (Rick Bott, owner). Rick is a perfectionist and he hires and trains good techs. They arrive when they say they will and they do the job right the first time.

Steve Rosenlund
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Steve Rosenlund

There’s You Tube videos on how to fix this stuff and most repairs only require common hand tools. I have 45′ toy hauler and haven’t found anything I can’t fix. We are full time and couldn’t afford to be in hotels for long periods. Amazon has best price on parts and next day delivery.

Ken Rupkalvis
Guest
Ken Rupkalvis

Chuck, I learn a lot from RV Travel. I have noticed a turn to the “dark side” of what is going on in the RV world. I would propose that good companies and dealers get a spotlight. Maybe a good guys kudos section. I will avoid those companies exposed to non-performance but I would like to utilize good companies. I’ll put forward my at-a-boy offerings for two companies that I use in the San Antonio, TX area. First is Crestview RV in Selma, TX. I bought my trailer in Colorado but as we live in San Antonio it was a… Read more »

Darrel
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Darrel

Never buy a new low end rig. Instead buy a older well maintained high end rig.

chris p hemstead
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chris p hemstead

I was wondering if Keystone is a cheap brand.

Roy Ellithorpe
Guest
Roy Ellithorpe

A major percentage of RVs are built by just a couple of companies. Keystone is, I believe, owned by Thor. So if you want to stay away from Keystone/Thor, you will have to eliminate about 40% of the brands out there.

Edward Dmochowski
Guest
Edward Dmochowski

I wish that the name of the RV dealership and repair shop that would not fix the gasket and seals for him were listed by name. People need to know who NOT to buy from!
Ed & Robin D.