Thursday, December 1, 2022


The readers write — Hammer-toss at poor-quality RVs


Edited by Russ and Tiña De Maris

In a hilarious and sad-but-true fashion, a YouTube feature we highlighted showed just how bad things can be for folks buying new RVs. What a nerve that struck with you. Here’s just a SMALL sample of the many responses that came rushing in.

Wayne wonders, “Why is Thor still in business? Maybe they make better ones and the buyers aren’t commenting like on this blog? If there are any happy Thor owners, I’d like to hear those stories,but then I didn’t know any RV maker had a real heart once their product reaches the selling floor. Good luck buyer…”

Another Thor owner, Laurie, writes of her experiences. “Our first attempt to work with the dealer from which the RV was sold ended up in a standoff between my husband and the very belligerent manager there. So we contacted Thor, and got some other dealers we could work with. We contacted a dealer and he reluctantly agreed to take us on. (Not much money for them and LOADS of hassle!!) One trip to the dealer to take pictures and present our list of problems. Then MONTHS of waiting and calling and pestering both the dealer and Thor. Interesting that Thor has a great customer service department – they say all the right things, and haven’t been difficult to reach – but they obviously have NO power and control over getting real decisions made and getting things fixed in a timely manner. The dealer too was pleasant enough, but was understaffed and we continually went to the bottom of their priority list.”

Theresa offers a suggestion to RVers: “Social media is the answer. Years ago, our only resource was to threaten to “write the newspaper.” Now social media allows dissatisfied owners to immediately spread the word and let the whole world know what a piece of crap they’ve purchased! Good luck, Jon, with this pursuit. I think you have a just case for getting ALL of your money refunded. Keep us informed of how both Thor and CW respond after all of this exposure.”

Richard Hughes was succinct: “Typical for Camping World and most RV makers. ‘We have your money, you have your coach and warranty, both are bad, but we are going to ignore you until you go away.’”

We could relate plenty of horror stories. Here’s one from Jeff: “My wife and I purchased a 2014 Hurricane built by Thor from Camping World. Both of these decisions were probably the worst we have ever made when it comes to camping. Like you, we spent three months in Camping World’s shop in Garner, North Carolina, and the items we brought it in for were never fixed. I ended up having to fix some of them myself. The remainder required another six week trip to service and those only got fixed because my wife went in there and lost it in the service department. Long story short, the useless general manager called me a couple of weeks later after I posted a letter on their website. I guess he didn’t like my bluntness. We are now looking to trade away from poor quality Thor to something that won’t rattle apart going down the road.”

Not everyone has completely lost faith in Camping World. Andy writes, “Camping World’s CEO Marcus Lemonis either has his head buried in the sand or his people are keeping the many customer complaints from him. I think he is a very competent and honest person, and he needs to step up. CW is in desperate need of a complete company wide customer care revamp. Let’s see if he can ‘turn around’ his own company as he does with the ones on THE PROFIT!”

Observes Mike, “Latest figures indicate that 80% of the RV industry is owned by three corporations. Their only purpose is to answer to their shareholders, not the consumer. As such, it’s ‘caveat emptor.’ Better off to buy from a company which isn’t publicly traded and who are known for their quality.”

Here’s a suggestion Bill makes when it’s time to shop for a new RV: “I went with a used 2006 Four Winds with a Chevy engine from El Monte Rentals. My theory was that for insurance purposes, they have to keep things maintained and safe for rental customers so when they decide to sell them, at least most things have been fixed. Sure, we had to buy new tires and some minor details had to be fixed, most of which I was able to do. Took it to a mechanic who said it drove great and all looked good. We drove it 8,000 miles our first summer across the country with no problems…engine hardly used any oil and had a great time. We have bought used cars from car rental agencies too and they always seem to be in good shape. With people suing for almost anything, these rental companies have to be on top of maintenance or they will be out of business.”

And as to the amazing logic of some RV dealers? “American traveler” writes: “When we were shopping for our 5th wheel we tried Camping World. The models shown had numerous visual flaws. I asked the salesman if that was wise. He said they fixed that stuff if a customer bought it. I said I thought it might drive people away. It certainly did us!”

You may wonder if anything has happened for Jon Henderson, who posted (and starred in) the original video. After a week or better of the video rattling the heavens of YouTube, here’s Jon’s report: “So far we have not heard from Camping World. We actually sent it to Thor before we released it. They fixed the stairs and the rattling, calling it ‘good will’ as the warranty expired. But [they] didn’t address that the coach was in the shop during four months of the warranty period . They offered us three months of the payments we made while the coach was in the shop, but only if I signed a release saying I would not release the video or talk about Thor negatively on social media. The gentleman I spoke to was very condescending. He talked to me as if I was a child, not someone who just spent $80k on his product. Thor cares very little about their consumers.”

##RVT776 ##RVDT1280

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2 years ago

I purchased a Thor Aria 4000. I did so AFTER having seen that video on You Tube months ago. I did my own research, spoke with several people from the factory, and went into the transaction understanding there would be things needing to be fixed. So far I have had a great experience working with my dealer getting the needed repairs done. They have even come back to me with things I hadn’t noticed and repaired them…all under warranty, in a timely fashion, at no cost to me. My family of 4 and a dog is planning to full time in this rig for an extended period, so it is important that everything function properly. We looked at A LOT of RVs before deciding on this one, and we felt that we could not find a better bang for our buck.

It seems as though who you buy it from is as much, or more important than what you buy.

2 years ago

The key is this. If you are unsatisfied with one of these top three companies products then make sure you don’t buy another name brand RV that they also carry under their corporate name. In other words, let them know, “IF I CAN’T TRUST YOU TO BE RELIABLE WITH MY THOR RV THEN WHY SHOULD I BUY INTO YOUR AIRSTREAM LINE?” These companies are building monopolies for themselves which means even less concern for the customer and more concern about their bottom line.

2 years ago

We have a 2016 Thor Palazzo 35.1 and bought it used.
Have we had issues with it, Yes. Anything that wouldn’t happen with a house in an earthquake and a hurricane ever 3 weeks? No.

We had the rig reviewed when we bought it. Gave a list to the dealer we bought it from and they fixed them to our liking BEFORE we took it home.
We have been travelling in it now for 3 years steady with nothing major enough to stop us travelling:
-A small water leak from the water valve- replace on extended warranty
-Bed rollers broke off the 2×2 stud they used. I fixed myself with buying 2x4s and bigger screws.
-Wiper was only shooting out 2 holes not 3. Cleaned and ok now.

We have been getting on average 9.5 to 10 MPG as well. We have crossed Canada and gone to the west coast of the usa(CA) and the east coast(FL) and down the middle to Texas each time leaving from Ontario Canada. We dont just park it we travel in it.

We do yearly maintenance on the diesel and started with 9K miles on the rig and now have 21K miles. No issues so far.

So now you have someone that likes their Thor.
Guess I am the only one willing to say so.


RV Staff(@rvstaff)
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod

Thanks for your positive report on Thor, Rod. Yes, we’ve had several other positive comments about Thor and, of course, they are also posted — just like we post the comments we receive about Camping World, whether they are positive or negative. We know good reviews are out there and invite our readers to send them in. Thanks! 😀 —Diane at

Cheryl Bacon
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod

It good to see some with good reviews! Unfortunately, just like anything you buy, reading reviews from multiple sources, throwing out all the 5 and 1 stars and seeing what is left tells a bigger story. When the averages come up as poor more than good that speaks volumes.

Bill T
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod

Hi Rod. If you don’t mind me asking, what year did you buy your rig and do you know why the previous owners turned it in? I ask because you mentioned that you had a list of things that needed to be repaired before you took it home and that left me wondering why the previous owners didn’t do the same, especially if they bought it new. Out of simple curiosity, did the dealer push the repairs to the bottom of the list because it was warranty work for the previous owner and they finally had enough of waiting for the repairs and got rid of the rig? Did the dealer then push the repairs the top of the list when they had to sell it? Or was it something else? Thanks.

2 years ago

“Better off to buy from a company which isn’t publicly traded and who are known for their quality.”

Saw this quote from another post above which brought about this question:

Is there a RV manufacturing company private or public that actually manufactures a QUALITY RV product?

IF there is how about sharing your secret?

2 years ago
Reply to  Bull

Tiffin Motorhomes

2 years ago
Reply to  Bull

Look into Gulfstream. Not public traded and family owned. Have a B T Cruiser. Love it.

2 years ago

Offered for consideration….If you are tired of Thor quality check out Alliance RV’s. No RV is perfect but their company philosophy is what all of us are hoping for from a manufacturer. (No I do not have a stake in the company, but I am an owner of a 370FB)

Ray Leissner
2 years ago

Good article. The advice to “Better off to buy from a company which isn’t publicly traded and who are known for their quality.” has some merit to it. To followup with that, is there a way RVTravel can post a list of such companies in the US and Canada? Google seems unable to provide such a list.

I wonder if the industry can be made better by being required by law to act in a fiduciary manner regarding the sale and warranty of their products?, much like the financial industry has been made to adhere? There is certainly enough evidence to the contrary at this time and that needs to change. I suspect a petition to that effect would be popular to RVers.

2 years ago

It is so IMPORTANT that you do your Research and then Research some more! You will give yourself a Headache if you research enough!
The way things are today in the RV industry is to manufacture as much JUNK as you can kick out the doors of the factory, try to sell the JUNK to some unsuspecting buyer and then Laugh all the way to the bank and don’t stand behind the warranty or make some excuse as to why they can’t fix it!

I had a situation many years ago upon buying my first 5th wheel. My Wife and I had to always Camp someplace close to a Walmart or Hardware Store, knowing we would have to fix something in this RV. Five out of Six times we had something break or fall off the Trailer. We quickly got rid of the RV!

Also, you have to be careful what you say about RV’s and RV manufacturers. The RV I mentioned above, I posted on my own BLOG, (before YouTube was around)! I was threatened with a Law Suit by the manufacturer to take down the BLOG, because it was hurting their sales! This company is still in business, but also owned by THOR now! So, you can imagine the quality probably has NOT changed much.

Without a doubt, DO YOUR RESEARCH and Ask lots of questions of owners of the RV you are interested in. Don’t expect dealers to give you all the facts, since they are out to sell you an RV and nothing else.

This THOR video is Hilarious and I am surprised that it hasn’t been taken down yet!

You all take Care.

2 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

did you stop your blog to avoid a lawsuit?

2 years ago

I’m in the market. I used to work for Toyota manufacturing so I am very quality minded. Watching the Thor video and there corresponding response has eliminated any of their products from my consideration. Social media matters!

5 years ago

As I get older I long for the good old days of actual trades people building products. We were fortunate to stumble across a 1993 Gulfstream 5th wheel that I think had 2 owners who maintained it perfectly. Never leaked and the frame and unit is in excellent shape. Had to replace water heater and fridge, refurbished the interior etc. All in $8000 invested. Today’s products have so much electronic crap and cheap materials to fail or break. Trying to sell my 2016 F150 as it is having issues left, right and center. 16000 km and on its second motor. Bought an older well maintained Chevrolet 2500SD. As Tommy from TOH used to say, spend the money on the foundation and forget the shining faucets. My rant for the day 🙂

5 years ago

Dear all, thanks for all of the comments and opinions. I appreciate reading about the pros and cons. We will be first timers, and after reviewing all of the discussions, we are still interested. Thanks to RVTravel our eyes are wide open. I have been researching Thor and Tiffin and was thinking about purchasing a Thor last year. However, I decided to wait after reading an article about the labor shortage in the Indiana area to find qualified technicans. My wife and I are still planning to purchase a rig before I retire in a couple of years. I will continue my RV research. Currently we are looking at Winnebago Journey.

Liz Wharton
5 years ago
Reply to  Alvin

I’m biased, I know. Please consider buying an older RV. Most manufacturers prior to 2005 were doing a pretty good job. We just moved from our second Safari Trek (built by Safari), a 1997 to a 2007 Safari Trek (built by Monaco). The ’97 has the same inverter/converter setup as the ’07, the cabinetry inside the ’97 is all finished, solid wood – the ’07 has particle board shelves and drawer bottoms are not finished. Two examples of quality changes as the years passed.
Look for a Certified RV Tech to go over your proposed purchase with you, take the RV to a good shop that work on it’s particular chassis and see if the mechanic won’t let you shadow him or her to learn the most you can about the RV and it’s condition. The RV tech can go over all systems with you and help you create a Maintenance Log (computerized or on your cell) so you don’t forget anything as you roll along.
Anytime you deal with a repair – breathe deep first, keep your voice low, repeat the issue until the person you are speaking with understands what you are saying – if not, respectfully hang up and call back to try another person (responders vary in knowledge and emotional IQ & maturity greatly, as do we consumers). I am married to a Certified RV tech who works Mobile for Cherokee Farms RV Center in Foley, AL. These are tricks she uses when in an RV with a problem that requires manufacturer input. No, being nice won’t always get you results but being persistent, quiet, respectful and kind will give you a better chance at good results.
Happy Trails, Liz

2 years ago
Reply to  Alvin

If you are gonna buy a New or Used RV, in your research you should consider TIFFIN and not THOR. TIFFIN is a family owned company and has outstanding Customer Service! Winnebago is also a great choice too!

Linda Ruble
5 years ago

I agree with you on one aspect: the poor quality of so many RVs is consumers’ fault. We want cheap and light. We want to tow with the family car. Most important, we want pretty, but pay no attention to construction. Sure, if you are paying a few hundred thousand or more, and live close to the factory, you may be OK. For the rest of us, it’s buyer beware and we better beware or the investment that is supposed to bring fun will be a longterm annoyance and money pit.

Mike Booth
5 years ago

Personally, I have never come in contact with more complaining people than the RV consumer.
People are never “great”. They are always “not too bad”.
We have a THOR Palazzo 35.1. A water hose cracked. Didn’t know how to reset the slide in; but learned how. Had some smaller irritating issues. However THOR customer service has been awesome. Parts have often been sent with overnight shipping. When traveling on second trip, THOR stepped right up and called some dealers for us to get our unit expedited for service.
So that we could get manufacturing repair experience; THOR is having us bring our coach to Indiana and they will service the other issues. Great.
I met a guy waiting to receive his new $1.700,000 Newell. He thought that the option of having the factory keep his unit powered up for 30 days to discover any issues was great. Oh, yeah, that “feature” was $10,000. After spending $1.7 million???
Nobody likes to have any surprises happen when on vacation. These things are only issues if without a remedy.
I asked THOR if there was some type of lock for the residential refrigerator. Yep. Mine was forgotten. THOR is sending this part out with overnight air delivery. THEIR choice. They were great and resolved the inconvenience at their expense.
I am familiar with manufacturing process. We toured THOR factory in Indiana twice. Modern factory and clean.
I don’t worry about the dealer when the factory will correct all. I am within 3 hours of Elkhart. Very fortunate.
Funny how so many RV owners complain about the dealers. While some are better than others; how would you suspect they should respond with customers yelling at them?
Be honest, be fair, and be respectful. Maybe a dealer will surprise you and respond the way.

5 years ago

I have a 2007 Fleetwood bounder that I have had problems with, roof seam came apart and water came in to the mh. heat shield fell down front window shade fell down, and water heater stopped working and a water leak I cannot find, oh and the jacks really screwed up, I took it back to the dealer and had more problems when it came back then when I took it in. I have been able to fix most problems myself so I am lucky there. I was going to trade it off but after looking at the reviews I will keep it and be happy

john Kauffman
5 years ago

We bought a 2016 Jayco c motorhome model 31 DS, looks great, test drove really well.
A recall was missing, but would be mailed.The dealer never did, not even after phone calls.
At the first camping trip the instant water heater did not work right, the bedroom slide out trim got stuck and loose, both doors of the wardrobe needed adjustment to close, the seal on the shower door kept coming off, the passenger seat would not slide far enough back to sit comfortably, the speedometer reads miles while we bought it in Canada where everything is metric and, therefore, should read kilometers.
The dealer did repair the shower door seals and the slide out trim but then tried to charge us $333.00 which we really determinedly refused and after 30 minutes of arguing the manager said the service mngr. had made a mistake on the order #.
We left promising to never return there.
We’ll try to have the water heater fixed this summer.

Bill T
2 years ago
Reply to  john Kauffman

Hi John. We were lucky when we bought our new 2015 31 DS. It was the last model year before the manufacturer changed its design and the Jayco was bought out by Thor which, resulted in a host of quality issues and Jayco products seem to have gone downhill from there. Sorry I digressed there for a moment. When we bought, Jayco had the 2 year factory warranty and within the first year I could never get the “thankless” hot water heater to work properly. I contacted Jayco and told them that the water would either freeze us or scald us. They replaced it, under warranty, with the standard 6 gallon gas/electric heater, (which by the way fits in the same location) and have had no problems since. Another occasion I had to take it to a dealer, not the one we purchased it from, for a problem (still under warranty), with the front TV. They charged me a $150 diagnostic fee. After I call Jayco and talked to a rep and explained that you can’t fix something with “diagnosing” the problem first. Jayco sent me a rebate check for the fees. I have only had to deal with the company a couple of times and their customer service has been good. I live in Canada as well and for the Km/Miles issue, I plan all my trips in miles (use the miles option in Google Maps) even for trips in Canada. I have found that using the miles indicated on Google Maps and dividing the distance by 51 miles per hour, gives me a good indication of how long a trip will take between destination points. With an average of 8 mpg, I found I can go around 400 miles with the 55 gal fuel tank.

Steve Willey
5 years ago

We own a Coach House motorhome which we bought on the observation that its construction was basically a bit higher quality than Thor or Forest River experiences in our past. The factory sells direct and was willing to customize the unit we purchased for our extra solar batteries etc. But purchasing at the Florida factory and bringing it home to Idaho prevented any further work from the factory. Since this unit was new but sat on their display lot for a year before we bought, there were a few issues, like one leak under an awning mount screw, a corroded main battery on-off relay, and a slide out hudraulic hose fitting broke off. Yet none of these was costly, and I fixed all but the hydraulic hose myself. No failures of cabinetry or chassis or body. The shower, as is common in RVs, had poor temperature control and water wasting shower-head, also easy to replace. So while I know maintenance and custom improvements are a necessity every year, I feel the build quality on this and other independent factories that sell direct is a good bet.

5 years ago

After seeing this article I was quite worried because I am looking at buying an RV when I retire in August and going full time for a couple of years. The reason this article worried me so much is that out of everything we have looked at online (because we don’t have RV dealers in Hawaii) Thor has the best options and build quality. So, after seeing this I started researching the forums, and have discovered a few things. First off mostly the people who write posts are the ones who have problems, the ones who are good to go don’t usually post because they are out enjoying their RV. Next EVERY brands forums say their brand is the worst and don’t buy…and this is due to the first point I just listed. Then it’s really the dealerships that are the problem, so you should really research them before you decide where to buy…and consider getting maintenance at an independent non dealer business. Finally there are very detailed checklists that some people have created for PDI that you should print out and take with you before you buy.
I’m with everyone else and don’t understand why we have to pay so much for something that is of very poor quality, but it’s economics 101 supply and Demand. Because so many are willing to pay that amount and keep buying it the dealers and manufacturers will keep charging those high amounts and pushing out product as fast as they can regardless of the quality.
I would like to see some comments on here from some people who have had good experiences.

5 years ago

I bought a new Thor when my previous (new) purchase from a competitor was in the shop 310 days out of 365 and still could not fix it. I have had very few problems with this coach and most of those have been with the components they have installed from other companies.
One comment in the article above caught my attention, “Their only purpose is to answer to the shareholders, not the consumer.” Become a shareholder, I have in both Thor and Camping World. The more owners who become shareholders the more they will have control over the problems each company may have especially if they ban together as one voting block. I know being a shareholder hasn’t hurt when I have contacted Thor. Besides the dividends and the share price increases have been nice.

5 years ago
Reply to  Ron

To add to the above comment, we have had the RV for 2+ years and have driven over 30,000 miles as full timers. I have talked to a lot of full and part timers and it does not matter what brand they have purchased most have problems of one sort or another. Some customer service is better than others as far as dealers go. I found Thor’s service department in Indiana super……just make an appointment befor showing up.

Bluebird Bob
5 years ago

Sorry, I have no sympathy for people that blindly go for the bling and don’t check into the background of the company they are buying from or the product.
We manage a large campground in Arizona and see the lack of quality that drives or gets towed into our park each day.
We have a 32 year old Bluebird Wanderlodge that is in better shape than 90% of the rigs out there.
Bottom line…..newer most times is not better.

5 years ago
Reply to  Bluebird Bob

To be fair. I took 6 hours to do my PDI and QA every repair and still had major issues with mine.

Bob Wohlrab
5 years ago

My wife and I purchased a 2015 brand new Jayco Pinnacle Fifth Wheel from Apache Village RV in St. Louis. Since we have owned our RV since March of 2015 it has spent a total of 7 months in the shop. Both air conditioners have been replaced. One replaced twice. Both Recliners still broken. Toilet that doesn’t work. Sinks leak, dealer replaced faucet and it fell off one week later. Dealer winterized RV. Still broken pipes and water filter frozen. More problems too many to name here. Found out Jayco was bought by Thor. Now I know nothing will get done. After all my visits to Apache Village RV, St. Louis. I would highly recommend you buy an RV anywhere but Apache. And since Jayco is now Thor, don’t buy Jayco. We will continue to fight our battle with Jayco/Thor. Anyone else want to join us? Power in numbers!!!

5 years ago

I bought a 2007 Keystone Everest 37 ft 5th wheel with 4 slides. I bought it in 2010 from Sirpilla RV in Akron, OH and made a special trip from Canada to pick it up. I was very disappointed they couldn’t even fix the broken fridge handle, a broken weld on the step and several other little things that would have totaled around $100.00. The frame was twisted where the wheels attach and once that was repaired at a cost of near $7,000.00 all is well. Nothing else has caused issues and overall I am quite happy with the RV and I have close to 30,000 miles on it. I would consider buying a Keystone again but would likely go used and check it out very, very carefully.

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