cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Are all new RVs built this bad or is it just mine?

Frank55
Explorer
Explorer
We purchased a brand new Forrest River Sabre 31IKT in June of 2019. Due to my work schedule we were not able to use it that much and fet all the bugs worked out. We are one our first long trip and this thing has turned into a nightmare.
#1. DVD player after a few times the unit did not have any interior sound. Due to the covid virus, I would have to take the trailer to another city, 3 hours away, leave it, and return and pick it up. I decided to pick up a cheap DVD.
#2. Mattress split. The dealer did deliver a new one to my house as a worker was coming close to me.
#3. There is a small metal bracket on the bottom of the window shades that came off on 3 different shades.
#4. The wall board seperated from the wall.
#5. The clothes rod in the closet was only held up by 4 screws and the first time we put more than a few clothes on it, the clothes rod pulled the screws completely away from the ceiling.
#6. The negative ground wire was not properly connected to one of the batteries and the battery discharged.
I contacted Forrest River and all they said was return it to the dealer. After I complained about a lack of apology, nothing about we are sorry for these issues, we will look into this, then I got an apology.
40 REPLIES 40

dedmiston
Moderator
Moderator
Frank55 wrote:
Well, I can add two more things to my list. A blowout at 65 mph on I40. Tire was 2 years old. And both batteries went belly up. Tire will be replaced under warranty but there is only a one year warranty on the batteries. I told the battery manufacturer that the batteries lasted two years longer than they expected. Directly, Forrest River was not at fault,I did tell the tire manufacturer, Lions Head, that I hoped they can sleep well, knowing that there tires are so sorry that they could have killed someone.


Did your builder/dealer supply you with two batteries from the git go? That's surprising. It's less surprising that they went toes up so quickly.

The original batteries that come with a new coach are usually so mistreated that they don't last more than a few months with the new owner. Add to that the fact that new owners are kind of tough on 12v systems, those batteries are doomed from day one.

I hope you were safe and didn't have any collateral damage from the blowout.

Working all these kinks out of a new RV purchase is pretty horrible, especially when dealer service is universally poor. I was very happy when our dealer finished our warranty punch list and we parted ways. It only took them twenty months to deal with our one-year warranty issues. Now I just call out my mobile tech and happily pay him for same-day repairs. (Not that he comes out the day I call, but he comes out on the appointed day and finishes what he started.)

2014 RAM 3500 Diesel 4x4 Dually long bed. B&W RVK3600 hitch • 2015 Crossroads Elevation Homestead Toy Hauler ("The Taj Mahauler") • <\br >Toys:

  • 18 Can Am Maverick x3
  • 05 Yamaha WR450
  • 07 Honda CRF250X
  • 05 Honda CRF230
  • 06 Honda CRF230

Lynnmor wrote:
Sounds like you got one of the better ones, my list would make yours look like nothing.


I agree.. I feel that you may have gotten off pretty easy.. In the big scheme of things . . .
Me-Her-the kids
2020 Ford F350 SD 6.7
2020 Redwood 3991RD Garnet

Frank55
Explorer
Explorer
Well, I can add two more things to my list. A blowout at 65 mph on I40. Tire was 2 years old. And both batteries went belly up. Tire will be replaced under warranty but there is only a one year warranty on the batteries. I told the battery manufacturer that the batteries lasted two years longer than they expected. Directly, Forrest River was not at fault,I did tell the tire manufacturer, Lions Head, that I hoped they can sleep well, knowing that there tires are so sorry that they could have killed someone.

MattFromPA
Explorer
Explorer
This is making me not want to buy a new (or even newer used) TT. My 2005 Keystone has its problems but they're manageable. The actual build quality is overall pretty good, as I've learned while digging into various age-related problems.

I do feel for those living through the RV dream-turned-nightmare.

And yet my friends who have bought new the last two years have had good experiences - both had minor warranty issues but nothing eyebrow-raising. And one is a Forest River.

bigorange
Explorer
Explorer
Bumpyroad wrote:
I figured out your problem when I got 7 words into your post.
bumpy

Same...I have a much longer list of issues from my brand new Forest River...luckily most of them were fixed under warranty.
Not all those who wander are lost. - Tolkien

2018 Cherokee 235B 5W
2011 Ram 2500 CC SWB SLT 4WD 6.7 CTD 3.73
B&W Turnover Ball + Companion Slider hitch
2003 Sierra T22 TT - Sold

memtb
Explorer
Explorer
I’m sorry that all of you go through this! Sadly, this is a very common theme. There are very few posts, with folks proclaiming how great their rv’s are. I am so thankful that we discovered quality rv’s almost 30 years ago, and have stayed with that manufacturer since 1993.....sadly they, along with several other quality RV manufacturers went under in the late 2000’s. I hope that our 2004 will carry us through to the end of our RVing days! There are a few good RV’s out there, all are used and older models.....except for the 1 or 2 very expensive independent brands. If more people would shop for “used” high end rv’s......there would be less “unhappy campers”! An educated, careful buyer of a used high-end RV will spend about the same as what was spent on a “new” unit.....and have a far superior RV! JMO. memtb
Todd & Marianne
Miniature Schnauzer's - Sundai, Nellie & Maggie Mae
2007 Dodge Ram 3500, 6.7 Cummins, 6 speed manual, 3.73 ratio, 4x4
2004 Teton Grand Freedom, 39'
2007 Bigfoot 30MH26Sl

Frank55
Explorer
Explorer
So many of the issues I have had with my 5th wheel were design flaws, not shoddy workmanship. The clothes rod pulling away was the final straw! The worker putting the rod up has a plan that says put two rod hangers here. How much longer would it have taken to put in three hangers and use a support that had a place for 4 screws instead of two. The window shade that had the small metal rod that seperated from the shade is not the fault of the worker at the factory but whoever designed the shade to begin with. The wallboard seperating from the interior wall did not seperate because the worker did not put enough staples in the board, it is the fault of whoever decided to use staples that were not long enough.

irishtom29
Explorer
Explorer
Keep in mind that talent chases money in the blue collar world, just as in the white collar one. The good paying blue collar jobs are in NW Indiana, not NE Indiana where the RV makers are. Those in Goshen and Elkhart with some moxie head west over Hammond way for a job in the mills or refineries. Or a few more miles west to Chicago.

Now if the RV makers raised wages they'd attract better help. But even the best help is constrained by the policies of management and if management wants it cheap and fast and stuck together with staples then what can the workers do but satisfy those goals? It all comes down to management.

Anyway, people value good work...until they have to pay for it.

CFerguson
Explorer
Explorer
I wish i had bookmarked it, but several years ago i read a story about some fellow who spent his life traveling and picking up a job only when he needed to rebuild his bank account. Basically, he stopped into the Indiana area and took a job building TTs at one of the big plants. His horror stories of WHO was building these things is still seared onto my brain. Lots of drug addicts (and yes i include alcohol) who stayed stoned all the time. He was amazed someone wasnt hurt on the job every hour. Even the Amish workers didnt care about anything other than slapping cheap materials together to make production goals. And he said his plant was one of the good ones; others were much worse.

My takeaway was to nitpick the heck out of anything i was going to buy. And to realize that it was not a product i should expect to last very long.

Cloud_Dancer
Explorer II
Explorer II
I'm trying not to let you get me started.
Willie & Betty Sue
Miko & Sparky
2003 41 ft Dutch Star Diesel Pusher/Spartan
Floorplan 4010
Blazer toad & Ranger bassboat

GDS-3950BH
Explorer
Explorer
JimK-NY wrote:
GDS-3950BH wrote:
JimK-NY wrote:
Fortunately when I looked for my RV, I found a dealer who could help. He recommended a manufacturer who does a quality job. Maybe the fashion and style were a bit lagging, but the construction and design were not.


And that manufacturer is???????


When I was looking for a camper, I was lucky enough to find Bill Penney at Truck Camper Warehouse. There were several brands he advised against including a couple of the most popular brands. He recommended Northstar. I ended up buying a used Northstar from him.

My Northstar is now approaching 20 years old and is in great condition. It has been used for full timing and has been driven for close to 100,000 miles. Sure some parts have worn out. I have had to replace 2 of the Happijac motors and 1 jack due to water intrusion. The water pump wore out and I also had to replace the sensor for hot water tank. The plastic hinge on the stove vent broke and I replaced that with a metal hinge I made from a coat hangar. I have had to replace the propane sensor twice and I am on my third set of propane pigtails.

When it comes to poor design and poor construction, I have only had two issues. The kitchen countertop was made with a pressboard core that does not hold up to water. Northstar used a router to bevel the edges of the countertop and water started to damage the countertop. I had to seal the edges with epoxy, otherwise there would have been substantial damage instead of barely noticeable swelling. The second design issue was just crazy. There is a plastic box where the wiring from the happijac motor enters the camper. The cover was installed upside down with the wire entering from the top instead of the bottom. After years of use the seal failed and left just a pinhole where water could enter the camper. I did not notice that when the camper was left outside over the winter. The water damaged the corner of a storage compartment and I had to spend an entire weekend fixing the damage.

All things considered I feel that I got a well made camper.


Thanks.

But 20 years ago was 20 years ago. I can see drop that has taken place in quality industry wide just in the last 10 years. And truck campers are a niche market that includes a few manufacturers whose only make them exclusivly like the one you mention. Very few are produced on a yearly basis compared to travel trailers and 5th wheels. Some folks swear by Artic Fox, Nash, etc when it comes to travel trailers. I have seen POS's in those brands just the same as the big manufacturers

JimK-NY
Explorer II
Explorer II
GDS-3950BH wrote:
JimK-NY wrote:
Fortunately when I looked for my RV, I found a dealer who could help. He recommended a manufacturer who does a quality job. Maybe the fashion and style were a bit lagging, but the construction and design were not.


And that manufacturer is???????


When I was looking for a camper, I was lucky enough to find Bill Penney at Truck Camper Warehouse. There were several brands he advised against including a couple of the most popular brands. He recommended Northstar. I ended up buying a used Northstar from him.

My Northstar is now approaching 20 years old and is in great condition. It has been used for full timing and has been driven for close to 100,000 miles. Sure some parts have worn out. I have had to replace 2 of the Happijac motors and 1 jack due to water intrusion. The water pump wore out and I also had to replace the sensor for hot water tank. The plastic hinge on the stove vent broke and I replaced that with a metal hinge I made from a coat hangar. I have had to replace the propane sensor twice and I am on my third set of propane pigtails.

When it comes to poor design and poor construction, I have only had two issues. The kitchen countertop was made with a pressboard core that does not hold up to water. Northstar used a router to bevel the edges of the countertop and water started to damage the countertop. I had to seal the edges with epoxy, otherwise there would have been substantial damage instead of barely noticeable swelling. The second design issue was just crazy. There is a plastic box where the wiring from the happijac motor enters the camper. The cover was installed upside down with the wire entering from the top instead of the bottom. After years of use the seal failed and left just a pinhole where water could enter the camper. I did not notice that when the camper was left outside over the winter. The water damaged the corner of a storage compartment and I had to spend an entire weekend fixing the damage.

All things considered I feel that I got a well made camper.

GDS-3950BH
Explorer
Explorer
bob_nestor wrote:
midnightsadie wrote:
new rv,s should come with a three year warrenty, after all they spend the first two years sitting in the dealers lot waiting on repairs.


Or maybe dealers need a different model for selling RVs. Something like a lease-purchase plan where you only pay the monthly lease for those months the RV is in your possession and after the warranty period expires you have the option to purchase the unit.

But the other big problem with RV warranties that needs to be addressed by the dealers and manufacturers is what is covered. The RV industry needs a bumper-to-bumper single warranty much like what you get on a new car or truck so you're not having to shuffle between 15 different warranties and manufacturers to get things fixed on your new RV. And manufacturers need to streamline the process for dealers so a dealer isn't left holding onto the unit while it waits for authorization from the manufacturer to fix something under warranty.


Most dealers I have seen have a constant shingle out for mechanics / techs, call them what you will. And the vast majority of RV techs I have personally had experience with are low grade hacks who have made issues worse that they were involved with, or created new ones during the process.

Where we bought our Grand Design they had a huge easel at the front door with a sign "RVIA Certified Technicians". What it did not say was out of a dozen or more two were certified which doesn't guarantee squat, and the others were hacks they found somewhere, perhaps the corner bar.

bob_nestor
Explorer III
Explorer III
midnightsadie wrote:
new rv,s should come with a three year warrenty, after all they spend the first two years sitting in the dealers lot waiting on repairs.


Or maybe dealers need a different model for selling RVs. Something like a lease-purchase plan where you only pay the monthly lease for those months the RV is in your possession and after the warranty period expires you have the option to purchase the unit.

But the other big problem with RV warranties that needs to be addressed by the dealers and manufacturers is what is covered. The RV industry needs a bumper-to-bumper single warranty much like what you get on a new car or truck so you're not having to shuffle between 15 different warranties and manufacturers to get things fixed on your new RV. And manufacturers need to streamline the process for dealers so a dealer isn't left holding onto the unit while it waits for authorization from the manufacturer to fix something under warranty.