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 > Should I Throw In the Towel?

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wowens79

Georgia

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Posted: 07/13/21 03:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There are so many issues with the construction of RVs from design, to workmanship, to materials. Also the fact the we consumers want it as cheap as possible, and as light as possible so we can tow a 30ft house with a minivan does not help us.

I've got a 5 year old Heritage Glenn Hyper-Lite, and these are some of the things that drive me nuts.

The construction is so sloppy, screws that are in crooked drives me nuts, shower head holder that is not in a stud is crappy, and the list goes on.

The wood in the seat in the dinnette looked like balsawood from a toy airplane. On our second trip out my daughter went crawl to the back of the U-shape, and her knee went through the wood. The "wood" was less than a 1/4" thick, with few cross supports. Now the floor has soft spots, not from water, but from usage. Apparently they think that the same balsa wood with foam between it, is ok for a floor. From feeling the soft spots, in front of my sink (high usage area) it is 24" between the floor joists.

I will never buy another camper marketed as light, as I feel that means flimsy. I know we bought low/middle of the line, but I really was hoping for more quality.

We love to camp, and are thinking of going to a couples 5er since the kids will both be in college in a month. But honestly I'm not sure how far up in price do we have to go to decent quality, or do you ever get there? It seems like Grand Design, and Jaycos(nicer lines) may be somewhat better, but you still see many of the same issues.

In basically the same floor plan we like I can get a $50k Jayco Eagle, or a Grand Design Solitude for $70k, or a Mobile Suites for $150k. I like the price on the Eagle, I could swing the Grand Design, but is there $20k of better quality? The Mobile is Nice, but not in my budget.

When we bought my wife her Honda CRV, we looked and came to the conclusion it was worth it to spend the money on the Honda over a Kia, for the quality and reliability of a Honda. We looked at Lexus, and felt it was probably not anymore reliable than the Honda, but did have some nice features and was pretty, but not worth the extra money to us.


2002 Chevy Silverado 1500HD 6.0l 241k miles and climbing
2016 Heritage Glen 29BH
2003 Flagstaff 228D Pop Up

Lantley

Ellicott City, Maryland

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Posted: 07/13/21 03:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

kfp673 wrote:

wowens79 wrote:

Lantley wrote:

"three trailers, three units were major problems. This latest trailer just purchased late last summer is the latest to push me over the edge."

Your doing something wrong!
Either your doing very poor PDI when you first get your trailers.
You 're not keeping up with regular maintenance. You are not being obesrvant enough to catch/discover small issues before they become major problems.
Your latest issue is an example. It is common for skylights to leak in all models however the leak does not have to lead to a totally soaked ceiling!
RV's are in constant flux. You must be observant and aware at all times as you use your RV.
Pay attention to all the liitle squeaks and noises. If it seams weird investigate further. Notice a wet spot, find out why? Hear an odd sound,find out why? It is an on going battle, but you can win. You just need to be diligant aware and observant.
As to your current problem unless you have the skills to DIY you are at the mercy of your dealer and manufacturer. Executing the warranty is full of pitfalls


I think your statement that it is common for skylights to leak proves his point. Since they have been putting the same crappy leaking skylights in for what 15-20 years, you’d thing they could fix it by now.


100% agree. We buy trucks and other vehicles that depending on their use can take equal or in some cases far more of a beating, spend about the same $ on them, come with far more up to date technology and complication / engineering, and yet they ship with at least a 3 yr 36k mile bumper to bumper warranty (sometimes longer). I think it's really sad that the RV industry is so filled with junk that it is a common answer to hear "that's just normal you have to watch out for it". Imagine if your truck windshield leaked and caused mold at 15 months old with 18k miles on it and the dealer said "did you have it professional checked and resealed???" if not no warranty. I love camping / RV'ing as much as anyone but as consumers we tend to give them far too much leeway and even make excuses to support them using junk materials and rushing their build.


I agree with your points. But don't shoot the messenger.
RV 's are full of pitfalls. They are all leaks waiting to happen.
My point to the OP is that if your going to play the RV game you have to be diligent. You can't let the notorious skylight leak turn into a major disaster! My RV has 2 skylights and 3 exhaust vents. They are all potential souces for leaks. Yes I went up and down my entire RV to ensure the screws holding the PVC roof were all tight after I discovered a couple of triim screws backing out. I snugged and caulked each screw.
Should it be tha way?..of course not. Should I have to be always aware and diligent? Yes if I want to have a positive long term RV experience.
I took off my rose colored RV lenses years ago. I know the RV warranty.
Is generally more trouble than its worth. It's good to have for catastrphic issues but you are better off fixing things yourself vs. hauling it to the dealer and playing the approval wait and see game.

The notorious skylights leaks and all the other leaks are all the result of the RV flexing and moving as it goes down the road.
As long as it flexes there will be leaks. But if your diligent and observant you can stay ahead of the leaks...before something rots away.

By the way RV's are improving in terms of features and amenities however in terms of durabilty an RV is still a hand assembled box bouncing down the road.
An RV is not a car it is not built like a car. It does not work like a car. There is no steel or crash zones. Comparing RV construction to automobile construction is futile.
Once you thouroughly understand the challenges of driving your expanding home down the road. You will comprehend what it takes to keep that box in working order. An RV is far from a maintenance free turn key contraption.
I enjoy the RV game and have eperienced many pitfalls, but I have no illusions or expectations that my box will hold itself together without me proactively keeping it together.
You can either be diligent and find that drip or you can be complacid and uaware and the drip will eventually find you!
If the drips find you first it's generally too late and the damage is done.


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kfp673

PA

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Posted: 07/14/21 06:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wowens79 wrote:

There are so many issues with the construction of RVs from design, to workmanship, to materials. Also the fact the we consumers want it as cheap as possible, and as light as possible so we can tow a 30ft house with a minivan does not help us.

I've got a 5 year old Heritage Glenn Hyper-Lite, and these are some of the things that drive me nuts.

The construction is so sloppy, screws that are in crooked drives me nuts, shower head holder that is not in a stud is crappy, and the list goes on.

The wood in the seat in the dinnette looked like balsawood from a toy airplane. On our second trip out my daughter went crawl to the back of the U-shape, and her knee went through the wood. The "wood" was less than a 1/4" thick, with few cross supports. Now the floor has soft spots, not from water, but from usage. Apparently they think that the same balsa wood with foam between it, is ok for a floor. From feeling the soft spots, in front of my sink (high usage area) it is 24" between the floor joists.

I will never buy another camper marketed as light, as I feel that means flimsy. I know we bought low/middle of the line, but I really was hoping for more quality.

We love to camp, and are thinking of going to a couples 5er since the kids will both be in college in a month. But honestly I'm not sure how far up in price do we have to go to decent quality, or do you ever get there? It seems like Grand Design, and Jaycos(nicer lines) may be somewhat better, but you still see many of the same issues.

In basically the same floor plan we like I can get a $50k Jayco Eagle, or a Grand Design Solitude for $70k, or a Mobile Suites for $150k. I like the price on the Eagle, I could swing the Grand Design, but is there $20k of better quality? The Mobile is Nice, but not in my budget.

When we bought my wife her Honda CRV, we looked and came to the conclusion it was worth it to spend the money on the Honda over a Kia, for the quality and reliability of a Honda. We looked at Lexus, and felt it was probably not anymore reliable than the Honda, but did have some nice features and was pretty, but not worth the extra money to us.


All great points, and I think we are agreeing with each other just from a different perspective. You are pointing out the lack of quality, workmanship, and QC and saying that because it is standard buyers must learn what to look for and what to maintain. 100% agree. My stance is simply questioning why it is that way, and I am not willing to accept the idea that it must be that way or prices must drastically increase. I guarantee the executives in each of these massive RV companies are doing just fine financially. My comparison to the Trucks is just to think about materials. Other than the shell itself (fiberglass, wood, whatever) the rest of the trailer, including the frame, are relatively inexpensive. Think about the quality, fit & finish, technology, QC, and warranty you get with a $50k truck vs a $50k trailer. In in your example, I would argue that you will find that Grand Design you pointed out is probably not built all that much better than yours. I'm sure to some degree it is but I think we would all be shocked if we could strip it down. That extra cost is going into nicer leather seats, nicer lighting, etc. And the crazy thing is, what is considered "Nicer" is total junk compared to what you would buy for your home or put in a car until you get well into the 6 figures for a Class A. Anyway, certainly not giving you a hard time as your points are spot on. It's just disappointing every time I have to fix something in my trailer (pretty much every trip) that comes back to pure workmanship and QC.

NamMedevac 70

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Posted: 07/14/21 09:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I bought a like new gently used R Vision Trail cruiser 28 foot TT many years ago and after PDI and acceptance I applied (after proper cleaning) a Dicor rubber roof coating and covered all the flanges and attachment points of everything mounted on the roof and also applied best quality caulk at many locations and never had any leaks due to Texas and Oregon heavy rains.

However the brutal Texas sun and humidity did take a toll on my decals and awning as the trailer came with no awning top cover.

Had many good years of service with no major problems but only minor road damage from flying debris. Every year did trailer maintenance including regreasing wheels and bearings at a trailer shop with synthetic grease. I did spend a lot of time on a ladder.

My R Vision was not junk but they went out of business or taken over many years ago

mr_andyj

Georgia

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Posted: 07/14/21 10:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As a kid I worked a bike shop that was in same shopping center as big box store. People would literally buy a cheapo bike there and roll it to the real bike shop to be fixed.
I would say campers are in this same cheapo category.
Buy one and immediately fix it.
Redo everything on the roof, all the caulking, do it with care and precision and take your time, it will last longer than the guy who did it at the factory while the boss was yelling for him to be done already.
Check the caulking on the walls and corners too, scrape off and put new lap sealant on.
The caulking needs to be redone from scratch every few years anyway.
Check all the pipe fittings.

Water damage is the number one killer of RVs, make sure the camper will not leak.
Also, never use silicone, it is very hard to scrape off. You will need to scrape off and re-do every do often...

Edd505

Elephant Butte, NM

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Posted: 07/14/21 10:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

trail-explorer wrote:

Good to know that KZ uses OSB for the roof deck. That's a pretty low budget build, which means I will cross them off my list.

https://www.kz-rv.com
KZ's 24-month hitch-to-bumper limited warranty umbrella is the best 2-year warranty in the business, covering more than 1,500 operations codes for a full two years, and protects your investment while you enjoy your new RV.

OSB? nope.
https://www.kz-rv.com/products/durango-fifth-wheels/construction.html


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Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 07/14/21 10:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Kampfirekid wrote:

Been camping for a lifetime, but over 25 years as a husband and father. In the last 25 years, we’ve owned two pop-ups, one hybrid, and three travel trailers. Out of the hybrid and three trailers, three units were major problems. This latest trailer just purchased late last summer is the latest to push me over the edge.

Last Friday, we headed out for the holiday weekend. That evening, I noticed brown water leaching out from under the H-channels between the ceiling panels. Then, I noticed the skylight had water droplets hanging between the interior liner and exterior skylight. The perimeter of the interior skylight frame was also leaching brown water around its trim. Then, the wall to ceiling joint along the slide side of the trailer exhibited the same stained water. I immediately grabbed a screwdriver and pulled the interior skylight liner.

Well, it wasn’t a second to see the curb around the skylight was soaked, and then, to my horror, I pulled down on the ceiling panel to find the luan panels soaked and beaded with water, as well as the batt insulation soaked like a sponge up 2-1/2” above the ceiling.

When we got home to a ladder, I found the exterior skylight mounting flange cracked from almost every point the fasteners are installed to hold the skylight down, and other locations along the curb flange. Then, in at least eight locations, the cracks started to continue up the vertical plexiglas , but never make it to the top crease or the top of the skylight. This is not due to hail, or hitting something, but it appears someone got trigger happy with the screw gun at the factory. In addition, I walked the roof, and above the water-logged insulation, the roof deck is telegraphing the OSB plywood delaminating right through the rubber roofing.

I notified the dealer. Now I need to take it back for them to look at. They said, “We’ll, this is common, so we’ll replace the dome”. What about the sagging ceiling? The water-logged insulation? The delaminating OSB plywood roof decking? And what about black mold?

They said they don’t know if they can dry it out. They say they can’t do ceiling or roofing work. I’m about done. I really don’t want the darn thing after repairs because the only way to dry it out is to open it up fully where it’s been wet. How can I be guaranteed the factory would even dry it out and not reuse the materials? The slide started binding snd making noise. I think the water saturated the header, and started swelling. Who knows.

Should I just get it pseudo-repaired by the dealer or factory, s as bd take it in the shorts and dump it? My daughter is severely allergic, so I am concerned with mold.. snd black mold is not good for anyone.

Help! Thoughts?


Sorry to hear of your issues, but you’re under warranty, right?
Stay on the dealer/mfg to get them to fix or total your defective trailer that needs apparently a lot of work. Seems like your only recourse
Question is how long has it been leaking to be like that? Seems like a strange issue in the heat of summer when it’s drier than a popcorn fart most places and that it’s been leaking for a while.

* This post was edited 07/14/21 10:43am by Grit dog *


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Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 07/14/21 10:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Regarding cheap construction, I’m not as experienced as many, only on our 3rd camper.
But every time I went heavy and that seems to help imo.
Both TCs were well built. And our trailer seems good so far, but she’s also heavy.
Lightweight adds to the propensity for problems I believe.

Kampfirekid

usa

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Posted: 07/14/21 02:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sorry. Maybe no OSB on Durango Fivers, but certainly on my Connect SE.
Been involved heavily in the industry with plywood. I know OSB when I see it.
BTW, the construction details on their website don’t say what the roof deck is, only the floor. We are talking roof decks, not floors. K-Z yours 5/8” plywood decking on floors. I see nothing on the roof, but clearly see OSB on my 2020 trailer. Even their cartoon picture seems to show splintered OSB, not grainy plywood.

* This post was edited 07/14/21 02:35pm by Kampfirekid *


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