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Old 11-13-2019, 04:33 PM   #1
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Tiffin/Gasser experiment..first 18 months

Since I relied heavily on research of forums and speaking with folks at camp grounds and RV shows before purchasing new I thought I would report back on my experiences in the first 18 months/8,000 plus miles.

Most all of our driving has been on flat roads all over Florida and through the keys, pretty good road conditions (except for parts of Miami and Orlando, and the I-4/I-95 Interchange at Daytona) and one trip from south Fl up to Mountain Falls RV resort in Toxiway, NC.

The gasser was an experiment since most of our travel for the post purchase 2-3 years would be long weekends for a few weeks at a time and then later make the move to a DP platform for longer trips and better ride. Plus, I want to practice driving, parking, clipping mirrors, etc., before trading up. I drove both and knew what I was getting.

I picked Tiffin for the quality, floor plan, and proximity of a servicing dealer near me, La Mesa, PSL. We purchased new at La Mesa/ORL. Newmar was a contender in the price range but for the warranty period I really wanted a nearby dealer.

The initial research summary was thumbs up on Tiffin and thumbs down on La Mesa but I took a chance on local.
After 300 miles or so I added super-steer, sumo’s all around, and a rear track bar. Each for a specific reason and I’m happy with the results. I also weighed, adjusted tire pressures, etc. I store it indoors.

I have been very happy with:
• Spyder system, flawless
• Awning
• F53 chassis, engine, transmission. Flawless although I might be due for an update on the 6-spd transmission programming/tow haul mode.
• Gas appliances
• Once figured out; all of the A/V equipment, TV’s, surround sound, and even the in-dash system. I switched to a Wally after a few months. Also, I stream a lot.
• Window shades, and windows
• Interior lighting, fireplace (great option),
• A/C units. We have yet to use the furnace or the heat pump. Just the fireplace. It’s Florida.
• Power side….converter/charger, genset, transfer, batter side of things; all good. I added the Progressive Industries 50-amp pedestal surge protector with diagnostics and metering. Although, to my knowledge I have not yet encountered any bad power.
• Leveling system. Although I usually tweak it to my liking.
• Exterior features without exception
• Towing capacity (2-dr Jeep Wrangler w/hardtop)
• Cabinetry. I had to fix a few small things here and there as expected. No biggy
• Dash A/C. We rarely have to turn on rooftop A/C when traveling, only at a stop. Rest Stops, Truck Stops, and milkshakes at Robert Is Here Fruit Stand in Florida City, FL.

Things that haven’t gone so well:
• At the PDI a hydraulic hose blew on the leveling jacks. Delayed our delivery a day and cost us night in a hotel. Poor assembly. Our PDI was late in the day but La Mesa worked hard to have a mobile hydraulic tech there first thing the following morning.
• On the drive north, the water heater cover panel fell off in 5 o’clock traffic, never to be seen again. After our first week out we returned to La Mesa for warranty items. We had called from the road and they had a new one waiting for us from Tiffin. They did the paint work and it was an excellent match. Still holds up to this day. The pins that hold the bottom of the door were crooked from the factory…bowed out.
• Into the first trip the right armrest lock failed on the driver’s seat. La Mesa ordered a new armrest using the number on the original order. Tiffin sent the wrong one. Cost us a second trip back for service when the correct one arrived.
• We have been back four times for wall panels popping out. Now I just fix them myself. This has been consistent over the 18 months. Tiffin did send out wall paper seem tape at no charge on the one’s I repaired myself. I use pneumatic staples and glue where possible
• 4 months in, the vertical trim fascia on the front LR slide fell off while underway and hit my wife in the forehead. It was held on with Velcro. I suspect that is because of the design flaw with the LR forward slide wall being too close to the driver seat. Irrespective of the slide operation just having the seat touching/rubbing against the trim can nudge it loose. This is crappy workmanship and bad or nonexistent engineering. La Mesa remedied the situation with finish nails. It hasn’t been a problem since. But, it was almost a month before I could get my wife back in there
• Twice in the shop for the passenger dash slide tray slowly sliding out while on the road. Tiffin sent a new one with the same problem. Finally, La Mesa took it off and modified it. All good.
• I’m on my third water pump. Pump chatter at about 10 months was the problem. I have a feeling this may be miscommunication between the service department and Tiffin. The replacement version of that pump has a deadband adjustment on it that probably wasn’t adjusted. Tiffin explained that to me when I called them and I forwarded that to the tech. The first pump had a failed check valve
• For the first five months we had been dealing with odors while underway. Black tank or grey tank. After checking the vents and p-traps I eventually discovered that the factory had neglected to put a cap on the future washer/dryer combo drain connection so we were mainlining gasses from the grey water tank. A simple PVC cap.
• At month 9 the microwave failed. Actually, a contactor failed. Fixed under warranty but cost me two weeks in the shop.
• We are on our second refrigerator (residential Maytag). This cost us over a month and a half. La Mesa had an appliance company come in (standard practice) and diagnose a part failure. They ordered it and released the coach to us to go on a trip while it shipped. This was month 12. The part was not covered under the 10-year parts warranty emblazoned in stainless steel on the front of the frig. We took the coach on a trip to Bluewater Key where the sites had refrigerators but still had to use a cooler down and back. When we returned, back in the shop for the part repair. After that…it was discovered that the part wasn’t it and it had a non-repairable refrigerant leak. After a month Tiffin agreed to replacing the frig under warranty which took another three weeks to receive and replace. La Mesa searched locally for an identical replacement and installed the unit.
• Month 13, the flush valve on the half-bath toilet began leaking during a trip and got progressively worse. I ordered the replacement cartridge directly from Tiffin and replaced it after returning from a trip. And yes, the foot pedal spring popped off. The leak was manageable. When searching on line I found this to be a common failure. I have a feeling the rubber compound they use in those valves either doesn’t like high concentrations of chlorine when we disinfect the tank and piping or the chloramines that are used as residual disinfectants in our local water supply. EPDM and natural rubber compounds don’t like chlorine/chloramines especially at elevated temperatures. Rinse thoroughly after disinfection
• Month 13, love bug season, I was using the windshield washer and it suddenly stopped spraying but the motor was running. I checked at the rest stop and there was a huge puddle underneath. The hose from the pump had been draped around the wiper connecting arm near the motor at the factory and got yanked out. It was only a matter of time. I rerouted and used snap ties.
• Month 14, I opened the LR slide and discovered broken pieces of 2” x 4” white HDPE or nylon squares on the pavement under the slide. I thought they were from the previous occupant. After traveling to the next stop and opening the slide I discover more of them. I called Tiffin, turns out they are the runner pads for the slide “diving boards”. Tiffin asked if there was rubber looking overspray on the diving boards, there was. They said they had some problems with overspray being left on the slides (at the factory) tearing away the nylon pads leaving a metal to metal contact between the slide and the frame. They promptly sent me out new ones and said they never should have failed that soon. They were not particularly field changeable so I decided to have the shop do it. Tiffin said to make sure the tech cleans off the overspray before replacing. Note: check the bottom of your slide ‘diving boards’ for rubbery overspray.
• Upon closing up the LR slide as mentioned above, I heard a high pitch whine from the hydraulic motor, unusual, and no slide movement. I reversed and tried again. Nothing. I went to check underneath and discovered hydraulic fluid all over both forward compartments. A gallon or so all over the items stored there. On further investigation I discovered a major leak coming from the center seam of the synchronizing cylinder. The two slide cylinders and hoses were fine. The sync cylinder was split in two. I removed the cylinder and took photos and called Tiffin. They said it never should have failed like that and promptly overnighted a new one. There is a round, circular retaining ring that holds the two ends of the cylinder together, one slides in the other at the center and locks. This retaining ring failed and the two ends separated under pressure. When I took it to the shop that rebuilds cylinders on our heavy equipment, they noted that the retaining ring is round and could get rocked out of position. The better cylinders have square retaining rings but these are probably ok for the RV industry. I replaced the cylinder and reconnected the piping. Tiffin had sent the wrong bleeding instructions so I called HWH, once I managed to get through directly to a tech these folks were great. They clarified a few things on the instructions I downloaded from the website, gave me some shortcuts and tips, and walked me through it. I disconnected the cylinder arms from the slide, went through the initial bleed procedure, adjusted the cylinder brackets, buttoned it up and it closed right up with no leaks. I did not complete the bleed procedure since that would require opening/closing three more times without the nylon bearing pads in place. Plus, I wanted to get home. The coach is now at La Mesa to install the pads and complete the bleed procedure and clean off the slide ‘diving boards’. We have reached out to Tiffin to cover the labor under warranty since, in my view, this all originated with a factory defect.

I have not listed the many minor things that I expected to encounter and fixed myself or that La Mesa took care of while in the shop. I would have fixed more if not for the warranty as I enjoy it.

I offer the above without passion or prejudice (except the part where my wife got hit in the head with the facia trim – that’s bush-league craftsmanship and someone should be fired). In 18 months of ownership fully 5-1/5 months have been in the shop. In the end, I think La Mesa has emerged far above expectations and Tiffin is below expectations. On the one hand, their service after the sale has been superb and they have approved service after the warranty has expired on several occasions. On the other hand, based on my personal experience, I think the Tiffin quality is partly folklore in the RV industry and doesn’t match my real-world experience and that reputation may be standing on the shoulders of yesteryear. Or, maybe I just got a bad one. Service after the sale is great to a point. Hopefully, I'm near the end of sorting things out.

This is my experience. I remain committed to the whole experience and will be upgrading as planned in about a year. And, I continue to contribute what I may have learned in the forums as its been a great resource for me.

Paul
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Old 11-13-2019, 05:20 PM   #2
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I haven't had all of those problems with my used 2012 Allegro Open Road 32CA. But when you get a DP like a Phaeton you'll probably have another long list of problems. All RV's seem to be rolling problems. Dave
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Old 11-13-2019, 05:21 PM   #3
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What a great write up!!!!!

Thank you for all the time and information you put into that post.

I also walked away from two different 2018 Tiffins one located at LaMesa Phoenix and a different one that was in their Tuscon location last September. I saw several of the craftsmanship issues in both just sitting on the dealer lot and decided to refund my deposits and walk away.

I then decided to purchase a new 2019 Fleetwood Southwind 37 F after good luck and results with a 2016 Bounder. It is currently in Decatur ID. for additional warranty work at the REV Group factory. I personally drove it back to Decatur this last June for an appointment to repair warranty stuff but some issues remain unresolved. REV Group (Fleetwood) sent out a driver to my home where the RV is stored in a garage on my property. He drove it back to Indiana 2 weeks ago and they called me yesterday saying its done. I am flying out for the day next week to inspect the repairs and when I believe the work is completed they will arrange another driver to return the coach to my home in Phoenix shortly after. I have been very satisfied that REV has / is doing all that they can to get my coach straightened out. They have been fantastic so far since day one.

Now LaMesa Phoenix.... Not so much.

They require me to check in the coach on the day of my appointment. It was two months later before they had an open availability.
Next they go over what you need repaired.... Limit 10 items ONLY!
Then in a day or two they take it in a bay and go over what needs to be repaired and start a list of parts and hours for warranty.
Then the RV is placed on the lot and someone in the future contest Fleetwood for warranty and to order needed parts.

THEN YOU WAIT... The whole time your coach bakes in the AZ sun and 100 temps.

Eventually (3 weeks later) REV ok's and ships parts. (This is what they tell you, maybe its there 4 days later?)

Then when everything is there and they have approval you now get in line for a bay to do repairs. When that wait is up... you coach goes into a bay and doesn't leave till all work is done.

I had my coach there twice and both times it was over 6 weeks... and not everything was done. Thats when I made the decision to take it to the experts that built it instead of going back to LaMesa.

Good Luck!
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Old 11-13-2019, 05:47 PM   #4
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I sure was hoping a Tiffin would have fewer issues. Tis sounds like a Georgetown. Oiiyy!!
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Old 11-13-2019, 06:13 PM   #5
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From my buddies experience with his new Tiffin, I'd say build quality is about middle of the road for the industry. Where Tiffin shines is the service you receive when you return your rig to Red Bay for warranty service. Unfortunately for my buddy, he's had to return his three times in the first 8 months. But at least he isn't wasting time at a dealership.
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Old 11-13-2019, 07:09 PM   #6
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Sooooo... what did I get myself into?

Interesting read OP, thx. We’re waiting our first MH delivery date, we ordered it last month and asked for an April delivery. I anticipate some issues, but 5+ months out of 18 in the shop seems excessive to me. We also looked at Tiffin and Newmar but also Winnebago, we decided on Newmar based on reputation of both the brand and dealer we worked with. Also, our locale being 2 hours from Nappanee played a part in our decision. Hopefully, this all will work in our favor.

Sorry you had to go through what you did, but thanks for sharing the experience, it helps set our expectations for the first year.
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Old 11-13-2019, 10:46 PM   #7
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I bought a Tiffin for the bones--it has the longest wheelbase of any gas coach its size and no other maker uses the 24,000 pound chassis rather than the 22,000 pound chassis on a coach its size.
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Old 11-14-2019, 10:18 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by MidMichHunte View Post
Also, our locale being 2 hours from Nappanee played a part in our decision. Hopefully, this all will work in our favor.
Thanks. This is a great combination....2 hrs and Newmar. For me the servicing dealer is about 50 minutes away. Factory is 900 miles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JpalmerCass View Post
I bought a Tiffin for the bones--it has the longest wheelbase of any gas coach its size and no other maker uses the 24,000 pound chassis rather than the 22,000 pound chassis on a coach its size.
Good point. I also compared the chassis in my research and went with the 24k.

Quote:
Originally Posted by allegro1x View Post
I haven't had all of those problems with my used 2012 Allegro Open Road 32CA. But when you get a DP like a Phaeton you'll probably have another long list of problems. All RV's seem to be rolling problems. Dave
Very true.

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Old 11-14-2019, 10:28 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by AZ RV'r View Post
What a great write up!!!!!

Now LaMesa Phoenix.... Not so much.

They require me to check in the coach on the day of my appointment. It was two months later before they had an open availability.
Next they go over what you need repaired.... Limit 10 items ONLY!
Then in a day or two they take it in a bay and go over what needs to be repaired and start a list of parts and hours for warranty.
Then the RV is placed on the lot and someone in the future contest Fleetwood for warranty and to order needed parts.

THEN YOU WAIT... The whole time your coach bakes in the AZ sun and 100 temps.

Eventually (3 weeks later) REV ok's and ships parts. (This is what they tell you, maybe its there 4 days later?)

Then when everything is there and they have approval you now get in line for a bay to do repairs. When that wait is up... you coach goes into a bay and doesn't leave till all work is done.

I had my coach there twice and both times it was over 6 weeks... and not everything was done. Thats when I made the decision to take it to the experts that built it instead of going back to LaMesa.

Good Luck!
Thanks. This is pretty much spot on except that it's the Florida sun. I have identified a few independents nearby for post-warranty items that I can't fix myself and all these folks, including La Mesa seem to be in the same boat. Thanks to increased RV sales they are slammed with backlog. Wait times for an appointment are routinely 4-6 weeks just to get in the door.

Paul
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Old 11-14-2019, 12:47 PM   #10
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Great Post.

I, too have found Tiffin's support to be very good. I also
found my dealer (Stoltzfus RV in West Chester, PA) to be
top notch - though they are 2 hours away from us.

Here are the notes on our 2106 Allegro 32 SA gasser - most recent
to initial punch list:


Allegro Issues

2019 (trip to Glacier National Park)
1. Front A/C failure (replaced under extended warranty)
2. Main slide piston/ram leaking (replaced under extended warranty)
3. CO/LP detector fault - replaced (it was time)

third punch list
1. shower door sticks at bottom - adjusted by dealership (later the magnet that holds it closed started slipping out of the track - repaired with super glue)
2. awning “groaning sound” when almost closed at times…grease mechanism? - unable to reproduce - still does it occasionally
3. bathroom door needs adjustment - replaced bottom hinge (bent when caught in slide, my fault fo leaving BR door open when closing slide) - ordered new hinges and replaced.
4. L-couch pull-out sometimes is difficult to pull out (latch adjust?) - adjusted by dealer under warranty
5. Steps sometimes won’t retract - have to push button in-and-out on front door repeatedly - now they won’t extend - fixed by dealer under warranty
6. check leveling system fluid - slowly leaks down, HWH said it’s the Solenoid valves for L and R front jacks. - done under warranty. HWH good support.


Second punch list
1. cabinet veneer next to hamper bowing - glued and taped - still bowed at bottom. fixed under warranty
2. Gray tank vent issues - doesn’t drain unless black tank vent slightly opened —— hose pushed down roof vent and flushed. <fixed>
3. Sirius Radio "check antenna" and no sound on Sirius radio (came on briefly once in a cross wind while driving - antenna replaced under warranty
4. Driver inside door handle comes out - fixed under warranty
5. Driver’s mirror glass vibrates/shakes (passengers is solid). <dealer checked - still shakes
6. Slide roller damage to floors - tiles worn where roller sits - decided to leave it, not getting worse.
8. cargo door handles scratched - Tiffin offered to repaint, but will recur due to design. Chrome would have been a better idea.

Ford Service Issues
1. Vibration esp 40-45, 55-58 - front wheels and seat - install Centramatics no improvement - new shocks (Koni KYB) and a little mileage seemed to help.
2. Emergency Brake Cable needs adjusted? Antilock light + Emerg Brake light comes on - have to stop and turn off ignition and push and release emergency brake forcefully - apparently occurs when gas and brake pushed simultaneously.

Kenwood head unit has failed = replaced 8/28 under warranty - Tiffin mailed me a new on and I replaced.

First Punch List
1. Vibration esp 40-45, 55-58 - front wheels - install Centramatics. vibrations continue
2. Gray and black tank sensors not working - check vents, too? vents flushed by me 8/20
3. check drip underneath - toward R side near exhaust meets shield no further issues
4. Sirius Radio "check antenna" and no sound on Sirius radio (came on briefly once in a cross wind while driving) Head unit failed completely on 3rd trip
5. DirectTV not working - satellite dish won’t acquire a signal. fixed by me DIP switch issue.
6. Latch on cargo door closest to drivers door is binding, some doors need tightening - rattle when locked. fixed by dealer under warranty
7. CB antenna not functional? not fixed - removed CB - probably just obsolete. can get occasional signal due to limited usage.
8. wires hanging down behind entry steps - not attached fixed by dealer under warranty
9. Shower door binding too much at bottom, slight adjustment? fixed by dealer under warranty
10. entry door needs to be pushed in fairly hard to lock the dead bolt and clear tape vs peeling finish at latch level on door frame. fixed by dealer under warranty.
11. Bedroom sliding door needs track adjusted ... Bedside counter starting to gouge door when slide is closing. fixed by dealer under warranty (slide adjusted).
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Old 11-15-2019, 09:51 AM   #11
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These reports are very disappointing. We haven't bought our motorhome yet, but the 36LA was the exact model we wanted. We may have to reconsider now. There is no way I want to buy a new coach and then have it sit at a repair shop for months without being compensated for loss of use. While it's understandable that some things may break because of driving a house on bumpy roads, many of the things described here are due to faulty workmanship. There's no good excuse for that!

Why are buyers of these expensive RVs being so accepting of this? What can consumers do to protect themselves and this major investment?
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Old 11-15-2019, 10:24 AM   #12
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Tiffin gasser experiment

All the more reason to buy "gently used". Let the first owner go through all of that, get the "bugs" fixed, loose the first big hit of depreciation. We bought a 2 year old 32SA, and aside from adding extras for safer/more comfortable ride, have not had issues. We love it. Was looking at the new 2020, would love that, but would wait to buy one a year or so "new". Buy from a private party. That would drive us crazy to have to deal with all of those "in shop times". What a bummer. It is a shame, one would think something brand new would be close to perfect.
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Old 11-15-2019, 10:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donskiman View Post
These reports are very disappointing. We haven't bought our motorhome yet, but the 36LA was the exact model we wanted. We may have to reconsider now. There is no way I want to buy a new coach and then have it sit at a repair shop for months without being compensated for loss of use. While it's understandable that some things may break because of driving a house on bumpy roads, many of the things described here are due to faulty workmanship. There's no good excuse for that!

Why are buyers of these expensive RVs being so accepting of this? What can consumers do to protect themselves and this major investment?

Let me just note: none of the repairs required extended time at the dealer. It could be Stotlzfus is unusual, but my deal with them was that I would schedule for issues/servicing in advance and wait for the rig when I brought it in - I'll respect their time, so they need to respect mine. The only repair that took them 2 weeks was the last repair: The air-conditioner and slide ram. The reason was that the extended warranty company required an inspector to come out and verify the repairs if over $2000. The only reason it took 2 weeks is they could only order the slide ram after the inspection. This was explained on the phone and they arranged the inspector to come THE DAY I DROPPED IT OFF. The story is a bit longer, in that when the air conditioner failed in Montana, and I found the slide ram drip - I called the dealer, arranged to have the repairs evaluated on our way home (they fit me in!) so they could verify and order the parts they needed and get approval for repairs, then I'd go home, unload it and bring it back for an appointed repair time. The called the warranty folks as I was traveling home and arranged for them to come on the day we agreed I'd bring it back for the repairs on. Awesome service.

All of the previous work I listed was done in a day while I waited. I lost NO time during the warranty period on waiting for parts or approval from Tiffin.

I called Tiffin when my radio stopped working and we trouble-shot it over the phone. They sent me a replacement and postage-paid return for the old one and I made the swap.

Let me make it clear: I would not hesitate to buy another Tiffin class A. Not in the least. I would definitely buy another rig from my dealer, and have in fact ordered one from them. The Tiffin was comfortable, well designed and well appointed. We are downsizing, not rejecting the rig or getting rid of a lemon.

The list of repairs may seem daunting, but most were minor and a good dealership and some pre-visit research and phone calls go a long way to having everything ready when you get to the dealership for the repair.

Our 32SA is the short version of the 36LA. Do your due diligence. You won't be disappointed if your eyes are open and your expectations realistic and your dealer is responsive. We never had to break camp early or had an issue that ended or shorted a trip. Everyone's mileage varies, but our 20,000 miles in the Tiffin were excellent.

Enjoy the search.
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Old 11-15-2019, 10:29 AM   #14
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so in 7 months and the states of az-nv-co-wy-ia-ks-pa-ny-fl for over 5k miles in a 2006 adventurer 38t gasser pulling a 8.5 x 20 enclosed car hauler you have had more issues then me.

ac motor
slide motor (my fault i tried to retract with the coach not level)
broken leaf spring
side cameras (one was not working when i bought the coach)
ceiling fan motor
rand mcnally/good sam gps unit (bought new from campers world turned out to be refeb.)

dec 8th finish going back to az via i 10
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