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Old 09-10-2014, 09:00 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by SKP Kirk View Post
The appliances are pretty much standard, although you will find that higher end RVs use larger models of refrigerators, higher capacity air conditioners and furnaces and sometimes larger than the standard 6 gallon water heater. Far more important in the higher quality RVs is the kind of construction employed in things like the cabinets, drawers, and wall framework. If you examine the drawers in a high quality RV they are made of plywood while cheap ones tend to be of plastic. The drawer slides on a cheap RV will wear out very quickly if use a lot, while they last pretty much the life of the RV in quality RVs. The materials used in the cabinets are much different and so too is the materials used in the exterior and the framework. In addition, the better built RVs will have dual pane window glass while the cheap one have thin, single pane windows. Better quality also means more and better insulation, 50A power service in place of 30A, larger tanks and a host of other differences.

One of the hints of quality is the weight of the cheap compared to the heavier quality RV. Quality RVs not only cost more, they also weigh significantly more.

If you want to see fighting start, get someone to tell you by brand name what is a poor quality RV. People who own one will not like that. Always remember that no manufacturer is so bad that they have no happy customers and none are so good that they have no unhappy customers.
Very well-written and well considered. Thanks from those of us that don't know what you know....yet
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Old 09-11-2014, 06:42 AM   #16
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Just gonna throw my 2 cents in. We just bought a 06 Winnebago Sightseer. We are pleased as punch with the quality of the unit in every way. All the cabinets are wood. There is only 1 thing I feel could be better and that is the cupholder unit in the doghouse between the front seats. Its plastic. Do t know what Winnebago was thinking on that.

We recently helped a friend of a friend who has a 2000 Thor Hurricane and that's not the same quality as our Winnebago. The cabinets above the cab are plastic and the wood cabinets are lighter and lower quality then ours.

That's the differences I saw between these 2 rigs making me even more thrilled with our Winnebago.

Shaz
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Getting ready to hit the road, But still getting answers. So thanks for the help! 2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R Ford F53. Roadmaster Eagle 8000. 2001 Ford F150 7700 4x4. Still shopping for toad brakes. FMCA F286179
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Old 09-11-2014, 07:12 AM   #17
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We have a Fleetwood Discovery that serves us well. Minor repairs are going to happen regardless of brand, just look at the repair bays at any RV dealer. Ours is a 2008 and still looks great and believe me I'm not constantly out there shining on it! Lol
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Old 09-11-2014, 07:14 AM   #18
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Class A quality

Not sure on your budget but in my personal experience one spending $25,000 more in the beginning will reduce your problems drastically.

If you are buying "new" and buy the cheapest one out there in my experience you will get what you pay for. "Cheap". I've been there!!

I spent a bit more this time around and I see much better quality.

Russell.
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Old 09-11-2014, 07:37 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobandshaz View Post
Just gonna throw my 2 cents in. We just bought a 06 Winnebago Sightseer. We are pleased as punch with the quality of the unit in every way. All the cabinets are wood. There is only 1 thing I feel could be better and that is the cupholder unit in the doghouse between the front seats. Its plastic. Do t know what Winnebago was thinking on that.

We recently helped a friend of a friend who has a 2000 Thor Hurricane and that's not the same quality as our Winnebago. The cabinets above the cab are plastic and the wood cabinets are lighter and lower quality then ours.

That's the differences I saw between these 2 rigs making me even more thrilled with our Winnebago.

Shaz
This says a lot for the quality of older Winnebagos if the only thing you have to complain about on a "house on wheels" is a cup holder!!!
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Old 09-11-2014, 08:19 AM   #20
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We had a 1999 Dutch Star on the F-53 chassis for 10 years. We only had about 40,000 miles on it but still had almost no issues with it. What we did have was taken care of by either the original dealer or Ford.

Yes there have been times when I thought about a diesel but there was always something called $$$$$$ or lack there of that changed our minds.

We currently have a 2014 WBGO Vista 30T on the F-53 chassis and are happy. No it will never ride like an air-ride diesel but again the $$$$$.

We visited the factory up in Forest City Iowa and with my background in teaching automotive for 35 years I was impressed. Every coach is put through a water test with slides in and then out. The interior construction on all their coaches is very good. As they tell you all items attached to the walls are backed up with a metal plate inside the wall. In other words they are not attached to a wooden frame but metal.

It does not matter if your coach costs $250,000 or $100,000 it is built by the same people. All items built by WBGO for your coach have a number attached. If 10 years down the road you need that part you can have them make it for you. They are the only RV manufacturer who has that feature.

There are other manufacturers who also do some of what WBGO does like the water tests. You know no coach is going to be trouble free no matter what you pay. Here's what went wrong with our coach.

It needed an alignment and one tire was reversed on the rim to stop it from causing a pull. OK now!!

One slide had some screws left somewhere in the mechanism which caused little piles of aluminum on the floor every time it was opened and closed. They replaced the mechanism.

The step motor gear box went bad so it was replaced.

Two sliding windows were very hard to open and close so they replaced the rubber track.

Having a dealer that you can trust to negotiate and complete needed repairs is also critical. Here's something you can do. Speak to the service manager of the dealer and ask him/her what type of training program they employ for their technicians. Ask them how many of their technicians are RV certified. Do they have any that are master certified?? See if you can talk to one of their technicians and ask them how timely coaches are processed through their system. Do what ever you can to determine something about the quality of their repair facility. I've even talked to customers who were leaving the dealer. Sometimes you can catch them out in the parking lot or in the waiting room. That might give you a feel for how things are going.

Getting positive answers to these questions is not a guarantee that all will go well but it's something. When these coaches need fixed it a fairly long and involved process for the dealer. It can be a lot more involved when comparing it to fixing a car. They first have to get permission from the manufacturer. Then they have to get parts if any are needed. Because there are so many different suppliers that can be a real, real big issue.

Last month I was at the dealer and ran into a friend who was having some work done. He told me that one of the techs went out of his way to advise him over the phone how to remove his awning motor and retract his awning until he could get it in for repairs. He spoke very highly of that tech.

In case you are wondering, Winnebago & Itasca are absolutely identical except for color choices.
Good luck in your search

TeJay
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Old 09-11-2014, 07:42 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by PuebloPete View Post
I have done a lot of searching but found vague answers. I apologize if this question has been asked a lot.

I was wondering if there was quality differences in different Class A motorhome manufacturers. And I'm sure everyone has there own opinion, but wondering if anyone had some insight on this. I currently have a Fleetwood Jamboree Class C motorhome and I'd like to switch over to class A. I'm extremely disappointed in the crappy Fleetwood construction and was wondering if big names in Class A carry that same type of quality?

Example, it seems that Thor Class A motorhomes come at a slightly lower price than others like Tiffin, Allegro, or Winnebago. Would that tell me the quality is lower? Is there a general consensus of who makes better quality rvs?

Thank you.
Keep in mind that every manufacturer has different levels of quality for the most part.

Some of the things that I think are important and where you can truly see the difference in quality in no specific order.

Beside chassis, and most chassis have different gvw and gvcw ratings, but this is important.

Tires, size and load range rating.

Self leveling jacks, I have seen some I would be afraid to deploy. Size of shaft and foot pad tells you something about how useful they may or may not be.

Slide out mechanisms vary much like leveling jacks, I would look closely at the gear and type of gear for moving the slide.

There is a big difference in insulation, as other have mentioned the size of a/c units.

One think I think is overlooked is how people drive them. Many ingress and egress have steep drives, class A's have long wheel bases and it is important no matter how good of a chassis you have to minimize the twisting of the frame which in turns twists all the components on the coach.

There are many good value mfg.'s in my opinion, the key is figuring out your budget and buying the best quality floor plan that works for you. There are many compromises in all of these units, so narrow what is most important to you and enjoy the adventure!
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Old 09-12-2014, 11:52 AM   #22
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Great info guys. I would have thought there might be a consensus on quality. Like certain car manufacturers have a history of quality and design where others like say Geo..... IMO don't and you see that as a reflection of price. But say Ferrari might have better quality that Geo.. ha ha, I started laughing as I typed this.

I came across a Thor Hurricane that I just loved the layout. It was exactly what I was looking for when it came to layout. But just seemed kinda cheap in price with very low miles for being not that old. That's what got me thinking.
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Old 09-12-2014, 12:34 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeryan59 View Post
Keep in mind that every manufacturer has different levels of quality for the most part.

Some of the things that I think are important and where you can truly see the difference in quality in no specific order.

Beside chassis, and most chassis have different gvw and gvcw ratings, but this is important.

Tires, size and load range rating.

Self leveling jacks, I have seen some I would be afraid to deploy. Size of shaft and foot pad tells you something about how useful they may or may not be.

Slide out mechanisms vary much like leveling jacks, I would look closely at the gear and type of gear for moving the slide.

There is a big difference in insulation, as other have mentioned the size of a/c units.

One think I think is overlooked is how people drive them. Many ingress and egress have steep drives, class A's have long wheel bases and it is important no matter how good of a chassis you have to minimize the twisting of the frame which in turns twists all the components on the coach.

There are many good value mfg.'s in my opinion, the key is figuring out your budget and buying the best quality floor plan that works for you. There are many compromises in all of these units, so narrow what is most important to you and enjoy the adventure!
Good advice.

All manufacturers use the same staff to manufacture various models. The industry generally pays their staff about the same per hour depending upon local requirements.

What makes the difference is how much you spend. If you pay more you will (should) be getting better materials and maybe a closer QC/QA than the lower priced models.

But it is still the same staff. I would hate to think they will let problems go by on the economical models they do not on the higher end versions.

By in large QC/QA is a management driven product. Profits and trying to fill demand will often distract them from building the quality product we hope for.

IMO new manufacturers will initially start out with a high quality product. As they become better known and ramp up production the quality will fall to the side. Then as they become established the quality will stabilize.

I note that the big 3 auto manufacturers have all had their moments of crappy products. Whether you get a good product or not seems at times to depend on luck.
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Old 09-12-2014, 01:42 PM   #24
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I think I've read about duds made by just about every manufacturer. From, sadly, their best to their lowest model. The shocking stories, to me anyway, are not the slip-ups from a Friday afternoon before a long weekend. Rather, they're the problems that appear to be due to poor design or the result of a general practice or procedure.
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Old 09-12-2014, 01:58 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by TeJay View Post
We had a 1999 Dutch Star on the F-53 chassis for 10 years. We only had about 40,000 miles on it but still had almost no issues with it. What we did have was taken care of by either the original dealer or Ford.

Yes there have been times when I thought about a diesel but there was always something called $$$$$$ or lack there of that changed our minds.

We currently have a 2014 WBGO Vista 30T on the F-53 chassis and are happy. No it will never ride like an air-ride diesel but again the $$$$$.

We visited the factory up in Forest City Iowa and with my background in teaching automotive for 35 years I was impressed. Every coach is put through a water test with slides in and then out. The interior construction on all their coaches is very good. As they tell you all items attached to the walls are backed up with a metal plate inside the wall. In other words they are not attached to a wooden frame but metal.

It does not matter if your coach costs $250,000 or $100,000 it is built by the same people. All items built by WBGO for your coach have a number attached. If 10 years down the road you need that part you can have them make it for you. They are the only RV manufacturer who has that feature.

There are other manufacturers who also do some of what WBGO does like the water tests. You know no coach is going to be trouble free no matter what you pay. Here's what went wrong with our coach.

It needed an alignment and one tire was reversed on the rim to stop it from causing a pull. OK now!!

One slide had some screws left somewhere in the mechanism which caused little piles of aluminum on the floor every time it was opened and closed. They replaced the mechanism.

The step motor gear box went bad so it was replaced.

Two sliding windows were very hard to open and close so they replaced the rubber track.

Having a dealer that you can trust to negotiate and complete needed repairs is also critical. Here's something you can do. Speak to the service manager of the dealer and ask him/her what type of training program they employ for their technicians. Ask them how many of their technicians are RV certified. Do they have any that are master certified?? See if you can talk to one of their technicians and ask them how timely coaches are processed through their system. Do what ever you can to determine something about the quality of their repair facility. I've even talked to customers who were leaving the dealer. Sometimes you can catch them out in the parking lot or in the waiting room. That might give you a feel for how things are going.

Getting positive answers to these questions is not a guarantee that all will go well but it's something. When these coaches need fixed it a fairly long and involved process for the dealer. It can be a lot more involved when comparing it to fixing a car. They first have to get permission from the manufacturer. Then they have to get parts if any are needed. Because there are so many different suppliers that can be a real, real big issue.

Last month I was at the dealer and ran into a friend who was having some work done. He told me that one of the techs went out of his way to advise him over the phone how to remove his awning motor and retract his awning until he could get it in for repairs. He spoke very highly of that tech.

In case you are wondering, Winnebago & Itasca are absolutely identical except for color choices.
Good luck in your search

TeJay
What a great post.

There was a post I read not long ago about someone trying to get some info from a manufacturer who's still in business about their five year old coach and they were told they don't keep record on coaches that old.

Then there's Country Coach that went out of business several years ago. The people who bought the name at tha BK auction no longer make coaches. But you can still buy a complete schematic of your coach from them and I've heard they can still make you an entirely new front or rear end cap because they still have the molds. I think you would be SOL with several companies still in business.

And another company that was sold yet never shut down, IIRC, still makes a model and chassis with an old familiar name. But today's chassis is nothing like the old one. At all. The old one appears to me to essentially be an orphan chassis. Yet you might think it was still being made if you just looked at the names.

So it seems easy to make erroneous assumptions about companies and what you might expect. Due diligence is the name of the game.
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Old 09-12-2014, 02:27 PM   #26
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Southpark,
Thanks for the comment. My sources tell me when taking into consideration the busy times of the year which will cause delays in most aspects of RV repair the absolute biggest challenge is getting the correct and exact replacement part(s).
As I alluded to earlier when you take the coach in they contact the manufacturer for a part. If the manufacturer does not have the part somewhere in stock then they have to go to their supplier. Several things can happen at the supplier. Maybe the supplier can't get the exact same color as you had. Maybe that color has been discontinued or replaced by another color. Maybe the finish is a gloss and yours was a matte finish. Sometimes nobody knows exactly what changes have been done until the part is shipped to your dealer. They open the box after waiting 3-5 weeks and find out that the outside handle is the wrong color. Maybe the finish is brushed instead of bronze. There's a myriad of differences that could occur. Sometimes the part is shipped to your dealer so the manufacturer never sees that it might be different. All these different issues can and will happen which delays the part and therefore you getting your coach in a timely manner. As you can determine it's really nobody's fault or maybe everybody's fault. You the consumer take it in the ear because you want your coach fixed and you will wait.

Some of these issues can be avoided but it's not an easy fix. More uniformity between manufacturers would help but that's not likely to happen. The auto industry has started doing some of that so it has gotten somewhat easier. The increased complexity has also made it more complex. When the Feds stepped in n the 80's with computer controls some items became more standard. And many cost saving issues also helped with some standards. Most Ford relays are the same. Most can be interchanged. Wire color coding is more standard as well.

I still like the idea of staying with a coach manufacturer who has been around for a long period of time. Still not a guarantee but!!!!
TeJay
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Old 09-12-2014, 03:05 PM   #27
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We'll have a real move to serious QC and standardization when Honda starts making 45' diesel pushers. I won't be holding my breath!

And even if they catch a big flaw, given all the failures I wonder if the margins exist to eat it and scap a $250,000 lemon before it rolls out the door?

Moreover, it seems that the industry thinks it's cheaper to roll out potential warranty claims than to stop them at the design and manufacturing stage. My guess is they're wrong. They may even know it. But the margins may be so thin they're afraid to try an alternate model lest it backfires and they fail.
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Old 09-12-2014, 03:26 PM   #28
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Hi,

Well I guess it's time for me to throw my 2 cents in.

I'm on my fourth Winnebago and think they build a high quality coach and have been for many years . The best part of it all is that they make all their own components except naturally the appliances. This is good as if you need a water tank down the road they have it.

I started out with a Class C and then went to bigger Class C and then to an Adventurer. It was well built and went all the way to AK and back with no problems . I now have a '14 Adventurer and the quality is superior. The Coach for example is of fine quality and comfortable to sit on as well as sleep on. The Driver and Passenger seats are top quality as well. To be honest with you I can't find anything on the coach that isn't quality built. The cabinets are wood and don'y fall off the walls. The drawers have high end sliders and stay closed. The exterior has full body paint which really looks nice. There compartments below make a tight seal when they close and the under side of the floor is aluminum plus the compartments themselves are sturdy plastic and not sheet plastic that gives when you put your weight on it.

The last thing I will say is to take a trip to Forest City, Iowa and tour the factory then go a mile away to Lichtsinn Motors and purchase your new Winnebago as they are good people you will be glad you did

Well I said my 2 cents and now watch the rebuttal but let's be fair they ( winnebago) have been building RV's for a long time and know what they are doing.

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