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Old 05-06-2016, 10:32 PM   #1
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Poor quality control

I have a travel trailer now and I really like it. Arctic Fox makes quality units. I have made a lot of changes to it because that's what I like to do. I hate plastic sinks, faucets and other cheap trailer junk. I have it up to what I would expect everyone would like, yes it may weigh another 200 - 300 lbs, no big deal.
I am thinking of going to a 5th wheel because we will be traveling more and for much longer trips. The added size would be nice but the trade off is that added size and locations that would be difficult to use.
I was excited to see my younger brother place an order for and receive a new Champagne Edition from Forest River. This unit was ordered from a dealer close to the factory and then delivered here. My understanding is that Forest River has good quality control and that the dealer was going to perform a PDI that would go over all the systems.
These are the problems that have developed within the first two weeks.

The power rewind for the power cord would not work. It was installed but not wired to the wires coming to it in the wall.

The shower door would not close or latch. This was repaired to function properly.

The lights and outlets in the dinette slide would not work. The wire loom in the back was apparently flopping around and had worn through in several spots and was shorting out. The loom was not secured but repair did secure it properly and repaired the wiring.

The dishwasher door would not latch. The unit was mounted too deep in the cabinet and the door would hit the trim first preventing it from latching. Repair said that most builders do not understand how to mount these units. He removed it and added additional wooden bracing to hold it in the proper position.

One of the mirrored doors on the bedroom closet has the mirror coming loose. This was not fixed on this visit. Waiting for parts I believe.

The entry steps are not mounted squarely. My brother is apparently going to have to contact Forest River on this issue again.

The entry door is rubbing at the top and makes the door difficult to open. Will have to contact Forest River on this also.
Am I being too critical in thinking that this is not acceptable? I expect that there will be problems that come up but most of these problems should have been either caught at the factory or at the PDI.
Is there a big difference between makes and who does the best job?
I would gladly pay more for better quality. When you see this many issues it makes you think that there isn't much emphasis on building the best unit you can. If the people who built this unit turned out a product with this many issues how many other short cuts might have been taken and it will be just a matter of time before these surface?
My brothers feelings about this have made him a little apprehensive and I don't blame him.
Will be interested in you comments and suggestions.
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Old 05-06-2016, 11:47 PM   #2
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"Repair said that most builders do not understand how to mount these units."


Think about it -- how much education does it take to instal a dishwasher? Yeah, the guy that installed mine was a Harvard PhD -- NOT!! RVs are crap because the people building them are crap! Had this unit gone thru an inspection like a stick and brick house goes thru, qc qould be less of an issue. But the RV builder is insolated from their bofoonery, by distance for certain, and probably by a union like the UAW, who is soley responsible for the growth in the asian car industry.


No, you are not being too hard on them. After being on this site for a few years, and 30 years of RV ownership, it is what it is, just like mine, a beautiful plan put together by hacks who make way more than they are worth, and that I wouldn't pay to build a shed.


3 inch screw where a 1/2 inch screw would work/pocket doors hung out of square/awning controls in the wrong place/wire bundles unlabled and unsecure/owners manual a joke or an insult/trailer plug unpotted and exposed to the elements/stair cover not hooked up/generator slide linkage out of alignment/sani-con installed incorrectly/ac condenser too far from evaporator/access cover to engine too small and another one required in master closet/floor in washer cabiner = 1/4 inch plywood -- cannot hold washer and a load of wet clothes/and this is just off the top of my head-----
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:18 AM   #3
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Management

Don't blame the guy putting the screw in blame management that allows that type of work and doesn't inspect the final product to be sure that it was assembled to acceptable standards. It's evident when you look a many of today's RV products that acceptable quality control after assembly doesn't take place. The auto industry really makes the RV industry look like a bunch of hacks and thats not saying much.
The small companies that took pride in their product have gone out of business because they couldn't handle the so called cost of producing a quality product.
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:44 AM   #4
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Well I own a fifth wheel made by one of the great small companies and it's exactly the same - great design, great materials, put together poorly. And repair centers aren't always helpful. So I'm doing what many do and straightening everything out myself. Plus they need ongoing maintenence so just be prepared to keep tinkering.
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Old 05-07-2016, 02:21 PM   #5
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Deep Pockets

Your right, if you can't repair things yourself, especially the small stuff and your warranty is up you will definitely go broke taking it to the dealer. I learned that early on and my first trailer served us well for 9 years with very few problems.
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Old 05-07-2016, 02:40 PM   #6
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"OK gang ........listen up."

"We have enough components to get 15 units completed today."
"Get them done by 1pm and we all can go home"

"Get ready, set GO GO GO GO"



RV MFG. Factory workers typically get paid -----"piece work"
No time to stop and do it right--------just get it done.
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Old 05-07-2016, 04:08 PM   #7
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Watch a few u-tube videos about RV production shops and you'll see Old Biscuit is right on. Workers don't walk they run doing their tasks.
I'm wondering why so many RV company's go belly up, is it poor craftsmanship quality, poor service, poor advertising, poor financial management, poor design, poor customer communication.
Just maybe the market is saturated with suppliers in a limited market. Or, maybe it's greed to to grab big bucks and then bail out.
One thing for sure we the consumer take the screwing.

CLIFF
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Old 05-07-2016, 04:17 PM   #8
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Add to that the idea that schools stopped teaching manual arts in the 1970's or 80's most places. Employers stopped teaching workers in the 80's or 90's. That was about the time managers stopped needing to know what workers did as long as the spread sheet numbers came out right. The only part I find amazing is that anything works.

Oh, and none of that was caused by the Unions. ;-)
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Old 05-07-2016, 04:42 PM   #9
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We are about to buy our first RV. )Well, we did have an old 87 Layton 5th wheel a few years ago, to get a little RVing experience) I have been reading everything I can find about RV build quality, factory warranty, and dealer service. There are many places to find owner reviews of most every brand.
All this has almost made me decide to not even get an RV trailer at all. Every time I start researching a brand that looks promising, all I find are dozens of horror stories about build quality and lack of after the sale support on both warranty and service. I can't find any manufacturer of RV trailers, that builds a consistently good solid product. Or that has a warranty worth the paper it is written on.
I believe all one can do is buy something you like, hope it is the 1 out of 100 that might have been built properly that day, assume no warranty exists, plan on doing all repairs yourself, and hope and pray for the best.
Am I wrong??
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Old 05-07-2016, 05:55 PM   #10
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The quality problem is a vicious circle, there are so many threads on hear about saving a few $$$ by buying from the cheapest place in North America and then we complain about the quality.

The old adage in the automotive repair trade applies here as well...you can have any two of these three things...Quality, Inexpensive , Quick..

You can have it Quick & Cheap but it won't be Quality
You can have it Quality and Quick but it won't be Cheap
You can have it Quality & Cheap but it won't be Quick

Cheap = the cost of labour, skilled workers paid a fair hourly wage.
Quality = We would already have this if the Cheap aspect was taken care of
Quick = anything good is worth waiting for, which is the case in any bespoke industry.

The whole RV industry is modelled after the mass production industry, instead of the custom craftsmanship industry.
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Old 05-07-2016, 11:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FaithBowls View Post
Well I own a fifth wheel made by one of the great small companies and it's exactly the same - great design, great materials, put together poorly. And repair centers aren't always helpful. So I'm doing what many do and straightening everything out myself. Plus they need ongoing maintenence so just be prepared to keep tinkering.
You are correct because I do all my own maintenance because I want it done correctly. The problem is that there are a lot of people who for one reason or another are not handy. They suffer with on going problems or being in the shop too often.
How do we turn this industry around? The answer is that we probably can't because they go by the bottom line. Cheaper to do a few repairs than to cut production and lower sales.
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Old 05-08-2016, 06:51 AM   #12
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I think the main thing is education. You try to educate yourself about what is the best one to sink your cash into. Then all you can find are horror stories about them. Well yea. You just have to read about things, figure out how they work and go together, then think, and of I don't get blasted and not meaning to offend anyone, pray about it. (if you don't wanna do that, then that fine )

Rule 1, happy customers are usually quiet customers. You rarely hear someone go on and on about how well something is built or something that never gives them trouble. If they do it's probably the company themselves doing it. It's the exceptions that get heard.

This very reason is why I'm keeping ours. It's paid for and I have the ability to handle just about anything with it, and for what it costs to replace it, I can do just about anything for nowhere near that. If I ever got another one, it would be most likely an older one that needed completly gutting and I would make it what we want. I know that's not the thing for alot of people. I also would never let someone else build a house for me. For sure most people won't go there. I won't even let anyone work on a vehicle unless I just hafta hafta.

I just think with everything, this is just become the way because we accept it. If everyone will just stop paying for this then it will be forced to stop. I can't go to a Lowes anymore and find a person that knows what I'm talking about or find a shelf with everything I need, not just everything that nets the most profit. Just like my work, official training is sign off that I've ignored, err watched a video and I'm trained properly. We all know the signoff is to please the requirements that have been mandated. If I don't get it well so what and if I really don't get it them find someone else to take my spot.

Main thing, take everything you read with a grain of salt. Educate your self, use the P word if you like, then make a decision and stop shopping.
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Old 05-08-2016, 08:28 AM   #13
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"You can have it Quick & Cheap but it won't be Quality
You can have it Quality and Quick but it won't be Cheap
You can have it Quality & Cheap but it won't be Quick"


Mr Rickeoni is right, but the multipliers are skill and pride. If you have a skiled workforce who is proud of their work, you have a workforce that can do about anything. Doing it once doing it right the first time IS CHEAP, nearly regardless of cost. And investing is your workforce, the right tools and training, nearly always produces quality. Nearly; this is where management comes in. Applying the right mis of tools and training, of pressure and reward, of all the elements of production, always with value for the customer in mind. Most managers are worried about tomorrow's stock price, and their business is gone ten years later.


Managers usually get the workers they pay for and the union they deserve.
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Old 05-08-2016, 08:45 AM   #14
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Quality is not inspected in, it is DESIGNED in. The FIRST prerequisite for an RV engineer should be to live in one for a year, you would see RV's that looked a lot different then they do today!
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