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Old 05-27-2016, 12:56 PM   #1
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Scary 5th wheel stories

DW and I have been shopping for a fiver for a while now, and we like the Forest River Sierra 377FLIK and a couple of front BR Jayco units, as well as the Montana Front BR models. I have been looking at reviews of these and other manufacturers. The stories of poor quality, workmanship and poor to nonexistent warranty work has just about scared us into dog friendly motels instead. Some customers say they have even had hostile encounters with dealers and manufacturer's representatives.

I know there are grumblers about petty stuff, but there seem to be so many. One website that deals with "consumers" is called "pi$$ed" something or other .com so that kinda gives me the idea that it is complainers. What say you folks with some to lots of experience with these brands and dealers?


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Old 05-27-2016, 01:28 PM   #2
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Old 05-27-2016, 01:49 PM   #3
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Sometimes I think I'm an old 78 record with a damaged grove that keeps skipping and saying over and over,,, Buy a late model 5er that meets your needs, that the original owner took the hit for depreciation ,had the mfgr. defects fixed and also passes your inspection. Sometimes bright and shiny isn't the best deal. MHO

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Old 05-27-2016, 02:14 PM   #4
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Where do I begin? I bought a SunnyBrook 5th wheel in Florida and though the SunnyBrook dealer in Ohio would do warranty work. That was not so!!! They told me to take it to the selling dealer.

IMHO - RV dealerships are really the lowest of the low.

They have kids doing most learn as you go repairs. Lucky I can fix most things and do not ever plan to take my rig into a dealership for work.
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Old 05-28-2016, 06:45 AM   #5
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I learned a while ago that if you want a solid relationship with your local dealer, then buy from them. Albeit, this was a car.
Years ago, bought a 2yr old 2006 Mustang 80 miles from home and found out that my local dealer really pushed back on warranty work.
Fast foward now, i just bought a2016 Toy Rav from my local dealer. I'm hoping my service is better.

I am learning that if i want good support relationships, it may cost a little more but it may be better in the long run to support your local dealer. That goes for your local Ace Hardware store, too.
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Old 05-28-2016, 06:49 AM   #6
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I visited a forest River dealer when we were shopping for a new tt. The first 3 units we walked into were leaking (it was a rainy day). We left and we scratched that brand off our list.
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Old 05-28-2016, 07:39 AM   #7
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I guess I have been lucky. Over the past 15 years I have bought 3 Forrest River products, always upgraded, (2 from local, never went back for warranty work) 1 from dealer 250 miles away and had a great experience with warranty. Total of 24000 miles.

One outside speaker quit working, I called the dealer and within a week he sent me a new speaker. That dealer was Norman Campers Marietta, GA. Oh, I had to pay to send the broken one back.

3thumbs, that web site you quoted, I've seen it too and I think you would never by anything from anyone, because if someone is in business there is a mad customer.

You can jump in the water or sit on the dock.

Good Luck.

Dave & Brenda
2007 Chevy 2500 Duramax
2012 Sabre 31 RETS 5'er
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Old 05-28-2016, 10:28 AM   #8
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[QUOTE=h20ski;3088810]I guess I have been lucky. Over the past 15 years I have bought 3 Forrest River products, always upgraded, (2 from local, never went back for warranty work) 1 from dealer 250 miles away and had a great experience with warranty. Total of 24000 miles.

You can jump in the water or sit on the dock.

We are going to sell our house here and move to our AZ place. We will buy a fiver before we head north early next summer. We hope to find something that will not disintegrate somewhere on the road.
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Old 05-28-2016, 10:54 AM   #9
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A good friend has a 10 yr old Montana (he bought new) and loves it. And they (family of 4 ) use it alot. We looked several months at used and new 5 r's , and TT's, would walk in some and instantly see things not fitting, cheap looking, waiting to fall apart. When we found this 2016 Keystone Cougar, we looked at each other and asked "what did you find wrong" ? We walked out,, back in several times because you always see things you missed.. So far, we Love it !!! Opposing rear slides give us lots of room for us and two Danes, and a slide in the bedroom.
Just got back from our first big trip, 2757 miles, and minmal teething problems. Its here at home waiting for three warrenty parts... Nothing to prevent us from using it. Sure, if you can find a fairly new one that has been taken care of, thats a good way to go. This one was ours when we saw it. We are happy campers.
You can read lots of bad things about CW, but "so far" our local dealer has been good... (so far)
Monkey, pilot of a Great Dane hauler,
2015 Silverado 2500 Duramax/Alison 4x4 CrewCab 2016 Cougar 28SGS
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Old 05-28-2016, 02:13 PM   #10
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I would look at a used unit from one of the quality manufactures most of who are out of business. More bang for the buck. When you consider warranties are generally only 1 OR 2 years and the appliances are warranted by the manufactures of them not the trailer manufacture.

Our 5th wheel was 6 years old when we purchased it and we have lived in it 6 years repairs have been minimal and none would have been covered under expired warrenties.

We did replace the refrigerator this year our largest expense other than brakes and tires.

If I ever go to replace this unit Ill look for another 3 OR 4 year old to replace it.
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Old 05-29-2016, 12:30 AM   #11
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I think you have been only reading the bad. You think a 5th wheel will disintegrate driving down the road? You must have been reading some interesting stuff to say the least.

I bought new. Never had issues getting warranty work done. A reputable dealer can make or break your experience. Would do it again.

Of course you can buy used too and hope the previous owner maintained it properly. At least with a new rig there is a warranty and recourse if you run into serious problems. After watching 2 friends deal with used, and the problems they bought it was a no brainer for us. Don't get me wrong, there are some great used RVs out there in great shape, we just felt better buying new to reduce the chance of issues.

Keep in mind, most people don't run to websites to write about how good things are. But as you found out, there are many people who are happy to share their gripes and many websites out there to collect their rants. Lastly, if these RVs are all so terrible, there would not be so darn many on the road.

As previously said so well by Dave, "You can jump in the water or sit on the dock."

Good luck
2014 Raptor 300MP, 2014 Cowboy Cadillac - Ram 3500 Crew Cab Long Bed Longhorn 6.7 Cummins Turbo Diesel DRW 4.10 Rear End, Firestone Airbags, Curt Q20.
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Old 05-29-2016, 07:42 PM   #12
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Everything we buy or do in life has its share of risks. There is no one sure fire way to buy something as complex as RVs and always come out on top. My best advice is read everything you can about the type of unit you want and get out to look them over, a lots, at trade shows, dealerships, friends and any other place you can. I don't like standing on the dock, but I'll check the water before making the plunge. This can greatly reduce the risks of buying new or used. We read and looked for about one year before we bought our first RV, a used 2007 Excel 5th, 30RSO. We got it at an Excel dealer near our home in Santa Fe, NM. As pointed out above warranties are only good for one or two years. Assuming you use it beyond that you will operate in a warranty free zone anyhow.

I have done all of the maintenance and upgrade work myself, including an axle/brake upgrade. I'm of the mind set to never be afraid of doing something new, just study about it first and be prepared.
Fred & Denise
Santa Fe, NM
2007 Excel Classic 30RSO 2007 RAM 3500, Diesel, 6Spd Auto, SWD, 4x4, CC & LB
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Old 05-29-2016, 08:09 PM   #13
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My first 5th wheel was a 2008 Heartland Big Country that I purchased new. I only had a few minor problems with it and it served me well! I decided to sell it so we could upgrade to a rig with all the amenities we wanted. I took the advice to buy used so I bought a 2013 Forest River Cardinal that had everything we wanted. After reading the Cardinal forums I found many were having problems with poorly designed factory seals that were causing water leaks ending in rotted wood and mold. Sure enough mine had it. While others were able to get their rigs fixed by the factory,they would not fix mine because I was the second owner. However they did cover parts for me which was only a fraction of the $4000 plus total cost to repair. So next time I buy another 5th wheel it will be new so it's covered by a warranty.
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Old 05-29-2016, 08:32 PM   #14
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I bought a new FR FW Cardinal in 2007 and had a couple of minor problems fixed under warranty with no issues. Pulled it for about 8 years all over the west around 35,000 miles. Other than tires, batteries and a few vent covers it held up awesome.

Bill & Christine
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