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Old 12-09-2014, 02:43 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by kenn_chan View Post

I typed about 5 paragraphs that went into detail about what is so wrong with what many people are thinking but to save feelings of others and to put it in a nutshell people are asking too much for too little cost and expecting it to last like a sticks and bricks while you scream down the road at 75~85 mph.


I agree with your sentiment but we shouldn't have to spend $100k to get safe and reliable electrical/plumbing with solid construction. $40k should be more than enough to buy you a very solid trailer with little to no mechanical, electrical, or plumbing issues. $100k should get you a really nice one. Using scrap wire patched together is not an acceptable money savings tactic. Running 30A romex through steel beams without a sleeve is not an acceptable money saving tactic. How many trailers have a fuse or breaker at the battery? This should be mandatory in case the positive insulation wears through where nearly all rub against the frame. 100A or more arcing near propane... not good.


You do indeed get what you pay for but with little regulation on these things we are the ones who pay in the end... again.
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Old 12-09-2014, 03:43 PM   #16
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Two words:
Casita (very similar to Honda - small and efficient - very well built)
http://casitatraveltrailers.com/
Airstream (for those with bigger needs - very, very well built!)
http://www.airstream.com/

The rest are all good, but it is more of a house than a vehicle. If anyone has ever bought a new construction house, then the idea of the "Punch List" is very well understood...just the nature of the beast.

Safe travels
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Old 12-09-2014, 07:11 PM   #17
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I went through the same agonizing questions with our recent (fifth) TT purchase. Were there any decent TT's out there that would not leak, rot, and fall apart after five years? This was probably going to be our last TT and I wanted it to last. I wasn't too worried about all of the appliances, utilities, etc. as these are all common across the industry and we consumers don't get a choice. Besides, I'm pretty handy.

I feel like there is no "best" TT, but some are better than others. It gets down to what is important to you and what you can afford. For me, the top considerations are: structural design, materials, workmanship, company reputation, and four season capability. Having said that, we have to realize that every TT model is built to a price point in a highly competitive industry. Corners will be cut. What features do you want and what do you want to pay?

In my research I zeroed in on Northwood RV and Outdoors RV, sister companies out of Oregon. There designs impressed me. These are designed for "Western camping" which means off-road and four seasons. They are sturdy and the company doesn't appear to be interested in the high volume, low price market.

We ended up buying an Outdoors RV Black Rock 25RLS, sight unseen, based on company videos and reviews. This is the "bottom" of their TT line and it's competitively priced. It just arrived at our home this past weekend and I am very impressed. This is a well design, well built unit and I couldn't be more thrilled with our purchase. The chassis alone in impressive. Very substantial. I think you would do well to look at TT's from both of these companies. By way, I have no dealer within 1,500 miles of my home in Tennessee. I purchased from a dealer 2,000 miles away in Oregon. I figure I can handle any small repairs myself and use any local RV dealer for warranty issues on any of the appliances.

Hope you find what your looking for. Regards, Steve
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:44 PM   #18
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In my research I zeroed in on Northwood RV and Outdoors RV, sister companies out of Oregon. There designs impressed me. These are designed for "Western camping" which means off-road and four seasons. They are sturdy and the company doesn't appear to be interested in the high volume, low price market.

We ended up buying an Outdoors RV Black Rock 25RLS, sight unseen, based on company videos and reviews. This is the "bottom" of their TT line and it's competitively priced. It just arrived at our home this past weekend and I am very impressed. This is a well design, well built unit and I couldn't be more thrilled with our purchase. The chassis alone in impressive. Very substantial. I think you would do well to look at TT's from both of these companies. By way, I have no dealer within 1,500 miles of my home in Tennessee. I purchased from a dealer 2,000 miles away in Oregon. I figure I can handle any small repairs myself and use any local RV dealer for warranty issues on any of the appliances.
Your post was very helpful. We have narrowed out search to three (3) TT companies, which includes the two (2) you mentioned. We had thought we'd have to make the long trip from Texas to Oregon because I thought the shipping costs were prohibitive. I guess I need to re-visit the cost of shipping. Btw, first on my list is a used Arctic Fox 22H, which are as rare as hen's teeth. We're still struggling with the New vs. Used issue. At any rate, thank you for your post.
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Old 12-10-2014, 09:15 AM   #19
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edited for brevity: but some are better than others. It gets down to what is important to you and what you can afford. ......, we have to realize that every TT model is built to a price point in a highly competitive industry. Corners will be cut. What features do you want and what do you want to pay?

In my research I zeroed in on Northwood RV and Outdoors RV, sister companies out of Oregon. There designs impressed me. These are designed for "Western camping" which means off-road and four seasons. They are sturdy and the company doesn't appear to be interested in the high volume, low price market.

.Steve


And this is a more reasoned approach, not complaining, but I read daily about slides needing bearings, roofs leaking, windows not sealed, bad electrical etc. etc. etc. most TT's are basically mid fifties house trailers on a slightly cheaper frame with the addition of slides and a cheaper rubber roof.

Think about it a mid fifties trailer was 40~50 feet and about the same quality as most TT's are now days (granted they llok better but thats about it) the addition of slides rubber roofs etc to make them more spacious (slides) and lighter/cheaper (rubber roof) is where we pay fo rin durability.

I would gladly pay for a SUS (stainless steel) roof on a larger (20~25') camper, but I only find them on 12~18' models. I would gladly pay for slightly better interiors, but I only find them on (30~35'units ) so the above coupled with towinf restrictions, parking restrictions (herei n Japan) lead me to the unit I have, its heavy for its size, its cramped (by US standards) has no shower, no hot water, but it will last many years with no roof leaks and no major structural issues. I did have to seriously upgrade the electrical though as it was not ready for my version of electrical and solar. Like Steve said, a trade off, and that is where we all have to look paying a lot for a little that twill last, or a little for a lot that lasts five years.

Ken
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Old 12-10-2014, 09:59 AM   #20
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snip
I typed about 5 paragraphs that went into detail about what is so wrong with what many people are thinking but to save feelings of others and to put it in a nutshell people are asking too much for too little cost and expecting it to last like a sticks and bricks while you scream down the road at 75~85 mph.
i've heard the sticks & bricks argument before but just don't buy it. The fundamental problem is that we, the buyers don't demand better quality. What we get today is probably worse than what "Detroit" built in the late 60's when 12 month warranty was the norm.

How is it possible for car companies to build vehicles with 12v systems capable of operating for 3, 5 or even 10 years with no problems but Rv assemblers can't manage 13 months? You can't even get an "extended warranty" that will cover the normal stuff car companies have engineered to work for many years and tens of thousands of miles.
Two quick examples. A box of SS body screws retails for less than $10. labor would be the same but SS screws would not rust and loosen in a couple of years but for some reason no RV assembler is willing to use, charge and advertise the benefits of SS fasteners.
Twist-on wire connectors. These may be fine for stationary buildings but not vehicles. The car companies have done the R&D so all the assemblers have to do is to buy the same simple and reliable connectors used in the millions by "Detroit".
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:10 AM   #21
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Quality is expensive...longevity and quality together are usually expensive AND heavy.
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:58 AM   #22
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i've heard the sticks & bricks argument before but just don't buy it. The fundamental problem is that we, the buyers don't demand better quality. What we get today is probably worse than what "Detroit" built in the late 60's when 12 month warranty was the norm.

How is it possible for car companies to build vehicles with 12v systems capable of operating for 3, 5 or even 10 years with no problems but Rv assemblers can't manage 13 months? You can't even get an "extended warranty" that will cover the normal stuff car companies have engineered to work for many years and tens of thousands of miles.
Two quick examples. A box of SS body screws retails for less than $10. labor would be the same but SS screws would not rust and loosen in a couple of years but for some reason no RV assembler is willing to use, charge and advertise the benefits of SS fasteners.
Twist-on wire connectors. These may be fine for stationary buildings but not vehicles. The car companies have done the R&D so all the assemblers have to do is to buy the same simple and reliable connectors used in the millions by "Detroit".

This is sort of what I am reffering to, not exactly but close.

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Quality is expensive...longevity and quality together are usually expensive AND heavy.

and this is exactly what I was reffering to, most RVers are looking at weigt and cost, and are not willing to budge in regards to this. Most buiilders are looking to pleae us at the best price point for themselves.

The combination is what we get.

With my personel skill set this is not a problem as I could build my own from scratch (If i lived int he US or europe)(japan treats trailers worse than cars with full crash tests, brake tests etc are the requirement), hence very few home mades on the road.

If I was in the states I could and would build a 25 footer with no slides, 4 seasons fully insulated with every thing I want in a TT incluidng no shading on my roof for solar purposes, and an interior that would hold together, but I would need a 3/4 ton minimum for that same 25 footer anything bigger would absolutely require a 1 ton diesel TV, but it would last forever. Cost to make and sell would be up there, but for my own purposes labor would not factor in. The majority of RVer's do not have my background (30+ years fabricating includeing race cars and heavy equipment).

It truly is a mattter of where some small scale fabricators need to attack this niche market and offer high quality rv's, but they would cost a lot cut and dried.

ken
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Old 12-10-2014, 11:06 AM   #23
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I like this thread. We need to demand more from our RV manufacturers when it comes to quality and longevity. They will comply but we have to be prepared to pay. If you want a cheap TT, that's what you'll get. Some folks don't have $40-50K to spend and the manufacturers still want to sell $15-20K units.

Like I said previously, it all gets down to design, materials, and cost. It's a triangle decision but you only get to choose two points. If you want a high quality design with great materials, then the cost is going to go up. If you want low cost and a good design, then the materials will be cheapened or the size of the unit or amenities will be cut. You can't have it all!! That's why there are so many different designs and manufacturers out there.

Having said all that, I still think the RV industry needs to rise to the challenge of better quality and longer lasting designs. With the materials now available and the tremendous design creativity in our country, surely they can come up with something better that we can all afford. As has already been mentioned, switching to stainless steel screws might only cost $10/unit but the result is far worth it. There are numerous small changes like this that could be made. The RV industry do NOT understand longevity!! And some of us don't understand proper care and maintenance, so there's two sides to the story.

Cheers to all...
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Old 12-10-2014, 11:42 AM   #24
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They'll rise to the challenge of building quality and longer lasting units only if one of them decides to step outside the box (pun) and start building RV's with better technics. It's going to take an event like when Honda and Toyota 1st came to the USA and started selling cheap high quality cars that were better than the big 3's. Look who has the best selling cars today. Honda and Toyota. Until that happens and with new buyers accounting for 30% of the market, then things will never change. The RV industry knows how to work human emotions. They plaster the outside with cool colors and neat graphics to get you inside. Then they put all the home amenities you like in it. What is hidden is all the shoddy 70's style, paid by the piece construction technics.


Another factor that's downgrading RV's is the quality of amenities. Jensen for one. Cheap junk. Why would anyone want to spend $4-500.00 for a 32" tv? The Jensen DVD units constantly break, aren't BluRay capable and have only one HDMI in/out port. Furniture that's marginally comfortable. Recliners that are big enough for a 6'4" 260lb linebacker. What about the average 5'9" person? Etc.
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Old 12-10-2014, 12:29 PM   #25
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Definitely hit the hot button! So many small areas could be changed to make quality last longer. Taking the time to do quality work would stand out in this industry and really pay in the long run. As an outside repairman myself, quality work means you do not have to even go back for many years. I would say that the frame, chassis, and the shell are the basis for a good start. The bells and whistles will need repairs so often. We went with a used 5 year old Jayco 24T. Only paid 1/3 of original price and yes have made some small repairs. You can find some really good used models if you look long enough and probably save some of that money for traveling. Let us know what make and model you decide on.

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Old 12-11-2014, 08:40 AM   #26
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And most expensive of all is the Cost of Poor Quality. If the quality of the product you sell is judged to be poor enough you will loose customers and sales Loose enough sales and you are out of business.
I really don't expect to buy another RV as it has taken me years to correct all the screw-ups Coachmen did when they assembled the unit the first time. I haven't seen any other company with any significant improvements so as the wife says why would we want to buy a new Rv and have to start over again re-engineering another unit.
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Old 12-11-2014, 10:54 AM   #27
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Well its been said here already but I want to add my two cents anyway. Start with the foundation and go up from there. I have been looking and researching for a new TT for the past three months. We have come to the conclusion that Outdoors RV & Arctic Fox, (Northwood), build about the best chassis in our price range and they offer the best warranty for the price. They over build their frames and suspensions and I like the shocks on both axles. That will make the unit tow better than one without. Everything will have issues, even Honda's. Research what your TV's weight limits are. I have done that and its amazing what a 3/4 ton truck won't tow, or won't tow safely. I never did that with the previous four TT's I've owned and some were miserable to tow because I was well beyond the limits of my truck. I have received information from people on this forum site that has been invaluable, couldn't have a better place or people to get help from. Good luck on your search.
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Old 12-11-2014, 11:08 AM   #28
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And most expensive of all is the Cost of Poor Quality. If the quality of the product you sell is judged to be poor enough you will loose customers and sales Loose enough sales and you are out of business.
I really don't expect to buy another RV as it has taken me years to correct all the screw-ups Coachmen did when they assembled the unit the first time. I haven't seen any other company with any significant improvements so as the wife says why would we want to buy a new Rv and have to start over again re-engineering another unit.
You need to shop around some then. We've had 2 TT's and 1 5er. The 1st TT needed nothing. Only issue was poor caulking over the exhaust vent for the range hood.

2nd TT only needed the free standing table replaced. It had a small hair line crack where the pieces were glued together. The tech guy showed it to us during PDI. I doubt I would've noticed it very soon, it was that small.

1st 5er had a tiny water leak at a fitting. Fixed under warranty. Kitchen faucet broke, bedroom faucet broke. Those are not manufacture issues but sub manf issues. The tiny water leak was. It was fixed in 1 hr under warranty. They actually sent me the parts to fix but I couldn't get it stopped so the RV repair guy bought better parts. As far as the faucets go, we hated both anyway. Not really that many good ones unless you spend some money for upper level RV's. The kitchen faucet was too low to the sink, making it difficult to wash dishes or fill water bottles if anything was in the sink. The bathroom faucet was just the cheap plastic kind found in most trailers of the low to mid price range. Heck even some mid to upper level units have plastic bath faucets. IIRC the kitchen one cost around $80.00 and the bathroom one around $45.00. Hardly worth complaining about spending $125.00 and having the trailer the way we want it.


Read the internet brand forums and you'll find that they all have problems. Some way more than others. I've been reading several RV forums for 4-5 years and have picked up on certain brands as ones to stay away from. Sounds like you got one of the ones that had way more problems than most. Only thing making me not want to get another one real soon is all the mods I like doing Still doing some to the current 5er. Just not ready to start again.


With all that being said, the overall package is sub par. Our current 5er is structurally as solid as they make. It's the little things that are irritating. Like sloppy exterior caulking, uncomfortable furniture. But that's not a deal breaker for us. We go into the buying process with the idea that we will need to make improvements to suit our taste. It's just the nature of the beast.
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