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Old 08-14-2011, 04:27 PM   #15
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The biggest problem with a unified information effort is , 99% of the Newbies will purchase an RV WITHOUT having read any of it ... I did !!! Got suckered in by a slick RV salesman .. who actually Lied about all the questions I asked ... Didn't mention the extensive maintenance it would require, nor the $125/ hr labor rate they charged ..
Doing some work on it myself , I found it was made out of the cheapest materials , hastily stapled and screwed together ... Off brand appliances that work for a time ,usually through the short warranty period, then quit , Requiring expensive replacements ... And building practices that actually lead to early failure...
When I confronted the dealer with this ... he snootily called my TT "entry level" and "Disposable " ... Somehow , I don't consider a $20k investment as "disposable " ...
An acquaintance , who is an RV repairman and tech , and honest enough to talk truthfull about it , gave me a tour of his facility where he repairs Big Buck MCs, and pointed out the EXACT same problems ... Being bigger , they just had much BIGGER repair bills ...

Having been burned ... I have begun building my own ... Two TTs so far , both constructed of Good materials chosen for durability ... both having survived several years with NO maintenance other than the usual washing and re-greasing the WBs ... Lighter in weight, a Third of the price and no BS dealers to contend with ... Just one alternative , certainly not for everybody ...

Best just keep spreading "the Word" and maybe you can save a few from these Money Pits ...

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Old 08-14-2011, 05:10 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by brucerob View Post
I don't think you are ever guaranteed you get what you pay for and should feel lucky if you do. I cannot afford a Foretravel (which is fine with me) and don't expect to have the quality and sophistication in my humble RV. I do expect an RV that is roadworthy and doesn't leak at every opportunity, it's always a plus if the appliances function too.

Warranty repairs are expensive for a manufacturer (even though they pay a discounted rate), many manufactures have found themselves in serious financial difficulty due to high warranty costs. I've never understood why so many manufacturers are willing to pay for repairs instead of building the units properly to begin with.

I'll agree with the appliances, and Norcold may have dug their own hole. But that has nothing to do with the RV manufacturers who simply buy and live with the same bad rap and associated lawsuits from catastrophic failures as the end user. A consumer group won't have an effect on this any more that it will on a specific company that has cronic roof leaks. Do we think they do that on purpose? I know there are accepted defect vs. production rates for RV's as well as cars. Do we think that this consumer group that stands there and says "that's not good enough" will affect a company that struggles to make payroll, and now they're spending extra time to go through the line to see if they can find the 2 or 3% of the product that may have issues?

I don't like it either, but I'm also a realist, and in the case of Norcold it wouldn't surprise me for them to reorganize as Monaco did and refuse to honor anything prior to the "new" company.

I don't see these consumer groups having any affect on the auto industry. Buyers simply don't buy what doesn't last or perform in it's peer group (Ford vs. Chev. vs. Dodge trucks for example).


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Old 08-14-2011, 06:37 PM   #17
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So it looks like something needs to be done, at some scale to start getting organized. Is there anyone on iRV2 that has some experience getting groups, no matter small together?
I don't mean we all meet somewhere, I mean get the ball rolling and figure out exactly what we need when we need it.
How about starting a grassroots ratings system, and posting it here.
Can a Moderator tell us if we can have our own owners group/forum?
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Old 08-14-2011, 06:55 PM   #18
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Kool > How long you been RVing?
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Old 08-14-2011, 07:18 PM   #19
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Last week, while waiting for everyone to show up for a meeting, one of the participants told us about an experience he had at Wal-Mart. He was in the self checkout aisle, and the people in front of him were simply putting items from one cart into another without scanning them. When the person who was supposed to watch for that was watching, they dutifully scanned each item. As soon as that person was distracted, they skipped items. He reported it, and the thief was caught. In talking to the manager, though, he found out that Wal-Mart actually knows that people will steal this way. Their only concern is whether the loss from the theft is more or less than the cost of an employee!

Many manufacturers have this same mindset. They would rather build many units as cheaply as possible, and then pay to fix the few that are actually brought back for repair. Someone else reported that the factory and dealer simply delayed as much as possible until the warranty ran out.

What to do? My suggestion is to start with the dealer on any issue. Give the dealer an honest chance (or two or three) to fix the problem. Don't be confrontational, but give the dealer all the information about the problem you can. If the problem is beyond what the dealer can do, ask the dealer to contact the factory on your behalf. If you can bring the rig to the factory yourself, do so, even if it means a bit of inconvenience for you. You are the one with the complaint, and you are the one that needs to be satisfied.

Will this solve all of the problems? No. Will it make for easier problem-solving? Probably.

One other thing: join your brand's owners' club, and participate. If at all possible, attend their homecoming rally (or whatever they call it). Go on the factory tour and talk to the bigwigs. Most that I've met genuinely want to build a quality product for the price and are interested in finding out what their customers want. Remember the price, though. Don't expect a Fiesta to be a Lincoln, but don't accept a Lincoln that is a Fiesta, either.
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Old 08-14-2011, 08:42 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by kb0zke
Don't expect a Fiesta to be a Lincoln, but don't accept a Lincoln that is a Fiesta, either.
It doesn't matter if it's a Lincoln or a fiesta, thats like saying if I spend 5k I should expect it to fall apart but if I spend 30k it should be flawless.
The price only factors in when you are looking for extras.
Quality of the production line should be the same. Longevity of the product is a different matter, high quality luxury coaches should last longer and have high end equipment.

But the folks building them should have the same basic quality control and pride in workmanship.
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:14 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by doc View Post
Kool > How long you been RVing?
Pulling a trailer about 15 yrs. in a class A about 4.
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:38 PM   #22
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I do believe something is needed but seriously doubt that Consumer based anything can carry much clout against $$$$$$. Maybe fifty years ago in the '60's consumerism meant something.
Tom, Cheryl & Blossom(coonhound mix) Formerly of Bellingham,WA'05 Winnebago Journey 36G. FL-XC, Cat 350, aero muffler, AFE filter, 4 FSD Koni's, ultra track bell, SafeT+, FMCA397030, WIT 129107
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Old 08-14-2011, 10:11 PM   #23
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The RV Consumers Group does already do a pretty good job of rating Motor homes, 5th wheels, and trailers. And in a way this forum does what you suggest. The problem with forums is most owners just tout what they bought.
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Old 08-14-2011, 10:28 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by KoolBell View Post
Pulling a trailer about 15 yrs. in a class A about 4.
Always glad to have newcomers to the RV world!
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Old 08-14-2011, 11:13 PM   #25
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Gee Whiz, I guess I'm just one lucky guy. My first RV, an Establishment C was rather problem free, and Galpin Ford did a real good job of keeping me happy. My second RV, a Holiday Rambler had few problem, and when things did happen either the warranty or the extended warranty kept everything rolling. I only kept that rig 12 years, and when I traded it in I knew the next buyer would get plenty of future pleasure. The Fleetwood Pace Arrow gave us a few years of pleasure, but the dog-house was a problem after the knee replacements so we traded for the Adventurer. Fleetwood was always responsive, even though the dealer was a total loss. The Winnebago is excellent in their customer responsiveness. My dealer, one of the biggies, has gone belly up, and deserves it, but Winnebago has always been helpful. When I just changed out my TV, I gave them an e-mail on a Saturday asking a question, on Monday I received a phone call from a service tech specialist answering all my question. I was stunned, thrilled, and pleasantly surprised.
As an industry, RV manufacturing can certainly improve. But give them credit for presenting an affordable product. Provost is an excellent example of how much better an RV can be...perfect fit, perfect paint, not a single squeak, but for me, totally unattainable.
But back to basics: I guess I consider myself a luck RV guy. Happy with my rig.
Happy Trails.
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Old 08-15-2011, 06:40 AM   #26
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Let's face the truth .... The RV industry is selling to the Ladies ... All those cutesy' curtains, upholstery , "kitchen" style Cabinets ... looking like a picture from Better Holmes and Gardens ... Things not required in the "manly" scenario... All this just for feminine eye appeal...they are the ones who pick which one they like , right ! !!! ... expensive to do this , so they short the structure ... Cheaper materials , Asian appliances/parts ... hasty assembly ... making them low quality , high in eye appeal , and overly HEAVY !!! Any of the Old Timers here will remember a time when RVs were made to last ... and did ... But they were much simpler , less 'frilly" .. Made with Pride and not motivated only by as much Profit as they can make .
The warranties now are only long enough to get past most defects (it takes a while for even cheap wood to rot) , after that ,they refer the work to the dealers , who charge ridiculous rates for labor and parts (supplied by the factory at great expense)... Forcing most people to either ignore the problems , fix it themselves, or pay outrageous repair bills ... for more of the same ... The factory supplied repair parts are the same as what broke in the first place ... Human nature makes most folks lazy , uncertain , scared , or just not "want to Bother" (our disposable society) , so they do nothing , or preferably (to the Industry) Buy a New one ...

I Love the part where they say it's all to keep the jobs ... Right !!! If the top execs weren't making BIG BUCKS , they wouldn't be doing it ... Those "jobs" are probably no better than working at the Mc Donalds , with about the same amount of concern ... We've seen the factory "worker ants" , scurrying around at top speed , working as fast as they can , as if their job depended on it ... and it does ...
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:58 AM   #27
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As long as most people buy on eye appeal there won't be much changing in quality.

RV Consumer Group doesn't do any testing and their ratings aren't based on any recognized standards or principles, so they are not effective.
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Old 08-15-2011, 01:42 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
RV Consumer Group doesn't do any testing and their ratings aren't based on any recognized standards or principles, so they are not effective.
I'm a newbie and not familiar with RV Consumer Group, so I just went on their website to learn about them. And, while you are right, this group does seem to offer some form of what the OP looked to achieve with a forum. So, if they are publishing their findings, why do you feel they not effective? It seems to me that they are effectively guiding those who purchase their Ratings Guide into brands that rate well in their system.

As a pop-up camper who is looking to make the upgrade into a travel trailer, I find the industry completely overwhelming and in need dire need of product rationalization. The sheer number of sub-brands (and sub-sub-brands in some cases) within a manufacturer's portfolio that offer little to no product differentiation makes no sense to me from neither a financial nor marketing perspective.

With a dearth of statistical data on components and systems, construction techniques, and after sale reliability, it is virtually impossible for the vast majority of consumers to make a qualified decison based on comparative research. And, when coupled with most consumers' general lack of knowledge regarding chassis, flooring components, and mechanical or electrical systems, they are left on their own as to what they "see" (i.e. eye appeal) and "read" (i.e. forum opinions, 3rd party research, etc.)

I would love to see a forum organized in a way that ranks the products effectively and includes the opinions (good & bad) of the owners of each. Unlike MaverickBBD, I believe consumerism is even greater today with the net versus the 60's. The ability to acquire and communicate information to an interested audience is by far easier to achieve than 5 decades ago. Therefore, I encourage KoolBell in his efforts and wish him much success in creating such a service for future owners.

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