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Old 11-15-2010, 10:23 AM   #29
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Norm4015, no other industry typifies the downward spirial in material/labor quality more than the home building industry and the market saturation of poor quality staples-nails, drywall, hardware is just the beginning.
Rough Road, I appreciate your thoughts and comments. I built my first house in 1968 and I have lived in both old construction houses and new houses. I think we see things differently and everyone is open to their opinions.

My present house was built to constructions standards that did not exist just a few years ago. The insulation and roofing were so new I had to look them up on the internet to make sure the builder was telling the truth. And the dual pane windows construction was not thought about in the 1960s. This last month our temperature has been between 28 and 85 degrees, but we have not needed to use heat or air conditioning. The interior has remained between 68 and 76 degrees.

Everything from the concrete to the framing to the bricks were set with laser leveling. The appliances are all energy efficient. The efficiency of the air conditioner / heat pump was not heard of just ten years ago. The cabinets were assembled on site and the countertop was brought in in slabs and cut and installed - beautiful. All electric circuits for outlets and lighting are 20-amp and I have 26 of those breakers in the box. There will never be an electric problem or dimming of the lights.

I will never have to scrape and paint the exterior because there is no paint. To me the above items, plus many more, denote quality.

My first car was a nice used 1952 Chevy. The owners manual said to change the oil every 1,000 miles because it didn't have an oil filter. Plugs, points and the rotor lasted 10,000 miles and tires about 20,000 miles. I don't want to go back there.

My first RV, a 1968 model, had single pane windows, little insulation, a 20 gallon fresh tank, one 20 gallon holding tank, and a refrigerator, furnace and water heater that had to be lit with matches. I don't want to go back there.

From the comments in this thread I suppose I see things differently than most people. But I will take today's quality and efficieny over yesterdays.
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Old 11-16-2010, 07:47 AM   #30
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Norm, there have been -some- advances in home building: the introduction of drywall was significant, the amount of moisture brought into homes with plastering was a significant problem; plywood was a mixed blessing, the early years saw alot of glue failure which is why we were never allowed to use it-only boards and if the customer was willing to pay a little more we got to diagonally board the walls this was right up there with having to dip each shingle.

Now you are lucky to get plywood, usually its osb and in the much too tight houses that you, and most others are stiving to spend their lives in problems do/will occur.

Unless you have fresh air intake living in a thermos bottle will be shown to have significant health implications, and not good ones at that; the outgassing of osb coupled with all other voc's is a recipe for diaster-certainly your heating and cooling costs will be low, but the ultimate cost will be profound.

I'll give you that laser transits were a cool invention but I offer this as food for thought, they were developed because so many were unable to level the optical transit, and as far as foundations-man could I yak on this: sure the foundations MAY be plumb and level but why are 99% cracked? Again I can only say that in the old day long pours HAD to be broken and there was/is a very valid engineering practice for this. Want to discuss metal bridging????

Older rv construction was, by far, better-plumbing was direct in nature and copper ruled the day with good reason, copper pipe by nature does not allow bacteria to grow, pex is quite a different matter. Wood framing was generally used again with good reason, its better AND the lack of the over emphasis on insulation made the use of wood a no brainer.

The sole exception was powertrains, todays engines/transmissions are vastly superior but this is a modification that can easily be done when someone gets a project coach.

Every 'advancement' in rv design has been brought about for one reason and one reason only, the -improvement- cost less than the 'old fashioned' way why else would the abomination known as rubber roofing have evolved?

A new rv?, just like a new house-thanks but no thanks.
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Old 11-16-2010, 10:49 AM   #31
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I'm another one that is glad they don't make them the way they used to. Granted there are some things that were better quality years ago but for the most part they're better now days. As for older MHs vs newer ones, and gas vs diesel, I've had one of each. I had a '93 Bounder gasser and now have a 2005 Bounder diesel. The '93 got a complete new engine at 49,000 miles but I drove it another 57,000 with no mechanical problems. The 2005 only has about 15,000 miles on it so we'll see how it does in the long run. I can tell you without a doubt that the ride, towing power, carrying capacity, low noise level, etc in the diesel coach is far and away better than what the gas coach can do. After owning the gasser for 12 years I knew it inside and out and could fix the little things that came up (yes, older coaches need constant attention if you want to keep them in top shape like I perfer). I'm in the process of tackling the learning curve on the diesel coach but far as I'm concerned I made the right decision to upgrade to the one I have now. My son has the '93 now so I still get to piddle with it now and then.

Bottom line for me is if you want to upgrade and can afford it, do it. If you can afford it but don't want to, don't do it.
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Old 11-16-2010, 06:08 PM   #32
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I have an old 1999 and am thinking about getting a new or newer Class A, I have been a fan of IRV2 for just a short while, trying to learn all I can about what to buy and where to go.
All I see are mfgr. problems with the 2000 and newer. Granted some of the questions and complaints are laughable and seen contrived just to get out in public. Is this my imagination?
Is quality going away because of the economy or just mfgr's cutting corners ?

Larry
i don't no.my unk has a 94 flair no slides we had trans,brakes,frig,air &tires troble no slide trob. so figer
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Old 11-17-2010, 11:21 AM   #33
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Though I will talk about Cars, not RV's, As Neil Diamond sang "Except for the names, and a few other changes, When you talk about me, the story's the same one" (Ok, when you talk about RV's in this case)

IT is written that no matter how good a car company is, they turn out the occasional lemon (Story follows) And no matter how bad, the occasional golden nugget.. The difference between a good (the best) and bad (The worst) is the gold/lemon ratio.

Story: Man buys an expensive, hand made, Italian sports car, Should have ordered it in LEMON YELLOW cause.. IT was. Thing spent more time in shop than on road.. Last time it broke down, Late October, on I-94 in Detroit. he had B&T towing take it up to an address on State Fair and dropped it there. locked it up.. Came back on "Devil's Night" when setting fire to the city seemed to be the activity of the evening, unlocked it, rolled down the window. Backed off, Lit up his Molotoff Cocktail and promptly... GOT MOBBED BY THE POLICE.

(They had the house he dropped it in front of under observation)

Yup, one of the most expensive cars made and it was a lemon.

Now some observations:

I do not see any dropping off of quality overall.. In fact quite the other way around.. Back in the 60/70's I saw a great reduction in quality on many American made goods.. The result was more and more people turned to Japan and other countries for goods. (Made in Japan once meant junk don't you know,,, Now it means Quality) The auto makers, including RV makers, got the message and started moving back up the quality scale.. Today it is not uncommon for US products to be better made.

Of course many companies discovered CHINA.. The new "Made in Junkland" country.
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Old 11-30-2010, 12:12 AM   #34
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My husband and I have been discussing this at great length recently. It seems to us that no longer does anyone takes pride in quality workmanship, a job well done, or doing it right the first time.
Understandably, the materials used on smaller travel trailers like the one we just bought, are not going to be the same quality as the big class A coaches. That doesn't give the manufacturer the right, in my humble opinion, to just slap it together.
I don't expect velvet, leather, real hardwood, etc...but they can take just as much care putting my vinyl, chenille, and pressboard together.
We worked just as hard to pay for our less expensive model, as others did to purchase the more expensive rigs.
In May of this year, we sold a 34' 1984 Itasca Windcruiser that we had purchased in 07, and purchased a 2010 coleman ct240. The Itasca had been in storage (in the desert) for 7 years so we had to replace the soft furnishings, bench cushions, reuph capt chairs and sleeper sofa and blinds due to sun rot. We also replaced the flooring. The construction of that rig, was exceptional. The 2010 coleman can't hold a candle to it.
Mary
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Old 11-30-2010, 12:23 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by maryk2u View Post
My husband and I have been discussing this at great length recently. It seems to us that no longer does anyone takes pride in quality workmanship, a job well done, or doing it right the first time.
Understandably, the materials used on smaller travel trailers like the one we just bought, are not going to be the same quality as the big class A coaches. That doesn't give the manufacturer the right, in my humble opinion, to just slap it together.
I don't expect velvet, leather, real hardwood, etc...but they can take just as much care putting my vinyl, chenille, and pressboard together.
We worked just as hard to pay for our less expensive model, as others did to purchase the more expensive rigs.
In May of this year, we sold a 34' 1984 Itasca Windcruiser that we had purchased in 07, and purchased a 2010 coleman ct240. The Itasca had been in storage (in the desert) for 7 years so we had to replace the soft furnishings, bench cushions, reuph capt chairs and sleeper sofa and blinds due to sun rot. We also replaced the flooring. The construction of that rig, was exceptional. The 2010 coleman can't hold a candle to it.
Mary
Mary see my post on page 2 of the thread BBB/RVIA. In my HO there is no quality control in the rv manuf proccess.
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Old 11-30-2010, 01:37 AM   #36
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From the outset there is no comparison between a Coleman and an Itasca. Granted we hope that each manufacturer will try to include some quality in their units but there will always be a lot of differences between say a Kia and a Cadillac. Manufacturers try to fall into a certain price point and then provide an equal amount of quality.
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Old 11-30-2010, 10:55 AM   #37
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I agree that there is really no comparison. The quality of our 25 year old itasca far out weighed what we have now. the point I was trying to make, was that if circumstances dictate my purchasing a new kia instead of a new cadillac, I should be able to confidently use my new kia without being able to see the road because my door won't close, or the seat breaking, steering wheel coming loose, etc... The quality of the materials and luxury of the different units won't be the same, so the price point would be lower, but at least with automobiles there is some type of quality control standard that has to be followed. The same cannot be said of RV manufacturers. We will certainly choose our next RV using a much different set of criteria than we did this time. Live and learn I guess.
Mary
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Old 11-30-2010, 11:15 AM   #38
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You are correct that you should be able to have some expectations of quality but I am sure if you search around you will also find unhappy owners of even some of the most expensive RV's.
I think my question would be more in the line of is a new Itasca of lesser quality than the a 25 year old one. A newer unit will have the latest and greatest inventions. Like anything else the more you put on the unit the more there is to break. Case in point; last year I lost the electric heating element in my water heater. 25 years ago I would not have had an electric element to loose. RV's today are loaded with gadgets plus they are trying to build them lighter to allow for more fuel efficiency. All we can do is use forums like this to help us decide what we can purchase in our price range.
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Old 11-30-2010, 11:57 AM   #39
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Manufactures are in a constant battle between cost and quality or high craftmanship of parts and manufacturing processes.

As they compete for market share, there is a challenge to get: Better, Faster, Cheaper. Consumers on the other hand want the most they can get for the buck and somewhere along the way must make a decision between high end, low end and cost.

We would all like a 2 million dollar MH for 100k, but's since that's not going happen, there will be something somewhere in between.

What you are seeing is real. As cost competes with product, manufactures decide and engineer products that keep you, a consumer, coming back for more. They know there is a line that you will not cross over, and keep the goods right at that line.

I believe they are trying to deliver the best competitive product to fit a wide market of styles and budgets. They make a profit and you get the goods.
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Old 11-30-2010, 12:11 PM   #40
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To me, the most impact on quality is not the materials, or the number of new whiz-bang gadgets.. its the people. A company in trouble (economically or competitively) will almost always lose the most experienced, highest paid, best benefits employees in favor of low cost, no benefit ones... usually on a 90-120 day Temp basis.. Experience? What experience?
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Old 11-30-2010, 12:47 PM   #41
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In my experience costs are driven by process. The price of people and materials do not drive costs up more than these things working at odds to each other.

You can bet when Toyota had there problems with the recall they didn't just go fire the people that screwed it up, but examined the processes that allowed this mistake to be made.

When a company finds an unreasonable failure rate in a sub assembly they should look at the selection process that allowed that unit to get in there product and fix it to avoid future bad selections. Enlightened companies examine the processes of there suppliers to determine if the sub assembly is going to meet there requirements, not a few samples hand picked to obtain the order.

One of the hardest areas to achieve good processes is in engineering and that is where the problems start. I've heard all the arguments about why engineers can't follow processes and none of them hold water. If you start designing products based on opinions without accountability then quality of the end product suffers.

At first blush it’s easy to argue that working on processes is just a cost and doesn’t help achieve the final goals. That’s a narrow view that doesn’t take in account the overall company wellbeing. Good solid processes bring the various departments together toward one goal, and if that goal is quality first and cost a close second then the company will be successful.

The people are very important but they turn over in the best of companies and more money only solves half the problem. Whenever there is a changeover the process changes, process driven companies see this early and have the tools to get back on track. Process also leads to improvement by providing constancy, a required indicator to see where the real problems are and fix them.

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Old 12-01-2010, 02:13 PM   #42
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It's been said that poor cooks cover their errors with mayonnaise - doctors with dirt, and architects cover theirs with ivy. Many RV/vehicle makers cover their lowered quality with glitz and mirrors - or as hotrodders put it "if it won't go, chrome it!"

SO, if a buyer of a late model RV/MH manages to get a glitzed-up rig and has no major issues with it in the relatively few months or years he owns it - does that alone make it a "quality" unit?

"Quality" is far more revealed in how well the TOTAL rig - both living space AND drivetrain - holds up with proper care and maintenance after 15 or 20 years.

Take a long look around in various CG's and resorts, and out on the road - and see what 30 year old brands other than Winnebago and a VERY small number of others are still in regular use!

THEN, if YOUR brand, or - the brand you most respect and was in business 30 years ago - is one you frequently seen in those places, then at least THAT long ago, overall quality for that brand was at least alive and well way back then.

But for the current crop - only 2 or 3 decades will tell...
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