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Old 08-27-2016, 06:19 PM   #1
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Where are the designers & engineers?

While at an RV outlet in the St Louis area for supplies, I decided to look at a Tiffin Allegro Breeze. I have a 34' Winnebago, and the Breeze is an opportunity to move to diesel without moving to a larger coach. In addition, Tiffin has the kind of strong reputation that puts them high on my list.

The first one I looked at was a 2015 used unit. While looking through it, I noticed the shower door out of line (no big deal - easy adjustment). But then I noticed that the hinge was attached with flathead screws which are not correct for attaching sheetmetal. Okay, maybe it was an oversight and Tiffin figured it out.

Next I looked at a brand new unit - a 2017 model. Of course one of the first things I looked at was the shower door. Sure enough, the same flathead screws attaching the same sheetmetal. No learning occurred at Tiffin.

Would it have been difficult to use pan-head screws or finish washers with the flathead screws?

I know this is a minor issue - one I could correct for myself in minutes. BUT it begs the larger question: If a minor (and very obvious) issue is allowed to not only happen initially but continue, then what bad design or execution issues lurk out of sight?

Now I have a small, but gnawing, doubt in the back of my mind as to whether or not Tiffin is really any different than all the others.
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Old 08-28-2016, 02:36 AM   #2
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Read posts on RV travel.com where he talks about problems manufacturers have with hiring people and trying to train them. So many units being built and they are all messed up. Even if I had the money I wouldn't buy a new RV 😀
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Old 08-28-2016, 06:57 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by AggieDad View Post

Would it have been difficult to use pan-head screws or finish washers with the flathead screws?
Maybe there are other places that use flathead screws, and switching back and forth between screw types would add a few milli-seconds to the build time.
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Old 08-28-2016, 07:18 AM   #4
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It's not the head type that determines the appropriateness of a screw for an application. Sheet metal screws can have many different types of heads, flat-head being one of them. Usually flat head screws are used in a countersunk hole so the screw head is flush with the surface. Tiffin might be using sheet metal screws but with the wrong head. I agree flat-head screws that aren't countersunk are unsightly and make it look like somebody used the wrong screw.
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Old 08-28-2016, 07:44 AM   #5
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AggieDad, I can see why you wouldn't want to use flat head screws in thin sheet metal because the heads may pull through. Do you know what are the guidelines for minimum metal thickness to be able to use flat head screws?

As I look around our RV, all the butt-type and piano hinges have flat head screws. The reason is round head or pan head screws would interfere with the screw heads on the opposite side of the hinge. Some of the hinges are small and some are larger, but even the smallest of them are made of metal that is thick enough (.030") that I wouldn't call it thin sheet metal.
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Old 08-28-2016, 08:57 AM   #6
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I think this is much less about design and engineering, and way more about workmanship and QC.

Even if there was a "newbie" using the wrong screw on the assembly line, there should have been an inspector that could have gone up the line and "schooled" the assembler - assuming he/she knew any better.

I would not have been real impressed seeing the issue either..... the fact it exists, or the fact it seems to be an ongoing issue....
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Old 08-28-2016, 02:08 PM   #7
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I've fixed almost 130 mfger screwups. And made another 60 improvements. 1 1/2 Yr old motorhome. As long as the chassis is good, the 130 are trival and cheap to fix. Anything on the chassis is hundreds to thousands. Worry about significant things.
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Old 08-28-2016, 04:28 PM   #8
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Don't want to sidetrack this as one of those "We all caused this, by forcing the manufactures to reach price points that we'd be willing to pay."

Many of the manufactures that did not cut corners, both designing and building things with better materials, are no longer with us.

Tiffin, Fleetwood, Etc. have had to find a balance between material choices, design, labor expenses vs costs that the public is willing to pay for. Some, again like Fleetwood and Tiffen, have enough depth that they have entry/mid/upper end coaches. (Zephyr and American Coach). They cost more, and their volume of unit production or lower.

I personally stopped being surprised by the in some cases 'cheapness' of material choices, and components, and construction technique - just too many people are more interested in new and flashy, with a monthly payment they can afford. And many just don't take the time to get educated between say a Foretravel/Country Coach/Beaver/Executive/Etc vs a Flair/Storm/Alegro/Phaeton/Hurricane/Etc.

Quality by many, and final inspection, are left to the dealers and or the buyer to sort out...

Depending upon the budget point that someone is willing to spend, sometimes it is a better move to drop years to stay within budget, and buy the highest quality coach that meets your needs that you can find.

And opinions of course, vary! I've shared some of mine..

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Old 08-28-2016, 05:21 PM   #9
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All manufacturers are different in some ways, but pretty much the same in most ways I think. They want to keep their prices down, so scrimp in many ways, and don't seem to realize that another $5 spent may be what it takes to make a customer happy and recommend them to others. I have spent hundreds of dollars having accessories installed aftermarket that the manufacturer could have done for $50 if done during the manufacturing process. And I find that they are doing what car manufacturers have been doing for over 25 years now, moving more and more options to standard equipment, and keeping ordering options down to just a few items. Manufacturers (except for Nexus) don't want to be bothered with customizing orders or dealing with a long list of options. And then they seem to do some really goofy things. I was told by Forest River that is how they keep their prices down - making all units pretty much same.
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Old 08-28-2016, 05:32 PM   #10
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I'm surprised they used flat head screws since they can't be driven with an air or electric driver.
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Old 08-28-2016, 05:33 PM   #11
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I wonder if Tiffin coaches are no better in the QC dept than any other similarly priced coach. Perhaps their better than average reputation comes from better than average customer support.
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Old 08-28-2016, 05:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahicks View Post
I think this is much less about design and engineering, and way more about workmanship and QC.

Even if there was a "newbie" using the wrong screw on the assembly line, there should have been an inspector that could have gone up the line and "schooled" the assembler - assuming he/she knew any better.
Well since the issue transcends three model years, I don't think it is a "newbie" or a lazy inspector. I think it is what they do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paz View Post
AggieDad, I can see why you wouldn't want to use flat head screws in thin sheet metal because the heads may pull through. Do you know what are the guidelines for minimum metal thickness to be able to use flat head screws?
It's pretty fundamental. When using a flathead screw, use a screw size such that the screw head is flush with the surface after countersinking. If that can't be done either screw size is too large or the material too thin. If so, there are alternatives such as finish washers or pan-head screws. However, while these will look finished, neither will be flush - but they probably don't need to be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiesta48 View Post
I've fixed almost 130 mfger screwups. And made another 60 improvements. 1 1/2 Yr old motorhome. As long as the chassis is good, the 130 are trival and cheap to fix. Anything on the chassis is hundreds to thousands. Worry about significant things.
As I mentioned in my original post, this is a trivial fix. And like you, I have done any number of fixes and changes on my Winnie (although I am not brave enough to keep count).

My problem is simply this: If the obvious can't be done correctly, what is happening where it can't be seen? This wasn't a $60,000 entry level Class C, this was a $200,000 Tiffin Class A diesel. Tiffin is supposedly the best of the "everyday" RVs.
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Old 08-28-2016, 05:44 PM   #13
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All manufacturers are different in some ways, but pretty much the same in most ways I think. They want to keep their prices down, so scrimp in many ways, and don't seem to realize that another $5 spent may be what it takes to make a customer happy and recommend them to others. .......... Manufacturers (except for Nexus) don't want to be bothered with customizing orders or dealing with a long list of options.
I wouldn't make a generalization of 'ALL'.

Newmar isn't in that category and has been around a long time.

Building a Newmar take days, not hours like the mass-produced RVs. All levels of Newmar are built on the same production line so they all get the same builders working on it. If something farther down the line is incorrect, it's sent back to the one who did it for correction. At the end it is put through many tests to make sure everything is working as it should.

We had over 100 customs on our build list. Many were simple like more outlets, more lighting, different lighting, etc. but a few were major. They will do almost anything you'd want as long as it doesn't involve a structural change.
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Old 08-28-2016, 07:08 PM   #14
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I wouldn't make a generalization of 'ALL'.

Newmar isn't in that category and has been around a long time.

Building a Newmar take days, not hours like the mass-produced RVs. All levels of Newmar are built on the same production line so they all get the same builders working on it. If something farther down the line is incorrect, it's sent back to the one who did it for correction. At the end it is put through many tests to make sure everything is working as it should.

We had over 100 customs on our build list. Many were simple like more outlets, more lighting, different lighting, etc. but a few were major. They will do almost anything you'd want as long as it doesn't involve a structural change.
Not sure what manufacturers assemble a motorhome in hours. Watched my Tiffin Phaeton get built. Started on November 30th and completed on December 18th, which was 1 day ahead of the published schedule. Allegro gasers, Phaetons and Allegro Busses are all made on the same assembly line. Only the Breeze deviated from the main assembly line. Final inspection and testing took 2 days, which a hand full of minor issues were fixed. Have it 7 months now and 8000 miles. Had total of 5 minor issues that my dealer repaired within a week.
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