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Old 05-11-2012, 06:34 AM   #1
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RV industry (still) not catching up on quality issues

I have been driving an RV for 5 years now and as quality is an overall issue on the RV's I wondered if the RV industry made some improvements.
My RV Winnebago 2001 on a Ford E450 has many quality related issues. The one thing that's sticks out is RUST. Rust is everywhere; any part of the RV that is made from metal is totally rusted and makes the vehicle look old and dilapidated in less than 5 years. This and many other issues can be read in this blog: Why you should not buy an RV that I found the other day.
So we are now 5 years later and we just went thru a big financial crisis where especially this industry got hit hard. Many RV makers went belly up and I was hoping that lessons learned would put this industry in a different thinking mode, ie "Let's see if we can make them better and customers might come back".
Nothing is further from the truth. I went to an RV dealer and looked at the 2012 Gulf Stream VISA 23RBK. The one thing that I noticed immediately is that the formaldehyde scare after Katrina got their attention (http://do-not-buy-an-rv.tumblr.com/Formaldehyde) and this trailer had a certification in low VOC.
So that's good, however one dip under the trailer revealed a rusted area of over a foot long on the frame. Knowing that this trailer had not driven one mile and spend it's entire live in the showroom you and I know what this means once you own the vehicle. Rust, rust and more rust. So looking more closely at the vehicle and comparing the other issues I have with my RV I must report that nothing has changed.
So the conclusion is still: Stay away from buying an RV and either rent or take a vacation in an expensive hotel. Because owning an RV and paying for its yearly maintenance is easily going to top your expensive hotel trip bill by far and that hotel trip will not give you headaches throughout the rest of the year.
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Old 05-11-2012, 07:39 AM   #2
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Here's an interesting thought. Several years ago, I was a guest at the big RVIA show in Louisville, and had a conversation with, if I remember correctly, the CEO of Rexall. Some of their RV's were made for export to Europe, and he said the manufacturers there only made changes every 5 or more years but U.S. manufacturers needed to have a fresh feature or gimmick every fall at the RVIA show. His thought was that the Europeans could spend years fine tuning the same products whereas his energy was expended by always coming up with something new each year.

If we weren't so caught up in the "model change" mentality, maybe the quality you speak of could be improved. Or, the cost reduction "experts" would have more time to pick over the products...
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Old 05-11-2012, 07:50 AM   #3
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They are going, for the most part, try to make them cheaper so they sell, don't most people buy on price. How many say, "They both look the same, I will take the more expensive unit!"
Want to talk rust look under any vehicle that has steel in it. The galvanized/treated ones just take longer then fall apart. My new Ford had rust on it when I bought it, so I treated it with a rust treatment, guess what I get to do again this year.
I do not know your age but do you remember when brake lines use to NOT rust out. Now they are good for 5-10 years. In 1985 I was driving my grandfathers 1957 ford with all original metal parts, gas and brake lines included.
If you want it to last, that is one of the things you gave to take care of, not that I am happy with it.
Speaking of which, the weather is suppose to be good this weekend, time to do the truck and trailer. ...sigh...
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Old 05-11-2012, 07:58 AM   #4
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Two thoughts - you get what you pay for and quality materials cost $. The weeding out process of the past few years has hit everyone. Unfortunately, quality builders have gone out of business (or been swallowed up) just as much as shoddy builders. So the rule is buyer beware, still. Thankfully, with the Internet consumers can rely on on one another to show which is which. I would disagree with your conclusion. The RV lifestyle is a choice and cannot be compared to hotels. The joy of sleeping in ones own non-bug infested bed at virtually any location of ones choosing, cannot be overemphasized. Then think older not newer and the cost comparison becomes rather lopsided.
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:20 AM   #5
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Still it's disappointing

By the looks of your replies you all did get my point. And I totally agree with the fact that RV'ing is a different life style. I camped all my live, am with the Boy-scouts for the last 8 years, and there is nothing better than waking up under the stars.

I am just so disappointed by 'the American product'. The Japanese solved these issues 25 years ago. My 16 year old 200000+ miles Camry does not have any rust and never had any mayor repairs. Sure I needed a new radiator once, change my oil faithfully etc.

The issues we have with RV are easy issues. Let's look at the foot long spot of rust I mentioned earlier when I looked at this new trailer. It was easily detectable that just one layer of paint is the main cause of the rust. Instead of putting one layer of paint give it a primer layer and than a good top coating. Is that too costly? Nah.. it all about delivering cheap and making sure you need another one soon.

So to all who are considering an RV... do yourself a favor and stay away.

Read the blog (http://do-not-buy-an-rv.tumblr.com/) I mentioned earlier in my initial post. I wish I had before I bought.
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B4jsp View Post
......
I am just so disappointed by 'the American product'. The Japanese solved these issues 25 years ago. My 16 year old 200000+ miles Camry does not have any rust and never had any mayor repairs. Sure I needed a new radiator once, change my oil faithfully etc.

So to all who are considering an RV... do yourself a favor and stay away.
.....
I take issue with your american product slam.
The Japanese solved WHAT?? Your Camry is most likely and American product. I don't see a bunch of 16 year old Chevys and Fords rusting out either.
rusting was so bad in late70 and early 80s that the car companys around the world starting using better designs and using more rust resiant materails. This was NOT "something the Japanese solved"
Haveing said that I will say the car companys have backed off on thier war on rust. and that is a shame.

You keep mentioning this 5 year ownership but, you have a 10 year old RV not 5 years old.
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:36 AM   #7
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I'd like to say Welcome to the forum but I'm not sure you will be. What a negative posting! Also, the link to the tumbir site is a bunch of negative opinions by someone obviously unhappy. RV's are not for babies, they take care and maintenance. Yes, it would be nice to have fewer issues, but we're driving a house down the road! Houses have issues too.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:01 AM   #8
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Thank you for your concern but I will take my own council on whether or not to own an RV.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:06 AM   #9
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If you think your RV chassis is any different that the Ford E450 chassis that is used in a multitude of applications you are dreaming. The RV chassis is no different than the rest and has not been singled out.
There is a big difference in surface rust and rust that penetrates through the frame like the early 2000's Toyota Tacoma. The Tacoma frames were victims of perforating rust. Spare tires fell off, leaf spring mounts failed, they failed safety inspections because of rust perforations. Has any of this happened to your frame, I don't think so.
Your references give no facts, just rambling.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:24 AM   #10
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Once in a while we see similar posts on a pop up forum.
Many people would like to see more aluminum and stainless steel used.
We would like to see denser seat cushions, better mattresses, thicker fabrics, residential style metal fixtures, thicker floors, solid wood cabinets, insulated water lines, etc.
So I ask this, Who would buy an 8,000 lb $24,000 pop up?
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:52 AM   #11
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This is "Negative Neils" 2nd post and I'm guessing he's not going to make a lot of friends. Do I naively think my travel trailer is going to last 30 years? No. Did I worry about the rust on the frame when I bought it? No. We live in Wisconsin - we deal with corrosive salt every winter. Rust is a matter of fact in our climate. If he's telling people not to buy an RV and to stay in hotels instead, then what the heck is he doing owning and driving one? Seems to me he should have sold his unit and started making reservations at the local Holiday Inn. Frankly, I can do without his piss poor attitude and "advice."
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:30 PM   #12
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Well... I guess we could have aircraft quality RVs. Have you priced an aircraft lately? Have you priced maintenance on an airplane lately? Airplanes last for MANY years, primarily based upon the materials used, and the maintenance schedules involved. Your RV, car, boat, etc. would last 50+ years if it had a maintenance schedule like a 747...

But, having just started using an RV to facilitate going to model competitions, trout fishing, etc., I am truly removed from the motel croud, because the fun is being where the fun is... not at the motel. I recently went to a large model glider competition in Queen Creek, AZ. Every night for 6 nights, we had a big campfire and lots of fun around it... That's why I RV. Those at the motels... weren't there...
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IWillRVToo View Post
Once in a while we see similar posts on a pop up forum.
Many people would like to see more aluminum and stainless steel used.
We would like to see denser seat cushions, better mattresses, thicker fabrics, residential style metal fixtures, thicker floors, solid wood cabinets, insulated water lines, etc.
So I ask this, Who would buy an 8,000 lb $24,000 pop up?
You are right of course but will agree with the original poster on one point, there is some room for improvement. For example, the last RV show I went to, I was looking at brand new trailers that already had rusting fasteners. While it might be impractical to get a TT made of stainless, would it really kill the manufacturers to us stainless screws particularly in areas that are exposed to the elements. I have done a lot of my own replacements and it literally cost me about $40.00 in screws. It is pure laziness so far as that is concerned, not price, not weight. A company like Winnebago could order stainless fasteners for almost nothing compared to retail buyers like myself. The same goes for particle board. Far too much of this used and when it gets wet it crumbles. Why not Marine Plywood or something bound to endure a little better? It need not cost $$$ to make a few subtle improvements that would make the end owner happier and more satisfied. I would rather spend a few hundred more for something made with some improved materials than not.
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Old 05-11-2012, 01:18 PM   #14
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Well, as a long term 5er owner in some ways I agree that there is need for improvement in build quality.That said, it will not prevent me from buying an rv. What bothers me is not so much the interior build quality, it's all poor compared to a stick built house, but rather how a 14,000 lb 5er rolls off the assembly line with undersized suspension, axle 6000Lb weight ratings, and D rated tires. This is just barely legal as built and if you fill the water tank you are overloaded. This practice is unsafe and the manufacturers who do this are gambling you wont be killed when the suspension craps out while traveling on the highway at 60 MPH, All this to save 100$ on a rig.

Inspect all rigs before buying ...do the math and ask questions. If you do not, you'll pay later.Vote good rigs with your purchase and bad rigs left to sit. When is the last time you bought a car and it is overloaded when you add a passenger? I believe we can not trust the manufacturers to do the right thing and that federal mandates as to minimum standards are necessary to protect unaware byers. Sad but true.
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