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Wrapping it up

Posted 05-06-2021 at 09:15 AM by TexasJeff

So, it's been about 6 or 7 months since taking delivery of our new 2021 Forester LE motorhome sold to us by RV Wholesalers and it's now time to close out the buying experience blog.

Where we left off:

Back in October we had punch list items that we asked RV Wholesalers to submit for us. The terms of purchase were that we would find a RV repair shop to do the work and then submit the repair costs to RV Wholesalers who would, in turn, submit to Forest River. The caveat is that Forest River put a cap on the per-hour rate that can be charged, however here in Texas I can't go to just any shop and negotiate a per-hour rate. That's like you going to Ford with your car and telling them that they can't charge you $80 per hour labor charge and that you would like renegotiate the rate. Like that's going to get you any where.

The Punch-list

We decided to go with a local RV repair outfit named Bauer's RV located in Georgetown, TX. They seemed like a busy place and I got a super positive referral from another local business that dealt more with suspension and chassis work. The work we needed to be done contained some items that I simply can't understand weren't addressed at Forest River before the coach left the assembly line. I know that there is a huge demand for RV's right now, but if I had my name on the RV, without being too nit-picky, I would still not allow a unit off the premises with some of these really dumb things that remained:

1. Light is visible at the bottom of the entry door, plus on the bottom corner of the slideout. Seriously, when a coach is being built, especially one like ours where we've paid extra to have it insulated and prepped for super cold weather, that maybe they'd make sure the door and slideout was tightly sealed. Look for the light would be one hint.

2. Replacing the tempered glass range-top I covered this early on in the blog. It was deemed to be a defect in manufacturing. RV Wholesalers had Forest River ship me the part to have Bauer's install for me.

3. Mount a spare tire to the underside of the coach We were told during the sales process that the unit would come with a spare. It didn't. RVW had Forest River ship me the spare tire/wheel which also came with a bar and a heavy chain to secure it to the spare tire mount already fabricated to the rear underside of the coach. Bauer's would install this for me.

4. Shower water leaking out of the front side of the shower This was going to be a labor-reimbursement claim, however Bauer's dropped the ball on this item. When I went to pick up the coach, they never addressed it fully and only put a thin line of caulk along the bottom of the shower liner. I could have done that myself. The bottom line is that I addressed it myself.

5. Solar Panel and Controller When we were in the process of buying the unit, we were told that it came with 2 100w panels. When we flew up to Ohio to take delivery, we found it only came with one panel. I expected RVW to work with FR to provide me with a 2nd panel that I would have Bauer connect for me. What we got was not only a 2nd panel, but also a 2nd controller and wiring. So, I bought 2 more 200w panels. I figured since Bauers was going to install the 2nd controller under Warranty, I'd just have them connect the 100w panel to the previous one, install the controller and then connect the 2 200w panels to the 2nd controller. Where I had originally expected 200w solar, I now have 600w solar. Because they are feeding through 2 separate controllers, I have room for another 200w panel and another 100w panel on each controller which would give us a total of 900w solar. Someday soon, I'll do this. For now, I'm pretty happy with the solar set up. Also, this is where Bauer's RV really showed their competence. The solar installation was very professionally done. They had issues with the other items on the list, but this isn't a write up about Bauer's and I did address my other concerns with Gary Bauer himself.

6. House batteries were not secured in the battery compartment Easy fix but my fat fingers couldn't fit very well inside the battery compartment to get the nylon straps cinched down securely.

7. Zone 1 speakers were switched with zone 2 speakers What happened here is that the Connexx house stereo is configured with 2 speaker zones. Zone 1 is the inside of the coach. Zone 2 is the outside speakers that are built in to the awning. FR wired the stereo speakers so that the exterior speakers were connected to Zone 1. The result is that each time the stereo was turned on, we would entertain the neighbors. There's no way to set Zone 2 as the default zone. So the only solution is to rewire the speakers and to do that the stereo had to be pulled from the cabinet and the wiring ganglia had to be respliced.

We spent considerably more dollars on fixing these issues than was eventually rebated back to us, but FR came through for us by approving about $1300. It took about 60 days from submitting the initial claim through RVW to getting the money back. The money appears to have been sent from FR to RVW since the check we received the other day was drawn on the RVW checking account.

Summing it all up

Would I go through this out of state buying process again? Maybe yes - maybe no. There's pro's and con's on either side:

Pros would be that we did, afterall, save about $6000 off the purchase price and a 0.5% off the financing. This was real money. It was offset by some of the warranty work I had to have done. If I would have had more foresight on the difference in the amount of labor charged versus refunded labor, I probably would have skipped some of the warranty work and did it myself. Such as, the ill-fitting entry and slideout, which I ended up doing some of the work anyway. Bauer's couldn't figure out how to address the slide-out issue but Gary did come up with some of the flexible rubber used in keeping rain and weather out when the slideout is in the extended position. I ended up custom cutting some of that and gluing it in to place around the lower corner which ended up working well and looking ok. Another thing I would have done was rewire the stereo myself. The rest of the work I was better off just having them do it. I still think I made out better than OK with the solar work.

The Cons were a little more introspective. Since Texas has a weird law on the books that says that RV retailers in the state do not have to honor warranty work for RVs not purchased from them. If this were not the case, warranty follow up would have solidly been put in the PRO column. But, because I had to search for an RV shop who could and would address my work, and since FR only approves per hour labor at about 40-60% of customary rates here in Texas, it eats in to the overall savings. Plus, you spend the money with the repair shop up front and then are at the mercy of what FR will approve on the back-end. So, if you're willing to take the chance and assume the risk that would normally be assumed by an RV retailer, then you probably would be happy with saving on the purchase price up front. If you live in a state that doesn't have the weird warranty law that Texas has, then you probably have an even better reason to go through RVW.

All in all, I'm good with the purchase. We did save money - probably more like $3-4000 after spending time, effort and money on some of the work needing to be done, but it's still thousands saved. And we love the motorhome.

Could RVW done a better job? Absolutely. The RV industry has a whole lot of improvement to be seen and the FR manufacturer's rep was not great to work with. The answers he didn't know, he seemed to just make up. But I will give credit where credit is due: RVW stepped up when falsehoods were uncovered and went to bat for me, their customer. And FR stepped up and even though they could have said no to the extra solar panel and spare tire request, because their manufacturer's rep said what he said, and RVW backed up our claim of understanding, FR never pushed back on us and honored our request by sending us the missing/due parts.

Well, it's been a long blog and maybe someday someone will benefit from this. If not, it was therapeutic for me to write. Happy camping everyone. Thanks for reading!
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  1. Old Comment
    Thank you for sharing your warranty experience. Your information will be useful as I purchased a 2021 from another manufacturer and will be addressing some warranty claims.
    Posted 05-31-2021 at 05:37 AM by Twohumpsrv Twohumpsrv is offline
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