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Old 08-15-2011, 08:13 PM   #1
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Question Why do folks 'not like' Fleetwoods?

My girl and I just purchased a to us, very cool '97 Fleetwood Southwind with a tag-axle. We see some issues but overall it seems nice and we're having the issues doesn't require the $10K one person had recommended someone have to add to a $75K coach they were considering...we paid a third of that with only 13000 miles and nice shape all over and under...

...anyway - in the article I just read the folks were asking what the 'best' DP was for $75K and people were offering opinions. It was interesting to me because they are cool and one day maybe we would consider one so I was reading and then several folks in a row said - "Don't buy a Fleetwood" and "Stay away from Fleetwood".

I did a quick search to find bad reviews on them, and beyond that from what I've read on this forum and others, RV's are notoriously problemsome - some of them anyway, and when you have a problem - it's a real problem...

Just was wondering what you folks thought...We love our RV - it has been in the shop for 2 weekends (Gas gauge not working, battery drain, just going over all the stuff) and we really miss going out...

...anyway - thanks for reading my rant...We love our Fleetwood!
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:18 PM   #2
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Fleetwood in general had a lot of quality issues in their last few years. You bought a 14 year old fiver not a 6 year old diesel pusher. My suggestions have to do with the cost of parts and upkeep for a diesel pusher.
Don and Lorri
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:23 PM   #3
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My brother, dad and uncle all have a Fleetwood in your era. No problems and they are very happy. However they are gasser not the diesel.
1997 Triple E Empress, Freightliner Chassis, CAT 3126 w/ 275 horse's.
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:26 PM   #4
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Thank you and I meant no disrespect and understand the difference - diesel to gas - 6 vs 14 years old - We see all sorts of 'weird' things on the RV for sure. The wiring seems so-so, but the frame and coach (for what we paid) seem to be 'nice' vs 'podunk' - materials and workmanship could be better but aren't shoddy...anyway, I'm simply interested in RV's now and am obviously watching for "did I get a good" deal or whatever...thank you for clarifying...I do one day have eyes for a 'nice' DP...
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:26 PM   #5
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So far I'm pretty happy with mine, things may happen to it in the future but it goes without saying it could happen to any make or model.
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:27 PM   #6
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We have a 94 Fleetwood and love it, would love to have one with a diesel and slides but no issues here, great price for a great coach.
Ron & Wendy-Kansas
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:35 PM   #7
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I have a 2005 southwind we have owned since new we love it and we have 60000 miles. Ford chassis been full time 4 years,
What has broke in 6 1/2 years . ahhh nothing love our fleetwood
Harry & Becky
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by 450Donn View Post
.. You bought a 14 year old fiver.
A Southwind is a gas motorhome.

IMO, most mfr's have QC issues somewhere along the line. FW no more than any other in its class. Problems are evident more so lately it seems, or at least more people are voicing complaints. I think it's also a sign of the times - employees taking less pride in their work or having to cut corners because of mfr imposed work practices (i.e. produce more in less time, building with inferior products, rush deadlines...etc.). Plus it's easier to find complaints with internet search engines.

In its day, FW was one of the larger (if not the largest) motorcoach, towables & mfr'd housing mfrs. Just by sheer volume, the statistics would mean more instances for problems, I would think.

All that said, if you're happy with your FW, then that's all that matters. We're very happy with ours.

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Old 08-15-2011, 08:43 PM   #9
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We had a 1989 Fleetwood Pace Arrow and what a piece of junk. It leaked like it had a sieve fro the roof. Flopwod replaced one side under warranty due to delamination and we eventaully had to have BOTH side replaced due to delamination.

Later we had a 1995 Fleetwood Avion 36.5M 5th wheel and it was well built. The problems with it were the main slide, but that was later in it's life and before Flopwood fleetwoodized the Avion line too much. Later models had lots of issues, mostly related to frame issues and poor quality interior work.

We now have a 1989 Avion (Fleetwood) which was a great trailer. Fleetwood had pretty much left them alone and they still built a quality trailer.

Later years, a friend has a 1997 that has had one side wall replaced by Flopwood and there is some delamination now. Thei QC has been spotty and up and down. I guess it depends if you got a Monday or a Friday RV.

Amateur Radio Operator (KE5DFR)|Full-Time! - 2012 6.7L Ford Crew Cab Dually -2013 HitchHiker Champagne 38RLRSB - Currently FOR SALE Travel with one Standard Schnauzer and one small Timneh African Gray Parrot, retired mechanical engineer
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Old 08-15-2011, 09:01 PM   #10
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Most mfg have an introductory line and luxury line of tag, fivers, and MHs. Some even have a line of RVs in between the two. One would expect the introductory line to have lower cost appliances, materials, etc which would in turn contribute to more repairs if used the same amount of time a luxury coach is used.

FW has all three lines in tag, fivers, & MHs. As someone already said, that would make them a target for more complaints by sheer number of units sold.

Personally, I think most of the service related problems with RVs can be attributed to misuse, abuse, and poor maintenance. Sounds like someone that has never had a problem, right? Not so fast, most of my service related problems with our coach (and I've had my share) can be attributed to my ignorance and lack of patience.

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Old 08-15-2011, 10:23 PM   #11
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Our first coach was a used 90 FW Bounder and we loved it and decided to stay with FW and we bought an 05 Southwind, and we love it!
Does it have issues, had a few and we worked through them, to me it's still a great coach!
All of them have issues,from the low end to the top they all have their problems. Nothing in this day and age is perfect !

Good luck and many happy miles your coach!Enjoy it!

Going down that long lonesome highway,Bound for the mountains and the plains
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Old 08-16-2011, 12:06 AM   #12
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I've had 17 motorhomes, throughout the years, starting with a 1972 Winnie Indian. Driving down the road, the driverís sidewall bowed out so much that I could see the road below my seat. I've had leakers, creekers, salvaged, about 6 different manufacturers and I've found the best to be Fleetwood Class A's.
Throughout the years, construction and motorhome quality became better due to RVIA and Canadian standards so when I purchased my only brand new motorhome, a 2008 Fleetwood Bounder 35E, I couldn't believe how beautiful and well constructed Fleetwood's Bounder line was. There will always be minor problems to overcome but overall, my money has been put where my mouth is and it is my hope that Fleetwood weathers the economic storm as they have done and continue to do.

May you have wonderful and carefree trips down the RV road of life,

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Old 08-16-2011, 06:59 PM   #13
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I've had two Fleetwood's a 31ft class c and now a class A 35E and I couldn't be happier. Sure I've had some minor problems but they have been small and Fleetwood took care of them. Our next MH will be a DP and I bet it will be a Fleetwood to unless I win a few million dollars then it will be a American Eagle, but then again that's a Fleetwood to right?
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Old 08-16-2011, 07:21 PM   #14
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We've had several RV's in the last 40 years. The worst was a Honey Class C but the issues we had were related to the Ford chassis for the most part. Suspension, brakes, engine & transmission. The roof leaked after a couple of years but that was easy to fix.

FW had a bad rep several years ago, but today their quality seems to be better than most. I wish the same could be said of Dometic/Norcold, Attwood, Lippert and the rest. Seems that quality goes down as more and more manufacturing goes 'offshore'.

One of my buddies just bought a Heartland fiver. The landing legs failed the first trip out (gears made in China). They have constant electrical problems. My brother-in-law lost his house when his fiver caught fire on his storage pad. Over a million in damages! The fire marshal said it was probably the waterheater.

We all, regardless of the brand & model, have the same stuff under the covers. Water pumps, slide actuators, refer, stove, waterheater etc. They all buy from the same suppliers.

OK, I'm off my soapbox. Thanks for reading.

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