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Old 01-10-2013, 03:17 PM   #1
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What Problems Have You Had?

As a newbie doing research for fulltiming, I have noticed a proportionately larger number of issues, it seems, with motorhomes than fifth wheels. Perhaps there are more people fulltiming in motorhomes than fifth wheels, or perhaps I just happen to have come across more motorhome problems in my research. I know RV horror stories can scare off newbies, but I am the kind of person who wants to know what I'm getting into. So tell me, folks!

- What kind of RV do you have: motorhome or fifth wheel?

- What are some problems you have experienced as a snowbird, fulltimer, or even recreational user?

I want to hear it all!
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:35 PM   #2
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I've had a class A motorhome now for a year and so far the only two problems i've had is keeping gas in it and trying to keep my father-in-law out of it.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:16 PM   #3
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I'm a Motorhome type guy and owned one over 30+ years. My take on it is your going away for the weekend or your going Full -Timing your out on the road with your house on wheels. Things will happen its all part if the Adventure , we do what we can to minimize problems but sometimes stuff happens but , life goes on and I wouldn't trade it for your life sitting at home doing nothing with maybe less problems.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:29 PM   #4
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I think all problems are shared between 5ers and MH. Don't forget pulling the 5er is generally a diesel pu. That being said with the MH most owners are traveling greater distances at greater demands. Maintenance is the key to success anyway you go. Most folks here like to share their problems so others that have experienced the same or similar circumstance may offer inexpensive solutions? I saved money today by posting on Spartan Chassis Owners Forum. Each to his or her own. Generally your pocketbook determines the direction taken, IMHO.

Clay & Pebble
2012 Providence 42 M. Spartan Chassis, 450 ISL
Ford Edge toad, RM All Terrane, TST TPMS, SMI Air Force One, RVM95....
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:31 PM   #5
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Oh, I know there will be problems. I know there will be mistakes I will make as well as problems with the rig, both small and big. I just like to know the problems and learn from them. This is part of the research.

I don't want to be one of those people who get their rig and say, "I wish I had asked more questions," or "I wish I had known about this before I bought an RV!" I think sometimes fulltimers or long-time RV owners forget that there was a time when they didn't know anything. RVing is not intuitive, and the only way to learn, honestly, is to learn from others or make the mistakes yourself. I would like to avoid the latter as much as possible.

Most importantly, there is no reliable comprehensive ratings guide for RVs. Yes, there are guides out there, but all of them have their problems, and there is no better research, I've found, than talking directly with RV owners. I have heard all about the RVs people love, but I want to know about potential problems, the potential lemons, the manufacturer issues. In my opinion, it's better to have the knowledge rather than just go out there and blindly pick an RV.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:40 PM   #6
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To steal a phrase... It's always something! I've always bought used hoping that the PO's have solved most of the initial problems. I'm not sure this has been a good plan, but I also read about a lot on new unit issues. With my latest unit which has actually been the least problematic the main problems have been with the fact the chassis is 12-13 years old. Recently I've had to replace the starter, parking brake, wiper motor.

These are rolling apartments and will have more issues than a stationary house. There will always be something to work on.
Tom Wilds

2016 Newmar Bay Star Sport 3004
2015 Jeep Wrangler 2DR 4WD Sahara, Automatic, Hard Top
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:09 PM   #7
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The only issue we've had with our MH was a small roof leak at the front cap seam, now fixed with Eternabond. Oh, and a leaky stove regulator. Oh, and the door to the fridge fell off, but that's due to it being a POS Norcold.
Our MH has 67,000 miles; we bought it at 50,000, so not sure if the PO had any problems or not.
But Winnebago makes a good unit, and as with anything mechanical, good maintenance is key!
Burns & Diane
2005 Winnebago Aspect 26A/2012 Subaru Impreza toad
Illinois! - Where the politicians make the license plates......
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:39 PM   #8
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Before we went with the MH we had a 36' triple slide Montana 5th wheel, I loved it for the room inside but not much for outside storage. Plus it seemed like I had to constantly pull over for someone to use the potty or get a drink. We traded it at 9 months old for our first MH. A 30' Georgetown with a 454 Vortec engine. First trip was SLC, UT to San Antonio TX. Gee didn't have to pull over for potty breaks (except me) or drinks or lunch. The kicker was on the way home we pulled into Mesquite, NV and the RV Parks were full. So we pulled into a big lot with Truckers and other RV'ers, it was raining. I pushed the leveling system on and hit the button and the slide went out. Then I fired up the generator, grabbed the remote and turned on the TV, wife put the antenna up. I then asked for a beer and watched the folks out in the rain running from their trucks to their trailers. Some were even setting their jacks down, all in the rain. This was when it dawned on me that I LIKE the mh a lot more. We did trade the Georgetown in on a DP, the DP handles a whole lot better. Did I mention that I did the whole set up without leaving the drivers area?

OOPs, missed the problems, the 5th wheel had to have axles, drums and brakes replaced early on. Also, the a/c up front had to be fixed. All under warranty. One thing about the 5th wheel is the front bedroom didn't get a lot of heat from the furnace, perhaps they fixed this.
The Georgetown was a great little MH, only problems were covered under warranty like slide motor replaced and one leveling jack failed, other then being afraid of the wind and big trucks she was great. We drove it to Dover, DE from SLC, UT and back when I got an all expense paid trip for two years thanks to he who sleeps with the fishes.
The DP had a few problems when we first got her, but also had an extended warranty, microwave, two jacks, water pump and of course the yearly maint. But I wouldn't be without her.
Joe & Angie
Shih Tzu's Cookie & Rocky
2001 Tradewinds 7390 2011 CRV EX-L Navi w/ RoadMaster FuseMaster
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:39 PM   #9
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The major reason motor homes have more problems then 5th wheels is because problems can be divided into two groups, Just like a Motor home has two sets of batteries and two 12 volt systems. Where as on a 5th wheel, Well one of those groups is kind of small.

IN fact, When I said "just like the 12 volt tystems" I was being descriptive, House and Vehicle.

On a 5er or a TT the "Vehicle" is basically the axle, wheels and frame. That's all, (The brakes are part of the wheels).

ON a motor home you add a 2nd vehicle, steering, much improved suspension, engine, transmssion, drive shaft and differential. Don't have those on a trailer.

I have found that problems can be divided another 3 ways too.

Routine, (Lights that burn out, and other issues such as you'd expect in a Stick house)

Bouncing down the road issues.. Same as you'd expect in a stick house after a minor earthquake.

Loose screws.. Yes, RVers often have a few screws loose... One of the screws in my breaker box took over 2 full turns before it snugged down... I helped a brand new sticker in the window 5er owner with his power issues, all six screws inside the Marinco outlet on his shore cord,,, Not one had been tightened, the outlet came off in my hand.

When you read "Screws loose" did you think I meant that kind?
Home is where I park it!
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:58 PM   #10
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Good job of summing it up.
Joe & Angie
Shih Tzu's Cookie & Rocky
2001 Tradewinds 7390 2011 CRV EX-L Navi w/ RoadMaster FuseMaster
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:10 PM   #11
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I've had travel trailers, 5th wheel, and on my 3rd MH. Had a few issues with all. What you have to do with what ever you own you have to take care of it and the troubles are few.I'm on my 3rd MH and love it. The first MH was a Winnebago gasser nice MH but it was a challenge to drive, second DP better handling, bigger tires, all a lot better to drive and great power. I now have a DSDP and it is the best yet, drives like a car, has great quality and have not had a problem in 30000 miles. I am a little crazy about taking care of it but it pays in the long run. Hope this helps as it is just my opinion and you know what they are. What ever you buy just go out and have fun, it's a great time and you meet some really great people.:dance JIM
2006 Monaco Camelot 40 PAQ 400ISL - Toad Jeep Grand Cherokee - DW is the Nagivator. Retired to travel and everything revolves around the price of diesel.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:11 PM   #12
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Hi and welcome to the forum.

The only RV we've ever owned is the 40DP we have now but we've been full time, seasonal, and recreational in it.

The advice so far is spot on. Maintenance is the key. I've heard that some folks shy away from rigs that have been used by full timers because they think they've been run down. My experience is that most full timers understand the importance of maintenance... and also probably have the time to do it... so these rigs are usually well maintained.

As for our specific experience... we bought our DP new in 2007 and have >50,000 miles on it. We've had no real "break downs" but there's a long list of "stuff" that's had to be fixed. Nothing major and our extended warranty has covered virtually all of it.

I doubt you'll find much difference between Class A and Fivers when it comes to "problems"... once you net everything out. Class A probably has a few more things which need taken care of but IMO that shouldn't be a big factor in your decision.

Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

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Old 01-10-2013, 06:18 PM   #13
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Our first RV was a new Coachman Prism, 24 foot class C on the Sprinter chassis with MB diesel. In the two years we owned it.....never had a single issue, not even one. It was just too small so we traded up to a new Four Winds Serrano FRED. 33.4 feet and a nice little rig. Every time we took it out, something would I guess you could was a POS. We were afraid to take it on a trip. We recently traded it in on our new 2013 Phaeton 40QBH.....which so far we love. So I guess it depends on what kind of luck you are having at any given time with the coach you have.....but I also believe it goes to the quality of the manufacturer. Not much of an answer, but my 2-cents worth.

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Old 01-10-2013, 06:45 PM   #14
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Hi cvanwieren,
You have a noble goal. Unfortunately, there are few ways to develop experience except by,,,, well, having the experience. One can purchase books and DVDs so they are handy when a learning experience occurs. If possible and time permits, one can post a problem in iRV2 and learn from others experience on that specific problem. To list the problems I've had since 1978 would be of no benefit. The bottom line is if it installed in the coach, it will break or wear out. You will know more about your coach than just about anything you own. It will become your hobby.

Purchase the floor plan that the wife simply adores, the coach will tow what you own and carry all her stuff. Over time, that will ensure a rewarding experience.
2005 Newmar KSDP 3910 + GMC ENVOY XUV 37K lbs Moving Down The Road
The Avatar Is Many Times Around The USA
Nobody Knows Your Coach Like Somebody Who Owns One Just Like Yours
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