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Old 12-31-2016, 07:50 PM   #1
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Is there such a thing as......

a well built travel trailer? Is there such a thing as good warranty work on a new unit?

We started looking in late October/early November for our first travel trailer. Then put off looking because of the holidays. Today we went back out looking. It seems when ever we find one that ticks all the boxes on our wish list, we go home and look at reviews online and it scares us away from that TT manufacturer.

In the real world has anyone bought a TT and not had any problems with it right off the bat?

Has anyone had problems that were quickly resolved by the manufacturer?

We would love to hear some success stores (makes and models please).
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Old 12-31-2016, 08:11 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Dmrad View Post
a well built travel trailer? Is there such a thing as good warranty work on a new unit? RV's are like automobiles and trucks--somewhat of a compromise. You're looking for value/quality for the dollar spent.

We started looking in late October/early November for our first travel trailer. Then put off looking because of the holidays. Today we went back out looking. It seems when ever we find one that ticks all the boxes on our wish list, we go home and look at reviews online and it scares us away from that TT manufacturer.

In the real world has anyone bought a TT and not had any problems with it right off the bat? I bought a Grand Design fifth wheel and had no problems for 2 years. The little plumbing leak I fixed myself in a few minutes.

Has anyone had problems that were quickly resolved by the manufacturer?
Most problems are solved by the dealer--with the factory or the component manufacturer picking up the bill. The better the dealer/manufacturer relationship, the faster and better the repair will be.
We would love to hear some success stores (makes and models please).
It's difficult enough shopping for an RV. But you really need to shop for a dealer first--checking out the quality of their parts and service operations. Then buy what brand of RV's they sell--if they meet your needs and price.
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Old 12-31-2016, 08:22 PM   #3
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First of all, when you look at travel trailers are you zeroing in on the 'glitz' you see? Or are you checking the drawer construction; noting that the trim and the doors align; noting the tank sizes? Is the underbelly plumbing enclosed? Do the slides work effortlessly?

There are many things to look for in a good constructed RV. That's how you can compare one manufacturer from another. Going to a factory to see how they're built can be an eye-opener. Some manufacturers turn these out fast - really fast. You know the quality will not be there.

Any RV can have initial small problems that can be dealt with easily. It's the big issues that prompt folks to post their complaints on review sites or forums. You will rarely read a post that starts off with "I have no problems" but indeed, there are many satisfied owners out there.

I suggest if you buy one from a dealer that you spend a couple nights on their lot or in a nearby RV park and use every single thing on that RV to make sure it works. Go over it thoroughly. Then you'll be right there to have them correct the issues and they definitely should do that. Best of luck to you!
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Old 12-31-2016, 10:12 PM   #4
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Check out Outdoors RV and Northwood Manufacturing. I bought a Creekside last year from Outdoors RV and the second time I used it the outside kitchen blew a hose and dumped 50 or so gallons of water everywhere and soaked all the insulation in the tank area. Fortunately I was on my way to the Outdoors RV rally and was only 15 miles from the factory where I had a tour scheduled. I brought the trailer in and they pulled a crew off the production floor and did a fantastic job of fixing it in one day. Since then the trailer has been trouble free. No rv is perfect but I have been reasonably impressed with how they build trailers. They are a small family owned company and I think that has a lot to do with their approach to building trailers. Both companies are owned by the same individual. Grand design also has a pretty loyal following but I don't have any experience with them.
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Old 01-01-2017, 10:04 AM   #5
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I will add a second to Northwoods Mfg. I own a Nash travel trailer and am very satisfied. Going into its forth season and I've done only maintainance work on it. I replaced the two batteries (factory solar system) last fall, and converted to all LED lights last month. Also regularly check and caulk the roof (seems they use a large amount of sealant on the roof). My wife enjoys the standard 10 gal water heater. I believe this trailer is as well built as any from the frame up. It is far from perfect but better than any I've owned(six since 1980).
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:08 AM   #6
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I haven't had any major issues. (knocks on wood)
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:32 AM   #7
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I agree wholeheartedly with twogypsies. Companies add a lot of bling to their products, most of it cheap junk. Those built in wall radios, LED light strips, outside tvs and speakers, and outside hanging stoves or grills may be cute but they aren't what we need to be looking at.

Reading reviews is good but they don't usually paint the whole picture. Best thing is to just get on in there and take a close look. You don't have to be a construction expert to find quality.

Fit and finish is something i look for because i feel it's a good indication of overall quality. Pull out them drawers, open cabinets, compartments and look inside/behind them. Look under the dinette seats and under the bed to see how "clean" these areas look. Neatly tied/grouped plumbing and wiring are good things to find. How bout penetrations for these wires and pipes,,, are they clean cutouts are or they just cut out haphazardly? Look underneath the trailer to see how things are secured. Look at the exterior, the roof, to see how neat the caulking has been applied. Is the trailer itself plumb?

For the most part, it's fairly true that you get what you pay for when it comes to RVs. The cheap rigs do work for some people but imo, they are prone to having more problems during their, most likely, shorter life.
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:40 AM   #8
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Start reading the owners forums to get an idea of the number of problems and how the factory handles the warranty claims.

Not many do as well as Outdoors rv and Northwoods at pleasing the owners when returned to the factory. Warranty work at dealerships has nothing to do with which brand you own. Very few good dealer repair shops.

Best bet is to buy a well built unit that has a factory within towing distance.
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Old 01-01-2017, 01:02 PM   #9
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I'm guessing that the best built travel trailer would be an Airstream.

Success: We could not afford an airstream a the time, but found a very nice Outback, Sydney Edition bunkhouse that we purchased used. It was awesome and held up well for years. Never a problem, even on a grueling cross country trip. Unfortunately, it was our first RV and we did not maintain the roof as we should have. We sold it as a fixer upper.

We purchased a Coachman liberty edition bunkhouse to replace it. It has remained at the dealership awaiting repairs, or availability of parts, since the day after our first trip. We "borrow" it occasionally when we need it.
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Old 01-01-2017, 02:28 PM   #10
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I purposely bought a travel trailer without a lot of bling. No slides, no outdoor kitchen, no led light strips or the other items that Mudfrog addresses in his post.

The only issues are minor and seem fairly common such as needing to replace the crappy shower head with a better aftermarket one, and wishing there was an outlet by the head of the bed..

Have had no issues after two seasons with my Shasta (with camping about two dozen nights for each season). I use it every day as an office/craft room/music room when it is at home.
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Old 01-01-2017, 05:11 PM   #11
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I'm on mt 3rd TT and all 3 have been pretty good. We didn't keep the first one (Shadow Cruiser 185 BHS) long but sold it to my daughter and son-in-law. They kept it and used it trouble-free fr several years. Our second (Surveyor SV-264) we kept for 4 years and mostly it was trouble free. We got the current one in August of '16. We had a blow out and ruined a wheel, but apparently the trailer was built well enough that we had no damage to the trailer. This is the first one to go in for warranty work but that was just the DVD player. The trailer itself is solid. We've only had it a few months but we've towed it over 4,000 miles and spent 19 nights in it. If there were problems, I'd know. They're all thrown together... I believe all 3 of mine were built on Wednesday... I wish the manufacturers would just put good rubber on them and charge a couple of hundred more for them. I'm enjoying mine and about to hit the road for a week or 10 days, as soon as I'm released from jury duty that starts on the 9th.

There will be just under a half a million RVs built in 2017. On these forums what you hear about mostly are the horror stories. You seldom hear about the good ones that have few problems. Stop worrying and enjoy yourself, and if you have a bit of a problem, come here and other forums and ask questions. I've gotten a lot of good advise... and can honestly say that here on IRV2 is one of the best places to come.
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Old 01-01-2017, 07:49 PM   #12
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The industry produces over 350,000 TTs and 5vers a year. Almost all share the same floor plans, materials, and assembly methods.

There are choices such as Aluminum (Stick and Tin) or fiberglass, wood vs. metal framing, slide vs. no slide etc. All have there supporters and distractors.

No company has a corner on superior quality at any given price point. Those TTs with a better reputation often have unique constructions such as Air stream, Casita and other shell types. Others of good repute and more standard construction usually cost significantly more.

Rest assured that no matter what make or model you decide on someone will tell you about their terrible experience with one.

In the end you have to match, floor plan, tow vehicle and cost to your needs. Of these, floor plan is the one remembered when the rest are forgotten.

Good Luck
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Old 01-02-2017, 01:30 PM   #13
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Agree with Bamaman. They're all pretty much junk and will need you to be a bit knowledgeable and agreeable to fixing things because things will happen. Learn to enjoy the process of making whatever unit you buy better!
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Old 01-03-2017, 08:33 AM   #14
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I'll go a different route. I really don't care about dealer service. I go by cost. I will drive out of town or out of state to save a good amount of money or just get a better deal. I can't see dropping $1000's of dollars just to have a supposedly good dealer to fix things under warranty for only one year. The other problem is that I don't want to be roped into having to settle for whats only sold in my town. Of the 4 dealers in town, none carry the brand I want. Our last purchase was 300 miles away. Most all RV's only have a 1 year warranty. Some do have more and some parts have their own separate longer warranty. After that one year is up you're on your own. I've owned 3 trailers so far and only one had some shoddy build issues. I fixed them myself.
I go along with the premise that "You need to be rich or handy to own an RV". I do all my own repairs if needed. I can't see spending all the time and effort to hitch up and drag the trailer to a dealer where it'll sit for days to weeks for a repair that only takes a few hours to do. Google anything RV and there will be info on how to fix it.
As far as better built, well IMO it's hit or miss. And it really doesn't matter what you spend. If your just looking at the typical Big Box stuff from Elkhart Indiana then just find the floor plan and dive in. If you want to think outside the box and pay a little more then Lance, Northwood MFG, Outdoors RV and Airstream would be the top 4 that offer a little something different. Bigfoot, Oliver are two really good egg type units.
For me I look at drawer construction, I look for no OSB wood, I look at the suspension to see how strong it is, I look at the overall build as far a cabinets go. Open doors and look around inside. Do you see busted out holes for wires or pipes or do you see nice round cut holes? Look underneath and look at the enclosed underbelly. How is it finished off. Look at cargo capacity. Is it small. Will you be maxed out with a full tank of fresh water and you camping gear? I could go on forever on what to look at. When we go to RV shows I open and shut doors and drawers. You can tell by the feel of then if the MFG took the time to build them solid or flimsy.
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