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Old 10-28-2020, 11:46 PM   #1
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Fleetwood Owners Club
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Posts: 171
Garmin let us down. What do others use for GPS?

We have a Garmin RV 760, have became disappointed up on learning it dose not give real time info I expected. I paid a premium price thinking it would offer protection for our large RV and have sadly trusted it. We went on a short trip and kept running into detours for bridges being out, no notification from Garmin we were lucky our last bridge out was at a cross road. The good part there was an intersection just before the bridge or non bridge bad part was it was a 1 lane country gravel road. We had no option go right /left or turn around in a cornfield. we did go right and luckily did not come up on any oncoming traffic. Like a combine, semi or large tractor. we did finally get to the highway we were looking for and reached our destination, my clean freshly waxed MH and toad were now white. I did call Garmin upon my return home and got an explanation. "they cant check all the roads" Not what I expected, they only offer road info around large metro areas which in Indiana that would be only Indpls. I did find out that they did offer protection of bridge heights on interstates as they had vehicles go out and measure. This also was not completely true as the interstate we were on had construction and a notice for trucks to use the left lane as the left berm was being worked on. I was not in a truck so didnt think it meant me. well when they shifted regular traffic to the right this raised those vehicles and the overpass was right there and the edge was lower than the center. Thankfully we did not hit the top edge of the overpass, that would have really runt the trip. Oh and no notice of construction.
Anyway enough of that. I am now looking for a new GPS system for large vehicles. What do you guys use? I have used a TOMTOM for my Jeep and they use satellites and driver input for live traffic but lack Large vehicle input. Dont trust your Garmin if it says go right here you might end up in a lake or worse.
2005 Fleetwood Bounder 35E, Ford F53, 2012 Jeep Wrangler Toad. 50 AMP,Surge Guard 34750, Blue OX Tow Bar. SAFE T PLUS. Atwood hot water heater, Brake Buddy.
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Old 10-29-2020, 12:08 AM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 50
It's unfortunate that you spent so much of your post running down Garmin...when thousands upon thousands of Garmin users are very satisfied with them. They are simply the best on the market. Certainly not perfect, but excellent products and support. (I am not affiliated with Garmin.)

I use Garmin in my semi, (T/A conv. with 53' trailer) and 40' MADP w/trailer.

I rely on both of them but don't trust them implicitly. Logic and reasoning on operator's part are still required.

I suggest you look, (re-look) at the set up function and select size of you vehicle, type of roads, avoiding u-turns, avoiding toll roads, etc.

I hope you find what you're looking for.
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Old 10-29-2020, 12:21 AM   #3
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given the size of the country and the extent of roads, bridges and underpasses i truly doubt ANY GPS system is going to give you the real-time info and warnings you desire.

after plotting a route in your GPS, especially if that route takes you on state, county or local roads, check the route with state highway websites for rosad work, detours, etc.

if you’re in a motorhome, 5’er or any RV taller than a typical SUV you should consider yourself a truck for those warning signs involving lane usage, bridges, etc. we’re in a a 12’6”’ class A.m and sometimes i’m in a truck. it’s a good mindset to develop. part of defensive driving.

we have Waze or Google Maps running simultaneously with our GPS for “real-time” traffic congestion. but even then the “real-time” is dependent on users inputting the information into the system.

bottom line...never completely trust any GPS.
Rich, Ham Radio, Sport Pilot
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Old 10-29-2020, 12:30 AM   #4
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Forest River Owners Club
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Posts: 335
Do you have your Garmin linked to your cell phone via blue tooth for data? I don't currently have a Garmin, but the reviews I've been reading indicate it needs to sync for traffic and updates.

I don't think there is a "perfect" solution out there or anywhere near it for that matter. I've been looking recently since we've been using a combination of the factory UConnect Nav, Waze, and Google Maps. None of which have any truck/rv friendly settings. Waze has been the worst, routing us in ways I wouldn't want to take the truck without a trailer.

Garmin seems to get the best overall reviews, but it is by no means perfect.
Current RV Information: 2018 Forrest River Salem Hemisphere 282RK
Previous RVs: 2004 Fleetwood Bounder 32W; 1999 Four Winds Five Thousand 21RB; 1986 Allegro Bay 27'
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Old 10-29-2020, 12:44 AM   #5
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Not running down Garmin just stating my experience and the response I got from Garmin. Probably ran into 5 different detours and ended up on a very narrow gravel road that day just trying to reach a State Park in northern Indiana. Oh and it is set up right. As far as my cell phone if I am going to use it why did I spend 400 on the Garmin? Could have just used the cell phone. Everything I stated was true. Just not very confident anymore.
2005 Fleetwood Bounder 35E, Ford F53, 2012 Jeep Wrangler Toad. 50 AMP,Surge Guard 34750, Blue OX Tow Bar. SAFE T PLUS. Atwood hot water heater, Brake Buddy.
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Old 10-29-2020, 01:18 AM   #6
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Location: Anchorage, Alaska
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I've used GPSs for several years. A couple Magellens in our 4-wheelers, which were pretty useful when I did flower deliveries for the shops my wife worked at. When we bought our Minnie Winnie, I got a Rand McNally RVND-7 which I found to be VERY good and has a lot of capabilities.

Before I go further, I'll echo what a couple posters have already said: don't put 100% faith in what they tell you. I estimate that are about 95% reliable, and you must immediately pay attention and be skeptical if they give you some unexpected information.

Ok, that said, did you update your Garmin before your first trip with it? Its possible your unit had been on the shelf or out of the factory for a year when you bought it. Needless to say, there is a lot of road construction every year and things will inevitably change. And speaking of construction, even frequent updates may not be able to keep up with them.

Also, the database for a vehicle GPS is staggeringly huge and most of it is input to presumably a government database (I'm guessing here) as the individual state transportation departments are able to do it when any additions or changes become permanent. Take speed limit signs for example: I find it truly amazing to see the speed limit indicator on the GPS screen change exactly as we're passing the roadside sign. For that to happen the DOTs have to input the latitude/longitude of that sign location into the database. Same for the thousands of other data points.

Back to construction areas, all bets are off. You and your co-pilot must pay 100% attention to where you are, where you're going, and all the obstacles in between. Expect starts, stops, quick speed changes, lane changes, and unexpected detours. All with no GPS warnings. Arguably the worst are interchanges under construction, especially in states notorious for bad signage. In all of this, take the GPS directions as advisory only and make you decisions based on what you see. In our experience, going through major cities on roads under construction were a huge challenge, but two sets of eyeballs scanning constantly helps us get through if what we see doesn't jibe with what the GPS is saying.

As someone else also mentioned, be sure your GPS is in RV mode and to enter all settings appropriate for your RV - dimensions, equipment, etc. That should prevent unnecessary bridge detours.

Even with these drawbacks, I find a GPS is a great addition to all of the systems in our RV and invaluable in making our trips safe, efficient, and enjoyable.
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Old 10-29-2020, 02:41 AM   #7
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Location: Ware, MA
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I have the Garmin RV 760 also and I too am not thrilled with it. I updated it right away when I got it. It is setup for my height and weight, but will still take me down roads I should not be on. Going through New York once and it kept trying to put me on the Parkways. It also doesn't seem to want to avoid low bridges.
I have much more faith in the good old truckers paper atlases than any GPS.
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Old 10-29-2020, 05:28 AM   #8
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I've tried them all and Garmin is the best. Unfortunately I think your expectations are not realistic. No GPS can keep up with construction changes - the 760 offers live traffic updates with the proper cord. You'll always run into some changes - you and your co-pilot will have to stay alert and adapt. I also have a 760.
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Old 10-29-2020, 05:56 AM   #9
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I have the 770 and I have it paired to my phone using the Garmin Smartphone Link app which provides real-time traffic updates among other things by utilizing the data connection on your phone. I see this is available on the 760 but no mention of the live traffic, only weather updates, like on the 770. Perhaps the newer model has what you are looking for?
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Old 10-29-2020, 06:19 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by J-N-Lham View Post
Not running down Garmin just stating my experience and the response I got from Garmin. Probably ran into 5 different detours and ended up on a very narrow gravel road that day just trying to reach a State Park in northern Indiana. Oh and it is set up right. As far as my cell phone if I am going to use it why did I spend 400 on the Garmin? Could have just used the cell phone. Everything I stated was true. Just not very confident anymore.
You need to pair your Garmin with your phone in order to get the latest info avaialable. How do you expect the Garmin to know of recent construction or live traffic updates if it does not have a means to learn new info?
Pairing with your phone will give you additional info that is otherwie not avaialble.
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Old 10-29-2020, 06:50 AM   #11
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Posts: 156
Many states offer free 511 service via the internet which will tell you of current construction zones but will not likely tell you about local small projects.
Ken & Monica
2021 Allegro RED340 33AL ISB 6.7
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Old 10-29-2020, 07:18 AM   #12
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I agree with most of what the others have said. Garmin is still tops in the market, but no single GPS unit is perfect. A few tips...
  1. You need a specific power cord to get the real-time traffic updates. It no longer comes with all Garmin units, so make sure you have it.
  2. You can increase the traffic receiver's ability to get a traffic signal by adding an external traffic antenna. I found that it helps greatly, especially when the Garmin is not mounted immediately in front of the windshield.
  3. It helps to run another app parallel, like Waze or Google Maps. Those won't provide information based on vehicle size though, so they cannot be used on their own.
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Old 10-29-2020, 07:38 AM   #13
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I have to agree that the garmin is severely lacking. It is now routing me one route to, and another route for the return 12 mile trip to a friends. The return is a blocked road that has been under construction for months. You cannot make the software give you the easy, short way back that I go to his house. It does the same thing at my place up north. Their software is a joke. I loved being jammed up on a dark night 3 miles out of my way for no reason.
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Old 10-29-2020, 08:17 AM   #14
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We have the 780RV and like it very well. The trick (if you want to call it that) is preplanning. Garmin RV GPS systems have been programed in such a way as to help you avoid "hazards" on your route. Sometimes this can differ greatly from how you wish to get from A to B.

We start every trip with Google Maps on a desktop computer, we use it to plan both the route and the stops we are going to make. We get the 780 and check for updates and then put the route in, it usually disagrees with at least part of the route. I compare both routes and make a decision as to the particulars of the route. Remember Google thinks you're in a car and Garmin is very conservative in the routing choices. We are usually somewhere in between.

On the road we use 3 different sources of GPS, Waze on a cell phone, Google Maps on a tablet the co-pilot keeps up with and the 780RV. The 780 is bluetoothed to my phone and the Garmin app. We've only had one incident in the last year with a road closure, the co-pilot wasn't paying attention to Google and we realized the issue to late.

We have found Google Maps to be the most timely for information and invaluable for Satellite view when we are stopping anywhere. Waze is just on for upcoming road hazards. The 780 is primary but always verified by Google.

None of them are perfect and never trust them, to many things change.
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