We just spent a week in the Goshen, Indiana area. We toured 7 different RV manufacturer facilities and looked specifically at the 5th wheel models. I have heard all of the sales pitches that they can throw, and I’m sure that all produce a quality product.
After a horrible experience with OSB flooring a few years back, I personally WILL NOT own a unit with that stuff anywhere in it. I also still cannot make myself believe that a few boards & thin fiberglass with very little aluminum and lots of Styrofoam laminated together is stronger than those same sheets glued to an all aluminum frame on 16” (or less) centers. I’m not sure that I buy the concept that welding aluminum makes it weaker than screwing it together with “L” brackets and screws.
I know the lamination process and the OSB wood is way less expensive, but I am willing to pay for something that will last and be more sturdy.
It pains me when new people ask on here as to which model they should get and nearly all of them ask or get answers about the interior of the units. Hardly ever does anybody give advice on construction, where my main focus lies. I believe that if you put pretty stuff on a not-so-good base, then you have a pretty, inexpensive, piece of junk that many people expect to hold up as well as the more expensive quality built units.
I guess I just needed to vent and get a few opinions to see if it is just me or do other people look as closely to the construction of the units BEFORE looking at the interior.
I am still shopping and from what I have seen, I think that I prefer an all-aluminum screwed and glued frame with hung walls that uses only plywood in its floors & roofs. Still not sure about the roofing material yet, as one of the tours we went on had a new employee that used vinyl on his previous company’s rigs roofs and rubber on the new employers rigs. He says that although the rubber roof has its drawbacks (black streaks, chalking, etc.) it is still the best material for a roof.
What’s your thoughts on all of this?
2011 F-350 Super Duty SRW Diesel Crew Cab
2000 Sunnybrook Mobile Scout 27RKF
I have owned a number of RV's, and the construction of the wall framing and flooring has never been an issue for me, even after many, many thousands of miles. Insulation, cabinet quality, and workmanship and care on plumbing and electrical have been the biggies for me. Our currant Rig has been the best we have owned by far. And yes I to prefer the rubber roofing. Tough stuff!
Tom & Beth
05,Grand Junction 35TMS
99, Dodge 3500 Dually.
Your preaching to the choir here! I like the hung walled Crossroads and Carriage RV's...For the reasons you mentioned.
The biggest indication of a quality made RV is the way they run the electrical wireing. Grommits where the wire runs thru wood, floors and walls. Grommits where water lines and gas lines run thru walls.
I like the fact that some VERY high end 5th wheel brands use wood framed construction and hung real fiberglass walls! I like our current Jayco 5er with wood frame, glued in place pink fiberglass batting insulation and aluminum exterior walls!
The old adage is that if you dress a pig in a tuxedo, it's still a pig.
Some RV manufacturers are all about first impressions. It's pretty, it looks expensive....it's called the "Ooooo and Ahhhhh factor." It often seems like it's more like the "they've taken the bait, now lets reel them in!" Style instead of substance.
Waferwood, manufactured and engineered wood products are NOT real wood or even plywood! The wood trim inside the RV above the slideout is sometimes just a piece of pressed and embossed foam dressed up to look like wood.
The "wood front" cabinets are bladder pressed wood look foil film. The cabinets are glued and screwed or stapled together. My 5er has stile and screwed real hardwood framed cabinets. And no fake wood, and a real tongue and groove plywood floor. No squishy foam laminate.
And don't even start me on the Chassis Frames! Are they altered and welded in house and not touched up with rust resistant paint? Are the welds substantial or are important outriggers and add ons "tack welded?"
Some brands like Arctic Fox/Nash used Lippert frames, but unhappy with the quality they switched to making their own in house frames!
As far as the roofing materials...this is from my prior post...
"EDPM Vinyl has been sold as commercial roofing product for more than 45 years. Around the world, and going back decades, billions of square feet of vinyl roof are installed on buildings in climates of every imaginable extreme. It is a material that has proven performance to withstand all of those stressors.
TPO is a newer product with about 17 years’ field experience. TPO is a synthetic rubber compound with outstanding heat, ozone and weather resistance. It was commercially developed in 1994 and is now the leading industrial roofing material. TPO has been popular with RV builders because it is durable and weighs half of what a EDPM roof weighs."
My posts shouldn't be taken for factual data, and are purely fictional, for entertainment purposes, should not be constituted as related to scientific, technical, engineering, legal, religious, spiritual, or practical advice. After all it's FREE! Amen.
The only real way to observe the construction on these things is to go to the factories and see them built and that is impossible for most folks. Everything else is hype and marketing by the manufacturers. I have said many times that these things are far more alike than different.
If you need to see how a Lippert frame or any other frame is welded and built go to the plant. You may be surprised. If you need to know the real difference between OSB and marined grade plywood for the floor go to the internet and find the treal difference instead of the manufacturers marketing hype.loolong at the outside or inside of these things tells you little.
There are plenty of companies who shun the use of OSB in their RV's. As Ford mentioned, Carriage and Crossroads use T&G plywood floors and roof decks, have OC framing in all six sides, and use hung wall construction where you get real batts of insulation and a layer of astro-foil reflecting material.
Having take the factory tour at several companies I can say OSB is often used even in brands that claim plywood floor decking. What they don't tell you is the roof, slide roofs, and slide floors are all OSB. Some lightweights' use only perimeter framing, basically a single pipe tube frame and a few here and there in the middle.
2013 Jayco Eagle 334RBTS Disclaimer for the daft: Don't confuse my opinion with facts.
I bought an Alpenlite because of th all welded aluminum frame. I never wanted to deal with wood rot again. UNFORTUNATLY after a few years I found rot starting under a bed room window. There was a break in the sealer above the window. The window was framed with CHEAP white pine. The small leak and moisture rotted the white pine and interior wall. All was cut out and replaced with redwood. On a rig that costs 30k they should frame the windows with redwood that doesn't rot at the first site of water.
1994 27sl Alpenlite, 2001 Dodge Cummins auto 3.54 stock
Some folks get so worked up over details that aren't going to matter. Your RV is not a house, and it is not an investment. The useful life is 10 years, 15 if you are lucky. And if you live that long. Worrying about OSB, or welded versus bolted versus stapled, is pretty silly if you look at the big picture.
Building these things is like sausage making and legislation. It is best that you don't see the process, because you will enjoy the product much more if you don't.
On the plywood versus OSB line I work with an engineer who during his time at Michigan Tech he did testing for a local company.Yes he's one of those guys who got to fire the 2x4 cannon and operate a wind tunnel and got paid for it. OSB is actually stronger than plywood and plywood is more likely to become delaminated due to moisture. Just a .02$ from what i was told