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Open Roads Forum  >  Beginning RVing

 > Quality Control

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surveyorbob

All over

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Posted: 07/12/12 06:28pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have written a letter to the president of an RV manufacturer. Are the difficulties and frustrations expressed common in the RV world. We are newcomers.
The ******* indicators are not curse words. I did not want to identify the company or the dealer.



The President
*********** RV
Elkhart, Indiana

re: *************
V.I.N. *************
Manufactured 03/01/2011
Purchased 11/29/2011

My wife and I have met many fine people since purchasing the ************.

Mostly, they are repair people and service techs.

We met many of the service staff at ******** in Boerne, Texas the dealer where we purchased the RV and where our RV spent many days waiting for repair.
We met many of the service staff and office staff at ********* in *********, Texas.
We met many of the service staff at the facility recommended to us by *********** Company Rep Steve ********* in Elkhart, Indiana.

I anticipate meeting another one soon as I wait for a mobile tech at Indian Line Campground in Toronto, Ontario. If he doesn’t come soon, I guess I will have to go over to the campground toilets because the one in our ********* is broken.

To be fair to ********, much of the service time could have been avoided by an adequate pre-delivery preparation. It only took me an hour or so to remove the TV from its console and connect all the wires, and I didn’t mind that, but I didn’t feel like fixing the screw through the cupboards, the ball bearings in the carpets from the drawer slides that eventually had to be replaced so the drawers under the bed could be used, the lock on front generator compartment did not lock, the shower Hot/Cold adjustment did not work and the faucet had to be replaced twice, drawers in bedroom under the bed did not open properly, some of the drawers had not been put together properly and had 1/2 inch gaps between the finish and the drawer compartment, the cabinet drawer for the pantry was not aligned properly, the trim in the bedroom closet was loose and bent, the top shelf in washer/dryer closet had a nail sticking out, the TV antenna did not crank properly and the living room slide was not in adjustment so cracked a wall when it went out to far, and the cabinet in the bathroom does not match the decor in the rest of the trailer.

I guess I will have to take much of the blame for taking delivery of a trailer with those deficiencies. At the time I thought I was dealing with two reputable companies, a manufacturer and sales and service firm. The wife and I did not realize we were going to have to get down on hands and knees and crawl through the trailer and rub hands over every board and check every faucet and light and the air pressure in the tires before taking delivery. We are new to full time RVing and I guess neophytes when it comes to buying a so called luxury unit to enjoy our retirement in. Our new Ford and Subarus and Mercury have never required this meticulous attention when we purchased them.

Since that time we have spent many hours on the phone, sitting in waiting rooms, and sending e-mails trying to get major repairs to our RV.

We missed precious family times such as our grandson’s first birthday party and sister-in-law’s ordination waiting for someone to admit that I was not making it up when I said a front jack was leaking and it needed to be replaced, and admit that my wife was not crazy when she said the Fridge doors were not closing properly.

When we finally got to Elkhart, the ********* folks said “That’s the way the fridges come from *********”. The techs went into their lot and found 3 more ********* products with the same fridge problem.

Let me assure you I did not spend tens of thousands of dollars on a “luxury” RV to have a fridge that had to be “jury rigged” to repair, and spend two days in a service garage while frustrated techs searched for the leaks around the slide and repair them. The “jury rig” on the fridge works about 85% and one area of the seal still does not work.

The coup-de-grace was when they didn’t have some seals over the slides which were so rotten the service tech said he had never seen anything like them. This on a new RV purchased only 8 months ago. I had to have the seals shipped to our next destination and then I replaced and caulked the trailer, a “luxury” RV pulled less than 5000 miles.

To be truthful, I just don’t think I should have to stop along the road and hunt in my toolkit for screws to replace the ones that fall out. You owe me a fender skirt which cracked before I caught it. The one they sent was a wrong part.

I do not know what you can do to solve our particular problems with a lemon, but I hope you can think of something. Steve ******** of your firm has helped as he could so I have no bones to pick with your staff. I suppose by now I have been labeled as some kind of a complaining nut. That’s OK, because all of these repairs are on record, so I have the proof that I am not. Every thing has had to be done under warranty, with little or no prodding as soon as the tech saw the issue.

If anyone asks about *********, I’m sure I’ll share this letter to you, the President of *********, with them. Rest assured, I will never buy another ********* product in spite of the fact we love the floor plan and find the trailer very comfortable and it fits our needs beautifully.

I wish you good luck. As the new president of the company, you have some major quality control problems to attend to.

Oh, I forgot to mention that when ******** replaced the original pinbox with a Mor/ryde box, they left all the warranty papers and installation and maintenance papers stuffed down in the pinbox where we found them months later while evicting a bird. They may sell lots of your trailers for you, but they may not be doing you any favors. On our trip up here we met two others from Texas. I asked where they bought their trailers and got 10 minute harangues about ********. I hadn’t even mentioned that dealership.

Terryallan

Foothills NC

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Joined: 06/28/2004

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Posted: 07/12/12 07:09pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

surveyorbob wrote:

I have written a letter to the president of an RV manufacturer. Are the difficulties and frustrations expressed common in the RV world. We are newcomers.
The ******* indicators are not curse words. I did not want to identify the company or the dealer.
.


Why? Do you dislike us so much that you want us to make the same mistake you did, and buy that brand, from that dealer. We need to know, so that we can avoid the same mistake.

but then it does appear you do have a surveyor


Terry & Shay
Coachman Apex 288BH.
04 F150, 5.4, Lariat SuperCab
Lazy Campers


FoutsFamily

Apex, NC

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Posted: 07/12/12 07:29pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I completely understand your frustrations and it doesn't seem like you are being too harsh about it. From your earlier posts, you have a Heartland Landmark San Antonio made in early 2011. Heartland is supposed to be known to make a quality product geared todards a full-time RV lifestyle. I would love to know what kind of response you get.

SooperDaddy

Southern California

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Posted: 07/12/12 07:27pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I won't mention the brand either...but it is a shame and very disHeartening that we as the RV buying consumers still have to contend with shoddy workmanship and lackadaisical or non-existant quality control.

It can break your Heart that even RV's built right in the Heartland of Indiana's RV industrial center can build a few lemons now and again, but you do sometimes get disHearted with the RV Builders that tout that their goal is to set the standard in quality, and that they "have a simple philosophy of if it is worth doing, it is worth doing right the first time".

Some folks reading this post will say "They're all like that", or "What can you do?" dont understand that the real Heart of the matter is to shop with your wallet and make the RV Manufacturers more concerned with quality and "initial satisfaction".

Wouldn't that be a real LANDMARK case?

Sorry for your issues, and we all whole Heartedly hope everything works out! Getting to the Heart of the matter will solve your issues.


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.


gbopp

The Keystone State

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Posted: 07/12/12 07:14pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I attended the 2011 Hershey RV Show. I did not look at everything on display.
The units I did tour left me with the impression that Quality Control does not exist in the RV industry.

Markiemark32

Atlanta

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Posted: 07/12/12 07:22pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You get a response?


Similar thoughts here:

Quality Control

Markiemark

skipnchar

Topeka or somewhere else

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Joined: 12/17/2003

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Posted: 07/12/12 08:04pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sorry to hear you're having so much trouble but I would NOT consider those types of situations to be normal at all. I had a single warranty concern during the second year of the factory warranty on my ******* and beyond that, towed the trailer over 50,000 towing miles before I had my first concern that was anything but extremely minor (replaced the converter on the way home from a two month trip to Alaska). Other than that in over 80,000 towing miles the trailer has proven to be very well built and is holding up very well to some HEAVY use.

Hope they get your issues repaired and you have many happy trouble free years with the RV. From the responces in the "rate your RV" web site, Heartland seems to be rated on the high side of average.
http://www.rv-coach.com/RV/manufacturers/survey/rate_your_rv_results.html


2011 F-150 HD Ecoboost 3.5 V6. 2550 payload, 17,100 GCVWR -
2004 F-150 HD (Traded after 80,000 towing miles)
2007 Rockwood 8314SS 34' travel trailer

US Govt survey shows three out of four people make up 75% of the total population


Ron3rd

Upland, CA USA

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Posted: 07/12/12 08:33pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What the OP points out is common with many brands. The problem is there's no consistency. Non of the mfgs are great IMO. The next trailer of the line will have a different personality than the one before it. Maybe built by a different crew, or from a different factory. QC is sorely lacking in the RV industry.


2007 Tundra Crew Max
2013 Forest River 3001W Windjammer
Equilizer Hitch
Timbrens
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"I have this plan to live forever; so far my plan is working"

frankdamp

Anacortes, or wherever we've gone.

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Posted: 07/12/12 08:24pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It's a well-known thing in most engineering/manufacturing industries that the old style of QC is a means of bolting the stable door after the horse is long gone. Quality has to be designed in and properly engineered. Quality Control then consists of verifying that there weren't any screw-ups in manufacturing.

An absolutely perfectly built Pinto or Vega was still a POS (though there weren't many that were perfectly built!)

My gut feel is that the RV industry is much like the UK motorcycle industry in the middle 1960's. I worked for Norton/AJS in that time frame. They're getting by on incredibly outdated manufacturing procedures and poorly designed and engineered systems. I sometimes wonder if they even have engineers (since I are one!)

Our Georgetown, though it's reputed to be above the middle of the quality spectrum, is full of poorly designed and excuted pieces that were FR's responsibility.

The wiring seems to have been done based on whatever was available on the shop floor at the time. There's no wiring diagram in the documentation and the wire color codes are totally meaningless.

The cabinetry seems to have been built inside the rig with raw lumber. There's no evidence that the cabinets were assembled before installation. There's certainly no rhyme or reason for the J. Michael Mouse way the cabinets are attached to structure. I'm surprised they haven't come crashing down by now. I had to remove the cabinets over the dinette because of water getting into the slide. I built replacements, and believe me, they are much more firmly attached to the slide ceiling structure than the factory installation.

We have on-going problems with seals in the slides. The lower seal in the bedroom has a gap in it big enough to let a cat in - should get to that in a couple of weeks. The seals generally are peeling off the walls and the window frames. I suspect that the cleanliness requirements for the surface on which the adhesives were applied were not followed. I'm already into my third tube of the 3M yellow adhesive for weather-stripping.

I hope not to have any more disasters, but I have little confidence in the design/build quality of the rig. We're stuck with it, due to the way we financed it, and we hope to get some use out of it before we're too old to do this any more, but a quality vehicle it definitely is NOT.

Maybe this is the RV equivalent of a Pinto!


Frank Damp, DW - Eileen
Anacortes, WA

'02 Georgetown 325, F53, V-10.
Dogs - 2 Labs, both yellow males, both 10 yrs old and both adopted.

Francesca Knowles

Port Hadlock, Washington

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Posted: 07/12/12 07:37pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Why the secrecy about the brand etc.?????? Is it against site rules to reveal those?

If it's results you're looking for, tiptoeing around about the details isn't going to do you any good.

And (like somebody else said) it won't do the rest of us any good either!


" Not every mind that wanders is lost. " With apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien

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