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Author Topic: "Consumer Reports" for RVs?  (Read 520 times)

johnnyyac

  • Posts: 3
"Consumer Reports" for RVs?
« on: September 29, 2017, 05:01:10 PM »
Does anyone know of a good resource, kind of like Consumer Reports magazine and website, for RVs of all types? I'm a newcomer, looking to start with a used pop-up or lightweight travel trailer or hybrid. There are a limited number of brands, but I wonder how they stack up in terms of quality and reliability. No offense, but I'm not sure I can rely on a sales person to be totally upfront, honest, or informed enough. I'd rather do some homework and narrow my choices, or research any used rig I find to see its history, reviews, pricing, etc.

As before, thanks in advance!

John from Iowa City

Larry N.

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  • Posts: 4474
  • Westminster, CO
Re: "Consumer Reports" for RVs?
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2017, 05:15:39 PM »
I don't think there is anything such as that out there, or at least no one on this forum seems to have found such a thing. Price (new) is a typical indicator (relative) of the quality of materials, amenities, etc. on a rig, but the quality of workmanship is "where you find it," that is, pretty much all brands will have problems, even (or especially) on new rigs, even those at the high end.

For what you are looking for, one possibility you can check into is a Trailmanor, which is a folding travel trailer (an animation of it folding is on the linked page). The torsion bars make opening and closing fairly easy, and they tow very nicely, with the lower profile helping on fuel mileage.

TMs are relatively expensive when new, but last fairly well if you can find one used. I know folks who've had one for 15 years or more. There are only a few dealers across the country, but there is a Trailmanor Owners Forum (not associated with the company) that is as friendly and knowledgeable as this site is.

I can't speak specifically about other brands, but I was a happy owner of a TM until I decided to upgrade to a motorhome.

Quote
No offense, but I'm not sure I can rely on a sales person to be totally upfront, honest, or informed enough.

You're very astute -- neither can most of us.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL
  de N8GGG

ArdraF

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  • Posts: 9735
Re: "Consumer Reports" for RVs?
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2017, 05:26:15 PM »
Quote
I'm not sure I can rely on a sales person to be totally upfront, honest, or informed enough

There's no offense because most of us would agree!  To my knowledge there's no one resource like you mention.  There used to be one for motorhomes that evaluated their construction etc. but I don't know if it even exists anymore.  I recall a lot of criticism about it - but it was better than nothing!  First there was the recent shakeout in the RV industry with many bankruptcies and acquisitions.  Now there are just too many companies to tackle such a project.  A company may have one outstanding product and the others not so much, but all companies have good times and bad times which means their products may vary significantly from year to year.  For example, one brand might be very good but they can't make it financially and they start taking shortcuts so quality declines.  You as the buyer can't always know when that happens except in retrospect when consumers start to notice a lot of problems that get publicized.

My advice is to visit various RV manufacturers that have products that interest you.  Observe the quality of construction as it goes down the production line.  If it's sloppy underneath the floor and behind the walls then quality should indicate a lower end product.  Go to a lot of RV shows and go inside the units that look interesting.  Open the drawers.  If one doesn't slide well, then check the others.  One might get by but if they all pull hard or crooked then that tells you something.  I've had a drawer fall apart in my hands at a show and that's a red flag.  Are the cabinets real wood or covered pressed board?  How much are you willing to pay for an entry-level RV that probably will be of lesser quality than a more expensive higher-end model?  There are a lot of tradeoffs when selecting an RV!

ArdraF
« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 05:27:48 PM by ArdraF »
ArdraF
:D :D

grashley

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  • Posts: 3653
  • Western KY for now.
Re: "Consumer Reports" for RVs?
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2017, 05:49:01 PM »
You are very wise to not trust the sales folks!!!  IMHO, if you do not know more about the product than the salesman, you are not ready to buy.

As stated, most manufacturers have "variable" quality on their lines,  A few are GREAT, a few are downright shoddy, and most fall somewhere in between.  This is one of several good reasons to buy used.  Let the FIRST owner make those trips back to the dealer for warranty repairs, and when you get it, they should be fixed.

For a given price, you can get a gently used "mid range" camper for the same price as a new "entry level" camper.

You are on the right track!
Preacher Gordon
09 Grand Junction 35 TMS - not yet received
2013 F350 Lariat LB SRW Supercab diesel 4X4
Nimrod Series 70 popup (sold)
It's not a dumb question if you do not know the answer.

Isaac-1

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  • Posts: 498
Re: "Consumer Reports" for RVs?
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2017, 10:39:34 PM »
Let me state up front that this is just my personal observation, that I have never owned a camping trailer, though i have shopped for them off and on over the years.  I have previously owned a couple of camper vans 15-20 years ago, then got back into RV'ing last year with the purchase of a used class A motorhome.

In general I find that used pop up trailers often have insanely high asking prices, even the private party side of the road for sale sign variety.  I have looked at many of them over the years, and it seems prices usually start in the $1,500 - $2,000 range for ones that are 25+ years old with dry rotted tires, and tent material with holes in it that a person could put their arms through.  I also have found that lite or ultra-lite are industry code words meaning flimsy and one worries their foot will go through the floor when they step in the door.
2002 Safari Trek 2830

KandT

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  • Posts: 774
Re: "Consumer Reports" for RVs?
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2017, 11:43:38 PM »
I also have found that lite or ultra-lite are industry code words meaning flimsy and one worries their foot will go through the floor when they step in the door.
[/quote]

I have never seen a pull behind camper that didn't have one of the following words:
  - Feather lite
  - micro-mini
  - aero-lite (my favorite because it combines aerodynamics and lite weight)
  - AmericanMighty Lite (Both Patriotic and Lite!)
  - Cougar X-Lite
  - Jay Flight (Hey what do I know maybe the thing is a plane?)
  - LTW (Kinda implies light weight)
  - mighty Lite (Another Favorite! It is both "mighty" while at the same time being Lite - No worries!)
  - Northern Lite (Snuck that one in on ya huh?  you thought they were talking' about the actual lights but your subconscious saw that honda civic pulling it ;)  )       don't really try to pull it with a Civic!
  - Ultra Lite - (Takes light to a whole new level - thing probably doesn't even weigh anything!)
  - Real Lite - (They aint BS you on this one!)
 

I'd like to see some real honesty in the industry like "This thing is heavy as a load of bricks and will tow like one too.  That half tone truck you got there aint gonna do it!"  But maybe that won't fit on the side.
2005 Winnebago Vectra
American Car Dolly
2009 Accord Toad
It's not a problem.  It's a project!

jims94vmx

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  • Posts: 16
Re: "Consumer Reports" for RVs?
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2017, 10:37:44 AM »
  My wife and i decided to purchase a book that gives the in's and outs of rv,s, manufacturers, dealers etc....as well as how they are made and and the differences.  We paid around 75 bucks and are looking to sell for 40 bucks.  It is called the Travel Trailer and Fifth Wheel comparison guide by Randall Eaton.  Google it and let me know.  We bought a Grand Design Reflection 337RLS and added dual pane windows and 2nd ac.

contact me jims94vmx (at) verizon.net


Jim

Oldgator73

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  • Posts: 637
Re: "Consumer Reports" for RVs?
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2017, 12:47:57 PM »
There are times when I'm sitting around with nothing to do and I think about purchasing a larger TT. So I do an internet search for what I am looking for, TT, 21ft or less, 4000lb dry weight. Along with many manufacturers sights and used TT's for sale what often pops up are sites like "Reviews of Top 10 TT Under 4000 pounds".
2016 Winnebago Winnie Drop
2016 Nissan Frontier 4x4 Crew Cab
Air Force Retired
It's not the weight of the load, it's how you carry it.

 

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