Did I buy a Lemon?

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HazeGray

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May 27, 2005
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4
I bought a Fleetwood Tera 26Q about 6 months ago and have been so very disappointed in its construction.? Now I know that this Camper is an entry level RV and at $55,000, well you kind of get what you pay for. My mistake was thinking that an entry level RV meant fewer amenities, not less nuts, bolts and glue to keep it from falling apart.? :)

I knew I was in trouble when during the second week of owning it I heard a rattle in the console and couldn?t figure out what it was.? I finally decided to remove the 19?TV in the dash to see if that was the problem and was shocked to find a soft drink container and a French fry wrapper :( not to mention the mouse droppings. As I looked close it was obvious that the only way it could have gotten in there was during construction. I called Fleetwood with my concerns and they had the nerve to put the blame on the mouse and said that it probably dragged the can and wrapper up through the dash and placed them there. True Story!

Last week my wife and I decided to take a short trip from our home in 29 Palms, CA to Parker, AZ. Five miles down the road the window in the cabin door slide out of its frame and slid down inside the door. So we stopped, pulled out our handy well-used toolbox and with a little help from some duct tape we were back on the road. 10 miles more and the windshield wiper went flying off? :mad: after a short walk to pick up the wiper we were back on our way. At this point we are wondering what?s next.

I bought this coach from Giant RV and with all that has happened they have been very helpful and understanding, but my contact with Fleetwood has been way less than that.
Last time I called them with the most resent problems I again voiced my concerns about the soft drink can and FF wrapper, and ask what is happening at their manufacturing plant to allow such things. Their response was ?we will send your concerns up to manufacting and at the end of the year they will look at them and see what needs addressed,? :eek: again a true story.

This isn?t my first RV but it is my first Class ?A?, did I do something wrong and what could I have done different to not have all these problems? Thanks for any advise

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?Haze Gray and under way. Go Navy
 

Smoky

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Haze:

I don't know if there is a right or wrong.  Each situation is unique and different.  Al I can do is outline how I am going about my purchase, and others here can do the same.  There is no one single method.

I am at the culmination of a year of research and have made my purchase and am awaiting delivery.  Already I guess that says a lot about "my method".  Taking a LOT of time has been a key part.

Took plenty of time to do research and ordered from the factory.

The first step in my research was to find a resource like this forum and others.  I wanted an unbiased source of information from experienced people.

The next step was to define what we wanted.  We knew we were going to fulltime and the main decision boiled down to 5th wheel vs. motorhome.

Once that decision was behind us we pursued several directions at once.  We asked a million questions on forums like this, went to as many RV shows as we could, and test drove anything that remotely resembled the home on wheels we had defined.  We did not set a time table.  Fortunately while this was going on we had land property to put up for sale and a house to put up for sale.  If I already had the money in hand I fear I night have rushed into this and just bought something pretty on the lot.  A LOT of people buy this way.  Some even buy at a show when they first see a vehicle.

I am convinced now that taking lots of time and not rushing is an important key to finding a good home on wheels.

And we kept revising our objective along the way because we kept learning about new things.

I cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance of test driving everything.  The folks here on this forum stressed that, I took their advice, and now I completely understand why it was stressed.

Our paper and Internet research got us down to three manufacturers to consider, but only the test driving got us down to the final choice.  One motorhome that looked great on paper, great in flesh, great in specs ... turned out to be a real lemon when we took it for test drives.  And the factory HQ people turned out to be real monkeys when we tried to address problems with them.

Even though we have now ordered and are waiting delivery, our job is not done.  It would be easy to follow the dealer's lead and jump into the car when he calls and says it is here, and have a fun day and celebrate and just have a great time.  But instead we got agreement to do our own inspection.  We spent the last few weeks gathering together material to do a pre acceptance inspection of our own.  Initially the dealer pooh poohed this saying their pre delivery inspection would cover all the bases.  But in the end we got agreement to do our own inspection in day 1, and then they could do their instructional "dog and pony" show on the second day.

We really feel it is important the first day to control our own agenda and spend the time not having fun and learning how to operate stuff, but instead going step by step going through the entire motorhome from stem to stern.  Or in this case from roof top to basement.  Obviously some items on our checklist will wait till the second day if there is an appliance or device we do not know how to operate.  Our checkoff list will highlight those items for the second day.

This week others here on the forum have stressed the importance of spending a night on the coach before we sign the check.  I am not sure our dealer will let us do that.  But our pre-acceptance inspection is a good alternative.

Summarized our plan is:

1.Start looking a year ahead of time.

2. Gather good Internet, people, and paper resources.

3. Define what we really need and want. (Fulltiming?  Weekending? Communications? Etc)

4. Ask questions about everything to everyone.  Make yourself into a pest.

5. Go to lots of shows.

6. Test drive everything.

7.  Do your own pre-acceptance check at delivery before you write that check.

This won?t guarantee eliminating all the problems.  It will certainly reduce them.

Not sure how you plan to use this info since you have already made your purchase.  But I look forward with interest to read this thread and see what other ideas are out there.  Might be too late for me to use new ideas, but this is a great topic.
 

HazeGray

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Joined
May 27, 2005
Posts
4
Thanks so much for your help and advise Smokey. We bought this RV on the spur of the moment and didnt do the research it should have had  :(  My goal now is to try and learn as much as possible and maybe turn it around in a possitive way so that when we buy our retirement coach I wont make the same mistakes. Thx again Buddy
 

Tom

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Jan 13, 2005
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48,637
I would write a letter to the CEO of Fleetwood letting him/her know how unhappy you are as a customer, factually spelling out the problems, and repeating the "mouse dragged the can" story. Be polite, but ask if they treat all their customers as idiots, because this customer doesn't like being treated that way. If I was in my cynical mood, I'd also state that the can wasn't one of the options I specified and paid for. Your letter really needs to unemotional and stick to the facts.
 

HazeGray

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May 27, 2005
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4
I better have my wife write that letter, I'm not sure I could keep a civil tongue :)
 

Cyber Kahuna

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Jun 10, 2005
Posts
5
I subscribed to an RV consumer group. I liked the Fleetwood product, but after reading the number of lawsuits against them, I ran to another make. I am really glad I did. 7 Years with no problems, aside from a fuse here and there.
 

Ron

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Jan 29, 2005
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Home is where we park it
We have had three Fleetwood coaches an 88 Bounder, 93 Bounder diesel, and now the 99 American Eagle.  Put over 50k miles on each of the Bounders and over 90K on the Eagle. Other than a Cummins problem we have had excellent service and support for all of them.  I am not a fan of the RV Consumers Group and I do not ever recommend them to anybody.  They do not IMHO base any of their stuff on test results or fact just somebodies opinion.
 

Jeff

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Ron said:
We have had three Fleetwood coaches an 88 Bounder, 93 Bounder diesel, and now the 99 American Eagle. Put over 50k miles on each of the Bounders and over 90K on the Eagle. Other than a Cummins problem we have had excellent service and support for all of them. I am not a fan of the RV Consumers Group and I do not ever recommend them to anybody. They do not IMHO base any of their stuff on test results or fact just somebodies opinion.

We had two Fleetwood Pace Arrows over 20 years, an '83 34' and a '98 37'. Had 113,000 miles on the first and 68,000 on the second when they were traded. I echo what Ron said, for the money they were very good to us.
 

Smoky

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Mar 11, 2005
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wherever we are parked
I gave my 30 foot Fleetwood travel trailer to my son a few weeks ago, after delivery of the new Newmar MH.? I can honestly say I had three wonderful years with it.? On my ten week trip west in 2003 I blew out the inside starboard side wheel cover after a tire blew (not Fleetwood's fault) and the Fleetwood people were very helpful with me over the phone in California (I was in Idaho).

I would have no aversion to another Fleetwood should the occasion arise.? When I bought the Newmar? I just felt that Fleetwood MH's that offered full passthrough basements were a tad over priced for my pocketbook.? If the Providence had a full basement it would have been high on my list.? My pocketbook could not afford the new Revolution or the Eagle.
 

Steve CDN

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Jan 31, 2005
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Canada/U.S.A
My experience with Fleetwood factory customer service has been positive, overall.  Over the years, there have been service issues turned down by front-line Fleetwood service personnel, but on appeal to supervisory and upper management people, the decision would sometimes be reversed.

I found Fleetwood employees do not object or be offended by this process, as each level has a limit to what they can approve.  The limits seem to increase as you work your way up the line of management.

A polite and factual approach always worked best for me, never making personal attacks or allowing myself to become agitated.  Easier said than done, it's true, but when a problem is presented in a factual and matter of fact way, management people are usually sympathetic.

It is doubtful that upper management people at Fleetwood would condone the response you received nor the fact that food debris was left in your coach.
 

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