Quality levels amongst different RV manufacturers/product lines?

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grizgrin

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I've read in here that quality control is a bit of a common point of failure amongst RV's. Are there then any really dependable lines or manufacturers, or is this concept more aimed at high variance in quality amongst individual units? I would hate to pay good money for a "high end" RV and then find out later that it really doesn't matter, that they are all the same as far as build quality.

What do you look for that denotes espcially poor build quality? Anything you have seen that really screams out?
 

Jim Godward

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grizgrin said:
I've read in here that quality control is a bit of a common point of failure amongst RV's. Are there then any really dependable lines or manufacturers, or is this concept more aimed at high variance in quality amongst individual units? I would hate to pay good money for a "high end" RV and then find out later that it really doesn't matter, that they are all the same as far as build quality.

What do you look for that denotes espcially poor build quality? Anything you have seen that really screams out?

Just a quick comment about High End MHs.  An acquaintance of ours bought a Prevost conversion from a OR converter, not sure which one.  For about the first 2 years they made trips at least quarterly to get stuff  fixed.  So much for what a $1.5 M has for quality!!
 

COMer

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What probably makes this confusing is that most manufacturers make a large selection of units covering various price points and each having different levels of quality.  Generally speaking, if you buy one of their better (higher priced) units, it will have higher quality.  Only you know if the extra money is worth it to you.  I have a fifth-wheel that cost about $25,00 from a company that also makes fifth-wheel trailers that sell for about $75,000.  Loads of difference, as there should be.
 

Frizlefrak

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"Quality Control" is a cruel joke in the RV industry.  Ironically, if you buy one 2-3 years old, it will probably give you fewer problems than a new one.  The previous owner worked all the bugs out. 
 

warsw

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Frizlefrak said:
"Quality Control" is a cruel joke in the RV industry.  Ironically, if you buy one 2-3 years old, it will probably give you fewer problems than a new one.  The previous owner worked all the bugs out.
Or they are getting rid of it because it had constant problems LOL.
 

Jim Godward

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COMer said:
What probably makes this confusing is that most manufacturers make a large selection of units covering various price points and each having different levels of quality.  Generally speaking, if you buy one of their better (higher priced) units, it will have higher quality.  Only you know if the extra money is worth it to you.  I have a fifth-wheel that cost about $25,00 from a company that also makes fifth-wheel trailers that sell for about $75,000.  Loads of difference, as there should be.

Don't confuse design level with quality.  A low or starter RV will have cheaper materials but should have a quality assembly same as the higher priced units that use a better grade of materials.

Typically a manufacturer that has drawings and wiring diagrams including the drawings for wire routing will have a better overall quality than one that builds on the fly, no real wiring diagrams etc.  There are exceptions but there is no or little control with out the engineering that goes into the drawing package.

Our DutchStar is a good unit TILL you want to know where the wiring, plumbing, etc. is and then all you can get is a one line drawing that sort of connects the outlets, faucets, or ???, then it is figure it out yourself or maybe get help on the Newmar owners lists from some one who has done it before you.  Newmar makes a nice product but ...!  I sure wish the documentation was better.  I come from an industry where there is a production line but each product is one of a kind.  Well some times there are a few identical units but that is fairly rare.  Each is also well documented whether sold to a person or an airline or a government.
 

JCZ

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grizgrin said:
I've read in here that quality control is a bit of a common point of failure amongst RV's. Are there then any really dependable lines or manufacturers, or is this concept more aimed at high variance in quality amongst individual units? I would hate to pay good money for a "high end" RV and then find out later that it really doesn't matter, that they are all the same as far as build quality.

What do you look for that denotes espcially poor build quality? Anything you have seen that really screams out?

You might want to spend the $ and join RV Consumer Group.  It's like the Consumer Reports for the RV industry.....they don't accept advertising from anybody and so aren't beholding to any of them....totally member supported.

They give a rating for value (the best bang for the buck), reliability, wether it's best suited for a weekender, vacationer (up to two weeks), snowbirder (up to six months) or full timer (year around) and those are point based scores and then they also have a star rating for overall consumer/customer satisfaction. 

I was ready to pull the trigger on a particular make and model of 5th wheel and went ahead (kicking and screaming) a spent the $ to join RV Consumer.  I'm sure glad I did.......I was about to buy a trailer that was at the bottom of the barrell.  Hey, it looked good....you shoulda seen it.  :eek:

We ended up with a trailer that's a true "all seasons" (thermal pane windows....yes, dual pane, heated holding tanks and all the plumbing is run through heated spaces under the floor) instead of a trailer that claimed to be all seasons just because it had heated tanks.  I might add, the thermal pane windows are huge as well as the plumbing run in heated space, wether it's a TT or a 5th wheel.  Stays cooler in the heat and warmer in the cold!
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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It's like the Consumer Reports for the RV industry.....they don't accept advertising from anybody and so aren't beholding to any of them....totally member supported.
Uh, there is one major difference between RV Consumer Group and CU: The RV group doesn't actually test anything. They just read specs and write opinions, based on some criteria they formulate themselves.
 

BruceinFL

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Jim Godward said:
Don't confuse design level with quality.  A low or starter RV will have cheaper materials but should have a quality assembly same as the higher priced units that use a better grade of materials.

On what planet would that be Jim? :)
 

Jim Godward

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BruceinFL said:
On what planet would that be Jim? :)

Obviously not this one!!  On the other had I said "should" and it should be that way.  I think greed and a few other vices have gotten in the way of good product delivery to the customer as evidenced by the problems we see posted in the various RV Lists/forums.
 

rvnot

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The word quality control doesn't belong with the RV industry. Thier idea of making a better product means more cosmetics which equals more money.
We bought a new fairly high end 5th wheel 7 years ago and paid $60,000. The first 2 years were a nightmare of shoddy construction which caused every slide to leak, plumbing problems and the fresh water tank to fall out on the freeway at 60 mph. Keystone covered everything but the hassle is a pain and really inexcusable.
The service manager/owner of an rv dealership on the Oregon coast said he is so frustrated with his customers having to come back in for repairs that were avoidable if  Keystone had spent a extra few minutes on the assembly line.
Even now, i worry everytime I take the thing on the road.
 

Molaker

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Having come from quality assurance years ago in the manf. of consumer electronics, I have some experience in what it takes to build/assemble a "quality" product.  I put "quality" in quotes because it is and always has been a term of great dispute.  But, in general, "quality" means meeting the users expectations.  Consequently, any discussion in quality of any product, be it TVs or RVs, will always provoke subjective responses.

That said, I would hate to be a QA manager for a RV manufacturer.  To do what would be necessary to build a "quality" RV would drive the cost of the RV so high, no one would/could buy it.  So, "quality" in the RV world has morphed into who has the neatest bells and whistles, even if the whistle breaks the first time one blows it.

Where does that leave the buyer?  Basically, a "quality" product is probably best defined as in how good the service is when it has a failure.  So, once a RV gets some years on it, there is little difference in brand or model.  IMHO.
 

Shadow Catcher

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I also come from a QC profession and have done inspection on everything from the space shuttle to carnival rides. In many cases you can tour a factory, and if you cant I would not buy from them.
Much of the technology is decades old and construction poor quality.
Our teardrop was custom made and I inspected it as it was being constructed. I provided the marine LED lights and Morningstar solar controller and inverter. I was not satisfied with the available external showers available (big and cludgy) so I imported a shower point and one of their gas points from the UK well build high quality. The trailer has an all aluminum frame the walls are stress panel, cabinets are furniture grade with dovetail joints, not stapled...
 
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