Reliability

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by Al Wells, Feb 23, 2006.

  1. Al Wells

    Al Wells New Member

    On average, how long can one expect a well-maintained RV to last? Do certain Classes of RV's historically 'outlive' others? Will the added cost of diesel pay for itself over time? Which brands of RV's are known for longevity?

    I realize that there are a lot of variables here, but I hope to be able to buy and keep a unit for an extended period of time. As I once learned in sales..."I'd rather apologize once for cost, than keep apologizing for poor quality". Any wisdom from your experiences would be greatly appreciated!

    Al
     
  2. Krazeehorse

    Krazeehorse New Member

    Reliability

    I have a 1984 Winnebago Chieftain. It only has a little over 50,000 miles on it. But almost everything on it works well. Things that aren't just right are things that have been broken, not worn out. So I think you will find that Winnies are perhaps built a little better than some of the others. I think the gas/diesel issue will depend on how many miles you will drive your RV but in the long run (what we're looking at here) you will probably be happier with a diesel. I know I would but the miles won't justify it just yet so I'll keep feeding that 454. ;) Welcome to the forum, Krazee
     
  3. s.harrington

    s.harrington Senior Member

    Reliability

    One thing you need to look at is the type of weather you have in your area. If you are in a damp area like I am (Western Washington) where you get 240 days a year of damp rainy weather you should stay away from stick built (wood frame) RVs and go with aluminum or in the case of some motorhomes steel framed rigs. Stick builts in my area seem to start to rot after about 5 years even when you take the best of care. In saltwater areas you should go with fiberglass siding. In sunny areas you may not want a rubber roof.

    A diesel will get better fuel economy in most cases. But if you don't drive alot the added cost of buying a diesel may not be worth it. You also have to calculate the added cost of maintaining a diesel engine. If you don't do the oil changes and fuel filter changes yourself it can get costly.

    If you are looking for a good quality motorhome, Monaco, Allegro, and New Mar make excellent coaches for reasonable prices. For 5th wheels you have New Mar(Kountry Aire, Kountry Star ect.), McKenzie (built by Monaco), and Sunnybrook to start with. Some would think that these are expensive but if you pay less than $1200.00 per foot you are buying an entry level trailer. Of course in motorhomes its much higher. The average entry level motorhome is $80,000 or less for new.

    Talk to an independent RV technician in your area and see which ones they like. If I had the money, I would by a Foretravel @ 1/2 a million bucks but hey I work on these things. :laugh:
     
  4. BobW

    BobW New Member

    Reliability

    It's difficult to ask what motor home is the best any forum site. The guy that has a Winny tells you his is the best just as the guy that owns a Monaco tells you his is. You might as well ask what color is best. How much money do you want to spend is the real question. I spent many years doing repair work on rental Class C and A MH interiors. The outside on most MH's are mostly built the same. Take away the paint and they all look the same. All components are created by outside venders, like heaters, refrigerators and etc. The way most cheep MH manufactures save money is the materials used on the inside. Look for cabinets made out of solid wood and not chip board. Fabrics on the sofa is always cheep on lower cost MH's. So of the worst ones I've seen are the lower cost Fleetwood, Georgia Boy and Winnebagos. Plus many more. Better are the Monaco brands. Of corse we'll get allot of people saying there Georgia Boy is wonderful. I'll tell you, I've spent allot of time repairing every chipboard door frame in our GB inventory. As s.harrington said, call the repairmen and rental outfits, people who aren't in love with any one brand.
     
  5. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Reliability

    As a general thing, the higher priced RVs usually out live the cheap ones. There is much more quality in the higher priced RVs because it costs to build quality. A major factor in the life of any RV, no matter the cost, is the care that it is given. A well cared for RV will very often last more than 30 years. A poorly cared for one may not last for 10. We met a couple who are traveling in a 1972 Bluebird not long ago. It has been upgraded and been well kept and it has had the engine and transmission rebuilt. It looks near new inside. I also know a fulltimer who is in a 1968 Teton fifth wheel trailer. His father bought it new and took good care of it. He has done the same since he got in about ten years ago. I suspect that it will serve as long as it is cared for in the way that it has been.
     
  6. dsl4us

    dsl4us New Member

    Reliability

    Can't comment on the newer Georgie Boys but our older one seems to have held up real well. Or maybe it was how the previous owners took care of it. It has the aluminum frame construction and fiberglass sides which I highly recommend. All major components appear original.
    Has ~140,000 miles with the 5.9L Cummins and Allison still purring along. The Oshkosh chassis is definitely more HD than the GM/Ford/Dodge chassis.
     
  7. Al Wells

    Al Wells New Member

    Reliability

    When I went vehicle searching, I always asked several mechanics about their experiences with certain brands and models. I always found the "love Chev, hate Ford" guys and vice versa, but often certain models of any brand seemed to stand out as either better quality or real problems in certain areas. (I remember great love for the 283 Chev.) Where are most problem issues in a MH? Leaks? Mechanical problems due to the extra weight? Mold from dampness? Since I am new to this whole world the rest of you enjoy, I hope to avoid the trial and error I suspect many of you went through, before finding what you truly wanted! Bob you suggested that what is really important is the amount of money willing to be spent. Does that mean that a good litmus test for quality is the outgo of dollars, or are there some units that keep their cost low, but still provide excellent quality in materials used?

    Al
     
  8. BobW

    BobW New Member

    Reliability

    Well Al, you started this topic. Yes, I think cost is the factor of quitly, most of the time. Look around and ask yourself where this doesn't fit in. Tell us just what you plan to do with your MH and how much you'r willing to spend. These are the real questions.
    As far as lower cost that are built better, I would stay away from Fleetwood and the lower cost Winnies. The better ones are the Thor brands. Can't advise you without knowing what you want.
     
  9. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Reliability

    Al, I think leaks are one of the most common problems in rvs. Every time you move them they are twisting which can create small cracks in joints. These must be kept sealed and checked regulary. Overloading is another problem. Generally speaking you do spend more for better units. All companys have to make money so cheaper units have to cut corners somewhere. There are entry , mid and upper level units. Cheaper are entry. How you plan on using determins which you need. As others have said the care you take and how you plan on using a rv will go a long way in determining how long the rv will last. You just have to do your homework, go to shows, ask questions on units you are interested in and look and look and when you think you know LOOK again. All mfgs can turn out lemons in entry, mid or upper level units. All of rvers have opinions on which units are best or worse. Bob may not like the Fleetwood but you sure see a lot of old units still out there. I never have owned a Fleetwood so can't say one way or the other. If I had my choice and money was no object I would look at Foretravel, Blue bird, travel Supreme. If on a budget Georgetown, Fleetwood, forest River entry units. Just a few that come to mind. AJMO
     
  10. gunny

    gunny New Member

    Reliability

    Al Wells,
    Good quiestions all but sadly when it comes time for the answer part peoples prejudice,pro and con, plays a big part. I remember very well buying a Cedar Creek 5er a few years ago. It was a very nice 34 ft trailer built by Forest River. My wife and I were very happy with this trailer, but we had "Dozens" of folks tell us how big of a mistake we had made buying anything from Forest River.We have since moved on from that 34 ft trailer but without a doubt of all of the RV's we have owned it was the easiest not just on our pocket book but also on the quality of it. That Forest River never once gave us a bad time, never. We have since not had quite that good of luck. The Winnebago MH we replaced that 5er with was a total nightmare, it was in the dealer for 7 months of the first 9 we owned it for some kind of repair or another. The awning that came on it installed be Winnebago at the factory blew off of the coach on the first small trip we took of less than a hundred miles. It took 11 months before we saw the replacement---- 11 months!!! We replaced that piece of ----- with a very well proclaimed Jayco MH the problems where much less and repaired quickly but there is always going to be some kind of a problem with any RV always. There are expensive RV's and there are some that are much less expensive and show it. But all and all I have found that really cheap inexpensive RV's come with cheap stuff on them. Really expensive high dollar RV's come with a whole lot "MORE" of that exact same cheap stuff on them.

    All in all there's not a whole lot of difference in any of these RV's. Some are built better and will last longer if taken care of. Some of those that are not built quite as well will last just as long and serve just as well if you do your part. Pay your money and take a chance!!

    Gunny
     
  11. Krazeehorse

    Krazeehorse New Member

    Reliability

    Maybe they're like cars Gunny, you don't want one built on Monday or Friday.
     
  12. Al Wells

    Al Wells New Member

    Reliability

    I took a look at a Jayco Hybrid. The salesman claimed that for most units, the side of the trailer starts to look like waves on the water. Jayco apparently vacuum seals each side of the wall to the insulation which supposedly stops the waves.

    Al
     
  13. BobW

    BobW New Member

    Reliability

    Al, you still haven't told us how much money you willing to shell out, or what type of MH your interested in. Yes, money is the true test of quality. We are on the road and have been looking at a new replacement for out ageing Monaco. The Fleetwoods I've hated were the less expencive ones. Looking at the newer Class A's I can say I'm impressed. I'm still not going to buy. Most of the Class C's look like there all built the same to me. I think I'll look into the new Monaco brands and Alfa See'ya, Alpine and Country Coach. Out of reach? It's only money.
     
  14. Al Wells

    Al Wells New Member

    Reliability

    Since I am new to this RV world, I am pleased to listen carefully to the wisdom of you who have had experience in the real RV world. As to money spent, Bob, I hope to sell the house which I expect will net me about $120,000 Cdn. ( about 50 cents in U.S. funds :). I will use most or all of that to purchase an RV.

    I am still in limbo as to the type of RV., as my old life was strictly one of camping. RV people are not just campers, they are travellers and that places a different perspective on things. Since my goal is going full-time, I hope to find a rig that will last a long time and have a good track record for reliability. I know that one can find a lemon in any group, but you play the odds and hope for the best! That is why I've been trying to glean the knowledge members of this forum have experienced!

    I still debate 5th wheel vs. Class A. Running a TOAD on a Class A seems a little odd from a financial perspective as two vehicles must be licensed and gassed, but obviously those that do so, do it for a good reason!

    Al
     
  15. BobW

    BobW New Member

    Reliability

    120,000 is not allot of money these days. For that kind of money your best bet would be a class C. Any Class A at that price would be a cheep one. You can get a real nice 5th wheel for that price. Of corse, your going to need an expencive puller. Check out a one or two year old unit. Let the first guy take the beating. We bought a Monaco Winsor years ago, that was 2 years old and had 11k miles on it, for 120000k. Look around on ebay and get an idea of what you half to pay. A buddy of mine bought one on ebay and saved allot. You can check befor you buy and buy locally.
     
  16. np551

    np551 New Member

    Reliability

    I think www.rv.org probably has more good information on this subject than any other source I have heard of. :)
     

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