Rotten TT from Tom Johnson Camping

On Oct 20th, 2006 I purchased my very first RV, a 2001 Coachmen Catalina Lite travel trailer from Tom Johnson Camping in Concord, NC. The trailer appeared to be in good shape to me and I paid what appeared to be average retail for it. The salesman said that the trailer was inspected and they found no serious problems with it.
I noted some stains below the front window and the salesman told me the cleaning people just missed it (this was my first ignorant mistake trusting them). There was also a couple of places where the paneling was buckled a little but the walls felt firm.

On my first camping trip with the trailer in late February, 2007 the front window leaked down the wall again. After I got the trailer home I started checking the interior walls on the inside of the overhead storage above the bed. This is when my fingers pretty easily pushed a hole through the panelling to find soaked wet insullation.
I took a look at my sales sheet and I noticed that they had pretty plainly put on it "sold as is". This was my second mistake which I now consider a stupid one because I trusted their inspection to find such problems.

I contacted the sales manager and he said to bring it in and let them take a look at it and they would do right by me. I took it in and they said they would replace the inside paneling and would only charge me half since it was obviously water damage that could not have happened in the three months since I purchased the trailer.

They also gave me the option of trading my trailer for another. I considered this until the sales person said they could only allow me $2,000 (20%) less on my trailer than what I purchased it for three months earlier. I did not consider that option as "making things right".

When I picked up the trailer after they repaired it I was feeling pretty good because it looked like they did a pretty good job with it and I thought they charged me a reasonable price. After I got home I started checking the front wall in the bottom storage area and again found rotted walls and soaked wet insullation. Who would think that if the top was soaken wet in the walls that it would not be the same in the bottom walls. If I had not checked for the water in the walls the whole lower section would have completely rotted.

I sent emails to the service manager and Tom Johnson and got no replies.

My experiences from my first three months of my very first rv has taught me several things:

1. Never trust a dealer (specifically Tom Johnson Camping) to check or acknowledge any water damage. Either they did not check it at all or they do not have people who are sufficiently skilled to find such things. I personally think they knew and found themselves and ignorant sucker (myself) to purchase the trailer so they would not be out the expense of repairing it.

2. Never purchase an rv "as is" without some sort of warranty.

3. The definition of "we will make things right" must mean something quite a bit different in dealer lingo than most folks think it means.

4. Never assume that a dealer's service department will search for any problems beyond what they feel they just pass on to the ignorant customer.

I am writting off my experiences with Tom Johnson Camping as an education - not like an RV 101 course but more like an RV 100 (bonehead) course.

I sure hope they did at least get the leak stopped.
Re: Rotten TT from Tom Johnson Camping

Hey! TexasClodhpper. In Texan lingo that is the same as Howdy Partner - ha ha ha. Originally being from Kentucky about 20 years ago I never paid much attention to Gomer Pyle saying Hey but that sure is the way they do it here in South Carolina.

How do you like your V10 engine and what kind of gas mileage do you get? I had a F150 with a six cylinder and thought I could get by towing a lite weight trailer. After I got it home I found out it weighed 800 pounds more than the dealer "confirmed" that it weighed. I pretty quickly got me a heavier duty truck. I now have a GMC Siera 2500HD with the 6 liter turbo diesel and after towing it I am tickled to death that I decided to buy the truck.

The dealer really messed over me and I am still trying to figure out how to return the favor.

By your radio call sign you must have had it for a while. I have a technician license but have not talked much on my 2 meter radio since the friend that got me into it passed away a few years ago.
Re: Rotten TT from Tom Johnson Camping

I was in South Carolina for a few days. And North Carolina. We went through the mountains from Kentucky and drove around and camped. Fond memories.

The V10 in my Winnie gets between 6.5 and 7.5 mpg. I usually drive 65. I really has a torque curve above 2000 rpm in overdrive. When it drops to around 2000, you better go ahead and drop it out of overdrive or your speed will drop off quickly. Well, you could put your foot into it, but there go more of the gas dollars! It runs about 2500 rpm at 65.

I had a Ford 6-cyl once. Never again. It was the worst of all worlds. Ken @ GTS can attest to the beauty of the GMC 2500HD, as he has elsewhere.

You return the favors of a bad dealer by dealing elsewhere. Nothing else will work.

I got my call as a Technician around 1990. My son got his (N5XDX) at the same time, and Sallyberetta got hers (N5WAN) also. We were afflicted by a friend, too. Now, he's passed away over to Alabama where he came from!

We were pretty hot with 2-meters and UHF around home for 5 or 6 years. Had a local club and repeater with a 300 foot tower. We helped in our big local flood with the Texas Baptist Men and Red Cross and all of that.

Cell phones killed our revenue source, and we ran out of local hams. Sigh. I hope you know that now all you have to do is pass the written tests to upgrade. They finally dropped the code requirements. I might do it someday.
Re: Rotten TT from Tom Johnson Camping

I have only passed through Texas a time or two. I spent a few months at Fort Sill, OK in 1971 and really enjoyed the fall We have vacationed in Arizona, Colorado, and souther Utah but not by RV. We flew into Phoenix and rented a car for about 10 days. We got a real good deal on the air fare and it cost us more to rent the car that it did to fly there.

I would like to rv out there when I retire - I really love to get out in the areas where I can hear nothing but the wind blowing past my ears.

Two of my favorite places are the Arches National Park near Moab, Utah and Bryce Canyon National Park in SW Utah. The stars at night in Bryce was one of the most fantastic things I have seen in my life.

I did hear the did away with the code and I am thinking about upgrading also. I printed off the question pool for the upgrade but I only glanced at a little of it.

I really do like my GMC 2500HD diesel. I was really impressed with the transmission towing mode that downshifts when slowing down like on exit ramps etc. That has to a very good thing for the brakes.
Re: Rotten TT from Tom Johnson Camping

Put Palo Duro Canyon on your list of stop overs on your way to Utah. It is next biggest to the Grand Canyon. It is around Amarillo Texas. You can hide in there for awhile!


Senior Member
Re: Rotten TT from Tom Johnson Camping

Yes, Palo Duro Canyon rules. And unlike the Grand one, you can drive down into it. And around the same area, if you are so inclined, there is the 'free' 200 pound steak if you can eat it and all other food in town in 3 minutes. :)

I've been known to exagerate on occasion. I think it used to be 72 ounce and they upped it to 84 ounce when too many people were able to get it free.

DL Rupper

Senior Member
Re: Rotten TT from Tom Johnson Camping

Palo Duro is great. If you are driving a diesel make sure you have an exhaust brake before going down. If you don't you may gain a few white hairs as well as your knuckles. Haven't been down in 12 years, but I still remember it well. Its one of those adventures you will always remember. I really enjoyed the Canyon as I had just finished a Class on Southern Plains Indians and Palo Duro Canyon was where the Plains Indians hid from the U.S. Calvary.
Re: Rotten TT from Tom Johnson Camping

Palo Duro Canyon does look like a really neat place and it is really close to I-40, It is already making me want to start planning a long trip. I will check it out more when I get home.

I will also check out the exhaust brake since I don't know anything about them. Here in the eastern US we have have a few hills but nothing like out west. With a quick look the look a bit expensive.