Went Shopping and need help deciding

My family has decided to purchase a Travel trailer. We pulled up a few web sites and started the search. We have 3 boys which the oldest is 20 so he may not tag along with the family much longer, and the other 2 are 15-16 so right away we need to sleep 4 adults. We narrowed it down that a motor home would not be practical. They are a little pricey and I like the fact we can detach the vehicle from the trailer. The 5th wheels look nicer than the Travel trailers, but I don't have a pickup to pull it, so it’s a Travel trailer it is. I have a SUV VW Toureq which has a 7500 lb towing cap.
Forrest River jumped right at me with the amount of quality it looked like in the construction and the detail in the inside design. I went to a local dealer to see it myself and he showed me an ultra light Flagstaff 27 'fls. This was a nice trailer and looked like it would work just fine. Outside shower, grill plenty of room inside and the price seemed to be comparable with most other trailers that size. The wife didn't seem thrilled but wasn't turned off either. I have been shopping around and my question is :
1) What is wrong with Forrest river quality?
2) Can I find ultra light weight in another trailer without sacrificing size and price?
3) Is 27' long too much for an occasional weekend warrior?

Any input to some questions that I am sure have been asked before but I haven't found them, would be appreciated.
Thanks Bill
Re: Went Shopping and need help deciding

Bill, do a search here on 'Forest River'. The first button in the upper left menu bar. You will get more than you bargained for.

Be sure and change it to find "All" posts.


Senior Member
Re: Went Shopping and need help deciding

Forest River does not have a good reputation on most RV forums. I have never owned one, but I do know three unhappy and one happy owner.

Let me suggest that if you do not know much about RVs, you would be very wise to learn about them before you begin to shop. There are all levels of quality products out there and many have the same price for very different RV quality. The very best place to learn what you need to know is to join the RV Consumer Group. It will cost you some money as they do not take any advertising and so must charge the members to stay in business, but they do a great deal to educate you about RV quality and condition and on how you can judge it for yourself. They also have a CD of ratings by make and model for either trailers or for motorhomes which comes with a membership. I suggest that you could prevent a major mistake if you join them first and study what they send to you.

RV Consumer Group can be found at www.rv.org

DL Rupper

Senior Member
Re: Went Shopping and need help deciding

Do your self a favor and stay away from FR. They make RV's that look good and then they are full of problems. Join the RV Consumer Group as Kirk mentioned. Do your research.
Re: Went Shopping and need help deciding

Thanks for the advice. I will use a little more time to find what I want and what I need. A little time spent could save me years of aggravation. I will keep you posted on my results because from what I have been reading, rv’ing, looks like a great time, although cruises are fun too.


Senior Member
Re: Went Shopping and need help deciding

FR quality apparently varies, some people have no problems, some people have average problems and some have many problems. The real concern seems to be that FR seems to not always step up to their warranty obligations. As suggested, do a search and see what experiances people have had.

Note that your '7500 pound towing capacity' is misleading. These ratings are with no accessories installed, no cargo, no passengers. Just a 150 pound driver and a bit of fuel. And trailers are often sold based on their 'empty weight'. Sorry, pulling an empty trailer (except to get it home) is kind of a silly thing to do. Thus, you must figure out the 'loaded' weight of the trailer and match that with the towing capacity of your vehicle. If the GVWR of the trailer is only a few 1000 pounds more than its 'dry weight' (empty weight), then it is a good value to use. Otherwise, find out the 'true' empty weight and add for your RV hookup supplies (hoses, cords, chocks, levelling stuff, etc), water, food, kitchen stuff, personal stuff, tools, entertainment and 'toys'.

I suspect you will find that towing more than 5000 pounds with your vehicle will not be pleasant unless you don't load up your vehicle like most of us do. Finding a trailer whose loaded weight is in that range is going to be a challange, particularly one 27' long...

Certainly a Travel Trailer (TT) can do the job. They tend not to have as much storage as a fifth wheel, but that can be worked with. The real problem is that TTs tend to not tow as well as a fifth wheel, and are harder to hook up. Make sure you have the correct hitch, set up correctly, or it may be unsafe as well as unpleasant to tow. Or there are hitches (such as Hensley and PullRite) which claim to make a TT pull as well as a fifth wheel, and make it easier to hook up as well. Of course, these cost more.
Re: Went Shopping and need help deciding

I was told the trailer hitch and hookup (including anti-sway bars) would be an additional $1200.00 and that’s to hook up the electrical system as well. He (the salesman) seems straight up and he is also a salesman. Salesman have to eat too which I am not sympathetic to them taking my money, but it's up to me to do the homework. I did do some research on FR and it seems it’s a unit that won't please everyone. I own a Harley and had people tell me that Harleys are junk....what can I say but laugh. Sometimes people don't take care of their investment either and then end up blaming the manufacturer. If the warranty of 1 year bumper to bumper, 12 years on the roof doesn't hold up, then I blame the dealer for not holding up their end of the bargain for selling me something that they can't deliver. I make sure I would make clear who is responsible for what before I drive away. The people who are loosing sleep over their investment must not live in Florida after back to back hurricanes watching piece of their investment blowing in the wind.
Anyways, I do appreciate peoples view points and suggestions.
Re: Went Shopping and need help deciding

Guess it it time I weigh in.

Duffman, you asked for our advise, we gave it to you, and you are not listening. I used to sell them myself so, I know what I am talking about. FR has numerous problems. It is easy to find all over the Internet, so continue your research. The most common are probably water leaks. Yes, some are realitively problem free, but that is not the norm. Flagstaff is their entry level. Think about it.

I don't know what hitch is being priced to you for 1,200.00 dollars. Reese Load Leveling hitches start at $400.00 + 50.00 for Reese sway control. Brake controllers start about $73.00, 7 prong plug is $10.00, Bracket is 3.50 and a ball could be 15.00. With $1,200 for the total, that leaves a LOT of labor charges. Don't get me wrong, depending on what you are buying, some cost that. Check that out too.
Re: Went Shopping and need help deciding

"Duffman, you asked for our advise, we gave it to you, and you are not listening"

Why would you say I am not listening? Settle down there Tex....I wrote in a previous post that I will do a little more research to find what I need. I also said that "it’s a unit that won't please everyone", so I agree with what you’re saying. My truck is not equip to pull a trailer so the connection to the truck frame plus the hitch and sway bars, plus labor was going to cost me in addition to the TT, just stating what things cost and how I saw it. I asked for your opinions and received it, thank you very much and I do appreciate it. I haven’t purchased anything yet but will make a decision. I could save 2-3 thousand looking for a trailer with better quality and reputation but I don't want to drive cross country to pick it up and not receive service because the dealer is 1000k miles away. I am sure in the state of Florida there are more TT to chose from. Thanks for your help.
Re: Went Shopping and need help deciding

Geez, I get the blame even when I shut up! :clown:

Bill, we see so many folks get on here and ask advice, get it, and then buy whatever it is anyway (ignoring advice.) We can just shake our heads, but it gets to us on a personal level.

Apparently, you won't be one of them. That's a GOOD thang!


Senior Member
Re: Went Shopping and need help deciding

Bill follow Ken advise, he been around the bush several times and know his stuff. What he has stated is only the truth, he didn't offer to sell you anything ,just offer his esxpert opnion. Just be sure that what ever you get, be happy and enjoy camping :laugh: :laugh:


Senior Member
Re: Went Shopping and need help deciding

If your truck is 'not set up to tow', you will probably want to look into a good transmission cooler, particularly one with a transmission temperature guage. Might also check out what the gears in the rear end are.
Re: Went Shopping and need help deciding

You said it best, have fun and enjoy and I mean no hard feelings. I know you guys been camping for a while, but I set up a tent for many summers and never lived the RV lifestyle. This is all new to me and the last thing I want are costly repairs and aggravation during a weekend that would have spent having fun. I am not one for little things breaking my spirit, like a damaged hose or caulking that wasn't applied right, minor things that need minor repair. The things I worry about are bolts being sheered off and splits in the frame and unexpected cracks. Somebody had a problem with wheel alignment in a post which I didn't know trailers needed alignments since they were stationary unlike steering vehicles. There have been problems plagued with many brands but my search is for the ultra light trailer( aluminum frame) fiberglass outside( easier care) moderately equip with comforts a step above the normal( TV hookups, inside/outside sound system) and a product a dealer wont abandon me.
I purchased a new BMW in New York prior to moving to Florida and just the way the dealer treated me, I would go back to NY just to buy another car from them. So the dealer and insurance can soften most problems people may receive. I think the first 2 years of good use will dictate for the most part on how many more years of normal wear and tear the trailer will perform. HERTIG mentioned that the towing weight empty will handle totally different with supplies packed, adults in the towing vehicle and other road conditions. Finding a TT within those limits may prove difficult which they are.
Thanks once again


Re: Went Shopping and need help deciding

hey now that's the rv spirit ,, and i can say for all or most of us on here ,, we too don't like the things that go wrong on these rv's ,, specially when camping ,, but we all have done it,, and we all are still doing it ,, but then agian ,, since u have not purchased yet ,, look into more tt's ,, and Grandview is right ,, he was a Forest river dealer ,, but he got out of it for reasons ,, he posted u about ,, and i can say this I know Grandview personally ,, and other's also ,, and he won't steer u wrong ,, but i am glad that u did not get mad or upset at anyone for their opinions ,, u may just fit in here with us ;) :approve: :approve: :approve:


New Member
RE: Went Shopping and need help deciding

Duffman, I hope I am not too late replying. I too looked at purchasing a Flagstaff but got cold feet and got out of that deal. I had taken some pictures of the unit I was going to buy and could not believe the amount of rust in one year (It was a leftover from the previous year). I then found a lightly used Cardinal and thought my prospects would be better. I had heard about all the leaks in the Forest River units but thought if I buy used and I buy a better model, all those problems should be out already. Well, did I think wrong. I have a leak that came from the roof in the corner and it was totally hidden. When I inspected the unit I looked everywhere for water stains, etc. and found nothing. Even after complaining to my boyfriend that I smelled a horrendous musty smell when I turned the hot water heater on for the season, he couldn't find a problem. I then took out all the kitchen drawers and low and behold I found a small area where the paper was peeling. Once I investigated more and removed the decorative panelling it became very clear what I was up against. I now have to have the outside ripped off to get to the joist which undoubtedly will be rotten. The bill will be $4,000 to $5,000. These guys do know what they are talking about.


DL Rupper

Senior Member
Re: Went Shopping and need help deciding

Hey Joyce, thanks for the info. I get in trouble with my FR bad mouths. It just happens that there is a lot of negative info out there on FR products and their failure to honor the warrantee in most cases.