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Old 08-13-2015, 12:56 AM   #1
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Regrets? Wisdom for New Buyers?

As I read these threads, my heart goes out to a few types, mostly new buyers. They fall into a few categories, such as:
1. My dealer didn't tell me anything - how to turn on the water heater, what works on battery, and what works on 120VAC, etc. A little time in the campground and on these boards will fix these.
2. I can't tow my 32 ft trailer with my Chevy S-10/Ford Ranger.
3. Problems with slides. These are sad, because they are outside the ability of most RVers to fix, and can immobilize a trailer in the campground, and condemn them to long wait times at the dealer for repairs.
(IMHO) This is just my thought about #3: If you are going to activate your TT once in May, and bring it to the campground of your choice until October, then get one with slides. If (like us) you're not going to stay in a site more than 3 days, and want to get on/off the road quickly, then find a TT without slides. Yes, I get envious seeing the additional interior of a unit with slides. But I think all should have their "eyes wide open" when they consider slides, especially first time buyers, or those with limited abilities. Don't believe the salesperson when he/she tells you, "no problem, you can do it!"
Sadly, most buyers don't come to this board until after they've brought their new RV home. And that's why we're here. But for those few who do some research, every level of addition/luxury is a potential for regret. I wish you all well!
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Old 08-13-2015, 08:56 AM   #2
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While I agree with most of what you say...Traditionally MOST RV owners belong to 2 groups...First group are those who's parents owned RV's and they have grown up RVing...Second group are those who have started out with small campers like pop-ups and through the years have graduated to larger campers...

I think what you are seeing more now are people like myself who did several years of research and then bought larger campers right from the get-go...Our first camper was a 5th wheel...The problems you point out as far as I am concerned are two fold...First some people just do NOT do enough research on their own, and are willing to take a salesman word...As in the #2 statement in your post...Second there are a lot of people that have NO knowledge of electrical, plumbing, or mechanical systems, and thus they have to rely on this forum or dealers for help...

After all is said and done, all of us that are members of this forum have asked for help at some time or another...
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Old 08-13-2015, 05:11 PM   #3
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Buying an RV is a major purchase. I suggest that anyone purchasing one should do a lot of research prior to the purchase. They need to research the unit they are interested in as well as the dealer.
In regards to sales people they have numerous units on their lots and it's been my experience that they are generally not experts on all units. Most I have dealt with have a decent general idea of RV units. But they do not know all the details of each specific brand and unit. So find the info you need in writing, don't just take their word on it.
Prior to taking the keys they need a thorough PDI. Do not wimp out, you are putting down a lot of money. DEMAND a thorough PDI.
Be ready to do some repairs to the unit it comes with the territory.
Having a unit without slides is an option and you do take a headache out of the equation. But also think long and hard about the length as well. If you like state parks and want more camping options you may not want a unit that is too long.
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Old 08-13-2015, 09:04 PM   #4
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I agree with all to an extent, but Bert brought up a good point about length. We do a lot of state campgrounds. Sometimes I have had to un hook and park truck "crooked" in the site in order to fit. Space between sites is often roomy but overall length not always.
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Old 08-14-2015, 07:02 AM   #5
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I love my trailer, but I have had a few problems with the slide out. It got stuck on the vent cover on the floor and went sideways. It then started rubbing hard on the floor actually tearing the linoleum. I was lucky no more damage was done, but I agree with the post about short term state park camping. I wish I had not gotten the slide out. It makes set-up and tear-down so much more complicated. I doubt I'll ever convince my wife to go back to a non-slide model though. She loves the extra space. Also, some of the best state park and national park sites are just too short and narrow for a long and wide camper. That's something I wish I'd thought more about before my purchase.
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Old 08-14-2015, 07:22 AM   #6
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That is slowly changing with the state & national parks...They are realizing, just like many private campgrounds, that RV's are getting longer and wider, and more and more of their owners want full hook up's as opposed to just water and electric...
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Old 08-14-2015, 05:58 PM   #7
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The PDI cannot be emphasized enough. Another piece of wisdom...do not believe the sales people when they tell you "it's 1/2 ton towable". This is nothing more than a sales pitch. In some cases, it is criminal.

Do I have any regrets? Not yet. We jumped right in with the travel trailer. It would have been a 5th wheel if we had only found a floor plan that we liked.
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Old 08-15-2015, 01:45 PM   #8
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What's the old saying about balance? With every good, there's a bad. It's all about weighing both and living with the consequences.
I think most rvers have a sense of adventure...which includes adventuring into, and how to fix issues, when they occur.
I don't ever remembering a fellow camper that didn't come camping with a basic set of tools, gadgets, etc to fix minor problems when they needed a fix.
I'll live with slider issues to ensure I have a happy wife.
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Old 08-15-2015, 02:21 PM   #9
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If I had to give up my sliders, I don't know if I would survive. Passing by each other in a non slide rv is not my cup of tea. I'll do my best to maintain the sliders to enjoy the openness the sliders give to an rv. I have no problems suggesting slides to a first time buyer. My best suggestion is to do your homework first, visit various dealers often, sit in the rv for periods of time and ask questions. If the dealer does not have the answer to your questions, find another dealer. Like Marty said, do your research, the internet and computer is great for preliminary research...AND like stated, forums are a good thing to view. But remember one thing: more people complain about their issues than those who post how good their rv is.
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Old 08-15-2015, 08:01 PM   #10
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My experience with state campgrounds is more of a length issue than width. I would go with a slide out.
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Old 08-15-2015, 08:15 PM   #11
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X2 on tim's comment!!
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Old 08-15-2015, 08:45 PM   #12
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I'm with the slide guys...If I could get wheels on my house that is what the DW would have me dragging down the road....
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Old 08-16-2015, 07:18 PM   #13
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X3, thinking about going shorter next year. 28-30'
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Old 08-17-2015, 10:17 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartyinSC View Post
As I read these threads, my heart goes out to a few types, mostly new buyers. They fall into a few categories, such as:
1. My dealer didn't tell me anything - how to turn on the water heater, what works on battery, and what works on 120VAC, etc. A little time in the campground and on these boards will fix these.
2. I can't tow my 32 ft trailer with my Chevy S-10/Ford Ranger.
3. Problems with slides. These are sad, because they are outside the ability of most RVers to fix, and can immobilize a trailer in the campground, and condemn them to long wait times at the dealer for repairs.
(IMHO) This is just my thought about #3: If you are going to activate your TT once in May, and bring it to the campground of your choice until October, then get one with slides. If (like us) you're not going to stay in a site more than 3 days, and want to get on/off the road quickly, then find a TT without slides. Yes, I get envious seeing the additional interior of a unit with slides. But I think all should have their "eyes wide open" when they consider slides, especially first time buyers, or those with limited abilities. Don't believe the salesperson when he/she tells you, "no problem, you can do it!"
Sadly, most buyers don't come to this board until after they've brought their new RV home. And that's why we're here. But for those few who do some research, every level of addition/luxury is a potential for regret. I wish you all well!
Marty-
These are some GREAT points. And as someone who monitors MANY of these forums, I think you hit the nail on the head with your 1st and 2nd points. (The 3rd may be valid- but I don't camp quite enough anymore to have an opinion ;-))
One thing that we at CrossRoads have heard time and time again from our owners is that our dealers MUST be more educated on both our products and servicing our products. However, we have also seen a huge need for new owner training and education as well. This forum serves as an excellent way for RVers young and old to access valuable information and experience- and for that, we are so thankful. But please know that we are addressing the issue on "our" end as well. Without being overly specific, we are devoting large amounts of time and effort into finding ways to educate our owners and equip them for the road ahead. Stay tuned! We are excited for things to come!

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Old 08-17-2015, 10:21 AM   #15
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So I'll add a 4th group (maybe the target audience given % increase in RV sales numbers).
  1. Longtime Adventure Motorcycle Rider (on and off road) who wanted to take the family to see the cool places I get to see.
  2. Never owned an RV
  3. Family never owned an RV
  4. Never been inside an RV
  5. Fairly handy with household stuff...how hard can this be?
  6. Family refuses to camp
  7. Repeat number 6!!!
  8. I'm early 40's, wife mid 30's and kids are 12 and 14 (girls). We still work full time.
Here was my situation:

My short coming was I didn't understand the LACK OF QUALITY CONTROL. I assumed way too much for the $$$ I was paying. Dealer has been great and honestly, I will buy from them again. (Southern RV in Jonesboro GA).

Yes, I spend time on the forums, yes I spent time at the dealers, yes I got a thorough PDI, yes...blah blah blah...

Fact is, until you live in it and roll it down the road your eyes just don't catch everything.

Examples of things that drive me CRAZY:

  1. Screws that fall out of body panels when upon further investigation were never screwed in to anything, but had a blob of silicon to hold it in place.
  2. Pieces of trim that come loose
  3. Pieces of trim that simply fall off
  4. Debris left over after the build that you find in odd places
  5. Joins in the wall papery stuff that for some reason looked perfect with I purchased it but now looks like a 5yr old installed it.
  6. Screws with the thread stripped or the heads stripped out.
  7. The list goes on...
You know...simple quality workmanship that should be second nature. The cop-out of "they mass produce these things..." is the very excuse needed to continue the bad behavior.

We spent about 6 months driving all over the GA/TN region looking at trailer pulls. Fell in love with a few of them. Then sat there and said "when it rains, do we really think 30ft will be enough space to hang out and not kill each other?"...nope....

We quickly realized (by way of a white board and list) that what "we" wanted out of an RV would lead us to the larger 5th wheels.

Then we quickly realized we needed a bigger truck.

Then we quickly realized we are in CLASS A country with buying a NEW Truck and 5'er. That said, we needed the truck as a daily driver.

We decided upon the Elevation Toy Hauler (3912). We almost signed the paperwork on a Rushmore Lincoln, but my wife thought the Toy Hauler would be more practical. :-)

NOW.....I love the floorplan, I love my camper.....BUT....

If any of you have followed my experiences since 2013 you'll know I've had my fair share of non consumer-repairable problems. In fact, I've had more than FORTY (40) minor and major issues.

Example of MINOR - missing TV remotes, TV's not hooked up to the signal wiring to get a picture, dvd player failed, etc..

Example of MAJOR - Roof ripped off down I75 (needed entire new roof), Main slide roller broke and destroyed the floor (needed entire new floor), total brake failure (emergency brake pull shorted out and took 3 magnets with it), all four slide motors replaced, water leak from front end cap, Main AC unit failed (new one needed)....the list goes on.

I can understand how folks get themselves into trouble when deploying slides when your camper isn't 95% level...etc...BUT...the tolerances in these RVs are simply horrible. If the build quality isn't good enough to withstand it rolling down the road, then don't release the product for sale. If we can't use the RV for it's designed purpose, then it needs to get redesigned!

If it costs more $$$, then so be it. If I can't afford one at that time, I'll be way happier with a smaller and less expensive RV that works well and is reliable compared to my mobile mansion that ALWAYS needs work after I come home from a trip.

Crossroads Warranty has been very good to us. They've replaced/repaired everything, even addressing a crack on the exterior wall out of warranty.

All of that said, I will look much deeper and much longer next time. I'm not sure if any of my issues could have been identified at the dealer.
I can't say I'd purchase another CR product.
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Old 08-19-2015, 03:35 PM   #16
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EnglishMatt sounds somewhat similar to me, except my wife and daughter LOVE camping and I havent had any major issues YET!

We researched for over 2 years. Neither my wife or myself camped nor did our families. But we were so interested in seeing different places on our own terms that we couldn't wait. I agree about the salesmen saying everything is 1/2 tom towable, it should be ILLEGAL!

I had a guy tell me with a straight face that this 1/2 ton towable 5th WHEEL we were in love with would be NO PROBLEM! My wife wanted it so bad I am amazed we didn't make that mistake!

We are learning both as we camp and from forums. I got a HORRIBLE PDI walk through, mostly my fault for not pushing the issue but we drove 2 hours to buy and then sat around waiting a while to inialize the deal and then had a 7 year old and wife who was getting extremely inpatient. But, with that said the guy who did our walk through still couldn't answer some fairly basic questions like how much is my bumper rated for, could I attach a bike rack? Can I walk on my roof? The sneaky move was they cleaned it up and had the AC on FULL BLAST probably for hours before we went inside. It was literally freezing in there. NEVER even thought to check all the vents....Front 2 do not blow any air out. There are a few minor issues on my list to get fixed under the warranty.

Next move is either 5th wheel or Class A? Many years from now.....
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Old 08-19-2015, 04:25 PM   #17
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I too was was clueless to the whole RV world until my wife and I decided we wanted to be part of it. I spent nearly a year going to RV shows on forums watching videos and talking with anyone that would give me information. I quickly realized that most manufactured RV's are less than quality. They are good with the flash and show but underneath it's a different story. Considering all of that I think the CR products are pretty good for the money. I have a construction background so I have stapled, screwed, nailed, glued, and modified many things in my camper and I have had it less than a year. But I am always looking for ways to improve the comfort and quality of our rig. Overall we love our camper and it is perfect for us and our 2 dogs.
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Old 08-19-2015, 04:25 PM   #18
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I purchased my 5th wheel in late Feb of this year. They told me they would store the unit until May if I wanted. With 4 feet of snow in my yard I thought that was a good idea. I got a call in mid March asking if I could any way do them a favor and pick up my unit now. They were running out of room with all the snow and new units coming in every day. I agreed with the understanding that I wouldn't be able to see most of the unit until late May when the weather broke and I could take it out.

I did the PDI as best I could. This is our 3rd trailer so I wasn't new at this. But you just can't see everything inside the building. I missed a number of things that I found during our first camping trip. I expected to have some problems, but my unit has been in the shop for over 1 month of the year so far. I picked it up today to find out it has to go back again to fix the new things I found the camping trip after the first shop visit.

Some relatively minor, but I agree with Matt, some just very poor QA. All of the screws in the ceiling fan loosened to where the blades spun out of wack and a couple of the screws came completely out. When the slide is closed, if you don't go and move the fan blades with your hands to get it out of the way, they will get pushed in by the slide. If my wife didn't pick up on that, we would have had a bigger problem with it. My bedroom slide ate one of the seals. The outside power plug port screws came 3/4ths out of the trailers side. The venting fan would get stuck open and wouldn't shut off, fan and controller had to be replaced. A window wouldn't open. The rear window shade (about 4' in length) wouldn't stay down. A hanging kitchen light detached from the ceiling, waiting to be replaced.

So these are a list of issues that keeps growing. We love the trailer, have gotten decent service to fix these things, but really don't enjoy the trailer sitting in CW parking lot. Definitely don't like the time I have to take off work driving it down and picking it up, never mind the gas it costs to do this. We're holding our breath hoping we just had a bad run of luck and it will slow down.
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Old 08-20-2015, 03:05 PM   #19
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I came from an occasional camping background. or a very short time my parents had a tiny TT. Aside from that my camping was from the military and those that know, know that's not camping. We did a lot of research and it is crazy how many differing types there are. On other forums CW is routinely bashed but they treated me well and continue to do so except for one thing the PDI.

Looking back it was horrid. I had never towed anything before and there was no assistance. I didn't even know how to use the water heater, as it was winterized. I would like to see longer PDI and even basic assistance for towing/driving and of course backing. Should have seen me the first time.

I wish I would have joined the forum first it would have saved a lot of grief. My other biggest regret is not being able to camp as much as I want.

I will say that when I bought my TT it was ahead of many others with all sorts of little things never pointed out but very nice: gutters, water heater bypass, enclosed underbelly, black flush etc.
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Old 08-20-2015, 10:43 PM   #20
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FKT4387 I agree with you on the PDI. When we had our walk-through my wife video taped the whole thing. This accomplished 2 things - 1. I think the sales rep was a little more thorough than usual since he new he was being recorded. And 2. It was nice to have the video to refer to for things we might have missed. Most of what I learned about my trailer, WD Hitch and towing was from watching You tube videos and from these forums. I actually new more about how the WD hitch worked than the salesman. Information and knowledge of your rig is certainly going to give you a more satisfying RV experience. It would be nice if the manufacturers would put out videos specific to there units as the manuals are not always up to the task.
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