Advice from RV owners out there?

bobthetj03

vibrajeep
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 3, 2017
8,068
NorCal
What are the good quality brands out there, say within the past 10 years or so. I own a 2011 Thor Class C, and I'm not impressed with the quality, fit or finish of a lot of the coach portions of the RV. I've heard Winnebego, Jayco, and Fleetwood are some good makers to look after. How if Forest River? Any experience with these makers or others?
 
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twistedlv

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
May 26, 2018
183
Las Vegas
I think Thor and Forest River are from the same parent company. After the big economic turndown 2008ish, lots of manufacturers were scooped up by big conglomerates. I had a 2006 Forest River toy hauler, and that thing was heavy as Hell, but well built. I'm not up to speed on new stuff, as there are just to many good used deals out there. I'll let someone else take the MSRP hit.
 
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Mike_H

Rust Belt Heavyweight
Supporting Member
Feb 28, 2017
3,973
Grand Rapids, MI, United States
No help, but following. Wife and I are thinking about picking up a Class C this year. Something with enough nut to tow the jeep (on a trailer, if possible). We really liked the Coachman Leprechaun 31 footer at the last show we went to.
 

Wowens79

Member
Jun 7, 2018
42
Newnan, Ga
We've got a 2016 Forest River travel trailer, and the build quality is not great. Also it is one of the Ultra-lites, so they try to save weight, and that has been part of the problem. The plywood on the seat of the dinette was the thinnest plywood I've ever seen. My daughter put her knee on it to open a window, and put a whole in it.

I think Thor and Forest River are the two companies that own everything Forest River is owned by Bershire Hathaway, not sure about Thor
 

Farmergreg

Just a "Web Wheeler"
Supporting Member
Mar 25, 2018
374
WC Indiana
"They're all junk, pick one" Best advice ever. Take it down the road, break all the cheap ass shit they build them out of, then rebuild it during the week, repeat next weekend.

That being said, we have a holiday rambler next level toy hauler 5th wheel. Its HEAVY but is holding up well (after fixing and reinforcing )

I've got a hair brained idea that I'd like to get a used class A diesel (pre DEF fluid) and pull / trailer the jeep behind.
In my search I'm staying away from: Thor, Fleetwood, Forest River and favoring Holiday, Monaco, Newmar.
 

LJGreg

Member
Supporting Member
Aug 12, 2018
61
Vancouver, BC, Canada
From my research Northwood Manufacturing (Nash, Arctic Fox) and OutdoorRV in Oregon are the best for quality. The fibreglass shell trailers will outlast the others but are expensive (Bigfoot and Escape). And Airstream is still considered the cream of the crop.
 

alittleoff

TJ Enthusiast
Apr 27, 2018
334
So. Cal.
In my own experience from buying pre-owned RV's, my Wife & I have had a Fleetwood Prowler 19' trailer. It served us well. When we got the Jeep, we bought a well used 1990 31' Fleetwood Bounder from a friend. Those are or were set up very well for boon docking. It had a 100 gal. gas tank to feed the 454/TH400 + the 5,500 watt gen. After 9 years, we traded it for a used 2004 27' Winnebago Sightseer with a d/s dinette slide. But a 40 gal. tank of gas to feed the 496 (8.1), it was at least 2 and sometimes 3 tanks of gas to travel a full day. Of course it was always up hill and against the wind.

But on our last trip to MT. we were on the N/B I15 close to Barstool CA. driving against a head/side wind, I started to hear a flapping sound. So we took the next exit and I discovered that the fiberglass roof cover starting to separate from the roof structure. I believe this was 90% my fault for not knowing about resealing the cover every year.
With all that said, we could only afford used RV's. The higher quality ones I read about have usually been, Foretravel, Jayco, Monaco, Newmar, and Tiffin. Sadly, if money were no object, I'd have a Jayco or Dynamax on a Freightliner cab on chassis Moho to drag my trailered junk around.
Re: fit & finish, I read that most all Moho's have small issues, whether new or gently used, there is always something. It's just up to us to R&R it or have it repaired for us. And in my case I bought for convenience and not for investment.
 
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TJDaveX

motorized toy collector
Supporting Member
Apr 28, 2018
131
Wa State
We were looking to upgrade our 2006 Thor Four Winds 26' Class C a couple years ago. We bought it gently used in 2007. It had the Ford V10. Never had a problem with it, but we just couldn't take the rear corner bed anymore. It did have a few fit and finish interior trim issues that I just fixed myself. It did seem like the interior walls were made out of thin balsa wood with oak stickers on it! It towed the Jeep on our trailer just fine for many years.
We looked at a bunch of new and newer class A motorhomes. I could not believe the poor workmanship and the prices they were asking. Even a new 160K Jayco Seneca Freightliner, sitting on the lot, had a thin wall in the bathroom coming apart and bowed.
As we were leaving, we stumbled across a 2005 Holiday Rambler (Monaco) sitting out front. Ford Chassis with the V10. We asked them what was up with it. He said it was just traded and they had not taken it back to be cleaned up yet. We looked at it and bought it! The quality and finish was far better than our 2006 class C and anything new we looked at. Aluminum superstructure, exterior sides, and roof. They don't make them like this anymore.
It tows our Jeep on a trailer just fine as well. Even though it is heavier than the class C, I can not tell a difference in performance while towing.
I believe the quality of most RVs, even Holiday Rambler, seemed to take a turn for the worse sometime around 2008. I hope it gets better. This one will do until we retire. Then we will look at used diesel pushers. Hopefully pre-def, Monaco, HR, and Country Coach.

Out with the old, and in with the new, although one year older!

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bobthetj03

bobthetj03

vibrajeep
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 3, 2017
8,068
NorCal
We were looking to upgrade our 2006 Thor Four Winds 26' Class C a couple years ago. We bought it gently used in 2007. It had the Ford V10. Never had a problem with it, but we just couldn't take the rear corner bed anymore. It did have a few fit and finish interior trim issues that I just fixed myself. It did seem like the interior walls were made out of thin balsa wood with oak stickers on it! It towed the Jeep on our trailer just fine for many years.
We looked at a bunch of new and newer class A motorhomes. I could not believe the poor workmanship and the prices they were asking. Even a new 160K Jayco Seneca Freightliner, sitting on the lot, had a thin wall in the bathroom coming apart and bowed.
As we were leaving, we stumbled across a 2005 Holiday Rambler (Monaco) sitting out front. Ford Chassis with the V10. We asked them what was up with it. He said it was just traded and they had not taken it back to be cleaned up yet. We looked at it and bought it! The quality and finish was far better than our 2006 class C and anything new we looked at. Aluminum superstructure, exterior sides, and roof. They don't make them like this anymore.
It tows our Jeep on a trailer just fine as well. Even though it is heavier than the class C, I can not tell a difference in performance while towing.
I believe the quality of most RVs, even Holiday Rambler, seemed to take a turn for the worse sometime around 2008. I hope it gets better. This one will do until we retire. Then we will look at used diesel pushers. Hopefully pre-def, Monaco, HR, and Country Coach.

Out with the old, and in with the new, although one year older!

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Nice upgrade! Yeah our Four Winds has several fit/finish issues. I had to reinforce the bed framing as some of the braces were broke. the sink and counter top are loose from being directly over the rear well well, so I had to brace that and re-seal the sink. The moldings in the bathroom are coming apart, and the dinning table trim is bowing. Just a bunch of little things that irritate me. And yes, that corner bed is becoming more and more of a pita. I'm still undecided about getting a class A or sticking with a C. I'm not a fan of being higher up in the driver seat.
 
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DaveC

Member
Jan 3, 2019
43
Arizona
I own a 2004 Gearbox toy hauler. These were made by Fleetwood and only for a handful of years, I believe. The thing is a tank (positively speaking). Bought it lightly used in 2005. It's been very well used over the years and it's held up fantastically. We shopped all the makes when we were in the market and narrowed it down to this and a couple of others at the time based on quality of build, materials used, etc., and we've been very pleased with the quality and longevity.

Onan 55oo generator, 110 gallon fresh water tank and 40 gallon fuel station with pump (20g each for generator and auxiliary tank). I've got friends with newer trailers and motor homes who comment on the superior quality of our unit. Recently had it serviced and the RV service guy commented on the quality and durability.

I believe Fleetwood is one of those who may have been acquired or merged during/after the recession and have heard mixed reviews about quality since. If you're able to find a 'pre-recession' Fleetwood (trailer or motor home) that's in good condition, I'd suggest giving it serious consideration.
 
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abart

Member
Oct 11, 2018
47
Iowa
In terms of travel trailers, in the spring of 2018 replaced my 2011 Jayco with a 2018 Forrest River(30KQBSS) and have zero complaints and love it. Not a problem with the Jayco either, I just wanted a slide out for a bit more room. Granted, I haven't had it very long so I can't comment long term but I do have a lifetime warranty that I hope I never have to use. Actually, the only problem I have had is my neighbor shot a side window out of it 3 weeks after I bought it but I wouldn't call that a quality issue. :machinegun:
 

TJDaveX

motorized toy collector
Supporting Member
Apr 28, 2018
131
Wa State
Nice upgrade! Yeah our Four Winds has several fit/finish issues. I had to reinforce the bed framing as some of the braces were broke. the sink and counter top are loose from being directly over the rear well well, so I had to brace that and re-seal the sink. The moldings in the bathroom are coming apart, and the dinning table trim is bowing. Just a bunch of little things that irritate me. And yes, that corner bed is becoming more and more of a pita. I'm still undecided about getting a class A or sticking with a C. I'm not a fan of being higher up in the driver seat.
We rented a class A before buying our previous class C. We decided we liked the front end protection of the class C with a van front end surrounded by steel. Later, we realized that in the "doghouse" cab area, the engine sits mostly between us and a lot rides on top of us. Not much more protection. We went from a 26' class C to a 30.5' class A. Only 4.5' longer, but seems like at least 10' bigger. The living space goes all the way to the windshield instead of to the back of the seats in the class C. The class C doghouse was all wasted space while camping. We through our bags up there!
Sitting up higher doesn't bother me like I thought it would. I would like to believe there is some safety in the height. Any car that could hit would be underneath us and hit the engine. That's what I keep telling myself anyway! We are enjoying the added views while traveling. It's surprising how much beautiful scenery we've missed on the road going to the same favorite camping areas as before.
 
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Bird

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Jan 6, 2017
944
VA, United States
I happen to agree with farmergreg.

we've owned several brands over 30 yrs of RVing and never experienced build quality to write home about.
returned every single unit to dealer for warranty work.


we've owned:
Starcraft
Jayco
Fleetwood
Coleman.
 
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bobthetj03

bobthetj03

vibrajeep
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 3, 2017
8,068
NorCal
We rented a class A before buying our previous class C. We decided we liked the front end protection of the class C with a van front end surrounded by steel. Later, we realized that in the "doghouse" cab area, the engine sits mostly between us and a lot rides on top of us. Not much more protection. We went from a 26' class C to a 30.5' class A. Only 4.5' longer, but seems like at least 10' bigger. The living space goes all the way to the windshield instead of to the back of the seats in the class C. The class C doghouse was all wasted space while camping. We through our bags up there!
Sitting up higher doesn't bother me like I thought it would. I would like to believe there is some safety in the height. Any car that could hit would be underneath us and hit the engine. That's what I keep telling myself anyway! We are enjoying the added views while traveling. It's surprising how much beautiful scenery we've missed on the road going to the same favorite camping areas as before.
That is exactly what we are finding out with our class C. The front upper bunk just gets cluttered with stuff and seems like wasted space. On the rare occasion my grandson goes camping with us is the only time it would get used. Now you have me thinking about a class A, lol! gotta sell the wife on that cause she also needs to be comfortable driving it. My father in law has a older Fleetwood Class A 30' wide body. Think it's a 93-95 vintage. Might have to take his for a spin to get a feel of it. Fit and finish on his RV is so much better. It's not even comparable! If I just can't do the class A thing, my next one will have storage and a TV where the upper bunk is. If I could afford a B+ I'd go that route, but those suckers are stupid expensive!
 

RubiconMike

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Oct 25, 2018
295
Santa Cruz, CA
I also agree with farmergreg. some are bad, others are worse. Like he said, drive it until something breaks, then fix it better than it was.

I lived in a 34' Southwind Class A (a Fleetwood brand IIRC) for a year while we were building our house, then sold it when the house was finished. A few years ago I bought a 24" Maverick Class C (a Georgie Boy brand) for Jeep events and weekend trips. The build quality on both were so-so.

As for Class A vs Class C: for me, a Class A is better if you are going to spend a lot of time in it (months, maybe years). They are much roomier, have larger water/waste tanks, and most have a "basement" area to store lots of junk. The downside is that they are usually large and awkward to drive and park. For weekend or short trips, the Class C is as easy to drive and park as a full-size American van, but is usually more limited in storage space and water/waste tank size. These are just generalities, they make smaller Class A's and really large Class C's, so others may have different experiences. Also, my Class C has a slide-out, which makes a huge difference in interior space.

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bobthetj03

bobthetj03

vibrajeep
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 3, 2017
8,068
NorCal
Not having a slide out was one of my biggest rookie mistakes when we got ours. I agree though, the class C's are easier to drive and get around in. We mostly do weekend trips with an occasional long trip of 1-2 weeks, so maybe the Class C is better for my needs. I'm still a year off before we can trade up, so I have time to research some more. Thanks all for your input on this. I'd like to keep the next one 28-30' with at least one slide out but preferably 2. I want an easier way to make the bed and the corner one we have now is a PITA!
 

RV-TJ

Member
Supporting Member
Jan 4, 2019
52
Peoria, IL
We've been RV'ing for 20 plus years....travel trailers being in the majority. Just last fall, we picked up a '19 Jayco 34 foot Class C Redhawk motorhome. Going to get the TJ to hook up behind (I've got the parts I need thanks to an RV forum and etrailer).

Quality wise -- they ALL use the same / similar components (fridge, stove, plumbing, etc). I've never had a "bad" one but all have had to use warranty for a few oddball things. I've seen bad build quality (not component, just the build) and usually try to fix those items myself.

Thing is, if you are handy, bring tools, and understand how the systems work, you should be fine.
 

lowranger

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 6, 2017
3,755
Kelseyville, CA, United States
My wife and I really like our Class B+ that has one slide out. You can get into smaller areas when traveling and looking for a place to spend the night, pull into about any parking spot at Costco or Wal Mart when traveling for more supplies.
It is a Winnebago with a V-10 which tows the Jeep on a trailer just fine and also our 16' enclosed trailer with our Rzr, tools and extra fuel in it. It has air bags in the rear that you can add air to when you are going to be towing a trailer. Also came with self levelers (just push a button and it levels itself). I like not having the class C style hanging over the cab. In that location where the Class section would start, is a TV and a couple cabinets for storage and speakers.
It so easy to just in our Class B+ to go anywhere.
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