Sunday, October 16, 2011

Another Repair Completed & An RV Quality Rant

I didn’t take pictures but I finally repaired the jack knife sofa drawer that broke early last year. I put some of our stuff in there when we first bought the RV and the back of the drawer broke off leaving all of the contents of the drawer to spill out behind the couch. The board looked jagged on the bottom making me think it was unfixable. I put the board aside so I could figure out a way to repair it someday.

This morning I took it all apart and found that this jagged board was jagged on the bottom because some meat head in the furniture department used the wrong saw to cut it and couldn’t follow a straight line. Disappointed smile

When I placed the board against the drawer side boards it lined up on the sides and the bottom was hidden so this is likely why they left it that way or more likely they didn’t care. I know this sounds negative but frankly, judging by the sheer amount of RV shows I have gone to over the years backs this up, they don’t care about what isn’t typically seen by the customer and I have worked for a few companies with this attitude as well and it sickens me.

I build custom custom PC’s and Servers for my customers, when you open one up it’s neat and tidy and looks like somebody who cares built them. It doesn’t take much extra to do it right but it does take time to do it over again or take it back in to repair something you missed.

The true mark of how somebody builds something is what you see when you see the hidden spots. A good manufacturer cares about the details, the men and women building the coach care about each part they do and you’ll see it when you look closely. You shouldn’t find cigarette butts, soda and or beer cans or shoddy workmanship. This was supposed to be Holiday Ramblers top of the gas line Class A, this along with the poorly done ceramic tile floor, the untreated OSB particle board used in the floors tells me they care about cost first and foremost and quality comes somewhere much further down the line.

I understand you have to watch costs, but if you charge a premium for a product, that product should contain premium parts, period. Holiday Rambler used to be on the top of my list and maybe Monaco has done a good job with them since they bought them a decade ago but our next RV is going to get much more attention looking at behind and under things and there are brands I know I won’t even look at.

Call me jaded and I know this has turned into a very long post just to say I fixed a jack knife couch drawer but this along with all the other things I have had to work on has made me this way. Poor workmanship combined with a very lazy first owner has increased the amount of work I have had to put into this thing. I have learned a huge lesson from owning this RV, that lesson isn’t to stop RV’ing, the lesson learned is the average dealer and manufacturer could care less about US, the consumer.

Take a look at the average new RV warranty, 1 year…. I mean really, 1 friggin year. For example, here is a picture inside a brand new Four Winds Class C taken at Camping World on 4/17/11, does this look like the person doing the trim work gives a crap about his job? How does this make it past anybody in QC and not blind?


Take a look at the counter trim in this picture, that is solid, the gap can’t be fixed unless the entire counter is removed and repaired. I tried to push it back in, it didn’t budge. You know what the CW rep told me? That’s what the warranty is for!! What is this, 1978 GM?? Do the Japanese need to start building Motorhomes for these companies to get it? Instead, the Chinese are getting on board and all that will do is cause more cost cutting measures to keep up with the crap they’ll try and send here.


I digress, I know I got off on a tangent but seeing what’s behind cabinets and under floors of a supposed top of the line HR, I’m pissed. Back to the topic, after removing the very tiny stables that clearly were meant to barely hold this board on instead of keeping contents inside the drawer I used good furniture nails where the staples were and used finishing screws to make it so the only way this board ever comes off is if the cheap particle board breaks because it isn’t going to come apart again the way I put it back together.

That’s my rant for the day… it feels good to have another little project done. I hope everybody is having a great weekend! I know Merikay and Craig are! Smile with tongue out


JoJo said...

Erik, this is everywhere. I went to cricket yesterday to see about upgrading my broadband. This lazy good for nothing was sitting at his desk in a lounging postition and said he couldn't help me because I didn't have the phone number attached to the broadband. And that was it.

Fred said...

I've been RV'ing since 1972. I can tell you from experience, that the quality of RV's have gone down, WAY DOWN! It makes me think that my '96 Winnebago Adventurer will be my last RV. I just can't see why you have to pay well over $100,000.00 for a MH, get only a 1 year warranty, and when you take it back to the dealers, the quality of their work is as bad or worse than the manufacture!
I can't agree with you more on your blog today. It's not a rant, it's pointing out the sorry condition of our RV industry!
I really enjoy your blogs, keep up the good work.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

American Made ........ this used to mean something. It was pride in workmanship. When we bought our motor home, a 40' Intruder, I learned to keep a note pad in the glove box so that I could note each item that needed attention when we would take it in for warranty repairs. On one trip the awning opened while we were driving down a road. We bought it in winter and had never opened the awning. My husband and a friend were unable to close it and finally ripped it off while standing in a ditch and up to their butts in snow!. The dealer did not want to repair it and tried to say it was our fault.

I always point out that I have a good command of my vocabulary and a big mouth ....... negative publicity is always unwanted.

Sue and Doug said...

buyer beware! sorry to hear you have had so many issues..there is no 'pride in workmanship' anymore!..if you find one that is well built I am sure you will let us know!!

Paul and Mary said...

We agree with your observations of the RV industry. The lack of quality control is staggering.

We were watching CNBC the other day and listened to an interview with Randy Potts, the new CEO of Winnebago. (Winnie had just announced poor earnings...) He said something about understanding that they produce a luxury product, and we screamed at the TV in unison: "REALLY? DO YOU REALLY GET THAT?"

We don't think he does.

Congrats on tackling your latest project!

TexCyn said...

And look at the lack of quality on new housing that is being slapped together all too quickly. I'd rather buy an older home that's more structally sound than what they are building now for a quick buck & turnover.
I tour through a lot of rigs. It's really an eye opener when I tour the newer ones & see sooo many problems with them! Things are falling off. Fake Wood veneer strips coming loose & just hanging there. Toured a fairly new one a week ago & the entire kitchen counter top was pulled away from the wall. A corian top. nice top, but...and leaks galore. All over the ceilings of these rigs. It's shocking when you get into inspecting the nooks & crannies. No one wants to accept the responsibility for it either. It's a buyer beware market for sure. Although my rig is older, a 96, so far, inside construction is still pretty sound. Except for those cheap plastic drawer fixtures that keep breaking.

Merikay said...

Before we bought it was easy to say we would be very vigilant and check for every possible flaw. When it came down to it we accepted some flaws that we should have either insisted be addressed or walked away.

There was evidence of the slide leak that I noticed, but didn't make anything of. I mentioned it to the salesman and he glossed it over. I let that happen.

Were we taken advantage of? Maybe a little, but we accept the fact that the Alfa is not new, and it is the overall package we liked.

We just can't afford perfection in workmanship anymore. It takes to much time and labor.