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Old 03-02-2021, 12:46 PM   #1
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Brand: Crossroads
State: Missouri
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Question Has camper quality and construction gotten any better in the last 10 years?

We have a 24ft 2011 Crossroads Zinger that we bought back in 2016. Since we got it, we have put around 15,000 miles on it towing it all over the country. I’ve also spent a ton of time just doing maintenance and repairs on it. When we got it, I had to put a new floor in the rear of it because the previous owner didn’t notice the leaky window seal for year(s). I was shocked at how cheap and shoddy the camper was thrown together…..the boards that make up the structure of the floor was some of the worst quality, oddball sized 2x2’s I’ve ever seen….only held together with some staples, and maybe a little glue spot here and there. At least I was able to reinforce everything with more wood and make it much more solid.


Then a year later I had to replace the entire front end of the camper because the front marker lights started leaking, and caused the front of the camper to start looking wavey and delaminating. The wooden frame on the front of the camper was the same way…..the cheapest quality wood you could imagine, just held together with a few little staples.
Not to mention the constant maintenance on all of the calking joints that seem to split, crack, or pull away. I’m sure the vibration from pulling it down the road, along with the summer/winter temp swings here in Missouri don’t help that.


When I first got out camper, I thought that maybe I just got a lemon….but the more I read and researched, it seemed like the majority of campers are like that. They are thrown together as quickly and cheaply as possible. I remember seeing that Youtube video where a team of 4 or 5 guys literally throw a 28ft camper together in a matter of hours…..after seeing that, it’s no wonder my camper is such a maintenance headache. Even my buddies triple axle 43ft luxury toy hauler is starting to fall apart on him….so it’s not just the smaller trailers.


So…fast forward 10 years. Are they built any better today? Do they use any better construction materials and/or techniques? I know there are a few high end brands like Airstream that are built to last…..but are most of the standards Thor/Crossroads/Coleman/Jayco etc, etc….still built as cheap and fast possible? At this point, I’m not sure if I’m better off to just keep repairing ours, or get something newer that “might” not be as maintenance heavy.

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Old 03-02-2021, 01:01 PM   #2
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You can still buy camping trailers built with shoddy wood frame construction or you can pay more for aluminum frame construction. It just costs $$$$.

David
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Old 03-02-2021, 02:49 PM   #3
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RV Quality and it's absence

I've been looking at and documenting TT quality for 25 years since we got our first tent trailer. We've had five other trailers since then and just purchased our first MH.

RV quality varies a lot. Enough to make your head spin. It varies by year, by manufacturer, by brand, by model, and by day of the week the rig was made.

I see it as a management issue. The workers are hired to do a job in a given amount of time and the training, tools, techniques, materials, design and incentives are all provided by management.

Modern (last 40 years) quality engineering and management are notably not to be found in the RV industry and no amount of after the fact inspection will materially improve on poor material selection, poor engineering, poor manufacturing support and what we might call poor management.

Caveat emptor!
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Old 03-02-2021, 03:34 PM   #4
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Has build quality improved?

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Old 03-02-2021, 03:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bluetreak View Post
I've been looking at and documenting TT quality for 25 years since we got our first tent trailer. We've had five other trailers since then and just purchased our first MH.

RV quality varies a lot. Enough to make your head spin. It varies by year, by manufacturer, by brand, by model, and by day of the week the rig was made.

I see it as a management issue. The workers are hired to do a job in a given amount of time and the training, tools, techniques, materials, design and incentives are all provided by management.

Modern (last 40 years) quality engineering and management are notably not to be found in the RV industry and no amount of after the fact inspection will materially improve on poor material selection, poor engineering, poor manufacturing support and what we might call poor management.

Caveat emptor!
Newell and Marathon still make quality motor coaches and even their older coaches have great quality reputations. Quality cost; most motor coach buyers are unwilling to pay for quality construction materials and well trained labor rates. Most expect a $170,000 house on a $25,000 chassis to sell for $100,000 and drives and rides like a minivan. What you get is a $60,000 house on a $40,000 modified chassis that still drives and ride like a truck.
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Old 03-02-2021, 04:42 PM   #6
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Tiffins are also pretty darn good...
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Old 03-02-2021, 05:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
Tiffins are also pretty darn good...
Will they stay that way under Thor?

David
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Old 03-02-2021, 05:24 PM   #8
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Since Thor has pretty much left Airstream alone: I remain hopeful.
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Old 03-02-2021, 07:20 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
Since Thor has pretty much left Airstream alone: I remain hopeful.
Yes, but let me remind you of the Livin' Lite story.

Those two acquisitions are two sides of Thor's approach. One turned out ok, the other isn't in business anymore due to loss of customer support as a result of cheapening. You can't sell a quality RV for the same price as a cheap one. Thor turned a quality RV into a cheaply built one and tried to maintain the same price. Didn't work.

I hope that Thor uses the Airstream approach with Tiffin. I agree that Tiffins are well built coaches.

David
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Old 03-02-2021, 07:48 PM   #10
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I nope that a "little bit of Tiffin": rubs off on Thor...
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Old 03-03-2021, 08:00 PM   #11
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I have complained elsewhere about the thin, painted finish paneling that Thor uses on the Axis. But I just found one advantage. I needed to cut a larger hole where a dual USB outlet was and replace it with a panel I bought from Amazon that has a switch, voltmeter, a dual USB outlet and a cigarette outlet that I plugged in a dual USB adapter.

I was able to cut right through that paneling with a utility knife. Made it easy. Pic is attached.

David
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Old 03-03-2021, 08:07 PM   #12
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There ya go!
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Old 03-06-2021, 08:48 PM   #13
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Simple reply. NOOOOOOO!!!

Unless you pay big buck for a top of the line, quality is down the tube.
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Old 03-06-2021, 08:57 PM   #14
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Actually, I think it’s kind of a crapshoot. Some coaches have very few problems and others just seem jinxed. Since you are an experienced RV owner you likely know what to look for when you’re shopping. Just go find it.
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Old 03-06-2021, 09:43 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Parne View Post
Simple reply. NOOOOOOO!!!

Unless you pay big buck for a top of the line, quality is down the tube.
I've seen 600K Tiffins that weren't perfect...
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Old 03-06-2021, 09:44 PM   #16
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Unless you go with a custom manufacturer like Prevost or Foretravel you are going to get mass produced crap. Even with Airstream and Tiffin, members of the Thor family, it is profit margin versus quality and they always choose profits.
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Old 03-06-2021, 09:46 PM   #17
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I disagree: Airstream and Tiffin are (for the most part); largely unaffected.
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Old 03-07-2021, 03:12 AM   #18
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Model: Axis 25.6
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Originally Posted by DavidEM View Post
I have complained elsewhere about the thin, painted finish paneling that Thor uses on the Axis. But I just found one advantage. I needed to cut a larger hole where a dual USB outlet was and replace it with a panel I bought from Amazon that has a switch, voltmeter, a dual USB outlet and a cigarette outlet that I plugged in a dual USB adapter.

I was able to cut right through that paneling with a utility knife. Made it easy. Pic is attached.

David
Yep, I just bought a 2020 access 25.6 last July and still trying to get it into warranty. They offered the middle of May. I'm expecting it will be out of warranty by the time I get it back. Piece of crap.
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