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Old 01-18-2015, 10:24 AM   #1
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Spring just around the corner?

Well not quite around the corner for us that live in the northern latitudes, but the RV show season is underway, and that means Spring is only a couple months away. And it is good for the soul to step in dozens of RVs in the dead of winter.

I always like to go to RV shows as the new RVs I see today might be the used RV I buy in a couple of years. And I also like to see what new trends are occurring as well as new campgrounds and accessories.

But you also had to pass through the gauntlet of hawkers selling everything from Ginsu Knives to Bamboo Pillows; ad nauseam. I at least got satisfaction in telling the Bamboo Pillow hawkers that I saw dozens of people selling them last year at Shipshewana (a large mid-west flea market that is actually very close to the RV manufacturers in Elkhart) for 1/3rd the price.

The one thing I came away with - and I am not sure it is a trend or simply I have become more aware of it - is that the RV industry's quality is horrible. Of course, we've all read the horror stories on this forum that some have experienced, but I don't think it is much better for many of the other manufacturers.

Sure, there are a couple of bright spots out there, but I think that is more exception than the norm.

For example, the lousy tail-lights that I found leaking in my coach - and it is a bad design by the tail light manufacturer in my view - I found on several brands of motorhomes. I almost guarantee that every one of those coaches will at some point have leaking tail lights.

But the worst example of poor quality I saw was by a manufacturer of "throwback" trailers - replicating some of the more popular designs of the '50s.

I saw the seam of the roof-to-sidewall transition of one trailer, and it looked like someone had simply hammered over the roof panel along the seam. I suppose it guarantees a leak-proof seam, but it was terrible looking.

The "funny" thing was the trailer was all decked out with baby moon hubcaps and fat whitewall tires, as well as a soda-fountain looking interior - with black and white tile and red and white upholstery.

Perhaps they they did that to draw your attention from the poor roof seams... but I would have preferred a job done right to the roof in the first place than cover up bling.

Another almost-as-terrible trailer had a residential window-mount air conditioner simply sticking out the side of the thing. It works I guess, but it was by far the ugliest thing I saw at the show.

Manufacturers also seem to have a Lemming mentality, something I first noticed after years of going to boat shows. Seems one manufacturer comes up with an idea, and all the rest of them do the same thing. Cheap stereo speakers on the outside curb sidewalls, as well as outside kitchens and TVs seemed to be the norm, as well as LED strips along the awnings.

One new trend I noticed though is swing away bumper-mounted grills seem to becoming more popular, which I at least thought was a useful thing.

I guess that I have become more cynical since owning a RV, and kind of figured out what to look for in areas of poor design and poor manufacturing.

About the only thing I saw that was attractive was the pricing of some RVs, and I suppose that is a major reason for the poor quality. All in all, they are just glorified tents, I suppose.
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Old 01-18-2015, 12:36 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FW28z
Manufacturers also seem to have a Lemming mentality, something I first noticed after years of going to boat shows. Seems one manufacturer comes up with an idea, and all the rest of them do the same thing. Cheap stereo speakers on the outside curb sidewalls, as well as outside kitchens and TVs seemed to be the norm, as well as LED strips along the awnings.
Sadly its like that in most industries. Some would call it "competition". Just look at the auto industry, for example, whenever one OEM introduces something new and novel it doesn't take more than a year or so before the others copy it. The software industry is another example (look at how iOS and Android have been "trading" features over the years).

On the RV front: For a year or two slide out decks were all the rage (these were decks on the side of the camper, not the rear toyhauler loading ramp). Speaking of toyhaulers: That started with a single manufacturer..now it is a whole category.

We used to have three camper shows around here: A fall one, and two winter ones. Currently we are down to two: fall & winter (run by the same organization). Typically one could get a better deal at the fall show since it was right at the end of camping season and you'd just put your new RV into storage (we picked up our 5th wheel at the fall show. Its kind of bittersweet putting your new RV away for 6 months without ever having used it and then someone shot a hole in our brand new roof...but that is another story).

There is one vendor that we do like to browse through at the camper shows: Many local campgrounds setup booths. We usually browse through them looking for one that looks interesting and/or that we haven't been to before.
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Old 01-18-2015, 01:52 PM   #3
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Come join the tmcoc in Florida for our first rally. Go to tmcoc.org for info, or email me at
tmcoc@ec.RR.com
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Old 01-18-2015, 02:51 PM   #4
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We made it to the Novi show last spring (niece got married in Toledo on RV show weekend and it was on the way home).

Not sure if we will make it to Novi this year or not. But we occasionally go to the Detroit Boat Show and Auto Show, so who knows?

My wife has family in the Detroit area, so if we attend the Novi show this year will generally depend on the weather (and whether or not I have to visit the in-laws). I hate driving on I-94 in bad weather as there are so many idiots that can't drive in the winter (that 200 car pile-up on I-94 last week occurred about 10 miles from my home).
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:32 PM   #5
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I was really disappointed by the Denver show. Pretty much every RV made including a Newell King Air. But sadly, virtually no accessory vendors or destination booths. There were probably 20 booths total, and they were dominated by Sears, Cutco knives, replacement windows, and skin care.

I had hoped to buy a Safe-T-Plus and get some info on inverters, but no such luck.

Randy
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:49 PM   #6
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There's an RV show coming to Atlanta next weekend and we plan to check it out either Saturday or Sunday. Ginsu knives and bamboo pillows? Really?! Will try to avoid those and keep walking.
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Old 02-04-2015, 11:18 PM   #7
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The Detroit Camper and RV show started today. I popped my head in after work and ran the floor (ok a brisk walk LOL). It was a little disappointing in that the only Axis/Vegas models showing was a single Axis 24.1 (been going to the show to see some of the other floorplans). I did step in the ACE that was parked next to it (it looked to be a 29.3 model): That is one HUGE slide on that thing. It does make for tons of room inside the camper but wow! I can see how people have been having slide problems with it.
Here is the website on the show if anyone is in the greater Detroit area and inclined to go this weekend:
The Annual Detroit Camper & RV Show, Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles (RVs) and Campgrounds (MARVAC)
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Old 02-05-2015, 02:34 AM   #8
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I had a guy try to sell me a pergola for my back patio at the Cleveland RV show last month! I am like. Dude, this is a RV show! People are here to buy RV's so they probably are not interested in sitting around their houses under a pergola but off enjoying their new RV's. Duh!
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Old 02-05-2015, 03:57 AM   #9
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I have owned two 5th wheels and now own an ACE 27.1. One thing I have learned is that if you inquire why a part is cheap, the standard answer is "it is made to be lite and not add weight".. Does a "real" bathroom faucet weighing 2 lbs really make that much of a difference on a 5000lb RV than the all plastic one weighing half a pound? I have just gotten into the habit of upgrading lights, fixtures, sinks, etc., to our liking. Enjoy!
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Old 02-05-2015, 12:25 PM   #10
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FW28z,

Having been in PR and Advertising for many years, I would think the best statement in an ad would be, "Voted the best built RV in it's price class." Can you imagine the impact that would have on a potential purchaser? I would gladly give up an outside kitchen for a better build.

Phil
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Old 02-05-2015, 07:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FW28z View Post
...
The one thing I came away with - and I am not sure it is a trend or simply I have become more aware of it - is that the RV industry's quality is horrible. ...
Around 2004 or so, I held high hopes for the RV industry. I'm an executive and engineer who was considering working for the RV industry way back then, (thank goodness that I stuck to the aerospace industry)! I'm also a LeanSigma Master Black Belt and I was going to help revolutionize quality in the RV industry. At the time there was also serious engineering and scientific development for RV technology going on. Things were kinda exciting.


A small propane powered Fuel Cell for use in RVs that I really wanted to be a part of. It would take the place of a generator to produce AC power, and it would also function as your 60,000 Btu HVAC for all of your comfort needs, and it would also be the water heater. Generator - A/C - Furnace - Water Heater all in one unit!


Warm-toned LEDs were going to revolutionize lighting, (they are just now becoming standard for interiors). Most LEDs sold today are still the stark bluish light you find at a DMV office or a Walmart.


Motorhome design was headed towards the European model. 15,000lb towing capability, with very high efficiency turbo diesel engines with upwards of 30mpg, (NOT at all using the commercial chassis, diesel engines and transmissions used today).


But, here we are in 2015. We know that all of those noble ideas died quietly on the vine, (except for LED lighting, the low hanging fruit)! And the quality of the products produced by the RV industry is still just "good enough" to make it out the factory door and off the dealer lot, barely.
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