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Old 05-28-2012, 10:44 AM   #1
Don
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Default Looking to buy first FF TT.

Forum...my wife and I are looking to buy our first TT and right now, a FF (not really sure of size yet) is at the top of the list. With that said, I have read alot about "issues" related to the FF trailers (ie leaks seem to be most common, electrical problems are second and so on). We have been looking, reading, investigating for several months now.
Understanding that ALL trailers seem to have their own quirks and problems, should we decide to buy new (a good used trailer would be considered), are there certain things to ask of a dealer that you would recommend?
For instance, it would seem that one of the most common leak problems I have read about is the issue with the running lights not being sealed correctly, or at all, from the manufacturer. Most have said that once the problem is noted, the damage to the outer shell separating from the body has already occurred.
What would be some of the typical questions to ask to be assured the common issues have been addressed at the manufacturer? I can't very well go to a dealers lot and begin dismantling running lights (or whatever) to ensure they have been properly sealed. I just want to ensure I have covered all my bases as best as possible before investing. Bottom line here is, "if you were to do it all over again, knowing what you know now, what would you change or do differently?" Any suggestions would certainly be appreciated.
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Old 05-28-2012, 03:27 PM   #2
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Default New r Used, that is the question...

Welcome Don and Dale! Good questions and sounds like you're really looking like we did. I'll share my thoughts, I'm sure you'll hear more!

Well, I just posted on another thread ( http://www.funfinderclub.com/phpBB2/...ighlight=#4992) talking to some issues we've had since buying our 214 WSD last August. But all things said, we DO really LOVE our trailer. Right size, easy to tow, small enough to access the places we like to go, yet has 95% of the 'wants' we desire. We feel that once we get all the kinks out, we will be happy.

Old r new? After having a new Jayco popup tent, a barely used Trailmanor and now a new trailer ... I would recommend new (if funds allow it) unless you can pick up a used from someone you are very acquainted with and who you KNOW (not assume) takes good care of their stuff. When you buy used, you get any issues that were not taken care of by the owner, maybe some that have not yet cropped up, maybe some CREATED by the lack of owner maintenance. And you MUST maintain an RV. Its a lightly built shed that travels down the road suffering minor earthquakes all the way from 'here' to 'there'!!

But to answer your main question.. ALL RVs seem to be having similar issues and it is a crap shoot as to (essentially) what day yours was assembled, by what crew,, how 'happy' their mood was and if the parts were in good shape to begin with. Sorry this sounds this way, but I think it is the truth. Our last trailer (2008 Trailmanor 2027SD 'used' only 3 months when we bought it) was an excellent unit in many regards .. much better than the FF in some. But we were finding poor QC issues time and again (Déjà vua in our FF . . In taking it into a large local repair facility, we were told they were having similar issues with every make of rig they sold, from PuP (popup tent trailers) to $500,000 coaches. Fact of the RV industry. From what I gather from guys in Service at a couple of dealers here who used to work on the lines at a couple of the factories is that the assemblers have x minutes to perform a specific job on the assembly line. You can't stop or slow the line to improve quality/ensure every thing is done right and tight. If something comes through poorly done (as the bad piece of plywood that was under the door into our bathroom with a hole/weak spot in it that the dealer had to repair), they just pass it through and next guys move on with what their job is. Most people won't catch or whine about it 'minor' issues. So only one screw goes in where there should be 2 or 3, drain traps are installed but not tightened, kinks are put in copper gas lines, bare screws are rubbing on wiring, etc., so it falls to the dealers (ie. generally the small businesses) or new owners themselves to take care of it!

Keep in mind that there is no way at the time of purchase to know how to find many of the kind of issues many of us end up finding. So my greatest recommendation is to find the best, most responsible dealer you can that will help you stand by your new purchase. There unfortunately is no way "to be assured the common issues have been addressed at the manufacturer", other than trying, like you have, to find out what brands have the least issues and companies that stand by their products. Plenty of horror stories out there to try to filter through though! You'll always read more bad than good.

I would recommend looking at a new rig and then spending significant effort in locating issues early and getting it back to the dealer with them. You can always be the lucky one with very few issues!

Leaks (actual or potential) are a fact of life with RVs, but if they are 1) prevented in the first or 2) caught before major problems occur, you have that solved. And then you need to maintain seals, which is not as big an issue as you might think (says the retired guy with more time on his hands!). Just demands that you pay attention to your rig, inspections on an annual basis. You need to clean and re-seal, go through and make sure all fittings you can access are snug ... likely they are not all so from the factory ... or they were over tight, breaking bolts, like one of my stab jacks!

Take a deep breath after all that and make your most informed decision, then go have fun!! "Bottom line here is, "if you were to do it all over again, knowing what you know now, what would you change or do differently?"" Not really anything, we're still happy with he trailer, can't have everything perfect and this unit fills most of our needs. And I'm 'handy' enough to know how to deal with most issues. I let my Doctor deal with the frustrating side of it!!

OH! And don't listen to your RV dealer about your towing capacity! (as in, 'Tundra? No problem, these have plenty of power and towing capacity). I found most of the guys at the truck dealers didn't know either! As an FYI, my full load ready for travel, with only the waterheater full, is about 5200lb on the axles and another 800-900 on the tongue hitched up. So the trailer is right about at the GVW. This is fine for the towing ability of the truck but the truck's loaded weight with the trailer hitched is at about 4100 rear and 3400 front. So my truck GVW is maxed but the 'towing capacity' and the GCW is not! Just do your homework on that front too.

Good luck and best of fun!!
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Old 05-28-2012, 04:13 PM   #3
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Can't really add too much to what fischnet said...

Used or new? Lots of people will buy used. They say that they save a boatload of money. My take? Unless you, as said above, know the owner and their proclivities (the fellow that bought my 210WBS told me he got a steal) you are 1) buying something that has most likely expired all of the warranties on the structure (the RV maker's) and the appliances (the individual manufacturers) 2) some of those appointments have a finite life span and you are buying already into that lifespan 3) the sealants will more than likely need replacing sooner rather than later 4) brakes, bearings and other "consumables" on the running gear are probably half used up and you will foot the full bill for replacement for half the life 5) you may be buying hidden (intentional or not) damage that may have happened anyway, but, you are buying it without the enjoyment during the time that it happened.

I'll only buy new. I can afford it, I'd rather not pay the "new" price and bear the burden of that "immediate depreciation" when I drive off the lot, but, I know I have the manufacturer's warranty, the appliance makers warranty, and some recourse if something goes wrong. I also know that I've got the full lifespan of the wheel bearings, brakes, spring shackles, etc.

As for what to ask? Ask the dealer anything you can think of...that's what he is supposed to be there for. If in doubt about, for instance, those clearance lights; ask for a ladder and get up there and look at the sealing caulk. Is it there, is it laid out with sufficient coverage? If so, that's all the "reassurance" you can ask for. It may still leak, but, there aren't any guarantees in life Do a search in Google for "RV PDI". Over the years many folks have put together lists of "what you need to know from the dealer when picking up your new RV" and these PDIs will help ask the right questions and get the right answers if you are new to the process.

As fischnet said, it is a crap shoot, no matter whether you are buying $1,750,000 dollar Prevost or a $900.00 used pop-up. New or used, doesn't matter; the nature of the beast is; "you will have problems" and never, ever, think that a "brand" will eliminate that. An entry level travel trailer will have more problems than a higher end trailer (just as a Yugo will have more problems than a Rolls), but, you pay for it, however, even a Rolls will have a breakdown. I never had a minutes problem with my 210WBS, however, there are a couple of guys on here that will tell you what kind of "junk" CruiserRV makes. Know what you are "buying" into, expect it, try to stay ahead of it, laugh at your mistakes and never lose the ability to "deal with it", life's too short and the RVing is too much fun.

There is no "carefree RV", there is no "lifetime" anything on an RV, but, the time and effort put into any RV to keep it in good shape yields far more in the reward of the experiences they offer.



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Old 05-28-2012, 06:24 PM   #4
Don
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Gentlemen...thanks SO MUCH for the replies. I can not begin to tell you how much a "burden" your responses have lifted. We REALLY like the Fun Finder models, yet were so concerned over what I was reading. As stated, I know each manufacturer has it's own issues (or the same type issues).
I am the type that takes pride in ownership in all that I own. I have been known to even keep the exhaust and suspension clean on my vehicles, so keep on top of needed or routine maintenance on a trailer will not be an issue. In fact, I, too, am retired so I do have the time more so now than previously. My wife retires next year and she enjoys "tinkering" along with me....although she refuses to crawl under the vehicles to clean.
I also agree that you will ALWAYS find more negative posts than positive regardless the subject matter.
I know I have more checking, deciding and questions to ask (including a tow vehicle and capacities) before we move forward, but your candid responses are most welcomed.
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:02 AM   #5
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One other thing that bears repeating in this thread just as a "reminder"...

Always take what you read in a forum, any forum, with a grain of salt. Forums, by and large, are posted in by folks that have a problem and are looking for a solution or folks that had a bad experience and have an ax to grind. You will rarely see folks post on a forum, "I just used my trailer for the "xxxx" time and had absolutely no problems!"

For the single person that had a problem with their Suburban water heater, there are thousands of Suburban water heaters out there that run quite reliably day in, day out. Lippert frames, IMHO, take an unfair beating in a lot of forums...sure there are frames that crack, but, when 98% of all frames are made by Lippert, the odds are that when one does crack, it is likely to be a Lippert frame. Doesn't mean that Lippert makes junk, just means that the probabilities and statistics are stacked against Lippert.

Beware statistics, the venue in which they are used, and the person wielding them.



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2011 Ram 2500 Longhorn CTD HO
2011 Keystone Cougar 318SAB (now gone)
2008 FunFinder X 210WBS (Sadly gone)
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:17 AM   #6
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Have to agree with webslave ... however I do think there are a fair number of forum users who use them to share real information and to seek honest advice. That said, I too advise reasonable caution when following reviews, on forums and elsewhere.

For instance, while I use Consumer Reports reviews a lot, I don't put too much stock in CR reviews because, as a member, I know what the questions are in their 'surveys' and they leave a LOT of room for very subjective and undefined opinion and variation of response. One person's major issue for repairs may be some minor vibration or road noise to me. I have been running Chrysler products for years with VERY few issues, yet if you follow 'forums', anything made my Chrysler in its various ownerships, is junk. So IHMO, I think they are fine vehicles (not the best, just 'fine'); none of my vehicles have cost me much and I usually buy them lightly used and run them for 8-12 years. Give me some time with almost anything and I can guaranty that I WILL find some kind of 'problem'. Object is just to minimize the frustration effects!

So, "Beware statistics, the venue in which they are used, and the person wielding them." Amen!! And ignore most anyone's "ranting"!
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Old 05-30-2012, 02:11 PM   #7
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Default New or used FF?

Seven years ago, we bought a used FF -- great price, no warranty, and yes it had a few issues that we discovered and fixed. We used it for 50 or 60 nights a year, really enjoyed it, and just bought a new one. We love it, we are using it a lot, and yes it has a few issues. Almost all RVs do, except maybe Airstream and Casita.

Buying a trailer was the best purchase we have ever made in our lives, and we are not young -- I will be 60 this summer. Should have done it sooner, but did not know how much fun it would be.
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Old 05-30-2012, 04:45 PM   #8
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A small correction ... We're going to be 60 years YOUNG this fall ..... except for the aches and slightly slower hiking, we're still thinking young!

But sure agree, the trailers have been a good upgrade choice from the tents for last 16 yrs.! So glad to hear you're still happy with the FF. And while I just dropped my FF off at dealer an hour ago for further warranty work (water leak), I told them we are so happy with it, just let's get those kinks out of it so's we can go have more fun!
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Yamaha EF2000i
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Old 05-31-2012, 08:50 PM   #9
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I only bought my FF 14 months ago, and the advice I took at the time was to buy the maximum extended warranty. There are so many applicances/electrical issues waiting to happen and replacing an RV microwave, for example, is several times more expensive the one you have in your house. For me, I felt I would rather pay the extended warranty upfront and know I would be covered over time. I had a couple things done under manufacturing warranty and just lapse that time and already had the tongue jack replaced under extended warranty. Pretty happy I have a warranty out to 2018...
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