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Old 09-28-2011, 09:40 AM   #1
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Default The first month with our Fun Finder XT-245 (our first RV)

Today is the one month anniversary of the delivery of our first RV/travel trailer, and I thought I would write up our experiences so far, and our review of purchase experience from RVwholesalers.com

We ordered ours from RVwholesalers in July after doing a fair bit of research, albeit mostly online. We were down to a very cheap Grey Wolf 21RR that we had never walked through or the XT-245, and finally decided to spend a bit more to get the exact floorplan we liked, and move up to a "mid-grade" from a basic model. After the first weekend camping, we were thrilled to have the few extra feet of space and amenities.

The price was great at RVwholesalers - way, way cheaper than any others than we could find, even including $900 for delivery to Maryland. When I included the price they offered in an email, one dealership told me "if you can buy it at that price, you should". The experience overall was just OK. They don't exactly hold your hand, and their alleged "repair network" means nothing (meaning I will need to go to a regular Crusier dealership for any warranty issues). If we need a warranty repair, I will just have to see how the closest dealer does honoring it; time will tell.

When I called the salesman about 5 weeks after ordering to check the build time/delivery date, he made the appalling lie of "well, it's been so hot this summer, they have to shut down the production line, so it may be delayed by a few weeks". Oye. He could have just said "I don't know when it will be complete."

If the price is paramount to you, it is a decent way to buy. If you will need more support from a dealer, it isn't the way to buy.

The learning curve for how to operate and use an RV is steep, but with a lot of research, some technical background, and some experimentation, it has been fun, and not overwhelming. The various 12v switches and 110 circuits haven't been exactly clear or accurate. (more on that later)

The first weekend out camping w/ our kids went great. On the second night the Jensen DV2011 radio started cycling off and on every two seconds, and it took some tricks to get the volume down to zero so that we didn't hear 2 seconds of radio all night. Looking back, I could have pulled the fuse. The air conditioning blew very cold all weekend and the Yamaha 3000iseb worked great. That thing runs incredibly efficiently when the AC isn't on, and it can drink some fuel when it is on. The radio was the only malfunction we experienced, and we tried to run almost every system.

The next week, I worked to diagnose the radio issue by putting a meter on the 12v power to the radio. The power seemed clean and constant, but the unit did cycle off and on a few times the day I was working. By the following week, the radio was reliable again, so I figured that I had restored a tight connection enough that the problem was gone.

When we were getting ready for our 2nd outing, I plugged the shore line into the household outlet and tried to get the fridge cooled down before we put food in it. I woke up the next morning to pack and found the fridge completely warm. Hmmmph. Circuit breaker on, switch on, set for "auto" and the interior light came on. Hmmmph.

We switched to gas, and the unit cooled and worked fine all weekend. But the radio started cycling on and off, and then just off. I guess I was going to have to find out how this warranty thing was going to work after all.

Before I dragged the trailer an hour each way to the nearest RV dealer, I had to do some more investigation. I found that Jensen (owned by Audiovox) has a 3rd party do their warranty work: ASAelectronics.com. I called them, reached a human right away who knew what he was talking about and had me try a few last diagnostics and then told me that I had to go back through the dealer or manufacturer, but he closed with "if you don't get the support you want, call us back and we'll figure something out. A call to CruiserRV warranty first said "send it back to us, we'll send you a new one" followed by an email from their parts department saying "DO NOT send it to us, call ASAelectronics" This was beginning to feel like a circle.

I called ASA back, explained, and another great tech said "OK, we'll send the new one today, w/ a return label, and the old one has to be back to us in 30 days" GREAT customer service, and they clearly want to solve issues, not block them. The new unit is on its way to me and should be here in a day or two.

More research led me to believe that the fridge cooling unit was ok because it works on gas, but not electric, and this is probably a small problem. A Dometic document gave a list of troubleshooting for my 2652 model. It was easy to figure out that no power was in the outlet inside the exterior fridge compartment. A few trips in and out to the breaker box found that the breaker for "water heater" actually controlled the fridge, and the breaker labeled "refer" actually controlled the water heater. (and oddly, the circuit that powers the fridge also powers the outlet for the TV). An hour later, the fridge was cold and the water was hot.

So after a month, we are very happy with the model, it's features and floorplan, the overall quality certainly meets what we need for right now, and we're ready for more camping before winter.

Pete
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:19 PM   #2
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Default

Great write-up with lots of good info.

I was wondering how some of the internet sellers were to deal with AFTER the sale. Now we know, including their highly touted 'nationwide service network.' Another forum said the so-called nationwide service network is there but unless you bought from that dealer, you were at the back of the line for any repair work......as he pointed to a dozen unit sitting behind their shop; units they did not sell initially and would get to when they had time....whenever that would be. Not a good situation when you are on vacation for only two weeks or the like.

At least the few problems you had with your unit weren't severe. As for the radio thing, makes one wonder how good their "check all systems in the unit" pre-sale program really is. Looks like they didn't check everything out very well.

Enjoy.
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