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Old 01-28-2017, 02:55 PM   #1
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Default 2016 FF 233RBS: 6 months in

By way of an update, Iíve had my 2016 FF 233RBS since July and have taken it all over Colorado and a trip out to Tennessee for a week. We mainly boondock so I bought an inverter generator which is great, but itís clear that these things off the factory floor really arenít designed to boondock for more than a night or two. This post might sound like Iím complaining but Iím totally not, we love the FF and I think itís a great way for us to get into the great outdoors as a family and for me to have a little comfort when Iím at motocross races. I hope this post might be helpful to new TT owners who may not know what theyíre getting themselves into.

So, I pick it up in Ohio, put some water in the tank, and drive home to Colorado park up in a Wal-Mart overnight. I wash my hands in the kitchen sink and I hear water trickling under the sink: the trap had fallen off. It turned out that the traps under the kitchen and bathroom sinks had both fallen off. The bathroom one was plumbed in fine but just needed tightening up, but the kitchen plumbing was quite a mess resulting in the trap not lining up with the sink down pipe. It was under constant pressure so would always eventually wriggle loose. When I got home I cut out the existing kitchen drain plumbing and reinstalled it all so it lines up nicely. An easy fix if you have the tool and the knowhow. Also, the thin ply trim piece around the semi-circular end of the kitchen island had fallen out of place. I popped it back in with some wood glue and trim nails.

The following weekend we went to Rocky Mountain National Park boondocking. After being there an hour I noticed water running out of the enclosure where the water heater lives and also out from under the bathroom vanity. In both cases the finger nuts on the water inlets were loose so I tightened them up. Again, the bathroom water pipes were fine, but the pex running into the water heater was too short resulting in the termination into the water heater being under constant stress. When I got home I cut a new piece of pex and replaced it.

However, the worst thing that failed was the heater. We were camping with our two month old son, Bear, so we had to run the heater overnight to keep the chill off. The heater itself worked great but there was only heat coming out of the bathroom register. The registers in the main living area where Bear sleeps and the bedroom had nothing coming out of them. As a temporary measure I pulled the heater louvre panel off and found a spare output hose that had been terminated. I removed the termination and dragged the hose into the living area so we had heat in there for the weekend. The next day I found that the heater hoses to the living area and the bedroom had been severed just before they terminated into the heater. I patched them with some silver tape but still no heat came out of the registers. I removed the black protective underbelly cover underneath the back of the TT, tracked the living room hose and found that where the hose transitioned from I think a 4Ē hose to a 3Ē hose the two hoses didnít actually connect. Also, when I pulled the hoses down to look at them a bunch of sawdust fell out. There were also pinches in the hoses as they were poorly routed around the underbelly of the TT. I connected these two ends together and tried to unpinch the hoses, but still no air. At that point I gave up and decided to warranty it.

In the process of pulling down the underbelly cover I found that the black tank was leaking where it connected to the out pipe. I discovered this by lying down and removing the cover to be greeted by a facewash of water that I would certainly describe as ďnon-potableĒ. Another one for the warranty claim.

Since Iíd decided to make a warranty claim I also threw in a few other annoyances: the bedroom speaker didnít work, I couldnít get a TV signal, the water heater hadnít been installed properly and was sticking out the side of the RV by about ľĒ, letting in rain, the awning gutter was pulling away from the side of the RV and some of the the yellow LEDs under the awning were failing, the front cap was coming detached from the sides of the RV and the fridge on automatic wouldnít switch properly from AC power back to gas.

I called the dealer in Ohio and they started a warranty claim and they found a local dealer new me, Windish RV in Lakewood, who could do the repairs. I took it to Windish and dealt with a great guy called Taylor who was helpful beyond expectations. All under warranty, they replaced the bedroom speaker (the old one was just faulty and didnít work out of the factory), the TV coax wasnít actually connected to the aerial so they connected it and now it works great, they removed and reseated the water heater so itís flush with the side of the RV now, they reseated and resealed the end cap, they reconnected the awning gutter, they readjusted the fridge so it now switches between power and gas smoothly, they replaced the plumbing from the black tank so it no longer leaks and theyíve ordered me a replacement LED strip for the awning. They replaced all the ducts for the heater and now we have heat in the living area. We donít have any heat in the bedroom, but I think thatís actually a design flaw as the run is very long and snakes around the underbelly of the RV and the fan is probably underpowered. Since itís only my wife and I in there we can just get another blanket is weíre cold. Then down the line if itís really annoying me I could probably install an inline fan in that duct to help push the hot air into the bedroom.

I know that when we spend so much on a brand new toy like an RV we would like everything to just work, but I see now that they throw these things together at the factory with little care for whether it actually works or not. Consequently, if youíre not very handy, have high expectations (or both) I can see how you might get rather grumpy when your RV starts flooding on the first time out or the heater doesnít work. However, it seems that all the issues with my FF have been, mostly, fixed for free under warranty and Iím looking forward to many years of camping with a few hours here and there of fixing things when they break or fall off.

Oh, and the reason I said this FF is not really made for boondocking for more than a couple of days is down to the limited battery capacity and, moreover, that the built-in charger that charges the RVís battery is a very cheap, single-stage unit that cannot recharge even a single 12v battery in the few hours that you typically want to run your generator for to recharge it. While weíre fairly efficient campers weíre not going to start washing in a bucket or using flashlights in the RV just to save the battery Ė to me that defeats the purpose of having the mod cons of an RV in the first place. And in any event, we need heat for the baby overnight. So, to fix this Iím going to upgrade the battery with a pair of 6v golf cart batteries, replace the crappy single stage charger with a multi-stage one and then do a solar install so we wonít be so reliant on the generator.

Finally, while the FF is well within the spec towing capability of my 1500 Silverado (with towing package and 8ft bed), it really struggles to pull the RV up the mountains here in Colorado. And on some of the downhills I get worried about the brakes Ė Iíve had to drop it into first gear on occasion down the big ones. If I lived in a flat place, or even somewhere that has normal sized hills rather than 11,000 ft peaks to traverse, I probably wouldnít even notice that my truck isnít quite up to the job. Iím keeping my truck but appreciated that we just have to go slow and steady on the mountain passes. My next truck, however, will definitely be a 2500 so I can do a solid 60 mph everywhere and have less concern on the downhills.

Cheers
Simon
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Old 01-28-2017, 06:25 PM   #2
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Simon, so good to hear from you again! Wow, I don't know what to say...so I'll just say I am so glad you are taking all of that so well and we're able to get a sarisfactory resolve close to your home. Thank God you knew what to do and could do it.
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Old 01-29-2017, 08:11 AM   #3
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Wow, glad you got it all sorted out. While some of those issues should never have left the factory, the dealer should have taken care of some as well before it ever left the lot.

As for bedroom heat you might consider something like this: https://www.amazon.com/Lasko-754200-...eywords=heater

Assuming you're camping with hookups. We use one rather than the propane heater because it's a lot quieter and works really well.
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Old 01-29-2017, 04:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LJAZ View Post
Wow, glad you got it all sorted out. While some of those issues should never have left the factory, the dealer should have taken care of some as well before it ever left the lot.

As for bedroom heat you might consider something like this: https://www.amazon.com/Lasko-754200-...eywords=heater

Assuming you're camping with hookups. We use one rather than the propane heater because it's a lot quieter and works really well.
Thanks for posting these observations. I would like to know the dealer's name so that we avoid going there in the future.
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Old 01-29-2017, 07:24 PM   #5
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Yes, that would be a good idea in case any of us travel to, where are you?, and have to have any repairs done! Wouldn't want to go to him!��⛺
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Old 01-29-2017, 08:32 PM   #6
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Thanks all. LJAZ, we primarily boondock so I'm afraid the little electric heater won't work for us. Nice idea though.

The dealer was RV Wholesalers in Lakeview, Ohio. In their defence, they would have carried out the warranty work themselves if I was local and I ended up paying $12,000 less than I would have done locally here in Colorado. At that price I really don't expect them to test everything. The sales guys there were really helpful and spent as much time with me (as a first time buyer) as I needed, which was great. I would buy from them again.

I also want to reiterate that I'm not complaining about any of this, just posting in the hope that other first time buyers can go into this with their eyes (and toolbox!) open.

Cheers
Simon
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Old 01-30-2017, 07:03 AM   #7
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Well as long as you are still happy, that is all that counts. Saving money is something we all hope to do. And it looks like they have many happy customers according to this.
https://www.customerlobby.com/review...rv-wholesalers

But still, I hope that they took your experience seriously and test units out more thoroughly before sending them down the road in the future. As for Cruiser sending it to the dealer that way...totally unacceptable. Not everyone is handy with tools, nor should they have to be when buying a new product. If I bought a new car and found out that hoses were too short, or the heater wasnt hooked up, or the lights didn't work, I would never buy that brand again. But that doesn't generally happen.
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Old 01-30-2017, 06:49 PM   #8
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Wow - I feel for you with regards to the rough initial camping trip to work out the bugs of a new camper. I guess never underestimate the value of a long and thorough walk-thru and orientation with the seller or dealer?
But-that's behind you now. Be sure to let the manufacturer know that the dealer cut you loose like that. Really poor preparation of the camper.

There are very few campers straight from the dealer's lot that are adequately geared to boondock. Sure you can buy one with a generator - but using a generator to charge a single battery is inefficient. Then to use the battery - it will run down fast. Easier to run a generator when you need/heavy use electricity.

That's why even for my little 21-foot 210UDS, I have 4-deep cycle 12-volt batteries, an outback inverter and 272 watts (which isn't much) of solar power. But-we can boondocks indefinitely with enough sun - and not running the AC.
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Old 01-30-2017, 07:29 PM   #9
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When I was shopping I read in several places to avoid those RV Wholesale places as they get the unit from the factory and push them out the door as they are only interested in sales. Some blogs said the 'wholesalers' don't check anything, just sell them for quick turnover and take the profit therefore sell below that of a regular dealer.

Seems in this instance, very true.
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