ParkLiner Concerns from a previous owner - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-12-2013, 12:54 PM   #1
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ParkLiner Concerns from a previous owner

There have been numerous threads on this forum concerning some current problems that are showing up with the ParkLiner trailer. While there are many things about the ParkLiner that make it a unique entry into the molded fiberglass travel trailer market, I feel an obligation to mention a few concerns that we had that ultimately contributed to selling this trailer. Some of these issues below have been addressed on other threads, but these are all issues that we personally had with our trailer.

I have two reasons for listing all of these specifics in one post: 1. those considering the purchase of a ParkLiner can be better informed before their purchase, 2. Current owners of ParkLiners need to know that there may be some safety issues that ought to be fixed. Hopefully, many of these issues will be (or perhaps, have been) resolved in upcoming ParkLiner trailers.

I feel strongly that not only should Chandler/ParkLiner be informing current owners of ParkLiners of any potential safety hazards, he should also take full responsibility for making sure that these problems are fixed. Based on our experience, I am not so sure that this will happen.

1. Our model was an early version of the ParkLiner; our goal after purchasing it was to bring it up to the standard of more current models. While Chandler, the owner of the company, agreed to help us with this process (he said that he would give us instructions, some components that we needed, and templates for some of the fixes), the reality was that we waited for months to receive of few of the items and for instructions that never came. This was an indication to us that the service component, so important in any new company (travel trailer or otherwise), was lacking and it would be an ongoing and frustrating issue for us.

2. We had concerns about a number of ParkLiner components that did not seem up to the standard of other current molded fiberglass travel trailers. Some examples were:
  • Battery that was not in a closed, vented (to the outside) and secured container (despite recommendations of the battery manufacturer; Pete did some research due to his own questions about this set-up and found this forum in which a tech person who works for Optima explains the necessity for enclosing and venting batteries that are inside a vehicle or an RV; here is the link: Battery Vent? - evolutionm.net )
  • Torsion axle that was welded to the frame (in spite of the fact that no other current trailer manufacturer that we are aware of does this; current standard promotes attaching axle with brackets, not welding to the frame of the trailer; there are many potential problems that could result due to this set-up)
  • Gray water tank mounted to the underside of the trailer with plumber's tape, not the typical brackets, bolts, and secure straps found in most travel trailers; a full tank is heavy!
  • Interior wiring, plumbing, and gas lines exposed and not secured or protected from the jostling of items stored in cabinetry while traveling, thus creating a potential of loose connections over time
  • Wheel wells not proportional to size of tires (not enough room for movement of tires and wheels during travel); Pete pointed this out to me prior to any of the threads that now identify this as an actual issue in PL trailers
  • No drain on water tank (most, if not all other travel trailers/RVs that we know of, have a drain on the water tank)
  • Escape hatch is not located in an area that would facilitate actually being able to use it
  • Various poor fit and finish issues; too numerous to mention

3. While many of the concerns or issues listed above can be modified by the owner of any given ParkLiner, we began to feel a sense of resentment due to the fact that since our ParkLiner was a relatively new (2011) and pricey piece of equipment, it shouldn't have had so many major (some potential safety) issues. We just came to the point that we did not want to support this product in light ongoing issues and our own personal experience with lack of service and support from the company. I have documented all of my communications with the company and the most obvious issue is the large expanse of time when there was NO response to our emails and/or phone calls. The second most obvious service issue evidenced in my records was the fact that Chandler continued to promise support that never happened, at least in the six months that we owned this trailer. Enough was enough.

4. We began to wonder how much the prototype ParkLiner was actually tested, used, refined. Were all (or as many as possible) “what-ifs” looked at before production began? It is upsetting to know that some of the issues could put current ParkLiner owners at risk.

5. None of the above is meant to slander or degrade the ParkLiner Company or owner. This is just our attempt at reflecting on our own personal experiences with the product and the company. While we were drawn to the design and layout of the ParkLiner, the underlying issues became too numerous for us to overlook. All of the specific issues and concerns that we had were made very clear to the new owners of our ParkLiner. We could not have sold it otherwise. They either were not concerned about those issues or felt that they would have no problem fixing them. They were thrilled with their first molded fiberglass trailer, so we were lucky to find the right buyers. Having owned many trailers over the years, including several Bigfoot trailers and three Escape trailers (we currently have a 19ft. Escape), we feel we can speak from experience and knowledge of what makes a safe and quality made product; perhaps we have been “spoiled” by the stellar service and support that has been provided to us from the owners of the Escape Trailer company, not to mention, their quality product.

6. Thanks to several members on this forum who offered a great deal of help and support to us as we struggled with some of the above issues. One is a ParkLiner owner and he went out of his way to give us the information and photos that we were not getting from Chandler. We very much appreciate the wealth of information and support that the Fiberglass Forum provides.
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:20 PM   #2
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While I recognize that you have legitimate concerns, bear in mind that Park Liner is not Toyota or General Motors. His is just a little company and he is scrambling to cover all the bases. Most FG camper manufacturers have gone broke, leaving the campers as orphans. Be careful that you don't contribute to the demise of a great camper with a few small growing pains.
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:36 PM   #3
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How does one find a buyer for such a disappointing unit? Deep discounting?

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Old 05-12-2013, 01:49 PM   #4
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Tom, I understand what you are saying and I have refrained from sharing much at all for a long time. I think Chandler has a good product with great potential. It is unique in many ways. I hope he is successful in his venture.
We purchased an Escape trailer at the very beginning of that company's production and the experience was very different. The owner was responsive, helpful, fixed anything that wasn't right, and listened to his customers so that his trailers would continually improve (which they have). There is much room for improvement in a new company and I hope for great success with ParkLiner, but without changing some of the issues (not the least of which is customer service), I think it may be more difficult for him to stay in business. To pretend that all is well when it isn't, does not make for a successful business plan.
What concerns me most are issues that could be potential safety hazards or may require some major retrofitting down the road. Much of what I mentioned in my post is just cosmetic and isn't a bother to many folks. But structural and safety issues are important. I don't know of many successful businesses that have poor customer service and/or support.
If there are things that need to be fixed, it seems to me that it is better to be open about them and hope that positive change results.

I feel that to not share my experience with ParkLiner is unfair to potential customers who have similar expectations in a purchase such as this. For many, the issues I mentioned are not major concerns. For some, they are. To pretend that all is perfect when it isn't, is deceptive (at least for me).

I do not understand how telling the truth contributes to the demise of a business.
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Old 05-12-2013, 02:00 PM   #5
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Linda:

Thanks for your post - I believe that you have a right to expect a quality product and customer service from a manufacturer of any size. As the Escape story indicates, a small guy can compete and succeed if problems that do arise are cheerfully and promptly fixed and the lesson learned applied to future units.
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Old 05-12-2013, 03:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaK View Post
What concerns me most are issues that could be potential safety hazards or may require some major retrofitting down the road. .
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Old 05-12-2013, 03:59 PM   #7
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would still buy one

I'm in the market, likely will buy new. Escape is only a 2 day drive, through 2 1/2 beautiful states, so they are at the top of my list of manufacturers. Customer service is important, and accessibility to the manufacturer via phone and or internet is an important part of that accessibility.

That being said, considering the features of the Parkliner, I'd still probably get one if a (late model) used one showed up close by. I just really like the features, the headroom, smooth lines, etc. In some ways what they've made is unique, especially in just 15 feet.

Hopefully Chandler gets more in tune with the customer service side of things, or hires someone who takes over that part for him. Maybe he's just a "gear-head" personality and would rather deal with the nuts/bolts part of the business. If that's the case, he needs to partner up with a "people person" type to answer the phone and deal with customers. Customer service issues can kill a very good product in any age; in the internet age, issues can snowball out of control in a hurry.
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Old 05-12-2013, 05:59 PM   #8
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Some of this I would cough up to being a newer manuf and things are changeing. The water tanks do now have drains on them...Im going to add one eventually but it isn't high on the priority list. My batteries were held down with those plumbers straps... that was fixed as soon as I could. From what I have heard agm bateries dont vent like typical lead acid batteries that they don't need to be vented. I lived on my last boat for 8 years where the batteries vented into my cabin.

Ive taken my ParkLiner off road a few times now and I checked my wheel wells for black marks or sign's of rubbing...so far I see nothing. Im guessing there probably is 2000 miles or so on the axle and I know Harry the original owner told me about a place he camped in a field so I know he had it off road as well. I will continue to keep an eye on it but so far so good.

The grey water tank I will have to look into how I could better support it. I haven't driven more then a mile with greywater in the tank but you raised a valid point and I will address it.

I'm still very happy with my ParkLiner. Just got back from a simple 3 day camping adventure. Gave a tour of it n friday for a couple planning to now order one.

Chandler's business is still starting up and improveing. Im sorry you were not happy with yours...I love mine.
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:22 PM   #9
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LindaK: You have done exactly what I would have done in your place. I was shocked at just the tire rubbing and how many times they have appeared to make changes to the tires and axles. I don't think it matters how small a company is and from reading the posts, it appears that they don't have quality control or customer service not to mention that they are taking on more orders than it appears they can handle thereby rushing through to get them out of the door. This has been obvious from the posts. I know that stick RVs are always under attack here but, seriously, they also are only as good as the quality control and customer service of the manufacturer. Safety issues are very serious and if not addressed could put the manufacturer out of business overnight. Small? New? Not an excuse for me.
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:11 PM   #10
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I know that many folks love their ParkLiners; there were many qualities we liked as well.
One thing we did notice, though, that we found quite interesting, was that we got the same gas mileage when pulling the ParkLiner as we got when pulling our 19ft Escape (same tow vehicle; a V8 4-Runner).
Linda
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:15 PM   #11
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I bought number five lil snoozy. I had just as many problems with it. I had to take it back to S Carolina twice, and the issues were still issues. The lil snoozy people were extremely responsive, but they just didn't fix my problems.

I think both companies got their trailers out too fast, and were not diligent in checking them out first. They got the fiberglass part right. But for lil snoozy the plumbing was a nightmare.

I wish both companies well. Hopefully, they will listen to their consumers.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:03 PM   #12
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Everyone is different and has a right to their own opinion. I'd have no problem buying a Park Liner. The basics appear to be right and the small issues are being refined.

That said, if you want a more mature design, buy something else.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:05 PM   #13
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As a Parkliner owner (with the tire rub issue) I have done some hard thinking about how I want to approach all of this too. My patience has run thin a few times but what I have decided is this....

As a guy who is 6'1" in socks, I need a tall trailer. That limits my options dramatically if I want to be able to stand up inside without a bent neck, which I do.

I believe in the fundamental design of the trailer and I believe Chandler is a good person and wants to do the right thing. Those are all key ingredients.

Are there some issues? Clearly. So far all issues I have raised have been or are being resolved. I believe that any future warranty type issues will also be resolved. Since Parkliner is still relatively new (<40 units seems VERY new to me) I am willing to work through a few of these. Once I do, I feel like I will have one of the coolest campers out there! Five years down the road, when I have made all of my Mark-ish customizations, well, it will be super cool.

I agree with posting any issues (thus my posting on the tire issue) because I believe that benefits everyone in the end...even Parkliner. They have the chance to connect with us and see what we are saying, thinking, and doing with our trailers. So, I think all these discussions are good.

I want Parkliner to succeed as a business. I have started a small business myself and I know how hard it is to wear all the hats and be responsive too. It wears a person down. Just when you think you have hit a smooth patch, someone calls with a tire issue!

In summary, I think we should let each other know of issues, but I also think we should do what we can to help Parkliner succeed. So if FUTURE Parkliner owners are reading this, and I know they are, be sure to ask Chandler about some of these things. The tire issue is fixed, so you are good there. Ask him about the batteries...see if he has any knowledge or ideas on alternate solutions that may benefit us all. Direct him here too, as he may learn some ideas from all the years of experience people on this forum have!

Anyway, my two cents....

Mark
Parkliner #37
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birmingham1 View Post
...........
Anyway, my two cents....

Mark
Parkliner #37
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