Older & Just Retired & Never Had an RV - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-27-2018, 06:34 PM   #1
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Older & Just Retired & Never Had an RV

My wife and I just retired.We have been considering buying an RV for a number of years when we retired.We would like to travel to a warmer place in the winter(not sure where) and living near an northern ocean in the summer.We live in Montana now.We have mostly considered buying a tow behind trailer because we do not want to tow another vehicle behind a Motor Home.We looked for a few years at Air Streams but when we discovered fiberglass it seemed to be a better fit.Lighter in weight and better built for the price.So we made a trip to Escape trailers in Chilliwack BC. to look them over.We were thinking of a 21 foot nothing larger.What we found was a trailer that was built well as far as the frame and fiberglass but the rest seemed to us as a bunch of cheaper stuff used to make the price low.A lot of the stuff they used was what they purchased from some other manufacturer.The inside build seemed cheap.I am not knocking the Escape per say just using that as an example,maybe all RV"s are like this.So I am here looking for advice and willing to listen to all.We are not in need of something to keep up with the Jones but something practical.
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Old 08-27-2018, 07:00 PM   #2
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RV interiors have to be as light weight as practical, if you built the cabinetry the way you build a home kitchen, your trailer would be 1000s of lbs heavier. and yes, they pretty much all use light thin wood framing, with thin lauan paneling, unless the interior cabinets are themselves fiberglass (Casita, Oliver)... some dress this woodwork up with fancier trim bits to disguise it.
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Old 08-27-2018, 07:52 PM   #3
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Most of the reasonably priced RVs and trailers source their appliances from the same manufacturers as there aren't many. Suburban or Atwood for a furnace or water heater - Dometic or Norcold for a fridge, Sealand or Thetford for a toilet. While there ARE other manufacturers, their prices are usually higher (and aftermarket products as rig builders others than Escape don't want to do custom installations.)


All these items are covered by the device manufacturers warranties, not the rig builder.


Previous post is correct in that a large target market for the fiberglass makers are lighter duty tow vehicles, so designs aim at minimizing weight.



Makers like Parkliner and Oliver are selling to a different market, where an extra 1000-1500 pounds don't matter as you're going to need an SUV or truck to tow a double-shell rig. Airstreams are just plain heavy by design and a fair amount of weight is in the wooden floor.
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Old 08-27-2018, 08:15 PM   #4
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and half those brands are co-owned. the parent company of Suburban also owns MaxxFan (ventilation fans), and Coleman-Mach (rv air conditioners)... Dometic now owns Atwood, etc etc.
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Old 08-27-2018, 08:26 PM   #5
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Hi Brad.

In the past, I've been seriously disappointed too, with the quality of the interior construction on trailers.

If you get a chance, check out Oliver and go to their website for a look. They are in Tennessee and sell direct. I think you'd really enjoy a factory tour and the trip would be worth it. You can call them and get hooked up with an owner near you to look at one too.

It is surprising that some manufacturers can build a quality trailer, and then cut corners on all the stuff you actually see and touch every day. Oliver minimizes the traditional wood look and moves toward marine grade fixtures with a clean, easy to maintain interior. They also have aluminum frames and four season insulation with a double hull design.
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Old 08-27-2018, 08:31 PM   #6
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Olivers are also about twice the price of Escapes, which in turn are about twice the price of Casita/Scamps....
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Old 08-27-2018, 08:33 PM   #7
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All these items are covered by the device manufacturers warranties, not the rig builder.
Not true with Oliver. If there is a problem with anything, the factory covers it. No sending people to the device manufacturer for help.

They expect everything to work as it should and they want to know if it doesn't. Plus, Oliver owners are in touch with each other. We are always making small improvements that are shared with each other and the factory.
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Old 08-27-2018, 09:18 PM   #8
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Thank you. Response and more.

Thank you for telling me more about the interior of RV's along with the warranty on Oliver. When I was at Escape they told me if you have a problem with anything other than what we make that's not our problem.You have to contact the manufacturer.That was disappointing.I can say the stuff inside and some outside of the Escape from top to bottom was cheaply made and I told them.Their response was "Escapes are not for everyone".That's true because I am not a buyer.
I am making a trip in a few weeks and had considered seeing Oliver.Now because of what I learned here it confirms that is what I need to do.Thank you all again!
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Old 08-27-2018, 09:22 PM   #9
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Not true with Oliver. If there is a problem with anything, the factory covers it. No sending people to the device manufacturer for help.

So, if your Dometic fridge fails, do you tow the trailer to Oliver so they can fix it? Or do they tell you to take it to a Dometic authorized service centre near you, where they have the parts and expertise?

I had my Atwood furnace fixed under warranty at an RV shop and authorized Atwood service centre that's less than two miles down the hill from me.
Atwood and Dometic honor the warranty and do the repair and have thousands of service centres across North America ( and the world ). Why would I want to involve Oliver? Are they going to send somebody to fix it?
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Old 08-27-2018, 09:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
So, if your Dometic fridge fails, do you tow the trailer to Oliver so they can fix it? Or do they tell you to take it to a Dometic authorized service centre near you, where they have the parts and expertise?

I had my Atwood furnace fixed under warranty at an RV shop and authorized Atwood service centre that's less than two miles down the hill from me.
Atwood and Dometic honor the warranty and do the repair and have thousands of service centres across North America ( and the world ). Why would I want to involve Oliver? Are they going to send somebody to fix it?
Well, if you had the recent breaking water hose issue, the President of Escape (Reace) would have come to your house to personally fix it during his 4000 mile swing across the entire US to make those customers whole - wait, that's something Escape expressly warranties for 2 years.
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Old 08-27-2018, 09:44 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Montana Brad View Post
Thank you for telling me more about the interior of RV's along with the warranty on Oliver. When I was at Escape they told me if you have a problem with anything other than what we make that's not our problem.You have to contact the manufacturer.That was disappointing.I can say the stuff inside and some outside of the Escape from top to bottom was cheaply made and I told them.Their response was "Escapes are not for everyone".That's true because I am not a buyer.
I am making a trip in a few weeks and had considered seeing Oliver.Now because of what I learned here it confirms that is what I need to do.Thank you all again!
Quite welcome. I tried to download the Oliver warranty to verify those claims using their link to do exactly that and all I got was a form to fill out where they wanted my to sign up for their newsletter by default, but I could make a request. Not my idea of upfront marketing.
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Old 08-27-2018, 09:48 PM   #12
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So, if your Dometic fridge fails, do you tow the trailer to Oliver so they can fix it? Or do they tell you to take it to a Dometic authorized service centre near you, where they have the parts and expertise?

I had my Atwood furnace fixed under warranty at an RV shop and authorized Atwood service centre that's less than two miles down the hill from me.
Atwood and Dometic honor the warranty and do the repair and have thousands of service centres across North America ( and the world ). Why would I want to involve Oliver? Are they going to send somebody to fix it?

Oliver sends new parts or covers all costs associated with the problem. They don't ever tell you that it's not their problem or just let you deal with the warrantee from the device manufacturer on your own. It's called being in the "Oliver family".

I'm not the original owner and Oliver sent me parts for my microwave, no questions asked. There have been a few problems with other Olivers too, and it's always the same story. If it was an Atwood problem, as you describe, then I'm sure Oliver would handle the arrangements with them the same way. It's great to have a service center close by, not all of us do, but you'll still have to prove you fall within the warrantee period and possibly if you are the original owner. Once Oliver was informed of the problem, there would be no need to prove purchase dates, ownership or anything. Just show up and get it handled.

In the past, my experiences with RV warrantees may have been different that yours. Once it rolled off the lot, that was it. I was on my own or I could begin a process of some kind. Nobody wanted to be responsible and there was no clear path to getting it handled. Not so with Oliver.
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Old 08-27-2018, 09:58 PM   #13
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Quite welcome. I tried to download the Oliver warranty to verify those claims using their link to do exactly that and all I got was a form to fill out where they wanted my to sign up for their newsletter by default, but I could make a request. Not my idea of upfront marketing.
So, if you have a problem with an Escape, do you have to co-ordinate with the owner's 4,000 mile trip to get on his schedule for repairs? Hmmm. That sounds like a problem. How long does it take the owner to drive 4,000 miles to get to you and does he have the parts when he arrives? Is the next 4,000 mile trip not scheduled for another few months?

If you have a problem you need to discuss with an Oliver, why do you want to tell them on-line with a form? They have phones! Call them up! Say "hello" and tell them what is going on. Maybe that is too old fashioned for you, but it seems to work for everyone else.

Or, go to the forum section on their website and either ask a question or read what owners have to say.

Here's the deal: downloading a warrantee form, before you even buy a trailer, is not the same as being an owner with a problem. Warrantee forms are great and legal and all of that, but Oliver stands behind their trailers and they want everyone to be happy. They do not leave people in a lurch. See the difference?

BTW, my trailer is three years old, and as I mentioned, I'm not the original owner. They immediately shipped me some parts I requested at no charge. And this has happened with other owners too. If it was a simple water hose issue, as you described, I would not have expected the owner to drive 4,000 miles to fix it, or been interested in waiting for him to do so. It's prudent, while owning a camping trailer, to be somewhat self sufficient. Or to take ownership of small unexpected problems. If not, you'll find yourself disappointed and looking for someone to blame, instead of enjoying your trip.
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Old 08-27-2018, 09:59 PM   #14
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So, it sounds like Oliver tries to treat their customers as good as Escape treats theirs.
John, you are getting your knickers in a knot, making arguments that have no basis. No need to denigrate Escape to prove that you made a smart call, paying twice as much for your trailer.
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:04 PM   #15
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I'm not the original owner and Oliver sent me parts for my microwave, no questions asked.
You have an FCC microwave repair license to install parts? If you're going to repair one in Oregon you also need the state license to repair a device that emits radiation....


https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/HEALTH...pplication.pdf
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:47 PM   #16
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They immediately shipped me some parts I requested at no charge.

And, then what did you do?
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Old 08-27-2018, 11:04 PM   #17
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So, it sounds like Oliver tries to treat their customers as good as Escape treats theirs.
John, you are getting your knickers in a knot, making arguments that have no basis. No need to denigrate Escape to prove that you made a smart call, paying twice as much for your trailer.
Yeah, I'm not revved up, just comparing false warrantee comparisons. I'd love to have an Escape! Always wondering if the cost of an Oliver was really justified, I know I could be having a lot of fun with an old sticky too. And I have had in the past. I also lived on a boat for about 20 years and got used to "marine grade".

I would not be surprised if I "graduated" back to a very simple trailer of some kind that was virtually a throw-away in the event of a problem. No matter how well things are made or how well intentioned they are, there are still problems that come up. Then when you factor in licensing, insurance, proper maintenance and extra caution going into the back country, the fun factor begins to deteriorate.

One of the most fun nights I ever had was when my daughter and I stayed in a friends small sticky one night, way out in Death Valley, in a howling wind. On the way in, the snow was blowing up off the road like dust. Nobody had been through there in at least a week and the temp had not risen above freezing for some time. It was a pitch black night. It was the true essence of what a trailer is all about and what they can offer. Nothing fancy. Very secure and warm. All the rest is just gravy. I could not have been happier to get inside and out of the blow after a long trip. The whistling wind and spraying sand stimulated my imagination. Eyes open in the total darkness. Fascinated.
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Old 08-27-2018, 11:12 PM   #18
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And, then what did you do?
Well, I've made about thirty modifications to my trailer and designed a water tank fix that went into all new Olivers from that date on. I love to tinker and improve things. I also try to be as self sufficient as practical and am perfectly happy to fix things. I have no intention of getting stuck somewhere with a minor problem and then have to find an expert to help me.

Some of that comes from building a sail boat and cruising it for thousands of miles in areas where I was on my own.

Of course, having said that, I had to get my Ram towed on the last trip because the fix was beyond what I could handle. Sheesh.
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Old 08-27-2018, 11:17 PM   #19
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You have an FCC microwave repair license to install parts? If you're going to repair one in Oregon you also need the state license to repair a device that emits radiation....


https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/HEALTH...pplication.pdf
Perhaps I failed to mention what the specific problem was, if it had anything to do with radiation, or how I might have been subject to those rules as they relate to personal units in my own home and not for profit. Or how a microwave is a non-critical piece of equipment that can be left off till later. Or how they can be cheaper to replace than fix. How does your example apply to me?
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Old 08-27-2018, 11:20 PM   #20
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This is what the Escape warranty says:


"How To Obtain Warranty Service
Your continued satisfaction with your travel trailer is of utmost importance to Escape Trailer Industries. Please follow
these steps for fast, efficient warranty service.
Warranty service requests must be made within the warranty period and should ordinarily be initiated by Escape Trailer
Industries.
1. Inspect your travel trailer thoroughly to determine exactly what service is required.
2. Contact Escape Trailer Industries by phone or email with this information.
3. If Escape Trailer Industries is not within a reasonable proximity for service, Escape Trailer Industries will work with a
reputable service center near the customer."


Since the appliances are covered by their manufacturer warranty, it only makes sense to deal directly with the manufacturer, but when an issue arises, Escape has intervened on behalf of the customer.
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