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Old 05-09-2017, 10:14 PM   #1
Todd727
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Very disappointed in Montana QA

I bought my unit new in January. From day 1, I had intermittent wiring fault messages on my Ford truck. Occasionally, I would find that I had no braking on the trailer.

These messages are an indication that something is wrong in the trailer braking or there is a bad ground. Since the lights all worked fine, grounding wasn't the issue.

I have three other equipment trailers that use the same plugs on my truck and none of them generated wiring faults. This made it clear to me that the problem was on the Montana.

I took the trailer to the dealer three times. Every time, they hooked the static trailer up to a tester or even a truck and of course, they had no issue. I advised them, time and again that they needed to take the trailer on the road and they needed to inspect the wheel brakes. They did not.

Finally, I got the trailer back and took the brake drums off myself. This is what I found:

One brake had no issues.
One brake, the adjuster was not connected and fell out of the drum
One brake had chafed and disconnected wires
One brake had chafed wires

So, there were intermittent shorts from the factory, and the one brake wasn't installed correctly.

I am mad at the dealer for not listening and I'm handling that locally.

The bigger problem is the way the brakes and wires were assembled at the factory. This is a safety issue. I would definitely recommend that your next PDI on any Thor product include an inspection of the brakes and wire routing. It just blows my mind that they get away with this level of quality.

I did file a complaint with the NHTSA. I would recommend others that find brake issues, such as these, do the same.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Chafed wires.jpg (230.5 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg Brake wires.jpg (226.9 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg Brake Part.jpg (165.9 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg Brake Parts.jpg (777.0 KB, 10 views)
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:30 PM   #2
buck115
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Wow!
Todd, thank you for the write up and pictures! I don't even know where or what to really say.

I see the "Proudly made in the USA" sticker, which means something to most of us, not always the workers.

Dealers are not always the best mechanics/technicians for handling these type of issues. Although, they should know enough, and yes, take it out for a spin, then refer to specialist. In this case someone that does brakes. Several national branded companies come to mind, that should still be covered under warranty.

Of course, my opinion is like everyone else's. Until you are the one dealing with an issue we are all good at pointing out the obvious!
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Old 05-09-2017, 11:42 PM   #3
Overlord
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Had the same exact problem on my '09 Montana while on a long distance trip. I think it is not a rare problem with these things, and your dealer maintenance/repair department should have sleuthed that specific fault after about five or ten minutes of diagnostics, and repaired in about another five minutes.

I fixed mine on my own as well, mostly because it was just plain less trouble than taking it to a dealer even though it was still under warranty.

I figured out which wheel was at fault in a few minutes, clipped and insulated the wire behind the drum and taped it to the axle while at a highway rest area, and did a wheel pull and permanent repair at the next campsite. That included judicious use of zip-ties and a couple layers of heat shrink tubing to prevent a recurrence of the problem. Never had a problem since, although I am about to do a complete brake job with self adjusting backing plates/shoes and new drums this summer, the '09 brakes were the old style manual adjust type.

In fact, I never did have a dealer do any repairs after my PDI, of which Walnut Ridge RV in New Castle IN did a fantastic job when I picked it up and took it back to Oregon. I did have some warranty work done at the Montana factory service center during a National Rally the next year before the warranty ran out, but other than that, I have done all of my own repairs and modifications to the 5er, because that way I know for certain how the job was done and have never had to have my 5er held hostage for weeks/months at a time for a dealer to get around to it.
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Old 05-10-2017, 01:51 AM   #4
bigskyjimmy
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Yeah I had a similar problem when i had my 2012 Monty with the Dexter Axle and 2 months after I bought it the brake adjuster fell off and got chewed up in the drum Luckily I always stop every 100 miles or so and check things out and noticed the hub was hot and that was the reason and I was able to made it to the next resort and took the hub off and fixed it myself SH..t happens and it helps to be Handy when you own RV's
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Old 05-10-2017, 04:54 AM   #5
Phil P
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Hi

Thatís not Keystone the brakes are assembled by the axle manufacturer.

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Old 05-10-2017, 08:35 AM   #6
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I think ol Phil hit it right on the head. This isn't a Montana factory defect. Call the people who made the axles. I'm not taking up for Keystone Montana. I would not buy one of their new units.
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Old 05-10-2017, 09:27 AM   #7
richfaa
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True the entire axle assembly comes fully assembled from the vendor have seen them at the factory many times on the tour. Keystone makes nothing they assemble the Rv from delivered vendor parts. BTW had the same brake issue on our 06 3400 on delivery.
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Old 05-10-2017, 02:30 PM   #8
phillyg
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While Keystone doesn't mfgr. the brakes, they obviously don't test them. The OP has every right to slam the dealership for failing to listen to him, or at the very least, pull the hubs to inspect the brakes.
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Old 05-10-2017, 05:28 PM   #9
jcurtis934
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When I replaced my backing plates/hubs due to braking performance going downhill, I found my curbside brake shoes badly glazed while the streetsides were really pristine...so most of my braking was curbside oriented. Obviously they weren't balanced when installed on the system or trailer. They should have been adjusted for the same drag on all four hubs and weren't even close on mine. I don't trust a dealer to make sure this is right. Bad on me for not checking it when I first got the trailer.
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Old 05-10-2017, 10:50 PM   #10
MARK A
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd727 View Post
I bought my unit new in January. From day 1, I had intermittent wiring fault messages on my Ford truck. Occasionally, I would find that I had no braking on the trailer.

These messages are an indication that something is wrong in the trailer braking or there is a bad ground. Since the lights all worked fine, grounding wasn't the issue.

I have three other equipment trailers that use the same plugs on my truck and none of them generated wiring faults. This made it clear to me that the problem was on the Montana.

I took the trailer to the dealer three times. Every time, they hooked the static trailer up to a tester or even a truck and of course, they had no issue. I advised them, time and again that they needed to take the trailer on the road and they needed to inspect the wheel brakes. They did not.

Finally, I got the trailer back and took the brake drums off myself. This is what I found:

One brake had no issues.
One brake, the adjuster was not connected and fell out of the drum
One brake had chafed and disconnected wires
One brake had chafed wires

So, there were intermittent shorts from the factory, and the one brake wasn't installed correctly.

I am mad at the dealer for not listening and I'm handling that locally.

The bigger problem is the way the brakes and wires were assembled at the factory. This is a safety issue. I would definitely recommend that your next PDI on any Thor product include an inspection of the brakes and wire routing. It just blows my mind that they get away with this level of quality.

I did file a complaint with the NHTSA. I would recommend others that find brake issues, such as these, do the same.
I have stated before, the RV industry is BEGGING for regulation. I despise governmental regulation but it's time the RV industry gets a set of standards they must maintain.

Mark
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Old 05-11-2017, 05:56 AM   #11
K0LCB
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Brake issues seem to be the industry standard
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Old 05-11-2017, 09:08 AM   #12
richfaa
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Brake test is easy Hook up and it is best on a gravel or dirt surface. Go forward then fully engage the brakes while someone is out side looking at the wheels if they all engage they are working if not they are not working Part of any PDI.
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Old 05-11-2017, 10:35 AM   #13
vipermanden
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I noticed the wires all hanging around the axles nilly-willy, and wondered what kind of installation is this, with moving wheels and springs right next to them? I will try the pull test next time I am out. Be careful what you wish for in regulation of the RV industry. If it gets like aircraft regulations, the price of these units will sky rocket!
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Old 05-11-2017, 12:10 PM   #14
jcurtis934
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Talking

Naw...they will just use cheaper parts...
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Old 05-11-2017, 06:15 PM   #15
Todd727
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richfaa View Post
Brake test is easy Hook up and it is best on a gravel or dirt surface. Go forward then fully engage the brakes while someone is out side looking at the wheels if they all engage they are working if not they are not working Part of any PDI.
Correct for the ones that aren't hooked up at all, but that test won't show you the ones that are routed willy-nilly and already chafing, soon to fail.
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Old 05-11-2017, 08:30 PM   #16
richfaa
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Originally Posted by Todd727 View Post
Correct for the ones that aren't hooked up at all, but that test won't show you the ones that are routed willy-nilly and already chafing, soon to fail.
That is true if you can't se it you can't fix it.Our brakes on the 06 3400 worked perfect on the PDI but 3 of the 4 failed within the first two months. I felt we had little or no trailer brake and did the test I described above with Helen outside looking.One wheel stopped, 3 did not.
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Old 05-11-2017, 08:57 PM   #17
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I hear you, as a buyer it is not unreasonable to expect the complete rig is ready to go when you pick it up. But with that said, reading the warranty and owners manual on a new rig reveals some of the pitfalls in this industry. Montana only covers the Keystone parts, i.e. walls, cabinets, roof. All of the "parts" supplied by other manufactures like chassis, axles, refrigerators, AC's etc are covered by their own warranties. It's dumb, but until we stop buying RV's they will continue to turn out less than ready for prime time products.

I can't find it at the moment but I watched a video from a local news station about Keystone and the rebound of jobs in Goshen. Not sure the employees were told to look busy but if the video is anything close to true, you can see how these trailers are slapped together to meet production quotas/deadlines. No wonder there are issues!
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Old 05-12-2017, 08:43 AM   #18
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Guess I need to do a close inspection, but this really is making me want to change to disc brakes. I really don't like drum brakes.


I agree with many commenters, until we stop accepting the poor quality, we will continue to get the same.


Definition of Insanity - doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
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Old 05-12-2017, 08:53 AM   #19
richfaa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRoamn View Post
I hear you, as a buyer it is not unreasonable to expect the complete rig is ready to go when you pick it up. But with that said, reading the warranty and owners manual on a new rig reveals some of the pitfalls in this industry. Montana only covers the Keystone parts, i.e. walls, cabinets, roof. All of the "parts" supplied by other manufactures like chassis, axles, refrigerators, AC's etc are covered by their own warranties. It's dumb, but until we stop buying RV's they will continue to turn out less than ready for prime time products.

I can't find it at the moment but I watched a video from a local news station about Keystone and the rebound of jobs in Goshen. Not sure the employees were told to look busy but if the video is anything close to true, you can see how these trailers are slapped together to meet production quotas/deadlines. No wonder there are issues!
The Elkhart/Goshen area is working at more than 100 % capacity
.They can not get them out the door fast enough they are stored everywhere or get enough transporters to deliver them. Un employment rate in the area is around 3% and they say that reflects the unemployable. IMO the out the door quality is no better now than in the depths of the economic slowdown.
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Old 05-12-2017, 09:02 AM   #20
FreeRoamn
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Originally Posted by richfaa View Post
The Elkhart/Goshen area is working at more than 100 % capacity
.They can not get them out the door fast enough they are stored everywhere or get enough transporters to deliver them. Un employment rate in the area is around 3% and they say that reflects the unemployable. IMO the out the door quality is no better now than in the depths of the economic slowdown.
Thats interesting and just from what I have read, I believe your assessment of quality control is spot on. I will be a test subject here in a week. We bought our first SOB 5er in 2009 and had some issues, most were small and one that to this day was never resolved, intermittent shower leak into basement. We take delivery of our new rig a week from today. Standby for a compare/contrast!
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