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Old 10-30-2004, 02:19 PM   #1
Montana_2194
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litany of complaints, but you're buying Montys

I was sold on buying a Montana or another Keystone product, but now have grave reservations. Despite the myriad of problems described in the website discussions, the same 15 or 20 people keep supporting the product. I notice that almost without exception, their units are 2003 or newer. When horrific stories about axles, structure faults, brake failure, and slides dislodging during travel are recounted, they seem to say "oh well, that's part of the adventure". Well, I expect quality to a reasonable extent, and wouldn't be happy to think my axles would bend, or my wheels would fall off any product I bought. I've been driving for 45 years and can recall only one flat tire in that time, and never an axle-bend/wheel-loss/door-falling-off or whatever from any car, and I've driven some "pigs".

Is everyone in this forum whistling in the wind? There's a storm brewing, but a small cadre of Montana RV owners continue to see the emperor's clothes. I hate to be seen as a naysayer, but am really confused by this. If other products are worse, God help us all.

Please advise (and be kind). I'm not trashing you; I just don't get it!

jhadley
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Old 10-30-2004, 02:56 PM   #2
Broome101
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Well I have had 3 Keystone products and never a major issue with any of them. Since Montana sells 4 to 1 over the rest of the 5th wheels sold and Cougar number 2 which is another Keystone product I guess there will be more problems then the rest.I think you may want to llok for another web site that talks about another 5th wheel discussion group. Maybe Jayco, Fleetwood, let us know if you find one that talks about the good and bad I don't know if the exist or not? Too each there own I guess if anyone within this forum did not want to buy a Montana than I don't think anyone was holding a gun to there head, if I was not happy with a product I may speak my piece but I would sale it and get ride of it. Most of us love out Monatana's and yes there is a bad one or two that has problems but for the most part Keystone puts out a good product for the money.Keystone stands behind the product as well.
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Old 10-30-2004, 03:04 PM   #3
rames14
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I work in the auto industry and the RV industry does not have near the quality level on a PPM basis - but they don't make as many either. If you really look at other websites, you will find that all brands have issues. The nice thing about Montana is that they listen to their customers and make changes as appropriate. The other thing is that what I have found in the RV world is that the dealer can make all of the difference. We had a Forest River TT before the Montana. Almost all of the brands use the same brands of refrigerators, stoves, A/C, axles, etc. The construction methods on the Montana were first rate but very employee dependant. They have no written procedures, its all done by experience. But, they really are well built and willing to stand behind their units. If you follow the posts, eventually they get the factory involved if they have to. I think you will find there are some major issues but for the most part they are no. But regardless, Keystone helps make it right, even outside of warranty.
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Old 10-30-2004, 03:18 PM   #4
Montana_2194
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Broome101

Well I have had 3 Keystone products and never a major issue with any of them. Since Montana sells 4 to 1 over the rest of the 5th wheels sold and Cougar number 2 which is another Keystone product I guess there will be more problems then the rest.I think you may want to llok for another web site that talks about another 5th wheel discussion group. Maybe Jayco, Fleetwood, let us know if you find one that talks about the good and bad I don't know if the exist or not? Too each there own I guess if anyone within this forum did not want to buy a Montana than I don't think anyone was holding a gun to there head, if I was not happy with a product I may speak my piece but I would sale it and get ride of it. Most of us love out Monatana's and yes there is a bad one or two that has problems but for the most part Keystone puts out a good product for the money.Keystone stands behind the product as well.
I think you misunderstood my querie:

I WAS about to buy a Montana, and may still. But as you say, to "each there own" or (each his own). I did ask that you not be unkind, but that notwithstanding, you, with your 2005 have not answered my questions. I was not trashing the website, but rather trying to understand the contradictions. Is this a case of "your with us, or you're against us!"? Or is this an objective forum?

Jhadley
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Old 10-30-2004, 03:24 PM   #5
Sue
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by jhadley
I've been driving for 45 years and can recall only one flat tire in that time, and never an axle-bend/wheel-loss/door-falling-off or whatever from any car, and I've driven some "pigs".
So what your saying is that you have never encountered "ANY" problems. Geezzzz, I wish I lived in your world.

If it wasn't for the HONESTY of the people who post here, what would your opinion be????

Show me anywhere on the web where another Manufacturer has such support and rep's to back up situations that are out of their personal control and I WILL PERSONALLY BUY THAT UNIT FOR YOU
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Old 10-30-2004, 03:24 PM   #6
Montana_2194
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by rames14

I work in the auto industry and the RV industry does not have near the quality level on a PPM basis - but they don't make as many either. If you really look at other websites, you will find that all brands have issues. The nice thing about Montana is that they listen to their customers and make changes as appropriate. The other thing is that what I have found in the RV world is that the dealer can make all of the difference. We had a Forest River TT before the Montana. Almost all of the brands use the same brands of refrigerators, stoves, A/C, axles, etc. The construction methods on the Montana were first rate but very employee dependant. They have no written procedures, its all done by experience. But, they really are well built and willing to stand behind their units. If you follow the posts, eventually they get the factory involved if they have to. I think you will find there are some major issues but for the most part they are no. But regardless, Keystone helps make it right, even outside of warranty.
Thanks so much Rames14,

That was the kind of measured response and re-assurance that I was looking for. And thank you for understanding my angst. I am pondering buying an excellently presented 2000 3255 or something with two slide-outs, and it has been hardly used. But of course, there will be no warranty, and I don't wish to be in the shop half or three quarters of the time.

Your re-assurance and understanding is most welcome, and what I had hoped to hear.

Jhadley
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Old 10-30-2004, 03:29 PM   #7
Montana_2194
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Sue

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by jhadley
I've been driving for 45 years and can recall only one flat tire in that time, and never an axle-bend/wheel-loss/door-falling-off or whatever from any car, and I've driven some "pigs".
So what your saying is that you have never incountered "ANY" problems. Geezzzz, I wish I lived in your world.

If it wasn't for the HONESTY of the people who post here, what would your opinion be????

Show me anywhere on the web where another Manufacturer has such support and rep's to back up situations that are out of their personal control and I WILL PERSONALLY BUY THAT UNIT FOR YOU
Of course I've had problems with cars, but nothing like what's described in this web-page. Again, I am looking for objective answers like I received from the previous writer, and not attacks because I dare to ask.

Thanks anyway for taking the time.

Jhadley
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Old 10-30-2004, 03:34 PM   #8
Sue
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by jhadley
I am pondering buying an excellently presented 2000 3255 or something with two slide-outs, and it has been hardly used. But of course, there will be no warranty, and I don't wish to be in the shop half or three quarters of the time.

Your re-assurance and understanding is most welcome, and what I had hoped to hear.

Jhadley
If you're already cautioned about having problems, then why would you buy a used unit out of warranty????? Buying a unit from someone who has not possibly taken care of it the way it should could only most deffiantly create a hugh headache for you. If I had your unsureness, I would certainly buy new TO GUARANTEE YOU ANY PROBLEMS WOULD BE FIXED BY THE SUPPORTIVE KEYSTONE COMPANY!!!
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Old 10-30-2004, 03:37 PM   #9
CountryGuy
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We support the product for a number of reasons, some of us have been to the plant and have seen with our own eyes the product being built and met some the people there. That alone puts everything in a different light.

We also support because of Keystone's attitude towards design errors, etc. They are still fixing the early 8 inch frame problem, even for those who purchased the unit used. I cannot remember another manufacturer doing this.

Al and I happen to be one of the couples that have had our share of problems with our unit, and we also happen to have a understanding with our dealer, that being, the dealer and the Stevens don't get along. When Keystone heard our situation, they IMMEDIATELY stepped up to the plate and took care of us. There was no question, they even called us on the cell phone because we were on the road (on the road again, oh to be on the road again!! ) We felt we were reasonable with Keystone, calm and factual about our situation. Except for one small misunderstanding about what our warranty covered, all of our complaints and questions were answered. Eventualy we came to an understanding about that little misunderstanding as well.

We support Keystone, because to date they have been fair and just with their treatment of the Stevens and our Montana. They did it with class, and even a laugh here and there.

We also ditto the statements made by Broome101 and rames14. All manufacturers have problems with units. Al tells me some horror stories he reads over at RVnet (I think that is the name of it.) After the warranty is over, some manufacturers will not help you no matter what, even if it is a design situation, etc.

Personally I appreciate going on a plant tour and then being asked WHAT DO YOU THINK, of this improvement, this floor plan, this idea, this graphic. I have said this here a number of times, no other manufacturer does this at the end of their plant tours. At least not any of the plant tours I have been on.

So far, Keystone has been a good citizen in dealing with us, we hope they feel the same about the Stevens. For now, we cannot ask for more.
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Old 10-30-2004, 03:38 PM   #10
Sue
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By the way Jhadley, what campers RV's have you owned in the past?
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Old 10-30-2004, 03:39 PM   #11
Montana_2194
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Sue

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by jhadley
I am pondering buying an excellently presented 2000 3255 or something with two slide-outs, and it has been hardly used. But of course, there will be no warranty, and I don't wish to be in the shop half or three quarters of the time.

Your re-assurance and understanding is most welcome, and what I had hoped to hear.

Jhadley
If you're already cautioned about having problems, then why would you buy a used unit out of warranty????? Buying a unit from someone who has not possibly taken care of it the way it should could only most deffiantly create a hugh headache for you. If I had your unsureness, I would certainly buy new TO GUARANTEE YOU ANY PROBLEMS WOULD BE FIXED BY THE SUPPORTIVE KEYSTONE COMPANY!!!
Thanks again for your excellent help. I surely don't want anything that would "most deffiantly create a hugh headache". I don't think you have anything further to add to my original question.

Sincerely,

jh
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Old 10-30-2004, 03:51 PM   #12
Montana_2194
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by CountryGuy

We support the product for a number of reasons, some of us have been to the plant and have seen with our own eyes the product being built and met some the people there. That alone puts everything in a different light.

We also support because of Keystone's attitude towards design errors, etc. They are still fixing the early 8 inch frame problem, even for those who purchased the unit used. I cannot remember another manufacturer doing this.

Al and I happen to be one of the couples that have had our share of problems with our unit, and we also happen to have a understanding with our dealer, that being, the dealer and the Stevens don't get along. When Keystone heard our situation, they IMMEDIATELY stepped up to the plate and took care of us. There was no question, they even called us on the cell phone because we were on the road (on the road again, oh to be on the road again!! ) We felt we were reasonable with Keystone, calm and factual about our situation. Except for one small misunderstanding about what our warranty covered, all of our complaints and questions were answered. Eventualy we came to an understanding about that little misunderstanding as well.

We support Keystone, because to date they have been fair and just with their treatment of the Stevens and our Montana. They did it with class, and even a laugh here and there.

We also ditto the statements made by Broome101 and rames14. All manufacturers have problems with units. Al tells me some horror stories he reads over at RVnet (I think that is the name of it.) After the warranty is over, some manufacturers will not help you no matter what, even if it is a design situation, etc.

Personally I appreciate going on a plant tour and then being asked WHAT DO YOU THINK, of this improvement, this floor plan, this idea, this graphic. I have said this here a number of times, no other manufacturer does this at the end of their plant tours. At least not any of the plant tours I have been on.

So far, Keystone has been a good citizen in dealing with us, we hope they feel the same about the Stevens. For now, we cannot ask for more.
Thanks so much again for the re-assurance Country Girl (I assume you're the other half of country guy).

Whether new or used, I expect a better quality product to perform reasonably. You're telling me that most do. That's what I wanted to hear. I'm quite willing to pay for wear and tear and normal stuff, but that's part of buying something second hand, but of good quality. If we don't enjoy RVing, we won't be out as much when we sell our combo, but we get to find out the pleasures or otherwise in a nice "pre-enjoyed unit". The Monty we're looking at doesn't have a thousand miles on it, and is pristine. It has been stored indoors since it was new, in a barn that I think resembles a lot of better houses that I've been in. The owner is a splendid fellow who is a farmer-businessman with new businesses and no time.

Thanks again for your view.

jhadley
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Old 10-30-2004, 03:53 PM   #13
CountryGuy
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Jhadley

You wrote: "Of course I've had problems with cars, but nothing like what's described in this web-page."

Please don't take this wrong, but, a RV is not a car. We expect our car/truck to haul us around, provide some heat and coolness and hopefully get us there in one piece and in some comfort.

We expect our RV to keep us warm, cool, feed us, provide us with a comfy bed, some entertainment (tv and/or stereo), and some of those other creature comforts (the bathroom stuff .) We haul IT down the hard road, bumping along behind our tow vehicle.

I don't know the physics of it all, but I do know that hauling a RV down the hard road is different from driving my car/truck down the hard road. Lots of ups and downs and other stuff going on.

I can readily appreciate your concern if you are purchasing a used unit, with no warranty. That alone puts a total different light on your situation and your questions. It is scary putting that much cash out, especially with no warranty.

It has been said here on the forum before, that this is where a lot of the problems come forth, we tend to complain more than say the good stuff about our units. We met a number of couples at the 2004 Rally that have had ZERO problems with their unit. (Al and I suspect we got all theirs, plus our own share. )

Do you have someone you know that is familiar with RV's that might inspect the unit you are considering purchasing??? Maybe you could find a RV inspector, like house inspectors that are so popular now??

Hey, take your time, don't rush your decision. It is hard to not rush or consider all the ins and outs, ups and downs. If you do a search (see top of page) you will find several references to PDI inspection sheets. Maybe you could use one of those to go over your prospective unit, to see if there are any real problems??? Just a thought.

In the meantime, good luck with your decision, and Happy Trails, with whatever unit you decide to purchase.
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Old 10-30-2004, 03:56 PM   #14
Broome101
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Jhadley, I am being kind. You asked and we replied. That's the good thing about an objective forum. Yes they have been problems with some folks Montanas, some may never buy another one. Then again there are those who have had problems gotten them, taken care of and are doing fine. When we ordered the 5th wheel we have now we looked at all of them. Open Road, Everest (Another Keystone product), Jayco, Cedar Creek. Really liked the Cedar Creek until I crawled under it looked into construction of it, looked over the storeage compartments. Most all of the ones we looked at in the high end 5th wheels were 10K-15K more than the Montana we got.As rames14 stated all manufactures use the same vendors for certain items, those issues even though installed on a Montana and Keystone will take care of is not a Keystone made product, whcih I think if you do your research on this forum you will see that most isues are form the products they have gotten from their vendors.
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Old 10-30-2004, 03:57 PM   #15
CountryGuy
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Yep, it was Mrs. Country Guy responding ! GOOD GUESS!!

How long has that unit been sitting??? Might want to have a long look at the tires. Just a quick thought there.

Otherwise, it sounds great, clean is really great!

Hey, I repeat, Good luck with your decision.

(Mrs. CountryGuy)
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Old 10-30-2004, 04:05 PM   #16
Montana_2194
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by CountryGuy


In the meantime, good luck with your decision, and Happy Trails, with whatever unit you decide to purchase.
Thanks again CG,

That's what we're doing. We plan to go to the RV show in Toronto in November, and in the meantime are learning what we can from literature and excellent web-sites like yours (MOC). If we were sure we'd like the lifestyle, I might buy new, but our experience is that it's easier and financially wiser to get almost new, and then opt out if it ain't workin'. We just got an excellent deal on a 2002 Ford 350 7.3 psd Lariat from a friend, so the die is cast. We need a trailer of some kind.

Many thanks for your thoughtful and most helpful response.

Jhadley (and Penny)
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Old 10-30-2004, 04:36 PM   #17
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[quote We need a trailer of some kind.
[/quote]
I have sent you a private e-mail.
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Old 10-30-2004, 04:50 PM   #18
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Jhadley, I think your questions are legitimate and are exactly the kind of thing we want to be discussed on this forum. I assume I'm one of those referred to as supporting the manufacturer and I certainly do not take any offense at your comment. I understand the point you're trying to make.

For point of reference, my first camping experience was with tents. Next was an old slide-in camper, the kind that slide in the back of a pickup. Next came a used (and old) 1985 Wilderness 245D. Next was a new 1999 Jayco Eagle 255BH. Next was a new 2001 Montana 2880RL, and, latest, a 2003 Montana 3295RK.

You commented about heaven help us if other brands are worse. These are just my opinions, understand, so give them whatever value you feel they're worth. I would not put Montana on the top of the quality scale. That would go probably, in my mind, to one of the $80k-120k rigs (recently saw a FW at an rv show for $142k!). But as we continue to look at other brands at RV shows, we keep coming back to the Montana as the best bang for the buck. Very decent quality (as rv's go) for the money you pay. Perfect? no. Would I like better quality control? Sure. Is Keystone continually trying to improve these things? I sure think so based on the number of improvements they've included as a result of this forum. Are they there yet? No. But neither is anybody else. And Keystone has repeatedly stepped up to the plate for many people and situations. That's why I keep supporting them. I think they're doing a good job. Not perfect, but better than anybody else. I figure that explains why the Montana is the best selling trailer in all of North America for three years in a row. And headed for a fourth, or so I understand. I figure anyone can have a good year and win first prize in sales but if you don't back it up you don't stay on top. And Keystone's Montana continues to stay on top.

Do I think Montana is the only good bang for the buck? Nope. There are other good brands out there. But I do think Montana's bang is a little bit better simply because of the way the mfr has treated its customers when problems do come up. And Montana had the floorplan we liked best and continue to like best. That's not to say I wouldn't have a Mobile Suites if someone offered me one for the price of the Montana. But that's not going to happen, of course!

Jhadley, I think you're doing the right thing by researching to make the best decision for you rather than just going out and buying something. I hope it's a Montana you decide on but, if not, I hope you'll get what you will be happiest with.

Jhadley, if that trailer has been stored in a barn for awhile you might doublecheck all the electrics to make sure the mice haven't been chowing on the wiring.

Good luck. Please let us know when you reach your decision, Montana or not. And please don't hesitate to ask questions.
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Old 10-30-2004, 04:56 PM   #19
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I'll reply with a comment I made in another thread.

I for one am glad this thread came up. After having had 6 travel trailers over the years, and now our Montana 5th wheeler, I have had some experience with RV's. The first two travel trailers were used units, so all of the bugs had been resolved (of course those were back in the 1970's when there were no such things as slideouts and all the other mechanicals that are present now. Our 4 Prowlers were all new, and the first two never had to go back to the dealer for warranty issues. The 5th one was totalled along with our suburban the first trip out when the chain for the torsion leveler/stabilizer broke and caused us to spin out and roll over, so we never had a chance to find out about any issues. Or last Prowler had a few warranty issues, primarily fit an finish items that were quickly taken care of by the dealer.

Now to our Montana. Yes, we did have some warranty items to deal with, some of them being very minor fit and finish items. Others were more serious, but only one of the other items (the roof) was really a Montana problem. All the rest were problems caused by poor quality control of the vendors supplying Montana (Magic Chef, Suburban, Alko).
Unfortunately, quality control is more of a problem now in our society than many times previously, but much of that is our own doing. Most of us do comparative PRICE shopping rather than comparative QUALITY shopping whether it is for an RV, an auto, a house, etc. We are happy with our Montana, and have been well served by our dealer taking care of the warranty items. When I think of all the mechanicals that go into a unit like a fifth wheel, and the kind of roads we often travel (another isssue I won't address), it is a wonder they hold up so well. We have had ours just over a year and have put on somewhat over 12,000 miles. Soooo... after all this... I will just put on a happy face! (sorry for the lenghty note)
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Old 10-30-2004, 05:00 PM   #20
Montana_2194
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by sreigle
I hope it's a Montana you decide on but, if not, I hope you'll get what you will be happiest with.

Good luck. Please let us know when you reach your decision, Montana or not. And please don't hesitate to ask questions.
Thanks sreigle,

As always, you're supportive and reasoned. I expect to buy the rig I described, but need to feel I've done due diligence. I can see that most of the people on this forum have no axe to grind, and it is the best source I've found so far to evaluate the pros and (especially) the cons of the industry.

It has been interesting to see the ruffled backs though. Even with the question couched as I did, some responses were very aggressive. Thanks for your balanced response.

J&P
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