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Old 01-01-2021, 08:58 PM   #41
mtlakejim
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The more I see of this kind of stuff the more I want to build my unit from the ground up myself!!! I'm retired now and have already gained some expertise in the field (Enclosed camper refit and maintaining our montana with all its issues). I have all the skills required.
 
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Old 01-01-2021, 09:23 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by mtlakejim View Post
The more I see of this kind of stuff the more I want to build my unit from the ground up myself!!! I'm retired now and have already gained some expertise in the field (Enclosed camper refit and maintaining our montana with all its issues). I have all the skills required.

I'm thinking if you dislike your RV greatly, have the patience and money to do the job, expertise etc. Why buy something you don't like? Just build one based on expertise learned? Problem is (btdt) I don't care how careful or meticulous you are, if you are building something from the ground up using 3rd party material....you'll still be in the same spot.....but no one to blame but the guy in the mirror.
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Old 01-01-2021, 10:51 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by sourdough View Post
I'm thinking if you dislike your RV greatly, have the patience and money to do the job, expertise etc. Why buy something you don't like? Just build one based on expertise learned? Problem is (btdt) I don't care how careful or meticulous you are, if you are building something from the ground up using 3rd party material....you'll still be in the same spot.....but no one to blame but the guy in the mirror.
Not sure I follow your line of thinking here. OBVIOUSLY if your building it yourself, you have full control of the TYPE and Quality of the materials used AND you also have control of quality of workmanship!!

All the manufactures try to cut corners on cost everywhere they can. That's why we see things like plastic faucets and such. They get materials from the cheapest vendor (certainly not the best vendor). If you have control over what materials you use then you can up the quality of the build by several factors.

I have visited the factories for 5th wheels and for sure there is ZERO quality control. They pride themselves on how many they can turn out per week, not how well they are built!! If you have control of how the unit is built, you can improve the overall quality by several factors as well.

Granted I am NOT saying it is cheaper to build one yourself. I am only saying if you have the expertise to do so (or at least can hire same) your going to end up with a product that is several factors superior to the ones coming out of the factories these days!!

This is why there is such a big trend with folks converting enclosed trailers. Granted that is not completely ground up and it isn't an ideal solution but there are a lot of folks, including me, that look at these rigs today and say "I could build something way better than that".

I will back off of the "I have the expertise" just a bit to say that I have a lot of skills (certified welder, basic carpentry, oilfield plumbing and graduated from industrial electronics). I also have the tools including a woodworking shop I am currently building. There are some things that I would contract out though. Either because I don't feel my skills are suitable for the given task or I don't have the equipment. But I have enough overall knowledge to realize where my limitations are.

Not saying I am going to do it for sure as there are a lot of projects in front of it and this would be a major undertaking but I do like the idea of rubbing the industries nose in a well-built and innovative design. I didn't get any credit when I gave Grand Design the concept for what became the HC381TH at Thor. And Keystone designers total ignored me and said some of my ideas could not be done. I would love to see them somewhere and show them one I had built and say "Oh yes it could be done, and here it is"!!
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Old 01-01-2021, 11:16 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by mtlakejim View Post
Not sure I follow your line of thinking here. OBVIOUSLY if your building it yourself, you have full control of the TYPE and Quality of the materials used AND you also have control of quality of workmanship!!

All the manufactures try to cut corners on cost everywhere they can. That's why we see things like plastic faucets and such. They get materials from the cheapest vendor (certainly not the best vendor). If you have control over what materials you use then you can up the quality of the build by several factors.

I have visited the factories for 5th wheels and for sure there is ZERO quality control. They pride themselves on how many they can turn out per week, not how well they are built!! If you have control of how the unit is built, you can improve the overall quality by several factors as well.

Granted I am NOT saying it is cheaper to build one yourself. I am only saying if you have the expertise to do so (or at least can hire same) your going to end up with a product that is several factors superior to the ones coming out of the factories these days!!

This is why there is such a big trend with folks converting enclosed trailers. Granted that is not completely ground up and it isn't an ideal solution but there are a lot of folks, including me, that look at these rigs today and say "I could build something way better than that".

I will back off of the "I have the expertise" just a bit to say that I have a lot of skills (certified welder, basic carpentry, oilfield plumbing and graduated from industrial electronics). I also have the tools including a woodworking shop I am currently building. There are some things that I would contract out though. Either because I don't feel my skills are suitable for the given task or I don't have the equipment. But I have enough overall knowledge to realize where my limitations are.

Not saying I am going to do it for sure as there are a lot of projects in front of it and this would be a major undertaking but I do like the idea of rubbing the industries nose in a well-built and innovative design. I didn't get any credit when I gave Grand Design the concept for what became the HC381TH at Thor. And Keystone designers total ignored me and said some of my ideas could not be done. I would love to see them somewhere and show them one I had built and say "Oh yes it could be done, and here it is"!!
It's obvious you have way more skills and experience than I do.
The only caution is a maxim that until you do something you really "don't know what you don't know". The more major the project the higher the risk that the things you don't know might bite big time.

Examples of that are all of the boat building projects that never get finished. A friend of my dad's worked decades on his boat and never finished it before he died. And the boat was only a 25 footer fishing boat.
Again, I have no idea how boat building compares, but I think there are a lot of things that would need to be researched before attempting a 5th wheel project.

Now, if you were to go ahead, I would love to see your progress. I think it would be a great project to follow!


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Old 01-01-2021, 11:32 PM   #45
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It's obvious you have way more skills and experience than I do.
The only caution is a maxim that until you do something you really "don't know what you don't know". The more major the project the higher the risk that the things you don't know might bite big time.

Examples of that are all of the boat building projects that never get finished. A friend of my dad's worked decades on his boat and never finished it before he died. And the boat was only a 25 footer fishing boat.
Again, I have no idea how boat building compares, but I think there are a lot of things that would need to be researched before attempting a 5th wheel project.

Now, if you were to go ahead, I would love to see your progress. I think it would be a great project to follow!


Brad
Oh I get it that this would be a MAJOR project which is one of the reasons I haven't already started. I have however started converting my 24' enclosed trailer into a toyhauler. Next up I am looking at building a slide in camper for our long bed 1 ton dually. And then there is the workshop (or at least a full roof we need to build).

I may never get to the 5th wheel but it would be a sweet build.

And don't get me wrong, the HC381TH we currently own has served us fairly well. Its just not very well built and there is a unique floor plan out there I would love to build to show it CAN be done!!
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Old 01-02-2021, 06:33 AM   #46
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Keep us informed on this build. It will be a lot of fun work. Every thing in it will cost at least twice as much as it cost the manufacturer pays.
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Old 01-02-2021, 07:23 AM   #47
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...Problem is (btdt) I don't care how careful or meticulous you are, if you are building something from the ground up using 3rd party material....you'll still be in the same spot.....but no one to blame but the guy in the mirror.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtlakejim View Post
Not sure I follow your line of thinking here. OBVIOUSLY if your building it yourself, you have full control of the TYPE and Quality of the materials used AND you also have control of quality of workmanship!!

All the manufactures try to cut corners on cost everywhere they can. That's why we see things like plastic faucets and such. They get materials from the cheapest vendor (certainly not the best vendor). If you have control over what materials you use then you can up the quality of the build by several factors.

...
I think what sourdough was saying was that you're still at the mercy of components used in RV's. What A/C's are you going to use? What thermostats are you going to use,, and do they control those A/C's that you just bought? What heater are you going to use? What water heater are you going to use? You get the point. At the end of the day, when building an RV of any type, there isn't a lot of options for this stuff. There are only certain manufactures that make these components, and you're forced to use one of them.

As an example, there are numerous threads here about heater issues on new units. Is there even more than one company that makes RV heaters? Let's assume that there is. As an individual, you're not necessarily going to know which heater is the 'best". Sure, you can do internet research, and make a reasonable decision on which heater is the best. You install that heater, and it gives you nothing but troubles. Number one, you have to fix or take care of that warranty work, which may not be a big deal. Number two, if the brand/size/type that you pick does NOT work well in your RV, now you have a bigger issue, because replacing it with competitor Y's heater, means that you may have to totally redo the structure that it fits in, and that may not be easy either.

Looking at our new unit, I realize that most of the issues that we've had with ours, are not quality of craftsmanship, they are component issues quality issues. The craftsmanship issues, while annoying, are actually easy to fix. Yes, there are some quality of material issues as well, like the coraplast stuff that they use on the bottom of the camper. If I'm building my own, I probably use something a little more durable there, but guess what, now I end up with an RV that weighs more than the one the store bought one. And weight isn't necessarily your friend.

At the end of the day, I LOVE the idea of building your own RV, and quite frankly, I too, have had the thought of building my own, and I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from doing that themselves. But, the more that I think about it, the more that I personally realize that there is a LOT more that goes into it than making it pretty. It has to be functional as well, and I don't know that I want to spend the time researching all of the different options to figure out which one suits the best, works the best, weighs the least, and ultimately works the best in my situation.

I had this delusion that it would be similar to building a house, which me and my wife did about 21 years ago. But, when we built our house, we had to worry about two things really: 1) did it look good 2) did it meet our needs (quality mainly). We didn't really worry about cost, because when you deciding what windows to get, as an example, you have the $2000 option, the $10,000 option, and the $60,000 option. The money fixes itself, because you know that you cannot afford the $60,000 option, so you hone in on the "best" $10,000 option that you can get. BUT, that is/was still research that we had to do. For my wife and I, that worked out well, because while I was building, she was doing a lot of this research, which ultimately saved me time.

With an RV, you have the struggle above, BUT you also have the weight to struggle with too. It's a delicate balancing act for sure when it comes to an RV...
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Old 01-02-2021, 08:18 AM   #48
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We have attended every fall rally since 2006 and have toured the Montana factory every year sine 2006. There have been advances in technology but we see no real advances in build quality.


We had 4 Rvs of different brands before our first Montana used for week ends and if lucky a one week vacation . The farthest we ever traveled was from Northern Ohio to the outer banks. We put more miles on our firstMontana in one year than we did in our previous RVs combined.


It was going to take 3 weeks for a ladder to be ordered and delivered by our local dealer. It took a overnight trip to drive over to Indiana and pick on up and most dealers have more just my Rv to work on.
When ourkitchen slide gear pack failed the dealer 50 miles away said it would take at least 3 weeks to get the gear pack. We said call us when it arrives, they did and we drove down and they replaced it that day.


We satisfied with Keystone service and with our Keystone product.
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Old 01-02-2021, 08:50 AM   #49
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mUSt bE spECial

Go ahead and Lawyer up. But be prepared for even more frustration. Could be wrong but I don`t think so you`ll spend more on a Lawyer in time and money than to just pay an independent to fix the problems and forget about it. But some people want to play the warranty game or stand on principle and let there new toy sit at a dealer for months on end (because they shouldn`t have to fix things or tighten screws or put that molding back up ) and then whine here about the lack of attention after spending $70,000 dollars.
It's never going to change, you`re going to have to get over it.

So what`s a Lawyer at the bottom of the ocean?...... It's a start.
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Old 01-02-2021, 09:26 AM   #50
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You should not have to get down on bended knee and beg a customer service rep to assist. They should understand if a customer is upset. We spend a LOT of money on these things!!


The best way to calm a customer down is with RESULTS not by hanging up on them!!!!!
Montana's since 2006 never had a service rep hang up on me or begged them to assist me.

They have always been helpful once they understood what I was talking about.
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Old 01-02-2021, 09:27 AM   #51
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Okay first of all I freely admit that I am a new Montana owner as of last July. Though my wife and I really enjoy our unit, we have had issues with it. But in every case the dealership did take care of it. Even when a AT&T wire was too low and damaged our front AC unit. Yes AT&T did pay for it but it took a month and some hard but kind talking with their side to get them to move faster n this. Also, I can see everyones point of view when you call Customer Service and they treat you lie you just a dumb ass.

I had this happen to me when I went I tried to winterize my unit. I did all kind of research and spoke to anyone who has be RVing for years. Good friends, neighbors, and even my dealer.
So on my montana I blew the air through the lines as I was told, got my RV antifreeze and did all the shut offs and by passes, but when it came time to put the hose in the gallon jug and the unit would just suck it up, well it did not. I tried and called Keystone, I was very nice, polite but no hlep was given. The people I spoke to had know idea of the issue, or why it was not working. They told me I had a pump issue, I told no I dont as with water in the tank it pumps water just fine.

Well to make a long story shor, (I know, to late for that), The little screen that was suppose to be int he winterize port was missing, and I had to take it from another port and reverse it to hold the little stem like valve open so it would draw the anti freeze out of the gallon jug. No body at KEYSTONE knew this. How said.

You're right we spend a god awful amount of our hard earn money and yet we are met with and not always total incompetence. No disrespect to all the Keystone employees, just those that need direction to inhale and exhale. Just a joke, but not really. Keystone could solve most if not all of their problems by better training the customer service people.

Oh Well HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
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Old 01-02-2021, 11:13 AM   #52
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I think what sourdough was saying was that you're still at the mercy of components used in RV's. What A/C's are you going to use? What thermostats are you going to use,, and do they control those A/C's that you just bought? What heater are you going to use? What water heater are you going to use? You get the point. At the end of the day, when building an RV of any type, there isn't a lot of options for this stuff. There are only certain manufactures that make these components, and you're forced to use one of them.

As an example, there are numerous threads here about heater issues on new units. Is there even more than one company that makes RV heaters? Let's assume that there is. As an individual, you're not necessarily going to know which heater is the 'best". Sure, you can do internet research, and make a reasonable decision on which heater is the best. You install that heater, and it gives you nothing but troubles. Number one, you have to fix or take care of that warranty work, which may not be a big deal. Number two, if the brand/size/type that you pick does NOT work well in your RV, now you have a bigger issue, because replacing it with competitor Y's heater, means that you may have to totally redo the structure that it fits in, and that may not be easy either.

Looking at our new unit, I realize that most of the issues that we've had with ours, are not quality of craftsmanship, they are component issues quality issues. The craftsmanship issues, while annoying, are actually easy to fix. Yes, there are some quality of material issues as well, like the coraplast stuff that they use on the bottom of the camper. If I'm building my own, I probably use something a little more durable there, but guess what, now I end up with an RV that weighs more than the one the store bought one. And weight isn't necessarily your friend.

At the end of the day, I LOVE the idea of building your own RV, and quite frankly, I too, have had the thought of building my own, and I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from doing that themselves. But, the more that I think about it, the more that I personally realize that there is a LOT more that goes into it than making it pretty. It has to be functional as well, and I don't know that I want to spend the time researching all of the different options to figure out which one suits the best, works the best, weighs the least, and ultimately works the best in my situation.

I had this delusion that it would be similar to building a house, which me and my wife did about 21 years ago. But, when we built our house, we had to worry about two things really: 1) did it look good 2) did it meet our needs (quality mainly). We didn't really worry about cost, because when you deciding what windows to get, as an example, you have the $2000 option, the $10,000 option, and the $60,000 option. The money fixes itself, because you know that you cannot afford the $60,000 option, so you hone in on the "best" $10,000 option that you can get. BUT, that is/was still research that we had to do. For my wife and I, that worked out well, because while I was building, she was doing a lot of this research, which ultimately saved me time.

With an RV, you have the struggle above, BUT you also have the weight to struggle with too. It's a delicate balancing act for sure when it comes to an RV...
When sourcing raw materials for the build yourself, you don't HAVE to use conventional RV equipment. For instance you can use Mini Split A/C units (in fact the two custom MFG=Spacecraft and New Horizon are doing so on some of their units already). There are a LOT of other things you can use as well. It doesn't HAVE to be RV. You could even install a conventional hot water tank if you wanted too or maybe tankless version. Lots of options if your doing it yourself. Which sorta shoots holes all in your side of the debate. The build would almost certainly cost more but the quality of same would be several factors better!!!


But of all the things that could be built better (and heavier) the frame used on RVs is downright scary.
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Old 01-02-2021, 11:16 AM   #53
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Montana's since 2006 never had a service rep hang up on me or begged them to assist me.

They have always been helpful once they understood what I was talking about.
The Engineers not the service rep folks.
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Old 01-02-2021, 11:32 AM   #54
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The Engineers not the service rep folks.
How did you manage to talk to a engineer that designed the Montana. If you have a number can you share it.
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Old 01-02-2021, 11:43 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by mtlakejim View Post
When sourcing raw materials for the build yourself, you don't HAVE to use conventional RV equipment. For instance you can use Mini Split A/C units (in fact the two custom MFG=Spacecraft and New Horizon are doing so on some of their units already). There are a LOT of other things you can use as well. It doesn't HAVE to be RV. You could even install a conventional hot water tank if you wanted too or maybe tankless version. Lots of options if your doing it yourself. Which sorta shoots holes all in your side of the debate. The build would almost certainly cost more but the quality of same would be several factors better!!!


But of all the things that could be built better (and heavier) the frame used on RVs is downright scary.
I wouldn't be so quick to shoot holes - neither side has proof of anything just now. If / when you do it and report back, I'm sure you would be able to speak much more accurately but right now I don't see your theories as any more valuable than the other sides theories.

Again from the boating world; I had a dream for years to build my own sailboat (and still kind of do). I've tackled all sorts of fiberglass jobs and learned a lot doing it. But once I honestly looked at how many failed projects are out there and started to question why they failed, it became obvious that there was a lot I didn't know and that my realistic chances of success were a lot lower than I had originally estimated. I bought a used sailboat instead and have been enjoying it for 12 years now.

In many ways, things are the way they are for reasons that those outside of the process cannot understand. In this case, there are a lot of reasons that "RV specific" products are the way they are (cost, weight, etc). You've pointed out a few obvious examples where one could substitute, but again until someone can join in who has said they've done it and here's what works and what doesn't? Well it's mostly just theoretical.

And you know what they say about that? "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they aren't"

Of course, YMMV, and I actually would love to see you do this!

Brad
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Old 01-02-2021, 12:52 PM   #56
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Montana's since 2006 never had a service rep hang up on me or begged them to assist me.

They have always been helpful once they understood what I was talking about.

If someone had a service rep hang up on them you can believe it’s not because you are being nice to them. Think about it they are service reps, service that is what they are paid to do.
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Old 01-03-2021, 08:36 AM   #57
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given that service reps can hang up and not answer questions, it seem that someone should implement customer surveys.
i do not condone yelling at reps, but they should not have the option to hang up either.

I have had some really tough calls and when I was done I had some of the best compliments.
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Old 02-01-2023, 07:08 AM   #58
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no 3rd a/c heat pump

Quote:
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If someone had a service rep hang up on them you can believe itís not because you are being nice to them. Think about it they are service reps, service that is what they are paid to do.
Lynwood
I have trouble being "nice" to a pin head with the little hair ball on top of their head that is obviously lying to me about some thing she has no clue about and you can`t get past them to a higher up in the company. Nah not going to happen. This was my experience with keystone. Like I said this is my last one. Went and look at Alliance in my area. At this point they have it all over keystone and others.
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Old 02-01-2023, 08:02 AM   #59
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Take a look at the Alliance forum, all the same issues, as with all RV forums. Same number saying I wouldn't have anything else, same equipment issues (90%+ come from the same manufacturer), same warranty problems and same guys saying I'm done. Not unique to any manufacturer, if it was they wouldn't be in business.
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Old 02-01-2023, 11:31 AM   #60
bshgto
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Originally Posted by GreG L. View Post
Take a look at the Alliance forum, all the same issues, as with all RV forums. Same number saying I wouldn't have anything else, same equipment issues (90%+ come from the same manufacturer), same warranty problems and same guys saying I'm done. Not unique to any manufacturer, if it was they wouldn't be in business.
I think the difference is in how they deal with there customers. I speak from experience your listening to the ones that complain and whine relentlessly about loose screws and saw dust left in the campers. Time will tell.
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