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What RVs Not To Buy: 5 Models You’ll Want To Avoid


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Shopping for a new RV? You may want to avoid these models. Photo: Shutterstock

5 RV Models You May Want To Avoid

The pandemic has been tough on many RV manufacturers. Some RV manufacturers reeled beneath historic shortages of qualified employees and increased consumer demand.

With an unrelenting and heavy demand for RVs, some manufacturers began to give employees lucrative incentives for high production. The fallout has been that some RV models have really hit the skids when it comes to the quality of workmanship.

To make matters worse, some manufacturers have had consistently abysmal response to warranty claims when it comes to fixing defects in new RVs.

Everyone has a different opinion about which RVs not to buy, but we found a few models that are getting consistently bad reviews.

1. 2022 Thor Windsport Motorcoach

Thor is getting a lot of negative reviews from RVers these days for some of their motorcoaches. In spite of their good looks and great floor plans, the use of low quality finishing materials, poor workmanship, and unsatisfactory warranty service has made many RVers unhappy.

Here’s what one customer had to say about their 2022 Windsport Motorcoach:

I just want to be totally honest about our 2022 Windsport 35M. It is a pile of garbage; we bought it in November of 2021 and used it one time no issues, but only a weekend trip locally. In November, we took it on the road and the fun began. The heater would not turn off, and the check engine light came on that was a recall part and no Ford dealer would fix it. We finally found one in Fullerton CA; they were the only positive. Ken Grody Ford, AWESOME dealership.

The awning was falling off the front of the coach. Fender trim covers were falling off, lights fell off, the gelcoat cracked on the rear cap, walls bowed out. . . and this was inside. Leaks, lots of them, were on the floor from the laundry cabinet; it was not the washer, but the slides leaking. Shelves were falling off the tracks in cabinet. Driver and passenger windows were not cut in evenly. A total of 35 items that we listed.

Stephen J Towers, Washington on RVinsider.com

2. 2022 Thor Four Winds Motorcoach

Thor hasn’t done well with their Four Winds motorcoach either. Reviews from customers for this product complain of poor workmanship, low quality materials, and just plain bad service.

This is the tone of what most customers were saying about the Four Winds motorcoach.

Thor produces an inferior product and does nothing to back it up after the sale. They have very few dealers that are willing to service their product. Customer support is not there at all. I have several issues from no hot water to walls coming apart and more. They say they cannot even take a look at it until October. Brand new and unusable. Definitely steer clear of Thor products.

Michael Richards, Arizona on RVInsider.com

3. 2022 Keystone Outback

Keystone trailers have been the subject of numerous negative reviews on the Better Business Bureau’s website. Reviews of the Outback cited shoddy workmanship and dismal customer service. Click here to read these reviews. The company responded to each review with the same auto-reply:

“Keystone has been in review of your complaint. We are sorry to hear you’ve had issues with your unit. We would like to review all details surrounding your unit. Please contact us Monday Thursday 9am-5pm and Fridays 9am-4pm, all times EST. Our number is **************. Please have the last 8 digits of your VIN available when you call, or if you’d rather, you may e-mail us at ******************************************** Thank you”

We’re very sure that Keystone’s customers deserve a personalized response showing real concern for the problems they are experiencing. But it’s the poor quality of Outback trailers, poor warranty service, and seemingly uncaring customer service that makes us put the Keystone Outback on our list of what RVs not to buy. Here’s a customer review of the Outback:

The craftsmanship is very poor. It has been in service dept 3 months and they still refuse to repair the roof. The sheeting is not on trusses, it is free standing; it flops up and down. [It has] a nice layout and is easy to pull. The head service man said it is the worst camper that has rolled out of the factory but still refuses to fix it.

Robert Malesker, Nebraska, on RVinsider.com

4. 2021 Forest River Cherokee Wolfpack Toy Hauler Travel Trailer

The 2021 Forest RIver Cherokee Wolfpack has been the subject of numerous negative reviews from RVers. Dissatisfaction with the 2021 Cherokee Wolfpack stems from poor quality materials, poor workmanship, and bad customer service, as well as Forest River’s reluctance to make warranty repairs.

Here is a review from RVinsider that gives a gist of what RVers are saying about this toy hauler travel trailer.

Overall, the manufacturing and finishing inside is a poor design and the quality is slapped together so poorly that we have personally just fixed many things.The doors are not glued and fell apart; the Velcro on the table came off first thing. The floors stay cold. . . if the stuff you see is horribly done, I imagine what you don’t see is worse. I didn’t expect to have to hire an inspector to walk through the whole thing before we bought it. Silly me, I thought a cabinet door would just be able to be used like normal. The sink is in crooked and the drain inside isn’t flush either, so…I’ll have a plumber come and fix it? Irritating!

Christie Martin, Minnesota on RVinsider.com

5. 2021 Cruiser RV Shadow Cruiser

The 2021 Cruiser RV Shadow Cruiser travel trailer has a great layout. However, the lack of quality control on this RV model got it onto our list of RVs not to buy.

RVers cite a myriad of problems that range from inadequate caulking to electrical problems in the Shadow Cruiser. Customer service isn’t as bad as some other brands, but it could definitely improve. Here is just one review from a dissatisfied RVer.

We purchased a Shadow Cruiser in July 2021. The new RV had the flowing issues even before taking it on the road, specifically: 1. Recliner seat was not anchored to the floor and is not leveled. 2. Bathroom entry door fell off. One of the sliding hinges was not connected. 3. Bedroom mattress lock was misaligned. 4. The shower sliding curtain panel fell off.

After the faulty recliner was replaced by Blue Dog RV (in Fleetwood, PA), we started our first trip with the new RV. We are on our second week of our first trip with our new RV. This new RV is poorly put together. There are new daily issues with so many components that were simply not put together properly. I feel like MacGyver trying to solve problems at all times rather than enjoying my vacation.

Some of the issues: 1. Power inlet is not properly secured. 2. Bathroom sliding door keeps falling off the rail. Hinges are not holding the weight. 3. Shower curtain frame fell apart. No way to fix it (using a duct tape for now…) 4. Sliding bed lock ripped from bed frame. 5. Bedroom shades screws are loose and cannot be tightened. 6. Slide-out shades frames screws are loose, cannot be tightened. 7. Kitchen drawer is not open all the way. 8. Only 1 of 2 USB ports is functioning.

Thus far, my purchasing experience is a huge frustration and disappointment, rather than having the joy of having a new RV. STAY AWAY FROM SHADOW CRUISER RV.

Yair Devash, New Jersey on RVinsider.com

See what other RVers are saying

Forums such as iRV2.com and blog sites like RV LIFE, Do It Yourself RV, and Camper Report provide all the information you need to enjoy your RV. You’ll also find brand-specific information on additional forums like Air Forums, Forest River Forums, and Jayco Owners Forum.

Related articles:

Author Lynne Fedorick Avatar

Lynne Fedorick

Lynne lives, travels and works full time in the R-Pod 180 with 3 pointers and 1 small but vital corgi mix named Alice. Lynne began full time RVing as an experiment in 2019, but she quickly fell in love with the convenience, freedom and minimalist lifestyle offered by full time RV living. Lynne is a professional dog trainer, offering mobile and online dog training services through her website at www.mydoggeek.com. You can read about her travel adventures on her blog at: https://rpodadventure.wordpress.com/

23 thoughts on “What RVs Not To Buy: 5 Models You’ll Want To Avoid

  1. We purchased a 2014 Thor Palazzo 35.1 4 years ago an have put 17,000 miles on it since. It has never left us stranded, but has had some rather persistent issues with leaking. Other issues are mostly simple DIY problems that most people who know which end of a hammer to grip can fix themselves. The most annoying thing I have encountered, which I suspect applies to all RVs is the absurd repair charges at dealers. $175- $200/hour- REALLY!! One of my dealers wanted $50 plus the part to replace a tail light… 3 screws and a plug- 5 minutes! My doctor charges less than that.
    At the end of the day, the more major issues are with contractor supplied parts that have nothing to do with Thor.

  2. Keystone poor workmanship, cheap and inferior parts, is not a recent issue nor is non existent customer service! We bought a 2015 Sprinter 5th wheel new and got home to find a flat tire. They were the cheapest tires and over two years old by the date on them. First purchase a good set of 10 plys. First trip the the shower door latch broke, cheaply made and customer service told us the didn’t have a replacement. Wast tank valves became hard to open and close with handles breaking off at 1-1/2 year, I replaced them. The cheap galvanized stranded cables had begun to corrode inside the plastic jacket. Replaced with Lasalle Bristol solid wire actuators. The best one was when we filled the fresh water tank it leaked because during assembly a 2 inch self tapping screw securing the side fenders by the tires went through the side channel into the tank. Not found during the warranty according to Keystone. I didn’t know shoddy workmanship had a warranty period. All the furniture is peeling. I will never buy a Keystone. Glad to hear they are closing assembly plants. They deserve to be out of business.

  3. Very disturbing. I’m planning on becoming a full time RV’er sometime next year. Unfortunately for me, I’m a bit on the smaller side so I need the smallest rv. It’s down to the Thor Scope or Rize 18M. I believe everyone of these reviews. I’m doing my homework. Can I find a manufacturer that will build it from scratch for me? And of course, use the PDI. Thanks for sharing your horror stories. And sorry.

  4. I have a 2013 montana 3407rl. 5th wheel. 4 slides..no issues…built well..all wood and thick walks.. been full timing for 6 years

  5. I had a 1999 Wildwood Trailer for 15 years. It was fantastic, so when it was time to purchase a new TT, we purchased a 2020 Wildwood. What a piece of garbage. Within the first year, the Sofia came off the wall, the bathroom walls collapsed, the door wouldn’t close or lock, the kitchen sink was leaking, the outside water nozzle failed, the shades wouldn’t go up, the bathroom mirror wouldn’t stay closed, so we had to add a bungee, it ended up falling off the medicine chest, and the lights on the slide that were supposed to be on the inside, ended up on the outside. The refrigerator latch didn’t hold it closed, so we tried to get it fixed, epic fail. We held it closed with a bungee chord. Thank goodness the slide didn’t allow it to open completely. One of the back emergency windows would open while we were driving. Not fun! Service was a joke. Never made a repair that worked, after they had it for weeks. We used it a total of 5 times in 2 years, fixed most of it on our own, and sold it, in better condition than we got it. Left our new TV and a bunch of stuff in it just to get rid of it. Forest River told us our warranty was up, even though we had it in for repairs from our first trip, that the dealer never fixed.
    It was very pretty, but I wasn’t sad to see it go

  6. I own a 2013 Thor Four Winds 23U. Have never had a single complaint about it, except that the oven door rattled when traveling. My coach is 25’, built on a Chevy E4500, V8 engine. No slides – an important criteria for me, slides are just one more thing to go wrong. Having said all that, I think it is disgusting that manufacturers and dealers won’t take responsibility for things that go wrong. I had a 32’ Jayco Precept a few years back, built on the now infamous Ford chassis – both front wheel bearings failed with less than 1200 miles on the clock, the coach was very difficult to drive in a straight line. At arbitration Ford hired a very slick lawyer, we ended up selling the coach with full disclosure and lost a ton of money. We should have done our homework before buying – the forums are full of tales of woe.

  7. My only comment is probably what everyone who owns an RV knows. I have not seen any RV, whether Class A, B, C, 5th Wheel, or TT that is built with any degree of quality, none. They all suffer from terrible QC and finished products. I keep asking myself why and how they can all be built with such low quality and I have no answer.

    1. I agree and will say this much. If you’re not a handy person or not willing to learn, then be cautious buying an RV. They all have problems, especially in the first month of putting miles on them.

  8. Thanks for info manufacturers, dealers, etc., don’t want published. We are on our 3rd travel trailer. This one is a 2020 year model and it is obvious that materials and workmanship are subpar compared to our 2013 and 2004 trailers. Counters are paper covered, stainless steel is painted plastic, doors poorly hung. But, we just deal with it because that’s how we prefer to travel.

  9. Buying a RV that was produced during the pandemic may be the issue. The RV manufacturers were in a sprint to get as many units out as possible to make as much money as possible. That results in shoddy workmanship and cutting corners. Clearly some manufacturers were worse than others. I would avoid buying any 2021-2022 model.

    1. The pandemic had nothing to do with it. In 2012 we bought a 2012 Montana 5th Wheel and it was an over priced piece of juke. It spent more time in the repair shop than on the road. Most RV’s were bad even back then. Poor workmanship and low qualify material have been used for may years. The very best RV we ever bought was a 1990 Alfa Gold. That’s when they really built RV’s with quality.

  10. The RV manufacturing world is in for a rude awaking. The low-quality craftsmanship even in some “high-end” models is ridiculous. Take me back to 2018 and prior years.

  11. Good information. For many manufacturers quality has slipped due to putting the workers on piece work and/or other attempts to increase productivity during recent high demand.
    Productivity increases, piece work and even overtime (vs hiring enough staff to do the job in regular time) is shown to increase meth usage. I have read reports that meth use is up 30% in the RV industry. This is unconscionable . Although some manufacturers have drug testing, this is largely window dressing. Many times no drug test is required for hire. Those who do require a drug test do not do routine testing of their workers after they are hired.
    The RV industry, like the construction industry, shipyards and countless industries before them is ignoring meth use, profiting from it.
    Personally, I will not purchase an RV from any RV dealer or manufacturer that does not have a legitimate drug testing program. I do not want to purchase any RV built by a meth head and I do not want to support the industries that look the other way on drug usage.
    Shame on them.

  12. Sadly, poor quality seems to be the by-word in the RV industry. I have had to replace axles and springs on my Wildcat – they were too light for the weight of the coach. Now that I have spent so much repairing it, I’m sort of stuck with keeping it. Why start over with a new one?!

  13. Interesting article. Thank you. It’s disappointing to read that about Thor. I have been warned repeatedly in the past to stay away from Thor. When I was at the Novi, MI RV show in early 2022, a General RV salesman told me he had seen the problems first hand on the assembly lines in the factory in the past but around 2017-2018 Thor had hired someone to fix all that and they had made a lot of improvements. Apparently not.

    Generally, it’s Thor branded products that have the most problems and Thor owned companies do better. They have owned Airstream for 20 years and I think they are still good, they just bought Tiffin and they will probably remain a good product. But they also own Keystone and Cruiser RV that made the list above. Do your homework is the best bet.

  14. Great article. Definitely don’t buy a Keystone Montana of any kind. Here is our story. The company completely ripped us off. We bought a 2020 that cost us over $115K and we took one cross country trip from WA to Texas and back and when we took it in for its warranty check they told us they would not let it off their lot until we paid them $10K for brand new brakes! We had only taken one trip and they told us we needed new brakes. We were in total disgust and shock. And just the fact that they said they would not let it off their lot because it was too dangerous to drive they said. We wanted to take it somewhere else for a second opinion because we did not believe them and they refused. We still have it but we will never take it back there again and we will use other RV repair shops . We let our warranty go. Avoid Keystone at all costs! Their 5th wheels look great, but they are cheaply made.

    1. I agree, we have a 2012 Keystone Montana 40′ 5th wheel. It has spent more time in the shop than on the road. As far as a dealer telling us we can not take our property off their lot, we would tell the just watch us. And, we would have taken it to a second repair shop. Enough Said. . .

  15. I have to agree that Thor is a brand to stay away from. We bought a 2023 Thor Challenger 35MQ in July 2022. Took it on the road the day after we made the purchase and found numerous problems. Most of them were minor: The extra table that sits between the driver and passenger seat up front when you are parked – When placing the table, as soon as I turned the table over to place it on the pedestal, all of the screws in the base fell out. Could not use the table. The entry door is warped. It must be slammed extremely hard in order for it to close all the way so that you can lock the deadbolt. We found 16 minor problems inside the coach. On the outside – when we drive down a bumpy Interstate, the hood pops open intermittently. We have to stop frequently to re-latch the hood. While preparing the coach to tow my Jeep, I was placing an anti-rattle plate on the hitch to keep the towbar from flopping up and down while driving. I pulled on the coach mounted hitch and the whole hitch move up and down about 3 inches. I looked underneath and found that of the six bolts that were supposed to be holding the hitch in place, only two were installed and neither one was tightened down. Since the manufacturer can’t seem to maintain any sort of quality control in their manufacturing process, you would think that the state DMV or the NTSB would have a requirement that these motor coaches get some sort of quality or safety inspection before they are sent to the dealer.

  16. Consumers continue to make terrible buying decisions without thoroughly researching the:

    Dealer

    Brand

    Model

    If all the negative reviews don’t deter you, at least get a Pre Delivery Inspection (PDI) by a Certified RV Inspector and then demand that every item be fixed to your and your Inspectors satisfaction or you will terminate the transaction.

    “A Fool and His Money are Soon Parted”. This phrase was from 1573….449 years ago. Those that don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it.

    Collectively we have the power to force dealers and manufacturers to vastly improve their operations by NOT BUYING THIS MASS PRODUCED JUNK! If we continue to buy this garbage, we are enabling them to maintain the status quo with no economic incentive to change.

    1. This is a great idea, but there’s only one problem. There’s very few dealers who do a thorough Pre Delivery Inspection (PDI) by a Certified RV Inspector.

      My husband and I use to transport RV’s to dealerships across the USA. Once delivered most of them did a quick walk through and signed it off. Sadly, very few would go over the unit with a fine tooth comb.

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