Aliner 2018 Scout Review

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by WrkrBee, May 23, 2018.

  1. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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    Aliner 2018 Scout Review

    Over all: OK for a retired couple with minimal expectations. One has to be an organizer, so I just stay out of the way in the morning.

    Likes-
    This is a light weight, easily towed, basic, hard side popup. Fairly quick and easy setup. It's better than a tent. The wife thinks it is cute. She likes the large windows.

    Needed Improvements-
    NOTE: I've been in maintenance for over 40 years and have a mechanical engineering background. I have basic common sense design expectations. I question if the guys designing / building the Aliners, have tried to use one for a week or two. I like Axle Heck's quote; "I had the lowest of expectations, and I'm still disappointed."

    Why is there only a few pounds difference between the two axle options? Reduce your number of SKUs. Just put the heavier 3000 lb axle under all Scouts, so you would not have to worry about unintentional overloading, hitting potholes, and other unexpecteds. I believe mine got air born going on to a bridge on I-95 doing 65 mph. I think the axle was overloaded on the landing.

    Note: "Specifications" length is 15'. It's really a 12' camper.

    Note" "Specifications" say 2 Stabilizer Jacks. Wrong. It has "stabilizers", not jacks for leveling. You now have to carry the extra weight of leveling pads. Most RV jacks use a 3/4" hex nut to drive the stabilizer, but not Aliner. They have to use some off the wall slotted socket.

    Cool Cube AC (5000 BTU) is undersized and struggles to cool in nice 80 deg weather. It's not even hot yet. A camper sold in the south (Georgia) should handle the southern climate.

    Despise the Cool Cube AC controls. Four little buttons (Reset, Mode, Up, and Down). No common sense way to cut on and off. Just adjusting the temp is a pain. Give me something user friendly with intuitive controls like a house thermostat.

    The placement of the AC is far from ideal. You are sleeping on top of the unit. It sounds like an 18 wheeler is idling on the site next to you.

    Uninsulated AC ducts condensates on outside and drips in the under bed storage compartment. Southern issue. This needs to be dried out after camping. It also limits what is stored there. Aliner would not supply insulated duct to replace under warranty. Update: I replaced them myself.

    AC vents are beside the return air vent. You have to aim AC vents up toward the center of the camper. The return air duct should be run to the dinette area during manufacture. When you pull the bed out, an AC cave is formed. The bed has a bottom lip for a stop. With the air aimed up, it hits the lip and is turned down, you basically lose AC by trapping it in a tiny compartment with the return air vent. Cool Cube senses return air temperature for control; the camper will never cool with AC air trapped in a cave. We run two small fans at the vents to push the cool air out before it is sucked back in the return. A larger fan on the dinette blows toward the peak to push the warm air down. We add a small evaporation cooler on the dinette end, that helps when needed. The old wall mounted AC was better for air distribution.

    Return air filter is a foam sheet stapled to plywood! And it is under the back bed / couch setup. Even a cheap Walmart AC has a removable filter that can be cleaned. Common sense. I'll have to modify that soon.

    Had to troubleshoot the AC the first day in Florida. Shop had left the breaker off when checking ducts condensating. Discovered the Cool Cube is encased in plastic cardboard. Even the power connection compartment cover is plastic cardboard. I am not used to things being built this cheap. No wiring diagram in "owners manual".

    Owners manual tries to cover all Aliners- poorly. I have a bunch of useless information for stuff I do not have- electric brake types not on camper, LP system, LP detector, stove, water heater, furnace, water system, etc. Information I do need for maintenance is missing. Wiring diagrams!

    How do I check the emergency electric brakes? They need to be actuated sometimes to make sure they work. Information in "Owner's Manual" on the break-away switch does not help. Is it one time or can it be reset? A manual way to actuate the brakes is needed for pre-road trip check. If the brakes are never used, I doubt they will work when actually needed. If hooked up per the manual, brakes will never work.

    1" wide x 1/8" thick plastic trim applied to 1/2" wood used for dinette top and counter tops, so half of trim is unsupported! With just a little handling, the dinette table trim starts releasing. First thing you need to do is cut and glue 1/2" support strips to the back side of the trim. This should be done at Aliner!

    Sun glare off top section of aluminum diamond step plate ends will blind you when you walk up to the camper. It can blind the driver behind you, at the right time of day. Flat black, black anodized, black powder coat, or even brushed would be better.

    Lift assist / high wind kit should be standard. On extended trips, you have no control over conditions you have to camp in. Known camper design issues show that high wind protection and extra side wall and roof support is needed.

    A locked indicator for the "fantastic fan" cover is needed. It has vague graphics that indicate locked should be full counter clockwise, where it is actually locked at the top. After picking camper up from the dealer, we had to get off the road when the cover opened, put the camper up, figure it out, and lock the fan cover. Of course it was raining. This has happened again. The switch labels are curling already.

    Water coming in back skylight and running out the bottom of the trim. Found a pin hole in sealant around edge of skylight. I assumed this sealant was decorative to finish the edge of skylight, but it is the main "seal". I now assume that the skylight is not set in a bed of sealant. Expect leaks. Update: After a two day rain in Florida: Close to half of the top upper left silicone was poorly applied. I cut out sealant, blew the water out with air hose, and reapplied sealant.

    During travel in the rain, water wets right front cushions. Found Silicone missing at end of aluminum metal holding flexible top seal.

    When you make the back bed, there is a 5/8" drop from the pull out part to the stationary part. I can feel it laying on it. Update: I used a 1/2" foam backpacking pad. I cut about 8" off side so when we slide the bed back, the pad stops it short from reaching the base and scrubbing on it during transporting.

    Storage compartments need access from the interior sides, so you do not have to move cushions and support boards all the time. These are components are large and bulky to move around in a confined space. Update: Storage access door now added.

    Access to the back storage area from the outside would be nice. Update: Exterior door added.

    Battery and battery box should be supplied, properly mounted, and drained below the frame. The battery framework sits on top of the trailer tongue with open sides. The dealer gave me a battery box, but the only thing holding it in place was the cheap plastic strap. Mine is now bolted down, false bottom to protect the battery from bolt heads, drained below the frame, and the battery braced to keep it from moving.

    I would expect the battery 20A fuse holder to be mounted and protected. From the factory, it hangs outside from the battery and is just added in-line with cheap no-strip connectors. A little salt from winter roads or a coastal trip will corrode those connections quickly. This means your brakes, and other stuff probably will not work, eventually. Sealed connections.

    Outlet locations- two become about useless when the beds are used, since they are under the back pull out and dinette bed. Only the one in front of the sink remains usable. An outside 110v receptacle is needed by the door.

    Dinette table wobbles, bad taper fit on top and bottom of single support.

    I want to open the truck tailgate without it hitting the camper jack. Again, do the people building the Aliner, actually use the RV.

    Sink drain had to be Siliconed again going through floor. The black stuff Aliner used did not hold.

    I would like an option for carrying 2 bikes on the camper tongue. Bikes are standard equipment for most RVing couples.

    Taillights are unsealed and use a notch/tab to hold the lens. Anyone can walk by and take one. Right brake light quit working due to bad factory connection inside camper.

    May 2018 update: Door threshold round foam seal is now separating. Logic would tell you to put a solid threshold on the floor and the foam seal would be on the bottom of the door to swing out of the way of feet and for the loading / unloading of equipment. Aliner is sent another seal.

    June 2018 update: Fire extinguisher falls out of holder now. It uses a soft plastic strap and once it is opened a time or two, the retaining notches are shot. How about a real latch?

    July 2018 update: Wide roof seal split after pickup from dealer. Aliner replaced it in February 2018.

    Last week, we tried to set dinette sleeper up for the grandson and nothing fits. Owner's manual is useless on the "VersaDine" setup. I'm asked Aliner to show me how the dinette is to be set up to sleep. Update: So the dinette table is not used, but "stored" on the floor. Aliner supplies 4 boards, 6" wide, for a total of 24" support. The hole you have to fill is 38", so there are 14" of unsupported bed. Aliner needs to provide two more dinette support boards. I cut 2 more boards.

    August 2018 update: Main roof wide seal split again. Aliner sent another seal to the RV shop for replacement. Admitted old seals are butt joined, hince the straight split. New seals are one piece.

    I hope this helps. It is a good concept, but it could be executed so much better.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
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  2. David Blackwell

    David Blackwell Member

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    Wrkrbee - thank you for the above summary. Since I am a 2017 Aliner Explorer, notwithstanding a few differences between our models, I will go through each of your comments to ensure I can avoid those issues as well.
     
  3. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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    I hope this helps you. It's hard to avoid issues, when they are built in to the manufacturing process. Reliability has to be designed in, it should not be a patch. I had rounds with engineers for years. They would design something, get it installed, and we would have modify it to make it work.

    I would be interested in your review of your 2017 Aliner Explorer.
     
  4. StlAnnie

    StlAnnie New Member

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    Thank you! So far, I haven’t had leaks around the sky lights yet, but started with terrible leaks around the Fantastic Fan. Dealership fixed it, but I don’t know if it was the seal, or if it wasn’t tightened down.

    (Don’t get me started about the dealership! I don’t have the parks package...didn’t want that fridge. I had the dealership install a sink with water line to hook up at campsite and drain below. It leaked in 4 places, and no water came out of the faucet! Soaked the under bed storage)

    I’ll check on these others. I appreciate the detailed list!
     
  5. rognkat

    rognkat Member

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    Wow! By the sound of some of you folks problems. I may disregard getting an A frame camper! We were thinking of going to look at a couple of Flagstaff's but not so sure now.
     
  6. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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    That's why I did the review. The wife liked the Aliner, and she still likes it. I have been in maintenance and construction since high school. I know, with just a little thought, a lot of the issues did not have to happen. I just did a July 2018 update for you.
     
  7. Fbird

    Fbird Active Member

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    I have a 1998 aliner lxe which is the same length as yours. It has a 5000 btu window air conditioner and it still does a good job of cooling it down. It has never had a leak, and mine has 3 vents and 2 bubble windows. The wiring is unfortunately done the same as most rv's which I think is pitiful. I have brought the wiring up to my standards. The only issues mine has had is the floor rotted, replaced it 2 years ago. The propane pigtails dry rotted. Beyond that everything I've done is to upgrade the convertor, add solar, brakes and lift it to make room for 15 in tires.
     
  8. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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    Your 1998 may be built better than the current ones, but what rotted the floor if it never had a leak?

    I can see where the window AC was better at AC delivery, because it could send the AC up to displace the warm air. Last week, we had to use three fans to assist the Cool Cube 5000 AC under the back seat. Two at the AC vents to try to get air away from the return air vent. A larger fan, on the dinette, to send air up to displace the warm air. Without the fans, the AC just stays on the floor on one end of the camper.
     
  9. Fbird

    Fbird Active Member

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    In the early ones they used 3/8 boards, sort of a cross between osb and particle board. Most of the early ones had their floors replaced because they rotted. I believe it was in the early 2000's they switched to a better material. Be careful about overloading because the frames aren't real strong. They are built to be lightweight.
     
  10. Rik Peery

    Rik Peery Active Member

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    Thanks for the detailed review; we got a 2019 Ranger 10, will be conducting a more detailed look over...did find a tiny spot on the back right vinyl hinge that was missing sealant & filled that in...hope like hay nothing major is found, dealership is 2.5 hrs away...
     
  11. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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    Looking forward to seeing your review of the 2019 Ranger. I wish more people would post reviews of campers. I've asked the Portal for a camper review section, similar to the campground review section.
     
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  12. shuang2

    shuang2 Well-Known Member

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    Wish someone would do a Chalet review like this! It's so much knowledge. Thank you for sharing.
     
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  13. Wakita46

    Wakita46 Active Member

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    I have a 2013 Aliner Scout with 38,000 miles on it (bought new). I wrote down problems and fixes on my web site :
    hoffsalinertravels.net
    There are also pictures of 20 us national parks and 13 canadian parks if you like that sort of thing.
     
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  14. Rik Peery

    Rik Peery Active Member

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    Good stuff! Thanks for the read...
     
  15. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Member

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    Build quality varies, dealers vary. We bought used (2003 Scout), the dealer put 4" Eternabond tape around all our skylights and the vent before we picked it up :)
     
  16. PointyCamper

    PointyCamper Active Member

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    We enjoyed your website! Something to aspire to after retirement....
     
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