Aliner 2018 Scout Review

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

  1. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,889
    Likes Received:
    1,688
    Joined:
    May 23, 2018
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Aliner 2018 Scout Review

    Over all: OK for a retired couple with minimal expectations. One has to be an organizer, so I 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's cute. She likes the large windows.

    Needed Improvements-
    NOTE: I've been in maintenance for over 40 years & have a mechanical engineering background. I have basic common sense design expectations. I question if the guys designing / building the Aliners, have camped in one for a week or two.

    Why is there only a few pounds (2500/3000) difference between the two axle options? Just put the heavier 3000 lb axle under all Scouts, so you would not have to worry about unintentional overloading, hitting potholes, & 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: "Specs" length is 15'. It's a 12' camper.

    Note: "Specs" say 2 Stabilizer Jacks. Wrong. It has "stabilizers", not jacks for leveling. Most RV jacks use a 3/4" hex nut to drive the stabilizer. Aliner use a slotted wall socket.

    Cool Cube AC (5k BTU) is undersized & struggles to cool in 80 deg weather. A camper sold in the south (Georgia) should handle the southern climate.

    Despise the Cool Cube AC controls. Four little buttons (Reset, Mode, Up, & Down). No common sense way to cut on & 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 & 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, which sucks. 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 & 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 2 small fans at the vents to push the cool air out before it is sucked in the return. A 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. Update: Drilled holes in the fire extinguisher holder to act as the cold air return vent.

    Return air filter is a foam sheet stapled to plywood! "Filter" is under the back bed 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 & 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, & lock the fan cover. Of course it was raining. This has happened again. The switch labels are curling already.

    Water leak at back skylight & 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, & 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 & scrubbing on it during transporting.

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

    Access to storage area under bed from the outside needed. Update: Exterior door added.

    Battery & box should be supplied, properly mounted, & drained below the frame. The battery framework sits on 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. Box is now bolted down, false bottom to protect the battery from bolt heads, drained below the frame, & the battery braced to keep it from moving.

    I would expect the battery 20A fuse holder to be mounted & protected. From the factory, it hangs outside from the battery & 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 & other stuff 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 & 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 & bottom of single center support.

    Curtains don't close together right. Badly installed!

    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 going through floor. The black stuff Aliner used did not hold.

    Need option for carrying 2 bikes on the camper tongue. Bikes are standard equipment for camping.

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

    May 2018 update: Door threshold round foam seal has split. 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 & for the loading/unloading of equipment. Aliner sent another seal.

    June 2018 update: Fire extinguisher falls out of holder now. It uses a soft plastic strap & 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.

    We tried to set dinette sleeper up for the grandson & nothing fits. Owner's manual is useless on the "VersaDine" setup. I 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 to fill is 38", so there are 14" of unsupported bed. Aliner needs to provide two more support boards. I cut 2 more boards.

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

    April 2019- Right side unlatched and door was ajar. Frame flexing over railroad tracks / speed bumps, opens latch & door.

    I hope this helps. It is a good concept, but it could be executed so much better. I like Axle Heck's quote; "I had the lowest of expectations, & I'm still disappointed."
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
    Caravaner, SFCamper, shuang2 and 2 others like this.
  2. David Blackwell

    David Blackwell Member

    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    46
    Joined:
    May 10, 2017
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    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

    Messages:
    3,889
    Likes Received:
    1,688
    Joined:
    May 23, 2018
    Location:
    South Carolina
    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

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2018
    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

    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2015
    Location:
    Jasper TN
    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

    Messages:
    3,889
    Likes Received:
    1,688
    Joined:
    May 23, 2018
    Location:
    South Carolina
    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

    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    116
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2017
    Location:
    Ferndale MI
    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

    Messages:
    3,889
    Likes Received:
    1,688
    Joined:
    May 23, 2018
    Location:
    South Carolina
    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

    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    116
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2017
    Location:
    Ferndale MI
    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 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    998
    Likes Received:
    1,068
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2018
    Location:
    Virginia
    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

    Messages:
    3,889
    Likes Received:
    1,688
    Joined:
    May 23, 2018
    Location:
    South Carolina
    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.
     
    shuang2 and Rik Peery like this.
  12. shuang2

    shuang2 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,187
    Likes Received:
    98
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    Wish someone would do a Chalet review like this! It's so much knowledge. Thank you for sharing.
     
    Rik Peery likes this.
  13. Wakita46

    Wakita46 Active Member

    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    64
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2013
    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.
     
  14. Rik Peery

    Rik Peery Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    998
    Likes Received:
    1,068
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2018
    Location:
    Virginia
    Good stuff! Thanks for the read...
     
  15. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,263
    Likes Received:
    587
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2019
    Location:
    California
    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

    Messages:
    591
    Likes Received:
    161
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2015
    We enjoyed your website! Something to aspire to after retirement....
     
    Wakita46 likes this.
  17. GypsyH

    GypsyH New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    16
    Joined:
    May 30, 2019
    Location:
    Asheville
    I wouldn't discount the Scout. My wife and I have almost 30k on our 2018. Ours has a side mount LG 5000 BTU A/C that runs with our EU1000 Honda, about 7hours on .6 gal. Sweet!. We ordered ours with no water/reefer/stove appliances. Our only add on ..front stab Jack's. We tow this with our 4cyl Subaru Crosstrek with no problems. Been over the Rockies and back 2x. I think you have to look at these as hard shell tents and little more. Of course much more comfy than any tent I have slept in :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
    SFCamper likes this.
  18. Econ

    Econ Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    687
    Likes Received:
    333
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2019
    Location:
    Deep South
    Build Quality: Ralph Nader admitted that the Corvair was a good car UNTIL GM cost accounting got a hold on it.

    Engineering and design do not have the last word. I knew the Honda Factory
    Rep and asked why Honda changed from 3,000 to 5,000 mile oil changes?
    he responded Toyota had changed to 5,000 mile oil changes and was making a big deal of it. Honda marketing went to upper management and told them Toyota was hurting sales with "cheaper maintenance" so Honda matched Toyota over Honda Engineering strenuous objections.

    I know someone who graduated in the upper 5% of her class in mechanical engineering and was hired by Mercedes. How many engineers are hired by the camper industry?

    An engineer told me he never bought a new house. He required that all houses be at least 10 years old. That gave the original owner time to correct all of the building mistakes.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
    Rik Peery likes this.
  19. FARfetched

    FARfetched Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    686
    Likes Received:
    358
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2018
    Location:
    Sector 706, Planet Georgia
    I found the comments about the manual interesting, because I work in that space (documentation, not campers). Used to be that camper manufacturers only provided info about the camper itself, and all the accessories (fridge, heater, A/C, etc) had their own manuals from the various vendors. Has that changed?

    The problem is, documentation (and engineers who try to design solid products) are considered a cost center (corporate-speak for "necessary evil"). The trend over the last couple decades has been away from printed manuals, first to CDs then to online, and from paper to PDF to web. (The latter isn't totally bad, because if it's done right it can address WrkrBee's issue about documenting stuff that doesn't exist in all models.) I guess Aliner's tech writers aren't out camping all that much, either. If they were, the manuals would focus on necessities a lot better… and include wiring diagrams.

    Online camper manuals might seem weird at first, but who among us has used this site and the web in general to scrounge up a set of documentation?
     
  20. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,889
    Likes Received:
    1,688
    Joined:
    May 23, 2018
    Location:
    South Carolina
    From experience, you want a printed copy of wiring diagrams that's big enough to read with a flashlight. Online manuals are useless where you have no reception. I despise trying to find wire colors and numbers, component names, and connections when looking at diagrams on a phone screen.
     
    FARfetched, Rik Peery and Econ like this.

Share This Page