Cannot recommend Coachmen anymore.

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by BigBaron, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. BigBaron

    BigBaron Dreaming of Tommy's chili cheeseburgers...

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    As many know, we bought a 2012 Coachmen Clipper Sport 126. I researched very carefully ALL the various brands, their floorplans, and their features since we are in Korea and had to buy sight-unseen.
    We chose Coachmen/Viking because the floorplan was good, their brochures looked great, the had nice features/options, and the dinette area converted to a 5'10"sleeping area (per the brochure).
    I especially liked the lack of support bars under the bunks.
    What do they say; "Don't believe everything you read?"
    Aside from the NUMEROUS manufacturing defects I've had to fix
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    AND the roof that needs to be shortened (~1 1/4") so the weatherstripping will actually make contact with the top of the box,
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    the beds aren't as big as they say they are!
    I'm 6'2' (and shrinking) and couldn't figure out why my head and feet were touching the cables that support the bunk when we slept.
    Our "king-size" beds, which are described in the brochure as being 70"x 80", are 75" wide at the cable attachment points, and the mattresses are only 70"x 73"!
    Worse, the dinette sleeping area, which is supposed to be 38"x 70" (again, per the brochure), is only 38"x 63".
    I bought this floorplan because my daughter will be close to 5'10" when she gets older and will have to sleep in the dinette area when grandma and grandpa come with us, but it's going to be too small for her soon. It almost is now!
    If I had been able to see the trailer in person, I WOULD NOT HAVE BOUGHT IT because the beds are too small, let alone the poor construction and all the other quality issues.
    Conclusion? We love the trailer floorplan. It's all the "little things" (and the one big thing-the roof) that keep popping up that I have to fix or redo that drive me nuts.
    If you like the Viking/Coachmen models with the beds that don't have supports underneath, check them out in-person first to make sure the beds are big enough.
    If you are 6'2" or taller, look elsewhere. :(
     
  2. PNW Family

    PNW Family New Member

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    Yikes! Sorry to hear about your troubles. I've never seen the guts of a PUP yet, but your pics make me cringe... That will definitely give me nightmares in a few years when I'm looking again.
     
  3. catmanblue

    catmanblue Only thing better then fishin is campin and fishin

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    Thanks for the info. I didn't realize they were put together so poorly. Some of those pic looks like no one even checked for proper fit before they sold it.
     
  4. fmbhappycamper

    fmbhappycamper PuP Power

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    That is a big bummer, what are you going to do besides not recommend them? I am really sorry [:(]
     
  5. bigdad

    bigdad Active Member

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    sorry to here about the stuff that wrong with your new camper. both coachmen and viking are owned by Forest River also Rockwood and Flagstaff are owned by Forest River to had some problems with my 2011 Rockwood Freedom Like the drain hose would break had to vacuum out all the Cabernet's when i got it home the bed rails would lose there bushing when pushed the bed back in and there was metal shaving from the bed rails so i think there is no inspection before it leaves the factory.
     
  6. twstdpear

    twstdpear Party like it's 2012!

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    BigBaron, sorry to hear about your issues. You're not alone.

    Palomino is also owned by Forest River. If you're interested in the long litany of the many issues I had to fix on our 2011 Palomino S-21RGS HTT, let me know and I'll post it. Some people would say to take it to the dealer to fix, but that's an hour away, so anything I was able to do that took less than 4 hours (drop off and pick up) and $100 (gas) to fix made sense to fix myself. That doesn't even compare to your situation, though, being overseas.

    Some of the guys over on the Keystone forum refer to campers as "Manufactured Mechanical Nightmares".
     
  7. CREEPPINGCHARLIE

    CREEPPINGCHARLIE CAMPING RECHARGES THE HUMAN MIND

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    Seeing horror stories like this make me want to keep my Niagara in good shape as long as I can. When I had my Viking it lasted me 17 years with only 2 minor repairs and was still in good shape when I sold it. From the pictures it looks like a rookies first attempt at building something from scratch. You have my sympathy with that mess. There is no excuse for such sloppy workmanship. Where was the quality control people? Albeit playing video games instead of doing their jobs. [8D] [PUC] [PUT]
     
  8. mandl

    mandl Member

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    I feel so bad for you and your family because of this situation. This gives another meaning altogether to the phrase, "Made in America". Thanks for the pictures, I think that copies of your pics will go with me as I attend the Winter camping shows. I hope you can take your lemon and make lemonade!

    mandl
     
  9. BigBaron

    BigBaron Dreaming of Tommy's chili cheeseburgers...

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    Thanks everyone. I've kept quiet up until now, but we took the trailer out for the second time this week. I started measuring and got upset. The dinette dimensions pushed me over the edge.
    I have over 250 pictures of defects and problems. I sent them, and many more, to Chris Mandell, the GM of Viking, the parent company of Coachmen well over a month ago. He hasn't even looked at them yet!
    The Viking warranty department told me to pound sand because the trailer is not in N. America, so per their warranty terms there is no warranty. Chris did send me new weatherstripping without hesitation, but that's it.
    My photobucket album of the defects is private now, but I'm going to make it public if I don't get some help soon...
     
  10. CamL48

    CamL48 New Member

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    Sorry to read this. We are all somewhat accepting of the standard defects, often the results of the dynamics of tolerance stacks. Similarly, we generally understand that PUPs are built with cheap materials that have much less durability of regular home furnishings.

    However, when something as elementary as a latch misalignment goes through, it's pretty sad. When you assemble a door and the latches don't align, you immediately know this ... as the door won't close. Same with the inspection ... you know immediately that there is something wrong and needs to be reworked.

    The fact that this type of shoddy workmanship is passed right through the factory onto customers is unsettling.

    As someone who manages products and quality, this is what always concerns me most. Yes, quality problems occur and we constantly try to improve our internal processes to prevent them. However, when there simply is no process or integrity to do the job right, then you have a culture problem. This is far more concerning than, e.g., a batch of bad parts that makes it through to the customers.

    I've seen GMs/Presidents who ignore this stuff and I've seen those who jump all over it. The former are short-lived, their tenures end poorly, and the negative impacts to the company are long term and difficult to reverse. The latter are seen as micro-managers, perhaps, but are effective at driving a customer-centric culture. Hopefully for you and for Coachmen, Mr. Mandell falls into that latter group.

    Good luck.
     
  11. pgordemer

    pgordemer Guest

    Doesn't the dealer get some blame in here - not even a precursory inspection before they shipped it out of the country for you...
     
  12. Mosbyranger

    Mosbyranger Onward, thru the fog...

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    Baron- my heart goes out to you. Most of us would not even have driven the thing off the lot, if we had, we would have the ability to drive it right back and have a little discussion with the dealer. I would continue to bomb the Corporation with emails and by all means go public with the photographic evidence. Korea is a long way away, but you can keep the heat on, Corporations hate that. I also agree with pgordemer, the dealer is also partially responsible, keep the pressure on them. The only other thing I can think of is that you have a big 'ol fix it issue with a new camper. If it can be straightened out to an acceptable degree, perhaps you can recoup some of your dollars on the resale, as I suppose you will not be shipping it home. Best of luck to you with this cruddy situation, keep us posted.
    MR
     
  13. JungleJim

    JungleJim New Member

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    BigBaron, That is just horrible. I don't know the entire story, but why did the dealer you got it from even ship it in that condition? Did they sell you one that they knew could otherwise never be "unloaded" on someone who actually inspected it prior to purchase? Shame on that dealership (which I assume is Riley's RV World?). Can you believe that Riley's RV World had the gall to actually put their advertisement on the unit? Either they don't inspect the units once they take delivery, or they do inspect them, but just don't give a care about quality and customers.

    Forest River will continue to build low quality units until people stop buying them. Thank you for getting the word out to potential owners. If there is no quality, then any price is too much to pay.

    I think as the economy improves, there is a potential opening for a new manufacturer to step up and gain substantial market share by producing quality and value.
     
  14. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn New Member

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    I think we have all had negative customer experiences that have been completely turned around by how the company responds to them. Unfortunately, we no longer expect things to always be "right" when we get them, but instead base our customer service satisfaction on what the company does to "make it right".

    I sincerely hope that Coachmen steps up to the plate and makes this right.
     
  15. gec66

    gec66 Active Member

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    I hate to say it, but having grown up 12 miles from Forest River's headquarters and knowing of the founder from his days of owning Cobra, I have no respect for any company that is associated with him. I also know the Jayco family well and while pups (& the mass produced RV's of all genre's) are slapped together with cost effective materials, I believe there is still a much more conscientious effort on Jayco's part to produce a quality product and stand behind it. Certainly that would not have guaranteed a trouble free result, and others on the board report being satisfied with Forest River, both product and service, but I seriously doubt I would ever purchase something made by them. Quite frankly my Fleetwood is built better than Jayco/Starcraft units, but that comes at the price of additional weight. Good luck dealing with Forest River and I certainly would not hesitate to wage a public battle. Being in Korea it is about your only option.
     
  16. 4mula1fan

    4mula1fan New Member

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    Gadzooks!! [:O] Sorry to see those troubles...I'm glad to say ours isn't like that at all...
     
  17. BigBaron

    BigBaron Dreaming of Tommy's chili cheeseburgers...

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    Gec66 - lesson learned. The reason our trailer was the only one at or below 2,000 lbs. is the quality and strength of materials.
    All the Jaycos were significantly heavier.
    The bump-out kitchen is what I really liked. It gives some of the walk around space of a slide-out with no weight penalty.
    My old Starcraft is much better made.
    Now I wonder if I would have all these problems had I bought the identical Viking trailer (2406) that Riley's had...
     
  18. bondo54

    bondo54 Active Member

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    BigBaron is the salesman that sold you that still there?? I can't help but think that it may have been a way to unload that P.O.S. You know let's ship it over seas and we will not have to deal with it later.
     
  19. TX_F2

    TX_F2 New Member

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    That is definitely unacceptable, I hope you get some resolve from either Mr. Mandell or the dealer who sold it to you. I agree with pgordemer in that the dealer should have never shipped that pup off without an inspection, it is blatantly obvious one was not done.
     
  20. PNW Family

    PNW Family New Member

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    Personally I hope that comes in the form of Somerset expanding their lines into 10' and 8' boxes again, instead of just the 12' and 14' monstrosities they make. I mean, they're building on the old Coleman/Fleetwood platform, after all.
     

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