I'm frustrated. I wanna go camping. I can't. My Forest River Salem 28BGSS Travel Trailer is in the shop. Again.
I went shopping around for travel trailers in the January 2007 timeframe. Went to a couple local dealers in Kansas City, and found the trailer I wanted. I sat down with a few people at Nationwide RV to discuss pricing. They were about $3,000 below MSRP, and when I asked if they could go lower, they went down just enough so that, when you added a trailer hitch and brake package, you were back to their list price. No deal.
I ended up buying a trailer from Jeff Couch's RV Nation in Cincinnati, Ohio, in February of 07. Great dealer. Great prices. Great guy. Let's just say it was worth the trip to Ohio (from Missouri). Since I bought it in Ohio in the middle of winter, I didn't realize right away that my fresh water tank was leaking, and that the control panel wasn't showing the correct fresh water level (it showed "E" even when it was full). My first camping trip was cut short, because I was out of water by morning. Not a big deal. These things happen.
Not wanting to drive back to Ohio for warranty work, I called Nationwide RV. To keep this part of the story short, they told me if I paid for the work, they could fit me in the following weekend, but if they were to be reimbursed by the manufacturer, I would have to wait until the end of August (this was in March, btw). All of this because I hurt their feelings by not buying from them. So I'd have to go the whole camping season with no fresh water tank (wait... it gets better!)
So I settled on Liberty RV (jingle: Freedom is a wide-open road...), and I brought it in for service. A few other things needed to be done... rubber seal around a door, a crack in one of the cabinets, and the water tank issues. They had it for about 3-4 weeks, after having ordered a new fresh water tank. I pick it up and take it home and, upon immediate inspection, realize they didn't fix the crack in the cabinet door. The seal is OK, the water monitor shows something other than "E"... life is good! My wife comes out for further inspection and notices footprints all over the trailer floor, and handprints on the toilet lid. We soon come to realize that they used our bathroom. Oh, not just #1, either! I give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume that it was an emergency... so like a newbie trailer owner, I dump my black water tank (the one that holds #1 and #2 business)... right onto my front lawn. If I didn't need any more evidence that they used my toilet (other than what poured out of my tank... ), a few shop towels came out as well. I do NOT use shop towels when... you know. So anyway, they crapped in my trailer. Nice.
Do I call the manufacturer and complain about this? Given that there are only two other service companies in my area, and one is mad at me because I didn't buy from them, I decide to be the better person (and not burn any bridges either) and leave it alone.
Something to keep in mind at this point is that I have been camping several times during all of this, but at campsites that have full water hookups, so I never needed to fill up the newly installed fresh water tank. Yet.
Now we're up to Father's Day weekend. Heading out to Lake Pomme de Terre for a long weekend of camping. No water hookups there, so I'll have to bring my own. I fill up the tank at home, check the monitor...it shows "FULL". Again, life is good. I get the family and everything else packed up and hit the road. I make it 6 miles before someone is honking at me, pointing to my trailer, yelling "Your water! Your water!" So I think "Did I forget to close the valve? Is my 40+ gallons of water leaking all over the highway?" In hindsight, I wish.
I pull into the next gas station, investigate, and there are wires and hoses hanging out from the back of my trailer. What?!?!
*THE FRESH WATER TANK IS GONE*
It fell off the trailer.
A mile back.
Camping trip is over.
We head North back up the highway (seven mile stretch between exits), pass the water tank on the south side, get to the next exit, swing 30 feet of trailer around the off-ramp back South, and have to pull over, flashers blinking, while I pick up a 40+ gallon fresh water tank from the side of the road, with my wife and kids in the car, and a wide-ass trailer on a narrow shoulder.
It's at this point that we realize that we should salvage what we can. We're going camping after all. We didn't get all packed up just to go home now.
Lake Pomme de Terre is the best campsite yet. It was my best camping trip to date. We even stayed an extra day.
When we get home, we contact Olathe Ford RV, our last hope at a good RV service experience. They have now had it for almost a week, and I haven't heard from them yet.
I cross my fingers that we will finally get some satisfaction. People just don't seem like they want to do a good job anymore.
Jeff Couch's RV Nation - GOOD
Nationwide RV - BAD
Liberty RV - BAD
Olathe Ford RV - will let you know
I tried my best to paint the best picture of all service centers in this blog. If you want to know how I REALLY feel about any of them (good or bad), let me know.