Quality control (again!) - Dutchmen Owners

Go Back   Dutchmen Owners > Dutchmen Lifestyle | Camping, Fun & Hobbies > General Off-Topic Discussions
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 09-03-2015, 02:38 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Thom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Youngstown
Posts: 647
Florida
Quality control (again!)

Well it seems that just about every thread on this forum eventually turns into a quality issue, the latest case being the one about thermostat has no display.
We all pretty much know that quality suffers when the profit driven bean counters get involved. We often ask "how can they get away with providing a poor quality product and still stay in business?" But are the bean counters the only ones at fault?
My case in point is my 2014 3950. I purchased this unit in 12/14 and it has been "out of service" 7 1/2 out of the 9 months owned because of 4 trips to different repair facilities.
This much time out of service has us very unhappy campers and my wife has asked me to start researching the Florida RV lemon laws.
What an eye opening experience that has turned into. I was totally floored by the lack of protection the consumer is provided by the state of Florida when it comes to RVs. Here is a link to Florida's lemon law website...
After reading this excerpt from the lemon law I have to shake my head and wonder why we even have any RV lemon law;

"Certain parts or components of recreation vehicles are NOT COVERED under Florida’s Lemon Law. These are referred to in the law as the "living facilities," which are defined as portions of the vehicle designed, used or maintained primarily as living quarters, such as the flooring, plumbing system and fixtures, roof air conditioner, furnace, generator, electrical systems other than automotive circuits, the side entrance door, exterior components and windows other than the windshield and driver and front passenger windows. This is not a complete list."

So to me it is now obvious as to "how can they get away with providing a poor quality product and still stay in business?"

When the consumer is offered little to no recourse such as only a one year manufacture's warrantee and we are "protected" by laws that are designed to protect the manufacturer not the consumers, the manufacture can and does get away with providing a poor quality product and still stay in business AND make a profit!

Talk about having "bought and paid for politicians".. The RV industry must spend a lot of their profits on them and they are probably tax deductible too!


I am now slowly stepping off my soap box and returning this forum back towards happy camping because I finally got a call my camper is ready for pick-up just in time for the long weekend!




(moderators, if this post seems too political (against the rules I know) please feel free to delete it. It is just an attempt to educate consumers as to lack of recourse)
__________________

__________________
Thom & Rose
DD-250 ALUMNI
The problem child: 2014 Voltage 3950
The problem solver: 2017 Tiffin Breeze 32BR
Thom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2015, 05:04 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Callaway
Posts: 864
Maryland
Have you tried getting your finance company involved? I know that on a Ford Forum, one guy has have some tremendous problem (fuel system related) and his finance company stepped in to help out. They do have a vested interest in the product.

I would also look into dropping it off at the factory...sometimes it is hard to say "No" if you are standing in front of them.


Cale
__________________

__________________
TV: 2015 F-350 DRW, CC, 4x4, with 14k GVWR package, 98 gallon TransferFlow Aux Tank, Timbren Shocks

TH: 2014 Voltage 3950, Sailun S637 all around
calewjohnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2015, 08:01 PM   #3
Site Team
 
wahoonc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Sprung Leak
Posts: 3,139
North Carolina
I have to read warranties for a living... among other sleep inducing documents. Warranties are written to protect the manufacturer NOT the consumer. Period. In the case of lemon laws you had better believe that the various manufacturers lobbyists keep a close eye on them and will jump into action the second anything is even considered. I work in industrial construction and I know there are several committees that do nothing but monitor what the various state legislatures, as well as congress are up to when it comes to our industry.

Aaron
__________________
There is madness to my methods
2015 Coleman CM16FBS(traded) 2016 Concord 300DS
2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid following along
wahoonc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2015, 05:14 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Tucson
Posts: 756
Arizona
Sorry your Voltage has been a disappointment. My 3600 has had it's share of minor issues but around 95% of the repairs I did myself rather than the shop.

I had to redo the main air conditioner ductwork taping and interior vent taping. Had to redo the plywood under our bed because it was cut too narrow for the mattress. Had to clean all the construction gunk out of the faucets when we first got it. Had to fix water leak in the windows of main slide (was leaking in from the top of the slide).

The big issues we've had was the main slide Schwintek failed as did our Trailair hitch. We kept the trailer in our possession while parts were ordered. Took Camping World a couple of days to fix.

Point is I do my own repairs and don't allow the trailer to sit for weeks or months at the shop waiting for parts. Perhaps I also would be singing the blues had I taken the trailer to the shop for every repair.
__________________
2014 Voltage 3600
2013 Chevy 3500 CC DRW
2011 Harley Ultra Limited 2016 RZR 900
azdryheat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2015, 10:09 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Thom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Youngstown
Posts: 647
Florida
Quote:
Originally Posted by azdryheat View Post
Point is I do my own repairs and don't allow the trailer to sit for weeks or months at the shop waiting for parts. Perhaps I also would be singing the blues had I taken the trailer to the shop for every repair.
I agree about doing my own repairs as I did on my last Dutchmen 5'er. But this time the Voltage cost 3.5 times more than my last Dutchmen 5'er, and I felt it should be 3.5 times better. So this time I decided to make use of the warrenty and make Dutchmen pay to fix it. I felt that if I fixed everything (and there are a few repairs I have done to it) then everyone at the factory would think they are putting out a quality product because no one is getting any warrenty work done. Not this time. I know they make thousands of V series and most have no where near as many issues we have had. True, most of my items were "minor" but they were still issues to my wife and I. We intend to become "most the timers" in the next year or two and wanted it to be ready for that. To me, a quality job includes everything involved in that job, not just major items. And the only way to let them know it is not top notch, is through the use of thier warrenty.

Here is a listing of the Quality in our 3950. Maybe it would make a good PDI checklist?
2014 Voltage Model 3950 faults.pdf
__________________
Thom & Rose
DD-250 ALUMNI
The problem child: 2014 Voltage 3950
The problem solver: 2017 Tiffin Breeze 32BR
Thom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2015, 11:46 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Canon City
Posts: 861
Colorado
Thom, now really, just because it cost 3.5 times as much, you expected the quality, fit and finish to be 3.5 times better? What are you drinking??? Maybe you should back off a bit. LOL!!!

I have to admit, for what these things cost you would expect an excellent product and we really aren't getting it.

But as I deal with the issues that pop up, I get to know my TH better and better...so finding solutions becomes quicker and easier.

I bought an extra two years of warranty and will only use that for the big stuff...AC units, fridge, furnace, hot water heater, generator, things like that. The rest, I will take care of myself. The out of pocked expense isn't that great, and sure beats leaving the TH with the dealer for a couple of months....

Pirate
Pirate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2015, 03:55 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oxnard
Posts: 188
California
True Words, Pirate, I share your approach. Yes I got the ext warranty but that was for 'major medical' and I do my own work or hire out local rather than take it in anywhere so far, but my unit is still pretty new. After reading about all the issues some have had, I feel fortunate that everything in my rig worked for starters, or just needed a little finishing. Especially when you get behind the panels and find that jack ripper jr. did the wiring!
__________________
2015 Voltage 3800 w/ Epic, Int&Ext, Garage Pkgs; 4x100W Solar, Xantrex C35 Charge, SW2000 Inverter & Mon; 2005 Chevy Duramax Dually 3500 w/Banks; Kawi KFX700 & Polaris Scrambler 500 ATVs.
VCToyhauler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2015, 12:06 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Roselle
Posts: 1,163
Illinois
On board with Pirate and VCToyhauler. Thinking I'm fortunate having only a few fit and finish issues with my 3990. Worst QC issue is my ramp which they "burned" when buffing. Going in Thursday for repairs but everything else has been minor. Feel bad for you Thom having such a large punch list.
Rusty
__________________
2015 Black F-350 Platinum Diesel Dually Crew Cab
2019 Riverstone Legacy 38MB (Full Paint/All Options)
2015 Voltage 3990 (Full Paint, All Options) Sold 6/18
2005 Harley Ultra Classic w/too many miles
lcv800 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2015, 12:43 PM   #9
Site Team
 
wahoonc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Sprung Leak
Posts: 3,139
North Carolina
I have had a few QC issues with my little Coleman, most were just poor execution of things. Really no excuse considering how simple it is. A lot of excess debris in and under things. Some I would consider normal, but leaving the cutouts for cables and plumbing under the sink bottom, not so much. What is amazing is mine was built on a Friday.

Aaron
__________________
There is madness to my methods
2015 Coleman CM16FBS(traded) 2016 Concord 300DS
2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid following along
wahoonc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2015, 04:55 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Minden
Posts: 689
Nevada
I am with you guys, I am lucky, the biggest item to go bad on my unit was one of the jacks started leaking, other then that, I have had a few lights go out in less then a year, some of the drawers don't lock, don't like there wiring for cable, (fixed my self), molding coming off because of heat, and water pump now has stopped pumping, other then that, I have been lucky, Oh I haven't changed the Tire bombs yet and have about 20K miles on them, but checking which ones I will purchase, Some of the items that were repaired took 6 months to get repaired, but my Voltage has only been in for repairs 2 days.....Thom, hope you get your working the way you want it,
__________________
Rich and Angela, Lab Dogs, Ruben, Ace
2015 Voltage V3895 2006 Lance Truck Camper
2013 Chevy 3500HD 4X4 CC DRW LB Bags Husky 26K Hitch Can Am Commander 1000 ATV
RVNevada is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-2015, 03:57 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Thom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Youngstown
Posts: 647
Florida
I agree with what everyone has said so far, and I will be doing most of my own repairs when the warrantee runs out but there were just too many issues that I felt needed to be documented.

Just about every new-bee that comes here has many of the same issues we see over and over again. Lets see a show of hands as to how many of us have had issues with the way our A/C ducting is installed and taped. This is an issue on just about every new camper from Dutchmen. Why is that? Could it be that Dutchmen doesn't even know there is an issue because everyone is fixing it on their own and not getting it documented under warrantee? How about those crappy dump valves (pun intended ) that everyone is replacing with electric valves... Again not being documented.
Sure, it means I have to do without my rig for over six months, but maybe, just maybe, it might prove beneficial in the long run to the RV industry consumer as a whole.
I know the customer service rep that I have been in contact with numerous times has been very diligent about making sure each of my issues is documented. He has stated he can not believe that I own a Voltage ("our top of the line") that has this many issues, he claims they have never had this happen before.... lucky me .
__________________
Thom & Rose
DD-250 ALUMNI
The problem child: 2014 Voltage 3950
The problem solver: 2017 Tiffin Breeze 32BR
Thom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-2015, 07:05 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
sundancer 87's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Tahlequah
Posts: 2,861
Oklahoma
If Dutchman really cared they would send out a survey to the owners. I think they don't want to know what the major failings are with their product.


Let's see a feed back section on their Face Book page. Perhaps they look at that for problems.
__________________
2013 Voltage 3800, 2012 Chevy 3500 HD
2010 Yamaha V Star 950
2009 Yamaha Raider
Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity Caravanners
sundancer 87 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-2015, 11:16 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Canon City
Posts: 861
Colorado
Thom,

Somehow I get the feeling that Dutchmen doesn't know how to fix the problem.

Perhaps some years ago their crews went about building RVs with integrity and knowledge. But lately the new hires we see in all industries do not come with much of a "work ethic". With some, that can be developed, with others, we just let them go and someone else deals with them next.

Management of a construction business requires morning "tailgate" meetings to talk about the necessity of doing things right, being safe, being aware they have a "Stop Work Authority" if they see something unsafe or incorrect.

Management must practice "Management by Walking Around"...continually praising good work, continually coaching for improved production and quality, and when necessary stopping the work to talk about what had been done wrong and what must be done to correct things.

Its worked for years, I practiced it for years with great success.

Management has to take care of their employees. In these days of constant fear of layoff, stagnant wages, declining benefits packages, no retirement plan. Do companies expect the very best from their employees? It would dumb to do so!!

The quality of our RVs speaks loudly to these issues. And I don't know that Dutchmen can afford to take the steps to change things. Perhaps they are hoping business will improve and they can make changes...but I'm afraid they have things in the wrong order.

So we, the customer, shop for the RV with the features we want, and accept that there will be things we have to address ourselves.

Luckily, a lot of us like doing our own mods so that we know what we have an how to work on it, and keep it operating top notch...and we're willing to share everything we have learned on forums like this.

Off my soap box now...

Pirate
Pirate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2015, 12:55 AM   #14
Site Team
 
wahoonc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Sprung Leak
Posts: 3,139
North Carolina
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thom View Post
I know the customer service rep that I have been in contact with numerous times has been very diligent about making sure each of my issues is documented. He has stated he can not believe that I own a Voltage ("our top of the line") that has this many issues, he claims they have never had this happen before.... lucky me .
I think the first requirement to be a "customer service" rep is a BS degree, and I ain't talkin' Bachelor of Science! Dutchmen QC went to crap shortly after Thor took over and profits became job one. I think a couple of things happened, one their work force is poorly trained and they probably use a lot of temps. Two they started building things that the workforce did not have the skills set for. There were massive layoffs during the down turn in 2008, many of those people were close to retirement and probably bailed permanently. Can they overcome it? I seriously doubt it. I work in a field where quality is paramount, but as Pirate pointed out it comes and goes with the workers. We have a core set of workers that can and will do quality work, but when pushed beyond limits and with too many temps and new hires, quality suffers. Then you get to pay to go back to fix it.

Years ago I had a crew and had a fair bit of autonomy. If my crew had to go back to fix something they screwed up I made sure they only got paid minimum wage for the re-work. After about the second or third time, they got the message. Today the foreman are lucky to have the same crew for the entire job. Our crews average around 10 guys, typically 2-3 of them are old hands, the rest are new hires or temps. Our current turn over rate is over 50%... welcome to real world.

Aaron
__________________
There is madness to my methods
2015 Coleman CM16FBS(traded) 2016 Concord 300DS
2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid following along
wahoonc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2015, 01:02 AM   #15
Senior Member
 
Thom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Youngstown
Posts: 647
Florida
Pirate for President!

Very well said!

Only thing I would like to add to that is that we as the consumer do have some power over the products we accept. If nothing else I definately have hit Dutchmen in the pocket book with using my warrantee. All the repair tickets I have add up to just over 60 hours of labor, and at CW's posted labor rate of $140 an hour (I know thats not what mfgr pays for warrantee work) that $8400 amount has got to get somebody's attention. Maybe that manager will stop surfing the net and actually take a walk down to the production floor.
__________________
Thom & Rose
DD-250 ALUMNI
The problem child: 2014 Voltage 3950
The problem solver: 2017 Tiffin Breeze 32BR
Thom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2015, 01:11 AM   #16
Senior Member
 
sundancer 87's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Tahlequah
Posts: 2,861
Oklahoma
If the top weenies of Dutchman/Keystone were paid on commissions they would pay attention and walk the floor. Get in their pockets and quality could only increase.


Ah, but I dream yet again..............
__________________
2013 Voltage 3800, 2012 Chevy 3500 HD
2010 Yamaha V Star 950
2009 Yamaha Raider
Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity Caravanners
sundancer 87 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2015, 01:17 AM   #17
Site Team
 
wahoonc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Sprung Leak
Posts: 3,139
North Carolina
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thom View Post
Only thing I would like to add to that is that we as the consumer do have some power over the products we accept. If nothing else I definately have hit Dutchmen in the pocket book with using my warrantee. All the repair tickets I have add up to just over 60 hours of labor, and at CW's posted labor rate of $140 an hour (I know thats not what mfgr pays for warrantee work) that $8400 amount has got to get somebody's attention. Maybe that manager will stop surfing the net and actually take a walk down to the production floor.
Ain't gonna happen. I seriously doubt the warranty work they are doing even shows up on their profits radar, based on the sheer volume of units they are selling. They depend on the dealers to handle it, and as has been pointed out a lot of dealers don't even bother with it, if they do anything it all. The warranty process is so onerous that only the most obstinate people are willing to deal with it. As an example: my converter went out, WFCO insists that I need to take it to the dealer for warranty replacement. I figure 4 weeks if I am lucky, and they approve it on the first go around, 6-8 weeks if they don't. New better converter is ~$150 and a couple of hours of my labor to install. Screw WFCO and their so called "industry leading" warranty. I have my new converter and it will be installed over the weekend. WFCO is not on my Christmas Card list BTW. I have already wasted over an hour with those clowns on the phone and via fax. Done with them, moving on. You have to pick your battles. In my case there aren't too many things to really go wrong with my simple trailer. I am thankful that I don't have the issues with the higher tech ones that you guys have.

Aaron
__________________
There is madness to my methods
2015 Coleman CM16FBS(traded) 2016 Concord 300DS
2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid following along
wahoonc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2015, 01:44 AM   #18
Senior Member
 
Thom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Youngstown
Posts: 647
Florida
Aaron,
I understand the part about not wanting to wait 8 weeks or longer and just purchasing a better product, but what about something like the Tri-glide hitch that has reared it's ugly head. Sure, some can afford to say I'll just buy a better one but at +$1200 I don't think that will happen too often in this community without demanding some kind of compensation from the manufacturer.
Thom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2015, 02:33 AM   #19
Site Team
 
wahoonc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Sprung Leak
Posts: 3,139
North Carolina
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thom View Post
Aaron,
I understand the part about not wanting to wait 8 weeks or longer and just purchasing a better product, but what about something like the Tri-glide hitch that has reared it's ugly head. Sure, some can afford to say I'll just buy a better one but at +$1200 I don't think that will happen too often in this community without demanding some kind of compensation from the manufacturer.
I agree that there are quality issues everywhere you turn. The Tri-glide hitch was built by Lipert. I haven't bothered to dig too far to see who they are and where they came from. But I suspect shades of the old Coleman popup ABS roof debacle. Someone thought having an ABS roof was a great idea. They were nice looking, no seams and cleaned up very easily. So Coleman jumped in with both feet. Only problem is that ABS has very poor thermal expansion/contraction dynamics, especially in the form of the Coleman roof. Roofs started failing, somewhere around a 75% failure rate on a supposed lifetime warranty in the first couple of years. I had two replaced under warranty in the first year, third roof lasted a bit longer. Coleman quickly formed a separate company to manufacture the roof, that company assumed the liability and was soon bankrupt leaving the owners that came late to the came with nothing but ugly, cracked roofs. Dutchmen is little more than an assembly plant, they really don't make any of their components and will shift liability in a heartbeat. Yes Dutchmen/Keystone/Thor should stand behind the warranty, but with the number of issues that continue to crop up, along with the sheer volume that is being produced I don't think they really care how many consumers they piss off. Eventually the gravy train might run out, or maybe not. I do know that back in mid 2014 the Dutchmen operations management was replaced by Keystone management team, in part because the Dutchmen trailers were so poorly constructed that a lot of them weren't even making it to the dealers in one piece. There were a couple of articles about it in obscure newspapers/trade mags at the time. It has gotten somewhat better under Keystone. One major problem is the inconsistency from claim to claim as well as dealer to dealer. I honestly think that there is no system in place to track warranty claims, possibly because they don't want to know, maybe because of possibility of litigation?

Who knows.

The entire RV industry could use an overhaul, but it will take federal mandate or another country taking over the industry and pushing change like the Japanese/Germans did with the automotive market back in the late 70's. You currently have Thor and Forest River as the major players. I would be surprised if they would allow any sort of regulation of the industry outside of the current voluntary compliance with RVIA standards.

There are some good, smaller independents out there, but they are the exception rather than the rule. The other major issue is the caveat emptor, unfortunately too many people that buy their first, or even second or third RV get blinded by the bells and whistles, listen to the salesman or shop price only and don't do due diligence. Those are the ones that keep the RV industry cranking out the crap. Shades of Walmart.

I will put my soapbox away now and go fix my camper, got a trip planned in a couple of weeks.

Aaron
__________________
There is madness to my methods
2015 Coleman CM16FBS(traded) 2016 Concord 300DS
2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid following along
wahoonc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2015, 03:10 AM   #20
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Minden
Posts: 689
Nevada
Well it took about 4 months for me to get an appointment to take in my RV in for repairs, we will see how long it takes to get it back…..I don't have anything major, but i'm getting the water pump, one of my jacks, all the molding , a couple decals and the stairs repaired…...
__________________

__________________
Rich and Angela, Lab Dogs, Ruben, Ace
2015 Voltage V3895 2006 Lance Truck Camper
2013 Chevy 3500HD 4X4 CC DRW LB Bags Husky 26K Hitch Can Am Commander 1000 ATV
RVNevada is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Dutchmen RV or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT. The time now is 11:15 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.
×