August 2019 RV Manufacturer Recalls

A manufacturer recall can create a safety risk if not repaired

Your recreational vehicle may be involved in a safety recall and may create a safety risk for you or your passengers. Safety defects must be repaired by a certified dealer at no cost to you. However, if left unrepaired, a potential safety defect in your vehicle could lead to injury or even death.

Camping at Smokiam RV Resort, Soap Lake, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What is a recall?

When a manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines that a recreational vehicle or item of RV equipment creates an unreasonable risk to safety or fails to meet minimum safety standards, the manufacturer is required to fix that vehicle or equipment at no cost to the consumer.

NHTSA releases its most recent list of recalls each Monday.

The number of RV recalls has increased significantly in recent years: 169 recalls were issued during 2016, 203 recalls during 2017, and 230 for 2018.

It should be noted that RV recalls are related to vehicle safety and not product quality.

NHTSA has no interest in an air conditioner failing to cool or slide out failing to extend or retract—unless they can be directly attributed to product safety.

NHTSA announced 10 recall notices during August 2019. These recalls involved 8 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Forest River (3 recalls), Heartland Recreational Vehicles (1 recall), REV Recreation Group (1 recall), Gulf Stream Coach (1 recall), Thor Motor Coach (1 recall), Winnebago (1 recall), Vanleigh RV (1 recall), Tiffin (1 recall)

Forest River

Camping at Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2013-2019 Starcraft Allstar, 2013 and 2019 Allstar XL, 2017 Candidate II, 2014-2018 Senator II and Senator II HD, and 2015-2019 Starlite vehicles equipped with Safe Fleet Prolo Roof Escape hatches. Due to a manufacturing issue, the roof hatch external handle may unexpectedly break under reasonable use.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will replace the hatch, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin September 13, 2019. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-800-748-3440. Forest River’s number for this recall is 05-1060.

Forest River

Camping at Texas Lakeside RV Resort, Port Lavaca, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Flagstaff and Cherokee Arctic Wolf recreational trailers equipped with MORyde Orbital or You Turn Rubber Pin Box Wedge Kits. The pin boxes may have been equipped with bolts 1-3/4″ in length when they should be equipped with 2″ long bolts.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the bolts and replace them as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin September 11, 2019. Owners may contact MORyde customer service at 1-574-293-1581 or Forest River customer service at 1-574-642-8954 (Flagstaff) or 1-260-499-2100 (Cherokee). Forest River’s number for this recall is 51-1065.

Forest River

Camping at New Green Acres RV Resort, Waterboro, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2020 Columbus Fifthwheel Trailers. The rear ladder blocks the egress window on the rear wall, preventing the use of the window.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will install an egress window, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin September 18, 2019. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-821-1487. Forest River’s number for this recall is 410-1071.

Heartland Recreational Vehicles

Camping at Columbia River RV Park, Portland, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Heartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC (Heartland) is recalling certain 2017 Bighorn Traveler, 2016-2020 Elkridge, Elkridge Ex, 2019-2020 Milestone, 2017-2018 North Peak, 2016-2017 Oakmont, 2017-2020 Pioneer FW, 2016-2018 Prowler FW, 2017-2019 Sundance and Sundance XLTFW trailers. The A/C electrical connector may have been improperly installed, possibly causing increased electrical resistance and the connection to overheat.

Heartland will notify owners, and dealers will correct the electrical connections, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin September 6, 2019. Owners may contact Heartland customer service at 1-877-262-8032. Heartland’s number for this recall is 99.01.47.

REV Recreation Group

Camping at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

REV Recreation Group (REV) is recalling certain 2016-2019 American Coach American Eagle and 2016 American Heritage motorhomes equipped with factory-installed rear air deflectors. The center mounting plate for the rear air deflector may have been installed incorrectly with screws that may loosen, possibly resulting in the air deflector detaching from the vehicle.

REV will notify owners, and dealers will properly secure the rear air deflector to the fiberglass cap with rivets, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin September 10, 2019. Owners may contact REV customer service 1-800-509-3417. REV’s number for this recall is 190709REV.

Gulf Stream Coach

Camping at Sunny Acres RV Park, Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Gulf Stream Coach, Inc. (Gulf Stream) is recalling certain 2017 Serro Scotty S14 RBR travel trailers. The Federal Placard label indicates an incorrect Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).

Gulf Stream will notify owners, and dealers will replace the Federal Placard label, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in August 2019. Owners may contact Gulf Stream customer service at 1-800-289-8787. Gulf Stream’s number for this recall is GS072619.

Thor Motor Coach

Camping at Buccaneer State Park, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Omni and Magnitude motorhomes. The battery tray may be improperly welded to the chassis frame, allowing the battery tray to detach from the chassis.

TMC has notified owners, and dealers will weld on an additional support to the battery tray, free of charge. The recall began August 8, 2019. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000171.

Winnebago

Camping at Poche’s RV Park, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winnebago Industries, Inc. (Winnebago) is recalling certain 2018-2019 Fuse motorhomes built on a 2018 Ford Transit chassis and equipped with aluminum wheel feature code 63W. The wheel studs may be too long, preventing the lug nuts from properly securing the wheels.

Winnebago will notify owners, and dealers will replace the wheel studs with a shorter version, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Winnebago customer service at 1-641-585-6939 or 1-800-537-1885. Winnebago’s number for this recall is 159.

Vanleigh RV

Camping at Harvest Moon RV Park, Adairsville, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Vanleigh RV (Vanleigh) is recalling certain 2015-2019 Vilano and Beacon fifth wheel recreational trailers. The suspension shackles may be too short, causing them to fail.

Vanleigh will notify owners, and dealers will replace the existing shackles with longer ones, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in August 2019. Owners may contact Vanleigh customer service at 1-662-612-4040.

Tiffin

Camping at Ambassador RV Resort, Caldwell, Idaho © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc. (Tiffin) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Allegro Open Road motorhomes equipped with Liquid Spring suspension systems. A hydraulic suspension hose may be routed incorrectly, resulting in contact between the hose and the inside rear tire.

Tiffin will notify owners, and dealers inspect the position of the hydraulic hoses. If found to be incorrect, the clamp position will be corrected and the hydraulic hoses and tires inspected for any damage. Damaged components will be replaced as necessary. These repairs will be performed free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Tiffin customer service at 1-256-356-8661. Tiffin’s number for this recall is TIF-112.

Note: Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Please Note: This is the seventh in a series of posts relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.

—Martin Van Buren

Keys to Avoiding RV Accidents

A key to avoiding RV accidents is a basic understanding of the most common ones and how best to avoid them

Driving an RV is like driving a small house around the country—down highways, through back roads, and up and over mountain passes. And as more people join the RV lifestyle, it becomes increasingly important that RVers have a basic understanding of common RV accidents and how best to avoid them.

Driving safely on Scenic Byway 12 in Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Before you hit the road, ensure your recreational vehicle is roadworthy, and that you’re prepared in case of emergency.

Most of the common RV accidents can be avoided by preventive maintenance and proactive attentiveness.

Driving safely on Newfound Gap Road in Smoky Mountains National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

While the hazards are numerous, taking simple steps to avoid them is much easier than finding yourself facing the consequences of an RV accident or mishap. Knowing the most common mistakes and having the knowledge to prevent them will keep RV drivers safe and their trip enjoyable. Accidents such as lack of clearance can cost more than just the expense of the RV repair—such disasters can harm the traveling family as well.

The Low Hanging Tree Branch

Use special care when driving to your camping site in an RV park with overhanging trees © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One of the problems with certain campground owners is that they can be sloppy about trimming tree branches that hang over their roads. They make the mistaken assumption that people who buy travel units know enough to look up as they drive through RV parks, but many do not. The problem is that many recreational vehicles these days sit high, so when you put that kind of height together with an overhanging branch, you’ve got the recipe for problems.

Use extra care when driving in or backing out of a camping sites © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One newbie learned this the hard way. She was pulling out of a campground and, although she was trying to be careful, she forgot to look up. Even though she was driving slowly, her roof hit a heavy tree branch, and she was unable to stop in time to keep it from doing major damage.

Know your clearance height and don’t take unnecessary risks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The branch actually curled the front portion of her fifth wheel roof back a few feet, and this also loosened and misplaced the area that was a few feet behind it. It was an expensive way to learn an important lesson.

Know Your Height

Know your height, width, and total combined weight © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Know your height and always look up when you are driving in areas where overhangs of any kind are present. Sounds simple, but it’s amazing how many people forget the extra height of an RV while driving. Hitting bridges, low hanging trees, and overhangs or misjudging the amount of clearance beneath an overpass or inside a tunnel can put an immediate stopper on your road trip.

Use extreme care and caution on backroads. Pictured above Moke Dugway as it drops into Valley of the Gods in Southern Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In order to keep your RV in one piece and avoid getting hung up—literally— consider the following guidelines:

  • Pay close attention to posted clearance measurements
  • Know the height of your RV and place a sticky note on the dashboard with your exact height (remember to include A/C)
“We’ll probably fit” doesn’t cut it! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“We’ll probably fit” does not cut it—don’t take the risk

Also be aware that the typical width of an RV is 8.5 feet and the typical highway lane is 10 feet in width. This gives you about a foot-and-a-half to work with.

Learn From This Story

Lessons like these are hard ones, but people can avoid having to learn them if they take an RV Driving Course that is taught by a certified instructor prior to taking their coaches out on the road.

Use extreme care when approaching a bridge or tunnel with low clearance © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you want to protect yourself from having the kind of accidents you’ve learned about in this article, my best advice is to learn to drive an RV before taking it out on the highway, maintain it well, pay attention to what you’re doing when you travel, and always be aware of what the drivers around you are doing. Be proactive!

Drive safely! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!

Worth Pondering…

Speed was high

Weather was hot

Tires were thin

X marks the spot

BURMA SHAVE

July 2019 RV Manufacturer Recalls

A manufacturer recall can create a safety risk if not repaired

Your recreational vehicle may be involved in a safety recall and may create a safety risk for you or your passengers. Safety defects must be repaired by a certified dealer at no cost to you. However, if left unrepaired, a potential safety defect in your vehicle could lead to injury or even death.

What is a recall?

When a manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines that a recreational vehicle or item of RV equipment creates an unreasonable risk to safety or fails to meet minimum safety standards, the manufacturer is required to fix that vehicle or equipment at no cost to the consumer.

Camping at Gulf State Park, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

NHTSA releases its most recent list of recalls each Monday.

The number of RV recalls has increased significantly in recent years: 169 recalls were issued during 2016, 203 recalls during 2017, and 230 for 2018.

It should be noted that RV recalls are related to vehicle safety and not product quality.

NHTSA has no interest in an air conditioner failing to cool or slide out failing to extend or retract—unless they can be directly attributed to product safety.

NHTSA announced 12 recall notices during July 2019. These recalls involved 7 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Forest River (6 recalls), Thor Motor Coach (1 recall), Erwin Hymer (1 recall), Winnebago (1 recall), Jayco (1 recall), Keystone RV Company (1 recall), and Newmar (1 recall).

Camping at Butterfield RV Resort, Benson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2017-2018 Berkshire Coach Ultra UL1912 and UL1913 motorhomes. Water and contaminants may get into the block heater cable’s splice connector causing corrosion and damage.

Forest River will notify owners, and Ford dealers will disable the vehicle’s engine block heater cable, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 24, 2019. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Forest River’s number for this recall is 78-1032.

Camping at Waltons Lakefront RV Resort, Osoyoos, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2017-2020 Coachmen Chapparal, Chapparal Lite, Chapparal X-Lite and Shasta Phoenix recreational trailers. The outside kitchen may be equipped with a standard outlet receptacle and not a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protected outlet.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will replace a standard 110V outlet in the exterior kitchen with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) one. The recall is expected to begin July 31, 2019. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-825-8360. Forest River’s number for this recall is 110-1035.

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Georgetown and FR3 motorhomes. The slim-rack slide out mechanisms may activate unintentionally, moving the slide room in or out unexpectedly.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will provide a new controller and switch for the slideout mechanism, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 31, 2019. Owners may contact Forest River at 1-574-206-7600. Forest River’s number for this recall is 68-0991.

Camping at River Run RV Park, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2020 Work and Play fifthwheel (WPF33W17) trailers. The 12V and 110V cables for an optional generator may not be isolated from objects stored in the generator compartment, which can result in an electrical short.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will isolate the wires in the generator compartment so that they can’t short, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 31, 2019. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-825-6302. Forest River’s number for this recall is 31-1036.

Camping at Harvest Moon RV Park, Adairsville, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Cherokee trailers, model CKT294BH. The Federal Placard states incorrect Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC) and Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) information, which may result in the trailer being overloaded.

Forest River has notified owners, providing replacement placards that contain accurate Gross Vehicle Weight Rating and Cargo Carrying Capacity information, free of charge. The recall began June 24, 2019. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-541-995-3447. Forest River’s number for this recall is 64-1033.

Camping at My Old Kentucky Home State Park, Bardstown, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2019 Rockport work trucks equipped with an optional trailer brake controller. The brake controller may have been wired improperly, which may prevent the brake controller from activating the trailer brakes when the vehicle’s brakes are applied.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will replace the brake controller, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin August 7, 2019. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-327-2392. Forest River’s number for this recall is 65-1046.

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Challenger, Miramar, Magnitude, Outlaw, Omni, and Palazzo motorhomes. The vehicle control system software may cause the slide-out room to move unexpectedly.

TMC will notify owners, and dealers will update the affected software, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin August 28, 2019. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000170.

Camping at Poche’s RV Camp, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Erwin Hymer

Erwin Hymer Group North America, Inc. (Erwin Hymer) is recalling 2013-2019 Roadtrek E-Trek, RS Adventurous, CS Adventurous, and TS Adventurous motorhomes built on Sprinter chassis and equipped with one or two second row captain’s chairs, with integrated seat belts. The seat pedestal base anchor brackets to the chassis fame may not have enough strength to prevent the seat and seat belt from moving in the event of a crash. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 210, “Seat Belt Assembly Anchorages” and 207, “Seating Systems.”

The recall began June 26, 2019. Owners may contact Erwin Hymer customer service at 1-844-464-3735. Erwin Hymer’s number for this recall is 2019-01.

Camping at Hollywood Casino RV Park, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winnebago

Winnebago Industries, Inc. (Winnebago) is recalling certain 2018-2019 Forza motorhomes. The exterior storage compartment door may unexpectedly open while the vehicle is in motion.

Winnebago will notify owners and dealers will install a new latch and the catch will be inspected and properly aligned and readjusted if necessary. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Winnebago customer service at 1-641-585-6939 or 1-800-537-1885.

Camping at Hacienda RV Resort, Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2019-2020 White Hawk Travel Trailers. The breakaway switch may have been incorrectly wired, which can cause the trailer brakes to not function in the event of a trailer separation from the tow vehicle.

Jayco will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the breakaway switch for proper wiring, rewiring it as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in July 2019. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-517-9137. Jayco’s number for this recall is 9901438.

Camping at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keystone RV Company

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2020 Crossroads Hampton and Sunset recreational trailers. The breakaway switch may have been incorrectly wired, which can cause the trailer brakes to not function in the event of a trailer separation from the tow vehicle.

Keystone will notify owners, and dealers will rewire the breakaway switch, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin August 5, 2019. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 19-357.

Camping at 7 Feathers Casino RV Park, Canyonville, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Newmar

Newmar Corporation (Newmar) is recalling certain 2016-2019 Ventana LE and 2017-2019 Dutch Star, Essex, London Aire, Mountain Aire and Ventana, and 2018-2019 New Aire motorhomes built on a Daimler trucks chassis. The rear mounted Power Distribution Module (PDM) may have been damaged during manufacturing, possibly resulting in the rear marker lights, brake lights, or turn signals not functioning.

Newmar will notify owners, and Daimler Trucks dealers will inspect and replace the rear PDM, as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin August 6, 2019. Owners may contact Newmar customer service at 1-800-731-8300. Newmar’s number for this recall is 18V-852.

Note: Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Please Note: This is the sixth in a series of posts relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.

—Martin Van Buren

June 2019 RV Manufacturer Recalls

A manufacturer recall can create a safety risk if not repaired

Your recreational vehicle may be involved in a safety recall and may create a safety risk for you or your passengers. Safety defects must be repaired by a certified dealer at no cost to you. However, if left unrepaired, a potential safety defect in your vehicle could lead to injury or even death.

What is a recall?

When a manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines that a recreational vehicle or item of RV equipment creates an unreasonable risk to safety or fails to meet minimum safety standards, the manufacturer is required to fix that vehicle or equipment at no cost to the consumer.

Whispering Hills RV Park in Georgetown, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

NHTSA releases its most recent list of recalls each Monday.

The number of RV recalls has increased significantly in recent years: 169 recalls were issued during 2016, 203 recalls during 2017, and 230 for 2018.

It should be noted that RV recalls are related to vehicle safety and not product quality. NHTSA has no interest in an air conditioner failing to cool or slide out failing to extend or retract—unless they can be directly attributed to product safety.

NHTSA announced 17 recall notices during June 2019. These recalls involved 10 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Forest River (4 recalls), Keystone RV Company (3 recall), Airstream (2 recall), Newmar (2 recalls), MCI (1 recall), Lance Camper (1 recall), Newell (1 recall), Jayco (1 recall), Thor Motor Coach (1 recall), and Entegra Coach (1 recall).

Lakeside RV Park in Livingston, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Coachmen Beyond, Crossfit and Galleria motorhomes equipped with ProAir air conditioning systems powered by a LI3 lithium ion battery system. The wiring for ProAir system may be undersized for the potential load. Additionally, the circuit was not fuse or breaker protected.

Forest River has notified owners, and dealers will replace the wiring and install a circuit breaker, free of charge. The recall began May 20, 2019. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-825-8590. Forest River’s number for this recall is 225-1003.

Buccaneer State Park in Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2017-2019 Shasta Revere SHT32FE recreational trailers. The liquid propane (LP) gas line may have been improperly installed through the wheel-well, allowing the gas line to be damaged by road debris kicked up by the tires.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will re-reroute the LP gas line so that road debris cannot damage it, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin June 22, 2019. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-825-8717. Forest River’s number for this recall is 53-0995.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2018-2019 Starcraft All Star XL vehicles equipped with diesel engines with fuel module option number FS90301 or FS90453. The electric fuel heater within the fuel module may overheat and cause plastic in the fuel heater to melt and potentially catch fire. It may also lead to engine stalling.

The remedy for this recall is still under development. The recall is expected to begin June 17, 2019. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-800-348-7440 or Cummins customer service at 1-800-286-6467. Forest River’s number for this recall is 05-1021.

Sunny Acres RV Park in Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2011-2017 Glaval Universal transit buses, models US50225, US50225C, US50226, US50226C, and US80227C. The buses are missing one egress window on the curbside and roadside of the vehicle. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 217, “Bus Emergency Exits and Window Retention and Release.”

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will install one additional egress window on each the curbside and roadside of the vehicle, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 29, 2019. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-800-348-7440. Forest River’s number for this recall is 05-1029.

7 Feathers Casino RV Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keystone RV Company

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2018-2020 Fuzion 429 recreational trailers. The wiring harness to the power center may have been pinched between the floor framing and chassis beam, potentially damaging the wiring harness.

Keystone will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and repair the wiring as needed, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 19, 2019. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 19-351.

Edisto Beach State Park in South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keystone RV Company

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Dutchmen Voltage trailers, model 4185. An 18,000 lb.-capacity fifth wheel pin box may have been installed instead of the specified 21,000 lb-capacity pin box hitch.

Keystone will notify owners, and dealers will replace the pin box inner with a pin box inner rated for 21,000 lbs, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 19, 2019. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 19-354.

Badlands National Park in South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keystone RV Company

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2020 Crossroads Cruiser fifth wheel recreational trailers, models 27MK, 29SI, 28RD, 24RL and 29RK. The furnace exhaust vent may be missing.

Keystone will notify owners, and dealers will install a furnace exhaust vent if it is missing, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 10, 2019. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 19-355.

River Run RV Park in Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Airstream

Airstream, Inc. (Airstream) is recalling certain 2018-2020 International, Sport, Flying Cloud, Classic, Tommy Bahama,
Globetrotter, and Nest travel trailers. The forward end of the spare tire carrier may contact the ground while the trailer is moving possibly resulting in the carrier and spare tire separating from the vehicle.

Airstream will notify owners, and dealers will install corrected spare tire carrier brackets, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin June 28, 2019. Owners may contact Airstream customer service at 1-877-596-6505 or 1-937-596-6111, extension 7401 or 7411.

Peace Arch RV Park in Surrey, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Airstream

Airstream, Inc. (Airstream) is recalling certain 2017-2020 Basecamp trailers. The Tire Placard is lacking the trailer’s spare tire information. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 110, “Tire Selections and Rims.”

Airstream will notify owners, and will provide corrected labels, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 23, 2019. Owners may contact Airstream customer service at 1-877-596-6505 or 1-937-596-6111 extension 7401 or 7411.

Holiday Hills RV Park in Penticton, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Newmar

Newmar Corporation (Newmar) is recalling certain 2019 Mountain Aire and Essex motorhomes built on Freightliner XC chassis equipped with air disc brakes. The brake caliper mounting bolts may have been insufficiently tightened.

Newmar will notify owners, and Freightliner dealers will inspect and repair the vehicles, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 21, 2019. Owners may contact Newmar customer service at 1-800-731-8300. Newmar’s numbers for this recall are FL-816 and 19V-367.

Las Vegas RV Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Newmar

Newmar Corporation (Newmar) is recalling certain 2019 Essex, King Aire, London Aire, Mountain Aire, and 2020 Dutch Star motorhomes. The brake relay valve may have an air flow restriction due to a partially blocked orifice, which may lead to extended stopping distance. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 121, “Air Brake Systems.”

Newmar will notify owners, and Spartan dealers will inspect and replace the brake relay valve, if necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 19, 2019. Owners may contact Newmar customer service at 1-800-731-8300 or Spartan customer service at 1-800-543-5008. Newmar’s number for this recall is 19012.

Columbia Sun RV Resort in Kennewick, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Motor Coach Industries (MCI)

Motor Coach Industries (MCI) is recalling certain 2019 J3500 and D4505 buses, and 2018-2019 J4500 buses equipped with Transpec T287x Series glass roof hatches. Temperature and vibration stresses may cause the tempered glass roof hatch to shatter.

MCI will notify owners, instructing them to contact the hatch manufacturer for a replacement roof hatch, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin June 14, 2019. Owners may contact MCI customer service at 1-800-241-2947. MCI’s number for this recall is SB 471.

Ambassador RV Resort in Caldwell, Idaho © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lance Camper

Lance Camper Manufacturing. Corp. (Lance Camper) is recalling certain 2019-2020 855S and 1172 Truck Campers. There may be a large gap between the fold down bunk bed, while it is in the sleeping position, and the window near the sleeping area.

The remedy for this recall is still under development. The recall is expected to begin July 1, 2019. Owners may contact Lance Camper customer service at 1-661-949-3322.

12 Tribes Casino RV Park in Omak, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Newell

Newell Coach Corp. (Newell) is recalling certain 2017-2020 P50 motorcoaches. The passenger side wiper arm linkage may be too short, possibly causing the wiper to malfunction and rotate in a downward position.

Newell will notify owners, and dealer will inspect and replace the wiper linkage with one that has been properly aligned, if necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin June 21, 2019. Owners may contact Newell customer service at 1-888-363-9355.

Cochise Terrace RV Park in Benson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2020 Greyhawk motorhomes. The brake relay valve may have an air flow restriction due to a partially blocked orifice, which may cause to extended stopping distance. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 121, “Air Brake Systems.”

Spartan will notify Jayco owners, and Spartan dealers will inspect and replace the brake relay valve, if necessary, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Spartan customer service at 1-800-543-5008 or Jayco at 1-800-517-9137.

Canyon Vista RV Resort in Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Magnitude, Omni motorhomes, models BB35 and BH35. Wires located in the electrical junction box may move around and contact an extra screw that was errantly installed.

TMC will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the junction box and remove the extra screw, and repair any damaged wiring, as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin August 5, 2019. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000169.

Rain Spirit RV Resort in Cottonwood, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Entegra Coach

Entegra Coach (Entegra) is recalling certain 2020 Anthem and Cornerstone motorhomes. The steering shaft bolt may have been insufficiently tightened.

Entegra will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the motorhome and tighten the steering shaft bolt, as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin June 28, 2019. Owners may contact Entegra customer service at 1-800-517-9137. Entegra’s number for this recall is 9803435.

Note: Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Please Note: This is the fifth in a series of posts relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.

—Martin Van Buren

6 Ways to Save Money on an RV Road Trip

RV travel still comes with some expenses. Here’s how to keep them in check.

One of the great pleasures in life is the road trip.

A road trip can get expensive, though.

RVing on Scenic Byway 12 in Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Saving money on unnecessary spending frees up bucks for other things. While an RV is one of the biggest investments we can make, the ways we can save when camping with our RVs, are almost limitless.

Most motorists share one common goal—to get the best mileage possible. The desire for the best fuel efficiency is especially strong among recreational vehicle owners. There are many ways that you can reduce fuel and related costs while enjoying life ‘on the road’ in your RV.

RVing at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Many RVers take measures to reduce fuel consumption through simple steps like driving 55 instead of 65 or 70 mph and packing lighter to reduce weight in the RV.

Following are six ways to save money on fuel this summer:

RVing in Organ Pipe National Monument in southern Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Avoid High Speeds

Decreasing your speed saves money. The greatest improvement in fuel economy is the speed we drive. As your speed increases, your aerodynamic drag increases. Driving faster pushes more air ahead of the RV which creates more resistance to forward movement. Driving 62 mph rather than 75 mph will reduce fuel consumption by about 15 percent.

RVing on Scenic Byway 12 in Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Do Not Accelerate or Brake Hard

Accelerate gradually, both from a stop and when entering a freeway; avoid sudden jack-rabbit starts and rapid acceleration. By anticipating the traffic and applying slow steady acceleration and braking, fuel economy may increase by as much as 20 percent.

RVing at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Anticipate Traffic Flow

Look at the traffic as far ahead as possible in order to avoid unnecessary stopping and starting within the flow of traffic. Maintain a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead.

Brake smoothly, avoiding fast stops; rapid braking wastes fuel and cut down your mileage.

RVing on Scenic Byway 12 in Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Look ahead and anticipate traffic conditions. Slow down well before you need to. Instead of slamming on your breaks just before the line, slowly ease off the accelerator, coasting to a stop and thus avoid wasting fuel and wear on the brakes.

When the light changes green, forget that pedal to the metal mindset and, again, ease into it.

RVing at Organ Pipe National Monument in Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Keep Tires Properly Inflated

Another fuel saver is to keep tire air pressures at the levels recommended by the tire manufacturer. Tire pressure can severely affects fuel economy.

If the tires are low on air, the engine has to push harder to move the RV ahead. It is important to know that tires can look normal when they are seriously under inflated.

RVing at Bartlett Lake in Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Regularly check the air pressure in all tires, when the tires are cool (air pressure increases while you are driving).

Under-inflated tires can increase fuel consumption by up to 4 percent, according to International Energy Agency.

Proper inflation also reduces the incidence of tire failure.

RVing at Deadhorse Point State Park in Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Reduce Idling Time

Be kind to your RV engine by idling it the proper amount of time at your starts and stops, but never idle for excessive amounts of time. Besides polluting the air and wasting your fuel, this will cause your valves, pistons, and injector to build up with carbon which will hurt your pocketbook in the long run. Check your owner’s manual for recommendations related to your model.

RVing at Badlands National Park in South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Control Your Weight

Added weight significantly decreases fuel mileage and increases wear and tear on your tires.

Keep in mind that everything you put in your RV has weight. The average couple carries approximately 2,000 pounds of “stuff,” and many full-timing couples carry as much as 3,000 pounds.

When possible, travel with empty gray and black holding tanks and fresh water tank no more than ¼ full.

The following are approximate weights of the liquids that RVs commonly carry:

  • Water—8.3 pounds/gallon
  • Gasoline—6 pounds/gallon
  • Diesel fuel—6.6 pounds/gallon
  • Propane—4.5 pounds/gallon
RVing at Jasper National Park in Alberta © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Now Let’s Go RVing!

Worth Pondering…

I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.

—Jackie Mason

Driving an RV in High Winds

The easiest solution to driving your RV in high winds is simply to not drive

High winds and the damage they can cause are frightening enough; but experiencing severe winds while driving an RV is even more alarming.

High winds can damage an RV, blow it over, and cause fatal injuries to driver and passengers. While responsible RV owners always check weather conditions before traveling, windy weather can be unpredictable and can surprise you with a sudden change in direction or unusually strong gusts.

Travel safe! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Take extra precautions for tight spots, slow down as you drive, steer clear of others on the road, and know when to sit it out can help you confidently navigate the potential dangers of driving your RVing in high winds.

Check Weather Conditions Prior To Travel: Delay Departure

Travel safe! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Always check weather conditions prior to travel and of necessary, delay departure. Don’t rely on a single source of information, such as a weather app. Have multiple ways of receiving weather information, especially when weather turns potentially dangerous. Be aware of good weather websites. Tuning into a local television station for live weather updates is critical.

Travel safe! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Own a NOAA Weather Radio. Weather radios are designed to audibly alert you to local weather risks, but they require that you input the NOAA county code.

Driving Through High Winds: Slow Down

Travel safe! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Driving an RV through severe winds can leave you feeling out of control. This feeling is not misplaced as high winds can push your vehicle off course. A quick course correction is not recommended since it tends to take you just as rapidly in the opposite direction.

Travel safe! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Slowing down is the only way to avoid losing control of your vehicle when driving during strong gusty winds. You cannot outrun the storm, no matter how skilled a driver you are, so stay safe by slowing down and taking it easy.

Travel safe! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

If after slowing down you still don’t feel comfortably in control of your RV, then find a safe place to pull off the road. Be sure to take corners especially slow. When driving slow, do like the long-distance truck drivers and use your four-way flashers.

Sharing the Road: Keep Your Distance

Travel safe! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

You understand the importance of slowing down and driving cautiously in high winds, but other drivers may not clue in. The best way to share the road with others in windy conditions is to keep your distance.

Even smaller vehicles can be potentially blown into your lane or directly into your RV. Trailers, campers, boats, and other towables are even more difficult to control during strong winds since they have no power source of their own.

Travel safe! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Feeling Overwhelmed: Take a Break

You RV because it’s an enjoyable activity! Don’t let the stress of driving in high winds ruin your good time. Rather than white knuckling your way through, pull over and take time to regain your composure and reassess weather conditions.

Travel safe! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Arriving at your destination in good time is all well and good, but your safety and the safety of your traveling companions is much more important. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed driving through high winds, don’t hesitate to pull over and take time to shake off the stress of driving during poor weather conditions.

When in Doubt: Wait It Out

Travel safe! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

There is no shame in avoiding high winds by stopping at a safe place to wait out the weather. Taking personal responsibility and knowing when to sit it out are the best ways to stay safe.

Eventually the wind will die down or the storm will pass, and you’ll be back on the road having fun again.

Travel safe! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Only you can make the decision to slow down or stop due to high winds; be sure to follow your instincts and err on the side of caution. Take it easy, slow down, and put your safety ahead of your schedule.

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!

And we arrived safely again! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Worth Pondering…

Take your time.

Slow down.

Live.

Is Your RV Road Ready?

Are you and your RV ready for a brand new camping season?

There’s something magical about a summer road trip. And it’s a standby in literature and movies—from John Steinbeck’s classic Travels with Charley to Smokey and the Bandit.

Much has changed in RVs over the years © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Times have certainly changed since Steinbeck and his dog Charley made their way across the country 54 years ago. But one thing hasn’t changed: A summer road trip is still the best way to see America, see its natural wonders, national parks, historic sites, and big-name tourist attractions.

But RVers still travel with and pamper their pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Hitting the open road can be the highlight of any spring or summer camping expedition but don’t let preventable maintenance issues put a damper on your vacation.

Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance includes inspection of the entire unit from top to bottom on a regular basis © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Preventive maintenance is designed to prevent or identify potential problems that could lead to mechanical breakdown, malfunction, or failure of a component or system. Don’t confuse this with regularly scheduled maintenance (SEE below).

Inspect all the roof and window seals of your RV and reseal any that are showing signs of damage or aging.

Washing and waxing your rig on a regular basis is an important part of preventive maintenance © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Check awnings for damage, mildew, and insects.

Examine the hitch system for wear, loose bolts, and cracks.

Check for cracks in hoses and fan belts and replace if necessary.

Check all lights. Make sure headlights, fog lights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals are all functioning properly.

Preventive maintenance includes the interior of the rig © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Preventive maintenance applies to the RV interior as well as the exterior. Stains become more difficult to remove when vinyl or leather is allowed to become dry.

Scheduled Maintenance

Schedule maintenance as required by the owner’s manuals © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Scheduled or routine maintenance is performed in intervals normally based on time, mileage, or hours.

Note: It is absolutely essential that you read your owner’s manual and warranty information in regards to who is responsible for what when it comes to scheduled maintenance. Adhere to the service schedule outlined in the manual. Scheduled maintenance that is required by the manufacturer and not performed can void your warranty.

Safety Alarms

Maintenance includes ensuring that all safety features are operational at all times © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Check Smoke, LPG, and Carbon Monoxide alarms for proper operation and replace batteries as needed.

Battery Care

See y’all down the road and happy and SAFE RVing © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Check the water level in your batteries monthly. Remove the vent caps and look inside the fill wells. Check the electrolyte levels. The minimum level required for charging the battery is at the top of the plates. When you add water, use only distilled water and fill the cell to 1/8 inch below the fill well. Also remove any corrosion on the connections with a wire brush and baking soda/water solution.

Tire Maintenance

Not the way to care for your tires © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Tire manufacturers stress that there are four main considerations concerning tire care:

  • Proper air pressure should be maintained
  • Under-inflated tires can cause handling problems, increased tire wear, and even sudden tire failure
  • And don’t just check the pressure at the start of the season, but every time you are heading out
  • Age of the tires: RV tires usually age out before they wear out; tires should be inspected annually, especially after the first five to six years, regardless of the mileage

Emergency Road Service

A quality road service plan provides peace of mind for problems that occur down the road © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Even with the best preparation, issues can still arise with your RV, so it’s a good idea to sign up for a roadside assistance plan.

Like any insurance plan, Emergency Road Service is an investment that you hope you’ll never need. But if you spend much time on the road, sooner or later you’ll have a breakdown.

See y’all down the road and happy and SAFE RVing © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Excellent plans are available from CoachNet and AAA.

Your plan should provide coverage for emergency gas/fuel, lockout service, tire changes, and jump-starts. These services should be available no matter where you travel. Think about your needs and ensure that your emergency assistance plan will meet them. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does my plan cover all vehicles that we normally travel with: motorhome, toad, trailer?
  • Does my plan include a lodging allowance if we aren’t able to stay in our RV?
  • Am I covered in the U.S. and Canada?
  • Does my plan have an upper limit? A deductible?
  • What hoops do I have to jump through to get reimbursed if I have to pay cash for service?
See y’all down the road and happy and SAFE RVing © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Shop around. Match your plan to your needs and your budget—and you’ll drive with peace of mind this spring and summer.

See you down the road and Happy and Safe RVing!

See y’all down the road and happy and SAFE RVing © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Worth Pondering…

Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.

—Fitzhugh Mullan

5 Tips for Safe RV Travel

Plan to travel safely with these tips

It’s that time of year again. The weather is warming up and spring has finally arrived. That means more motorists on the road and as the spring and summer travel season to picks up.

RV travel can be enjoyable but these large recreational vehicles demand respect. RVs are not particularly difficult to drive but there are a few things to keep in mind that will make your travels safer and more relaxing and enjoyable.

Alamo Lake State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

RV Checklist

Many accidents are caused by simple forgetfulness: leaving doors unlatched, awnings up, or steps extended. Use a step-by-step checklist and conduct a final walk-around visual inspection before driving away. A pre-departure checklist should include the following:

  • Check propane level and fill if needed
  • Check oil, transmission, and coolant levels
  • Check tire inflation pressure and adjust as required
  • Ensure all signal, four-way hazard, brake, running, and fog lights are operational
  • Turn propane off at the tank
Sunset Valley RV Resort, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

RV Safety Check

Before leaving ensure you conduct a thorough inspection on your RV. Do a final 360-degree walk-around the RV before getting in the driver’s seat and leaving on your road trip. Check all doors to make sure they are properly latched, disconnect power, water, and sewer lines.

River Run RV Park, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Look for any leaks and ensure your propane and smoke detectors are in working condition. Always test your carbon monoxide detector to make sure it is working properly. Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms are only noticeable when you’re awake, they include dizziness, vomiting, nausea, muscle twitching, headache, throbbing in the temples, weakness and sleepiness, and inability to think coherently.

As a final step prior to departure, check mirror adjustments. Adjust the side-view mirrors to barely see the side of your RV. Adjust the convex mirrors to include blind spots, keeping in mind that distances may be distorted.

Jekyll Island Campground, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Drive Safely

Be extra cautious when driving or towing an RV. RVs brakes are different from those in a car or SUV. Since most RVs have air brakes rather than hydraulic brakes, braking will have a different feel. Turning a corner in an RV is very different from a car. You need to compensate for the additional weight, height, and length. Slowly approach your turn and make sure you finish the turn before straightening out.

Experience is a key. The best way to become a good RV driver is by practice.

Poche’s RV Park, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Know RV Height, Width & Length

Some of the most common RV accidents include hitting bridges, underpasses, and gas station overhangs.

Post your exterior height, width, and total length in the motorhome or tow vehicle where it can easily be seen while driving.

Jack’s Landing RV Resort, Grants Pass, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Height: Measure to the highest point such as air conditioner or satellite dish

Width: Measure to the outermost points such as mirrors, awnings, or handles

Length: Measure from the front of the vehicle to the end of the towed vehicle or trailer

Also keep in mind that a typical highway lane is 10 feet. Most RVs are about 8.5 feet in width.

Lakeside RV Park, Livingston, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Tips to Backing up an RV

Have the co-pilot get out of the vehicle and scan the site before backing up, checking for site obstructions, overhanging branches, levelness of site, and location of utilities.

Adjust the mirrors to tilt down enabling you to see the lower rear corner of the RV.

Waltons Lakefront RV Resort, Osoyoos, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

The co-pilot should stand at the back of the site slightly to the side of the vehicle. Make sure that you can see the co-pilot in your side-mirror. The co-pilot should use hand signals that you both understand.

Back in slowly and very carefully.

Practice makes perfect. Try backing up in a big parking lot before tackling a campsite.

Blakes Ranch RV Park, Kingman, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Remember, safety is no accident.

Worth Pondering…

Take your time.

Slow down.

LIVE.

Forest River Workplace Safety Violations Top $250,000

The RV industry is booming. Production is high and sales are good, but is it coming at the cost of worker safety?

Between September 2017 and November 2018, ten of Forest River’s 26 plants in Elkhart County were hit with a total of 55 violations, 44 of them serious. The initial fines totaled $254,975, according to an ABC57 report.

Forest River showed up in a 2017 annual state occupational safety report as a “significant case” due to “excessive injuries.” According to the report, in the first nine months of 2017 alone there were nine fingers amputated, a fractured pelvis, and multiple foot fractures.

Polomino Solaire travel trailer, a Forest River product, camped at Picacho Peak State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

The ABC57 Investigates team spent almost a year going over stacks of IOSHA (Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration) inspection reports and talking to several current and former employees at Elkhart-based Forest River. What they found paints a picture of a fast-paced work culture filled with alleged drug use and lax safety practices—all proving to be a dangerous combination.

In the last few years the Elkhart RV industry has soared back to life after sinking deep into the depths of the 2008 recession. Demand is so high many RV manufacturers are offering highly competitive packages to potential employees to help increase production. But in that rush to meet demand worker safety seems to be falling through the cracks at Forest River—one of America’s largest manufacturers of recreational vehicles.

A Class A motorhome camped at White Tank Mountains Regional Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

ABC57 spoke to several current and former employees who shared those concerns. Many declined to speak on camera out of fears of retaliation. One former employee did agree to speak on camera—if we hid his identity out of fears he would be frozen out of the industry for speaking up. His employment was confirmed through an old Forest River pay stub. He described the work environment inside the plant as fast-paced.

The company has a 3.2 rating out of 5 on indeed.com, a website that allows current and former employees to review their employers.

Outback travel trailer by Keystone RV, a Thor Industries Company © Rex Vogel, all rights reserv

Some call it a great place to work, while others say there are problems. One thing almost every worker agreed on was the fast pace. That pace inspired by the “piece rate” one former manager told us about. It means the more pieces completed the more you get paid.

“They try to enforce safety as much as possible, but of course there are slips within the system you would say,” the former worker said.

Those slips eventually drew the attention of the Indiana Department of Labor with the company showing up in a 2017 Annual State Occupational report as a “significant case” due to “excessive injuries”. According to the report, in the first nine months of 2017 alone there were nine fingers amputated, a fractured pelvis, and multiple foot fractures.

Alpha Founder diesel pusher. One of the casualties of the recession, Alpha is no longer manufacturing RVs

IOSHA then sent a team of six people to Forest River plants in Goshen and Middlebury and eventually several others. Between September 2017 and November of 2018, ten of Forest River’s 26 plants in Elkhart County were hit with a total of 55 violations, 44 of them serious. The initial fines totaled $254,975.

To compare, during that same time period only four other local RV companies were hit with safety violations. The most was Lippert Components with 10 violations and initial fines totaling $45,000.

Golden Palms RV Park in Hemet, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Among Forest River’s violations inspectors cited risks of amputation, falling, and electric shock. In some cases, inspectors found Forest River employees were not properly trained and wearing the proper protective gear was not mandatory.

The violations and injury reports continued to come in through most of 2018. Paramedics were called twice to the company’s Starcraft division in Goshen, one of the locations hit with repeat violations. ABC57 obtained all dispatch calls to the Goshen plant. One from January 2018 was for a 50-year-old man who fell 12 feet hitting his head. Then in May a man in his 50s had two deep lacerations to two of his fingers.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Vista del Sol RV Resort, Bullhead City, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Warren Buffet, are you listening?

And remember that not all RV manufacturers are created equal.

Worth Pondering…

It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.

—Martin Van Buren

February 2019 RV Manufacturer Recalls

A manufacturer recall can create a safety risk if not repaired

Your recreational vehicle may be involved in a safety recall and may create a safety risk for you or your passengers. Safety defects must be repaired by a certified dealer at no cost to you. However, if left unrepaired, a potential safety defect in your vehicle could lead to injury or even death.

What is a recall?

When a manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines that a recreational vehicle or item of RV equipment creates an unreasonable risk to safety or fails to meet minimum safety standards, the manufacturer is required to fix that vehicle or equipment at no cost to the consumer.

La Quintas Oasis RV Resort, Yuma, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

NHTSA releases its most recent list of recalls each Monday.

The number of RV recalls has increased significantly in recent years: 169 recalls were issued during 2016, 203 recalls during 2017, and 230 for 2018.

It should be noted that RV recalls are related to vehicle safety and not product quality, violating labeling requirements listed in federal motor vehicle safety standards.

NHTSA has no interest in an air conditioner failing to cool or slide out failing to extend or retract—unless they can be directly attributed to product safety.

Pala Casino RV Resort, Pala, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

NHTSA announced 4 recall notices during February 2019. These recalls involved 3 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Forest River (2 recalls), Heartland Recreational Vehicles (1 recall), Triple E (1 recall).

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2019 Coachmen Apex recreational trailers. The inner hub bearings may not have been sufficiently greased, which can cause the bearings to overheat and fail.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and repair the hubs and bearings, as necessary, free of charge. The recall began February 4, 2019. Customer service number unknown at this time. Forest River’s number for this recall is 51-0923.

Whispering Hills RV Park, Georgetown, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2019 Salem and Wildwood recreational trailers. The power cord hatch is located above the water heater exhaust, possibly resulting in the cord or the hatch melting.

Forest River has notified owners, and dealers will secure the power cord away from the water heater exhaust, free of charge. The recall began February 4, 2019. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 574-534-6127. Forest River’s number for this recall is 44-0929.

Cajun Palms RV Resort, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Heartland Recreational Vehicles

Heartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC (Heartland) is recalling certain Milestone recreational trailers, model 377MB. The liquid propane (LP) gas hose for the water heater may have been improperly secured with a zip tie. If the zip tie fails, the hose may contact the tire.

Heartland will notify owners, and dealers will secure the hose with a P-clamp and replace the LP hose if damage is found, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin February 11, 2019. Owners may contact Heartland customer service at 1-877-262-8032. Heartland’s number for this recall is 99.01.44.

Hacienda RV Resort, Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Triple E

Triple E Recreational Vehicles (Triple E) is recalling certain 2019 Serenity recreational vehicles, model S24CB. The coach battery compartment door support metal cable may contact the positive battery terminal.

Triple E will notify owners, and dealers will replace the battery compartment door support metal cable with one that is covered with tubing, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in February 2019. Owners may contact Triple E customer service at 1-877-992-9906. Triple E’s number for this recall is CA#9208-1

Columbia River RV Resort, Portland, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Note: Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Please Note: This is the first in a series of posts relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.

—Martin Van Buren