RV Manufacturer’s Recalls Lead Entire Auto Industry

It’s only February and the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) has already issued several new batches of safety related recalls on thousands of RVs from a range of manufacturers and in particular two well-know names. Read on to learn more.

Who would think that an RV manufacturer would top all automakers in safety recalls in the early days of 2024? Forest River, the second largest RV manufacturer is cranking out recall notices faster than Ford and GM, each of which dwarf even the largest RV maker (that would be Thor Industries) in production.

As of the end of February, two well-known RV manufacturers made the 2024 year-to-date Top 12 on the recall list from NHTSA, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The list identifies vehicles and equipment that have been recalled for highway safety concerns.

Campground USA. Apache Junction, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River is number one on the recall list

Forest River’s 15 different recalls for the first two months of the year represent a full 25 percent of ALL recalls from NHTSA for 2024. The other RV manufacturer on the list is Tiffin Motorhomes running far behind Forest River in the number eight slot with three recalls representing 8 percent of total recalls.

As recently reported in February 2024 RV Manufacturer Recalls: 18 Recalls Involving 6 RV Manufactures, Forest River had nine recalls while Tiffin had two during the past month of February alone.

What caused these two manufacturers to make it into the Top Twelve of the recall list? Forest River’s baker’s dozen of recalls covered a wide range of issues. From LP tank gas brackets on motorhomes that could break—imagine a 50-gallon LP tank dragging on the freeway—to other problems including:

  • Axles that could break
  • Tires that could impact an adjuster and blow
  • Overheating furnaces that could blast deadly carbon monoxide into the coach
  • Awnings that could open while tooling down the highway
  • Shorting electrical wires

Of course, not all of Forest River’s RV recalls for highway safety concerns are as dramatic such as:

  • Marker lights that don’t reflect as they should
  • Incorrect tire placards not giving the straight dope
  • Tail light bezels that didn’t get installed reducing rear visibility

On the other hand, if you had a Forest River travel trailer and the draw bar mechanism failed allowing your trailer front end to suddenly drop, you’d probably prefer one of the lesser evils.

Tucson/ Lazydays KOA, Tucson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The latest Forest River recalls

Forest River Motorhomes

  • 2020-2023 Coachmen Galleria
  • 2021-2023 Beyond
  • 2021-2023 Coachmen Nova Class B 

Retractable awning defect – 2,519 units affected

The retractable awning may extend unintentionally during transit.

What owners of affected products should do

Dealers will install a wedge to support the internal components in the gearbox and replace the motor as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed March 5, 2024. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-574-825-6319. Forest River’s number for this recall is 225-1723.

2023-2024 Prism Class C motorhomes

Furnace defect – 213 units affected

The furnace may overheat and cause a crack in the burn chamber which can allow carbon monoxide to enter the cabin.

What owners of affected products should do

Dealers will install the correct cold air return, grill, and heating ducts as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed March 6, 2024. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-574-825-8602. Forest River’s number for this recall is 215-1730.

Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort, El Mirage, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River Towables

  • 2023 & 2024 Ibex
  • 2023 & 2024 R-Pod
  • 2023 & 2024 No Boundaries

Bolts that attach suspension to chassis not correctly tightened on some units – 157 units affected

On certain RV trailers, the bolts that attach the suspension to the chassis may not have been tightened correctly. As a result, the suspension could detach and separate from the trailer and cause a loss of control.

What owners of affected products should do

Forest River will notify owners by mail and advise you to take your RV trailer to a dealership to inspect and, if necessary, tighten or replace the bolts on the independent suspension. Recall number: 51-1727

2024 Coachmen Clipper and Viking Travel Trailers

Tail light bezel defect – 18 units affected

The tail light bezel may not have been installed on the vehicle. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 108, “Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment.”

What owners of affected products should do

Dealers will install the tail light bezel, free of charge. Forest River expects to have owner notification letters in the mail on March 6, 2024. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-269-467-4600. Forest River’s number for this recall is 120-1729.

2023-2024 Salem and Wildwood fifth-wheel trailers

The federal placard may have incorrect tire size information – 107 units affected

The federal placard affixed to affected trailers has the wrong tire size and pressure information. This could result in the wrong tires being installed, creating a safety hazard.

As such, these trailers fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 120, “Wheels and Rims – Other Than Passenger Cars.”

What owners of affected products should do

Dealers will mail new federal placards, free of charge. Forest River expects to have owner notification letters in the mail on March 13, 2024.

de Anza RV Resort, Amado, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tiffin is number eight on the recall list

And what about venerable Tiffin Motorhomes—how did it hit the Top Twelve of the recall list? Imagine sitting behind the wheel of your motorhome when suddenly your view of the freeway ahead is hampered because your driver seat broke away dropping you on the floor. Two other gremlins plagued some Tiffin motorhomes:

There were issues with shifting batteries that could allow their terminals to come into contact with grounded metal creating shorts

Solar panels could sometimes come loose, flying off the roof

The latest Tiffin Motorhomes recalls

2023-2024 Convoy and GH-1 Models

Solar panel bracket defect – 67 units affected

The bracket that secures the solar panel to the roof may crack and break which can cause the solar panel to detach.

What owners of affected products should do

Dealers will replace the brackets, free of charge. Tiffin expects to mail owner notification letters on March 22, 2024. Owners of affected RVs may contact Tiffin customer service at 1-256-356-8661. Tiffin’s number for this recall is TIF-136

2022-2024 Allegro Bay motorhomes

House batteries could shift during transport and cause a fire – 300 units affected

The standard house batteries may shift position during travel, which can cause the battery terminals to contact the steel hold-down bar and create a fire hazard.

What owners of affected products should do

Dealers will install a new battery hold-down bar and angle brackets, free of charge. Tiffin expects to have owner notification letters in the mail on April 1.

2022 Allegro Bay, 2022 Phaeton, 2022 Allegro Red

Driver’s seat base could move in crash – 16 units affected

The driver seat base may not have been properly welded on certain motorhomes. As a result, the seat could move or detach in a crash, and increase the risk of injury.

What owners of affected products should do

Tiffin will notify owners by mail and advise you to take your motorhome to either a Tiffin dealership or an authorized service facility to inspect and, if necessary, replace the driver seat base.

River Sands RV Resort, Ehrenburg, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Others have more recalled vehicles

To be sure, there were plenty of others who made the Top 12 list and some of those with far more vehicles being recalled.

From Ford which had 10 percent of all recalls on the list, five individual recalls netted a whopping 2,060,929 call-backs.

And while representing only 4 percent of the total recalls on NHTSA’s list, Tesla took the cake with its 2,393,869 recalls. Its biggest issue between two total recalls was 2,193,869 vehicles recalled because the font size of their dash warning lights were too small.

The number of recalled rigs between Forest River and Tiffin combined are, indeed, small potatoes in comparison.

Nevertheless, that two RV manufacturers would make the Top Twelve of the recall list should cause the industry (these two manufacturers in particular) to take a step back. Granted, the issue of Tiffin’s driver seat support breakage isn’t technically Tiffin’s fault. The same is true for the LP gas tank brackets that could break in Forest River’s camp. These issues came from outside manufacturers.

Still, the issues reflect on the integrity—and safety—of products sold by RV builders. Are RV manufacturers just in too much of a hurry to shove product out the door? Before shopping for a new rig, buyers might do well to examine NHTSA’s recall history books.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again that not all RV manufacturers are created equal. It is a good reason (actually more than ome) why we own a Newmar motorhome.

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

Here are a few links to related articles I’ve previously posted on the RV industry:

Worth Pondering…

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

—Martin Van Buren

December 2023 RV Manufacturer Recalls: 6 Recalls Involving 5 RV Manufactures

A manufacturer recall can create a safety risk if not repaired

Your recreational vehicle may be involved in a safety recall, creating a safety risk for you or your passengers. A certified dealer must repair Safety defects 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?

It’s always important to keep up with the latest recalls, no matter how small the issue may appear to be. Each week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) publishes the latest information on recalls from minor to major defects. NHTSA releases its most recent list of recalls each Monday.

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

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 or failing to extend or retract—unless they can be directly attributed to product safety.

Information on previous safety recalls follow:

Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort, El Mirage, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

NHTSA announced 6 recall notices during December 2023. These recalls involved 5 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Forest River (2 recalls), Grand Design (1 recall), Tiffin (1 recall), Keystone (1 recall), and REV (1 reall).

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2024 XLR Boost toy haulers. The taillights may be insufficiently reflective. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 108, “Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment.”

Dealers will install reflector stickers, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed January 17, 2024. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-574-642-0432. Forest River’s number for this recall is 79-1711.

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2023-2024 Coachmen Concord CNC321DSF motorhomes. The air suspension air line may be incorrectly installed near the exhaust, which can cause a sudden loss of rear suspension.

Dealers will re-route the air lines and 12-volt wiring away from the vehicle exhaust, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed January 24, 2024. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-574-825-8602. Forest River’s number for this recall is 210-1714.

Sand Hollow State Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Grand Design

Grand Design RV, LLC (Grand Design) is recalling certain 2024 Reflection travel trailers. The electrical plug blade openings (narrow hot blade and wider neutral blade) may be reversed on one of the two receptacle outlet faces, which can cause outlet failure.

Dealers will replace the incorrect receptacles, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed January 5, 2024. Owners may contact Grand Design customer service at 1-574-825-9679. Grand Design’s number for this recall is 910041.

Tiffin

Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc. (Tiffin) is recalling certain 2024 Allegro Open Road and Allegro Bay motorhomes. The 32-inch hard line LPG hose fitting may not fit correctly, which can cause a fuel leak.

Dealers will replace the 32-inch hose with a 40-inch hose, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed January 28, 2024. Owners may contact Tiffin customer service at 1-256-356-8661. Tiffin’s number for this recall is TIF-134.

Keystone

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Dutchmen Coleman 1855RB and 190BH travel trailers. The trailers may be equipped with axle springs rated at 4400 pounds instead of 5100 pounds.

Dealers will replace the axle springs, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed January 25, 2024. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 23-447.

Settlers Point RV Resort, Washington, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

REV

REV Recreation Group (REV) is recalling certain 2016-2023 American Coach American Eagle motorhomes. Turbulence may loosen or break the rear air deflector mounting bracket hardware.

Dealers will replace the attachment hardware bracket and fasteners, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed February 3, 2024. REV’s number for this recall is 231205REV.

Please Note: This is the 58th 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

THOR Buys Tiffin Motorhomes: What Happens Next?

THOR Industries Buys Tiffin Motorhomes

The RV world was rocked just 18 months ago when Winnebago Industries purchased luxury RV manufacturer, Newmar. What seemed unthinkable became a reality. Now, what seemed unfathomable has happened as well. THOR Industries, one of the “Big Three” in the RV industry along with Winnebago and Forest River, has purchased Tiffin Motorhomes for $300 million.

Tiffin Phaeton Motorhome at Jackson Rancheria RV Resort near Jackson, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tiffin Motorhomes, operating in Alabama and Mississippi, manufactures a luxurious lineup of gas and diesel Class A Motorhomes including the Allegro Breeze, Allegro Red 340, Allegro Red, Open Road Allegro, Phaeton, Allegro Bus, and Zephyr models. The company also produces a premium Class C product line—The Wayfarer.

Newmar Factory Tour © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Vanleigh RV, operating in Mississippi, produces a line of fifth-wheel towable products, including the Pinecrest, Vilano, and Beacon models.

Additional companies within the acquired Tiffin Group include a window manufacturer (Alabama-based Wynne Enterprises, Inc.), a furniture manufacturer (Alabama-based Roma Enterprises, Inc.), a door manufacturer (Alabama-based Tiffin Door Co., Inc.), a fiberglass supplier (Mississippi-based Water-Way, Inc.), and an RV transport company (Alabama-based Drive-A-Way of Red Bay, Inc.).

Newmar Factory Tour © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

THOR Industries is the sole owner of operating subsidiaries that, combined, represent the world’s largest manufacturer of recreational vehicles.

According to a news release, “Tiffin Group will operate as stand-alone operating company within the THOR family of companies. The Tiffin family and the Tiffin Group’s experienced management team will continue to manage their operations just as they and their family have done for the past 49 years.”

Newmar Factory Tour © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For diehard Tiffin Motorhome fans, it’s a bit like finding out your favorite sports star has just been traded to a rival team (remembering the Gretzky trade). Tiffin, long known for quality coaches with a consistently high customer ranking, a great factory service center experience, and brand loyalty, will now fall under the vast THOR umbrella. Devoted Tiffin owners are now left to wonder what happens next.

Newmar Factory Tour © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Will Tiffin Motorhomes Stay in Red Bay, Alabama?

One would assume that Tiffin would remain outside of the Elkhart bubble, at least geographically speaking. How will this acquisition affect pricing, quality control, availability, and delivery times? Will those mecca-like pilgrimages to Red Bay, Alabama for factory service continue?

Much like Newmar customers, Tiffin owners have enjoyed a bit of an elite status. Until their recent roll out of the Wayfarer series of Class C RVs, Tiffin Motorhomes has been known as an upper-end Class A RV manufacturer. Tiffin owners are as devoted to “roughing it smoothly” as they are the brand itself. That confident swagger that comes with driving and owning 40+ feet of quality diesel motorhome carries over into conversation whether sitting around the campfire or in popular RVing forums.

Newmar Factory Tour © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What Happens Next?

Will that confident swagger lose a little of its swag, now that Tiffin Motorhomes is just another THOR brand? Will a vast infusion of cash from THOR Industries take Tiffin to the next level or instead water down the overall brand? Will Tiffin Motorhomes be pressured into building more motorhomes faster, causing quality to suffer? Or will THOR allow a successful business to continue to be successful while fine-tuning sensible cost saving measures? Will Tiffin Motorhomes shine even brighter under THOR or lose its luster?

Newmar Dutch Star © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Time will tell. The jury is still out on how Winnebago’s acquisition of Newmar has affected the quality and innovation of that brand and we can expect the same with this one. The big three just got bigger and Tiffin Motorhome owners are wondering what happens next?

A personal message to Tiffin owners: As a loyal Newmar customer I feel your pain.

Worth Pondering…

Confidence, like art, never comes from having all the answers; it comes from being open to all the questions.

—Earl Gary Stevens