RV Manufacturer Fined $5 Million Over Safety Violations

In an earlier post Vogel Talks RVing reported that Forest River Inc. was embroiled in a dispute with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over its handling of records related to product recalls, safety, and warranties.

forest-River-logoFollowing an investigation it opened September 30, 2014, the NHTSA found that Elkhart, Indiana-based RV manufacturer Forest River Inc. appeared to have violated its Early Warning Reporting obligations repeatedly.

Forest River Inc. is a division of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

This past Thursday (July 9), NHTSA fined Forest River Inc. $5 million due to safety violations leaving consumers at risk of fire.

Regulators said Forest River was slow to report some required data and failed to swiftly launch two safety recalls after problems were found in nearly 1,000 of its travel trailers.

In the recalls, Forest River initially failed to order recalls immediately and instead just sent safety bulletins to its dealers about the problems. The company also failed to report everything to regulators as quickly as the law requires once it knew about problems.

According to NHTSA, Forest River failed to report the mishandling of recalls for a number of recreational vehicles—726 Rockwood and Flagstaff travel trailers and 200 Palomino travel trailers.

Regulators detected loose wiring that could lead to fire hazards in the Rockwood and Flagstaff vehicles and discovered a defect of the exhaust in the Palomino vehicles which could potentially raise carbon monoxide exposure and reduce fresh air intake.

Forest River Inc. will pay up to $30 million in additional fines if regulators find any additional violations in the next three years.

In 2014, the company generated $3.8 billion of revenue.

forest-River-logoForest River claims they are working with officials to resolve the inquiry and will hire an independent monitor to administer safety requirements and enhance security procedures. In addition, the company will hire an in-house consultant to oversee reporting operations as part of the settlement.

The company will adopt and promote “best practices” standards for the recreational vehicle industry and enforce its guidelines to become the industry model in safety.

“Safety is a critical shared responsibility, and when manufacturers fail to meet their responsibility, the Department will enforce the law,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.

Forest River, Inc. was founded by Peter Liegl in 1996, which today makes all classes of recreational vehicles, cargo trailers, utility trailer, pontoon boats, light and medium-duty buses (primarily shuttle buses), portable offices, and structures to use for temporary schools.

The company operates 60 manufacturing facilities throughout the Mid West and West Coast and employs 5,400 workers.

forest-River-logoForest River currently manufactures motorhomes (Berkshire, Charleston, Forester, Georgetown, Lexington, Sunseeker, and Tsunami), towables (Cardinal, Cedar Creek, Cherokee, Day Dreamer, Flagstaff, r-pod, Rockwood, Salem, Sandpiper, Shamrock, Sierra, Surveyor, V-Cross, Wildcat, and XLR, Wildwood), park models (Kabana, Quailridge, and Summitt), and modular and hud homes (Sterling and Hart Homes).

Forest River is owned by Warren Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate. Berkshire Hathaway owns nearly 90 different subsidiaries, including clothing, furniture and jewelry firms. It also has major investments in such companies as Coca-Cola Co. and Wells Fargo & Co.

Worth Pondering…

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.

—Peter Drucker

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Building Customer Loyalty

People gravitate toward companies because of their products and leave them because of their service.

As a customer I want stability—a stable relationship I can count on—and consistency. For these reasons I travel over 650 miles to Midtown RV in Penticton for RV sales and service where 62 percent of their sales are to repeat customers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
As a customer I want stability—a stable relationship I can count on—and consistency. For these reasons I travel over 650 miles to Midtown RV in Penticton for RV sales and service where 62 percent of their sales are to repeat customers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Why is it then that so many companies under invest in this area? Research by Net Promoter Score inventor Fred Reichheld found that a mere five-percent increase in customer retention can boost company profitability by as much as 95 percent.

Most small businesses are keenly aware of the importance of customer retention—often because one lost customer can often make a huge financial impact on the company—and because of their size, they’re able to provide their customers personalized attention.

But what happens when a company begins to grow? How do they scale their customer service to help more people without losing the personal touch?

The Ritz Carlton opened in Boston in 1940, and revolutionized hospitality in America by creating a luxury hotel setting. Forty years later, they began to expand, keeping customer experience at the heart of their business by fulfilling not only the expressed but also the unexpressed wishes and needs of their customers. Now, not all of us mortals can deliver wow-factor service like the Ritz. (For $2,000 the hotel will give you a one-day course on how to deliver memorable customer service).

Newmar Factory Tour at the plant in Napannee, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Newmar Factory Tour at the plant in Napannee, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In today’s world of instant gratification, customers expect problems to be solved quickly and correctly the first time. For customers to remain loyal, they want a personalized experience that makes them feel as though they are a true priority—not just another sale.

If companies don’t provide personalized customer service, they’re setting themselves up for failure. Today’s consumers are more informed, less patient, and more mobile than ever.

Mattersight recently commissioned a study of more than 1,000 consumers and found that that one bad customer experience could stop 70 percent of them from purchasing from that brand again.

Companies that focus on creating hassle-free experiences are on the strongest path to loyalty and retention. As a starting point, this means having a better understanding of buyers, their lifestyles, and how they want to be served.

Rather than focusing on attracting new customers, companies should focus on the value of their existing customers by behaving as if losing a single customer will put them out of business.

Newmar and Nappanee, Indiana, are in the heart of Amish Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Newmar and Nappanee, Indiana, are in the heart of Amish Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It is easier to get existing customers to buy more and to help find new customers through their advocacy than it is for a business to try to garner new customers.

Happy customers are all alike: They become advocates—to one degree or another.

Because it’s a lifecycle, nothing ends here; instead, advocates help recruit the next wave of new customers through word of mouth, or on social media—and better yet, they buy more.

Customer advocates are the lifeblood of organizations: They bring new business, provide honest feedback, and speak on behalf of you to anyone that will listen.

Here are my top three tips for turning new customers into advocates:

Be responsive—always be responsive to customers. If you can’t respond immediately, let them know when you will get back to them.

Be accountable—if the product experienced an issue or if the business dropped the ball on a follow up item, take accountability for it.

Midtown RV and Penticton are in the heart of the South Okanagan Wine Country in southern British Columbia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Midtown RV and Penticton are in the heart of the South Okanagan Wine Country in southern British Columbia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Show value early—it’s not enough to just communicate to customers; businesses need to ensure customers are receiving value. If the customer isn’t getting value, determine what steps need to be taken to improve.

What sets a business apart is how they treat their customers. Attractive prices and range of quality products and services attract new customers, but it is only superior customer experience that will retain customers.

With so many companies providing competitive pricing for similar quality products, what sets a business apart is their ability to provide consistent and quality customer service and personalized transactions. This involves understanding the customer’s needs and then finding a way to deliver on those promises every time.

Worth Pondering…

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

—Aristotle

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Cool Trailers: From Vistabule To Ecco

In a day where many recreational vehicles can easily cost six-figures and measure 40-feet or more, some customers are looking for alternatives to the mass-produced recreational vehicles.

Life on the road can be enjoyed in a distinctly different, fun, and creative trailer in one of five ways:

Vistabule

Vistabule Introduces ‘Cab Forward’ Teardrop Trailer
Vistabule is a popular ‘Cab Forward’ teardrop trailer

Streamlined and weighing just 1,220 pounds, the Vistabule teardrop trailer can be towed behind nearly any small car.

Oversized windows and a cab-forward design set the Vistabule apart by offering panoramic views that no other teardrop trailer offers. You’re oriented to the front where all the action is. The huge window affords a view to the world as well as the sky.

The queen sized bed converts in seconds into a delightful sitting space with a fold up table and the smartly fitted kitchen allows people to prepare meals while protected from rain and sun.

Colim

The Colim Caravan Concept
The Colim Caravan Concept

Facing the dilemma of whether to buy a new motorhome and toad, truck and fifth wheel trailer, or SUV and travel trailer or caravan?

The brain child of German designer Christian Susana, the futuristic looking Colim (an acronym meaning Colors of Life in Motion) is an attractive combination of car and a caravan camper—the perfect example of an intelligent motorhome design. The Colim motorhome allows drivers to detach the cockpit so they can drive around the resort more efficiently. The vehicle has a top speed of 90mph.

Lil Snoozy

Lil’ Snoozy Goes Camping
Lil’ Snoozy Goes Camping

A fiberglass trailer with an ultra-aerodynamic shape and clean flowing curves, Lil Snoozy is available directly from the manufacturer.

Customers love the Lil Snoozy because Lil’ is only 17 feet, 3 inches in length; 7 feet, 11 inches in width; and 7 feet, 5 inches high. The interior space is 14 feet, 6 inches by 6 feet, 6 inches. There’s a bathroom with shower across from a kitchen area (with sink, refrigerator, and microwave), a couch in front of an entertainment center, and a queen bed.

Within a unique two piece fiberglass unit modern coring materials and state of the art manufacturing processes have been incorporated, adding strength and insulating properties, while tremendously reducing weight.

DoubleBack

DoubleBack Ultimate Camper Van
DoubleBack Ultimate Camper Van

Looking for the freedom and mobility offered by a mid-to-full-size recreational vehicle, but want the practicality and fuel efficiency of a camper van too? The DoubleBack may just be the ultimate camper van that you’ve been looking for.

What makes the DoubleBack unique is just how much space it actually has, and how easily you can expand or contract its size to fit your recreational needs.

Need more room? Use the electric slide-out rear pod to extend the vehicle’s rear. You can even expand the roof and walk around the camper van’s kitchen and lounge.

Ecco

Functions: 1-2, Van opens; 3, electric power hook-up; 4, air intake; 5, windscreen; 6, solar power panel; 6-7 Softtop opening roof; 8, fold out stairs. (Credit: arch.nau.coop)
Functions: 1-2, Van opens; 3, electric power hook-up; 4, air intake; 5, windscreen; 6, solar power panel; 6-7 Softtop opening roof; 8, fold out stairs. (Credit: arch.nau.coop)

The Ecco is set to revolutionize the humble camper van with space-age design that includes collapsible walls and a flip-top upper deck.

A futuristic camper van, the Ecco doubles in size by flipping open “like a Swiss Army knife.”

Since space is the main theme, in design and concept, passengers enter the 15-foot-long electric vehicle from the rear through a huge stairway that folds into the ceiling. The space is then transformed with a flip-out top deck, expandable walls, and fold-down seats for extra room.

The eco-friendly camper van can sleep a family of five and boasts a kitchen, bathroom, and lounge area.

Worth Pondering…

The only important thing about design is how it relates to people.

—Victor Papane

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4 More Cool Trailers

In a day where many recreational vehicles can easily cost six-figures and measure 40-feet or more, some people are returning to basics resulting in the minimalist RV trend gaining momentum.

Numerous vintage trailers, Airstreams, and other cool campers have been featured in Vogel Talks RVing. From modular trailers to bizarre shaped campers here are four that’ll certainly turn heads.

Teal Feather Camper

The Teal Feather Camper
The Teal Feather Camper

There is no other camper on the market quite like the Teal Feather. A modular camper that fits on a utility trailer or pickup bed, the Teal Camper is 8.5 feet long, 6 feet wide, just over 6 feet tall, and weighs a mere 500 pounds, hence its name.

The camper can be put together by one person in 60 minutes by piecing together panels made of polyethylene plastic filled with insulation. Only a Phillips screwdriver is purportedly needed for the job. When taken apart, the camper’s parts occupy a space of 4 feet by 5 feet.

Inside, the camper features a sink with a drain and a bottle to pump water to the faucet. The cabinets look more like a duffel bag—they open with zippers—though they have shelves and panels to support storage of belongings.

Dub Box

Dub Box is a customizable camper manufactured in Oregon.
Dub Box is a customizable camper manufactured in Oregon.

The Dub Box is a fun and creative retro camper with a new twist. The initial design was born from the American vintage trailer, merged with retro styling, and infused with modern conveniences for style and comfort. While it may appear that the company buys up all the Volkswagen camper vans remaining on the planet, Dub Boxes are manufactured from new fiberglass shells.

The initial design was born from the American vintage trailer, merged with retro styling and modern conveniences for style and comfort. And the rest of the design is up to you.

Dub Boxes are light enough to be towed by most vehicles, compact enough to be stored in a garage, the exterior and interior decor is customizable, and the layout can be altered to suit its intended use.

Eggcamper

The Eggcamper: Lightweight molded composite travel trailers
The Eggcamper: Lightweight molded composite travel trailers

As the name suggests, the Eggcamper has a distinct eggshell look.

Distinctly different in design and function, Eggcampers are handmade from nine molded lightweight composites — the entire camper weighs less than 2,000 pounds — and thus is easy to tow.

The entire exterior is intentionally painted an eggshell white color, which obviously helps give the product its name, but also makes it simple to clean and easier to keep cool.

The company also offers a smaller Teardropp trailer that’s based on a shape that was popular in the 1930s and is manufactured using a similar process.

Mehrzeller

Mehrzeller, a multi-cellular caravan
Mehrzeller, a multi-cellular caravan

If you don’t like to follow current trends and prefer to stand out from the crowd then this bizarre shaped caravan trailer with sleek angular lines, the Mehrzeller, may be the recreational vehicle for you.

The multi-cellular caravan  design can be entirely personalized by each customer resulting in an attractive one-of-a-kind trailer. The configuration is generated by a computer using the customer’s inputs, and then the final design is done by parameters from the architects to yield an attractive and practicable result. The caravans are produced using the principles of “mass customization”: this allows both the individual wishes of the customer to be accommodated while producing the caravan with series methods.

Worth Pondering…

All things are possible until they are proved impossible—and even the impossible may only be so, as of now.

—Pearl S. Buck

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Keystone RV Introduces New Fuzion Featuring 2 Patio Decks

Goshen, Indiana-based Keystone RV Company introduced the new Fuzion 420 fifth wheel toy hauler.

Keystone RV Introduces New Fuzion Featuring 2 Patio Decks
Keystone RV Introduces New Fuzion Featuring 2 Patio Decks

“You can’t get too much of a good thing” is the thinking behind the new Fuzion model, according to a company news release.

Featuring two patio decks for a combined outdoor living area of over 160 square feet, both the rear and side mounted decks include patio awning, LED lighting, and adjustable aluminum entry steps.

In addition, the Fusion 420 model is the first toy hauler in the industry to incorporate the FastTrack2 patio system by MOR/ryde which virtually eliminates pins as part of the set up process and makes short work of setting up the patio, according to the Keystone announcement.

“Patio decks are an increasingly important selling feature for our toy hauler customers,” says Fuzion product manager Tim Markel.

“Today, well over 95 percent of our customers order their Fuzion with the patio option. Adding a second deck on the door side creates a prime entertainment or relaxing area that can easily be accessed through the sliding glass patio door in the coach or by way of the aluminum steps leading to the ground. Campers love sitting on the deck and watching TV, visiting with friends, or utilizing the deck as an enclosed play area for the kids or family dog.”

Both the rear deck and the side deck on the Fuzion 420 feature the new FastTrack2 patio system by MOR/ryde.

Keystone RV Introduces New Fuzion Featuring 2 Patio Decks
Keystone RV Introduces New Fuzion Featuring 2 Patio Decks

A Fuzion exclusive, FastTrack2 allows each rail to smoothly slide and then snap in place without pins. There are no rails to lift as both the side and end rails are permanently mounted to the garage wall and simply swing into position. Setting up the Fuzion patio requires minimum effort and can be accomplished in seconds rather than minutes.

“With extra value features like FastTrack2, the MOR/ryde suspension and pin-box system, new exterior full paint options and our Fuzion Chrome edition, we are differentiating Fuzion from other brands in the marketplace,” said Marke.

“Fuzion market share is up 22 percent in April according to Statistical Surveys, Inc. Clearly our dealers have embraced the Fuzion concept and have propelled our sales.”

The new Keystone Fuzion 420 fifth wheel toy hauler specs include:

  • Shipping Weight: 15,095 pounds
  • Carrying Capacity: 3,905 pounds
  • Hitch Weight: 3,775 pounds
  • External Length: 43 feet
  • External Height: 13 feet 3 inches
  • Fresh Water Carrying Capacity: 112 gallons
  • Gray Water Carrying Capacity: 88 gallons
  • Black Water Carrying Capacity: 88 gallons
Keystone RV Introduces New Fuzion Featuring 2 Patio Decks
Keystone RV Introduces New Fuzion Featuring 2 Patio Decks

Details

Keystone RV Company

Keystone RV Company is a producer of travel trailers, fifth wheels, and toy haulers, with manufacturing facilities at its headquarters in Goshen, Indiana, and Pendleton, Oregon.

Keystone RV brands include Montana, Cougar, Outback, Springdale, Raptor, Residence, Retreat, Passport, Hornet, Sprinter, Laredo, Mountaineer, Big Sky, High Country, Fuzion, X-lite, Bullet, Premier, Alpine, and Avalanche.

Keystone is a subsidiary of Thor Industries, Inc., Jackson Center, Ohio, the world’s largest manufacturer of recreation vehicles and a major builder of commercial buses.

Address: 2642 Hackberry Drive, PO Box 2000, Goshen, IN 46527-2000

Phone: (574) 535-2100

Website: www.keystonerv.com

Worth Pondering…

And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

—Steve Jobs

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Heartland RV Introduces Torque Extreme Lite Travel Trailer Series

Building on strong sales and growing market share in the fifth-wheel toy hauler segment, Elkhart, Indiana-based Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC has broadened its product offerings with the introduction of the Torque Extreme Lite travel trailer series targeting a rapidly growing 1/2-ton pickup market.

Heartland RV Introduces Torque Extreme Lite Travel Trailer Series
Heartland RV Introduces Torque Extreme Lite Travel Trailer Series

“Heartland has experienced tremendous growth over the last few years in the fifth-wheel toy hauler segment,” stated General Manager A.J. Jones, in a company news release.

“However, because of production limitations in the past, we weren’t able to expand into other areas of the market, which continues to branch into new categories.”

As part of a companywide expansion initiative, Heartland moved its toy hauler operations into a dedicated facility, effectively doubling production capacity while significantly reducing turnaround times.

“Heartland has made a huge commitment to toy haulers, allowing us to compete in all-new price points and weights,” Jones stated.

Jones noted that Heartland owns a 22 percent market share in fifth-wheel toy haulers and a nearly 30 percent share of all triple-axle fifth-wheel toy haulers sold.

Heartland RV Introduces Torque Extreme Lite Travel Trailer Series
Heartland RV Introduces Torque Extreme Lite Travel Trailer Series

Combining lightweight construction with aggressive pricing, the Torque offers Heartland’s dealer partners a full-featured toy hauler that addresses the towing needs of 1/2-ton pickup owners.

“The key to the Torque Extreme Lite is to keep the same high-end look and features that our fifth-wheel toy haulers provide, but doing it on a 1/2-ton towable platform,” noted Coley Brady, vice president of sales and marketing.

“Our dealers have been begging for an affordable, 1/2-ton towable, and A.J. and his team delivered with the Torque Extreme Lite.”

Available in six floor plans, ranging in length from 31- to 38 1/2 feet, the new Torque Lite series features 102-inch wide-body construction, all-aluminum framing and Equa-flex suspension with gas shocks to ensure a stable, comfortable ride.

The onboard garage is equipped with 5,000-pound tie-downs, Happy-Jac powered bunks beds and can accommodate the largest side-by-sides. MSRP pricing starts at $39,450.

“The introduction of the Torque travel trailer extends Heartland’s laser focus on the toy hauler segment,” said Heartland President Chris Hermon.

“By entering into the 1/2-ton pickup market, we have positioned Heartland to capture even more market share in what we see as a segment that continues to evolve and gain traction. As always we listened to our dealers, bringing to market a product that not only meets a growing demand but also stands out on the sales lot with features traditionally not offered by the competition at this price point.”

Heartland RV Introduces Torque Extreme Lite Travel Trailer Series
Heartland RV Introduces Torque Extreme Lite Travel Trailer Series

Details

Heartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC

Heartland Recreational Vehicles is a leading manufacturer of towable recreational vehicles in the US. The Company markets over 16 brands of fifth wheel trailers, travel trailers, and toy haulers including Landmark, Big Horn, Big Country, ElkRidge, Gateway, Sundance, Greystone, North Trail, Prowler, Cyclone, Road Warrior, Wilderness, Torque, and Trail Runner.

Heartland is number three in market share in fifth wheels and closing in on being among the top five towable manufacturers of fifth wheels and travel trailers combined.

Heartland’s towable RVs are sold through an independent network of dealers throughout the United States and Canada.

The Company has over 900 employees.

Heartland factory tours are conducted Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 3:00 p.m.

Heartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC is a division of Thor Industries Inc.

Address: 1001 All-Pro Drive, Elkhart, Indiana 46514

Phone: (574) 262-5992 or (888) 262-5992 (toll free)

Website: www.heartlandrvs.com

Worth Pondering…

I see travel as the one of the most important ways of expanding human beings’ understanding of each other. Through travel we discover humility, love, friendship, passion and ourselves.
—Kirsten Cargill

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More June 2015 RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced 5 recall notices involving 2 recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers—Forest River and Tiffin Motorhomes.

Forest River, Inc.

forest-River-logoForest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain model year 2013-2015 Dynamax, 2014 Cardinal trailers, and 2015 Cedar Creek, Sierra and Sandpiper trailers. In the affected vehicles, a rivet for the quad entry steps may shear and fail, causing the steps to give when being used.

If the rivet shears causing the quad step to fail, the step user may fall, increasing the risk of personal injury.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will remove the rivets and the step sections will be bolted together, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin June 26, 2015. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-389-4600. Forest River’s number for this recall is 15-05062015-0034.

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.

Forest River, Inc.

forest-River-logoForest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain model year 2014-2015 Glaval Universal, Titan II, Titan II Low Floor, Legacy, Concorde II, and Entourage transit buses manufactured April 9, 2014, to October 6, 2014. During the alignment process, a tie rod jam nut may have been left loose.

A loose tie rod jam nut may result in a loss of control, increasing the risk of a crash.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the tie rod end jam nut, tightening it as needed, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in July 2015. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-800-445-2825 extension 138. Forest River’s number for this recall is 35-05262015-0038.

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.

Forest River, Inc.

forest-River-logoForest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain model year 2015-2016 Vengeance trailers, model numbers VGF377V, VGF378V, VGF394V13, and VGF396V, manufactured August 7, 2014, to May 12, 2015. The affected trailers may be equipped with incorrect certification labels that state the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is 18,500 pounds when the actual GVWR is 18,000 pounds. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of the Code of Federal Regulations number 567, “Certification.”

The incorrect GVWR on the labels may result in the vehicle operator over loading the vehicle which could increase the risk of a crash.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will install a new corrected label, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in June 2015. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-260-593-4005. Forest River’s number for this recall is 17B-05132015-0036.

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.

Forest River, Inc.

forest-River-logoForest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain model year 2013-2015 Coachmen Shasta SHT27RL travel trailers manufactured May 7, 2013, to May 7, 2015. The affected trailers may have an incorrect gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) information stated on the Federal Weight Tags. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards No. 567, “Certification.”

Incorrect GVWR information on the label may lead the operator to load the trailer to an incorrect weight, increasing the risk of a vehicle crash.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will replace the incorrect label with a corrected label, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in June 2015. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-825-8717. Forest River’s number for this recall is 53-05132015-0035.

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.

Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc.

TiffinLogo-UnitTiffin Motorhomes, Inc. (Tiffin) is recalling certain model year 2015 Allegro Red 36 QSA, Allegro Red 38 QBA, Phaeton 40 QBH, and Phaeton 40 QKH motorhomes manufactured April 22, 2014, to May 8, 2015. In the affected vehicles, moisture may enter the slide-out controller and cause the “switch out” connection to short, and cause the motorhome slide-out section to extend while the motorhome is moving.

If the slide-out opens during transit, there is an increased risk of a vehicle crash.

Tiffin will notify owners, and dealers will install a relay to disconnect the power source of the slide-out, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in June 2015. Owners may contact Tiffin customer service at 1-256-356-8661.

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 59th in a series of articles relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort.

—John Ruskin

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June 2015 RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced 5 recall notices involving 4 recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers—Starcraft RV, Jayco, Thor Motor Coach, and MCI.

Starcraft RV

starcraftStarcraft RV (Starcraft) is recalling certain model year 2016 Launch and AR-One travel trailers manufactured March 31, 2015, to April 20, 2015. The affected vehicles may be equipped with Federal Certification Labels that incorrectly list the tire size as ST205/75R14C when the actual size is LT235/75R15C. As such, these labels fail to comply with Federal Regulation Part 567.

If the operator installs an incorrect tire due to the wrong label information, excessive tire wear may result and may cause instability during towing, increasing the risk of a crash.

Starcraft will notify owners, and dealers will install a new corrected label, free of charge. The recall began on May 28, 2015. Owners may contact Starcraft customer service at 1-800-945-4787. Starcraft’s number for this recall is 9902239.

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.

Jayco

Jayco-Color-logo-birdJayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain model year 2016 Eagle FW WB trailers manufactured April 20, 2015, to April 21, 2015. In the affected trailers, the studs that are used to attach the wheels to the axle hubs may break.

If the wheel studs break, the wheel could detach from the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

Jayco will notify owners, and dealers will replace any affected wheel hub, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on June 15, 2015. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267. Jayco’s number for this recall is 9901238.

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.

Jayco

Jayco-Color-logo-birdJayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain model year 2013-2015 Seismic Pinnacle and Eagle Premier recreational trailers manufactured April 3, 2013, to February 27, 2015. In the affected vehicles, a rivet for the quad entry steps may shear and fail, causing the steps to give when being used.

If the rivet shears under occupant load, the occupant may fall, increasing the risk of personal injury.

Jayco will notify owners, and dealers will replace the defective rivets with bolts, free of charge. The recall began on June 4, 2015. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267.

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.

Thor Motor Coach

Motorhome - Class A, Class C, Class B+ RV, Motorhome Manufactrurer, Gas, Diesel, Luxury Rear Diesel Motorhomes, New RVs, Four Winds, Damon
Motorhome – Class A, Class C, Class B+ RV, Motorhome Manufactrurer, Gas, Diesel, Luxury Rear Diesel Motorhomes, New RVs, Four Winds, Damon

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain model year 2016 Hurricane and Windsport motorhomes manufactured March 10, 2015, to March 24, 2015. In the affected motorhomes, the co-pilot seats may be attached to the floor of the motorhome in an area that is not properly reinforced.

If the floor at the attachment point is not properly reinforced, the seat base mounting may loosen over time, increasing the risk of injury in the event of a crash.

TMC will notify owners, and dealers will install a reinforcement plate at the co-pilot seat mounting bolt location, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in June 2015. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-500-1020. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000101.

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.

Motor Coach Industries (MCI)

logoMciMotor Coach Industries (MCI) is recalling certain model year 2011-2012 D4000 motorcoaches manufactured November 12, 2011, to July 11, 2012, and 2014-2015 D4500 motorcoaches manufactured July 4, 2014, to April 30, 2015. Excessive engine crankcase pressures may cause the 90-degree elbow of the vent tube assembly to detach from the crankcase ventilation breather, possibly allowing engine oil to come into contact with hot surfaces.

If the engine oil comes into contact with a hot surface, it can increase the risk of a vehicle fire.

MCI will notify owners, and Cummins service centers will administer the repairs which include securing the ends of the 90-degree elbow and reprogramming the electronic control module (ECM) with software that can adjust the engine output under misfire conditions to limit crankcase pressures. These repairs will be performed free of charge. The recall began on June 18, 2015. Owners may contact MCI customer service at 1-800-241-2947 or Cummins Inc. at 1-800-343-7357. MCI’s number for this recall is SB 423.

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 58th in a series of articles relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake.

—Confucius

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Gidget Retro Teardrop Camper Features Slide-out

Teardrop campers first became popular in the 1930s and grew in popularity until the mid ’60s.

Gidget Retro Teardrop Camper Features Slide-out
Gidget Retro Teardrop Camper Features Slide-out

Over the years there continued to be a passionate population of teardrop camper fans worldwide. More recently the small-house movement and a conscious move away from a consumptive lifestyle for many millennials has resulted in teardrop campers resurfacing as an appealing option for road-trippers looking to go small. People are discovering a love for glamping in a teardrop camper, fitting easily with a desire for an easier, simpler life.

A relatively new kid on the block, Australian-based Gidget has released their newest camper, reinventing and reimagining the classic teardrop campers of the early twentieth century.

Gidget began conceptualizing and designing their Gidget Retro Teardrop Camper more than two years ago, testing and developing materials, features, and finishes and then custom-building their Gidget prototype. The original Gidget traveled 45,000+ km (28,000+ miles) to far north Queenland and south to Tasmania and a whirlwind trip to South Australia, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, and New South Wales with a special visit to Bondi and back to Queensland in six days and many points East and West.

Gidget Retro Teardrop Camper Features Slide-out
Gidget Retro Teardrop Camper Features Slide-out

Gidget was tested in the tropical heat of Cairns, winter at Cradle Mountain, glamped on remote beaches and in mountain rainforests, starred at family barbeques, and hosted many an extra guest when the house overflowed with visitors.

Following the comprehensive roadtesting, Gidget went into production shipping to campers all over Australia, New Zealand—and now the world.

Australian designed and manufactured, Gidget is “dedicated to creating the best teardrop camper world-wide and our attention to every detail is a real passion for us—right down to the finishings”.

The authentic retro fabric for the curtains was sourced from California, the timber features from Australian and Tasmanian timbers for Gidgets sold locally, and American walnut, cherry, and cedar for the American market—and all the features you’d expect in a larger, higher budget caravan trailer including pressurized water, LED lighting, 12/240 volt power, fully functioning kitchen, and Queen-size bed. And a built in solar panel system, security alarm system/anti-theft device and duress alarm, as well as a rotating entertainment console, simple action internal lounge, fold up table conversion—and a quality toughened glass large two burner gas cooktop with safety devices.

Gidget Retro Teardrop Camper Features Slide-out
Gidget Retro Teardrop Camper Features Slide-out

And Gidget is the only teardrop in the world that has the unique patented slide-out which converts a cute and compact camper to almost double the internal space in one simple and quick action.

Gidget’s new design includes a rather spectacular twist; do not let your eyes fool you, as the seemingly small, cramped, and uncomfortable camper is in fact much more spacious and lavish than you might imagine.

The Gidget Retro Teardrop camper offers numerous hidden compartments, proving to be an extremely space efficient and surprisingly spacious caravan trailer.

The queen-sized bed can be folded out in a matter of seconds and the rear of the caravan lifts up, revealing a neatly concealed sink and bathroom counter, complete with an easy-access built in fridge.

Gidget Retro Teardrop Camper Features Slide-out
Gidget Retro Teardrop Camper Features Slide-out

This tiny treasure comes with pressurized running water and numerous electricity ports—the 2015 version also offers a rotatable television and incorporates a skylight into the roof, enabling you to gaze up to the stars.

Gidget has two unique teardrop camper models currently available for the Australian and International market. The Bondi original plus the longer body Noosa.

The Noosa being 20 inches longer allows for more living area, storage, and space for a compact shower and toilet.

The Bondi starts at US$15,500.

The Noosa starts at US$19,200.

Details

Gidget Retro Teardrop Camper Features Slide-out
Gidget Retro Teardrop Camper Features Slide-out

Gidget Retro Teardrop Camper Pty Ltd

Address: Unit 2 / 3 ‘Lucia Court’ Deakin Street, Brendale Q 4500

Phone: 07 3142 2410 or +61 7 3142 2410 (International)

Website: www.thegidget.com.au

Worth Pondering…

Our wish to you is this: drive a little slower, take the backroads sometimes, and stay a little longer. Enjoy, learn, relax, and then…plan your next journey.

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4 Cool Trailers NOT Named Airstream

According to Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey, Airstream is one cool camper!

While we can relate to the nostalgia of this classic trailer, there are other adorably cool trailers worthy of consideration.

From caravans that float to cabins on wheels, and minimalist campers to modern-day covered wagons fit for the Oregon Trail, here are four of the coolest trailers on the road.

Cricket

The Out-Of-This-World Cool Cricket Trailer
The Out-Of-This-World Cool Cricket Trailer

Part tent, part RV, the NASA-inspired Cricket Trailer is the go-to camper for the modern road tripper. Combining small-space expertise and backpacking background, a former space architect with NASA designed the Cricket Trailer, a small, self-contained pop-up camper. It’s his response to bigger-is-better RV cul­ture.

The name Cricket was inspired by an early design sketch, in which the lifts on the pop-up looked like the legs of the insect. The Cricket is a kind of hybrid tent and trailer, made of aluminum, wood and steel, with a pop-up style roof. It takes just 20 seconds to set up once you’ve arrived at camp, which basically involves popping up the roof which is made extra easy with the assistance of automatic gas pistons.

Sealander

This 840-pound microcaravan comes with an outboard motor. (Credit: sealander.de)
This 840-pound microcaravan comes with an outboard motor. (Credit: sealander.de)

Saving you the trouble of deciding between a boat and a camper, the Sealander is an amphibious vehicle that quickly transforms between the two. It can be customized to include two stainless steel gas cookers, a sink and water pump, toilet, and sound system, among other perks. And with two huge windows and a roll-up tarpaulin roof, you can stare at the stars while falling asleep to the soothing sound of water slapping against the hull.

Its wide, bowl-shaped design not only provides stability while floating, but it can easily navigate shallow waters without running aground. It also means you don’t need a trailer or a boat ramp to launch it in the water—simply back it up to a sufficiently cleared shoreline and the Sealander is successfully launched.

Leaf House

Leaf House is a tiny portable home design that takes up a small amount of space, is big enough to live in comfortably, and accommodates a family of four. (Source: tinyhousing.ca)
Leaf House is a tiny portable home design that takes up a small amount of space, is big enough to live in comfortably, and accommodates a family of four. (Source: tinyhousing.ca)

Handmade by a Canadian college professor, each 97-square-foot Leaf House is built of spruce pine and is tested to withstand even the harshest Yukon winter. It also weighs less than 5,000 pounds, thanks to lightweight concrete kitchen counters, bamboo flooring, and birch-plywood ceilings. Designed for a family of four, this fully self-contained portable house includes a sleeping loft, Murphy bed, full bathroom with a compact bathtub, a kitchen complete with a small fridge, and an open dining area.

The Leaf House is mounted on wheels, allowing you to pick up and go whenever the urge arises.

The Pod

POD-1172
The Pod

This retro caravan might be small — it’s only 34 square feet — but it won’t leave you wanting. The fiberglass and steel trailer features a four-person table that transforms into a double bed, a birch and aluminum interior, and a tiny-but-functional kitchen. And at only 705 pounds, it’s light enough to be towed by even the smallest car.

A fun and stylish living unit for two, the pod has now been in production for over 13 years and prides itself on being the forerunner of modern-retro teardrop trailers and micro-caravans.

Features of the pod include a dining area to seat four people in comfort with full size dining table and integral fold-away table, large interior sleeping space—equivalent to a double bed, large rear hatch door with gas-spring opening providing convenient access to the kitchen, quality hand-built kitchen, weatherproof foot-well with a fold-up feature, 12 volt power socket, two interior lights, leisure battery and charger, built-in storage areas, two support legs, and roof and floor vents.

Worth Pondering…

All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts, or stimulates the persons in that space.

—Phillip Johnson

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