For those of you interested Only in TRAVEL, I (Jack) wrote the blog between March 2010 and October 2010 during our travels west. We saw the most beautiful places and had the best time in our big truck and little trailer. See Blog Archive below.

Jul 25, 2016

Really Forest River?

I won't go into all of the harrowing experiences that I've had since my last update. I finally was able to get my Forest River 2016 Surveyor to an honest dealer about 20 miles from my home. He's fixing the slide which is under warranty. However, he took pictures of the roof and the whole roof needs to be redone. He said he'd never seen a sloppier job on a roof. I'm not sure if this is covered under warranty or not. In either case, it needs to be done and I'm having a topper installed over the slide. This is on a trailer not a year old and one camping trip and a terrifying trip home. If nothing else, I have learned that I should have purchased the trailer locally; not based on the best price. I wasn't aware that dealers don't really like to do warranty work on a product that wasn't purchased from them. This is the last trailer I'll be buying because of my age, but this is a warning to all, for what it's worth, about the Forest River Product. Don't buy it!

The hitch was never installed correctly by the Forest River Dealer in Ohio (Jeff Couch RV Nation). Not only did they install the hitch incorrectly, the service guy was so lazy that he told me that I didn't need chains or a break with a Hensley Hitch. He said he didn't have the extra links to add. I suggested (with the help of a very nice gentleman customer) that he get in his vehicle and get them from wherever he needed to get them from. Had I not owned a trailer before, I might have believed him and people might have been killed on I75 or I285 on my way back home to Atlanta. Fortunately, I stood my ground. The walk through was a joke, too. If it weren't for questions I asked and had to drag out of the guy, he would have just handed me my keys and waved good bye.

I've had three Mobile RV Services try to correct the installation because I was unable to hitch up. Last Thursday I managed to get hitched up after four hours in 90+ degrees heat. The wild ride to the dealer was the icing on the cake. When the lady checking me in, she told me they stopped doing warranty work on Forest River (Forest River gave me their name via an email response) three years ago, I was ready to sell the trailer right there and then. Fortunately, I had spoken to the owner or service manager on the phone and he said he would help me and happened to walk by as I arrived and told her that he had okayed this one.

As I stood at the door with the service manager and several other gentleman, "I can see from here that that hitch is not installed correctly." I almost fell over. As it turned out...two more pins had never been installed which was the reason for the wild ride. That makes it the four main bolts to keep the trailer hitched and three pins. The dealer claimed they had no left over parts and it took the 9 hours to install. The quality of my Jayco trailer on a scale from 1-10 (10 being the highest) was a 9-1/2 (tail lights were a problem). The Jayco dealer a 10. The quality of the Forest River product and dealer = 1. 

I had to give up the Hensley Hitch. This local dealer said he could install it correctly, but the injury to my arm and wrist will not allow me to pull and push the OCL adjustments. My wrist swelled up when I was hitching. It's being replaced with an Equalizer. Hensley was cooperative giving me directions by phone, but did not have a representative to send to help me. The hitch was very expensive but I put safety first. I knew they had a buy back program. I'm embarrassed to say that the buy back amount was only $600 on a hitch that cost me over $3K so that's pretty much of a joke. They will sell it to someone else for 3K by their own admittance. The dealer has assured me that with my one ton truck and small trailer that I will be just as safe with the equalizer and it will be easier for me to hitch up. He verified that I had hitched the Hensley correctly, but said with it moving around so much and that it did nothing as it was installed--just dead weight on the trailer. The part in the process they say is the hardest is backing the truck into the hitch. After all my practicing, I found that to be the easiest part.

So, I'm feeling pretty stupid, right now. I couldn't take what might wind up being the last trip to the west coast in my life, have a broken wrist and arm (soft cast, now), lost at least 3K on the hitch (includes the mobile service charges), The slide cover is my choice and I would have gotten it even if everything was fine.

I'm hoping to go to Colorado for September and October which will ease my pain somewhat, and of course do some winter and spring camping on the east coast with good friends and cross my fingers that I can take off again for the Pacific Northwest next spring. I'm waiting to leave reviews at Couch RV until after everything is said and done. My kids told me to just cut my losses (their inheritance) :) and be glad that I finally found an honest dealer, and that other than my own injuries no one else was hurt.  I could take legal action, but as my kids agreed with me saying the trailer is for my enjoyment and relaxation, not for more stress.

If this post is helpful to only one person who visits my blog, I'm glad I wrote it. To them, I ask, please spread the word. Hope everyone out in blogland is well and happy.

The Good Old Days