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Old 02-24-2014, 08:57 PM   #1
pjnlorrie
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Visited the local TM dealer this weekend and was quite disappointed. Fit, finish, and workmanship on the TMs was lower than any other product on the lot (and it was a HUGE lot). Also, the Trailmanor website, on the Construction tab states: We don't use particle board or chipboard anywhere in the trailer.
The bathroom walls were particle board (the staples used to fasten the hinges (unacceptable) had pulled out, exposing the inner construction.
Looking into the support tracks for the beds one could easily see the bed platforms were chip board.
I was really pumped about this design, but it looks like something put together in someone's backyard, and poorly at that.
Many here are very happy with their units. Were the earlier builds of higher quality?
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:50 PM   #2
Redtail Cruiser
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Trailmanors are not for everybody. If the quality of the construction doesn't meet with what you're looking for, then I guess you won't be buying one. They are very durable and well built.

When I was shopping I looked at units that were over ten years old that we're still in very good condition. I have owned mine for just over a year now and taken it off road numerous times. It's just like a Timex,"takes a lickin and keeps on tickin". If they were poorly constructed they would not keep the resale value that they consistently keep.
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:34 PM   #3
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Hi pjnlorrie,

I noticed your join date was back in June 2013, so even though this is your first post, I doubt you're just trying to rile folks up. I was wondering what year/model you were looking at? I've got to agree with Redtail Cruiser, there's things about trailmanors some won't like and there are things about other campers that rub other folks the wrong way too. Everyone has their reasons why they buy the camper they do, for me it was the gas mileage, ease of towing, cost (I bought used), amenities (solid walls vs popups, bathroom, etc), and ironically in light of your post, build quality. I felt that the regular wood/particleboard campers I looked at were really cheaply put together and a lot had water damage, squishy spots in the floor and gave me nightmares thinking about termites here in Louisiana! I was more impressed with the aluminum/foam construction in the few TMs I could find. While my TM is still new to me, I absolutely love it and find that the more I use it, the more I find design "quirks" that make me realize, "huh, so THAT'S why that thing is there!". Anyway, good luck in your camper research and go with your gut, if a camper doesn't feel right to you, don't buy it!

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Old 02-25-2014, 07:52 AM   #4
rvcycleguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjnlorrie View Post
Visited the local TM dealer this weekend and was quite disappointed. Fit, finish, and workmanship on the TMs was lower than any other product on the lot (and it was a HUGE lot). Also, the Trailmanor website, on the Construction tab states: We don't use particle board or chipboard anywhere in the trailer.
The bathroom walls were particle board (the staples used to fasten the hinges (unacceptable) had pulled out, exposing the inner construction.
Looking into the support tracks for the beds one could easily see the bed platforms were chip board.
I was really pumped about this design, but it looks like something put together in someone's backyard, and poorly at that.
Many here are very happy with their units. Were the earlier builds of higher quality?
As others have said here already, the TM is not for everyone. I've owned 2 of them in the last 15 years and felt the overall construction was satisfactory for what it is. Not for what it is not! I'm not aware of any "chip board" in the trailer in new models. I'm not aware of any "particle board" in new models. It would be interesting to know what year model you inspected. The aluminum and foam walls, floor and roof are built to industry standards.

The TM is a lightweight folding camper that reduces drag, sway, fuel mileage, and in most cases, off property storage fees. If that is what your looking for, buy a well kept, maintained, clean unit and enjoy it.
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Old 02-25-2014, 09:22 AM   #5
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We just got our fist TM 2003. As with every camper we have owned. I'm sure there will be things that I will ask myself in time, Why did they do it this way, or boy they cheeped out.

One of my camper most people would consider one of the most quality in the camper industry and it had many issues and there were the "boy they cheeped" out and "why did they do it this way".

What I have seen, my TM is well built, but there is a focus on light weight. Much better quality then 3 of the 4 campers I have owned.

Have not seen any partial wood or chip board yet, but they do use some other man made wood. Not sure what it is?
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Old 02-25-2014, 09:38 AM   #6
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I don't believe you saw particle board. They use a foam core for all walls, floor, bathroom wall, dinette table, and more. I know about the dinette table, as I cut the leaf in mine in half, to make a shorter leaf. While the ends of the leaf and table joint appear to be particle board, they are in fact, foam.

If the bathroom walls were particle board, they would be much heavier. I will venture to say that no new TM has particle board in it. If you were looking at a used unit, there is no telling what someone may have done to the bathroom wall. They will break if someone sits on them (further indication they are not particle board), and if that happened, a previous owner could have disassembled the old wall, and put particle board inside the old material. Very hard, as they are laminated, but possible, I suppose.

I have purchased two new TM units in the last two years. The first had a couple of manufacturing flaws that the dealer remedied, but the one I just took delivery of only had a couple dabs of caulking out of place. The rest was well-build, and clean. Not at all what I would call "shoddy workmanship". I do think the factory is constantly striving to improve workmanship, and fit-and-finish. I am surprised you felt the units you looked at were shoddy. Again, though, were they new, or used?
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Old 02-25-2014, 10:24 AM   #7
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One of the things I like about the TM is the construction. We have an 04 that I bought and the roof was leaking. If it would have been a wood floor construction, it would have been completely rotted. I have thought about buying an Elkmont since I know the construction of a TM. I have been to the factory and they are so diligent in trying to make things right. We have owned other campers and I will never buy one with a wood floor. If you store one with a wood floor, you might be surprised how much damage can be done in such a short time from a leak that you were unaware. Yes, I know they are a bit more pricy, but find a used one. Any camper needs upkeep and maintenance. We have been in this unit for four months while visiting kids. Only thing I have done is repair the wall on the bathroom that pulled loose. Took me about an hour. I also took off the hubs to check brakes and wheel bearings, but they were fine. Maybe we also have learned to live with life's imperfections. Anyway best of luck finding the camper that is right for you.
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Old 02-25-2014, 05:06 PM   #8
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Please let me assure everyone, as Dan speculated, I am not trying to rile anyone up. And forgive me, I did not state that we were looking at a brand new 2417KB unit. Your replies may have answered my primary question as most here own older models. We have traveled 20,000+ miles camping in our 04 Aliner Classic. We love it for all the reasons embodied in the TMs; low weight, low towing profile, quick setup/take down, foam sandwich construction (not to the extent advertised for the TMs-Aliners have wood floors & other areas). I have been reading posts here to learn more about TMs, and I was (maybe am) very interested in procurring one. Having a bathroom for midnight calls becomes more appealing with each passing year. Aliners often get dinged in reviews for being rather utilitarian. No fancy fabrics, high end floors, etc. And that's OK, I want durability, not flash. I think Lovetocamp has the explanation to the particle board in the bath walls (panels edged with it, as foam will not hold screws or staples. Maybe the wood I saw in the bed platform (it was OSB) is only for strength in the channel track mounting area.
If I may beg your patience, other items I noted (again, I am NOT here to run TMs down, I'm an engineer and this design intrigues me to no end); many screws inserted at off angles, large misalignments of sealing pads between lower box and rear upper section (not those closed by the velcroed pads/seals), caulking smeared here and there (not the end of the world). May I assume most of you would find this very different from your unit? Maybe the one I inspected was an infamous "Friday afternoon build."
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Old 02-25-2014, 07:43 PM   #9
rvcycleguy
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I'll speak for most here, you're forgiven... But when you write disparaging comments on a forum with a specific focus of TM, you may just be on the wrong side of the conversation. We know all about some of the fit and finish issues which are considered character flaws for one of most unique campers on the road today.
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Old 02-25-2014, 07:50 PM   #10
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As is shown in my signature, and mentioned in my previous reply, I just took delivery of a brand new 2417KD. I assure you it does not have any particle board in it.

As for the poor workmanship, well, that does happen. Mine was a much better build than the first new one I bought two years ago. Why the one you are looking at is a bad build, I can't say. I don't know when it was built, but maybe, just maybe, it was one of the first of the models off the line. Still working out some kinks, maybe.

How about, if you decide you want one, order one directly from the factory, with the clearly-stated reason being that the one you viewed at the dealer was poorly constructed. Make sure that the statement is on the order that goes to the factory. I have communicated with Cleo, and have spoken to Bob in person (the owners), and I assure you they don't want poorly-constructed units leaving the factory. They will make sure your unit is built with proper attention to detail. I would hope that all units are built with proper attention to detail, but apparently not.

Don't bail on TM after looking at one or two units. Most are very-well built. And, don't worry about offending any of us with comments about quality. We understand not every unit is built the same, and we are here to answer questions and recount our experience with the units and the factory.
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