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  #1  
Old 07-30-2007, 09:38 AM
Crious in Gander
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Default Durability.

I am looking at upgrading from a popup to a travel trailer. I went on the trailmanor site and this seems to be the answer. Here in Newfoundland, Canada, we have roads that are like your byroads. Our roads are a bit rough compared to your great HWYs in the states, due to our very cold winters, etc. My question is, how durable are these trailers when towed for long periods of time (like years) on rough roads? Would I be able to tow one with my Grand Caravan 3.3Liter and would I need a towing package and/or better suspension, etc? Any info would be GREATLY appreciated!!!! Thanks. By the way my name was supposed to be Curious in Gander and I had registered before I realized it was spelt wrong. How do you correct that?
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  #2  
Old 07-30-2007, 12:01 PM
jellis
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While I believe the TM to be one of the better built RVs out there, it does come with some built-in problems. One of these is the understandable desire of the factory to keep it as light as possible. This is, after all, their holy grail; the ability to tow at least the smaller models with almost any mid-size or larger vehicle. The problem comes when the light construction meets up with the realities of unavoidable rough use. We recently towed our 3124KB through Oklahoma to Colorado. We think the damage occurred while going through Oklahoma City on I-40, which was VERY rough and in need of repair. When we got to New Mexico for the night, the cabinet holding our combo microwave/toaster oven had collapsed, mostly from wood framing that was split due to misplaced staples.

On returning home, I replaced the cabinet framing (which was made of some sort of softwood) with real maple to match the appearance of the rest of the cabinets. The softwood is covered with a plastic film which contains a maple-appearing finish. The softwood is joined with staples, some of which are properly placed and many, many more that were just thrown in willy-nilly and don't even attach to more than one piece of wood. After replacing the wood with real maple and joining with pocket screws, I have a sturdy shelf that I feel will hold up to the punishment of many years on the road. I expect to do the same with other parts of the cabinetry. Naturally, our TM is now marginally heavier than before.

Two points come to mind: One, that we can't really fault TrailManor for making what they advertise, a lightweight trailer. Two, that over the years, these things are going to need some beefing up, and when we do that, we are going to add some weight and need to adjust our loading and driving habits accordingly.

I believe I read recently that TM had hired a quality control professional. I sincerely hope that this person takes a good look at their processes and ensures that their truly are building the best product possible, given the weight constraints. Our 2006 was built a lot better than our 2007.
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  #3  
Old 07-30-2007, 12:24 PM
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jellis -

If I may ask, where did you hear about the QC pro? Almost certainly a good idea - I'm surprised TM isn't trumpeting it!

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Old 07-30-2007, 05:20 PM
Freedom
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I'd say it's long overdue if true. My stove and oven combination almost fell out once and I discovered that the screws that were supposed to hold it in place were screwed into styrofoam! I repositioned the screws into the wood and it's been OK. The trim around the ceiling also fell off and broke in several places so I had to reattach it with small screws. The glue that's supposed to hold the fabric around the rear bed doesn't hold anything - I'll have to re-attach it with something - contact cement? The paper covered mdf that's used for trim is junk. So, there is lots of room for improvement and quality control would be a big part of that process.
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Old 07-31-2007, 07:35 AM
Crious in Gander
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
I'd say it's long overdue if true. My stove and oven combination almost fell out once and I discovered that the screws that were supposed to hold it in place were screwed into styrofoam! I repositioned the screws into the wood and it's been OK. The trim around the ceiling also fell off and broke in several places so I had to reattach it with small screws. The glue that's supposed to hold the fabric around the rear bed doesn't hold anything - I'll have to re-attach it with something - contact cement? The paper covered mdf that's used for trim is junk. So, there is lots of room for improvement and quality control would be a big part of that process.
I don't know if this stuff would be good for what you are looking for but I always have a tube of GOOP in my home. It dries clear but is harder then silicone yet some flexability. It is very durable. I mended my vent cover 3 summers ago and my pop-up is parked in my driveway all year. The vent was exposed to the elements for the full 3 years and we have nasty, long cold winters here with fairly hot summers as well. I had to replace my vent but not because of that damage. When I took it off I was amazed that it had held up exposed for so long and not peeling off anywhere. This stuff sticks to pretty much anything. You just have to treat it like silicone when applying and it is a bit runny so you have to attend to it for a little while until the outside layer hardens a bit. Just wet your finger and smooth it out. Works great though and is resistant to gas, oil etc as well. You can buy it at Walmart or somewhere similar. Just a suggestion.
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  #6  
Old 07-31-2007, 10:01 AM
jellis
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Re: TM's QC Guy
To the best of my recollection, there was a small press release type announcement on the TM website for just a short time. I believe it was under "What's New." I sort of forgot about it until our new TM started showing QC type problems. I went back to look it up again and it was no longer there.

Now, I'll be the first to admit to being on the downside of 60, so perhaps I didn't get it all correct. But, as you say, it would be an opportune time for TM to pursue this and to let the community know.
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  #7  
Old 07-31-2007, 04:10 PM
PopBeavers
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My biggest quality problem is that the formica facing sticks up a little. Because of that, when DW slid the microwave drawer out a little to get something that fell behind it, the rubber feet on the front edge of the drawer nicked the formica and cause some chunks to break off.

Never allow anything to slide off of the top of any counter top until you have used a file or sandpaper to remove the small lip that was built into the counter top edge. This is, imho, a quality problem. Very easy to overlook, and very annoying wen the damage occurs.

Then there is the cracked frame issue. I believe that a design change has occurred because of the experience that I and a few others have had with the swing away tongue.
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  #8  
Old 08-01-2007, 07:50 PM
Steverino
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We bought our TM used, so I can't vouch for the treatment it received prior. However, I would say that the design is ingenious, but let down by the workmanship and types of materials selected. The cabinetry and trim (with the stuck-on woodgrain) doesn't wear very well, and I have discovered numerous screws in various parts of the unit that were not placed properly. The materials chosen for parts of the structure (wood framing) also impact the durability.

I have a feeling that these sort of issues are not uncommon in the RV industry, so it may be unfair to single out TM. Also, it is probably unreasonable to expect Honda quality in an ultra-low volume product such as the TM. If they were to build to much higher standards, they would have to double the prices & sell nothing. OTOH, I think I'd be a bit frustrated with some of the issues if I had paid full retail price for a new unit...

In sum, I think the TM is a decent product, especially for caring and careful owners who don't mind doing a bit of figuring on their own. Regarding rough roads, one area that has had some attention over the years on this board has been the issue of the shell latches (both the main latches and the corner latches as well) I know on some TM's, the corner latches have had a tendency to pull loose when the trailer is subjected to lots of bouncing and/or the main latches aren't holding properly. Search this topic for more info. I've had this problem on mine as well. Maybe the factory has upgraded this design by now??

My $0.15. ($.02 adjusted for inflation)

Steve
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  #9  
Old 08-02-2007, 09:41 AM
jellis
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Steverino makes several good points. These problems are not unique to TM and it would be unfair to single them out. On the other hand, the cost of a new TM is quite a bit higher than most comparably sized standard trailers, ostensibly because they are built better. That is one of the big reasons we bought a TM. There is certainly a lot of great engineering here, along with accessories and furnishings that are definitely high end, at least within the RV industry. My point is that, as long as they are making a high-end product, it makes sense to match the quality of materials with a like quality of installation. It doesn't cost any more to install one staple correctly than it does to stab at a piece seven times with a staple gun. If adjoining pieces can't be accessed easily and this is the only way to join them, then you have identified a place where the process should be changed. This is what QC people do, and it speaks highly for TM that they, hopefully, are doing this.

One great place to start would be to study corporate aircraft interior completion centers. They build strong, lightweight interiors that hold up for years in difficult environments. The question becomes whether we, as purchasers, are willing to pay for this quality and innovation.
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  #10  
Old 08-02-2007, 11:27 AM
Crious in Gander
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Exclamation Towing Capacity.

This forum is everything I've read on here that people say it is, and more, newbie comments included. You people are great at giving detailed, honest (and welcomed ) information. An awesome job by ALL! Keep up the excellent work. I am leaning toward the TM if I can get one used (finances won't allow new ) and I agree that all rv's and especially pop-up campers are subject to troubles. I know I've had enough with my Viking, even when practically new, couple years old, warranty just ran out on items with trouble and especially . Gotta cope somehow :-) !!! Seriously though my big issue now is will my 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan, 3.3 liter be able to tow this rig? Would it be best to get the towing package installed, and/or anything else, upgrade suspension maybe ?As I mentioned earlier, the hills here are exactly that, some steep but none could be classed as really large. Our province is big, in fact not a lot smaller then Texas in square miles but no high mountains. We will only be travelling to parks where there is full service, and that is usually just off our highway. the only problem is our highway is a bit rough in some spots as I addressed earlier. I suspect I would have to stick with the 2600 & 2700 series models but that would be sufficient anyway.
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