RV Construction Methods

Please click on the links below for RV Construction Methods: I’ve been adding details for various components as I find time to research.

I started drafting a decision matrix to help decide what trailer we are going to buy. I’m incorporating construction methods in the matrix.

I’ve started to add drop-down pages for each topic.  After much thought, figured I’d use many of the standard architectural pages such as electrical, plumbing, structure, mechanical ect…  Seems RVs are built using many of the same terms we use in building stick homes.

I’ve also come to the opinion budget and type of RV one wants to travel in will set the stage for what becomes which company we will eventually choose for our purchase.  Is there really any point in considering the difference between frame A or frame B after one has decided to buy a Montana or an Excel?  We will be stuck with the company standard with a few choices in other construction methods – perhaps – such as dual pane windows or interior color selections. I’m hoping having a basic understanding of RV construction methods will help us make an informed decision as to which company we buy from.

Seems like the units with higher gross trailer weights are linked to heavier/better construction methods. Appears research can be shortened by paying attention to if they have 8,000 pound axles compared to three axles or 7,000 pound axles.

One thing I’m finding during research is it appears people who buy new expensive RVs expect to have small things repaired for the first year or so.  Wow – I find it strange the RV industry is able to take advantage of this by not building a trailer that is free of defects when it leaves the factory.  If there is time I might compare a trailer brand built in Kansas and not Indiana. In my humble opinion, not striving for 100% perfection creates waste.  This happened to another industry in he past – the auto industry.  That’s why Japan took it over after WW 2. Then entered Dr. Deming.  Ford Motor Company came up with a logo that turned the company around. Quality is Job OneThose building trailers without focusing on quality construction methods for the purpose of raising their profitability don’t deserve our business.  Someday I hope to address this question with an executive and one of the larger plants to find out why they can’t achieve higher quality construction. I’m guessing it has something to do with the employees who build them or cost control forced onto the employees by management.  Really is a shameful situation.

Things I’m considering so far. I’m taking them off the list as I move them to the appropriate page.

  • Hitch pin makes
  • Entry Door – Static hinge vs having to hook it back when open.
  • Wheel size and ratings.
  • Frame construction (thinking many problems have to do with overloading). Montana representative says 90% of reported problems are overloading.
  • Tank size
  • Amenities such as back-up camera
  • Roof types (easy one)
  • Flooring
  • Full paint vr not (another easy one) Maybe groups this in a category called “if money was no limit)Might want to handle this as a drop down menu listing with maybe pages like; exterior, interior, components not built by 5th wheel company such as furniture, nice if we can afford it?
  • Trash can location and size
  • Effects of floor plan selection on things such as separation of space, cargo
  • Minimum cargo needs – one factory representative claims full water tanks are included in shipping weight?
  • Leveling jacks – electric vs hydraulic
  • Focus on what rigs might be considered for 16,500 gvwr and under! Might have to investigate truck limits before I get to far into this study!
  • Floor construction
  • Forced air or electric pads for tanks?
  • Built ready for things like generator, satellite and solar.
  • Slide controls – benefit of having a remote?
  • Access for repairs
  • Really need to stand in the shower, lay on the bed, sit into he chairs – did this and know even reaching a light switch become important.
  • Length – for now appears national parks the smaller the better.  Break off seems to be at 35 feet.  Friend says there is no difference in pulling a 35 vs 40.  Says 30 foot is the breaking point where it makes a difference.
  • Refrigerator options.  Factory representative says fix for residential is three batteries and a small generator to charge them.
  • Factory representative says anyone can say they build something of quality, but it’s always an issue trying to get employees to do it right during construction. I was sitting in a Montana at the show, could pull up the cup holder in an arm rest.  So maybe it’s not just the fifth wheel builder, but the furniture builders that needs to get it right.
  • Furniture builders
  • AC ducting and noise level
  • Cabinet construction
  • Brand of electronics and other outsourced items
  • Seals used for windows – seems like they are being repaired at times.
  • And what really is a frameless window.
  • Here’s a big one – what is their inspection process?
  • Mount Comfort RV sure has a lot of good videos on YouTube.
  • Link to RV Dreams what they would buy.

6 thoughts on “RV Construction Methods

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  5. Mark,

    Besides Augusta RV/RV Factory, who is the other manufacturer that pays their employees by the hour? You mentioned this in one of your posts but I can’t seem to locate it. Thanks.


  6. New Horizons in Kansas. I’ve been told this but have not toured the factory to confirm. I like the Majestic line but they are way over our budget. I’ve got a guy or two on the forums I can refer you to if you start looking at New Horizons


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