Rant: Build Quality

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by PP Bear, May 24, 2013.

  1. PP Bear

    PP Bear Funster Life Member

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    Now don't get me wrong, I adore my Autotrail Dakota. I brought it as a low mileage secondhand deal and I'm completely over the moon with it in every way poss........HOWEVER, I'm quite a fussy bugger when it comes to attention to detail and fit and finish, I'm also not a great lover of some British workmanship. I want to be, I really really do, but some of our continental cousins do it sooooo much better than we do and have real pride in their craftsmanship and work, whereby us Brits are a bit more, yeh that'll do, kind of guys. I've had call to do a fair number of minor tasks on my pride and joy, as I'm qualified to do them and I also thirst for the knowledge on how things work. The more I do the more I understand how it works on my motorhome, where the harnesses lay etc.......men will understand this I'm sure:Eeek:

    So when I had call to look behind the fridge (by simply removing the outer vents) I didn't like finding sweetie wrappers from those craftsmen on the production line, nor fag butts, nor the nail clippings too. I especially don't like finding the screws that should be securely holding cables and panels together, that are either half in or half out, or drilled in at an angle as they've been in a rush and they havent cared as the chances are you'll never see them. Across the entire vehicle I find these signs and I could list more, but why why why. Why doesn't Autotrail conduct out inspections on the build process, that way they'll find these examples of poor quality and poor workmanship and the workers themselves would improve in their trade, for fear of being found out.*More importantly, they'll find the electrical wires, that dangle across sub frames and are just waiting to rub thru and short out and cost us £'s in the process of repair:Angry:

    I know when I out inspected the work of my military fitters, if they had replaced an item and then fitted a panel that concealed it, I'd make them take it off so I could confirm that the correct washers were fitted, with the correct screws, bolts and locking devices and thus improving the quality of the work we would produce and the likely reliability of the equipment:thumb:

    So come on Autotrail, I've read so much about poor quality and it's quite rude and ignorant of you, to simply think people will continue to put up with this poor attitude, when you could easily fix it during the build process

    Rant over:shout:
     
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  2. Forestboy

    Forestboy Funster Life Member

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    Its not just British built vans that have these quality issues. Most vans built after 2004 seem to be inferior quality to vans built previous. We bought a 2009 Holiday Rambler RV which was less than 12 months old after owning 2 older Rvs. The van was fantastic fancy lighting plush furniture latest electronics it looked a million dollars, but it was awful. The build quality was terrible nothing fitted properly drawer runners fell, off doors warped, pipes leaked, screws fell out and rivets popped, it was a constant job repairing it. Added to that it was a petrol and we couldn't live with 7mpg so got rid of it. We then found a 2002German Hymer and although old there is no comparison in the build quality its far superior and even though its now 11 years old the woodwork still looks as good as new and we use it a lot all year round. Fact of life I suppose built to a price nowadays, it would probably be so expensive to build old fashion quality they'd never sell any.
    If I had the money I'd love to have a van built to my own design and standard.
     
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  3. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    All motorhomes are shoddy!

    It's the industry standard!!!

    If you want a well made van, find £150k and spend it on a Concorde or Niesmann + Bischoff!:Laughing:
     
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  4. PP Bear

    PP Bear Funster Life Member

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    Wonder if we could build one on the chasis of the Freddie, I'm sure the becky mechs wouldn't miss it:Rofl1:
     
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  5. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    WHATEVER YOU DO - DONT BUY A NEW AUTOTRAIL. !!
    If you dont like the old build, you will be VERY VERY dissapointed on new ones..:Doh:

    Bits fall off all the time, screws in material that dont hold screws, screw covers that drop off before they get to dealers. etc etc etc.....

    Still it's only money and a hobby, aint it ???
     
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  6. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    Now THAT would be good bit of kit for a wet rally field!

    You could even confuse tuggers by lifting their caravan and changing their pitch whilst they slept!:BigGrin:
     
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  7. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    I posted on another thread about swift built quality. It's not xclusive to swift, autotrail or anyone else. It's the sign of the times across the industry.

    Humans = test pilots.

    Want a motorhome, get a toolbox as an accessory,

    Fixed my tap today, had come loose, had to remove the whole sink to get to it :Eeek:
     
  8. PP Bear

    PP Bear Funster Life Member

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    Removing and resealing around the sink, that's on my jobs to do list, what did you use as I,ve also to seal in the shower area too:thumb:
     
  9. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    I used some sikaflex that I had left over from one of the numerous other jobs I had to do the other month :BigGrin:

    I always keep some with me in the tool box.

    One time in Prague Nikki was taking a shower and I was sat out in the sun with my feet up, I noticed water running out from under the van, it was because the sealant had failed around the shower and was literally going between the tray and the wall....:Doh:

    One of a million things I've fixed with all 3 of our motorhomes over the years. Oddly enough, i can't remember doing anything to our bailey caravan years ago :Cool:
     
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  10. talaris

    talaris Read Only Funster

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    2012 Dethleffs Globetrotter. Very iffy finish in parts to say the least. Some really good quality but in other places, mostly hidden like the OP, it is sub standard.

    That said it is whole lot better than most of British brands, like Autotrail and Swift, that we looked at we went or this.

    Ours is in next week for a new awning and a new passenger door and frame. The awning is bent, from factory fit probably, and the door leaks all round theframe again from new. That's nearly £5k of warranty thy could have saved with a bit of time, effort and liberal doses of sealer. That's to say nothing of he new lights etcetc we have already had.

    The dealer, Alan Kerr has been really good and sorted out the vast majority without a quibble so a big :thumb: to them.
     
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  11. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    self build is the answer .
    then you can only blame yourself.
    but you can save enough to build another one compared to buying a factory job.
     
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  12. busby

    busby Funster

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    Have purchased from Alan Kerr, excellent after sales. BUSBY.
     
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  13. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Am more than happy with the build quality of my RMB Silver Star. At 23 years old everything still works as it did when it left the factory. All hinges, door catches, drawer runners etc are original. The only thing not original is the AES fridge and LED TV. Built to hand down through generations. Its not as fast as a modern common rail motor, but will happily travel at 60 MPH all day, and its rear wheel drive with factory fitted diff lock. I only ever owned 2 British vans, both Elddis, I should have learned from the first one. Have spoken to several owners of new Hymers and each and every one said the build quality was not as good as there older trade in. Its not just British vans that have gone down the pan, German vans are not what they were.
     
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  14. G4OGE

    G4OGE

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    I have been having a look round again today and must say not very impressed, the shower door on an Auto trail I think (had a look at a lot) when shut touched at the top and bottom and had a 6 mm gap in the middle,it was a circular type, on another it was a swing type and very flimsy, the toilet door latch was missing (not sure if it had been nicked) but where it screwed into had no real wood where the screw holes were looked to be about 2-3 mm thick.

    The older stuff outside seemed better made as per previous remark; sure is a lot of money for this type of workmanship so it does make you wonder what the workmanship is like out of sight.

    I would have thought screws and such especially in important places would have some sort of retaining glue to stop them coming out.
     
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  15. joner8888

    joner8888 Read Only Funster

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    It`s all about production numbers-
    keeping share holders happy
    Keeping the banks happy
    bonus schemes
    It all went down hill after about 2000- out went pride , in came greed
     
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  16. knighthauler

    knighthauler Read Only Funster

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    Build quality

    We have recently changed our 2008 Autotrail to a Hymer Eribacar because of poor build quality - we have had three Autotrails previously,older models with hardly any problems,decided to go newer,what a mistake that was - lots of issues,mostly minor,but lots of them,eventually had enough!!
     
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  17. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Look on the bright side AT are considered one of the better British premium vans :Rofl1:All makers use more or less the same stuff to make there vans and a vast majority use Italian made furniture thats bought in.More a case of (so called) fitting into a space thats there- if it fits tightback/together then good but if is doesn't it's near enough :BigGrin:
    The only way you will get a well screwed together van now is from a small converter who has pride in there work and makes there own cupboards etc, rather than buys in like big boys do, or do a self build where you can make things fit rather than nearly fit :BigGrin:
    The problem you have is finding a good self build because people who have good self builds have got more or less the best layouts that suit there needs at the time :Smile: so tend to hang onto them or alter them.
    Comming up 7 yrs since my last conversion and still only had the 8 ins bit of trim fall off :BigGrin: and changed cab carpet and rear floor purely for own preference rather than needing to :Smile: A few bits have gone wrong with base vehicle, starter motor, headlight, a relay for air suspension, bushes and a nightmare of a sender unit for ABS :BigGrin: but apart from what I consider servicing no problems, nearly forgot alternator :BigGrin: Morrel of story Self build rools :thumb: as JJ would say :BigGrin:
    Terry
     
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  18. G4OGE

    G4OGE

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    Don't these manufacturers read any of the forums and the remarks or concerns aired, or is it that they just don't care to much?, perhaps when people start voting with their wallets they may sit up and take notice.

    What if all the data was collected on each individual model or type and sent to the MD of each company I was going to suggest[ one of the magazines but to much self interest I think, say someone independent a bit like which; it seems a bit obvious that not much in the way of final inspection and more importantly work in progress snap inspections of each process.

    It seems at the moment to be as has been said earlier, shove it out as it is and worry (or not) about it later, the end user is the one to do the final inspection and provide the remedies.

    I wonder if it would be possible to have a report section on the forum where this could be logged under each individual manufacturers type and on a monthly bases send it to the MD's along with the comments of the people who pay their wages.:thumb:



    /SIZE]
     
  19. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    I thought about this as well... A simple form. Make, Model, Year. Somewhere to list faults..
    Then a facility so you can search and bring up just that one model.
    Soon see any common issues...

    There are several for Autotrail BUT they are never going to admit to an issue as it put's them open for more comeback.. You only have to read some posts on the forums to start a list of common problems.. ie.. Habitation door lock, the batch of vans where there is cracking on the corners of windows etc...
     
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  20. G4OGE

    G4OGE

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    Good points, I think this is where the other option comes in voting with the wallet, When the demand falls, a quick sit up in the chair happens or should do!, once you get a bad name in business it is hard to shake it off which in these hard times is something they do not want.
    The difference between getting it right and saying that will do can not be that great, Like most of people who make things with their hands usually find better ways of doing things or when actually making something know the work they are doing is not the best and it can be done better, pride in your work (if allowed do it better or suggest a better way) should be the order of the day, certain things that have heavy usage need to be of better quality and tested properly before being allowed into the manufacturing process.
     
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