ELKHART, INDIANA -- I took delivery of a Palamino Sabre made by Forest River in May 2010. At delivery I identified several issues and made arrangements to return it to the dealer for repair; Linoleum torn and lifted at corner of heat duct in kitchen. Two or three cabinets had nails that missed the shelves and left pieces of the shelf missing. Door side security light does not work. No caulk around the shower faucet assembly. Several areas around the shower enclosure that are not caulked. Several windows did not shut tightly. Screen door does not shut properly binding hinge. Carpet in the bedroom is matted down and even after cleaning looks 10 years old.
The skirt over the tires in the front main slide sticks out and looks awkward.... out of alignment. Ladder hinge broken, ladder hangs funny. There is rust on the rear rack. The center channel speaker is loud static all time, the vent hood in the bathroom has to be excessively tightened to close. The front supports are already rusty. Chip in cabinet door after linoleum replaced. Gouge in entertainment door. Bath door does not shut properly.... hinge binding. Slide seals still loose, staples not holding secure. Missing adhesive tape.
Electrical for furnace needs to be relocated (caused a dead short, connector now under bank of drawers). Annie ** cut the power wire at the AC to isolate intermittent short. Is this wiring secure in the AC? Still smell propane near front and side compartments. Shades keep falling down..... loose? Floor is cupped between refrigerator and stove.... floor dips down. Stairs into bed/bath area loose and not installed properly. Trim at bottom left side of main slide pulling off.
Most of these items were to be repaired at the end of camping season 2010. The first camping trip after buying the coach I could not get the rear stabilizers to go down. They were jammed up, I had to pry down on them while someone held the button.
The second trip, I went to turn on the refrigerator the day before and it wouldn't turn on. The dealer tried to fix it the next morning and found the general location and told me it was a dead short. It was currently working and they couldn't find the problem. We picked up the coach, went to the campground when I extended the main slide the slide seal ripped right off the wall and was hanging outside of the coach.
The slide also jammed halfway out. I had to push the slide while someone pressed the button. Then I tried to turn on the refrigerator and it would not work along with the air conditioner and the furnace. I had to remove the furnace grate under the stove and found the power wire for the heater was laying against the sheet metal of the furnace shorting out. I had to repair the furnace wiring myself.
The dealer took my camper to the Forest River plant in Indiana. They had it for a week and they only fixed the slide seal and the ripped linoleum. They replaced the linoleum and gave me an upgrade to an optional linoleum pattern for free. I had asked how much it would cost for the upgrade prior to work being done, nobody called me and they just did the upgrade.
The third trip out, I set the camper up, leveled it, and deployed the main slide and it was jammed. Had to push on the slide while someone activated the button. Then I cut my toe on a staple where the carpet transitions to linoleum. They left the old Staples loose in the carpet where they lifted the carpet to lay new linoleum. We found over two dozen Staples. Then I went outside finished setting up, turned on the water. A few minutes later I heard water running. I raced into the camper thinking the kitchen sink was running all over the sink cover.... nope, went to bathroom and it was flooding.
Forest River removed the toilet to replace the linoleum and cross threaded the water line on the toilet. The water was leaking like an open garden hose. They obviously did not pressure test the system after they were done. Three trips two major failures, one minor but frustrating problem. I was not angry, I was very patient - the dealer praised me for being so nice about the issues. But, when I just got the camper back from Forest River and I cut my foot because they left the old Staples, and my toilet flooded the bathroom to the point water was running out of the bottom of the coach, I had had enough.
The dealer told me to call Forest River Service manager and gave me the number. I told him I needed someone to come out to the campground to fix the leaking toilet that night, it was 4:00 P.M. at the time of the call. Instead of saying "let me see what I can do", he said "I don't think that will happen." Then I said if it isn't taken care of he needs to send someone out to pick up the camper and refund my money. He then said, that definitely isn't going to happen. I then called him an ** and hung up. I wasn't calling because something broke, I was calling because they fixed one item and sent it back to me in worse condition than when I sent it to them.
Going back and forth with Sam ** - he made it seem like he was going to repair my coach and then when I added to the list he got cocky and told me the only reason they replaced the linoleum was as a favor to me to throw me an olive branch for my troubles. They changed the linoleum because it was ripped at the heat vent. I asked for a price to upgrade the linoleum since they had to change it anyway. I never asked for anything free, I was prepared to pay for. I didn't ask for anything free then or now.
I just want a competent person from Forest River to either fix my coach or refund my money. After several emails back and forth the dealer I bought it from and I believe he never intended to fix the coach. Therefore at this point I want a full refund, this coach is a lemon. This is the worst quality I have ever seen in a new product and the customer service is the worst I have ever encountered. No one should ever buy a Forest River Product after this experience.
HTTP://WWW.FORESTRIVERINC.COM/ND/DEFAULT22.ASP?NAV -- I will update this info so please check back every once in a while. I recently purchased a Cherokee Fifth Wheel Trailer model 285K and want to indicate its poor points. The kitchen double sink is so small that a normal dinner plate cannot lay flat. The drawer slides are the worst I've ever seen in the five RV's that I have owned. The TV antenna cannot be adjusted without the use of a step stool. The bathroom sink is so small that it is difficult to get your hands under the faucet to wash them. When brushing your teeth you can't bend over and spit into the sink without hitting your head on the medicine cabinet.
The privacy curtain that pulls across the bed is so long that when opened it drags on the floor making it hard to get to one of the wardrobe closets. The electric switch that raises/lowers the front of the trailer onto the hitch is mounted such that you can't see the hitch when you are pushing the button. The pump switch is mounted under the kitchen cabinets. If I stop at a road side rest and want to use the bathroom in the trailer then I have to actuate the slide out a foot or two in order to get to the pump switch. They should have installed an additional pump switch inside the bathroom.
MAJOR PROBLEM: The black/gray water pipe is located under the slide out making it hard to reach. What's worse is the valve handles point down making it very hard to open and close. They are also the first thing that hits when going over uneven ground. This was poorly fixed on the 2006 models by installing remote handles that are horizontal but the cables (similar to bicycle brake cables) were poorly secured to the bottom of the gray water tanks with a cheap plastic clip with sticky tape. These fall off the first three miles down the road and the cables then fall to within 5 1/2 inches of the road.
The main drainage pipe from the black water tank is horizontal to it's exit point making it difficult to properly empty. The gray water adaptor is an eccentric adaptor which steps down the pipe size to accommodate a 1 1/2 inch valve. The installer improperly clued this adaptor causing the gray water to have to go up to reach the valve. With the front legs of my fifth wheel fully extended the gray water only empties to half a tank. Another major problem is that the air conditioner and microwave oven cannot be used at the same time without popping the breaker. One of the walls in my trailer is starting to fall off since it was only stapled in the first place.
The license plate is mounted behind the ladder making it hard to see and necessary to mount ladder accessories higher than normal. The storage under the dinette is only accessible by removing the cushions; they didn't install drawers or doors for easier access. The mini-blinds are mounted so poorly that they fall out of their holder while traveling. The two swivel chairs have no tie downs to keep them in place while on the road. No towel racks or toilet paper roller are installed in the trailer.
The garden shower appears to be big but since there is a built in seat in the wall of the shower it makes the standup room almost impossible. The bed is close to the floor allowing no usable storage underneath. The laundry shoot inside the bathroom vanity has no cover so cold air comes up from the storage compartment. It appears that a large 19 or 20 inch tv can be installed but it would have to be a flat screen LCD or Plasma TV because there isn't enough depth to the tv area to hold a regular tv, unless it is 13 or 15 inch.
I installed sliding baskets on the pantry shelves for easier access to food items. I would like to install new drawer slides but that would be a big job since there seems to be no good mounting cross pieces to mount the brackets to. I understand that this trailer is a low end unit and I would expect it not to be deluxe in the window treatments, the flooring and carpeting, the lighting fixtures, etc. I do expect these items to be properly quality installed; not so with Forest River. Please check these things out before considering buying a Cherokee from Forest River.
3/8/06 Update: I don't recommend purchasing an RV built by Forest River. I've had trouble by two different Forest River Dealers getting repairs done. One dealer actually refused to do a simple repair of replacing a leaky grey water valve. The service manager told me that Forest River did not pay him enough money for the repair. I've had the trailer for one year now and still have a leaky valve. The trailer is now and has been in the shop for two weeks and no work has been accomplished. I will write a letter to Forest River and update this site in a month or two.
4/2/06 Update: I finally got my fifth wheel trailer back from RV City in Huachuca City Arizona. It had been in there over a month for minor repairs. When I asked why it wasn't ready I was told that they were holding it until they received payment from Forest River; apparently Forest River must not pay their dealers for some warranty repairs. I have had two dealers complain about doing warranty work for Forest River - NOT GOOD!