Forest River Informative - Improvements Needed (updated 4/2/06)
HTTP://WWW.FORESTRIVERINC.COM/ND/DEFAULT22.ASP?NAV -- I will update this info so please check back every once in awhile.
I recently purchased a Cherokee Fifth Wheel Trailer model 285K and want to indicate it's 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 curtin 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 slideout 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. Whats 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 bicyle 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 accomendate 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 accessable 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 travelling. The two swivel chairs have no tie downs to keep them in place while on the road. No towell 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 underneith. 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. Whe 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 !