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Finally arrived home with my 2017 35-5z with MANY issues..

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  • Finally arrived home with my 2017 35-5z with MANY issues..

    Picked up my new rig at Apache in Oregon on April 29. Kevin , Nick and all the guys that assisted us were awesome. They had noticed issues with the sofa (tri-fold) so when we did the PDI we did it with the air bed sofa. Not a problem. LA Grande was shipping the trifold to my home in NH. All went well with the inspection. Some minor detail stuff like gaps in caulking on shower, scratch on island counter. Nothing major.
    We decided to camp for 1 week nearby so we could use it completely before heading back to NH. On the 3rd day we had no heat, the shower leaked on both ends, 2 holes in the dining room slide topper ( we didn't catch that at PDI), stripped hinges, TV was installed very crooked, and issues with 1 of my swivel rockers. The heat was the biggest issue.
    We brought it to the factory as it was on our way home. They fixed the heat problem. Replaced the furnace. Couldn't replace the slide topper as it needs to be ordered. Didn't fix all the cabinet hinges as some were still stripped, did fix the leaking shower.
    When all was said and done after 2 days we decided to head home. Of course camping along the way, it's a long drive home.
    We encountered more issues sadly. The cabinet in the island, the one the has the slide out shelves, busted out the door and broke completely. When I opened the slide I noticed the door opened and saw the mess. The shelve is only attached the 1 side of the interior cabinet by small screws which are attached to a 1x1 piece of wood which is therefore attached to the inside wall by staples. No wonder it fell apart. Not much support for something traveling down the road at 63 miles p/hr. I had to remove the door when we packed up just to close the slide..
    When I finally arrived home this past Tuesday, I opened the camper door to see the end cabinet on the island ( the round one) half on the floor. 2 out of the 3 hinges on it had been completely ripped out of the frame. I had not even opened the cabinet since we did the PDI. Guess those had been stripped from the beginning as well.
    Yesterday, we had a 93 degree day so I decided to test out my AC. Glad I did as the main AC does not cool at all, just blows out air.
    I have been in contact with someone at the factory on all these issues, and he just tells me to bring it to a repair shop it's under warranty.
    I did my research and took my time going into many different rv's.. I found that this manufacturer had great reviews and a well made product. That's why we decided to drive over 3000 miles to get it.
    My question is.."What happened?" Is anyone finding things wrong with theirs? If so, please share..
    So far, my feelings on this rig is very digusted, disappointed and angry.

    Thanks
    Tom and Anne and 1 four legged friend.
    2017 Artic Fox 35-5Z
    2006 Chevy Siverado 3500

  • #2
    Tom & Anne -

    Well crap! This is not a good story - I would be digusted, disappointed and angry too.

    In the past few years, Northwood has let the quality control slip - but this sounds like they didn't do any inspection at the factory.

    I hate to say this but having quality control issues at the start is pretty common in the industry - what I don't understand why they didn't fix the stripped hinges while you were at the factory - that is really not normal. I am actually more shocked they got the shower leak fixed!

    Your problems is one reason why I always recommend that folks stay in their new trailer close to LaGrande for a week or so - that way you can go back to the factory until these issues are addressed.

    Now you need to start building your punch list and I believe Northwood will eventually take care of this stuff.

    You're gonna hate my suggestion but if I were you I would fix the stripped screws and shelf issues myself - let the repair folks work on the big stuff like the slide toppers and A/C.

    I know it's gonna be hard not to get mad at the customer service folks at Northwood but believe me from experience they really want to fix your issues.

    Good luck and please keep us posted on your progress.

    Bill
    Bill, Mary, and Scottie
    2015 RAM 3500 Crew Cab, Long Bed, 6.7 Cummins/Aisin, SRW, B&W Companion OEM Hitch
    2017 AF 27-5L
    2009 Polaris RZR (the 2nd most fun thing you can do without actually laughing)

    Comment


    • #3
      Sorry you're going through all of that! We've had some issues with our 25Y. Husband used longer screws to re-attach our rounded end cabinet after the cabinet got wonky. Light over the dining table fell off, A/C wasn't working correctly, front AF decal developed bubbles and DVD player quit working. Those items and more were taken care of under warranty last year. Recently the furnace failed to ignite, so we made another service appointment at Niemeyers and we'll be getting maintenance done as well.
      This was our first Arctic Fox, but not our first travel trailer. Our previous SOB unit seemed pretty well finished until we noticed the trailer was incorrectly placed on the frame! We've enjoyed the heck out of our AF in spite of it all, and I would consider another Northwood Mfg. product in the future over anything made in Elkhart.
      Hope all of your issues get fixed so you can enjoy your 35-5Z!
      Bill and Lynda Dayton
      2016 Arctic Fox 25Y
      2015 Ram 3500 Cummins DRW

      Comment


      • #4
        We took delivery about 18 months ago and had some of the same issues, I shake my head that the NW factory hasn't addressed how many units have stripped screws, but that is another story. I fixed ours by getting some small dowel, cutting them an inch long, then drilling the stripped hole to fit the dowel, put in some good wood glue and inserted the piece of dowel.

        I had our large slide catch the pantry slide slide on our second trip which was replaced without question by NW. Now we check both slides for clearance before we move them all the way out.

        Good luck with all the "new unit" fixes
        Rolland & Judie, 2 Shelties, Cozmo & Brinkley

        2016 AF 27-5L, 4 pt Leveling, Dual Pane Windows, 10 Cu Ft Fridge, 15K AC, Central Vac, Progressive Dynamics hard wired EMS, Slide Toppers, 2 Fantastic Vents & Covers, TST507s, 480 Watts Solar Charger, 440AH AGM Battery Bank

        2005 Chevy Silverado 3500, Duramax/Allison, Crew Cab LB 4x4 B&W Companion

        Comment


        • #5
          You must truly feel gutted over that, I know I would. I really do feel badly for you. Even though you shouldn't have to, I totally agree with Bill here that some of those repairs I'd rather do myself than leave up to someone else. Best of luck and let us know how the rest of this experience goes. Once dialed in things should turn around for you.
          George and Carrie
          2001 Ford Excursion 7.3 Powerstroke BTS trans with Tru-kool 40k BTU cooler/V and mod'd B code springs/Prodigy P2 Controller/Blue Ox 1500lb hitch/TurboSmart waste-gate actuator/196k
          2007 AF 26Z-2/Plug-It-Right 507 TPMS/225-75-16 E BFG Commercials/Yamaha EF2000is
          1998 21' SeaRay 210 Signature Series
          Avatar: Lake Shasta

          Comment


          • #6
            Well so much for the Arctic Fox honeymoon. We had some minor problems, stripped screws, cheaply made cabinetry, but nothing as bad as you've encountered. And after traveling all the way across the country too. Well, that's what warranties are for, so make a list (a long one!) of all the problems, and make Northwood pay for all the repairs. The cabinets in ours aren't exactly crap, but close to it. Apparently they've never heard of using glue, just a lot of staples. A ton of stripped screws. That's what happens when you put production ahead of quality. All that being said, if you can get everything fixed to your satisfaction, I'm betting you'll really enjoy your trailer. They really are a step above the Elkhart crowd.
            Jim & Grace
            2011 2500HD 6.6L Duramax, Edge Evolution Programmer
            2016 AF 27-5L, Hensley BD-3 Hitch, 4 Point Leveling, Titan Disc Brakes
            2008 Miniature Golden Doodle

            I thought growing old would take longer....

            Comment


            • #7
              Like you, I also am a little disappointed with the quality of construction. Haven't encountered any stripped
              screw holes yet, but we also haven't been anywhere yet. I did see several places of screw holes left because
              they had to re-align the hinges. Lots of poorly fitted trim pieces, and overall mediocre cabinetry. Most of the
              drawers and cabinet doors in ours had to be re-aligned as they didn't close properly.

              I guessing the first year or two will require lots of little tweaks and repairs. It's the same throughout the
              entire industry. Even the million dollar rigs have their share of problems.

              My main reason for choosing Arctic Fox is for the frame. My hope is that with a solid foundation under me
              I can deal with the small stuff.

              I'll take this opportunity to quote a good friend, "Expect the worst and you'll never be disappointed".
              2017 AF 35-5Z
              2017 F450 Lariat
              '05 F-250 6.0L 2x4, SC, SRW, LB - For Sale.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'll have to say I was disappointed with the craftsmanship in my 25R. But then again, I was disappointed in the craftsmanship in my New Horizons and my Airstream, both supposed quality units also. There is a lot of sloppy craftsmanship and corner cutting endemic in the industry. Warranty repair costs are factored into each unit and apparently it's cheaper to warranty repair whatever is found than it is to design and build better units. The rigs are designed to get past the warranty period only with little thought or care about later on down the road. Although you've got a list of annoying issues right now that warranty will probably rectify, you need to be taking a longer view if you plan on keeping the unit. Leaks are a major issue with all RVs. You can be quite sure just like there are a lot of little annoying issues you know about, there are more than likely leaks that are happening, or likely to happen, where the real damage won't become apparent until after the warranty period, and can be substantial in the damage that they do. It would behoove you, or someone else knowledgeable, to go over the exterior of the RV with a fine tooth comb looking for potential leaks. RVs seem to be considered disposable products, it doesn't have to be that way but it takes a lot of diligence to keep the product from destructing due to environmental causes.
                2014 Arctic Fox 25R
                2006 Ram 3500 SRW auto

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Deerfield Fox View Post
                  I found that this manufacturer had great reviews and a well made product. That's why we decided to drive over 3000 miles to get it...My question is.."What happened?"
                  You are not alone. We started researching AF's in 2007, reading voluminously, taking the factory tour, visiting dealers, and then we put the idea away after 2 years of research, because what we found then was unimpressive. The much hyped factory tour was last on our list, and was the final straw. The work force looked like shift change at a meth cook, the assembly floor looked haphazard, and seeing the manufacturing process left us uninspired.

                  Fast forward a few years of traveling (flying) and staying in hotels, we decided to re-examine the RV process. After again doing research, we decided to give it a try. We figured that surely things must be better than our own eyes and research had shown.

                  NOT.

                  If our AF 5th Wheel were an auto, it would be a Lada, which was produced in the Soviet Union. "The Lada was an obsolete Fiat, produced at the Togliatti factory south-east of Moscow: bought new, it required extensive repair in order to become roadworthy. Soon after that it would start rusting. Getting it serviced was a nightmarish process involving long waits, the use of personal favors, and unpleasant discoveries. They were the butt of jokes: “How do you double a Lada's value? Fill up the tank”

                  What you are experiencing is the sales secret of the RV industry: whether you buy a 20k or 200k RV, the major components are the same schlock from the same suppliers. The brand names are different but the basic products are not. It is mostly all hype.

                  It would be like going to a local auto row where there are multiple car brands, but behind them they were all connected to a secret tunnel where every vehicle exactly the same is coming down the line with just different body styles and paint.

                  Because towed RV's are not vehicles there is no standard that must be met. As long as it lasts long enough to make it somewhat intact through the "One Year Warranty" (THAT should have been a big clue for us.), then their profit margin is astronomic. And, because of people like us (me and my wife) who want it to work, we think in a less than sane fashion that for us it will be different. Also, if you really want to experience the belt-fed butt kicking machine, check out what your resale value is, right now, while under warranty with less than a year on the rig. From three different areas of the U.S., all three quoted a depreciation of about 55% to 60%. When I heard that I had the expression on my face that you would have if you saw an alien burst out of someones abdomen!

                  As far as dealer warranty work, I more than likely will not revisit that process. My confidence level that it will be diagnosed properly and repaired properly and promptly is extremely low.

                  As NW Traveler said: "My hope is that with a solid foundation under me I can deal with the small stuff."

                  Oh, and we bought (not from the dealer) and stem to stern 7 year Xtra Ride Policy that will allow us to use any repair facility.
                  2016 F-350 SD 4x4 CC LB DRW; B&W RVK3300 Hitch

                  2016 Arctic Fox 29-5K; All bells and fully whistled.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think a lot of it comes down to expectations and willingness to perform DIY repairs.

                    My 2017 AF 25Y has had numerous minor problems. A few were supplier quality problems (e.g., cracked igniter wires in the stove), but the large majority of the problems can be traced back to poor assembly at Northwood.

                    To be fair to Northwood (and other RV manufacturers) we've all been spoiled by the high quality of mass-produced, machine-assembled devices, and arguably it's not realistic to expect high quality hand assembly at a reasonable price point.

                    What I expected with my new Arctic Fox was a well-designed trailer with assembly flaws. Those expectations have been met, and I am in the process of fixing many of the issues myself, with an eye to making it better than the original factory intent. So overall, I'm happy.

                    My wife's expectations are very different from mine, and she would be happy to pay more up front for fewer assembly issues. She doesn't care whether I can fix the problems: she contends that the problems should never have been there at all.

                    I can understand both sides of the argument, and given the realities of RV pricing and the current labor market, I can't complain much about the bugs in the trailer.
                    2017 Arctic Fox 25Y, Firestone Transforce HT LT225/75-16, Blue Ox SwayPro 1500, EMS-HW30C surge protector
                    2013 Silverado 2500HD, LML Duramax, manual 4x4, crew cab, std box

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Tom, take your rig to C.H. Dana RV in NH to have it fixed. Steve Dana use to be an Arctic Fox dealer years ago. Steve does nice work. For your stripped screws I use Dap Plastic wood, fill the stripped out holes, let it cure, drill a little pilot hole for the screw and then insert the screw. Good or better than new. Good luck.
                      2015 GMC Sierra 3500HD Dually 6 liter Gas, DC, LB, 4.10's, 2016 AF 990

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Yabbut View Post

                        she contends that the problems should never have been there at all.... given the realities of RV pricing.
                        I edited your statement to underscore my position. I must agree with your wife.

                        At price points of $60k to $80k, it is completely unreasonable to produce at such poor level. Enforced final QC inspections, final weights and measures with a dedicated weight table and laser height clearance, standardization of component locations, and formal manuals with updates as needed are not cutting edge innovations.

                        I think that an albeit gracious acceptance of (at best) a mediocre product by the customer base perpetuates the practice.
                        2016 F-350 SD 4x4 CC LB DRW; B&W RVK3300 Hitch

                        2016 Arctic Fox 29-5K; All bells and fully whistled.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Yabbut View Post
                          I think a lot of it comes down to expectations and willingness to perform DIY repairs.

                          My 2017 AF 25Y has had numerous minor problems. A few were supplier quality problems (e.g., cracked igniter wires in the stove), but the large majority of the problems can be traced back to poor assembly at Northwood.

                          To be fair to Northwood (and other RV manufacturers) we've all been spoiled by the high quality of mass-produced, machine-assembled devices, and arguably it's not realistic to expect high quality hand assembly at a reasonable price point.

                          What I expected with my new Arctic Fox was a well-designed trailer with assembly flaws. Those expectations have been met, and I am in the process of fixing many of the issues myself, with an eye to making it better than the original factory intent. So overall, I'm happy.

                          My wife's expectations are very different from mine, and she would be happy to pay more up front for fewer assembly issues. She doesn't care whether I can fix the problems: she contends that the problems should never have been there at all.

                          I can understand both sides of the argument, and given the realities of RV pricing and the current labor market, I can't complain much about the bugs in the trailer.
                          The highlighted text above reminded me of a sign my uncle had made for his autobody shop.

                          "Reasonable Work at Expert Prices"
                          2017 AF 35-5Z
                          2017 F450 Lariat
                          '05 F-250 6.0L 2x4, SC, SRW, LB - For Sale.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Yabbut View Post
                            I think a lot of it comes down to expectations and willingness to perform DIY repairs.



                            I can understand both sides of the argument, and given the realities of RV pricing and the current labor market, I can't complain much about the bugs in the trailer.
                            This last paragraph in Yabbut's post sums it up. If you go to any RV owner's forum, regardless of brand, you'll see similar complaints across the board. It would probably take the government to step in and provide some consumer protections, like in the auto industry, but given the current climate that's unlikely. What was that latin phrase, "Caveat emptor"? Buyer beware!
                            Jim & Grace
                            2011 2500HD 6.6L Duramax, Edge Evolution Programmer
                            2016 AF 27-5L, Hensley BD-3 Hitch, 4 Point Leveling, Titan Disc Brakes
                            2008 Miniature Golden Doodle

                            I thought growing old would take longer....

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Our 2016 AF 25Y is now out of warranty. We took it back to the dealership one time for repairs, but they did such a poor job that it made things worse. I've been doing my own repairs since then. Compared to our previous SOB 5er, we're pretty happy with the AF. Sorry you're having so many issues Tom.

                              A simple fix for stripped screws, taught to me by my father, is to insert one or two round hardwood toothpicks into the stripped hole, break them off flush with the front of the cabinet, then hand tighten the screw back in. No glue or drilling required. I've used this method to repair over half of the hinges on our 25Y and they've all held.
                              Jim and Esther

                              2005 Chevy Silverado LS 2500 HD, Duramax/Allison, extended cab, 8-foot bed, 3.73 posi-traction, AirLift air springs, fog lamps, alloy rims, Kenwood stereo

                              2016 Arctic Fox 25Y, slide out topper, 15k air conditioner, powered scissor jacks, thermal pane windows, swivel rocker/recliners, 100w solar panel, 6v batteries, Blue Ox SwayPro 1500

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