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Old 01-02-2014, 08:37 PM   #1
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I have been reading forums to learn all I can, and decided to join some to participate. My wife and I are very interested in the 38GK and will probably order one soon. We will be living in it halftime. We have camped quite a bit when the kids were young in a 12ft popup, doing 5000 miles once in 3 weeks. Now I'm retired and it's time to hit the road in style and at a slower pace.

The Redwood is the nicest by far of all brands/models our Dealer carries but reading the forums has me worried because of all the quality control issues. I know quality is an issue in the Rv industry as a whole and I have not read other brands forums, but isn't Redwood one of the better ones? Are my fears ungrounded? Having never pulled something this large, it seems rather inconvenient to be hauling it back for repairs. I know I'll probably have to get used to fixing things myself on a regular basis. Most of you regulars seem pleased with your coaches, but some newer posts of multiple defects and talk of lemons has me concerned.

Please comment on my concerns. Thank you.

Steve and Linda
38GK ?
Will be buying a new Silverado 3500HD DRW Diesel to pull.
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Old 01-02-2014, 09:14 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Forum!

Listening to a forum can certainly scare you off. It's happened with every brand I've owned.

I think Redwood builds a great coach, and compared to what I have owned in the past, the craftsmanship is better and the attention to detail is better. So far, customer service has been good as well.

With that, I have learned that the industry as a whole has issues. The RV industry has exploded in my opinion, and with that, they are so busy cutting down trees to keep up they just don't have time to sharpen the saw (totally against Franklyn Covey's approach to quality). They seem to get them through production and then let the Dealer worry about the details. Some come out fine, like ours, and others have more issues than most. Many times the issues are related to items common to all brands, such as Dometic, Thetford, etc that have nothing to do really with the manufacturer of the RV directly. Sure the manufacturer can seek other brands of appliances and material to build his RV, but there aren't a lot of choices out there, and it doesn't seem that one supplier is any better than the other (i.e. Dometic vs Carefree, Dometic vs. Norcold, Al-Kober vs Dexter, etc).

In short, you have to have a bit of a tolerance if you are going to seriously RV, and you will be working with an overworked industry with very little automation. You most likely will not get the type of personal service you might think you should get, unless you are prepared to drop 3X the coin to get a full custom unit. Always have a plan B, especially if you are driving off the lot with your new home, because chances are very good, if not guaranteed, that you will need to make a return trip for adjustments and repair, regardless of whether its a tent trailer, Redwood, or Mobile Suites. I have always been happy with my RVs because I carry a tool box and don't sweat the small stuff, and this Redwood is one classy gal that I'm proud to have.
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Old 01-02-2014, 09:27 PM   #3
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Hi Steve! WELCOME!

You have valid concerns but it's all over the Boat, RV and even the airplane industry. When someone orders in their dream coach and with the amount of money spent on these, it can be very disappointing to see the little things that a few more minutes of production could have prevented. Yes Redwood is one of the best units out there and their floor plans are great. The main thing I hope you've read on the forum while you were "Lurking" is that the company stands behind their product. That isn't the case with some of the other manufactures.

My advice is to buy a tool box and fill it with tools because these trailers are rolling earthquakes while going down the road. Stay on top of the repairs and learn to laugh. If you're the type of guy that doesn't know how to use tools, then you're going to be very frustrated. The more fancy and complex these units get the more there is to adjust. In the old days the RV was a box on wheels with a bed and sink but that's not the case anymore.

As for the concerns of pulling this size of trailer.....be careful and within a few weeks you'll be fine. The Redwood is the BEST pulling trailer I've ever pulled and I've had mine all over the country and in all weather conditions. In 2013 I pulled mine around 26000 miles. Start out in a big parking lot when a store is closed and practice making turns and backing up. With the truck you're talking about buying will handle the trailer with ease but make sure you put a set of bags under it.

Good Luck and Happy Trails! I hope to meet you at a rally someday.
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Old 01-03-2014, 12:18 AM   #4
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Steve & Linda,

Welcome to the forum. Our situations are almost identical, except we went through it just over a year ago. We had been checking out the local RV show for about 5 years and quickly settled on a 5th wheel and then further refined it to one with a front living room. Last year we started looking at dealers and were looking at the Montana, but still had some concerns with overall quality of the finishing.

Once our local dealer showed us the RW we were sold; great floorplans, all the comforts of home in 400 sq feet and consistent quality on the 2 units we saw. The dealer got an FL and shortly thereafter we rolled off the lot with our very first RV. If we are going to experience the RV lifestyle we figured go big and start with one of the best.

In our experience Redwood excel with their customer service and have worked well with our dealer to make good the few minor issues we experienced. They even accepted repairs to oil seals inside the wheels, which apparently is an issue I could have caused by greasing them.

I'm not overly handy with tools, but will figure out how to make good minor repairs and routine maintenance. Lots of help available on this and other forums. Only thing I wont touch is brakes/wheels and propane.

In summary, we are extremely happy with our coach and the customer service from Redwood. I think you will find this is consistent with most owners. While we are distressed hearing of major problems with a few RW's, unfortunately this is prevalent throughout the entire industry, so no matter which brand you purchase you risk getting some problems. For this reason we looked closely at customer service and warranty responses. In the majority of cases RW excels in this area.

For driving, you pick it up quickly. In BC we must pass a test, so I got lessons. First place the instructor took me was a Costco parking lot at lunchtime on a Saturday. I figure, if I survived that I can go almost anywhere. However, I suggest Dave's idea of an empty parking lot is a better option.

Good luck with your ongoing research and hope you feel comfortable in joining our growing family of RW owners.
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Old 01-03-2014, 01:32 AM   #5
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Don't Worry Be Handy

Hi Steve, my wife and I were where you are now about 4 months ago. Like you we had looked and the wife was sold on the Redwood almost from the start. I on the other hand a needed to do the background research on these units. Having owned several RVs in the past, the thing you must keep in mind is that your sticks and bricks don't have to travel down thousands of miles of road, in all kinds of weather. To keep an RV going just takes a few common tools and a willingness to stay on top of the little things before they become big.

We picked up our new 38FL about a month ago and promptly drove 350 miles home, over two snowy mountain passes. The Redwood handled like a dream. Found just a couple of small issues when we got home, called the dealer and parts are on the way. One thing I have to echo what everyone else has said is that Redwood and the right dealer will do right by you.
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Old 01-03-2014, 01:38 AM   #6
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Steve & Linda,

Welcome to the forum and to experience of purchasing your first 5th wheel.

My wife and I (plus 3 kids) were tent campers and pop-up campers (a Starcraft and 2 Colemans) from 1975 through 2010. I researched 5th wheels for 4 years and considered doing a semi-custom, but, the price kept going up faster than my budget, so, we almost gave up on the idea. When I finally came across the Redwood product, I became seriously interested again. My wife really like the floor plan for the 36RL. I requested a factory tour visit and that sold me. I had previously done a factory tour for another brand and was not impressed. The Redwood operation was much better and our tour leader (one of the regional sales managers) was able to answer my questions much better. I highly recommend arranging a factory tour if possible.

We ordered our RW in July 2011 and took delivery in mid-September 2011. We have had a few minor issues which I took care of my self, a few issues which were taken care of nicely by the factory service center and one issue (with a hydraulic disk brake actuator recall) that the component supplier (Carlisle) turned into a bigger issue than necessary because they refused to warranty their own product. My RV dealer and Redwood finally covered the warranty themselves and because it took 5 weeks to resolve and ended up not charging me anything for any of the work that I was having done along with the recall.

Finding a good dealer is as important as anything you can do. Explore on the Redwood forums where owners have had the best experiences with their dealer. Not all dealers are equal and not all dealers have as good of knowledge about the Redwood product as they should. I have been fortunate with my home base being in northern Indiana, the factory service center is only an hour's drive away while my dealer is 2 1/2 hours away,so, I go to the factory service center.

Good luck with your research and don't be afraid to ask questions on this and the other Redwood owner's forum.
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Old 01-03-2014, 04:06 AM   #7
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Steve - I've had fewer problems on my Redwood than my previous Outback trailer and we live full time in our Redwood. I've found Redwood/Crossroads responsive to the items I've needed to be addressed. Also you need to have a reliable dealer and if you do purchase, set aside a day to perform a detailed PDI and pickup. Identifying and correcting any problems before you take possession of the unit is critical. Doing so will likely reduce your odds of having to go back for service during your early break-in period. Our Redwood is our first 5th wheel. There is a short break-in timeframe for you to ramp up on the ins and outs of your 5th wheel and truck. This break-in period includes hooking, unhooking, setup, break down/packing, pre-trip inspection around the entire rig, driving, parking, preventive maintenance, etc… Eventually you develop your own system for ensuring your travels are as safe as possible and your rig remains well maintained. There will be surprises along the way, but developing your own level of confidence to perform some minor repair tasks, use of the forum, knowledge on engaging Redwood/Crossroads and your dealer or other dealers - will leave you with your basis covered for all types of events.

BTW I'm surrounded by 2 Newmar's and Carriage. Talking to the owners they have had their fair share of problems.

Hope to see you on the road.
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Old 01-03-2014, 03:15 PM   #8
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Steve and Linda,

After reading the other posts, I agree with all of them. We don't have a local dealer in Western WA. We would have to go to Oregon or Idaho. Also there is a dealer in BC, but going across the border for service issues brings up it own problems.
(We found out about RW while snow birding in Tucson last year. They have a local dealer here and after calling RW about not having a local dealer at home they agreed to an non RW dealer for warrantee work).
We too have had many RV's in the past and this by far is the best unit! It REALLY helps with ALL the folks on the forum helping each other!
Good luck and safe travels!
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Old 01-03-2014, 03:17 PM   #9
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Hi Steve,
Our 36RL is our first RV. Over the years I have owned many boats and Captained quite a few more including high end yachts like Viking and Hatteras (most of the Marine systems are almost identical to RV, if not the same). Almost always having something to "tinker" with is a given, doesn't matter who built it.

Having said that, we too have been looking at RV's for a few years and finally narrowed it down to 5th wheels. Had looked at other brands but walked into a Redwood and said "wow: and that was it.

My coach is just over a year old, has been towed more than 5000 miles and we flat love it (although we are discussing a 38GK 'cause that one just blows us away). Have there been little issues ~ yes. Nothing major and when you do have something chances are someone here or on the other forum has already experienced it or will be happy to help with ideas. Also, as others have said, Redwood service is exemplary. Many of the small things I've fixed myself with a phone call, parts sent directly to me, and then sending the defective one back.

I will also say that the dealer is a big part of it. I'm fortunate that my RW dealer is a good one (about an hour or so away from me) and a local dealer who sells other Crossroads brands is also good and has a great Service Dept. My coach is there as I write this to get it's annual inspection done and wheels and brakes serviced for a Florida trip in a few weeks.

Bottom line ~ I would not hesitate to buy/order another Redwood and depending on what the dealer comes back with for pricing, may be ordering a 38GK very shortly ........

Whatever else you check off on the order form, make SURE you get Disc Brakes. If we stay with the 36RL, it's going to MorRyde in the spring for their IS suspension and Disc Brakes.

HTH, Vaughan
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Old 01-04-2014, 11:53 AM   #10
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Our RW is our first coach and bought it because of the perceived quality. While we have had 1 major (Landing gear) and several smaller issues with the coach, we still are happy with our purchase. Part of continued dedication is in reading some of the other forums of other brands - they seem to have as many or more problems with theirs - hence, we went with the RW.

The other thing to consider is that I believe that on these forums, most people come to them or post when they are having problems and therefore one can get a skewed perspective that the brand is generally problematic. What is missing is all the folks who have never had problems numerous or severe enough to warrant searching for and posting in the forum. It would be great if there was a resource that compared repair history across brands like they have in the auto industry e.g.) consumer reports.
Anyone know of such a resource?

Just some thoughts to consider.
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