View Full Version : Few More Miscellaneous Questions

09-19-2006, 01:09 AM
Hi All - I have a few more miscell. questions. I guess I really just need to drive to see a Bighorn in person, but haven't been able to make the trip yet.

1. Has anybody replaced the factory king mattress with a household Sealy, Serta, etc.? Will it fit within the bedroom slide-out area? I believe the standard BigHorn king mattress is 70" wide whereas household king mattresses are 72"-76" wide.

2. Does the BigHorn have a bay for a generator/inverter? Or do people normally house them in the basement, truck bed, or else rig up something special?

3. Last question - I've been reading many posts here over the past 3-4 weeks. Although I'm excited about the possibility of buying a BigHorn with all of its nice features and fair price, quite honestly I am apprehensive after reading tales of potential fire hazards (wiring shorts), plumbing leak problems, axle and tire problems, etc. To those of you who have owned other brands of RVs - how common is it to have these types of problems (i.e., does Heartland have more than their "fair share" of problems?) Unfortunately, I am NOT ALL AT HANDY and don't have any experience to notice the tell-tale signs of problems like many of you do, to tear open covers/boxes to investigate wiring, plumbing, etc. So I worry that some major safety issue may arise (such as described in the recent "Discovered fire hazard" thread) that I wouldn't notice, thereby putting my family in danger. How common are these problems? How important is it to be mechanically and electrically handy when owning an RV?

Thanks again so much

09-19-2006, 07:01 AM
Good morning Gary,

You should get quite a few responses on your questios over the next couple of days.

I'll give you my input on part of question 3 - the "handy" aspect. Speaking from my own experience only, I would be quite frustrated with my trailer experience if I was not somewhat handy. Things go out of adjustment or break. Tires go flat. Things get um... run into etc. If I didn't carry a decent set of tools and have at least marginal experience with general repairs, plumbing and electrical systems etc., then I'd want to live much closer to my Heartland dealer.

Since you've laid out your skill level for all of us, my sincere suggestion to you is to buy from a very close dealer and make sure they have a committed service department. If no Heartland dealer is close, speak to the ownership/management/service department of a nearby full-service "other brand" dealership about the prospects of servicing your warranty issues. Work also with Heartland pre-purchase to ensure the service dealer you have sought out is a dealer Heartland can work with.

Fially, when you do make your RV purchase no matter the brand, buy from a caring, compassionate dealer that will take the time and continue to take the time with you and your family, familiarizing you with the various systems on your RV and what some common failure may be and how to deal with those failures on the road to make it safe for the rest of your trip and get you back to the dealer for service.

Best of luck to you Gary,


09-19-2006, 07:33 AM
Hi Gary
I can answer #1 we replaced the stock bed with a king size off the shelf memory foam mattress. No issues, it fit just fine.

As far as problems, the dealer will make the world of difference. It seems to me that Heartland has taken care of any problems, when they are given a chance to. I had to deal with Keystone on our last trailer, they had more excuses than solutions.

Good Luck

09-19-2006, 08:27 AM
Read on another forum "If you are not a plumber, carpenter or an electrician you shouldn't own and RV" :eek: Guess I would suggest buying one locally if it is at all possible or weigh your decision based on your skills. I have the basic skills and have done some modifications but am still glad I had a dealer close to take care of some other problems.

09-19-2006, 08:46 AM
If this is your first RV, remanber that it is quite large. Driving it will be a whole new learning curve, Look at going to a driving school. Look for one that does RV's. It might be harder to find, but a professional truck driving school would most likely do a great job. Do not under buy a a truck to tow it. Full loads of 14000 lbs are not unheard of.
Best of luck

09-19-2006, 06:39 PM
Just wanting to address the bed question and here is what we did.. We found the bed to be reasonably comfortable but still wanting a cushier feel we purchased a memory foam topper from sam's Club..Other places have similiar products.. This works VERY well and is compatible with our early '06 model with the unusual corner by the Lav..Our lav is by the foot of the bed ,yours will be by the head of the bed and a topper should work real well. Makes an easy up grade

09-19-2006, 06:59 PM
I can say from experience that the normal mattress will fit, it will be alittle snug against the walls and some what of a pain to make. My wife and I use the sleep number beds. When we wanted to buy one for the RV, they said that they made special mattresses for the RV market. Well as you can imagine the price was special too. So we bought a Super Queen, which is in bigger than a queen but smaller than a king. It fits the width a little tight, and the length is aobut two inches longer. My wife just pulls the mattress away from the head and makes it, than pushes it back in place.
As for the generator. They are put in the front compartment. If you are planning on using one have it prepped at the factory. I got estimates of any where from 1500 to 2500 dollars to install one, plus the cost of the generator. The front compartment has to be completely sealed from the rest of the basement, and a fuel area has to be seperated from that. It is quite a job. Even if you think you may get a generator to mount in that compartment, at least it will be ready for it.

09-19-2006, 08:22 PM
Hi Gary,
to cut through the fluff and shorten a long story I have had at least nine other RVs. Some are long gone, IE Wheel Camper, Camp Craft. I have had Four Winds, Keystone, Fleetwood, and others. Never have I had the problems I have had with Heartland. My BigHorn 3500 RL is again in the shop for more repairs. Since our return from Florida we have been without the use of the RV for two out of five months. I have had slide out problems, water leak problems, plumbing problems, black water tank problems, fresh water tank problems, fit and finish problems and it goes on and on. Also holes cut into the frame (torch) instead of re-routing the wires and cables. We are apprehensive every time we use the rig. Hardly a problem really as it is mostly in the shop.
My advise is stay away from Heartland. They have way more than their share of problems. Some of the email responses I have had appear to be written by someone totally inebreated. Very unprofessional to say the least. I am disheartend with the entire experience.
As I write this the RV is at the dealer yet again. Almosst two weeks now, by appointment and the dealer says "maybe someone will look at it by the end of the week.
Gary, do yourself a favor and stay away. Forewarned is forearmed. Look elsewhere, anywhere else. Believe me on this. We have lost our whole summer now. Time cannot be recovered, it is lost forever.
Good luck,

The RV-Ramblers
09-19-2006, 11:12 PM
I understand your fustrations but if I were you, I would sell or trade that RV and get something that I liked.

09-20-2006, 07:39 AM
While I understand JoeW4300's frustration and dis-satisfaction, Linda and I have had the most wonderful experience purchasing and camping with our Bighorn 3500RL. This is our 5th camper in seven years and our first time with this dealer and Heartland. First off, our dealer has been, by far, the best dealer we have ever dealt with. Heartland has also been very good to us with regards to warranty work and the such. I will say we have had a fair amount of issues with our rig, but the dealer and Heartland has been very, very good to work with. This was a very big purchase for us and we feel that for the money we received a great value and a great rig. Without a doubt we would do it all over again.


09-20-2006, 08:11 AM

I understand what your going through. I had a Keystone product about 6 years ago that was in the same condition yours is in now. I swore I would never own or recommend another keystone product. The point is it happens to every brand out on the market. Just go to RV.net or Good Sams and you'll see others complaints as well which include Jaco and Ceder Creek. I can report I have had very few problems with my 3055.

09-20-2006, 09:39 PM
I will agree that you have to be pretty handy around an RV of any kind. I will also agree that I have been around camping my entire life. I have never seen problems like I have had on the Bighorn. Most of mine have been small and my dealer is great and 3 miles away. My last 2 campers I pulled them off the lot and never saw the dealer again except to visit.

09-21-2006, 06:58 PM
I'm back with more questions :) Glad you don't charge me by the question:)

1. I read on recent posts (both here on on RV.net) about Mohr-Ryde suspension. Supposedly an upgraded suspension package exists ("IS"). On RV.net, I read that the standard Mohr-Ryde offered on the BigHorn does NOT have shock absorbers (not sure if that's true or not). Can someone please explain the difference in these suspensions to me and whether it's beneficial/cost effective to upgrade?

2. I also read on RV.net something about the BigHorn design may be changing so that a stackable washer/dryer is possible (instead of just a combo unit within a closet). Has anybody else heard anything about this (maybe I should ask Scott T.)

3. Is the fireplace option worth getting, or is it really just more for effect? My main concern is that it's something else to go wrong, and may present another opportunity for a fire hazard (propane leak).

4. Here's a suggestion that may help some concerned potential buyers of Heartland (such as myself). However, it may be controversial. It would be great if a "Owner Ratings" display was added. For instance, each current owner could rate on scale of 1 to 5 (5=best) several things:

- overall quality of their unit (maybe broken down by product line)
- overall "dealership experience" (dealer name would be helpful also)
- perceived value of their unit
- overall happiness with their unit, or maybe instead:
- would you buy Heartland again (1= strongly disagree,5= strongly agree)

Then maybe a running average could be kept within each category. Since newcomers read many problems discussed on the forum, they tend to lose their perspective about just how frequent those problems are in the grand scheme of things. Maybe ratings (numerical or even written) would add that useful information, and may also be of interest to current owners.

Thanks for listening

09-21-2006, 07:46 PM
Going to answer the first question. The standard MorRyde suspension with out the shocks is great. Hit a big bump and trailer doesn't even know it! Smooth as silk!

Tom of Ypsi
09-21-2006, 08:10 PM
I can answer the third question. The fireplace is electric, at least mine is. It does give off heat, enough to ward off the chill on cool days. In no way is it going to warm up the coach on a cold day but with the lights off or on low and the fireplace on with a bear skin rug in front ;) Sorry I got side tracked for a minute.