View Full Version : Heartland RVs QC Program - A Review

12-08-2006, 11:09 AM
As many of us know and understand, recreational vehicles are very complex units, consisting of many of the same systems we find in our residential homes (i.e. plumbing, heating, electrical, audio/video, cabinetry, flooring, furniture, appliances, etc.). On top of that, the majority of todayís RVs have multiple rooms that mechanically slide out of the main body of the coach. With all of this lumbering down the road, over hill and dale, our coaches are going to take some punishment.

What will set our Heartland coaches apart from other brands is the engineering that goes into it (frame, suspension, walls/ceiling/roof and all other systems). What will ensure that the best laid plans (the engineering) are followed during the construction/assembly of our coaches is a robust QC program. As Heartland has grown, so has their QC program.

On November 7, 2006, I met with Heartlandís Manager of Quality Control, Rich Egnor. The purpose of my visit was to better understand Heartlandís current QC program, see it in action first-hand and ask questions about it.

Below are my observations and comments.

Itís real! Heartland does have a rigorous written QC program and a QC Manager with a team of 13 inspectors. The team ďcanĒ halt the line and is the final word on ďOK to ShipĒ.

A few days prior, I contacted Scott Tuttle, Heartland RVs VP of Marketing and told him I would be in the area for business and would like to stop over at Heartlandís main plants after my business and meet with their QC Manager and go over their QC program. Scott agreed to this readily.

On the afternoon of November 7, 2006, I stopped at Heartlandís Bighorn/Big Country plant and asked for Rich Egnor. Rich met me at the reception desk, we donned safety glasses and entered the plant floor.

We began a walking tour/discussion in the corner of the plant where the frames come in. Here, frame VIN numbers are confirmed with expectations on paperwork. The frames are also evaluated to ensure they meet specifications. One of these tests are for frame squareness. During the frame evaluation, they also rotate the frame side-to-side, 360 degrees using specialized equipment that allows the frame to be lifted and rotated.

One cornerstone of the QC process is the indoctrination process the inspectors go through, learning the written program and working on the line with seasoned inspectors before working on their own.

While I did not obtain a copy of the written QC program, the sense I gained was that it is broken down into two primary areas. One area is cosmetic and the other is systems.

Cosmetics would include fit and finish of all types and varieties, inside, deep inside (unseen areas) and outside.

Systems would include the electrical, plumbing and hydraulic systems on the coach. Inspections include running, pressurizing and using these systems to ensure proper specifications and operations are met.

A colored tape marking system is used to mark actual problem areas on a coach and a checklist on a clipboard actually travels with the unit. Units on the line actually move or roll sideways on the line and are moved 2 to 3 times per shift with the last move being out the door and onto the plant lot for shipping. In that only 2 or 3 line moves are made per unit during its construction/assembly, workers actually perform many steps on a unit while that unit is stopped in one of the 2 or 3 spots on the line. The entire time units are on the line, QC inspectors are crawling in, over and around them.

At the end of the line, it is the responsibility of the QC inspector to certify a unit as OK to Ship. If itís not yet ready to ship, they call in any and all departments to make any and all corrections required to make that unit ready to ship.

I just want to say that I witnessed first-hand that Heartland indeed has a QC program with a host of inspectors and supervisors. This QC program plays an integral role in the construction of the coach. That said, weíre still talking about trailer built with human hands and inspected by humans. Expectation of a perfectly built trailer is unrealistic. An innovatively engineered, well appointed, well built, sharp looking, very serviceable trailer is what you should expect, and I believe more often than not, Heartland delivers. And I think most of us have experienced Heartlandís dedication to customer service should anything go wrong with your coach.

Jim Beletti

Ken Washington
12-08-2006, 11:25 AM
Hi Jim,
What a nice review of the QC at Heartland! Thanks for letting us know what is going on at the plant. I think that a lot of people think that these units are just slapped together with no regard for QC. I was in QC at Sherwin Williams for 37 years and I know what it takes to get a good product out the door!


12-08-2006, 05:24 PM
The problem I have Heartland when you write a letter and they never respond to you then I called and left a voice message and still did not receive any response. This is also part of the QC that is not taken place.
I have had so many problems with my RL3400 and the dealer and try to get help from Heartland and they don't even try to give you any type of acknowledment then what do you do.

12-08-2006, 06:00 PM
I can attest the the fact that Heartland has responded to my letters and e-mails any time that I have written them. I have dealt with a lot of different companies and manufacturers in my sixty nine years and I find that Heartland has been at the top of my list as far as responding and answering my questions and request. Just my own experience. By the way, didn't you read Scott's answer to you two days ago? He gave you a phone number and name to contact. Why don't you try that and see what happens.

12-08-2006, 09:53 PM
Heartland has answered all my questilons and solved all my problems in a short period of time. My hats off to them. over-the-road

12-09-2006, 11:02 AM
Heartland has responded to my email very well. They have even phoned me twice to answer my questions. I have used bussiness type language and made my point without any garbage in it. Being as professional, no matter how upset you are, does get things done. Proper composure and spelling goes a long way

12-09-2006, 12:30 PM
Jim - thank you so much for the QC review. It's excellent. Another point we'd like to compliment you on and thank you for is your role as moderator/administrator for this forum. It's VERY well done - informative, fun and a great way to exchange ideas. We've learned so much from it. We'd also like to say that Scott at Heartland has been very responsive to the couple of emails we posted on Ask the Factory. I'm convinced that they are very customer-oriented as a company. That's the kind of company we try to do business with.

On another forum (RV.Net), I've posted a few messages about Landmark and Heartland. One fellow is headed to Safford RV in VA today to hopefully place his order - I'm keeping in touch with him along the way....once it's ordered, I'll encourage him to join us at next year's rally!

Anyway, my point is really to say THANKS to Jim for all the work he does on our behalf.

12-09-2006, 01:33 PM
One of the reasons I did order (and since pick up) a Bighorn is the quick response I got from Scott on questions I had. One of those was QC and Scott assurred me they were working on it. We have a couple of issues that the dealer is to remedy, the last time I talked they said they were waiting for parts. Our unit came in without too many issues and we were impressed.

I also want to say what a good job Jim does with the Forum and all of you that continuously add to the Forums usefulness.


Uncle Rog
12-21-2006, 06:01 PM
Howdy, although I have been frustrated with a few issues, I must concur that HL has taken care of my problems, notwithstanding my dealers shortcomings, in a timely professional manner. My neighbor and good friend had my wife sell his house and he has put down a deposit on a 3670RL with a contingency on the close of escrow. They want to wait out the market in a BH before buying a new house. Maybe I should be an RV salesman, has to be more fun than lumber.............UR

01-03-2007, 09:38 PM
Well Jim,
I see the cheerleading continues unabated. Some things will never change. It seems that perhaps the QC has improved. All well and good for future owners but for owners with older, defective, poorly made units like mine, we are on our own. Some efforts were made to fix this lemon but it can never be made into something I will be proud to own. We have had too much heartache with Heartland. After one thing is fixed, another problem developes.
The good news though is, that after owning this lemon for 19 months we will soon be rid of it. We have ordered a new RV, our ninth, and will soon put all of this behind us. This has been by far (there is no second place) our worst purchase in over thirty years of RVing. Actually, this is our worst purchase ever in 41 years of marriage. I have pages of documented deficiencies on this unit. Many were minor which I repaired myself and many were major, most of which are still deficient.
So, good luck to all, check your tire pressure often in those Chinese tires, watch out for defective axles and wheels, make sure the slides stay retracted, be careful with the black water valves, check your fresh water tank should you actually want to put water in it as it is likely to fall out, watch out for hot to cold and cold to hot in the plumbing system (nothing quite like hot water in the commode), be carefull the vinyl doesn't get pulled up when you retract the slide, try to keep up with the rain water leaks if you can, hold on tightly to the drawers as you open them as they may never close properly again, watch out for the slide hitting the ceiling fan as you retract the doorside slide, check that you don't have anythng under the hydraulic pump as it will get wet when the pump leaks, make yourself a latch for the door that separates the bedroom from the living area as the door will come unlatched with the first bump in the road you hit. I'm sure I will see some Heartland products on the road as I travel. I will be forever grateful that I no longer have one.
In fairness, Dave Partin made great efforts to make things right as did Randys successor. The dealer was great with sales, abysmal in service. Needless to say our new RV will not be a Heartland product nor was it purchased from a dealer which carries Heartland products. Was my experience as bad as I make it out to be? No folks and Jim, it was way worse. This is an industry sorely in need of regulation. A lemon law for RVs can't be too many years away.
Jim, you have been a cheerleader for Heartland all along. I can't help but wonder what the real connection is. You will not have the opportunity to ban me from the site as you did Wildwood as this is my last post and my last visit.
I can't tell you how happy I am that this will soon be a distant, bad memory.
Get real, get right, get rolling. Do the right thing and make Heartland take care of these problems so no one else goes through what we have.
Gone forever,

01-04-2007, 08:26 AM
Good luck with your next coach.
Sounds like your dealer is a joke I understand that. Heartland has always responded to my questions. I did not get all my issues solved by Heartland or the dealer from my point of view but, I still like my Golden Gate.
You mentioned tires and wheels 99.9% of RV have foreign made wheels and tires. I know I have searched for wheels that where American made and ended up just replacing the tires. ALCOA was the only wheel MFG that came close but no luck.
So good luck with your next dealer and coach but, how do you know if their any better.

01-04-2007, 09:02 AM
I wish Joew4300 all the best of luck in the future and happy camping also. To You, Jim and Scott, we could not have better people on this form to inform us as the two of you have. I know yous have round shoulders and this well roll off in time. Keep up the good work and may 2007 be a great year for all of us. Evans & Lana

01-04-2007, 01:44 PM
Let me echo the comments from Evans and Lana. 99% of us appreciate the fine work on the forum and Jim's and Scott's timely information.

01-04-2007, 01:56 PM
I had an 06, 3055RL and had a lot of the problems that you read about on this forum. Particually in the quality of workmanship. Did I broadcast it to everybody I saw and post it on every forum? No. But working with my dealer and dealer working with Heartland people, I was made happy. Would I have another? You bet. I just took delivery of an 08 model 3055RL. :D Do I like it? You bet!! :D The changes are a great improvement. And the quality of workmanship is greatly improved.

If Heartland will continue to back their dealers and maybe be a just little more selective of their dealers based on service satisfaction and not just sales volume, then Heartland will build a better public image in the RV industry.

There will always be someone that is never happy. I just hope JoeW4300 is not putting all his eggs in the same basket.

Just my 2 cents worth.:)


01-04-2007, 03:58 PM
I agree with you Jomtoo and would purchase another Heartland. If I could get a deal on the Landmark I would move up. They have made improvements in the product and I really like one of the new colors they came out with for the 08 model. Yes I have had problems with my Bighorn but I see that they are make greater improvements and they did prove to me that they do care about their customers because they took care of me even out of the warranty period. So with that I will be seeing them in the Tampa RV show.

01-05-2007, 12:32 PM

When is the Tampa RV show you referred to, where is it located, what are the hours and how much is it?

01-05-2007, 01:10 PM
The show is Jan 17-21, at the Tampa Fairgrounds, US 301 and I-4. They have 1 day and multiple day passes, and you'll need several days. Try the sponsor, the Florida RV Trade Assn website, flrvta.com, and email or call. They should be able to tell you everything you want to know. Last year there were at least 2 Heartland dealers there, plus about every mfg in the business.

01-05-2007, 05:30 PM
I too echo Jimtoo's post. Our 3055 has a defect list of over 100 issues. 95% were small and would not be noticed by most people. I just looked at everything with a fine eye. The salesman handed me a roll of masking tape and said "tape what you want fixed". The inside turned green with tape. Could you get me some more, please?? Heartland stood behind everything. The dealer fixed everything. I had to stand on the dealer a few times, but all is fixed, except some gelcoat that has to be redone, because the sub trade hired to do it could not get it right.
I could have put all of my problems on the forum, but choose not to, as Heartland did thier part. Thanks to Scott, he answered emails and phone calls promptly and thanks to Chris LaPaz for phoning to see if things where getting done properly
Yes I would buy another Heartland!!

01-05-2007, 08:31 PM
We had some issues, but then again I've had issues with every RV I've owned. Just symtomatic of the industry in my opinion. Doesn't make it right, but what company wants to be the first to spend the extra time required to make everything right and have to raise their prices because of it? You get what you pay for in most cases, and I believe it is true here. I think Heartland is a very good value-you get a lot for what you pay-and usually the trade off is the little annoying things that should have been caught and corrected at the factory. I have fixed a few things and so has the dealer but it is no big deal. Gives me something to do! I realize that some have had some major problems, but, that happens. I believe that RV's are no different than automobiles or most other products that are assembled from a variety of parts made by a lot of different companies. Sometimes one gets put together and it is nothing but one big mess. Overall, I am very happy with my Landmark and would buy another. I knew going in to this that a new company building a new product is likely to have some problems, and especially with quality control. I think anyone that believes a 1-2 year old fast growing company will have no problems is kidding themselves. What sold me was this forum, forum members helping each other, Jim's committment and esp. Scott's/Heartland's involvement and responses directly to customers.

01-06-2007, 12:43 AM
We agree with everything Clark said.We have had some problems,but our dealer and Heartland have worked to make it right. I have fixed some things myself. I have let our dealer handle some. We looked at alot of other companies before we bought our Landmark. There were none that had the features and the quality of the Heartland. Alot of people commit on the paint and design on the outside of ours. There are very few 5th wheels out there that look any nicer than the Heartland. We would buy another Landmark again, no questions ask.

01-19-2007, 11:04 PM
I must agree with most of everthing that has been said here. As many of you have seen the troubles I had with our 07 Cyclone in the pictures posted in the Cyclone area and yes I fixed them all myself and better than the dealer ever could. I am anal about this type of things. Heartland came through and made it right for our family. They usely do not pay owners to do there own work on their rigs. They found out that I know more about fixing these type things than most dealers. But I worked it out and got what I wanted out of Heartland. I hope to think that I help them to improve the new Cyclones because Scott talk to me and said they did have some troubles with the Cyclones. He thank me for the pictures of before and after and past them on to production.I will keep on making improvement to our rig and it will be the Best Cyclone on the road bar none. I am setting a goal now. You can take that to the bank. And yes we are taking it the heartland plant this spring to show it off to them I hope. Yes we do love our Cyclone

01-20-2007, 12:27 AM
Glad its all working out for you. Just another example of Heartland's commitment to customer satisfaction! I walked thru a Cyclone at the factory in Sept, nice.

07-16-2007, 09:56 PM
We are looking to buy a Bighorn fifth wheel. I do not like what I am hearing about the Chinese tires. RVers are saying that they are having a lot of problems with them. Are they going to change to a better tire. We looked at a Bighorn this weekend and it had those tires. Do you call that good QC?

07-17-2007, 07:15 AM

Doubt we'll see non-Chinese tires on Heartland trailers anytime soon. Based on the volume of RVs sold, I just don't think there is enough capacity at non-Chinese tire plants to fill the need of U.S. trailer makers. This is just my sense of the matter and it is not based on any facts from Heartland.

That said, it is clear that there are some Chinese (and maybe other countries) tire factories that are turning out bad tires. This has been proved out in the latest nationwide tire recall (brands not used on Heartland trailers thus far).

Do I wish all Heartland models were supplied to the consumer with Goodyear or Michelin tires? YES. Is it practical? Can it really be done? I'm not so sure it can be done. Regardless, it's not my call. Like you, I don't work for Heartland. Just another RVer here...

What I do suggest you do is look at the tires on other brands of trailers that you are favoring. If tires are the deciding factor and you find another brand of trailer that suits you perfectly and has a tire brand you prefer, you may have found a winner. Another suggestion is to make the tire brand of your choice, a part of the deal you negotiate with a Heartland (or other brand) dealer.

Best of luck and let us know what you end up getting in terms of trailer brand, model and tire brand and country of manufacture.


07-17-2007, 08:10 AM
Kathyo, I wouldn't let the tires be a deciding factor. Any good dealer will trade them out for you. And I will add I wouldn't drive any thing off the lot with Chinese tires, no matter what the brand.

07-17-2007, 09:27 AM
Well I've been reluctant to enter into the big tire debate. We have a Bighorn 3500RL (floorplan no longer available) and it has Mission tires on it. We travel every single weekend during camping season to a local campground which is about 20+ miles one way (approx. 25 weekends per year), we have taken it to the Rally in Elkhart (2) times which is 240 or so miles one way, we've been to Pigeon Forge, Diamond Caverns, and Terre Haute Indiana without incident. Yes I'm knocking on wood right now. I can't tell you exactly how many miles we have on our trailer tires and I realize that we do not travel near as much as some other folks but they seem to be doing well. I do keep an eye on tire pressure. I have read many of the horror stories posted at this forum and others. It is enough to keep me a bit worried but I do what I can to check my tires often.

Let's hope I did not just jinx myself.


Uncle Rog
07-17-2007, 09:36 AM
mr, your short trips are probably about right for the chicom tires, they probably do not get hot enough to detonate.......

07-17-2007, 03:06 PM
mr, your short trips are probably about right for the chicom tires, they probably do not get hot enough to detonate.......

My two trips to Florida and back on Trail America tires might disprove your point.


07-17-2007, 03:25 PM
I was a bit skeptical about my Mission tires that came as original equipment on my Bighorn 3055 and was even told by forum members to immediately trash them and buy something else.....I decided to give them a try and monitor them closely for unusual wear and or any tread bulging or separation. Since then I have been to Branson and Gulf Shores putting a total of over 2000 miles and guess what.....no unusual wear and they look like they are wearing normally. I do check the air (80psi) maximum load each and every time I start on a trip. I load them to 75psi......I might have four blowouts next week but right now they're as good as any RV tire I've had in the past on different trailers. Keeping my fingers crossed....jwb.

Uncle Rog
07-17-2007, 04:03 PM
cdb, I hope you are right! I am glad you have not had any problems. I, on the other hand, have had two catastrophic failures with the TA's, one with no damage and one that only took $200 in cosmetic parts to fix, very lucky. This is my fourth rig in almost 15 years and the previous two flats were from
1) I left the tires on too long and they were sun rotted.....replaced them
2) I had a slow leak that I gambled on, planned to change it out at the camp ground, tire got hot and grenaded, tearing up the slide wire harness
Ever since our maiden voyage, when I discovered all the lugs were loose, I have religiously checked pressure, temp and visually inspected the tires at least every 200 miles or whenever I stop. I honestly think that my tires were poorly made or defective at best. Anyway's we now have the GY's and the Doran system for insurance. Keep on roll'n and good luck.....

07-17-2007, 04:21 PM
Do ALL chinese tires explode? Nope. Do lots of them explode? Yep. How many posts about exploding Michelin's you see? Haven't seen one yet. If anyone has send link, please.
On track. Heartland taking care of folks was not the OP. Quality control was. Two different subjects.

Uncle Rog
07-17-2007, 04:54 PM
Chopper, you are right, I never even looked at the thread title, I just saw the tire post........All in all I have read just as many, if not more, issues about other rigs on other forums. HL, I have to think, is trying to do a good job and that is that......

07-17-2007, 08:48 PM
Thanks Guys for all the info on the tires. I thank I will check and see about changing the brand name to include on the sale. I really do like the Bighorn 3400RL.

07-17-2007, 09:45 PM
We had mission tires on our '06 BH 3500RL which we had put about 12,000 miles on. They had all worn pretty evenly. When getting ready to go to the rally this year Steve was checking the tires. Found one that had about a 12" crack in one tread groove and it also had a bulge on it. We replaced all 5 (spare included) with BF Goodrich tires. Guess we were lucky to not have a blow out. Steve always checked the tires and made sure the pressure was good and there was no unusual wear.

11-29-2007, 09:04 PM
I am going to say that in the 1st year we have had our Trailrunner, the quality of this trailer is great. I have been in some others that were cheaper made(not by heartland) and was very disappointed in the craftsmanship and quality. When I had a problem with the flooring, we could have redone the floor with something else but DW wanted it the way it was and since I was the one who ripped it, Josh from Heartland was a big help. Supplied me with the supplier and I was able to order some. I can see where they take pride in their work and I can't wait until next year to get back out there.

12-06-2007, 09:25 AM
How does one contact Heartland? Over the last month I have sent 2 emails with no response(several weeks apart) and called, leaving a message(a week ago) with no response. This alone makes me think I don't want a Heartland RV. We have looked at them, liked what we saw but have questions that need to be answered and the dealer was useless....................

Admin Note: I pushed this request directly to Heartland today with your email address. Jim

12-06-2007, 11:13 AM
How does one contact Heartland? Over the last month I have sent 2 emails with no response(several weeks apart) and called, leaving a message(a week ago) with no response. This alone makes me think I don't want a Heartland RV. We have looked at them, liked what we saw but have questions that need to be answered and the dealer was useless....................

Admin Note: I pushed this request directly to Heartland today with your email address. Jim

I called 'em the other day. Operator answered right away, I asked for warranty service and got Chris on about the second ring. He got me the answer I needed and I was completely satisfied! Cant get any better service than that. Be thankful that your dealer cant answer your questions because they are generally wrong. Best source of info it right here! Ask Away!

12-06-2007, 11:50 AM
I would like to know what e-mail address you used and what phone number you called. This is so untypical of Heartland. I know that anytime I have called or e-mailed over the last couple of years, I have gotten a response in a very short time. As Bill (retired4fun) suggested, ask you questions in the Prospective Owners threads and I'm sure that you will get your questions answered there.


12-07-2007, 01:02 AM
I have had some problems with my Bighorn, but I sure have never had any problems with Heartlands response. I am still a very happy camper with my trailer and with Heartland

03-13-2008, 07:52 AM
Hi! everyone just joined today and wanted to say hello, 2009 3950, one of the reasons beside quality that I purchased my trailer was the response I got from Heartland (David, eastern sales), I have spoken with him several times and had a chance to meet him last month---top notch guy...hope to meet some of you folks...

03-13-2008, 08:23 AM
blackfin -

Alright - another 3950!! :cool:

Come to Branson in June! Love to have you and you can meet a lot of people!

03-13-2008, 08:30 AM
Yee Haw another Cyclone on the East Coast!

Congratulations on the new 3950. I love the layout but it's to long for the Barn!

If I may ask, where did you purchase yours?

Welcome aboard. ;)

"The Truknutt"

04-07-2008, 09:54 PM
We've bought a 08 North Trail by Heartland and I have appreciated this forum (re tires, etc), but I notice there are no recent posts...most are o5 or 06 posts. Why is that? Everyone quit and go home? lol Larry:)

04-08-2008, 08:05 AM
We've bought a 08 North Trail by Heartland and I have appreciated this forum (re tires, etc), but I notice there are no recent posts...most are o5 or 06 posts. Why is that? Everyone quit and go home? lol Larry:)

I don't know where you are looking then, Larry. The Forum seems to average an easy 25-35 posts per day; higher on the weekends. Are you looking at just one particular thread? The North Trail Sub-Forum has had numerous postings in the last couple of weeks.

Right now you are in the Quality Control Review thread. Click on the "NEW POSTS" link up at the top of the page or on the FORUM link and scroll down through each Sub-Forum and Thread.

Now if this was all a joke, then you got me but April Fool's Day was a week ago! :D:D

04-08-2008, 08:24 AM
The Forum seems to average an easy 25-35 posts per day; higher on the weekends.

I think its closer to 75-100/day. It's hard to keep up with all of this - hate to not be able to get on and miss a day.

04-08-2008, 09:31 AM
Around here at work, we tend to low-ball everything; that is until Performance Appraisals are due; then watch out for the fiction to start flyin'! :D:D

Actually I reevaluated and you're right...I tend to log on 3 or 4 times a day and read through the 25 or so each time. It is inevitable though with the number of new members popping up all the time! :p

04-08-2008, 10:05 AM
I also use the quick links.. Sometimes I will read a few but not all so I use the link for Todays post and New Posts. There are so many topics and threads it is almost impossible to go through each one to find out is a post was made.

Another thing I like is at the bottom of the main forum you can see who is logged in.
You can also see who is logged on to a specific topic by going into the topic.

04-09-2008, 08:22 PM
I think its closer to 75-100/day. It's hard to keep up with all of this - hate to not be able to get on and miss a day.

Just signed in tonight after not being on for the past 36 hours - 152 new posts and 58 new or updated threads (although several are Jim Beletti's Jensen TV fix - one thread for each RV nameplate). A lot of posts!

04-09-2008, 09:32 PM
CD, your right. Jim was hiding out here in Calif with us'ins. Bob:D