View Full Version : Stressed and unsure after reading forum

06-02-2014, 11:34 PM
Recently committed to purchasing/ ordering a 2015 North Trail 24BHS Caliber edition with pearl package and front end cap. &nbsp;I have been reading through the forums and there seems to be a lot of posts concerning issues people have with their brand new trailers and poor quality control by Heartland. &nbsp;This is a huge purchase for my family and it has me questioning our choice. &nbsp;I definitely was sucked in by the wonderful 56 page Reasons to buy, put out be Heartland. &nbsp;I know the internet has a disproportionate number of unhappy people posting as the happy people are out enjoying their trailer. &nbsp;I'm looking for some encouragement from the people who are overjoyed with their Heartland purchase...<br><br>Thanks<br>Heather<br><br>i also wanted to contact factory with a few questions. &nbsp;Saw people post about contacting the "brand manager". Where can I find out the contact information for the brand manager of North Trail?

06-03-2014, 06:43 AM
Hi Hbushey,

Welcome to the Heartland Owners Forum. Sounds like you've been browsing the forum a lot. You're right that most people post to the brand or technical sections of the forum because they're having a problem, and need help, not because they're having a great time. And you're also right that most owners are just out enjoying their RVs.

In my opinion Heartland does a pretty good job putting these trailers together, but it's obvious that they can't claim to be perfect. Nor can any other manufacturer. But Heartland does a great job of supporting owners; through the customer service line, through this forum (which is supported by Heartland), through interaction with Heartland Management (by the way, Mike Creech is the North Trail General Manager), and through support of rallies and the Owners Club.

I have a friend who recently got a new SOB toy hauler. Because it was cold out when he took delivery, it was a few weeks before he tried the air conditioning. Two of the three units wouldn't work at all. Worse, when he called for help, there was no help at all from the manufacturer; they told him to drop it off and let the dealer figure it out. They have an owners forum, but it was no help. He eventually found the problems: turned out to be two wiring installation errors at the factory. The units were obviously not tested by manufacturing or by the dealer.

I'm not bashing the other brand. Every manufacturer makes errors. That's why there are warranties. But the difference in level of support is huge.

If you want to talk with Mike Creech or someone on his team, call Heartland Customer Service at 877-262-8032 / 574-262-8030. Let them know you have a trailer on order and have some questions.

06-03-2014, 07:05 AM
Good morning!! I feel qualified to answer your post because I was a very, very unhappy Heartland owner after we bought our 2013 ElkRidge. We bought our coach in May of 2013 and within just a few months it was back at the dealer for a laundry list of repairs. I was so aggravated i decided to get it fixed and trade it off the major hit in depreciation. I went on a six month journey of looking at every brand could find. We live in an area that has quite a few dealerships and I talked to the service managers of each one of them. And across all brands there are problems!!! It's not just if a problem arises it's just when. But the service also reported that Heartland was no worse than anyone else and they did try to make things right with their customers while some other brands did not. I also learned that unless you can balance the love of travel with the headache of inevitable problems then RVing might not be your best choice. To date, my Elkridge has been in the twice and has had over 53 items repaired. And Heartland has paid for all of them under warranty. We love RVing, meeting new friends and seeing America. We are retired and live on a fixed income so every dollar counts. I.. I understand your investment concerns. RVing is not necessarily a cheap hobby. Heartland has done everything we have asked them to do so far. We are going to keep the Elkridge and just enjoy it even tho we know there will be issues here and there.

As for the brand managers, if you go to main club portal page, I believe the brand managers are listed but if not just call Heartland and the can direct you to the right person.

I hope you find peace with your decision. We struggled for months with our decision but I said, Heartland has done all we have asked of them, and we are enjoying traveling in our Elkridge. If you do buy the NT, please consider attending club rallies, you will have a great time and meet lots of knowledgeable people.

Good luck!!

06-03-2014, 07:24 AM
I have perused many owners for a in investigating many brands of RV. They are all have a large number of complaints. My only suggestion is to look at other owner sites for a comparison. Also focus on the complaints and solutions about the RV manufacturers quality and NOT on the components common to all RVs, tires, stoves, AC, water pumps, etc.

My conclusion is that it's the warranty service that matters most All affordable RV manufacturers fall short of the standards of many other products that are mass manufactured under strict regulations.

A relatively few complaints look like a huge problem when all you see are the complaints. Judge the severity of the complaints and the resolutions

06-03-2014, 07:46 AM
Also, a simple observation. This time of year i am seeing far more complaints than I did a few months ago. I'm guessing people are starting to get out on the road or pick up new units, seeing problems and asking for help.

06-03-2014, 08:26 AM
Unlike buying a new car or truck, an RV will require you do alot of the repairs, and constant maintenance, no matter who makes the coach. The dealers service oftem seems lacking in quaility. Most of the repairs are simple things, you just need to take a mind set your going to have to be a do it yourselfer for the most part. Otherwise, owning an RV will be a source of constant worry. QC is an issue, so on your PDI you need to be very diligent and look everything over before you take delivery.

Shortest Straw
06-03-2014, 08:31 AM
I hate to hear that you are already stressed out and you have not even taken delivery yet. IMO buying a new rig should be nothing but a joyous occasion, it has been for us. My best advice after owning 4 rigs, be proactive. Check everything before you go out on your first trip. It does not assure things will not happen, but it can assure that you know your coach inside and out and you may stop a few problems from happening. I have noticed that the smaller the rig we have owned the fewer problems we have had. When we had our Lance we never got to talk to customer service it was that well built, and the smallest camper we have owned. Our other brand fifth wheels were horrible to deal with. So far the minor things wrong with our NT have been dealt with promptly including a new stereo unit we received a week after the original started having issues.

06-03-2014, 08:35 AM
The bottom line is that one must be handy to own an RV otherwise it will cost all of money and time to get things repaired. RV's in general are produced as cheaply as possible to cut down weight and increase profit. QC is another matter. It all gets back to the competency of the individuals building the units and their workers attitudes. The American auto industry built crap until Japan provided the competition that demonstrated QC can be practiced as taught in American schools. The choice of materials and components selected by RV manufacturers is very important and out of the consumers hands. The type of tires, electronics, appliances, frame, suspension and so forth are selected and spec'd in a precarious or profitable manner it seems. Then there are the dealers-- which is another subject-- but important. RV manufacturers seem to have little control or influence on the dealer networks.
To me this is systematic problem in the RV industry. Even the high end manufacturers have problems, but they treat the customer like kings because they spend huge amount of money. Their problems are not QC or sloppy build, but are more related to complexity of design and build.
So if you are handy you really don't care so much about the dealer and QC issues, but basic design and manufacturer's selection of components is a large concern.

06-03-2014, 08:54 AM
I agree that fixing stuff is part of the rv lifestyle. Can't even imagine what the components in my landlocked home would be if I dragged them down the highway. I also agree with ghetto that smaller rigs have fewer problems long-term. Same with the vehicles that tow them.

06-03-2014, 09:41 AM
Thanks so much for all the encouraging words. I think part of my anxiety is from deciding to buy sight unseen so we could get the exact model we wanted. I owned a class A in a previous life and had to take out a loan to finally be rid of it. It was a big step to commit again. Luckily my husband is super handy.

Maybe I just an inflated sense of buyers remorse. I'm anticipating small issues we can fix ourselves. Just praying we don't end up with bad axles or slides that don't work like others have.

Ghettomedic, does your name relate to your profession? I'm a flight paramedic, great job!

I'm looking forward to sharing experiences and seeking support from everyone on the forum.


06-03-2014, 09:49 AM
Well owning an RV is in my opinion like having a kid. You really have no control over the things your kids do and you have no control over the things that could go wrong in a new RV. BUT with an RV you do have a warranty to fall back on. We had the bedroom door come away from the wall it was attached to and a few other things that needed attention on our first trip out with our Sundance. We took it back to the dealer who said everything would be fixed and we gave them 3 weeks to do the job before we were due to take it back out. Well needless to say on week 2 I called and asked what was on with our unit. No reply so we just went to the dealership in the late afternoon and surprised the service manager. Well when putting the door back on it seems the technician who was working on our unit had put a screw thru the outside wall of our unit and some how it was OUR fault. According to the tech who took us to our unit this is what happened,,,,, Asked to see our Sundance that was there for repairs...taken to the back lot and tech said...is yours the one that had the screw put thru the wall? WHAT??? SCREW THRU WALL?? ahhh umm NO no screw thru the wall. He said well if its the ONLY Sundance on the back lot then YES it has a screw thru the wall to the outside.
He then took us to our unit, thinking he was just kidding but promptly showed us the screw and low and behold it was where the other tech had reattached the door frame to the wall. BUT he told them that it was like that when we took it to them NOT . Ok to be honest accidents happen and they were waiting for it to go to the shop to fix it BUT to blame US for what happened and to not let us know was UNACCEPTABLE. They did fix it and did so in record time but its the fact that someone lied to cover a mistake of theirs really burned my butt.
Moral of this is.. Be vigilant ...take pictures of unit's problems for your records and so the service dept is aware when you take your unit in that you have a point of reference when work is done to compare. Check In and ask how the work is going. Make a surprise visit if you can just to check on things...accidents happen even by well meaning technicians. Your Unit is YOUR property and you have the right to check on your unit at any time. In doing so it is surprising how fast they want your unit fixed.

06-03-2014, 12:04 PM
I bought my 5th wheel used (2 years old) and I think it is fairly well built as these things go. I have to say that entering my second year of using it, I am delighted with it's performance. Dose this mean there are no problems? Not at all. They are no different than your house. There are always maintenance issues to attend to. Then you need to factor in that your house is not frequently rattling down a bumpy road like your RV. Also, people are more likely to complain when they have problems. It is less likely someone will post just to say everything is fine.

I have limited experience with Heartland service since my RV was out of warranty when I bought it. But, I can say that I was impressed with their customer service. I ordered a replacement glass for an upper cabinet. When it came, it looked correct, but closer inspection showed it was a mirror image of the original. Heartland sent me additional pieces glass free of charge for one whole side so that all would match. That is great customer service!

In my case, I am very happy with my purchase!

06-03-2014, 01:51 PM
Our 24RBS was bought new and sight unseen as the locAL dealer did not have one in stock. We have owned it four years and have had mostly minor issues that were promptly fixed by the dealer. The one major issue happened on vacation last July when the shower drain separated. We were lucky enough to find a mobile repairman who came out on Sunday afternoon and fixed the drain.

After we ordered the unit, I was horrified when I read all the postings about issues with new trailers and considered cancelling the order. Don't let all those postings scare you. Our unit has been a pleasure to own and tow. Both of us have talked to Heartland customer service when we had questions which were answered promptly and graciously.

We really enjoy our NorthTrail and have met others who love theirs also. Enjoy the anticipation of waiting for the unit and planning future trips.


06-03-2014, 02:04 PM
Yes, don't let the negative postings influence your decision. We are on our second Heartland product, Landmark 2013, had some issues but all were fixed timely and with little or no intervention by us. Like other said take pictures, document and from time to time as needed contact customer service yourself if you feel something is not being attend to properly. We looked long and hard between Jayco, Montana's and Heartland and decided with Heartland. I was out to the factory recently for some repairs and upgrades and I was treated like an owner should be.

06-03-2014, 02:22 PM
I can't add to what's been said as I have never purchased a new trailer and am new to the fifth wheel world and Heartland. I can only tell you that the customer service from Heartland is awesome even though I purchased mine used and I would add two things that I have learned from this forum and added to my brain should I ever decide to purchase a new Heartland.

1.Ask for a ready to camp PDI so you can test EVERYTHING! And don't be rushed ask questions and plan a couple of hours to do a thorough job.

2. Videotape your PDI its a LOT of information to absorb and a tape to review later will help you remember some of the how to's.

Have fun!

06-03-2014, 03:11 PM
Don't worry about all the issues others are having. There are lots of happy people (Like me) who just don't post much.

One tip: ask the dealer if you can get all the manuals to take home and look over before your PDI. Spend some time reading through them and make a list of things to ask to see done during the PDI.

06-03-2014, 04:39 PM
We have owned two NorthTrails since 2007. Have we had a few problems, yes.

-Misaligned slide- fixed by Heartland at the Goshen rally.
-Low water pressure in bathroom-fixed by Heartland at Goshen rally.
-Malfunctioning furnace- fixed under warranty.
-Bubble on exterior rear wall-fixed under warranty.

Heartland even worked with our local independent service center to do all warranty work. Customer service has been great.

2 things I'll say..
1- Fixing minor problems at the National Rally in Goshen is a real PLUS!!
2- We will own another Heartland.


06-03-2014, 07:01 PM
Bought our 2014 Landmark a few months ago. Live in Panama City but bought it in Knoxville, so drove it home and have it at a military RV campground since, awaiting for our S&B to close (18 Jun), then start fulltiming. Have stayed most evenings/nights at the RV then to house during day to get rid of stuff. Anyway, since we arrived have had only a few minor issues, which I was able to fix, Am I expecting more? Sure hope not, but the realist in me knows better, especially when we start towing it across the country. One thing that most people will say is do your research before buying an RV, but I will add something just as important, research the dealer! I specifically made the drive to Knoxville because of the dealer's rep. They were already fixing issues on our Landmark before our arrival, even getting a few replacement parts from Heartland. They want new owners to stay at least a night in the RV and try everything to make sure we knew how everything works, but also in case we discover any problems they can fix it (we stayed two nighs since we had to wait for a part to arrive). When we left, the owner even gave us his cell number and said if we had any questions or problems to give him a call. Now that is great customer service from both Heartland and the dealer.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

06-03-2014, 07:10 PM
You did pick a good dealer, everything I have ever read about them is positive. So you have them on our side which will be a help since they are always willing to help out their customers.

06-03-2014, 07:28 PM
Try not to stress to much about things that might not go wrong, look at it positively that you have found a place to get lots of help and advise. I've owned a camping trailer since 2002 and on our first trip, the first time we used the trailer was from Rhode Island to Destin, Florida. Hit a post in a gas station that protects the pump and had my awning get stuck and had to call the dealership for help. We managed fine, had a great trip. Did the same thing with our new FW 3 years ago, bought it and never used it until we left for 3 months in Florida. Had some problems minor, fixed them myself, including the slide that wouldn't go out on the last night. It's all how bad you want to do this RVing is the best, you make lots of wonderful friends, see lots of great places and learn a lot also about how to care and fix your trailer so you can enjoy it.

06-03-2014, 09:38 PM
Our local dealer didn't have the model we wanted so we bought from another dealer 80 miles away.
Problems? A few but nothing worth taking it back to the dealer for. I fixed a leak in the outside shower (loose hose leaking inside.) The shower door is mis-aligned, SEA sent me a new seal but I haven't re-adjusted the door yet.

My brother waited 6 months for his dealer to fix a leaking window on another brand.

Buy another Heartland? Yes, I would. Ours had all the basics my wife & I wanted, the rest I customized to fit our camping style.

06-04-2014, 03:33 PM
Just called Heartland, very impressed. I was surprised that they would be willing to talk with a customer directly instead of forcing the buffer of a dealer. Very nice and professional, looked up my order for me and confirmed times and specs. So excited to be getting my North Trail! Can't wait.

06-04-2014, 07:28 PM
Just have to add a couple of comments to this thread as we are the new owners of a HL Cyclone 3110 we special ordered in April and took delivery recently from BigDaddy RVs in KY.

We have been following this site for months reading everything we could find about Cyclones and related problems and yes there were plenty!

After 2 trips we have found that our Cycone is happily missing most of the problems we read about. I have to say that HL seems to have stepped up and resolved many documented problems. We did have a few startup glitches but resolved every one (so far) without a trip in for service.

We did decide early on to replace the TowMax 16" tires without delay and after delivery immediately headed up to Trailer Tires and Wheels in Ohio to upgrade to their 17.5 pkg.
The total cost of doing that was less than it would have cost to have HL include the GY614 tires and the 17.5s provide a huge margin of safety that you will never get with 16s.

Overall we are a very satisfied Heartland Cyclone customer and even think our dealer should be highly recommended.

There are some features we think could be better designed and We may encounter some problems over time but for now believe we have a very solid and quality built RV for our recreational travels.

30091 30092 30094 30095 30118

06-04-2014, 08:03 PM
Our Bighorn is our largest single purchase. I was disappointed to discover a number of issues after our walkthrough. The simple fact is that Heartland has never made a trailer that was defect free. Neither has any other RV company. In my opinion it's a disease the industry suffers. They don't spend enough on QC, pay their workers for each unit they build instead of hourly, and have poor inspectors. It's not just Heartland. They're all the same.

The good news is that there were no major problems with our trailer. Just fit and finish. We took it out for the first time this past weekend. On that trip we really appreciated the quality of the components that Heartland used in our coach. The design is thoughtful and very nice to live with. Bottom line is that you will need to get a bunch of minor things fixed. It's important to pick a good dealer who will do the work correctly. Once the small issues are fixed, you should be fine. We are really delighted with the trailer. More importantly, every contact (except one) with Heartland customer service has been great. Once you buy your trailer, you can post in "Ask The Factory" under your brand here in the forum. I posted about a problem with our convection/microwave a few days ago. I didn't even have to call customer service. They read the post and contacted their distributor who called me and is now arranging a replacement (Heartland will ship it to me). Can't beat that!

One thing to be aware of: the quality of the components in each model varies by price point. The luxury units have higher quality stuff. That doesn't mean a less expensive trailer has junk in it, but it is helpful to look at a Landmark or Bighorn as well as the trailer you want. It will give you a way to compare the good and bad. I wish I did that before my first purchase (a Kodiak). If I did, we would have found a way to move up in the world. In any case, as far as I'm concerned Heartland is a great company to work with.

06-05-2014, 10:42 AM
Welcome to the forum and congrats on your new rig. A lot of good info has been imparted here.
One thing that I haven't seen while skimming this thread is the fact that you CAN take your rig to many independent repair shops for warranty work, if it becomes necessary.
Dealers SELL rigs and do repairs as a requirement. If you read through many of the threads here, most repair frustration is with the dealer, not Heartland. Heartland's customer service is second to none in the RV industry.
If you were to need any repair done, my advice is to find a good independent RV repair shop in your area. Check their service reviews on Yelp, or another site. Be sure to check with Heartland FIRST to make sure any work would be approved by them. IMHO, this will save you a lot of frustration.

Consider coming to a HL rally, or joining the owners club. Most of all, get out and enjoy your rig.

See you down the road. Trace

06-06-2014, 01:16 AM
Dear Stressed and Unsure....Take the leap. Be sure to upgrade the tires to the goodyear G614 or you will be sorry. Otherwise my Big Country is a great coach. You cannot build something like that an have it be perfect, there is going to be something that need adjusting or refinishing. But I like mine and feel I got a good buy, except for the cheap Towmax tires that came on it. My fault, I was not paying attention to that detail. Good luck.

Shortest Straw
06-09-2014, 08:56 AM
Thanks so much for all the encouraging words. I think part of my anxiety is from deciding to buy sight unseen so we could get the exact model we wanted. I owned a class A in a previous life and had to take out a loan to finally be rid of it. It was a big step to commit again. Luckily my husband is super handy.

Maybe I just an inflated sense of buyers remorse. I'm anticipating small issues we can fix ourselves. Just praying we don't end up with bad axles or slides that don't work like others have.

Ghettomedic, does your name relate to your profession? I'm a flight paramedic, great job!

I'm looking forward to sharing experiences and seeking support from everyone on the forum.


Nice!! Thank you for all you do! I used to work for AirLife Denver but they are dual nurses now.