View Full Version : Honest opinons from current owners

05-15-2008, 10:50 AM
After a protracted research and shopping period, I recently purchased what is billed, by its manufacturer as "the finest 5th wheel available on the market, from a dealer in Cincinnati that used to carry Heartland. I had looked at Big Horn's locally, but they didnt have some feature and decor we wanted. Once the dealer was done trashing Heartland and explaining why they dropped the line, he convinced me that what I was buying was far superior, and negotiated a price that I could not resist. We liked the features, and fell for the pitch.

Several months down the road (pun intended) we are questioning our purchase. We have had numerous QC problems, and the workmanship, behind the pretty facade, seems no better than any other RV we shopped. The materials, in most cases seem nominal as best, not superior.
We have now learned that the capacity of our holding tanks, billed as 55/55 is actually 40/40, and that our freshwater tank is 16 gallons shy as well. We have no idea what the fix can or could be but even at the advertising size the ratio of black to grey is odd, and 110 is less than most of the competition.

Before jumping from the frying pan into the fire, I would like honest opinions of Heartland's quality control, workmanship, customer service, and any specific problem areas. I had heard from several owners that axles were a big issue, and the dealer told me there were numerous slide problems, and that some top management had left the company.

If you fear reprisal by the membership as basher, please feel free to e-mail us directly with your unflattering comments. The members on our current 5th wheels Yahoo group are pretty thin skinned, so I know what it is like to be attacked for being negative, even if it is totally honest. It is not my intention to stir up a hornet's nest on this site....I would just like candid, honest opinions.

05-15-2008, 07:43 PM
We also shopped for several months and I did a lot of research and we ended up buying a Heartland Landmark.
We looked at several brands which were much more expensive and some that were less. We ended up feeling that the 2009 Landmark was the best trailer for the money. If we had wanted to spend $120,000.00 or so, we would likely have bought an Excel or an Elite Suites...but then I would also have felt the need to buy a bigger truck as both of those trailers we looked at were at least 18,000 lbs GVWR.
We have had a few minor issues with our trailer, but I have learned that there is no trailer made which is perfect from the factory. Our previous SOB fifth wheel had numerous issues...some of which required two or three visits to the dealer to get fixed.
We have had nothing but great service from both the Heartland factory and our dealer.
If money were no object, I would have a customized Teton Homes built just for me...well, just for my DW.

05-15-2008, 08:50 PM
Your query sounds as if you are expecting severe criticism of the Heartland products. I too did extensive research, 2 years, before selecting the Heartland I now own. As you are aware following your own experience no one builds the perfect unit. The real question should be "are we honestly happy with the product support we get after the sale from the Manufacturer and dealer"? I can only speak from my own personal experience. I purchased my Bighorn in Dec. and spent 3 months in it in AZ. upon returning home I took it to my local dealer along with my short list and had all my issues addressed.

My honest opinion is I made the right choice, no regrets and we are very , very happy with our BH.
Some one in this forum once said and I quote " if man built it it can't be perfect". My advise to anyone tempted by a sales person you tells you any trailer will be perfect, Run. Here are honest sales people and honest dealerships out there, keep looking.

Ray LeTourneau
05-15-2008, 10:24 PM
I can honestly say I am pleased with our Bighorn. Yes there have been issues but I have had similar issues with every RV I've owned. I also believe Heartland has improved over the last 2 years. I have talked with one dealer in Texas who was, at the time, selling Landmarks. He did not like dealing with Heartland's service people. Stated that Heartland only allowed a specified number of hours that they would cover for warranty work. He is no longer a Heartland dealer. I have also heard on this forum of issues with parts being sent to dealers that were the wrong parts. No telling who's to blame there. When I first started shopping for 5th wheels in late 05 through early 06 the features and floor plan and cost all put Heartland at the top of the list. It was after I placed our order that I found the forum. I started reading of all the horror stories about Heartland and I can tell you I was worried. We picked up our 07 3400RL in late July of 06 and have lived in it since August. We couldn't be happier. Yes you still see threads on the forum of owners having issues but it has improved greatly since I first became a member. It all boils down to would I buy another one. If I live long enough to wear out this trailer and still want to be a full timer, YES. I'd buy another one in a heartbeat.

05-16-2008, 05:38 AM
We own a 2005 Landmark Mt Rushmore,which we purchased in November of 2004. I believe it was one of the first 150 or so that came off the assembly line. We had owned travel trailers for many, many years. The kids grew up and we decided that we would get a 5th wheel just for us. We looked at many brands and finally boiled it down to two models, one was the Heartland.There was something about it that suit us.We could see a huge difference in the quality. Now I must admit,since it was a fairly new company at the time,I was a bit worried about purchasing from them.But we have not been sorry. We love our Landmark and would not hesitate to buy another one. The only real problems we have had were minor and were taken care of by our dealer. Sorry you have had a bad experience with your current 5r.I truly believe that you would be happy with a Heartland product. Now will it be perfect?But my experience is if it is not right Heartland will make it right.

Wild Bill
05-16-2008, 06:31 AM
If you want a product that comes with stellar customer service, then Heartland is your company. If I were to ever buy another Bighorn, it would be because of the nice people I've dealt with. I have had issues with my trailer but they fixed it. I've heard that no matter what company you buy from, there is nearly always bugs that need to be worked out.

Tom of Ypsi
05-16-2008, 07:12 AM
As you can see so far everyone seems satisfied with their Heartland products and we are too. If it were not for Heartland customer service I would probably have sob (some other brand) but because Heartland cares about their customers I would own one again. If and when you decide to become a Heartland owner or for that matter the owner of sob make sure of your dealer. I think you will find most complaints are dealer not Heartland. I did have one 5th wheel, sob, that I never had into the shop or did any fixing myself and that was because of the dealer who took two days of doing a PDI and doing minor fixes. Sold this trailer because if did not fit our current lifestyle. Good luck on your search

05-16-2008, 02:16 PM
I have to agree with Tom of Ypsi...I do love my Bighorn. Has it been problem free...definitely not, as a matter of fact I've probably had more problems than most owners. Why do I still love it? Because of Heartland's customer service!!! They have gone above and beyond to make certain that our rig was repaired completely and properly AND in as timely a fashion as possible.

As others have said, there are no perfect RV's, the difference is in the manufacturer response...and IMHO, Heartland is tops in that category. In addition, their QC gets better all the time, and they listen to their customer's. As they find out things don't work or need improvement, they change it...even in the middle of a model year if necessary!

I've only heard of very minor problems with axles, maybe a broken spring, etc. As far as slides, I may be mistaken, but I can't remember anyone complaining about slide problems. Would I own another Heartland...as long as they continue on the path they've embarked on with constant improvement and their current level of customer service...in a heart beat!!

05-16-2008, 02:22 PM
P.S...as for being "attacked" for being negative...that is not a problem on this forum. You can discuss any problems; you can even ask the factory to help with problems. What is frowned on is constantly bashing and dredging up a situation over and over.

If you discuss things constructively, looking for feedback and suggestions...no problem...they are many wonderful people here ready to help. And that includes factory reps who will step in to help without even being directly asked. Can't ask for better than that!

05-16-2008, 02:38 PM
Do I like my Bighorn, yes, has it been trouble free no. I am more unhappy with my selling dealer, Heartland has helped get everything fixed during the warranty period and even approved a moble repair place to take care of some issues.

Manufacturer support is key in buying an RV, the dealer is also, but they do not always step up to the plate to resolve things. Heartland has in my case.


05-16-2008, 03:57 PM
P.S...as for being "attacked" for being negative...that is not a problem on this forum. You can discuss any problems; you can even ask the factory to help with problems. What is frowned on is constantly bashing and dredging up a situation over and over.

If you discuss things constructively, looking for feedback and suggestions...no problem...they are many wonderful people here ready to help. And that includes factory reps who will step in to help without even being directly asked. Can't ask for better than that!

Thank you!!!!Well said..no more to say........Ken

05-16-2008, 04:47 PM
Just a quick response concerning our 07 Landmark. We have had numerous problems, and as we speak it is currently in the shop to repair the bedroom slide for the 4th time. The rollers keep breaking. This time they are putting larger rollers on it. We have had both axles replaced due to them being bent, and 2 blowouts in the first 3000 miles on the Chinese bombs (tires made in China to kill Americans). Our selling dealer caused us problems with our fresh water tank when he put 5 screws through it. It has been in the shop half of the time we have owned it, including getting a crack in the rear cap repaired. I will say this about Heartland. We may have gotton a defective product but they have bent over backwards to get everything repaired. The only problem we have had with Heartland is with their parts department. Once you can get them to get the right parts shipped everything is taken of. Would I buy another Heartland product, probably but only after doing a very thorough inspection of it. Our Alfa Gold we owned prior to the Landmark had problems also but not to the extent of this Landmark. I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel of repairs, I think.

05-19-2008, 12:20 PM
My wife and I spent 1 year researching and investigating many of the 5th wheel products on the market before we bought our BigHorn. Yes, we have had a few many problems that needed to be tweaked, but Heartland has gone above & beyond in customer service. Secondly, for the features, spaciousness, beauty, functionally, and economic value, we have not regretted buying Heartland BigHorn.

05-19-2008, 03:17 PM
I have researched and looked at the Heartland line since they only offered the Landmark trailer. We decided to buy a Bighorn after much thought and discussion and have not regretted the purchase. Like many said before, our trailer is not perfect, but the factory has done an outstanding job of standing behind the unit, much better than our selling dealer did.

That said, I cannot recommend my dealer, but there is another Houston dealer that I can highly recommend. Please feel free to contact me by email or PM if you have any further questions.

05-19-2008, 06:07 PM
Your experience with a less than acceptable dealer is what upsets me the most about Heartland. We purchased our Bighorn from a relatively small dealer, they were the closest one to us and still over 90 miles away. They promptly went out of business less than 90 days after our purchase. This left us with a dealer that is almost 200 miles away, who was only half hearted about doing some of the warranty repairs that we needed. We are now out of warranty and we still have the microwave steaming up problem that others have, who own the Sylvania microwave. The second dealer, after boiling a cup of water for a couple of minutes said there was nothing wrong and therefore nothing that they could do so we are still stuck with the defective over or possibly a defective design in how it is installed. If I were Heartland and were REALLY interested in my customer base, I wouldn't continue to market through dealers that don't treat people right. One shouldn't have to tow the unit back to Elkhart in order to get satisfactory service. Heartland needs to research their dealers better, from a financial stability standpoint and from a customer service standpoint. Obviously my experiences with them have not been stellar. My next purchase will involve a great deal more research on my part, regarding the dealer, and it probably won't be a Heartland product.

05-20-2008, 07:38 AM
nscaler2...Have you contacted Heartland directly about your problems with the microwave? They are fantastic for taking up the slack when a dealer is sub-standard in the service area...customer service can be reached at 877-262-8032 / 574-262-8030.

Let them know the problems started prior to your warranty expiring.

05-20-2008, 05:10 PM
I think perfect comes with more digits on the price tag.
I can say that ours has never been back to the dealer.
I can also say that I've fixed a hundred little things, that I should have taken back to the dealer, but I like doing that stuff. I've also fixed a few things that weren't broken.
My original conclusion was, that its a good value. Thats still true in my opinion. But would I shop around next time, heck yes.

05-21-2008, 05:27 AM
We have only owned our Heartland for a couple of months but spent 2 years researching and going to RV shows before we picked the Bighorn in my signature. The list of items on the PDI was short and we have had no issues at all since. This is our third fifth wheel and is far superior to the others we have owned, all being in the same approximate price range. Will we have problems? Probably, but I have no doubt if I do they will be resolved to my satisfaction.

Our dealer is superb and the same we have purchased from in the past, they are almost like family after all these years.

Good luck in your quest

Clay Murray
05-22-2008, 01:17 PM
I am new to this board and this is my first post. My wife and I researched 5er’s for well over 3 years doing RV shows and visiting dealerships in the Southeast. We studied several features and made comparisons. As soon as we saw the Big Horn 3600RE we knew we had found what we wanted. We are very proud of it. We went from a “pop-up” to a 38 ft 5er. Big change.
We have had minor problems but were able to fix them ourselves. We kind of like solving our own problems too. I see some cheap-like materials but it’s nothing that’s structural or going to wear. I have called the Heartland folks direct and they have been lots of help.
We have out 5er setting on a year around camp site on the Tennessee River. We spend about 4 days per week in it. We are very glad we took our time and looked around.
This may not be the right place but I very much appreciate this Message Board. It’s a very powerful source of information and folks seem to go out of their way to help. I have been able to surf around the various topics and learn from other’s experiences.
I hope this helps.

05-22-2008, 01:31 PM
HI Clay,

Welcome to the Heartland Owners Forum and to the Heartland family. Sounds like you pretty well have everything under control, but if you need help or information, this is the place.


07-29-2008, 06:12 PM
I bought my Bighorn in May 2008 and have used it extensively and it is impressive. Sure there are always a few issues, but they have been small and fixed without problems. I have a story to tell. I bought my bighorn in Florida while there for the winter. I stopped to use the facilities on my way to Ohio. I had just been to McDonalds and had a chocolate shake. For some stupid reason, I took it into the RV with me and laid it on the bathroom sink. About 30 miles down the road, I about panicked when I realized my shake was gone. I thought at best it will be all over the bathroom and at worst on the hall way carpet. I pulled over at the first opportunity and was shocked to see my chocolate shake sitting on the sink right were I put it.

The suspension is awesome, even more so than I had heard. I am convinced.

07-29-2008, 07:53 PM
I dont make many posts on here but had to say my two cents on my RL3600. DW and I had SOB for awhile (bought after Katrina storm) which was our first. We started using it more than what we anticipated and knew we needed a larger one. We spent about a year researching and doing the RV show thing. We werent excited about any of the 5ers until we saw the Heartland Bighorn and we knew that was the one. I had my concerns about the dealer but he was close and i wanted a close dealership. Turns out after we bought dealership went under shortly after but Heartland notified me of another dealer that started up with them and that dealership has been great even though i didnt buy my 3400 from them. I had a couple issues and that dealership took care of my issues quickly. I even had an issued that i didnt believe was Heartlands responsiblity to correct and when the manufacturer stated that they wouldn't replace it, I got on this website to look for a fix. Heartland rep emailed me and corrected the problem immediately through them even though as i said i dont believe it was their responsiblity. That impressed me tremendously. We have had it for about 16 months and traveled over 7000 miles with it vacationing (we are not FTers). Will i buy another one:YES, but i do have plans to cross over to a MH in the next year or two

07-29-2008, 08:58 PM
Intresting thread. For the OP.. SOB means some other brand. It does not mean the other thing that might come to mind.

A lot of complements here and I agree with all of them. I had SOB and did not like the quality or the response of the Mfgr. In fact the dealers I dealt with did not like working with the Mfgr.

The one thing you will have the biggest problem with is the Dealer. Many of them will tell you what ever it takes to sell you an RV. There are exceptions but they are in the business to sell.

If you line up, lets say all the 5th wheels and put them side by side you would most likely find the following.
They all use the same Refer, water heater, frame, axles, Chinese tires, pin box, hydraulics, water faucets, furniture, converter, and many other things. The big difference is the construction of the body and the manner the Mfgr will support you.
The dealer is the one weak or strong point. For me the dealer helped me get my Bighorn. They have been a good dealer, but it doesnít matter because I am full timing and will take it to the best place around. RV Capital Service Center in Elkhart, IN. You have to be patient and take time to let them get all the problems fixed. They did this and more. I am now in Coopersville, NY and have a faring coming apart over the passenger side. I have read about this happening with others so I am not surprised. I will try to fix it as best I can and then I will have it replaced when I get to a place that can get the part.
Would I buy my Bighorn again? You can bet your sweet A%$ on that.
Oh.. by the way. With all this response.. where is the OP.. His first post. Where is his second post? Oh well this is a good tribute to our Heartland RVís.
Hee Hee.. Roll on.

07-29-2008, 10:27 PM
I don't think it is reasonable to expect towing around a house on wheels for hunfreds of miles without having some issues. Heck I have had more issues to fix in my stationary home than I have on my Bighorn, and the first time my home does any serious moving it is all over. When I needed service I got service. No questions, no hassles just got it done and put e back on the road. Me and the Mrs looked for over 18 months and she decided within 5 minutes of seeing our 3670. (It took me a bit ,onger as I climbed and crawled every square inch I could before even talking to the salesman). When I determined "it would do", heck guys are looking for structure not trinkets, I got to dealing. Got a fair price and a great rig. We love it and will for many years (assuming I outlive it). Can't expect better than that.

08-14-2008, 06:35 AM
Just got back from a 31 day real shake down cruise and both fantastic fans, the bedroom/living room door broke etc. but i called heartland warranty and gary was more than understanding and heartland is allowing a local trailer supply and repair dealer in san clemente to make all the repairs under the warranty. i will keep everyone informed regarding the status, but i am encouraged that heartland stands behind their products during the warranty period. Since the air conditioner in the living room doesnt kool down the bedroom too well, i suggest bringing a small oscillating fan to utilize in the bedroom. It saved us in some of the hot areas or we would have been sleeping on the floor of the living room.

Tom of Ypsi
08-14-2008, 06:44 AM

Try doing a search for the the tent in the vent for the air conditioner. I always read about it on the forum but never got around to it until we were in really hot weather, sure does make a difference.

08-14-2008, 01:25 PM
Larry, how did our temporary fix for a door stop hold up? I second the "tent in the vent" recommendation. I did that last week and it made a world of difference.


08-15-2008, 03:35 AM
hey steve,
it still works pretty well, although i have left it open and not used it until it is repaired by the warranty. I met Steve at one of the many campgrounds we stayed at during our month long summer rv trip. steve, i have crs. which campground was that? also welcome to the heartland owners forum. i am glad u took me up and joined. lots of answers and many great ideas. enjoy.

i still dont understand the tent in the vent system but will bring it up at the warranty repair shop. something is amiss when u turn the ac vents off in the living room and it barely shoots air in the bedroom. wonder where the cold air really goes. it must be real kool behind the walls LOL

08-15-2008, 08:51 AM
hey steve,
. wonder where the cold air really goes. it must be real kool behind the walls LOL
I suspect without the tent in the vent treatment and smoothing out the corners where ductwork joins at the plenum, that all the air is just rumbeling around in the plenum, unable to make the square corner turns that are there. I can't believe the factory hasn't caught on to this and fixed the design. This repair has been out there for quite some time.:confused:

08-15-2008, 09:20 AM

One thing to have the Repair shop check is the ends of the A/C duct work. I found one that was open at the end of the duct. It was once sealed closed... but seems what ever was keeping it closed... let go.

I used the same foil tape that Heartland uses to seal the edges of the duct work to create a wall that prevented the cold A/C air from going past the last ceiling vent. I also re-sealed every ceiling vent opening. Carefully taping any chance of air leakage getting into the attic of my BigHorn.

To build the Tent Vent mentioned... You will need to remove completely the plastic A/C trim cover. It's really simple... You just create a curved pyramid below where the A/C discharged air flows from the squirrel cage fan. Be sure to not completely cover the whole discharge area... so if you ever want to open the ceiling vent... the one attached to the A/C unit... It will still work. You will find the air flow is is actually not in the center of the A/C discharge.... but a little off to one side.

By putting a pyramid shape below the discharged A/C air... you are allowing it to smoothly flow to the left and right duct opening... that runs the length of the RV. While inside this area... be sure to use some of the foil tape to smooth any rough edges ... trying to get the air to flow with out any restrictions, into the duct work.

Good Luck !

08-15-2008, 10:23 PM
Hello All,
This is my 2nd post on this website. Let me be the skeptic for this string of posts. All the previous posts state they have had problems but no one provides any specifics. I do not currently own a Heartland 5th wheel but I do like the looks and specs of the Big Horn. I do currently own a 2003 Lance truck camper and my wife and I are ready for some more room. So, can anyone provide some details of the problems they have had? Thanks!

Ray LeTourneau
08-15-2008, 10:54 PM
Hello All,
This is my 2nd post on this website. Let me be the skeptic for this string of posts. All the previous posts state they have had problems but no one provides any specifics. I do not currently own a Heartland 5th wheel but I do like the looks and specs of the Big Horn. I do currently own a 2003 Lance truck camper and my wife and I are ready for some more room. So, can anyone provide some details of the problems they have had? Thanks!
Here's my nickel. We see posts concerning fresh water tank filling problems, air conditioner air flow/volume problems and recently concerns with leaking around slide outs. Spend some time browsing the forum and you can get an idea of whats out there. I will say that considering how many trailers Heartland builds the percentage with problems is very low. The best thing of all is Heartlands commitment to customer service. We also have a member that owns both a truck camper and a Heartland. I think it's a Lance too.

08-16-2008, 01:32 AM
My only concern is the fresh water tank filling problems and the air conditioner air flow issue for the bedroom. The posts have been on the forums about these issues for quite some time and my 5 month old trailer has these issues.

Overall I am very happy with it. We walked through some campers at the iowa state fair and I was amazed at how some of the other brands floors bowed and sagged like no other. I love the options and storage space

08-16-2008, 06:09 AM

Thank you for your 2nd post. If you really poke all around this forum, you will find many details about issues people have found with their units over the past 5 years of production. And you will find many solutions to those issues. Look in the various technical forums here.

And please allow me to say that Heartland does not build perfect trailers. It is their goal but like every other manufacturer, we fall short. That said, we have over 800 employees doing their very best to build the best trailers they can.

When we do fall short, we hope that you will find that we stand behind your trailer and along side you to make things right. We have a vast dealer network and a large customer service department. We remain committed to taking care of customers.

That all said, their have been a handful of times where we were unable to satisfy customers or were never given a chance to do so. We regret these instances but they do happen. As Ray pointed out, given the number of units we have built since the days in mid-2004 when we put 1 per day out the door, the percentage of owners who truly regret their decision is very, very low.

I hope that over time, you get a better sense of our product so you can make the absolute best decision on your next RV, be that Heartland or some other brand. And if there is any chance at all that you can make it to Elkhart, Indiana, you need to take our factory tour. Note too that we at most of our local chapter rallies around the country, our chapter leaders allow RVers with other brands to join them in an effort expose others to the brand. See all of our upcoming rallies at the top/center of our Heartland Owners Portal at www.heartlandowners.org.

Jim Beletti

08-18-2008, 10:14 PM
steve, i have crs. which campground was that?
i still dont understand the tent in the vent system but will bring it up at the warranty repair shop.
wonder where the cold air really goes. it must be real kool behind the walls LOL

Larry, We were at Hart Ranch when we did the door jury rig.
The warranty repair did work on mine twice and it still didn't work right till I did the tent thingy. I found timk's diagram to be the most helpful to understand what is trying to be accomplished.
If you open your dump vent you get a ton of cold air. I think with the dump vent closed (and no tent) back pressure builds up and makes the whole thing very inefficient.