Lessons we learned that we would like to pass along, especially those looking to buy a new unit. First the necessary background:
1) We ordered our 2018 3950BR at "America's Largest RV Show" in Hershey, PA. As we later learned, this meant that our official "dealer" was Camping World (CW) of Harrisburg.
2) Harrisburg was to deliver the RV to CW of Poteau, OK which was the closest dealer to where we were going to be.
3) We made an appointment with CW of Poteau to go over the RV at 8:00 on 22 January
4) We showed up at CW Poteau and no one seemed to want to claim us. After an hour of standing around, we found the RV and went inside. It was quite a mess. Apparently CW Harrisburg had completed a Pre Delivery Inspecgtion (PDI), identified issues, but not fixed anything. We had also ordered a W/D unit and a surge protector to be installed (by CW Poteau) a week before we arrived. This work had also not been completed. The rear dual shade was broken and laying across the couch. The lack of communication was ridiculous. After about 8 hours at CW Poteau, they let us know that they couldn't install a new rear shade without filing a warranty claim and then ordering the parts from the dealer which would take at least two weeks - this is where I lost it for a few minutes. (I'll leave it at this or my rant will never end!).
5) As the sun was setting, they finally claimed to be finished with what they could do (we had already completed all of the paperwork) and they helped us hitch up and we left - I've never pulled any kind of trailer and now I'm sitting in our new F350 dually and faced with towing a 40ft trailer up and down mountain roads at night! Fortunately our friends were more experienced and helped us to get to the campsite and set up for the first time without any issues. Sadly, all of us being exhausted, I realized the next day that the hitch plate and kingpin were not lubed and so a good deal of the paint was removed from both - I think that CW Poteau should have realized this before sending us on our way.
6) We had hired a RV inspector from The National Recreational Vehicle Inspectors Association (NRVIA
) that was in our area. He (Tim) was with us during all of this and then came by our campsite early the next day to fully inspect the RV. He completed an amazingly comprehensive inspection and provided a written report with pictures within about 5 days.
7) Most of what he (and we) found were cosmetic or minor issues. He did find that there were some gaps in sealant and there was a problem with the roof that he felt was a major issue: uneven decking joints, the worse being next to the front A/C.
8) We needed to move to Grapevine, TX about 4 hours south, but because north Texas had plenty of CW dealers and official Keystone Warranty centers we thought that they would be able to help us address the issues we had.
9) So once in Grapevine, I start making calls. Most did not sell or work on Montanas! Those that did let me know right off that since we didn't buy our unit from them, we would have a low priority and it could be weeks before they could get to us.
10) Ok, so now were having to go back to CW Poteau to fix things that weren't right in the first place. What a royal PITA!
So, lessons learned are:
Just because you purchase an RV from CW or another nationwide dealer, don't expect to be able to drop into any of those dealers for warranty work.
Download and read Chapter 1 of of the Keystone Owner's Manual
which under Owner Responsibilities states: "Make an appointment to return the RV, at your expense, to your selling dealer for the necessary service
." Warranty work first requires approval from Keystone, and then it may be weeks before the needed parts arrive.
In the vernacular of CW, a PDI is something they complete
, not the new RV owner. They expect to complete an "orientation" with the new owners and answer questions about systems, etc. If you find something (like our broken rear shade) don't expect them to be able to address it before you leave with your new RV.
Hire a professional, third party inspector
to perform a comprehensive inspection of your RV. Because we did this, we are aware of issues that we may have not identified on our own that may have become major issues over time.
Complete a shakedown trip.
Between Tim's inspection and our living in the RV for about a month now, we know that how things work and that the major systems appear to be functioning well. We have had opportunities to use every system including A/C, furnace, heat pump, water pump, water heater, the stove and range, refrigerator/freezer, microwave, etc, etc, etc. So far, the only potential system problem is that the black tank flush seems to be a bit anemic.
Be ready to fix things on your own
. We have repaired loose molding, realigned closet doors, installed temporary shades on the back window, and even removed the CD/Tuner to replace a broken HDMI cable hidden behind it.
Review all of the manuals that come with your RV and complete any needed warranty information.
We had an issue with our backup camera from day one, but we went directly to Furrion rather than file a claim with Keystone. Furrion was very quick to respond to us and solve the problem by sending us a new system.
I'll provide an update after the work on the roof is completed. I hope that his is helpful to new owners and those thinking about a Keystone model.