Table of Contents

Road Tested: Can You Count On Forest River RVs' Reliability?

Forest River build qualityAre Forest River RVs known for their reliability? A quick online search reveals substantial criticism from FR owners regarding quality. But is this criticism warranted? Join us as we embark on a fact-finding mission. To give you an unbiased Forest River review, we will examine various sources of information, including owner reviews, expert opinions, industry reports, and data on recalls. 


In addition, we will cover their history, construction methods, customer service, warranty, durability, performance, top brands, and even models to avoid. We will also compile the pros and cons of Forest River RVs, share some firsthand owners’ reviews, and give you some brilliant FR shopping tips. You can judge for yourself: book
 a Forest River camper rental today and test the quality before spending the big bucks!


Introducing Forest River RV


Headquartered in Elkhart, Indiana, Forest River Inc (FR) is one of the largest RV manufacturers in North America. The company was established in 1996 by Peter Liegl after acquiring the assets of Cobra Industries. 


Initially focusing on travel trailers and fifth wheels, the company quickly expanded its product line to include Class A and Class C motorhomes, toy haulers, tent campers, destination trailers, park models, and even cargo trailers. 


Today, it’s one of the big three RV manufacturers, alongside Thor Industries (parent company of
Jayco RVs) and Winnebago. There are more than 20 divisions or subsidiaries under Forest River Inc. Those that only build recreational vehicles are Forest River RV, Coachmen, Dynamax, Palomino, Shasta, East to West, and Prime Time Manufacturing.


Notably, this post will only focus on the Forest River RV division. So, we won’t cover the other brands under the parent company Forest River Inc. 

 

forest river brand ratingHere are some more details about Forest River RV:

 

  • Who Owns Forest River RV? – Forest River is a division of Forest River Inc., which was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 2005. Berkshire company is led by Warren Buffett. Apart from RVs, Berkshire also produces buses, pontoon boats, commercial trucks, and mobile restroom trailers.

     

  • Where are Forest River RVs Built? – Forest River has dozens of manufacturing facilities throughout the US, each focusing on a different brand. Many are in the Midwest and West Coast, with the largest factory concentration being in Elkhart, Indiana.

     

  • What’s Forest River RV’s Mission? – To help owners enjoy their RV experience to the fullest by building quality, dependable RVs. According to FR, they fulfill your order promptly without cutting corners or rushing through the production procedures because their facilities can handle a huge volume of products.

     

  • What’s Forest River’s Unique Selling Point? FR says it sets itself apart from the competition by offering an extremely diverse range of products, incorporating the experience gained at each of its divisions, and operating with transparency. For many customers, its unique selling proposition is its affordable entry-level RVs and diverse floor plans.


Forest River RV Ratings


On RV Insider, the number one platform for reading genuine reviews submitted by RV owners, Forest River RV brand has an overall score of
3.6 out of 5 stars from a total of 3,027 reviews. This rating spans across all the brand’s many models and floor plans. Here’s how FR owners ranked the brand in different categories.

 

  • Overall Quality – 3.1
  • Livability and Comfort – 3.7 
  • Floor Plan Functionality – 4.2 
  • Ease of Towing or Driving – 4.0 
  • Factory Warranty – 2.7


Our Take on Forest River RV Quality

 

best forest river rvsIs Forest River a quality RV? Based on owner reviews, Forest River RV’s quality is very inconsistent. Getting a problem-free RV almost comes down to luck. You can have 2 identical units built on the same day, and one will be great and the other defective. 


Most often, FR units that are marketed as entry level or affordable have a substandard quality. And many of their towable brands are marketed this way. The materials they use aren’t of the best quality, so they wear out quickly. This is attributed to cost-cutting measures aimed at keeping prices competitive.


Worryingly, the process of assembling their RVs is rushed.
Owners complain of inconsistencies in assembly, such as misaligned doors, poorly installed fixtures, and uneven finishes. In addition, components seem to be integrated hastily, resulting in poor or loose fittings and structural weaknesses.


Many Forest River trailers are assembled in just 1 to 3 days, while high-end custom RVs from other top brands take several weeks or even more than a month. By prioritizing quick production, FR compromises the meticulous attention to detail needed for high-quality craftsmanship.

advice on Forest River products
Also, Forest River holds on to the ‘sticks and tin’ RV construction method, which has been around since the 1940s. So, expect most of their towables to have a frame made of wood, with a thin layer of corrugated aluminum attached to the frame. Screws or rivets are used to hold together the construction. These RVs often fall apart and are susceptible to leaks and water damage.


Many high-quality RV brands have moved away from this sticks and tin approach, and adopted the laminated construction technique. Here, the walls are built with a combination of square aluminum tubing welded together to create the frame, block foam insulation, and a fiberglass sidewall shell. Everything is then laminated together using high-pressure bonding. 


The laminate method creates an RV that’s more sturdy, lighter, durable, low-maintenance, resistant to weathering, aerodynamic, and with a sleeker finish.


Moreover, reviews from
former Forest River RV factory workers reveal that the compensation structure incentivizes quantity over quality. The more units they get out the door, the better the pay. This results in rushed assembly, cutting corners, or overlooking defects in order to meet production targets.


Still Forest River RVs are hard to ignore thanks to the wide range of models and floor plans at almost every price point. Overall, it’s best you stick to their better-rated brands as they seem to have the fewest problems. So, which are the top FR models?


Best Forest River RV Brands and Models


In this section, we will look at Forest River brands by quality. Overall, they have some low-end and high-end models. Their motorhomes tend to have a solid build, but their travel trailers seem to have lots of quality issues. We will use RV Insider ratings, the top platform for reading actual RV reviews from real owners. Later in the post, we will look at the Forest River models to avoid.


Best Forest River Motorhomes With Ratings

 

FR ownersForest River RV has 18 drivable motorhome models. They range from Class As to Class Cs of different sizes. Generally, Forest River motorhomes have a better build quality. Their Class C units have an impressive rating of 4.0 stars out of 5 stars from 239 reviews, while their Class A RVs have earned a modest 3.8 stars from 219 reviews. 


Here are some of the best Forest River Motorhomes based on RV Insider Ratings:

 


Best Forest River Travel Trailers With Ratings


Forest River has
47 travel trailers (TT) models to pick from, ranging from short, ultra-lightweight units to mammoth campers. Due to mass production, their travel trailer quality has always been put into question. In fact, their overall trailer rating of 3.5 stars out of 1,437 reviews. The following TTs have the best Forest River RV quality: 

 


Best Forest River Fifth Wheels With Ratings

 

forest river warrantyThere are 27 Forest River 5th wheel brands to choose from. Their fifth wheels have an average rating of 3.5 stars from 664 reviews, which is below par. Let’s explore the top-rated FR fivers:

 


Best Forest River Tent Campers

 

problems with forest river travel trailersThere are 8 Forest River folding trailer brands. On average, they have a rating of 3.7 out of 5 stars from 59 reviews. These expandable campers range from hard-sided A-frame units to regular pop-up tent campers. The Flagstaff Hard Side Pop-Up has the best feedback from owners.


Best Forest River Toy Hauler


Forest River Toy Haulers have an abysmal
3.4 out of 5 stars from 90 reviews on RV Insider. In total, there are 22 toy hauler RV brands to choose from. They are a mix of travel trailers and fifth wheels, and they share the same brand name as the trailers and fivers. The Riverstone lineup seems is the best-rated brand with a toy hauler floor plan.


Forest River RVs to Avoid


Wondering what Forest River brands to avoid. The following models have some of the most disappointing ratings on RV Insider:

 

  • Forest River Georgetown Regular Class A – 3.6 out of 5 stars from 57 reviews
  • Forester Classic Class A Rating – 2.0 out of 5 stars from 2 reviews.
  • Forest River Salem TT Rating – 3.2 out of 5 stars from 98 reviews.
  • Forest River Cherokee TT Rating – 3.3 out of 5 stars from 52 reviews.
  • Forest River Surveyor TT Rating – 3.3 out of 5 stars from 49 reviews.
  • Forest River Wildwood TT Rating – 3.2 out of 5 stars from 85 reviews.
  • Forest River Ibex TT Rating – 3.1 out of 5 stars from 11 reviews.
  • Forest River Ozark TT Rating – 2.5 out of 5 stars from 11 reviews.
  • Forest River No Boundaries – 2.7 out of 5 stars from 24 reviews.
  • Forest River XLR TT Rating – 2.7 out of 5 stars from 7 reviews.
  • Forest River Viking TT Rating – 3.0 out of 5 stars from 5 reviews.
  • Forest River Vibe TT Rating – 3.1 out of 5 stars from 60 reviews.
  • Forest River Cherokee TT Rating – 3.3 out of 5 stars from 52 reviews.
  • Forest River Impression 5th Wheel Rating – 2.9 out of 5 stars from 8 reviews.
  • Forest River Cherokee Wolf Pack 5th Wheel Rating – 3.0 out of 5 stars from 41 reviews.
  • Forest River Sabre 5th Wheel Rating – 3.2 out of 5 stars from 44 reviews.
  • Forest River Rockwood Hard Side Tent Camper – 2.8 out of 5 stars from 5 reviews.


Forest River RV Review: Exterior Construction

 

forest river brands by qualityForest River’s construction techniques vary from brand to brand. The company has dozens of brands built-in independent facilities. As mentioned before, their motorhomes seem to have sturdier construction. 


Forest River Motorhome Construction Methods


Here’s what you can expect from
Forest River motorhomes:

 

  • Lightweight composite instead of wood substrate on the sidewalls.

     

  • Multi-layered laminated roof system with fiberglass crown, luan decking, tubular aluminum frame, and sound-deadening ceiling panels.

     

  • Vacuum-bonded laminate side walls with tubular aluminum framing, aluminum framed openings, Azdel composite panels, and a gel coat fiberglass exterior.

     

  • Vacuum-bonded laminated floors with fiberglass bottom board, seamless floor decking, and aluminum framing.

     

  • Block foam insulation on the roof, walls, and floor.

     

  • Class Cs are on a Ford, Mercedes Benz, or Chevy chassis.

     

  • Class As are on a Freightliner or Ford F53 platform.


Forest River Trailers Construction Methods

 

FR ratingsForest River towables (travel trailers, fifth wheels, and toy haulers) have the conventional sticks and tins RV construction. Generally, their structures feature the following:

 

  • Chassis – Powder-coated Lippert chassis or NXG Frame by BAL (uses a super lightweight steel alloy).

     

  • Axles – Lippert or Dexter Torsion axles

     

  • Floor System – Ducting or wood joists, fiberglass board or block foam insulation, tongue-in-groove plywood, and vinyl floors. Some models have a Darco moisture barrier to protect the underbelly from road moisture.

     

  • Underbelly – Fully enclosed, partially enclosed, or exposed underbelly. Some exposed tanks have heat mats.

     

  • Walls – Exterior walls have aluminum siding with gel coat or fiberglass layer, wood wall studs or an aluminum frame, a luan layer, and decorative wall board on the inside. Some better models have 2 layers of Azdel, one on the interior, helping dampen sound and to protect against mold and mildew.

     

  • Slide-outs – The walls have block foam insulation with fiberglass on the outside, the floors have some Astro foil, and the slide top has OSB board with a PVC membrane on top.

     

  • Roof – Crowned with wood trusses, OSB board, PVC membrane, fiberglass or block foam insulation. Some quality trailers have a walkable, fully vacuum-bonded laminated roof with aluminum framing plus luan. The exterior of the roof is often TPO. In addition, some roofs are attached to the walls using screws and earthquake straps.

     

  • Front Cap – Often made of one piece aluminum or a fiberglass mold. Units with a front window have automotive-grade glass.

     

  • Insulation – Either block foam, fiberglass, or wool batten.

     

  • Openings – The doors, windows, storage compartments, and slides are framed in aluminum or wood.


Forest River RV Review: Interior Features

 

forest river rv reviews

  • Floor Plans – Diverse layouts are the biggest positive of FR RVs. The brand has so many unique floor plans catering to different segments of the market. You’ll find everything from bunkhouse models, front living, rear living, mid living, two private bedrooms, open layout, 2 bathroom, and even options with a spare room, office, or loft.

     

  • Furniture – Nearly all budget-friendly Forest River trailer models have furniture made of more affordable materials, such as particleboard for cabinetry and synthetic fabrics for upholstery. While functional, these materials are not as durable or comfortable as higher-end options like real wood.

     

  • Joinery and Fastening – FR seems to use basic joinery and fastening methods like screws, nails, and bolts when building their sofas, dinettes, beds, cabinets, and doors. This result in less sturdy construction over time. Only their high-end models have dovetail joints and reinforced corners for added durability.

     

  • Cushioning and Mattress Comfort – Expect less supportive foam on dinette seat cushions. Also, their entry-level and mid-range categories come with thin mattresses (4-6 inches thick). Most owners are forced to buy a new mattress or add a topper.

     

  • Appliances and Electronics – Nearly all FR RVs come with a refrigerator, gas range, microwave, AC, furnace, water heater, speakers, and TV. The size and quality of the appliances depends on the camper’s category. Mid to high-range options may offer stainless steel appliances, convection oven, residential fridge, backup cameras, and options for washer/dryers and dishwashers. Appliances are from brands like Coleman, Dometic, Thetford, and Furion.

     

  • Fit and Finish – Fit and finish issues are one of the major Forest River RV complaint. Common problems include uneven cabinetry, drawers not closing, and loose light fixtures and handles. Other FR issues include poorly attached trim and molding, as well as inadequate sealing around windows, doors, and slide-out. Some units even have scratches on their surfaces. Instead of Corian, they install laminate, plastic, MDF, thermofoil, or Formica countertops. 


Forest River Quality Control

 

forest river constructionDoes Forest River RV perform a quality test? Yes, but to a limited extent. Random RVs made by different Forest River brands are subjected to tests and inspections at their state-of-the-art 20,000-square-foot pre-delivery inspection (PDI) building.

 

Unfortunately, Forest River lacks a robust quality control process at the end of every production line. Instead of inspecting every unit before it gets shipped out, they perform checks on just a few random RVs. They shift the responsibility of quality control to the dealers. They heavily rely on the dealerships that sell their RVs to inspect, repair, and prepare the RVs for customers. 


Sadly, the level of thoroughness and attention to detail varies widely between dealerships. Some do a good job of rectifying issues, while others sell the units exactly as they received them. That’s why you should always purchase from reputable dealers known for thorough quality checks and also do your own inspection.


What’s more, Forest River lacks strict quality control over the components supplied by third-party manufacturers. Little wonder many of their appliances, electronics, and plumbing fixtures are problematic.


It’s also no secret that Forest River’s compensation structure prioritizes quantity over quality, incentivizing employees to focus more on the volume of units produced. This means potentially compromising attention to detail to meet production targets.


Forest River RV Durability

 

FR quality controlSo, how long do Forest River RVs last? An entry-level FR that’s used a few weeks a year and stored indoors can last at least 7 years before significant structural repairs are required. Mid-tier units may last at least 10 years, while the best-built options can serve you over 15 years. 


How long your FR RV lasts depends on how well you maintain it after trips and even during storage. Proper winterization and preventative maintenance will also expand its lifespan. Pre-Covid units seem to have been built stronger with heavier materials, compared to what they are producing these days.


Forest River RV Performance When Off-roading, Winter Camping, Full-timing, and Boondocking

 

forest river rv problemsBoth towable and drivable Forest River units are largely pavement RVs, meaning they are primarily designed for use on paved roads and developed campgrounds. Their chassis, suspension systems, and body aren’t meant for off-road use.


Driving or towing on rough terrain cause vibrations that may loosen screws and fittings and cause wear and tear on body panels and seals, potentially resulting in leaks and structural issues. Also, low clearance means you could damage the exposed undercarriage. 


In addition, Forest River RVs have inadequate insulation for
winter camping. So, they are only ideal for 3-season (spring, summer, and fall) camping. Their plumbing systems are not designed to withstand freezing temperatures even if you have the arctic package


Regarding full-timing
, Forest River RVs are only suitable for short-term vacations and seasonal use. They lack the robust construction and high-quality materials needed to withstand year-round habitation. On a positive note, there are multiple FR models with large tanks and solar systems perfect for boondocking


Forest River RV Warranty


Forest River RVs come with a basic one-year limited warranty covering manufacturing defects in materials and workmanship. This standard warranty is relatively short compared to some competitors. Many of the components on FR units have their own separate manufacturer warranty, which may be longer than 1 year.


Notably, Forest River no longer offers the option to purchase an extended second-year warranty on their RVs. But does Forest River honor their warranty? It’s a mixed bag, with some customers reporting positive interactions, while
others face challenges.


Some owners report that every claim is approved, worked on fast, and at no extra cost. Others report poor communication, claims denials, slow approval process, delays in completing repairs, or poorly done repairs.


Forest River RV Customer Service and Contacts

 

Forest River Quality issuesSimilar to warranty, Forest River’s customer service experience can be inconsistent. While some customers report positive interactions with responsive and helpful representatives, others encounter communication and problem resolution challenges. Issues such as long wait times for assistance, difficulty reaching representatives, and delays in obtaining parts for repairs have been reported. 


Success often depends on the FR brand, dealership’s involvement, and the persistence of the customer in advocating for their needs. Forest River says it strives to address customer concerns and improve their service. However, prospective buyers should be aware of potential hurdles and ensure they have realistic expectations regarding support and assistance.


Here are some Forest River RV phone numbers and emails to reach their service team:

 

  • Flagstaff – 574-642-8943 and flagstaffowners@forestriverinc.com
  • Cherokee – (260) 499-2100 and cherokeeowners@forestriverinc.com
  • Aurora – 574) 378-7596 and ahanna@forestriverinc.com
  • Berkshire – (574) 522-1368 and dieselservice@forestriverinc.com
  • No Boundaries – 574-535-2536 and drodriguez@forestriverinc.com
  • XLR Boost – Angie Smiley (574) 642-0437 and ASmiley@forestriverinc.com
  • Cardinal – Brian Meeks (574) 367-3307 and BMeeks@forestriverinc.com
  • Cedar Creek – Aspen Smith (260) 593-4000 and aasmith@forestriverinc.com
  • Rockwood – 574-642-8943 and rockwoodowners@forestriverinc.com
  • Salem – Marissa Freeze 574-535-2005 and mfreeze@forestriverinc.com
  • Riverstone – Austin V Buren (260) 593-2584 and RiverStoneService@forestriverinc.com
  • Sierra – Jason Dreier (574) 535-1520 and sierrawarranty@forestriverinc.com
  • Wildcat – Chris Fendt (574) 367-3267 and cfendt@forestriverinc.com
  • Wildwood – Taylor Chadwick (574) 534-1251 and tchadwick@forestriverinc.com
  • Solera – (574) 206-7600 and motorizedservice@forestriverinc.com
  • Sunseeker – (574) 206-7600 and motorizedservice@forestriverinc.com
  • Forester Owner Relations – (574) 206-7600 and motorizedservice@forestriverinc.com


Forest River RV Expert Opinions

 

is forest river a quality rvHere’s a sneak peek of Forest River RV Quality based on some of the most authoritative RV sites and resources (we’ve also included links to the sources):


Forest River Review on RVreviews.net 

 

RVreviews.net is a renowned website that offers comprehensive reviews of RV brands. It lauds Forest River RV because it sells units at prices often below the cost of its smaller competitors, thanks to the economics of being a larger company. However, it mentions that FR builds its RVs too fast, which compromises the quality. Moreover, it points out that after-sale service has long been a source of frustration for many owners.


NHTSA Forest River RV Recalls 

 

FR warrantyThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) oversees RV recalls, addressing safety issues in motorhomes and towable RVs. Forest River RV is one of the RV brands that are constantly on their recalls list. In 2022 alone, the brand recalled nearly 200,000 RVs.


Issues range from faulty wiring, brake issues,
improperly secured LP line, a detaching freshwater tank to structural defects. Owners can check the NHTSA website using their vehicle identification number (VIN) to find specific recall information.


Forest River Complaints on BBB

 

On Better Business Bureau (BBB), a non-profit organization that aims to foster trust between businesses and consumers, Forest River RV’s parent company FR Inc., has a dismal rating of 1.1 stars out of 5 from 101 customer reviews. Complaints range from poor build quality, delayed repairs, denied claims to poor communication, and even lemon sales.


Forest River RV Reviews from Owners

 

forest river recallsWondering what Forest River owners are saying? Here are some positive and negative FR reviews:

 

  • Forest River Review on What to Expect – We bought our 2016 Forest River Salem Hemisphere 282rk new, and it took me about 2 years of repairing to get it under control. The last 3+ years have been much easier. Generally speaking, I think that anyone purchasing a new RV these days should expect some problems. Sad, but true.

     

  • Forest River Review on Craftmanship – Our first travel trailer was a 2020 Forest River Vibe 17db. The craftsmanship was a bit wanting – some gaps, cheap materials, etc. but ultimately, everything worked and it held up well. We took it over 5000 miles in 8 months. Towards the end, a few small issues started popping up (the main window blind wouldn’t stay up, a holding block for the Murphy bed fell off, etc.) but it wasn’t anything we couldn’t deal with.

     

  • Forest River Lemon Review – I bought a brand new 2014 Forrest River FR3. That was my third RV and I must say the quality was not there. A total piece of garbage. Seats fell apart, all slide-out motors had to be replaced, leveling jack motor replaced, generator problems, a total lemon. Glad I got rid of it and feel sorry for the person who buys it.

     

  • Forest River Customer Care Review – It took at least 6 months of going back and forth between our dealer and the factory before we actually found someone who was helpful! The first FR representative we contacted gave us a huge run-around. We did everything he asked for, including sending pics several times. The first time he said he never received them, and the second time he said he lost them. We jumped through all the hoops, and in return we got nothing…he didn’t respond to any emails…didn’t return any phone calls…NOTHING!

     

  • Forest River Warranty Review – I had a Grey Wolf 22RR toy hauler…The rear ramp cracked the first time I loaded my motorcycle. Both FR and the dealer said I overloaded the ramp and denied warranty. 1500lb ramp and an 800lb motorcycle. The last thing FR said was that I bought a lightweight trailer, and that was to be expected. Had it just over a year and traded, taking a loss.

     

  • Forest River Denied Claims – I have a brand new 2022 Impression 5th Wheel that developed mold in the sealed compartment under the bedroom window. I was unable to clean/access/ or control the condensation – because it’s a sealed compartment. Forest River is now denying my claim and saying that I defrosted the fridge and left it in storage (I did neither). They refuse to fix this – I’ve called 10 times and left 4 voicemails with no response.

     

  • Forest River RV Review on Fit and Finish – As a former FR Rockwood owner, I will say that I am not a fan of Forest River products. They use the same components that most other manufacturers use, so it is not fair to judge them based on component failure complaints. My complaints about FR in general is poor attention to detail and poor construction techniques. Fit and finish is usually lacking on their trailers and you will find a higher percentage of little annoyance type failures.


Forest River RV Pros and Cons

 

Are Forest River RVs good? Well, all RV manufacturers have good and bad things about their products. Here are some advantages and drawbacks of owning Forest River products:


Pros of Forest River RVs

 

Forest River complaints

  • Competitive pricing compared to similar-quality units from competitors.

     

  • Vast array of models for every type of RVer.

     

  • Great floor plans for solo travelers, couples, small families, large families, outdoor hobbyists, and digital nomads.

     

  • Plenty of optional features to customize the RV.

     

  • Most models have plenty of interior and exterior storage.

     

  • An extensive dealer network makes it easier to find, purchase, and service FR RVs.

     

  • A dedicated and supportive owner community with rallies and events i.e. Forest River Owners Group (FROG) and Forest River Forums.

     

  • Specialized models like toy haulers and bunkhouse options.

     

  • Lineup of ultra-lightweight options under 2,000 pounds, i.e. Geo Pro G12S.


Cons of Forest River

 

  • Inconsistent quality control.

     

  • Too many safety recalls.

     

  • Reliability concerns with supplied components.

     

  • Limited warranty coverage compared to some competitors.

     

  • Dependence on dealerships for quality assurance.

     

  • Delayed repairs and service.

     

  • Forest River resale value is not as strong as other better-build brands.

     

  • Their products are designed for part-time use in fair weather and are not great for full-timing, winter camping, or off-roading.

     

  • Higher likelihood of warranty claims and repairs.

     

  • Warranty claim denials.

     

  • Lack of transparency regarding manufacturing processes and materials.

     

  • Customer service experiences can vary widely.

     

  • A rushed assembly that leads to employees cutting corners or overlooking defects.

     

Common Forest River Complaints

 

are forest river rvs goodHere are specific Forest River issues often reported by owners:

 

  • Cracks on sidewall.

     

  • Caulking will leak in different places after you fix it.

     

  • Door latches fall off or cabinet hinges break off.

     

  • Misaligned door doesn’t close completely.

     

  • Shower head leaks or broke off.

     

  • Shower draining into the rear subfloor, causing damage.

     

  • Screws, rivets, and staples missing or sticking out.

     

  • Missing, bent, or poorly installed trim.

     

  • Systems installed backwards, i.e. axle, wiring, and water valves.

     

  • Window rubber trim coming off.

     

  • Advertised interior features missing.

     

  • Water lines leaking.

     

  • Soft spots or cracks on floor.

     

  • Bottom of the slide sticking out.

     

  • Wall panels or wallpaper falling off the walls.

     

  • Mattress split.

     

  • Brake wiring failures.

     

  • Frame rust from poor coating work.

     

  • Sawdust and metal shavings in the interior.

     

  • Clothes rod in the closet are held by an insufficient number of screws.

     

  • Battery wires are not properly connected, causing a discharge.

     

  • Toy hauler garage floor or ramp cracking even without overloading.

     

  • Awning won’t electrically extend or is too slow.

     

  • Poor repair work by the dealer.


Forest River RV Buying Tips

 

forest river rvs to avoidIf you want to avoid the most common Forest River problems, use these tips when shopping for their products:

 

  • Do a thorough inspection before picking it up—grab, pull and shake things to make sure they’re securely fastened. If possible, have a buddy who is an experienced RVer help you inspect it.

     

  • Don’t let the dealer rush you through the inspection. Insist on a step-by-step demonstration of all features and systems, including slides and appliances.

     

  • Take pics and document everything during the walk-through. This will come in handy if you’ll have some warranty issue or dispute.

     

  • Read the fine print on your warranty contract.

     

  • Fancier interior features do not always mean better build quality. Always consider the construction technique before anything else.

     

  • Before you buy, take a trip to the Forest River factory that builds your preferred RV model in order to witness the construction process.

     

  • To avoid buying a model you’ll regret, spend a lot of time at RV Dealers and RV shows searching for the floor plans you like and the amenities you want.

     

  • After you pick it up, camp closer to the dealership for a few days, plug it in, and test all components to make sure it is fully functional. You can easily return it if you find a problem.

     

  • If a model seems priced too good to be true, it may be an indicator of a cheap build quality. The good ones are in the higher-end bracket.

     

  • Buy an extended warranty at a negotiated rate if you’re super-cautious.

     

  • Find a good independent RV service shop and talk to them about getting pre-authorization. They will call the manufacturer themselves to get everything warranted. This way, your warranty work is done faster and better.

     

  • Prioritize units with a laminate exterior, like Flagstaff and Rockwood.

     

  • Purchase from a dealer that delivers quality service after the sale should you require it.

     

  • Consider buying a lightly used version. Most likely, the previous owner will have worked on all the little things that needed fixing. Just make sure it’s inspected by a professional.

     

  • With new RVs, you’ll soon realize that after the first year of fixing things, the remainder of their years are virtually trouble-free.

     

  • Look for a crowned roof so rain and snow melt runs off.

     

  • Be ready to do the minor repairs yourself or out of pocket. Sometimes, the inconvenience of waiting for warranty approval isn’t worth it.

     

  • Buy the latest RV rating guide from RV Consumer Group to learn which manufacturer and model is best. RV Consumer Group is a non-profit, completely independent organization that has been rating RVs since 1990 based on consumer surveys, staff evaluations, and owner complaints.

     

Forest River RV FAQs

 

Opinions on Forest RiverHere are some frequently asked questions about Forest River:


Who are Forest River RV Competitors and Alternatives?


Forest River’s direct competitors are Jayco, Keystone, and Winnebago. If you want brands that build the highest quality campers, consider Outdoors RV, Grand Design, Northwood, and Oliver.


Are All Forest River RVs Built in the Same Facility?


No, Forest River operates multiple manufacturing plants across the United States, each specializing in different types or brands of RVs. This decentralized production approach allows each location to focus on specific models and product lines. The construction quality also differs from one facility to another.


Final Verdict: Is Forest River a Good Brand?


With such a large lineup of towable and drivable RVs, it’s nearly impossible to make generalizations about the Forest River product offering. But if forced to give a definitive answer, Forest River’s criticism is justified. Many of their pull-behinds aren’t well-built. Still, they aren’t exceptionally bad. Their quality is comparable to that of RVs from other mega-corporations like Thor Industries.


FR customers’ biggest grievances are about the brand’s poor attention to detail and lack of quality control. On the other hand, their motorhomes have a better build and fewer issues. Of course, FR can earn back buyers’ trust through several strategic initiatives. 


Measures should include, implementing rigorous quality control measures at each stage of production, establishing strict criteria for supplier selection, and incorporating more durable materials and innovative build techniques. Customer feedback should also be integrated to address common issues. In addition, they should perform regular internal audits of construction processes, invest in employee training, and reward workers for achieving quality-related goals.