RV and Travel Trailer Upgrades & Off-Grid Capability, Modifications and PDI


Items to Watch for on a PDI is Below! (may click here)
Check Back Often for New Updates Pictures and PDI Items as they are discovered

Personally Performed Upgrade Items
* Order, Pickup, 6Hour PDI, Drive Home
* Suspension Upgrades
      - Steering Stabilizer, Sumo Springs,
      - Rear Roll Bar, Alignment
* Manufacture New 2nd House Battery Bank Tray
* Manufacture Solar Panel System & Supports
* Manufacture Non-Existent Spare Tire Attachment
* Fabricate Spare Wheel & Purchase Spare Tire
* Purchase Spare Tire Covers
* Powder coat Fabricated & Manufactured Items
* Purchase & Install Tire Valve Extenders
* Relocate (Extend) & Fabricate Generator Exhaust
* Fabricate Genturi Exhaust Attachment
* 2nd Camco Rubber Bungee & Attachment Tabs
* Sewer Hose Storage
* Reversed Cabinet Door Opening from Down to Up
* Install New 2nd House 800Ah Battery Bank & Tray
* Install Solar Panel Supports
* Purchase Full Sine 3Kw Inverter & 130 Amp Charger
* Purchase & Install 50Amp Surge System
* Install C/B and Wiring for Inverter/Charger
* Purchase & Install 2 Battery Monitor Systems
      - 1st for GT 200Ah House Battery Bank & 100Ah Engine Battery
      - 2nd for ZRD 800Ah added Second House Battery Bank
* Install I/C & BB Switches, Fuses, Plug, Shunt, ...
* Install I/C Remote Display
* Redesigned Water (Tank) Drains with Ball Valves
* Redesigned Vent loop with Ball Valves
* Engine Exhaust Covers
* Purchase, Wire, & Install Under Vehicle LED Lighting
* King Bed Foam, Cover, Sheets, Duvet, Comforter
* Bath Towels, Supplies
* Many Kitchen Items

Additional Rear Sway Bar Kit
Stering Stabilizer   Sumo Spring
Rear Storage with Trays and Battery Bank
Spare Tire with Support
Generator Exhaust Extension   Sewer Hose Storage
Cabinet Door Reversed fm Down to Up
  Second House Battery Bank
Inverter Charger System Overview
50 Amp Surge
Remote Panels   IC Remote Panels
Vent Loop Redone w Valves   Drain Shut Off Valves
Exhaust Cover


PDI Items to Check For!
As a newcomer (2016) to the specific TT/RV Market, I was uneducated as many initial prospects are in this venue. However with my company's (ZRD) vast extensive background in system designs and manufacturing, we became up to speed very quickly, but unfortunately individuals in the RV customer community do not have this knowledge to work with. This is not a bad comment on the RV customer community, rather on the community of RV manufacturers and suppliers Poor, if not Improper Systems Design, not paying attention to detail, and very poor Quality Control Standards.

When I did my personal initial research, I decided on an upper line TT providing many features I was accustomed in the marine industry. Aside from the floorplans, that is again, unfortunately, where some similarity ends. Everything is done on a "Walmart" low-bid price point and overseas assembly method - Not the once fabulous type either. The Forest River company appeared to have a higher quality standard on appliances and assembly. The relatively minor defects led me to check into a Forest River RV after discovering that a class A MH does not have to be 40 feet long or more. My initial investigation was by accident when I discovered the ACE model by Thor RVs. I liked the floorplans, but further investigation found serious assembly defects leading me to do further investigation. The reviews were HORRIBLE! 1 of 5 stars typically. This led me to investigate Forest River that I was pleased with at the time based on my Flagstaff Micro Lite 25FKS TT. After many tradeoffs on features and floorplans, I compromised on a model 270S due to its fiberglass roof vs TT membrane, solid half-inch counters, decent appliances, and complete head (vs split shower and bath - IMHO, wrong!). I liked the floorplan of the FR3 28DS and 29DS, but they went over my 30 foot self-imposed limit, not to mention the membrane roof.

On to my 270S - Unfortunately, this purchase went against everything I do and try to explain to customers - I was in a time crunch. My 2017 TT was only 6 months old, spent first 3 doing what I do in the marine industry - making it 100% off-grid capable. In that process I discovered all the antiquated and wrong design features rampant in the RV industry regardless of manufacturer. On that note, I do not consider the RV industry manufacturers. They are assemblers. Aside from some items like woodworking, everything on a TT or RV is manufactured by 1 of 1,000 or so of the actual component manufacturers - and many of them have it actually manufactured by some other company overseas. Again, based on my experience with my TT and deciding on purchasing a Georgetown 270S, I was rudely awakened how going against my better judgement was about to bite me.

Purchasing a TT or RV is a nightmare - Too much for here and now, but prices vary 10-25 percent between dealers, lies are rampant, and they treat prospective customers like trash - look everywhere. Even though my TT was the current model year and only a few months old, I was offered only 25 percent (75% loss) of my TT original value on trade-in at some, others were not interested in a trade at all, ... I removed all of my upgrades and traded it in at a 50 percent loss. After negotiating Price, Trade-in value, and features, I pulled the plug, again, against my better judgement. The 270S was the only model under 30 feet, had floorplan, features, Class A model, ... I could find, BUT (big but) it was being discontinued from production availability in a week. All kinds of Red flags went off during model, dealer, search and discussions. The overriding factor was I wanted delivery of a new RV in early 2017 enabling travels thereafter. If I wanted to wait, a replacement model would not be available for approximately 2 years (per FR) due to model and product line reorganization.

Due to many factors (end of product line, year end, Holidays, ...) my unit was 6 weeks late and had a host of defects that I did not know to look for. It was a rude awakening that even FR will produce a defective RV unit. In that vein unfortunately, a PDI needs to be a minimum of 2 days (get a hotel if needed), not hours in length to be done properly. If the "manufacturers" actually cared about their customers, have a real Quality Control division, and would not leave an obvious defective unit leave their facilities before being repaired, a good PDI could be done in 4 to 8 hours vs 16 to 40. Normally, I would assume that a customer would not have to check headlight alignment, tire pressure, if everything is attached, installed correctly, much less if the items purchased are actually installed (my kitchen table was never installed or even placed in the RV when I went to pick it up at the PDI dealer). Below is a list of the defects discovered after my initial PDI, on the way home, and over the next 8 weeks as I performed my upgrades. None of these types of items are anything anyone ever thinks of checking in the marine industry - because standard basic QC will catch it first and have it resolved before any customer gets near a product ready for delivery / pickup.

* Upon first entering RV, "Where is my Kitchen Table?"
      - Table was Never Installed or even in RV as a part TBD!
      - I had to Order the Table - 6 weeks before delivered!
      - I had to Order 2nd set of Floor Bases - 18 weeks for those!
* Recliners/Sofa Improperly attached to Floor
      - Ripped out Not Connected
      - Dealer said RV Sofas are never connected to floor!
      - Another Obvious outright Lie!
* Low Beam Headlights AND Fog Lights Unusable
      - Pointed into space, not anywhere near the road
      - As drove home, Last Hour required using only High Beams
      - Half Day to align Low Beams,
      - 2 Days to Fiberglass in Base Support for Fog Lights
      - 1 Day fabricating NON-Adjustable Permanent Alignment
* Main Door Never Adjusted
      - Opened Fully (steps and all), twice on I95 on the way home!
* Air Conditioning Intake Cover Broken
* Tire Pressure set to 100PSI not the 82psi shown on the wall placard
      - RV Drove as if it had 300,000 miles with Bad Worn Ball Joints!
* RV Max speed is Governered to 74mph
      - Ford will Not change ECU.
* Test Drive, Test Drive, Test Drive !!!
* Engine Hood Cracked and Flexes when Touched
* Defective Exterior Shower Hose, Replacement defective Also!
* Hitch Brake Light Relay Never Installed - Pin 7 Non-Function!
* Wrong Part Sent - Table Base plus other wrong parts sent
* Fabricate Bus Bar & Remove (relocate) 8 Fused Wires on Batteries
      - stuck on Battery Posts enabling constant DC power
      - even 1.5 amps will kill a battery bank if on for 4-5 days!
* Full week of cleaning Required
      - sawdust every nook, cranny, compartment, everywhere - pathetic!
* Need to Flush Fresh Water, Black, and Grey Tanks
      - filled with all types of garbage from assembly production
* Defective 12V-10W Bulb in Refrigerator
* Cabinet Opening too small for TV
      - Removed 1/4in from TV Mount, Welded back, Repainted
* Install Additional Kitchen Table Base Mounts
* Order & Install Additional Exterior Compartment Locks
      - GT has ONLY 1 Key Code
* Forward Roof AC Rusting internally - leaking out drain
* Water Pump Switch - Light Inoperative
* Dash Battery Boost Switch - Broken Switch Cover
* Extensive Fwd Window, Class A Window & End Cap Water Leaks

Sofa Without Table    I Ordered AND Installed Table
Sofa Ripped from Floor   Sofa Properly Attached
Fog Light Fix   Fog Light Fix Installed
Air Conditioner Intake Cover
  Cracked Engine Hood
Defective (cracked) Shower Hose  Missing Relay - Pin 7 Control
Wrong Part Sent - Table Base
Bus Bar Closed Cover  Bus Bar Open Cover
Rust




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