Class B Warned

Well, This Hasn't Gone Well

Part Sixteen – Palm Trees and RVs

We had just about had enough with dealing with our Roadtrek, and the RV Show in Tampa, Florida was a good opportunity to see what else and who else was out there. We had already been following all the major Class B RV manufacturers and what they were building, and all the problems we had dealt with were making it tough to not at least consider alternatives. And there were plenty to see at the RV Show.

Because the Alde system wasn’t completely fixed, the warmer Florida temperatures were a good excuse to head south. We got to meet Plant Guy, tour a huge selection of RVs, and meet the representatives from a few of the other manufacturers who were showing their latest and greatest.

If I’m honest, Plant Guy was my favorite part of the show. He even gladly takes selfies with you!

We were interested in seeing the technologies being offered by the competition and this was a perfect chance to see them all in one spot. Some of the other Class B manufacturers are using the Lithium-Ion battery technology, while others have no intention of using technology that hasn’t been tried and tested, which to us sounds like a perfectly reasonable idea. We’ve learned that the best sounding technology is useless if it doesn’t actually work. That being said, no other manufacturer claims to offer what drew us to Roadtrek originally – which was a generator-free coach. We like the idea that you can run your microwave for a few minutes to just reheat food (we don’t do much actual cooking when traveling but have had many a pizza on the road) without needing to run a generator. Because we travel with a dog, we liked the promise that we could run our air conditioning for a few hours, strictly on batteries, without leaving the van with a noisy generator running, and having the van automatically start to recharge the batteries when low using their VoltStart system. The reheating food we’ve been successful with; the air conditioning running off the batteries we still haven’t been able to really test because of the time and aggravation getting the VoltStart system working. Looking back, we realize that it’s been almost 2 years since we started our RVing, and we haven’t really had a chance to just enjoy a fully functioning van to even truly evaluate whether this is the model for us.

At this point, we’re at a crossroads. Do we stick with our Roadtrek, which has been an…eventful experience, and continue trying to tie up loose malfunctioning ends, or do we decide to compromise certain features with another manufacturer who may not necessarily promise the moon, but who can certainly deliver stars?

What we did learn from visiting the RV Show was that there are people out there reading this blog (you know who you are, and hi, it was great to meet you!) and it’s encouraging to hear that we aren’t just shouting into a hole, and that if we decide to move on from Roadtrek, there are other manufacturers ready to make our RV travels a pleasure again (or for the first time, as the case may be).

Sunbathing under palm trees

27 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I am very sorry you have to experience this but please know that some of us are learning from your experience and it will help prevent heart aches in the future.
    I hope you will be able to enjoy your RV very soon and for a long time.

    • CBW

      February 26, 2017 at 12:38 am

      We’re glad to see that others are learning from our experiences. This blog wasn’t intended to be a complaint-fest, even though it’s sort of become that. It’s good to know that someone is reading this and maybe solving their issues by hearing about ours.

  2. Have you looked at Pleasure Way? The Roadtrek has awesome technology but it appears it isn’t ready for people wanting something reliable.

    Hope everything works out for you one way or other.

    regards

    John

    • CBW

      February 26, 2017 at 12:43 am

      We sure have! We’ve looked at all the class B options, and have been impressed the most with Pleasure Way and Leisure Travel Vans. It’s difficult when you’re being promised so much in technology, but all that technology turns out to be useless if it doesn’t work correctly. Knowing what we know now, we would probably have chosen the more conservative brands who may not offer the most cutting edge features, but the features they do offer are built well and actually do what they say on the box!

  3. Have you resolved the problems with the volt start system and are you generally satisfied with the under hood generator?

    • CBW

      February 26, 2017 at 12:36 am

      Our problem with the VoltStart was the incorrect module had been installed (for lithium batteries, not AGM batteries). Once we finally swapped it out with the correct module, we tested it briefly to make sure it was starting up as it was supposed to (at the right voltage level), but unfortunately by that time, we had lost the summer months and haven’t needed to run the air conditioner, which would be the biggest electric draw on the batteries. We’ll know for sure once the weather gets warm again (or we travel south!).
      As for the under hood generator – we haven’t had any problems with it (thank goodness) – no slipping belts as others have reported. It beats having a noisy gas generator and the batteries seem to be well-charged when we arrive at our destinations.

      • Thanks for sharing your experience. I am considering a Roadtrek and then I found your site, fortunately! Volt start and Alde are two main features of Roadtrack that attracted me btw.

        So I gathered from reading this that you bought a new Roadtrek that had incorrect modules installed or improperly installed at the factory, is this correct? I am wondering if this is a common occurrence or you are the unlucky one. Wish you luck in getting this all sorted out and please keep us updated on your experiences.

        • CBW

          March 25, 2017 at 3:16 pm

          Yes we did indeed have the incorrect Voltstart module installed in our van. I’ve heard of at least one other person with the same problem in a Facebook group that I’m a member of. If you’re still considering a Roadtrek or any Class B I would recommend you join the Roadtrek and Hymer Owners Group on Facebook. Without their support I wouldn’t have made it through these last 2 years!

  4. Wow, I recently bought a Roadtrek Simplicity, wish I had read about your experiences first though. And even though my Roadtrek does not have the advanced technology that yours has, I too have had issues, including with the heating, that the dealer just is not equipped to handle. Although I thought I had issues getting the items fixed properly you have made me acutely aware of just how lucky I actually was. I would definitely not have been as patient as you apparently have been, there may have been physical injuries involved had I gone through all you have lol. Thanks for taking an immense amount of your time documenting your (to me) horrifying journey.
    Mark

    • CBW

      May 24, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      Hi Mark. Sorry I haven’t had much time to monitor the website recently. Just wanted to thank you for reading , and I hope you were able to resolve the issues you’ve been having with the Simplicity. Another chapter coming soon!

  5. Thank you SO much for your posts! I’ve just started my research on class B (or “B+”) options and determined the CS was the best model for my needs. I was worried about the added expense of the MB chassis, but apparently that should be far less a concern. Leisure Travel Van was my first choice, but they are no longer making the true van style & I believe their models might just be too “motorhome-ish” for our current needs. After reading of your troubles and the insane amount of trouble you were put through, I will now begin to re-evaluate the Pleasure Way vans. One of the primary draws of the Roadtrek was the 6 year warranty, but it was not my expectation that I could potentially have to leave the unit with a shop for the entire 6 years.

    I’m so very disappointed to learn of these issues with Roadtrek, as they seemed to be a solid choice.

    Thank you for educating folks!

    • CBW

      May 24, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      Hi Dani. So sorry I haven’t had time to respond to your comment. I was also hesitant to purchase the MB chassis because of issues with older models, but it looks like Mercedes has all the bugs worked out. With every year comes improvements. In 2017 they now offer side wind assist, and the many people are adding the air suspension to dampen the bouncy rear end.

      I’ve also been tracking the Leisure Travel and Pleasure Way models. If I was able to rewind the clock I would have purchased the Leisure Travel Free Sprit… the one without the slide. I love the fit and finish of their brand. As you probably know they pulled the plug on this model to concentrate on the Unity line. For me the Class B is a perfect compromise with space and length. If I travelled more or for longer periods of time I would definitely have definitely purchased a Unity, but I do agree with you on the fact that it crosses the line and is more motorhome-ish. If they would just make a Unity that’s a couple feet shorter I may be convinced to purchase one.

      You also mentioned the Pleasure Way as a consideration. I spent a lot of time at their exhibit at the Florida RV show. The fit and finish in my opinion is even better than the Leisure Travel. They also make a model similar to the Unity in width, but the length is the same as the standard Roadtrek CS. I’m not sure why I ruled them out when I purchased my Roadtrek, but today if I had to dump my Roadtrek this would be a choice worth considering.

      Let me know if you made a purchase since your post, and if so what did you buy? If you have any other questions feel free to ask. We continue to thoroughly monitor the other Class ‘B’ options as we decide what our next step will be.

  6. Thanks for sharing your story! Unfortunately we may be beginning the same saga. We purchased a new 2017 CS Adventurous and have had problems galore! Including the Alde and Voltstart systems. Maybe I can save some time with your experiences. Wish me luck! I want to love my Roadtrek!!!

    • CBW

      May 24, 2017 at 8:40 pm

      Hi Bill. So sorry it’s taken so long to reply to your post. I hope since your post last month you were able to work out the problems with your new Roadtrek, and maybe be reading our story we were somehow able to help! I’ve been so busy at work I haven’t had time to post much, but our next chapter is coming soon!

  7. David Powell

    May 7, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    Wow, great blog! We bought a new 2015 CS (not the E-trek) and have experienced a lot of the same issues. After a dozen or so little nuisances, we are left with two big problems. The refrigerator wont run through the night when boondocking, and a glycol leak.

    After reading you post I checked the heater pipes and, same as you, it was not level. I hope that fixes it, after 3 or 4 tries at the dealer. Thankfully it works fine when the glycol hasn’t leaked out.

    BTW I looked into specs and decided the VW/Audi dealers sell something that should work and have the protectant in it. Not cheap but easier to find than a RT dealer.

    Fridge is still an issue after 5 or 6 trips to the dealer. We do not eat meat or dairy and cook almost every meal, so this is a big deal for us! That’s a big reason we bought the CS in the first place, for the big fridge. After 2 years and a test by the manufacturer’s expert, nobody could isolate the problem and fix it. I ran bigger than spec wires and it is better, but now I find out, the batteries won’t take a full charge. Nobody ever thought of that?

    So, thanks! Keep posting!

    • CBW

      May 24, 2017 at 8:54 pm

      Hi Dave. Thanks for reading our story, and sharing your knowledge as well. If you have a 2015 you may still be using the pink glycol. When ours was serviced at the Roadtrek factory they flushed out the pink and switched us over to the clear stuff. I think the pink is a little easier to obtain on the road, but I’ll keep the VW/Audi in mind if I get into trouble again.

      Thankfully we haven’t had trouble with the fridge, but I’m curious if your battery is depleting because of the fridge or is something else behind the issue. I’ve been extremely careful to keep my AGM’s above the 50% level, especially after the experience we had with our first van. When we are parked between trips the fridge stays on, and even with 470 watts of solar and 8 AGM’s we still slowly lose a charge. We also love that large fridge but wonder if it draws too much power.

      If you are able to get things fixed please share your solution. I don’t know what I would have done without others who share their problems, and solutions. Good luck!

  8. Hi I was just wondering how your RoadTrek is doing now? It looks like the last time you posted about it was 3/25/17. I’m was thinking about getting a RoadTrek but after reading your story and a few other ones I’m having second thoughts.

    • CBW

      May 24, 2017 at 9:00 pm

      Hi Christine. Thanks for taking the time to read our blog. I’ve been so busy at work I haven’t had time to post much, but our next chapter is coming soon! We have been out using the RV and do love having a Class ‘B’. It’s so easy to drive and I can park almost anywhere a car can park. If you’re looking for up to date feedback from new owners I suggest you join the Roadtrek & Hymer Owners Group on Facebook. You’re not required to be an owner and if you ask you’ll get plenty of people willing to share their first hand experiences. Good luck with whatever you decide to purchase!

  9. Wow! You are very patient!
    I just purchased a new 2017 CS with lithium and solar. Have had several problems since driving off the lot!
    Trying to get through to the tech support is like trying to speak to your congressman.
    Are your issues resolved?

    • CBW

      May 24, 2017 at 9:05 pm

      Hi Paul. Sorry to hear you’re having issues with your new Roadtrek as well. Some people report getting immediate help when contacting Roadtrek, and others complain about how they are unresponsive to calls or emails. I hope that you were able to get ahold of someone who can help.

      Feel free to share your problems on our blog, and if you get a resolution to your problem please share that as well. Best of luck to you!

  10. I was thinking about the volt start system and idling of diesel engines with particulate filters. I had wondered if there would be problems so I did a search and stumbled onto your blog. Wow! After reading all your posts I was really hoping for a happy ending. But I see that isn’t the case. I was attracted to Roadtrek for all the same reasons you were. But I haven’t made a purchase yet and the sequence of events you have had has me rethinking it all. There’s a bunch of lessons we can learn from your unfortunate experience. Roadtrek should learn a few too. There just is no excuse for all the trouble you had. They should get their engineering right. Then they should get their manufacturing right. And they should thoroughly test before they let it go out the door.

    Thanks much for sharing.

  11. Paul A. Jackson

    August 7, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    Hi CBW,

    WOW you are in line for Sainthood! Or at very least a working RV! I had followed your blog a while back and then lost the link, but just read it today from start to finish.

    I am partially familiar with a number of systems that you have covered, Volt-Start, Alde and to some degree Solar. I am a Millwright and an Industrial Electrician as well as an avid fan of the RV Life, albeit I do not own an RV as of yet.

    I have toured PleasureWay in Saskatoon SK, Leisure Travel Vans (Triple E) in Winkler MB and RoadTrek/Hymer in Kitchener ON. You hit the nail on the Head, fit and finish it is PW then LTV and unfortunately RoadTrek is in line with Winnebago/Thor when it comes to Fit and Finish, and sadly reliability. I will temper that with the fact that whenever you lead with new Tech and Gear, rushing to market is sometimes fraught with many pitfalls, and you my friend fell into the Mother Load!

    PW has Litium-Ion, Solar and MultiPlex wiring, but still does the Generator Boogie. We rented a PW Lexor TS on the Dodge Promaster frame and it was a dream other than these three items, the Sliding Door in the Rain (it let a lot of water in if the Awning was not up), the Wet Bath (which I refer to as an Upside Down Bidet will not say Never, but hope I can) and the Dinette being the Bed! So I noticed that in discussion with a couple of reply’s you mentioned Motorhome-ish…. Let me tell you the PW Plateau XLMB and XLTD are SWEET! Full Size SHOWER, Corian….wow.

    Anyway you have arrived at a place that most RV’s need to start out at. There is always a back and forth between Dealer/Manufacture that you as the owner get caught in the middle of. Manufacture pushes product out the door with a number of deficiencies that the Dealer should pick up on PDI! You are paying a fair bit of coin for PDI and I would not even darken the door of Dealer that gave me the stuff that your dealer gave you, they should not even be in business!!!! My first Camping trip would have been across the road from the Dealership with a BIG sign on my RV stating it was a Lemon, also forwarding some photo’s to RoadTrek! And would have posted it everywhere on Social Media, I guarantee you would have gotten Resolution to your issue a lot sooner ( but then you are a Saint! ). I have really appreciated the Following information given on Big Truck Big RV on RV’s in General. Some good listening! A lot to do with Pull type RV’s but as far as I am concerned when it comes to Living Quarters of MotorHome style RV’s this is all the same.

    1:) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GD8rYnKC2XY
    2:) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bkx4AgGX20
    3:) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-f2zORy_FLc

    Sorry I am soooooooooo Long Winded but I am going to propose that if you buy an RV of any type, be prepared to fix stuff, even with Warranty…. it is a big Game!

    paj

    • CBW

      August 12, 2017 at 9:45 pm

      Hi Paul. Thanks for reading our entire story, and for sharing the links. I watched all 3 videos and think it’s a great discussion about RV quality in general.

      We’ve only been able to tour the Roadtrek factory, but wish I could find the time to hit Pleasure Way and EEE. I really think that the Pleasure Way could work as a compromise if I had to part with the Roadtrek. I also like how much more space you get with the XLMB or XLTD without adding length. The Coachman Galleria is also a new player in town that copies the floor plans of the Roadtrek, but is way more conservative with the tech.

      There’s definitely some tough choices ahead for us. I’m heading to the Hershey RV show in September and will post a full report!

  12. You won’t like the price, but the most advanced Class B out there is from Advanced RV.

  13. Oh, wow, we bought a 2017 CS Adventurous with 7,500 miles on it last month. We are seniors, so praying we don’t have all of these issues!! Wish I had seen your blog last month

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