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How many of us are active participants on our respective owners forums? If you aren't, why not? This isn't a survey, but rather (I hope) a thought provoker.

Before we bought our Foretravel I joined several brand-specific owners forums as we did our research. In fact, not having an active owners forum was the fastest way to get a brand deleted from our list. As some of those brands dropped off of our list I stopped participating on them. I suppose I'm still officially part of those groups, but maybe not. We've pretty much decided what brand we will get if/when we decide to go away from Foretravel, and I'm somewhat active on that forum.

When I have a question about something on our Foretravel, I ask foreforums.com first. I frequently see questions like "I have a 2008 XYZ Superduper and I want to know where to get a left-hand widget for it." To me, that's a question that should be asked of the owners forum, not one for a general RV forum.

Again, I'm not trying to criticize anyone or shut off any discussion, but rather I'm hoping to encourage everyone to join the owners forum for your brand. What if there isn't one? Why not start one? Many groups that today have hundreds of members started out with a few people who each set up an email list with everyone's edress on it. As new people wanted to join they were added to the list. Eventually someone took over the job of getting a proper discussion list set up and they went on from there. Just do a search for your brand. For example, I just searched for "Foretravel owners forum" and the first hit was foreforums.com. Try it with your brand.

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4 minutes ago, kb0zke said:

How many of us are active participants on our respective owners forums? If you aren't, why not?

I don't belong to any owner's forums and never have. Why? Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. In the days before we went fulltime I was active on 5 different RV forums and read 3 more on a frequent basis. I did look at some of the factory-sponsored forums and wasn't impressed. That was 20 years ago so they may be different today. I could never see any reason to limit my questions about things found in nearly all RVs to only those with the same brand RV as mine. In terms of research to select an RV, I prefer to hear from those who have chosen other brands to see why they didn't choose some RVs that I might consider. Nothing wrong with the owner's forums, as long as that isn't your only information source or recommendation. Currently, the only RV forum that I am a frequent contributor to is this one and there are 2 others that I occasionally visit and post in, neither of them owner forums.

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I think that some folks are "flockers" and some are not. We are not. Our first fifth-wheel was a Sunnybrook Mobile Scout and we received a free one-year membership to the local chapter of their owners group. We looked into their activities and found nothing that interested us. The only thing that we had in common was that we owned the same brand trailer. Same with their brand forum. 

We now have a Hitchhiker fifth-wheel and were active on their forums for a short period of time. But much of the discussion was social and "what do you think of your Discover America XXX"" and that didn't interest me. 

The Escapees forum is more general and covers a lot of topics that interest me enough to read and occasionally comment. As Kirk says, different strokes for different folks...

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2 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

I don't belong to any owner's forums and never have. Why? Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. In the days before we went fulltime I was active on 5 different RV forums and read 3 more on a frequent basis. I did look at some of the factory-sponsored forums and wasn't impressed. That was 20 years ago so they may be different today. I could never see any reason to limit my questions about things found in nearly all RVs to only those with the same brand RV as mine. In terms of research to select an RV, I prefer to hear from those who have chosen other brands to see why they didn't choose some RVs that I might consider. Nothing wrong with the owner's forums, as long as that isn't your only information source or recommendation. Currently, the only RV forum that I am a frequent contributor to is this one and there are 2 others that I occasionally visit and post in, neither of them owner forums.

Kirk,

As someone who owns an orphan coach I can tell you that the Alpine Owners Forum has been invaluable for us.  Maybe because there are so many things that are different on Alpine coaches versus regular DPs, but that is always my go to place for help from the right filter to where the fuses are for the Smart Wheel to what repair providers around the country are familiar with Alpines, to who made the original headlights, what are the paint numbers for a 2002 coach, etc.    For example, would it do me any good to ask about the wiring harness for an Alpine on this forum - likely not.  But ask on the Alpine forum and you will get a link to the  website where there is wiring diagrams for numerous different year models.  

Barb

 

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3 hours ago, kb0zke said:

...How many of us are active participants on our respective owners forums? If you aren't, why not?...

I have been a participant in the owner's forum of our past two RVs. They are not all sponsored by the manufacturer, There are relatively few travel trailer owners on this forum. I am not aware of anyone on this forum that owns either of the brands I have let alone the same models. As has already been mentioned, there can be model specific issues that non-owners could do nothing but speculate about.

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I was active on the Winnebago View/Navion group when we had our View. I've also participated in some women's groups forums. But this is the best one and the only one I still participate in. But the View group did provide a lot of ideas/answers specific to that brand.

Linda Sand

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We belong to our brand owners forum It is  a valuable asset for owners of that particular brand. The discussion is brand specific and there are differences between brands.This forum is a valuable asset to those who are full timers or considering full time lifestyle. We direct those who are interested in full timing to this forum. Our brand owners forum is not sponsored by the manufacturer although we see nothing wrong with that.

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8 hours ago, Barbaraok said:

As someone who owns an orphan coach I can tell you that the Alpine Owners Forum has been invaluable for us.

It crossed my mind that owning an orphan RV would make the brand forum more valuable but I suspect that not all of those are as effective as the one that you belong to. From following the more generic RV forums I have noticed that some brand forums get far more praises than others and I suspect that is partly related to whoever set up the forum and manages it. I could probably name 2 or 3 that are best rated and if I did, Alpine would be one of them, but I'll not open that box of worms as would be sure to start a firestorm. I have not owned an orphan motorhome and the orphan travel trailers that I have owned did not have strong brand forums. I suspect that solid factory support for a brand lowers the need for forums for the non-orphan RV and strong owner group support of a brand forum would increase its value.

We all tend to pattern based on our own experiences, and my past experience with brand specific forums has not been particularly useful. It is good that they exist for those who are interested or who receive value from them. 

Edited by Kirk Wood

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Just as an assortment of navigational aids can be more helpful than one source, forums of different natures can be as well. The maker of my TT has nine models to choose from so there's a one in nine chance that posts will be very vehicle specific regarding issues & modifications, even if the forum has a relatively small number of participants as this forum does. Each of the quite different RV forums that I participate in add value with information & entertainment along with some thought provoking ideas. Happy Trails Folks!

Edited by rm.w/aview

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I belong to, and am active on, four forums: 1) Escapees, 2) Good Sam's, 3) RV-Dreams.com, and 4) the Grand Design Owners Forum. I find the Escapees and Grand Design forms to be the most useful. Many issues/questions regarding RVs and the RV lifestyle are pretty generic (utilities and appliances, for example). Other situations can be more brand specific - especially when it comes to dealing with a particular company's customer service and warranty departments.

Although the GD owners forum is not associated with or run by GD (it's owned and operated by a private citizen who happens to be a GD owner), GD has a customer service representative who monitors and participates in a couple of the sub-forums on the site. In addition, there is a great group of people who are members on the site - some with lots of experience in RVing or related fields such as automotive engineering, big rig maintenance and repair, etc. There are even a couple of RVIA certified technicians who are members and willing to help out the less experienced with good advice. The main thing, though, that separates the GD forum from the rest is the community atmosphere. Often - especially on the Good Sam's forum - things will get downright nasty, including name-calling and personal attacks. The members on the GD forum pride themselves in maintaining a positive atmosphere where people feel safe asking any question they might have. 

This said, several of us on the GD forum still refer folks to the Escapees and RV-Dreams forums and web sites - especially when people are asking questions about full-timing and related topics. I've lost track of the number of times I've pasted the link to the Escapees FAQ thread on Texas Class A Exempt licenses into a thread on the GD forums. 

Rob

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In our research to find our first RV (a fiver), we found a brand specific forum that was extremely helpful not only for that brand but for RVing in general.  The experienced old timers on that forum served as my professors and I still visit the site now even though I own an entirely different make/model/style of RV.   I currently visit a brand specific forum and find it very helpful.

IMHO different RV forums are good for different purposes.  Brand specific helps me with repair and maintenance issues.  Forums like this one, or FMCA I visit more for travel ideas and other general RV issues.  

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I was a member of the New Horizons, Excel, and Lazy Daze owner's forums when we had those brands.  When we bought our Winnebago Class C, I joined the owner's forum over on the IRV2 forums.  But I found that 99% of the discussion was about the Class A's, so I stopped reading it.

Edited by LindaH

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7 hours ago, LindaH said:

When we bought our Winnebago Class C, I joined the owner's forum over on the IRV2 forums.  But I found that 99% of the discussion was about the Class A's, so I stopped reading it.

The View-Navion Group is a Yahoo group. Have you checked there?

Linda Sand

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For us the owners forum has been invaluable!! It is an extremely active forum and extremely helpful on just about every problem anybody has put forth.

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16 hours ago, sandsys said:

The View-Navion Group is a Yahoo group. Have you checked there?

No, because we don't have either of those.

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4 hours ago, LindaH said:

No, because we don't have either of those.

There are Yahoo groups for other styles of Winnebagos, too.

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This thread caused me to look at the owners forum for my brand.  Used to be a relatively useless Yahoo group, but is now a group sponsored by Forrest River.  Visited the site when it was new, and usless.  Now very active with good info.  Thanks for the prompt

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9 hours ago, fly2low said:

This thread caused me to look at the owners forum for my brand.  Used to be a relatively useless Yahoo group, but is now a group sponsored by Forrest River.  Visited the site when it was new, and usless.  Now very active with good info.  Thanks for the prompt

Yes the Dynamax section on the Forest River Forums has become quite active and even have a employee that is high up the food chain in that division that helps a lot of owners. They even just had a Dynamax Rally at Anchor Down RV Resort in Tn. with a very good showing of rigs that attended. 

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