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Old 05-05-2016, 12:23 AM   #1
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Default FitRV Winnebago Class B Factory Tour

FitRV posted this informative video.

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Notice any differences in what you see here from what you'd see at the Roadtrek factory?
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Old 05-05-2016, 01:53 AM   #2
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This is actually a pretty darn good video. Winnebago may not be the BEST there is out there for state of the art techniques, but I was mildly impressed with some of the things they are doing (like labeling wires).

Through the whole video I was thinking that this was probably what Hymar was hoping for when they let Mike video the Roadtrek facility. Nothing against Mike or Roadtrek but I was underwhelmed... made me think Roadtrek production is sloppy (not saying it actually IS, just that's what I took away from the video). This video by James and Steph actually made me reconsider Winnebago. Especially when you consider that they translate economies of scale into cost savings for the customer.

Gotta love the FitRV!
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Old 05-05-2016, 04:02 AM   #3
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This is actually a pretty darn good video. Winnebago may not be the BEST there is out there for state of the art techniques, but I was mildly impressed with some of the things they are doing (like labeling wires).......

Gotta love the FitRV!
Agree it's a good video. Certainly Roadtrek also labels its wires and probably also uses sonic welding to combine wires. I know Airstream does both.
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Old 05-05-2016, 06:15 AM   #4
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Notice any differences in what you see here from what you'd see at the Roadtrek factory?
And here's the Leisure Travel Vans production facility.
Leisure Travel Vans - Unity Video Owner's Manuals

What I noticed about both the Winnebago and the LTV factories was the shelving racks and storage facilities for their parts and tools. Roadtrek seemed to use the floor as a combination storage rack and trash can.
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Old 05-05-2016, 10:32 AM   #5
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Agree it's a good video. Certainly Roadtrek also labels its wires and probably also uses sonic welding to combine wires. I know Airstream does both.
Probably all true... the point I was trying to make is that the FitRV video did a nice job of showcasing those things. Not everyone has the time to travel to Iowa or Ontario or Ohio, etc for factory tours and this video provided some of the info you wouldn't get otherwise.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:41 AM   #6
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The Winnebago plant appears to be a modern well designed facility for high volume motorhome production and looks similar to what you would see for many other brands. Quality processes in the production area are known to be very good with pretty consistent build quality the result. One thing that does differentiate Winnebago is the high level of vertical integration, for example, they design and build their own high quality furniture in addition to cabinetry which is unusual in larger RVs where furniture usually comes from outside suppliers. Many advantages to being a high volume producer...

It would be interesting to see a similar video of a Hymer van plant in Europe. I would expect the new facility in Kitchener to be designed based on the processes used at Hymer plants...
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:57 AM   #7
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Not to put a dampener on this Winnebago c.j., but despite their nice facility, they do some shoddy work and I'm entitled to say that as I own one. For instance, out of 6 drawers, 2 had their latches installed opposite the other 4 and there were 3 different kinds of screws holding the glides in place only 1 of which had the correct head for the job. None were tight.

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Old 05-05-2016, 01:02 PM   #8
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Not to put a dampener on this Winnebago c.j., but despite their nice facility, they do some shoddy work and I'm entitled to say that as I own one. For instance, out of 6 drawers, 2 had their latches installed opposite the other 4 and there were 3 different kinds of screws holding the glides in place only 1 of which had the correct head for the job. None were tight.

Eric
You will have to translate "c.j." for old codgers like me but I get the impression it is not a term of praise...

In any case, it would appear that you got one that did not get the quality build that is touted as a differentiator between Winnebago and the unwashed other brand coming out of lower Ontario. I do agree that you would have been more likely to get a lower quality build from Roadtrek in recent years than from Winnebago but maybe Winnie is not quite as perfect as it is claimed to be...
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Old 05-05-2016, 01:42 PM   #9
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Can't speak to Eric's issues, as I haven't had any. That said, there are lots of improvements that I think could be made in materials. If you look at the furniture modules in the video, it's apparent that alot of it is built to keep the weights down. That doesn't excuse using the wrong screws or not bolting things down properly, that's probably a function of worker training and the speed on the assembly "line". Often I think screw guns are more trouble than they are worth and create a lot of headaches. I've backed out and re-seated plenty of screws in my van. I have plans to change some of them just for aesthetic reasons.

What impressed me with the WGO plant in the video was the orderliness of the floor. Bringing out the parts in work packages, just when needed is a good technique. As is removing the trash as it's created. I was also impressed with the stairways used so the interior work could still go on while they are working below - that must be a time-saver.
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Old 05-05-2016, 01:50 PM   #10
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Agree it's a good video. Certainly Roadtrek also labels its wires and probably also uses sonic welding to combine wires. I know Airstream does both.
I don't think anybody goes to the depths WGO does on part numbering. Everything in their RV's (including the trailers) is numbered so you can go easily to their catalog and get replacements - even for very old units.

Another impressive thing they do is have detailed drawings available online. Structural, electrical, plumbing, it's all there. Who else does that?

Wire labeling should be a minimum standard for everybody. It just makes life so much better for everybody down the road.
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