R Pod

Good thing I'm a Mr. fixit type, hahaha. I'd honestly prefer to build it myself, but my wife wants something complete, rather than waiting forever for me to complete a project.
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
Lol the only happy RV types are or become very handy Mr fix it types. I predict the RV business will collapse to near zero once those over 40yrs old right now age out of the RV life. The age group under 40 can hardly handle calling a tow truck for a flat tire let alone deal with trying to get some goofy RV part fixed or working.
Millennial stereotyping? :rolleyes:

I think you've got it backwards. Millennials aren't avoiding RV's. They are buying them:

RV Sales Boom Is Fueled By Millennials As They Overturn Stereotypes And Enjoy The Itinerant Life

 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
WRT the R-Pod, I think that as with so many things in life, the key to happiness in the RV life is managing your expectations. That means taking all the sales-brochure talk with a hefty grain of salt.

They may have rugged, macho sounding names like "Hood River Edition" or "No Boundaries" and big meaty "off road" tires but the reality is you are still pulling a 3000+ pound aluminum-framed house across the dirt, which means anything more rugged than a mild Forest Service or BLM road is likely to cause damage. Not just to the structure itself - think of the cabinets, rocking back and forth and causing nails to pull out and glued seams to separate - but the appliances, none of which are really designed for rugged, hard use. And despite what the manufacturers say, the appliances (as well as the hardware, cabinets, etc) are all pretty much made by the same few companies in the Midwest and none are designed for truly "off road" use.

We camp probably 14 - 16 times a year in our R-Pod. Everything from well-developed state parks with hookups to boondocking in National Forest or private land (by arrangements made with the owners.) I would not, in any way, call what we do "overlanding" but it's our way to get outside, enjoy the beautiful West and hang out with our friends (we run a camping group in Colorado.)

Sometimes I even get to do some off-roading or 4 wheeling, but that is always AFTER we drop the trailer and set up camp. I'm not averse to leaving pavement, but I would NEVER drag our trailer onto a badly rutted trail. The R-Pod (and for that matter, ANY travel trailer big enough to stand up in) is simply the wrong tool for that job. Those that want truly "off road capable" camping will have to rely on other solutions, big travel trailers like the R-Pod are really not suited for that kind of travel.
 

dreadlocks

Well-known member
Lol the only happy RV types are or become very handy Mr fix it types. I predict the RV business will collapse to near zero once those over 40yrs old right now age out of the RV life. The age group under 40 can hardly handle calling a tow truck for a flat tire let alone deal with trying to get some goofy RV part fixed or working.
Nonsense, first of all I'm an under 40.. secondly I hadda drive 20 miles down a rutted out muddy unmaintained forest road this weekend before I started finding available dispersed sites.. of the hundreds of people camping that I passed, most of em were younger than me.. I saw a bunch of RTT's, lots of truck campers and even a couple clearly homemade campers... Vast majority of the grey haired old farts I saw this weekend were at the Lutheran camp we drove through.

The older farts are not handy Mr Fixit types in my limited experience, they are the ones whom have a friend go to Alaska, so they buy a giant 6 figure diesel pusher, drive it to Alaska once then park it behind the house to rot away for the next 20 years.. they dont care about build quality, as long as it works that one time they use it so they can brag to their friends on the golf course about their once in a lifetime trip.. I'd wager 90% of the hardly used campers in people's yards are owned by boomers just 'keeping up w/the joneses'
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
Final note on the R-Pod: The biggest benefit for us is that it allows us to camp nearly year 'round in reasonable comfort.

I'm 6'1" and I can stand up in the R-pod (where I could not in our T@B Clamshell) and I can sleep comfortably (though just barely) on the "short queen" bed. The large kitchen (ours is a 179 with the rear kitchen) and flush-mount sink and stove (both the stove and sink are recessed so when we aren't using them, the space where they are can be used as counter space) are great features that many other trailers don't have.

The bathroom is tiny, but for use in the middle of the night it's perfectly adequate (personally I like to go outside and let my Freak Flag Fly but the Mrs doesn't care to do so and I can't blame her for that ;) )

The large tanks and 3 way fridge are great to have and mean we can be fully self sufficient for days. Even better, a 100w solar panel and 2 x 6v golf cart batteries gives us plenty of reserve electrical power when we need it. 2 LP tanks on the tongue also give us extended range.

If I had to complain about anything other than the generally slipshod construction (which is endemic in the RV industry) I would say that the only real "issue" is that ventilation in hot weather when not hooked to electric power is not that good. It gets very hot inside if we aren't hooked to shore power with the ability to run the AC. However, given that (a) we are normally outside if the weather is warm, (b) if we are boondocking we are likely at higher altitudes where hot weather really isn't an issue (if anything, we have to have the ability to run the furnace - even if we are camping in mid Summer!) this has not been a major problem for us. If we are camping anywhere that too much heat would be a factor, we likely have electric hookups and can run the AC which is very efficient at cooling down the inside of the trailer (at the cost of noise - it's like a 747 is landing on the roof!)
 

krick3tt

Adventurer
Don't discount us grey haired folks. Many of us live with the crap that is sold now as adventure quality gear that is so poorly constructed that it needs constant repair and we can do it. I prefer to camp without all this RV gear and do just fine. If I were to travel cross country and wanted to be comfortable I would have one but for my local CO trips my tent is just fine.
 

jus passin thru

Adventurer
If you had driven out 21 miles you might have found me complete with an Intech trailer and a white beard. Your post shows how little you know. Most of the under 40 crowd would love to have a big RV if they weren’t busy raising their families. Go to the san dunes and look at the toy haulers filled with toys and check out who owns them. Just because you hang with people that can only afford a Jeep, tent and two cases of beer doesn’t mean all under40’s are there. When I had air cooled buggies I could rebuild them now I’m lucky to find the dip stick. I live in a senior community and I’m sure impressed by the cars in the street rod club, the custom Harley’s and well built Jeeps being driven around here by old farts. Try to get out more . Expand your horizons so you won’t sound so foolish. M
 

XCvagn

New member
Does anyone have any experience with a forest river R Pod. The layout works for us with bunk beds and indoor toilet. Looking to use on Forest Roads no heavy off road

Thanks
We've had our R-Pod 172 (bunks in the front and sub-queen/dinette in the rear) for 3yrs. We bought it used and have enjoyed it a lot (about 70-90 days/yr) with the majority of camp time spent during ski season. MTB and CX season second and just fun camping off grid the rest of the time. As others have stated, the build quality is low although interior fit and finish is fine. The interior has held up very well. What's poor is the overall structure including skimping on side panels which are cut short and the L trim molding where the walls join the floor and roof struggle to keep the edges sealed. Ours (2013) also suffered from the dreaded wall separation (issue that seems to still be common on 2018 and 2019 models) from the floor along the front of the trailer. Essentially it's held together with short 1 1/4" sheet metal screws that go through the floor into the wall frame. Forest River's recommended fix was more screws. In the end the right repair was using angle irons to reinforce the structure bolting the walls to the irons welded to the frame. Our fix was permanent and has dramatically reinforced ours to the extent I couldn't see replacing it now to only go through something similar again with just about any other US made mainstream trailer (I've seen friend's trailers cost 2x as much have the same wall/trim/floor separation issue).

The new quality/design issue that's now evident since we have put quite a few miles on ours is sever uneven tire wear. From reading up on it, sure signs of a bad axle, either poor quality/design, or failure from use (we have put 11k miles on ours and it's likely it may have had about 3-5k prior to our buying it having bought it from the prior owner). Given the frame design and how the torsion axle is mounted, the axle ends and more importantly the tires are a good 16+" from where the mount points of the axle are onto the frame. This puts quite a lot of stress on the axle ends and since they use 3500lbs rated axles (trailer empty is about 3100) it's very likely their design limit was exceeded. I guess it wasn't designed to be driven - which was the service manager's surprise reaction when he learned we actually towed and used ours (it seemed like it was unusual we were towing ours, I thought that's what it was for!).

Anyway to fix the axle problem will most likely require replacing the stock axle (they're not serviceable). I'm thinking of going the Timbren axle less route but it would require quite a bit of fabrication because the tires are so far from the frame mount points.

Other than those structural design issues, the living space is good. We have solar and enjoy it for off-grid. The prior owner had also had custom fabricated a bike mount over the tongue that allows the bolting of a Thule T2 extension for two bikes, the spare also goes over the tongue, and in the rear he had replaced the small 1.25" hitch with a 2" hitch to allow for us to carry another 4 bikes. Another change I would like to make to it is enclose the underbelly to help make it more winter worthy. Our water usually freezes after 2+ days of sub 20F weather while skiing. If in the high 20s or low 30s our H20 stays liquid for even extended ski trips of 5+ days. It is starting to be a little on the cramped side for us (we're 5 and our oldest is a teenager now). Then again we did start with a T@B to get into the world of RV travel trailers, originally for a summer long trip to AK, YK and NT. If we were to replace the R-Pod I'd definitely want to go with a more rugged off-roader but I'd want to keep it under 5,000lbs. Bruder would be awesome but cost and weight are issues. Black Series seems like it would be starting over again with iffy quality and having to start over again sorting it out. I can definitely relate to an earlier comment about "only happy RVers are or become handy Mr. Fix its). It's definitely part of the ownership experience and can be a fun part as long as it doesn't become a catastrophic issue which the wall separation problem could have been and at one point I was close to chucking the whole thing until I was able to get it permanently resolved.
 
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Todd n Natalie

Observer
I can definitely relate to an earlier comment about "only happy RVers are or become handy Mr. Fix its). It's definitely part of the ownership experience and can be a fun part as long as it doesn't become a catastrophic issue which the wall separation problem could have been and at one point I was close to chucking the whole thing until I was able to get it permanently resolved.
I agree here too. Just had to do some work to our trailer. Not a big deal. Was only $40 in parts.
 

XCvagn

New member
Right, the only way to accept the poor craftsmanship, shortsighted design, and just overall weaknesses of a trailer (even on lofty Airstreams) is to be willing to accept that repairs are par for the course, especially when brand new. Over time you either make more rugged, thoughtful adjustments/repairs that harden it or you perpetually fix the same flaws over and over again - I've learned this quickly and try to go the longer term more permanent solution route. Which is why I've committed to sticking it out with RPod in spite of it's short comings as they've been addressed between the prior owner's thoughtful upgrades and fixes, and those I've put into it. Plus the really cool part is ours had the AC removed by previous owner and had been replaced with a large solar panel on the roof which dramatically lowered the COG, overall height/clearance, and stress factor/load on the roof which in a way hardened our Pod's structure.

For example, the fix to permanently address the cheap manufacturing techniques used to hold the walls in place.

This is what the separation looks like that most experience with their RPods and other travel trailers in general if they actually use them/tow them to go camping, on or off-road. On the other side the separation was the same and was essentially the forces of travel lifting the front of the trailer back.

The fix - I got seriously lucky with the dealer letting it be a good will repair (Forest River only offered 2hrs worth of labor and to pay for twice as many #8 1.5" screws - seriously, they splurged and upgraded from #8 1.25" screws used in the original manufacture).

My next big one I expect will be replacing the axle due to excessive and uneven tire wear. Again poor design and cheap parts (they seriously used an axle rated for 3000lbs not only below the GVWR which they spec the RPod for) and then have mount/support points too far inboard vs. what the axle was designed to support.
 

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XCvagn

New member
The upside is over time I'm essentially investing in hardening and increasing our ability to further enjoy the Pod :). Like here going up a narrow overgrown mountain forest trail to a secluded pass with great view. On another trip we traversed central Vancouver Island over a forest road with some amazing sights and sites! Like our Volvos, our Pod has gotten more adventure use than most dream of getting. Perhaps this can become a thread for other adventurous overlanders willing to admit using a Pod as their mobile outpost 😂 to share experiences, tips & tricks, and upgrades.
 

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Grassland

Well-known member
I'd accept the quality of an R-Pod if it's actual sale price was about 12K
Not the 25k my dealer was asking and that's two years ago now.
They wouldn't budge on price even on a 100% cash sale, because they know somebody will come in and buy the heap on payments over 10+ years and they will make a fortune.
Used ones hold value around here as they can be towed with mid size vehicles or the mini van driver who doesn't know what they are doing and get away with it because we don't have any hills.

The R-Pod and the Winnebago clone had a layout or two we were big fans of and Winnie dropped the one we liked the most.

We're settled on either an Escape 17A or Escape 19 fiberglass trailer now.
 
I really like the layout of the rockwood geo-pro 19bh, which is similarly sized to the rpod. I wish that rpod would make a model with a similar layout. My biggest concern with all of these trailers is the maxed out axles and the ccc of 500 lbs, so the mini vans can tow it (dangerously but legally) . Throw a couple sweaters and a cast iron pan in the camper and you end up with bent axles like Xcvagn is experiencing.
 

XCvagn

New member
My biggest concern with all of these trailers is the maxed out axles and the ccc of 500 lbs, so the mini vans can tow it (dangerously but legally) . Throw a couple sweaters and a cast iron pan in the camper and you end up with bent axles like Xcvagn is experiencing.
Right!

I was amazed yesterday when I got under our Pod to check what axle it actually has for my posts here. I guess I was naive and thought it would be on a 3500# axle and instead it was built with a Lippert 3000# axle to support it. That’s just outrageous they would sell a trailer with a GVWR close to 3500# and then willfully under design it. The passenger side wheel has the most excessive uneven wear and it’s visibly got negative camber. With the feathering most dramatic on the inside of the same tire I’d bet it has some toe out as well.

I may report this to the NHSTA. I had threatened to do the same for the wall separation issue especially after learning how they use tiny screws to hold them to floor. That it’s so prevalent an issue across the industry was really surprising they get away with it from a safety perspective alone. It ultimately got me some good will from Forest River - although laughable given how lame their solution was. They didn’t pay attention until I went on their FB page and started making comments about the “flaw”. I was surprised I got anything given I was the second owner and it was a few years out of their warranty. I hear even in warranty they avoid responsibility for most things. Researching the axle issue the last few days I learned that others that experience a bad or failed axle within their 1yr warranty are also left in the cold!
 
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Grassland

Well-known member
I'd bet money they just say the trailer was loaded past GVWR and thus axle isn't warrantied.
That isn't a surprise, but is some serious bullshit they are using a 3k axle and not 3500lbs. Even at 3500lbs for the axle, that leaves near nothing for margin when the trailer is a few hundred from its max rating when dry.
 
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