Quality-What Quality at Rosehill Supershow?

Submitted: Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 05:36
ThreadID: 33516 Views:2717 Replies:12 FollowUps:11
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Hi folks,

I was reading another thread here where someone wrote about painting over welding spatter, etc.

I went to the Supershow last week, and was amazed at what seems to be a lowering of build quality in general and what they are prepared to pass through their quality control processes. Maybe it's just that there are more manufacturers there this year? Or maybe they just have no pride in workmanship anymore?

Wandering around the caravan displays gave me the biggest shock. There were several brands that had apalling welding work on their chassis. Big gaps in welds, ill fitting joins etc. Some looked like they were put together by kids! And the gal paint or dip just goes over the top! I reckon whoever buys these products will run into big problems early in the peace. And some were touting the "off roadability" of their products...

The poor quality chassis work seemed to be the same across several manufacturers. Would some of these mobs have them manufactured at the same place?

I won't mention the brand names but, needless to say that we need to be sure to get under several of each manufacturers caravans or trailers to check the real quality of their handiwork.
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Reply By: Member - bushfix - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 07:15

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 07:15
too right John,

I was overwhelmed by the amount of vans there. Was not looking myself though they were very handy as a large playground for the kids as they played house hopping while Dad tried to relax with a coldie, just outside the door....
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Reply By: Derek from Affordable Batteries & Radiators - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 07:20

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 07:20
Hi John

You are very right, I had a custom built van made and it cost me $50 0000, it needed extensive repairs before I even used it.

The supplier 'The Biggest in Brisbane' could not fix it and even got very upset with me. They eventually gave me paint and money for subcontractors and and I fixed it my self.

I suggest to don't pay for the van until you have done a inspection top and bottom and especially inside the cupboards. Look for poor drains, wiring, leaking pipes and pumps, loose hinges and falling out screws !

I will post a few photo's

Regards Derek.
AnswerID: 170583

Reply By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 07:55

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 07:55
It is not just in the trailer industry, the general quality of welding in the steel industry in general, particularly in light fabrication is poor.
The boilermakers I work with shake thier heads just as you do.

At least a lot of these poor people don't call themselves boilermakers, just welders.

I would be surprised if some of these factory workers have any qualifications.

And this is with TIG and MIG which has made welding easier, even I find it not too hard to do a mediocre weld. I work in an office, so get ribbed by the boilermakers all the time to come and do some real work, and some of the work these professionals turn out is magic.
AnswerID: 170587

Follow Up By: Member - bushfix - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 08:25

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 08:25
hear hear mate,

my best man's Father (was close to him) was one of those breed, a skilled, experienced, magic boilermaker. He impressed me so much with his quiet skill and I recall his lamenting of the way the trade was heading. Saddest thing was though, Motor Neurone Disease got him and took him away from us all.
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Reply By: pmacks - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 08:25

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 08:25
Hi John,

The problem lies with the customer unfourtunatly, Why i hear you ask? because a decent welder/ boiler maker comands top dollar and most companies that churn out a single product be it a trailer or a tool box employ unskilled labour who have been shown how to do one job and that is it. Your 50K caravan would cost 75K if it was put together by skilled tradesman.
The answer is to check carefully what you are paying for and if it does not come up to your expectations dont pay for it untill it does. I also ask for copies of the workers qualifications, as is your right shonky suppliers will run a mile and a quality supplier will only be to happy to provide the documentation.
Sorry to ramble but it just annoys me to pay for a trades man but have the job completed by a monkey and if we keep on down this track there will be no trades man left.
OK i will get off my soap box now
AnswerID: 170591

Reply By: hl - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 08:49

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 08:49
Look at some of the chassis welds on GU Patrols....
AnswerID: 170594

Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 10:18

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 10:18
Or under a Triton... I have been quite shocked at the quality of what are most likely "machine welds" under my rig... Still, they don't seem to fail.
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Follow Up By: Patrol22 - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 13:29

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 13:29
bloody computers.....can't trust them can you. Most, if not all, welding on production vehicles is now done by computer controlled robot welders.
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Reply By: Member - uncle - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 09:44

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 09:44
We came across a couple of great looking camper trailers at the Batemans Bay show a while back.The canvas work and all the interior work on them looked superior,as usual, I got down on the old knees to look underneath and the drawbar was only "tacked' on in 4 places.
I reckon 50 to 100 k's of good corrugations and the drawbar would have left the box trailer behind! As this is what some of them only are,hence why we opted for a full chassis design ourselves.
AnswerID: 170599

Reply By: Footloose - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 09:47

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 09:47
So much for people who are quick to tell us that we get what we pay for !
AnswerID: 170601

Follow Up By: Gramps (NSW) - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 16:50

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 16:50
Cmon Footy. You know the more you pay, the better the product. What a load of crap.

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Follow Up By: Footloose - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 17:04

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 17:04
Gramps, the only difference is that with the exe stuff they ask "Do you want stickers to go with that?"
The last time I told em where to stick the stickers :)
My experience is that you rarely get good quality at cheap as chips prices, but you don't always get anything better for a higher price. What's the old expression about them seeing you coming ? They see me from a mile away and take out the wallet Xray machine :))
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Follow Up By: Gramps (NSW) - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 17:11

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 17:11

Yep, there is definitely a middle ground between the cheap/nasty and expensive crap. The trick is to find it :)))

They see me coming and start laughing. They know I can't afford it anyway (and that's just the hot dog sellers outside the shows hahahahaha ).

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Reply By: Alan H - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 11:20

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 11:20
When the cook and I went through the same exercise of checking vans out I too was shocked at the welding on all van chassis.
Having completed an engineering type apprenticeship with a company where quality mattered, I couldn't believe the rubbish we have to pay big dollars for now.
I suspect that just one major supplier turns out chassis’s for virtually all manufacturers of vans, and they pay the so called welders on a bonus if they complete more than a certain number, thereby ensuring maximum output and minimal quality.
We also saw several camper trailer makers and one in particular in Maddington WA, stood out as having superb welding.
It was just so good, no painted over splatter, no broken runs, no slag left to peel off and leave unprotected metal.
However, the van we bought (cooks decision!) held together for thousands of klms., but there was minimal rough road travel because it would have fallen apart if we'd tried to go on them.

We've now sold the van and looked at several camper trailers and as others have said the welding isn't much better on some of them.
One had oxy cutting which looked like a rat had been chewing the metal out!
It's not as if it's just the cheap models which are badly constructed, some of the more expensive don't look much better either.

Maybe the Chinese will be making them all in the future, but will the quality improve?
AnswerID: 170610

Reply By: banjodog - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 11:56

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 11:56
Weld quality, or lack of it, is also in the building industry. A relation of mine who’s a builder told me that the welder/boilermaker that comes onsite to do any welding for them will only tack weld the join, then use a silicone sealer to fill in the rest and then paint over the lot with cold gal paint.

From a distance, 3 to 4 metres away, to the untrained eye it apparently looks like a full weld. So where’s the quality control in the building industry? And for this standard of work the welder will charge $90/hr (min 8 hrs) plus travelling time (min 2hrs at $90/hr) plus materials plus GST – not a bad days income.

And because the welder/boilermaker is the son of the bosses’ mate gets away with that sort of work and can be justified as he's a certified tradesman. So how structurally sound is the house you live in all hidden behind sheeting?

AnswerID: 170619

Follow Up By: Geoff M (Newcastle, NSW) - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 16:39

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 16:39
Hi banjodog,

Just an aside to what your saying there,
I've got a couple of mates who are Boilermakers and very good ones too. The three of them all say an inch of tack will support a tonne if loaded correctly.

But as you state, if the jobs not done properly to start with....

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FollowupID: 426112

Reply By: Member - Sharyn M (VIC) - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 12:33

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 12:33
An important lesson, stay away from the "shonks", go with quality and your gut feeling. Word of mouth travels quickly and a great tradesman/business needs never to advertise. Yes, we have been in the metal industry for a long time and It never ceases to amaze us the poorly constructed, mass produced items on the market today. We bought a second hand camper trailer a couple of years ago and first thing we did was replace the draw bar then the axle which had been cut & rewelded, (wether by manufacturer or previous owner I don't know).At the end of the day we choose not to send out substandard work as it will come back and bite you and as a business we can not afford it. Name the brands so unsuspecting people don't fall into the trap of buying something they will curse when they go off road, or so at least then they can make an informed choice.
In reply to Banjodog comments, your relation needs to rid himself of that sub standard boilermaker before it comes back on him and it will. The boilermaker should be signing off on the job so that he is accountable. He gives legit tradespeople a bad name!

AnswerID: 170624

Follow Up By: banjodog - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 13:08

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 13:08
I agree with what you say - but as he's a subbie/trainee apprentice to the boss and the welder is the son of the bosses' mate he just stands their mouth open and can't believe what he sees. He only knows too well that it'll come back someday to bite.

FollowupID: 426060

Reply By: Member - John R (NSW) - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 13:06

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 13:06
Thanks very much for all the replies.

I thought that I was being over-critical, as my background is not in metal fabrication. I was just astonished how obvious some of the dodgy work was, and in many instances was very visible on those vans that show parts of the framework on the outside....

Somebody posted about getting what you pay for. I agree wholeheartedly. I don't want to pay peanuts and get a POS. I'm happy to pay a fair price for good quality. I guess that the manufacturers that put out the rubbish product believe that their standard of quality is what the market expects and will accept. Hmmmm.

I agree that the building industry is as bad - no, worse. We have just built a house and I regretted it from almost the day we signed the contract.. I won't go into that here as legal action is pending. :-(
AnswerID: 170626

Follow Up By: Shaker - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 16:14

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 16:14
You are certainly not being over critical. The post that you read may have been mine, the general construction of my brand new top of the range Tru Blu (*Melbourne) camper trailer was so bad that I couldn't stand the embarassment of owning it, yet alone use it. To cut a long story short, after giving them the benefit of the doubt, & allowing them several chances to rectify it, we ended up in VCAT & they took the trailer back, at loss to me of around $1500.00. It wasn't only the build quality that was the issue, it was general legal issues in regard to suspension, brakes etc.
I have no qualms about posting their name, because all of my problems can be substantiated by fact, & if you look hard there is another post archived here from another Tru Blu (*Melbourne) owner who also sold his brand new & unused for the same reasons.
* (I mention the manufacturers location along with their name so as not to confuse them with True Blue Campers in Queensland.)
FollowupID: 426104

Reply By: Member - Bradley- Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 15:26

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 15:26
yes easy profits and demand for high margin & growth have a lot to answer for,

i see the constant ads for staff in the caravan industries near my home and most of them are for unskilled / unqualified people with "experience". i can only guess its like the automotive dealers only worse...

I believe some mobs are already importing pre-fab trailer chassis from china, and no doubt are not paying for a quality job.

But its not just these industries, nearly all of the major areas are affected by the "unskilling" of workers and the loss of real skills in australia, its very sad if you ask me.

But dont worry John the aviation game isnt left out ( looking at your pic) its also ruined now by unskilling and use of untrained / unqualified staff. I'm looking to get out of the industry as are a lot of my mates as we are being pushed out from doing a proper and decent quality job. we have a great saying "for $50 a ticket, sometimes you just ain't going to make it".

cheers Brad.
AnswerID: 170653

Follow Up By: Member - John R (NSW) - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 16:23

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 16:23
Brad, I know EXACTLY where you're coming from. It is really worrying to see what levels our so called national Icon will stoop to make a buck. It makes me sick, actually, as no employer I know of treats their staff like lepers.

However, the general public don't really know, do they? Well some four wheel drivers do now.

You wrote that lots of LAMES are getting out. There are HEAPS of pilots looking at bailing from the nation's icon as well. They'll be off to Emirates, Cathay, Dragonair etc.

None will go Jetstar. Most won't fly on them either.....Go figure..
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Follow Up By: Member - John R (NSW) - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 16:48

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 16:48
That should have read " I know of NO OTHER employer that treats its staff like lepers"

You get my drift?
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