Brian Beker
With thanks to the owner of this site for permission to post this here.

I've had a lot of trouble with my 177 SE. After the fresh water tank collapsed and the factory refused to authorize a repair, I hoped nothing more serious would go wrong. But it did. The floor rotted. The camper was only a few months old.

The rotting was caused by installation errors. Getting the factory to live up to the necessary rebuild was difficult, including being stranded in a dealer's parking lot for nine days in sub-freezing temperatures while phone calls and emails were ignored. Getting the factory to repair the camper was a nightmare.

There is no repair for a rotted floor short of a total rebuild.

After the work, the camper began to leak again within a week. Later, it would leak more, as a result of further build errors. A second rebuild was the only solution. This time, the factory hinted that they would sue me rather than fulfill the warranty. That was a new one. I'd never even heard of a customer being sued by someone they bought something from. But, finally, they rebuilt it for a second time.

By now, I had driven 4000 miles to and from the factory. And the first time it drove on wet roads, I opened the door to find a flood.

The book I've written about this odyssey is about the faulty material that virtually guarantees that any Riverside RV floor that endures water exposure will rot (it's OSB, for those of you who don't want to buy the book, and though lots of RV manufacturers use it, it's the worst material possible for the application), about the difficulties I encountered in the warranty process, what I learned during three factory visits, how Riverside uses being Amish for their convenience (it's the reason given for not returning calls and emails. The problem is that they do use the phone and email). 

The value of my camper has been reduced to zero. This book is about how it got there, what you can do to prevent yours from being ruined and the things I learned. Most owners don't find out about rotted floors until it's too late, because the rot sets in out of sight under the linoleum. This book explains not only what to look for, but what to suspect as a possible cause of rotting that you can't see. Both of my rotting events would have been undetectable at the time they were discovered. I assumed the damage was there — and it was. All owners of Riverside RVs should be equipped with that knowledge. So should anyone considering an RV made by any manufacturer who installs OSB flooring.

By the way, the owner of Riverside and the factory manager were given several opportunities to review the book in advance to offer corrections or comments. They had none. 

The book is titled Brand-new Campers with Built-in Cancer, and it's available as an ebook on Amazon at this link. It'll be available in paperback soon.
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Brandon Sailor
Just read the book. Couldn’t find the FB group, is it searchable?

 I was interested in it because we bought a used 2017 181b last year. I’ve been aware of the floor rot problem and have been fairly vigilant in inspecting and caulking areas where lines and wires pass through the floor, as well as seams. Unfortunately there are some areas that aren’t accessible. I’ve been trying to think of ways to mitigate this potential problem, but as some areas of the floor are inaccessible, something like removing the bottom moisture barrier and two part epoxying may not work, then it would be impossible to replace. I am going to go through it one more time though and any areas I can access where something passes through the floor will get sealed and or treated with penetrating epoxy. At least with boats that have wood sandwiched between two fiberglass layers you can undercut the wood and fill it with epoxy, that wouldn't work in this case. I also run a continuous dehumidifier inside while in storage. I agree with you, upon first glance the fit and finish looks pretty good. The first thing I noticed that caught my attention was that the screws used to secure the dinette were about ¼ inch to long and went through the black moisture barrier on the undercarriage. Seemed like a careless install. Sure hope we can get a good several years out of it. After reading through this, if I can I won't be buying another RV without composite flooring. Coming from mainly a boating background it seems ludicrous that they wouldn't at least be using a high grade plywood. They can't use weight as a benefit of OSB anymore as there are some honeycomb composites that are stiffer and lighter that ply that will never rot. A small utilization like a travel trailer floor would hardly be that much more expensive. SMH
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Roccosamore
First I will say I have followed your rants for some time now. Sounds like a real nightmare.

I will also say we own a 2015 177se. We are thankful that we have had zero issues with anything!
Not sure why you have been cursed. I feel the unit is well built, however I am not buying the
"Amish craftsmanship". 

I have read all your posts so no need to buy your book.
Rocco
2015 177 SE
1990 Chevy Suburban 5.7L
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Brandon Sailor
You would need more structures in the frame to hold these smaller sheets but something like this would be both less flexible, stronger, lighter and impervious to rot. 

https://www.merrittsupply.com/product/nida-core-structural-honeycomb-plain-h8pp/
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Brian Beker
Brandon Sailor wrote:
You would need more structures in the frame to hold these smaller sheets but something like this would be both less flexible, stronger, lighter and impervious to rot. 

https://www.merrittsupply.com/product/nida-core-structural-honeycomb-plain-h8pp/


Hi, Brandon:

In the book I describe in detail the discussions with the factory on the question of the floor, and the problem of having to modify the trailer frame is what they were not willing to do. The OSB is available in the right size for the frame, so that's all they'll use. It is the worst material possible for the application. 

And here's the facebook link. I just started it, so there's nothing going on there yet.
Thanks,
Brian

https://www.facebook.com/RiversideRVCampersWithCancer/?ref=search
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Brian Beker
Brandon Sailor wrote:
Just read the book. Couldn’t find the FB group, is it searchable?
I’ve been trying to think of ways to mitigate this potential problem, but as some areas of the floor are inaccessible, something like removing the bottom moisture barrier and two part epoxying may not work, then it would be impossible to replace.


Therein lies the rub. There's no way short of taking the thing apart to accomplish the task. What you mention about the sloppy installation is, as I wrote in the book,  because the assembly line runs at breakneck speed with poor lighting. The workers are in a frenzied rush. Screws through the barrier, and holes drilled in it by accident, are common. And once that happens, there's a point for water to get into the OSB. One little screw hole in the wrong place can ruin a camper that would otherwise withstand it.
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Brandon Sailor
You know, I was under my trailer today and it looks like there are metal crossmembers every 4 feet across, that would work easily with those 4 foot composite boards. I get it though, if they change their production process that may insinuate there was a problem with past production.
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Brian Beker
Brandon Sailor wrote:
You know, I was under my trailer today and it looks like there are metal crossmembers every 4 feet across, that would work easily with those 4 foot composite boards. I get it though, if they change their production process that may insinuate there was a problem with past production.


The factory says that the available materials don't fit those, somehow. I don't know enough about the materials to be able to say. But when my floor rotted the second time, and I requested marine plywood, they said that the available sheets would't fit, and they wouldn't install it. A one-piece floor (I don't know up to what length trailer this applies) is something they don't want to stop doing. So, essentially, they are sacrificing build quality in this fundamental way in favor of ease of construction.
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Sam
THANKS   for the info.....I agree with you as to the fact they; the factory , use the Amish with it in mind that the Amish are craftsmen. BUT not all Amish are of that mind set. I have found several things wrong with our 189R  water leaks at the passenger side wheel well that were, as of now supposedly fixed. We took it to local dealer as the factory and Al's trailer sales of Salem have not been mush help.
I plan to have the whole underside un der coated and will seal all penetrations as best as possible. The dealer used expanding foam to seal the wheel wells.
I think that the lucky ones that are not having trouble are great....but it appears to me that the factory has no concern with repeat customers or reference's from me to send customers their way. I get lots of interest in our trailer, and then I tell them about other trailers ....I steer them away from riverside products.
Maybe when they were on the west coast they were built better.
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sunvalleyjoe
we have a 2013 and subject to heavy rains and snow from the Sierras. No leaks what so ever. When did they make them out on the west coast. We bought ours used and have had zero problems. It is a 150 btw. I did spray the wheel wheels with undercoating because I did not like the aluminum look.GBA!!SVJ do you think canned ham style vs box style are more prone to leaks because of the round corners?
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dwight.hughes
Appears that some people get "lemons".  Happens.  My 2016 177SE has been thankfully problem free.  And it's my 2nd Rv with an OSB floor.  Actually OSB is an easier product to work with then plywood.  

An argument for OSB, new OSB is not the same animal from 20 years ago...

  - There is substantial inconsistency in the cut edges of plywood and also the thickness varies.  OSB is very consistent, this makes fitting the pieces together without gaps and unevenness in the resulting surface.

  - Marine plywood is reactive with Aluminum.  It has to be painted or coated before being installed against Aluminum supports.

  - OSB for a given thickness is much stiffer (more resistant to bending) than plywood.

  - The glues used in OSB today are the same as exterior or marine plywood, eliminating many of the moisture related issues.

We roof and side most new homes with OSB.  My "old" Fleetwood had an OSB floor, I was the 3rd owner, and it looked and performed like new when I sold it.  I have had zero issues with my Retro OSB floor.

The issue we are talking about is standing water.  Other issues with the Retro trailer build quality are causing some owners to experience water intrusion.  Standing water is beyond the capability of OSB.  Sure, you can say other materials can take it better, and you'd be correct.  But they cost signifiacntyly more and have their own detractors (i.e. Marine Plywood).  So the materials chosen, OSB, are appropriate for the use case of a trailer floor and should be long lasting.  Something else is going wrong.

I live in the Pacific Northwest and we have rain, lots of it and all the time.  I drive wet roads.  I camp in rain storms.  My trailer is stored outside.

If I had water intrusion my floor would be damaged.  The point is to avoid water intrusion.  It shouldn't be happening.

As an analogy, the hard wood floors in my home would be damaged form standing water.  They are not designed or treated to tolerate that.  And I don't blame the home builder for choosing that flooring for my home, but I would blame them if my roof leaked, or the water pipes, etc.  Those would introduce water into the home that the home was not designed to tolerate.



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sunvalleyjoe
Sounds like you you know what you are talking about. They only thing I did not like and I corrected was the wire nuts needed to be taped after being twisted. This is something I did for 50 years as Industrial Electrician. I did find some loose connections more than likely from road vibration. GBA!!SVJ 
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retro195man
Knock on wood or osb.
I haven't had a problem with my well used 195... 
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sunvalleyjoe
Hows the trip going I wish for some of that Arizona weather right nowGBA!!SVJ
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retro195man
Going good Joe. Chilly nights and it's 68 out right now. Went to the rodeo Friday night, that was fun. 
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