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 Will Four Slideouts Open a Pandora's Box?
      A Critical Opinion by JD Gallant Reprinted with permission of RV Consumer Group.
In the short run, probably not. In the long run, probably yes. With many indicators coming in showing that multiple slideouts are already giving multiple problems, it's hard to imagine that four slideouts, in a vehicle that's supposed to be designed for recreation, aren't going to increase those problems. Down the road, let's say ten years, many of these big rigs will have so many operating problems that the only practical purpose for them will be as a cabin in the woods.

No regulatory agency has ever considered an RV as a permanent residence. They are simply a temporary home on wheels. If they can't be legally used for anything but a travel home, why add the complications of extra weight, reduced structural integrity, and increased maintenance of complicated machinery? The answer to that is quite simple: It's easy to sell to consumers with the big bucks.

What really gets to me is when a company like Gulf Stream, who's always had a hard time building a durable RV --- especially in their low-end brands, has openly become a trend setter in this area. Of course they'll get the brands a lot of initial attention. Of course they'll make a few more sales. Of course the dealers will work hard to sell these "appealing" floor plans to prospects. Of course they'll cost more and give a few more problems, but what-the-heck. The name of the game is instant gratification for the buyer and profits for the sellers. It's a big game.

"Pooh, pooh on you", you say. Yes, I do. I say that because I already see many of you loaded to the hilt with problems you shouldn't have. I see fifth wheels cracking from the strain of carrying too heavy a load --- even when empty. I see motor homes that have so many big holes in the wall that there's no way it could sustain a rollover without totally disintegrating. And, believe it or not, I can see the future.

I can see these big RVs coming apart long before the tires are worn out. (Unless they are worn out from being overloaded!) I can see them selling for less than fifty percent of the original purchase price in less than five years. I can see cracked walls, malfunctioning slideout drives, lots of water leaks, and frustration on top of frustration. My crystal ball is spinning like a top and yet the vision is absolutely clear. It's almost guaranteed to happen.

So look a bit. Say "Aaah" many times. It's OK to drool, but don't bite. There's a good chance that apple is poison.