Outdoors RV Factory Tour Part 1 (How 4 Season Travel Trailers are made)

We have been living in our Outdoors RV
travel trailer full-time for over a year now. And it gets us to places like this! But before we moved into the trailer we had been researching for almost two
years which trailer we wanted to buy. And as part of that research we did the
Outdoors RV factory tour in La Grande, Oregon. We are super excited to be back
here in La Grande, Oregon to do another factory tour but this time we’re taking
you along! I’m Diana and I’m Matt and we are from Adventurous Way and we are on a quest to
visit all four 419 National Park Units across the U.S. [Music] A few months ago Outdoors RV ran a photo
contest and we submitted a load of the photos of our trailer in some of the
beautiful locations that we’ve been able to camp in and we won the grand prize! We
were super happy with that but on the back of that they invited us to come and
video a factory tour which was a really really exciting opportunity. We had a
call with him a few weeks later and they said they had been watching our YouTube
channel and they’d seen one of the mods that we’ve done to add some insulation
to our trailer. They were so impressed with that mod they’ve actually
incorporated that into their new designs. That completely sealed the deal for us
and we decided to embark on the two thousand mile round trip to come here to
video the factory tour and this time we’re taking you along with us! Hello! So
we are standing here right in front of the factory floor right now and I’m
standing here with Darin Nelson and you are the product and sales manager here
at Outdoors RV. That’s correct. I’ve been in the business for 26 years,
helped start the company here 10 years ago. Wow. And one thing you’re gonna
notice on the factory tour here today is that we’re building a product that’s
designed for the rugged mountainous terrain that we have located around here
and in Western Canada and in Alaska. Wow. And one thing you’re gonna see in our
trailers is many of us here actually own and use the trailers. I’ve owned three of
our trailers here, bought and used them with my family. Our director of
manufacturing here who you’re gonna see along tour here, he owns two of
our trailers. Our service manager owns a trailer, our accountant owns a trailer,
our production manager owns a trailer. Wow. Another sales manager that works in the
sales department owns six of our trailers. So you guys really believe in this product
and you experience it, you know what it needs to do to work in this terrain. Yes
and absolutely. When we’re talking about our PD meetings and different things of
what to do on product, it’s stuff that we may have experienced ourselves in
camping. And so we know if we’re designing and building a trailer that
works for us in this climate around here, we’re gonna be able to allow a
customer so many more things they can do with an RV than the standard trailer
that’s out there today. And we’ve seen that in our trailer as well. So where do we start on
the factory tour? So we’re gonna start what we consider the number one factor
is the foundation. You can’t have a rugged built trailer if you can’t take
it off the pavement. Exactly. So we’re gonna start looking at
the chassis and the component suspension and what we do there that makes it the
rugged mountain tough trailer. Wonderful and where are they built? They are built
here locally. One thing you’re gonna see within the tour here and probably
interview as Jamie Baker our product development manager. We hand-design our
trailers for each floor plan, not buy an off-the-shelf chassis. So you don’t
have the cookie-cutter style chassis. Don’t have the cookie-cutter style chassis and that
allows us to put bigger holding tanks, allows us to put extra angle
supports, shocks, shock plates exactly for that floor
plan. Perfect. And where are they assembled? They are assembled right here within about 50
yards of where we’re standing, that’s where we’re headed next. Let’s head
inside! Okay. So, Darin you brought us inside here and
this is the chassis building right? That’s correct. So what happens in here?
So what happens in here is the chassis is built and our
chassis actually first assembly building is just right down the street. So these are
not Lippert designed, Lipper built. No, they’re custom built here ourselves off of our own
designs. Wow. Okay, so we start with all US made steel.
Every chassis that we build is on I-beam chassis and if you look
right behind where you’re standing here you can see a rack of chassis that are
here that are all freshly painted. You see the safety chains are on in there.
You can see the different outriggers and this is then going to be flipped over as
you can see right here. And now they’re gonna put on the fully enclosed
underbelly that goes side to side, front to back. So this is upside down. This is upside down. And we’re now sealing it in. We’re sealing it in. This is now our first layer of our climate design Four Seasons package.
Wow Because our customers not only want a
trailer they can take 15 miles up the gravel road. They also want a trailer
that you and I talked about shoulder seasons or camping. Diana likes to do some skiing. They can use it when it’s not the best temperature outside
also. That’s our first layer. Perfect. Okay, so we got the underbelly on. What else are we
seeing here? Okay, so another thing you’re gonna see here is the axles are put on.
One thing that we also will do is we oversize our axles that go on the trailer. How
do you mean oversize? What does that mean? So you can have a trailer that let’s say
the trailers gonna weigh 5,000 pounds. Yep. You can put an axle that would match
that completely, give the customers maybe 1,500 pounds of carrying capacity and
that’s gonna be just fine for the customer going to the KOA Campground
them back up. Our customer does a lot of boondocking
or maybe they want the opportunity of boondocking.
So we oversize the axles that in turn gives them greater carry capacity.
So, for instance, this trailer working on right here is a 22FQS, okay. So
it’s right around 27 feet overall length. We have 5’100 pound axles on it
and we put the GVWR at almost 9’995 pounds for this trailer. Wow,
so your axles exceed the GVWR unlike what we’ve seen a lot of trailers where
they assume tongue weight it’s gonna take on some of that. Right, we will oversize the axles to be able to get that for our customers. So
what are they doing right? Talk me through this. Okay, so now they’ve put on,
we’ll look at the stabilizer jacks and different things that they put on, they
now gonna flip this over so they can start putting in the holding tanks. And they’ll also put in the next layer of the climate design 4 seasons
package will go in that. Okay so before they flip it over then talk me through
I can see, is this an auto-leveling system this trailer has got? Yes, so both
of you happen to be here at a real special time for us. This was our tenth
year anniversary. We started in May of 2009, so now it’s a few months after
May in 2019. Wow! And we’re building a special 10th
anniversary trailer for our dealers and our customers. That’s awesome! And one of
the features that we’re putting on this trailer that is a standard feature is
auto-leveling. Gotcha. And so this now is either the fourth or
fifth generation auto leveling system and one thing from us, we don’t like to
put out the first generation of something because that could come
with some opportunity for improvement on that. And so this type of system
has been out for about four or five years now. It’s tried and tested and now
it’s ready for primetime. Well, that’s what we were assuming right.
But still with that, we test it. So Dave VanCleave, the director of
manufacturing, the trailer he bought earlier this year, we put this system on
his trailer. On his own personal trailer. And he’s been using it
down at the lake, been using it at our campout. Again to verify that it’s all
working correctly before we’re going to full production. Gotcha. That’s impressive! So is this something that we’re gonna standard on all trailers in future then? Not all trailers because at some point auto-leveling does cost some money to put in that. And not every single customer
necessarily needs that feature. But for the right customer it’s an awesome
feature to just simply push the button in the trailer levels itself. Yeah. And so
where we’re going with this, based on feedback from our dealer network and
listening to customers, is the auto leveling system will become a standard
feature in our Titanium Series product here in the near future. That’s fantastic! That’s awesome! So tell me now, they’ve flipped over, we’ve got the underbelly underneath,
you’ve got the axles on, we’ve got the the auto-leveling system
is installed, what else is gonna happen in here? Okay, so not only gonna happen
but I want to show you a few things too Okay, so come over here. One thing you couldn’t see when it was
flipped the other direction is, we saw that fully enclosed underbelly
underneath here. This is now the next layer for the Climate Designed Four
Seasons package. Gotcha. So you’re gonna see this is R15
reflective insulation and that goes side to side, front to back on the entire
trailer. This is adding insulation for your holding tanks and
your whole trailer from the underside. This is beneath the frame still. This is
still beneath the frame, yes. Wow. Now another thing is looking at ground
clearance. Yes, something we love! Ground clearance is important for our customers
and even for ourselves for where we like to go camping.
So if you look down here on the frame itself, this is what’s called the front
crossmember. What we do is we take the A-frame and we weld
it through the front crossmember. You can see it’s all welded here, and the
back plate here is welded here and then when it comes over here it’s also
welded here. So if you were to look at let’s say you and I want to move a D5 CAT
a big caterpillar some place and we’re gonna get a trailer to haul that.
Any trailer that anyone was gonna rent to us is gonna be designed just like
this. And that’s for strength is it? It’s for strength. That’s why you have it here,
welded here, and through here. It’s for strength and then what it also gives us
is ground clearance compared this being tack-welded underneath here. I see,
gotcha. So if this is tack welded here you have a tack weld here, a tack well here:
not as strong and now what have you done with your ground clearance?
It has gone down here. That makes sense. So something to look for I guess on
these trailers is like how are these connected together not just for strength,
but also for like usability. Yes. Like how does it change how you use the trailer.
Yes, absolutely. I did not know that. That is awesome! And
that is again something that if you’re simply going to be going down the
pavement to the pavement park. Maybe it’s not a feature that you necessarily need to appreciate. Exactly. But we know there are customers
out there that may camp like that sometimes during the year but they also
want to go to that cool lake. For sure! Just thinking now if our trailer had
this underneath the frame, that would have limited us for so many spots that we
would want to get into because it would have pulled the whole A-frame lower. So
now we’ve had a lower hitch and everything else it would have been a knock on. Well the place that you and Diana stayed this week, more than likely you probably couldn’t even go to that spot. We wouldn’t even gotten close, no.
No, not at all. Okay. So we’ve got the chassis all built. We’ve got the
underbelly installed, the insulation here is in. What else happens in here?
Let’s go walk over here. Okay, so what we’re looking at that back here is the
rear end of the trailer the bumper area. The one thing I want to point out is
there is a feature that a lot of our dealers and customers put on the trailer.
It’s called the rear hitch, it’s on the back. Yes. And you’re gonna see where we
tie this hitch actually weld it into the overall frame of the trailer. Wow.
Versus just being welded onto there so you can put 50 pounds back there. Yes. But
which we love actually because this thing is so sturdy. I mean, I’ve stood on this thing
before to try and reach up and clean and whatever. But that hitch is so strong. We
have it just a bike back on there, but that thing will not move no matter what
we do. It is really sturdy. And you look at our customers that are the
adventure type customers and go places and they pull up here for tours. They
have so many different things on the back of this that it’s a feature we want
to make sure that we put on here as durable as we can. And what is this hitch
rated to back here? That hitch is rated to 250 pounds. 250 pounds, wow.
Whenever you put a hitch on the back of a trailer, then it really comes down to the
responsibility of the consumer to make sure that if they put 250
pounds back here, that they’ve balanced out the entire trailer for that. And
so if we were to go out and put a hitch back here on this and rate this at 4 or
500 pounds yeah it would suddenly could throw everything off. So we
figured that on 250 pounds it’s been very successful for our customers on
that weight rating. Awesome. [worker shouting “line roll”] So Darin, we’re standing here looking at
one of these rolling frames being built now. I’m seeing some things on here that
I’m not quite sure what I’m looking at. This seems like a dirty weld or
something on the top here and these supports – what’s going on here? So again
part of our off-road frame is this is what’s called a cambered weld. So the
easiest thing to explain to the customers if you look at the flatbed
semi truck going down the freeway empty you’ll see it’s bowed like this. Yes.
Why is it bowed like that? So if you put weight on there, it
straightens out. Gotcha. This, even though we’re building.. this has an 8 inch I-beam frame for a 22 foot trailer. We still want to put in the
camber welds and we can weld it this way So that when we put the whole weight of
the box on it’s like you have a shock absorber on the front and the rear of
the trailer. Does that make sense? It does, yeah. Then in going further with
that, because our customers are gonna go on dirt roads and different places, we
put this extra angle support right over the suspension here. We put another one
on the suspension piece here, and on the another suspension piece here. And then I’m looking at your suspension, the suspension is different to what I’ve
seen on a lot of trailers, and this is something that we love on ours. You guys
installed the MORryde CRE 3000 and shock absorbers on here as well. Yes
and so in looking at your truck. Yes. Would you imagine buying your F-150
truck with the FX4 package or 4 by 4 package on it and not having a good
suspension or shocks? And we’ve upgraded it because it’s important. And so for
us, if we are wanting to take this trailer ourselves or promote this trailer
that people can take it where we want to take it we wanted to put what we consider the
best suspension system on this. So if we start at the CRE 3000. The main
reason for the CRE 3000, it has rubber bushings in here versus steel on
steel and it has this area here where the suspension has travel it so we can get extra three inches of vertical travel. Wow. Very important for the place
you just went camping. Totally, and a lot of places we
go camping as well. And actually I love this system on ours because I can go up
curbs at gas stations, I don’t to worry about it too much.
Diana hates it for that reason, I keep going up on curbs at gas stations, but then this is something that you have on all
trailers? Every trailer that we produce now is standard with this. Wow. Now from
MORryde you can just simply buy this part. Yup. We actually go another mile
and we buy the MORryde shackle kit. So the MORryde shackle kit upgrades this
bushing in here from a nylon bushing to a bronze bushing. Wow. And it has
greasable fittings, so you we have one, two ,three four, five, six, seven greasable fittings
also on the suspension system. That’s incredible. And we’ve met people who have
had those shackles fail because they’re not strong enough, these are the much
stronger ones on here. Yes, if you think of a nylon bushing
versus a bronze bushing on a very important part of your trailer.
Now another thing is you mentioned this you look at shocks. Yes. So can you
imagine or fathom your F-150 pickup truck with no shocks on it. I rather not. The
industry out there, again building a trailer for the pavement don’t
necessarily need to put shocks on, but where our customers are going
we put shocks on. And you can see, it’s designed right into the chassis. So this
plate is already designed and welded in here, but if you can get a picture of the
extra large shock plate that’s on here. And this is also standard on every
trailer. And we now are using KYB shocks. KYB shocks, if you talked to anybody in
the off-road world, they know all about KYB shocks and they actually have
a nitrogen monotube that’s also included with them to give you even more
of that shock suspension. So this is true kind of off-road technology that you’re
putting as standard on every single trailer you build.
Yes, because we don’t want to limit a customer even if there’s only two times
a year we’re gonna go to that type of camping, we want them to still have
that availability through the trailer that they own. That is amazing! And we do love this system. We have a lot of the stuff in ours that is the same. I
think we’ve got the previous generation of shocks on ours, but otherwise this
system just works so well for us and we take our trailer
places and we’ve seen some crazy articulation in these in these axles and
without that we would not have made those boondocking spots. No. Now you take that
because you can’t just do one or two things you have to do the whole package.
Yes. And we see that in a lot of things that we do. So let’s say we did all that
and then we didn’t put a good tire on. Yes. So if you look at every single tire
that we put on is at least an E range 10 ply tire and we use the Goodyear
Endurance tire that’s made here in the USA.
Yes, and that’s so important. As an RVer they our tires are literally the contact with the
ground and we hear from so many people who say, when you buy a new RV, the first
thing you got to do is change the tires. There’re so many RVs nowadays they come
with cheap tires or they’ve been sitting on the dealer lot for a long long time
with cheap tires on and your first trip out you get a blowout and it causes
incredible damage to the RV. We love the fact that ours came with these Goodyear Endurance tires and that wasn’t even something we knew to look for when we
started this journey and it was something that we learned here at the
factory. A lot of customers don’t know to look at that. They don’t know to look at
the chassis. They don’t know to look at all the shocks and suspensions. They want
to go in and look at how pretty the floor plan is. Yes. And we want to make
sure we’re doing the whole package on it. It still needs to be a good floor plan
but if you don’t have a good foundation, suspension, tires.
I mean this is what really drew us to the brand that we really like right. So
then on top here I’m seeing another few bars and bits and pieces. Can you talk me
through like this bar inside, these ones here. Some of the wiring and piping
going in, what are we seeing here? Okay so what you’re gonna see next, what they’re prepping for now is they’re prepping to put the holding tanks in.
Another side bar of us building our own chassis, we now can control some of
the places where we put the cross members to be able to put larger holding
tank capacity. So you’re gonna see these are gonna be bars that will hold a
holding tank in from underneath. They start
running some of the wiring because you’re gonna have to put the monitors on
the tank. Yeah, all right. So that’s some of the stuff that you’re starting
to see in here. And it happens to be he just put the tank
over the top, ready to install. So this is, you said a 22 model. How big
are the tanks on a model like this? So this model right here is going to have
80 gallons of fresh water capacity. Might need to check this for sure, but
40 gallons of black and 40 gallons of grey. Wow, that is incredible! And those big
tanks again were something there as we did our research I went through this
process really drew us to Outdoors RV I must say I hadn’t realized that that
was something that you had allowed yourself to do because you custom-built
these frames, but seeing them now makes sense and you’ve got the the holding
tank here right above the axles, the weight distribution same on ours
is just really really good. So, sidenote here, on us. Do you think how
we camp around here, we would like to have bigger holding tanks? I bet
you would! Absolutely! So we’re kind of designing this for ourselves too. And
big holding tanks are so important to us because that keeps us off grid for
longer, more comfortably, we don’t have to worry about bringing extra bladders or
jugs of water in the truck. It’s just there in the trailer. And then lastly I
can see some more wires going on this side here. These aren’t just the tank
sensors, right? What do we got over there? So there’s one that’s going across here,
it’s gonna be like for your brake wires and stuff in the back. And
then also part of the wiring is gonna be for the new auto-leveling system that’s
going on right here. Gotcha and all that wiring is then
completely protected within the underbelly, within the frame basically.
And if you look, you can see it over there, we’ve actually have it routed out
to go through there and we’re auto looming it to go through there also.
Gotcha. You follow me? Yeah. For that protection
going up and down the road. Totally, so it’s not gonna rub on that solid metal.
He’s putting it on right there. That way it’s all super protected. Perfect, so this frame is getting towards completion. When they roll out of here,
where do we go next? So they roll out of here, they’re gonna
roll out, and we’ll take a quick look at a unit that has all three tanks on. And
then from there is gonna go into the floor department. Perfect. Okay, Darin, so
we are standing outside in here now looking at one that’s got all the tanks
installed, but there’s a few new pieces have appeared as well. What else have we
got on here? So in looking at those different layers,
part of our Cimate Designed Four Seasons package is the heated holding tank area.
And so we talked about that reflective insulation going side to side
front the back above the underbelly here. Yep.
We now take that reflective insulation and wrap it around each of these tanks
also. So they got two layers of that insulation underneath. Yes. Wow. Then as you’re
gonna see, here’s our dump valves. Yep. On solid pull rods, not underneath. Don’t
pull that, my foot’s underneath. And what we do, is then when we put the heat duct
in, you can see the heat duct right here, you can see where there’s route outs in
the heat duct. Gotcha. So when that’s put over and you have your furnace running,
you’re gonna have heat that’s gonna drive right down into this valve area
to keep your tanks from freezing. And also, to keep the valves from freezering. Yes
keep the valves from freezing as well, yes. That’s perfect.
So we’ve then on ours got the 12-volt heating pad. Where does that fit into
this equation? So on the 12-volt heating pad, we put that on the freshwater tank.
Okay. And what that’s designed for is some of our extreme campers who are
going to do some camping in the winter months and they’re gonna travel from
spot to spot. Gotcha. So how the system is design is when your furnace is running,
it will keep the tank then valves from freezing, all right? When the furnace is not running, you’re going down the freeway, you’re going
three hours, that’s where cold air coming underneath, cold air
coming underneath the trailer. And so that customer knows that they can put RV
antifreeze and things in their black and in their gray water tank to keep them from
freezing, sloshing around. You’re not gonna put the antifreeze in your fresh
water tank. So now you have the heat pad on the fresh water tank that you can turn
on when you’re going traveling between places and it keeps that valve area from
freezing. And how cold could we go? Between the insulation here
and the furnace running to keep the tanks warm and also the the 12-volt heating
pad. We pride ourselves here on looking at consumer data. And we’re selling
between 75 to 100 trailers a year to Alaska. We sell a couple to three hundred
units a year to Canada. And we have customers up there for the
last 10 years that have been using those in those climates
and giving us feedback, sending us pictures of here I am at six below
zero. So in terms of like temperature, could I take this down to like zero
Fahrenheit? So we’ve had many customers take it down to zero Fahrenheit. We’ve
have many customers take it even below zero. But what you’re also gonna
find and this is in our climate design video just being very truthful with
everybody is, the temperature also depends on humidity, wind, all those types
of things that are going on. And a question you’re asked me earlier about
do we offer skirting on the trailers. Well, we don’t offer skirting on the
trailers but I can tell you a story about a pilot. A pilot that was from
Denver. He was based out of Casper, Wyoming. He bought one of our trailers and
he would go up there and stay on his pilot duties and he skirted the trailer,
because going Wyoming in January sometimes you can get to 20 or 30 below
zero. And that just adds another little
protection of the wind getting up underneath the trailer. Gotcha. And he
said yes, Darin, at well well below zero it was a little
chilly, but nothing froze up and I was still able to function in my trailer. That’s
fantastic! I don’t think we’ll be taking our trail of that cold but what we
really appreciated was, we have our skis and a snowboard with us, and we want to
be able to go places and ski and snowboard. We want to stay in our trailer
and so we might be doing that with with hookups so we can stay warm. We might do
it if we can find somewhere that’s gonna have some boondocking open, but really we
want to make sure the trailer is gonna be okay in those conditions, and I’ll be
honest I think if it starts to get towards zero Fahrenheit I’m gonna freeze.
So well on that. We’re not designing these, these are not designed to, very few
customers, this is one example of the pilot that are going to take these
into that type of extreme and when you get well below zero and you have
six-inch walls in the house and this big of floor, you have pipes freeze,
right? Yes, we’re doing this for exactly like you and Diana just mentioned giving
that customer the extended places to be able to go, whether it’s a
hunting trip in November, whether it’s skiing, whether it’s a trip to Maine,
those types of things. Perfect, okay so I can see the holding tanks installed,
we go some plumbing appearing. Where do we go next?
So next we’re gonna go into the floor department. Fantastic! That’s where we are headed. So, Darin, we come inside now and the
trailer we’ve just seen has got the underbelly all the frame is constructed.
I’m guessing the next thing is the floor? Next thing is the floor. And so where
we’re at here is the construction of the floor and you’re gonna hear us say time
and time with time again that the construction is the same on our trailers.
So no matter if you’re looking at a 21RBS that you have, or you’re looking at a
280RKS all the floors are constructed the same. Even travel trailer, fifth wheel?
Yep. All of them constructed the same, built for that rugged mountain type camping.
Yep. And so looking at here it’s a 2×3 constructed floor and then we use
exterior grade 5/8-inch tongue & groove plywood versus other types of materials
that could be used that customer will never see. So there’s no OSB, this is all good
quality plywood that is in here. Absolutely, and you can see on this one
they’ve already decked most of the floor, they’re just down to this last piece
that they’ll be putting on here after break. And this is just then one
continuous sheet that goes edge to edge, front to back all the way along. It’s a
tongue and groove piece as you can see here that we put on there and
then it goes all the way. Yes, gotcha. So how did they get this onto the frame? And so
onto this you’re gonna see now here I’m just gonna turn around. This is going to
come up and you can see its position here. Yep. Right, this is now the underside
and then this is going to be flipped over down to here and this is gonna be
where they’ve worked on this, we’ll talk about some of the things that they’ve
done at this position here. Gotcha. So when the floor is then turned over,
the floor comes on to this side and what am I looking at here? What’s this? This is
actually, probably a 90% done underside of the trailer. Gonna be flipped over
onto that trailer that we saw up there with the holding tanks. Gotcha. So what
they’ve done here is again another one of the things of the Climate Designed Four
Seasons package is in between those studs we’re putting the Pink Panther
insulation and a double layer of Pink Panther insulation in the floor. Gotcha.
So not only did we have the underbelly, we had the reflective insulation side to side, front to rear, the reflective
insulation covered around the tanks, the heat ducked down into there, and
then we have two layers of insulation in the floor. So this is upside down, so you got the membrane, two layers of
insulation and then the 5’8 plywood on top. Yes, absolutely.
So, Darin, all of this is this membrane but something is different here.
What am I looking at here? So this is going to be over where your tires are at.
So this is like the wheel well. Wheel well area, so instead of just
leaving this material or putting an ABS plastic material here, we use galvanized
sheet metal in these areas. You can see they haven’t put that one on yet. As
again, another place where our customers are gonna go up off-roading, throw
some rocks and stuff hitting up, another layer of protection for your underbelly and
your floor. So that’s already so well protected by the plastic underbelly
and everything else, and then this is another layer on top of all of that. One
thing you find with us, is this layer after layer, after layer, both from the
rugged construction side of it and the insulation side of it. And so if you did
have a blowout or something on a tire would this help to protect the area? It would help,
definitely help. Perfect! So Dave, you are the head of manufacturing here at Outdoors RV, I believe. Yes, the director of manufacturing and how long have you been with the company? I’ve been with the company for 26 years. Wow.
So you know a thing or two about what’s going on around here. Absolutely! Okay, so, Dave, talk me through what
we’re seeing happen here. This is pretty dramatic. Well, this what they’re doing on
a preassembled floor. They’re actually setting it on to the chassis, preparing
it to bolt it to the chassis. So this right now is upside down, so we’re gonna
lift it and then lower it down that way. They do have to flip the floor, most,
a lot of our support stations build all the products upside down so we can wire
it and they don’t have to be on creepers to wire it. What they’ll do they’ll line
all the wirings. That wire right there is for the patch. As this floor is now right
side up. And this is just gonna lower. Yeah, they’re gonna lower right down and then
position it on the outriggers and they will drill and lay those to the
outriggers. And so here you can see the wires
connecting up for the various different Yeah, all those wires are for the
five-point leveling system that he is running through now. Because this is one
of the Anniversary models that we’re seeing. Yes, and here I guess you could
again you can really see this structure coming into place, you’ve got the the
underbelly, you’ve got the insulation layer, you can
see the tanks inside the frame. Then you’ve got this membrane, then the double
thickness of the insulation and then the 5/8 plywood on top of that. Yes. They
got those wires ran through the raceways, now they will lower it down under the
chassis. And then they’ve got to line up all the plumbing and everything else,
I guess, for the tanks. Yeah, the last thing we want to do is create pinch
points, not just on wiring but plumbing. Yeah, so just taking their time,
and getting everything lined up, making sure it’s all all looking good.
What do these weigh? The floor? Yeah. The floor probably I would guess is
somewhere in the neighborhood of, with wiring and insulation, somewhere around
500 pounds. Wow. So that weight, and that thickness, and that strength is
so critical to the entire, kind of, foundation of this trailer, right? That’s
absolutely. So we’ve seen the floor get put onto the trailer and now essentially
we’ve got a flatbed trailer. What’s next? So I assume it’s the walls, is it? No the
walls aren’t next. Okay. What’s gonna be next is going to be
cabinet set and plumbing. So right here behind us you’re going to see this
is the cabinet department. We get all the raw lumber over in plant two. They cut
all the raw lumber up and put it in every station and the cabinets are being
built here, throughout here. And then you’re gonna see like over here to your
right here, this is gonna be some tub bases here, this is gonna be the kitchen
sink and the wall here, and then right over here behind you can see this is now
starting to be put on the trailer. Gotcha. So they kind of assemble it through and
place it inside. And so if you look at this one, you can see this one has
sink here and the bathroom wall. And if you look over right here to the left
over the top of that, you can see the actual sinks being installed. The next
thing there’s going to be the converter, there’s going to be the fridge,
the kitchen sink. All those things are being put on in
this department here. Gotcha. And then one of the things I see over
here is, I see a lot of wires. Now I remember this from the factory tour
last time and I got really excited last time about this. Tell me what we’re
seeing here. So let’s go over and take a look at this and we’re gonna get
our director of manufacturing Dave VanCleave in here and he’s going to talk a little bit about our wiring. Perfect. So maybe you can talk me
through what I’m saying here. I remember this from my factory tour last
time and it’s a good bunch of wires but what specifically am I seeing here. Well
specifically what you’re seeing. This is our wiring harness. This is
all our connectors which we have outsourced on these harnesses so we can get
molex connectors on them. So it’s plug-and-play at our distribution center
which is our power center which is located in this cabinet. When these wires,
they just disappear out across the trailer. Yes, these obviously are coming
up through the floor. They go into your power center. Then they’ll come
up through walls to get power up the ceiling, out to the slide outs, to the
fans. And one thing that’s unique that we do is we run those wires to those
fans locations and if it’s not spected on the trailer, can be added later
without the fatigue of trying to pull wires. And that’s exactly what we did. Our trailer didn’t come with a fan installed above the bed. It had the vent
for no fan in there and we were able to install our own max air max fan just
using the wires that were there. And as soon we removed the went there were just a couple of wires there, sort of taped
off. Yeah, it’s a really nice feature. And the other thing I see here is
plumbing. So we’re starting to see some plumbing coming in here. Talk me
through some the plumbing things. What they’re doing is, is they’re
gonna run all a drain plumbing which is ABS to the tanks. They’re gonna run the
vents up to the cabinets to vent all tanks. They run your fresh water lines and
they cap them off. This is the first of three tests that we do. They will do a
eighty pound air test for ten minutes. If it does not
hold we need to locate the leak. So the whole
thing, even before any appliances have gone in and walls have gone up, you do a
test to make sure that the plumbing holds pressure and there’s no leaks.
Absolutely! After they have all appliances on the plumbing, plumbing
finished, then it does go to what we call side walls which you can see the
unit ahead of that. And they do start the process of putting the exterior of the
coach together. They’ll set the sidewalls, the front and the rear. I am really
excited to see these walls coming on. I think that’s where this goes from being a
flat bed to a proper travel trailer. That’s right, a big change on the
physical appearance of the coach. And you said this is going to get tested with
the air pressure. Has it been tested now? This just finished in passed, eighty
pound for ten minutes air test on your fresh water line. The
fresh lines and what about the grey and the black? Do they get tested as well?
Yes, they do. We have a pump machine that will pump and fill the black and the
grey tank up and we’ll let it sit for 10 minutes and we’re doing two things at
that point. We’re testing A) does it leak and B) does our monitoring system show
you the right values. Yes. And I see now we’ve got few more bits and pieces
installed here. Looks like there are some propane lines coming in here. Yes, all the
propane lines are installed in the coach at this point. They have not been
hooked up to the appliances, that’s the next item they’ll do after this
water test. They will put the appliances in and before they actually hook up the propane line they will plug these lines
off and do a three-pound PSI test for 10 minutes on the propane lines
to make sure they have no leak in their fittings. Gotcha. This trailer here is looking
pretty exciting. It looks like we got walls on the trailer now. Yes, this is a sidewall station where they actually set the
walls on the floor and chassis, bolt them down, secure the cabinets. Then they will
put the front and the rear section onto the coach. So these are
these are the exterior walls of the trailer now. These are the exterior walls. They don’t look as shiny because they are covered
with a mylar protective film on it which we leave on until they go to the roofing
process. And the wires coming out back here are the taillights, backup lights. And how the walls attach together? How do they hold? They are held with zinc-coated screws because zinc’s don’t rust and it also is a protection
against electrolysis because we are screen through aluminum. So you got two
different metals. Two different metals which also we’ll see later, we also do a
wood fill in the aluminum around the perimeter of the side wall because that
is our lagging points. That’s where the screw fasteners will actually screw in.
So the screws not just holding on the aluminum, it’s actually biting through the wood. That’s
correct. We’re getting a second anchor. Yep. Why don’t we
head over to the wall shop and let’s see how these walls are built? Let’s! This was
part one of the Outdoors RV factory tour. Subscribe to see part 2 where we will
tour the lamination shop where the walls are built. Then in part 3 you’ll see how
rest of the trailer is put together. So hit that subscribe button to see parts
two and three of the factory tour and other Outdoors RV related videos.

20 Replies to “Outdoors RV Factory Tour Part 1 (How 4 Season Travel Trailers are made)”

  1. Since a 2,000+ mile trip to the factory isn’t in the cards right now, this is the next best thing. Thanks Diana and Matt for reenforcing why we will be going with an ORV real soon.

  2. Wow! Great job guys! I learned a lot when I went on the tour, but this is much more in depth and Matt asks some great questions. Outdoors RV is truly money well spent on a quality product.

  3. Good stuff. Well made video. Cannot thank you enough for doing it. Darin Nelson is an articulate spokes person. The work performed by workers on the floor must be complimented. Fast and efficient as far as I can tell. They are the ones doing the actual welding, assembly and quality control. Kudo's to them as well!

  4. 09:00 The video is quite well-done, and I like Darin and have discussed this part with him in the past, but sooner or later the RV industry needs to take responsibility for thermal science and engineering in its designs and marketing. Mass-market manufacturers like Grand Design are some of the worst offenders, publishing ridiculous numbers they could never begin to achieve in real-world lab testing, but then there is pressure on all their competitors to keep up with the nonsense. What you are seeing at this location is not insulation at all, let alone R-15. It’s just a radiant barrier with an air space. That’s fine—that is how radiant barriers are supposed to be installed, which is good—but it is not insulation, and therefore has no demonstrable R-value above about 1. The only real R-value is in the trapped air, and it is trapped very imperfectly, which is why wind can be a problem. On a bitter windy night in the middle of nowhere, it’s not radiant loss underneath your rig that will bite. It is conductive and convective loss. Convection and radiant heat transfer are the lesser of the three types at issue in this application. The RV industry, especially when using aluminum framing (part 2 of the tour apparently), struggles with isolating its very high thermal transference rate (conductivity) affordably and without increasing wall-delamination risks. It can certainly be done, though, as others have proven. Hopefully they’ll continue improving at Northwood and ORV. I was pleased to hear about them adopting the increased insulation in the storage bay. I would suggest that owners who are using these units regularly in inhospitable temperatures cut a 1/2-to-1-inch-thick piece of cork or an equivalent, fairly durable material to cover the inside surface of the access doors such that it doesn’t interfere with their operation. It won’t eliminate that major source of conductive loss, insulated or not, just due to their sheathing, but should help a bit. High thermal door losses can be readily seen with an IR camera. This is true of nearly all other RV manufacturer’s doors as well.

  5. I wish I never watched this video, LOL!!! We were looking at Outdoors RV, and Northwoods before deciding on our Keystone Cougar. If I had watched this video before hand, I would of NEVER purchased the Keystone. Night and day difference in build quality for sure, while Keystone is still a decent bargain, its still junk in comparison to Outdoors RV. I would like to see them start building a model or option of having a Natures Head toilet installed, and increasing the Fresh and gray tanks even more. If you have an ear to bend at the factory, I would mention to them that I looked at some of their rigs last winter while near Phoenix, and noticed that all the rubber bushings on the shocks were dry rotted and cracked. I also noticed that some welds were of high quality, and some were very subpar, as if they had two welders on staff, but only one knew what the hell they were doing 🙂 I think I'm ready to trade in now, and you just made their company some extra money by producing this video, so I hope they take good care of you.

  6. Great job by both Adventurous Way and Outdoors RV. We did the tour about 8 years ago (Northwoods and Outdoor RV) in 2018 we bought a Mountain Series 24RKS and very happy with our trailer.

  7. We cheated. We bought our Timber Ridge the previous day on the other side of the pass (Deadmans Pass) from Thompson RV. The next day we stopped to do the factory tour there in La Grande OR. As a added bonus that day they were building our floorplan (24rks). As Darin said at the beginning, if you don't start with a robust frame and suspension everything built onto it is mute. I can say after two years of use, it's as solid as day one.

  8. Great job! Looking forward to part 2. We live far from any Outdoors RV Mfg dealer, so you’re helping us considerably!

  9. I remember taking the factory tour with ORV, and it was fantastic.

    This was an excellent in depth tour which is worth seeing.

  10. We knew we had purchased a quality trailer in our Outdoors 24RKS but having not been on the factory tour we didn't know the construction details that you showed in your great video. We are very much looking forward to parts 2 and 3 of the tour video.

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