Tag Archives: Trailer Life

Arctic Fox and Northwood Manufacturing

I just got off the phone with MT at Northwood Manufacturing. I am pretty rattled right now. I use the fellow’s initial’s because he is a private party and deserves some privacy. I was not in a position to take the call comfortably and I am not sure I hear his name correctly.

He called me after I sought a replacement mattress and chewed me out. But he did not cuss me. He was upset. As a result I am very upset. If Northwood is not going to work with me, then I am going to buy someone else’s 5th wheel. Moreover, MT at Northwood shouted at me and demanded I go elsewhere and buy someone else’s product.

It was not my intention to sue over this matter and in defense of Northwood, although they did not build my travel trailer right, I have been using it full time for six years. What did Northwood do wrong?

Well, first, they refused to work directly with me. Instead, Northwood tries to hide behind their dealer network. I understand in this litigious society that corporations are doing all they can to avoid liability. But to fail to talk with me about the capacities of the Arctic Fox travel trailer they built is darn near negligent. It is rude and neglectful.

I was hoping to enter into a discussion with Northwood so that I could know what was underpinning my current trailer. Actually, I wanted to be able to find out what parts are used in the new Arctic Fox 5th wheel(s) I have been considering. They are well built RVs but in this one I have they did not do it right. I am on my third pair of axles and leaf springs.

If I wanted to sue Northwood I would have saved the old original parts but I did not. The leaf springs were one leaf less than the replacements I had installed. The new ones are rated at 2000 lbs. I believe the originals were rated at 1500 lbs.

When I add four leaf springs rated at 1500 pounds, I only come up with a 6,000 pound capacity. However, I am not sure of what those original springs were rated at. Indeed, I broke the rear set a while back. Back to the story, if on the other hand they used springs rated at 1750 pounds that adds up to 7,000 pounds. Now, that totals 7000 pounds and matches the two 3500 pound axles.

But, still the capacities given me in email do not make sense and the manufacturer’s tag with the capacities is weather worn and no longer readable. I think when my tanks are full I am over weight. That is a rare condition but it is a possibility.

Still, the critical item is that Northwood built and designed it with the components spaced too far apart so that the weight was born by the axles and not the springs. I really don’t understand it. Northwood should have used 5000 pound axles and eight bolt wheels instead of five bolts. Anyway, the point is moot.

Northwood will not talk with me. And they did not supply accurate information. Moreover, the information they supplied was after I posted my complaint to Trailer Life. I did that after the first email response yielded a less than satisfactory response. While the second respond had capacities, those capacities cited and claimed (still) do not make sense.

I am not sure of the weight on 2011 Arctic Fox 25S travel trailer. The label is no longer readable. But the weight of it that I remember when combined with the capacities Northwood provided recently would exceed 7200 pounds.

All I want to do it make sense of this. But that is not going to happen–unless Trailer Life’s Resolution Department steps in.

MT would not let me speak. MT demanded I buy someone else’s product. Those older than me and those who used to sell RV’s tell me that “all of the manufacturer’s lie.” Heck, when we can’t communicate, how can we make sense and understand.

I put on thicker axle tubes. That adds weight but it should help. I put on leaf springs with one more leaf. I bought better axles.

Right now I am looking at taking a trip in only my SUV to put heavy tools and books in storage. I just don’t want to take chances and I want to travel as safely as I can.

As far as Northwood’s dealer’s, I have been to five of them and I bought from the best but making a trip to Kalispell just for information or for parts is not exactly on my way. The very first dealer in Alaska did not want to talk with me unless I was willing to buy the Nash trailer they had in stock. That dealership refused to order an Arctic Fox for me.

So, I bought from the second dealer after finding their add on Craigslist. This is my first RV. It is my learning RV. The sourdoughs tell me that the first RV is to learn on and there have been a few lessons. Like when my generator went out. I swear it was under warranty but Cummins in Fort Wayne would not honor Onan’s two year warranty nor did it appear they know what they were doing. I had it fixed by Cummins in Billings. Their mechanic is excellent.

The third dealer I went to did not want anything to do with me because I had not bought the trailer from him. The fourth dealer in would not return my phone calls when I needed parts.

The fifth dealer in Mesa takes the cake. I answered their add for an Arctic Fox 5th wheel they advertised on the internet at just under $55,000. While I was looking at it they jacked the price up on their website to $70,000. When I asked them about the price I had seen on their website, they lied to me.

There was an older man who kept walking into the office and talking with the two salesmen. It felt weird because they never introduced him. Then, they insisted they could offer more incentives if I made payments while I was trying to negotiate a cash deal. FYI, the add for the very same 5th wheel, the VIN and all was still on Craigslist at less than $55,000. I will not buy from people who lied to my face.

My take on Northwood is that Arctic Fox is well built; my little travel trailer’s running gear is the exception. All of this rudeness makes me want to isolate and go boondocking. Truly, there is no “Make America Great” again. It’s over. Manufacturers hide behind their corporate veils and they hide behind their dealerships.

The customer used to always be right. But that was a different America. I was fortunate to grow up during the golden years, the 1950’s. But, with the current diversity and failures to have a homogeneous culture that shares the same world view, with the same understanding and expectations, I can see that corporations need to protect themselves.

It is sad America has come to this and it is sad Northwood will not talk with me. By the way, Northwood’s parts department has been excellent in providing me a lot of parts over the years. Today, that ended. I need some minor parts and I am in shouting distance of the factory. I am only 100 miles away but I see no reason to drive up to Northwood. Oh, yes, there is a small problem with my trailer and I was hoping to get their guidance.

Also, I was hoping to be able to see the interior of their 5th wheels while they have their slides tucked in. I wanted to see what is accessible so that I can be functional going down the road having access to the kitchen and not having to open the slide in order to go into the refrigerator.

I think I am going to stick with what I have. I really like my little travel trailer. With all the EPA has done to damage our vehicles, our pocket books and our environment, not much of the new stuff appeals to me.