Join Truck Conversion Today
Closed Thread
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 03-19-2005, 05:20 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10
Default

I owned a Kingsley from 2001 to 2003. While I loved the concept, the actual delivered product was a disaster. My coach was built in PA, and was the first that was built with a car lift for the garage. The lift was built by an outside company and worked great. The lower bay structure which Kingsley is very proud of was plauged with rust problems from day one. Water got in everywhere. Many welds were missing large areas were never painted. The workmanship was poor.
During one of my visits, I saw a letter sent by OSHA stating that during an inspection they found employees smoking pot during breaks. I don't believe that Kingsley has a drug testing policy. They should.
My Coach was back to Kingsley 4 or five times, and I was without it for 7-8 months.

Less than 2 years after I got my coach it burned to the ground.

See pictures in the photo section. I was gone when it happened, but fellow campground neighbors took some amazing pictures.
The fire by all accounts started in the electronics cabinet, built by Kingsley and Thor, and then modified by Kingsley to add a satelite TV tuner.
My loss on this was over $ 80K.
Needless to say, I was quite disappointed.
Kingsleys response was very measured, but they were willing to build another one for only $100K more than what I originally paid.
I passed.
I am sure that others have had better experiences, but all will agree, that Kingsley cut corners at every opportunity.
I have even seen a $500K Coach built by Kingsley that has the name misspelled above the winshield. I kid you not. So much for quality control.
While they may aspire to be at the top of the TC heap, they seem much more at ease dealing with non demanding cusomers looking for a lower level product.

I hope this helps people in their evaluations.
__________________

40,000 mile TC user is offline  
Old 03-19-2005, 08:18 PM   #2
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Posts: 21
Default

Sorry to hear and see about your Coach. Not a pretty sight.
__________________

shinyblackpaint is offline  
Old 03-21-2005, 11:36 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: N.E. Ohio
Posts: 768
Default

WOW! That stinks.

Great photos of a bad situation. One thing I am noticing is there is no steel structure left after the fire was out. What where they doing at the time your coach was built. Aluminum?

I see a Minnesota address for Kingsley now. Have they changed management & product? I know we have a few Kingsley owners who are happy with there units. Have they improved their product?

Thanks for the info.
__________________
2012 Showhauler 28'6" Motorhome on a Columbia w/ 450 Mercedes.
Warpath is offline  
Old 03-21-2005, 05:56 PM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10
Default

Yes Warpath, there is no structure left because it burned.
The construction used in the Kingsley is as follows.
The Body is made at the Thor Factory in Middleburg PA. They make Thor's "value priced" travel trailers.
Nothing fancy here, just your garden variety $15-25K travel trailers.
The Kingsley "box" is made here.

A large layout table is used to make the wall/roof frame. It is made with 1" or 1.5" square aluminum tubing. We are not talking heavy tubing either, but probably .030" thick. Too weak for a lawn chair frame, and too heavy for a beer can. The frames are laid out with the joints MIG welded. Spacing varies, but the one I had and the one I saw being made used 3-4 foot spacing between "studs" some extra around the slide out but nothing special. Insulation is then cut and put inside the gaps in the "studs".
Plain old masking tape is used to hold all of this together.
Two people can pick up an entire wall at this stage with out straining. It is pretty floppy at this point.
The next step involves putting the luan wall board and the fiberglass layer on the wall. A really cool glue applicator puts the glue on one or both sides and these panels are then dropped into place. The wall is then run through a rolling press to squish the layers together. Any spots that will get things attached to them have thin sheet metal again taped in place before gluing the wall board on. This way the screws can bite into both the 1/8" wall board and the >.025" thick metal as well as the insulation for a "strong fit".
The total time to make a wall is approx. 1 hour, start to finish. Roof is similar.
Total cost delivered to Kingsley is probably $17,000 to $20,000.

The Floor structure uses a Lippert Components Frame made of 2X4 steel, which looks pretty strong, but is pretty flexible over the 35' length.
To this a Floor is bolted with carrige bolts. The floor is made of Home Depot 2X4s and plywood, nothing fancy here no Imported Baltic Birch... Just the stuff you would use to build a dog house with.

All this is screwed together.

A bunch of typical RV style trim molding is then applied to the corners and seams.

Nothing is particularly square or straight. If you have a Kingsley, just take out a nice Carpenters square and start
checking wall to cabinet squareness, you will be amazed.
I saw one unit owned by a guy who posts on here, which had a cabinet that was out of square over 1/2" in less than 2' !!!!

At some point if asked, I can talk about the quality of the wiring, plumbing...

I hope this helps.


This is then bolted to the Chassis and driven to Minnesota, where the lower compartments are built under the box and body. Compartment doors are added at this point. Spray cans are used to provide the. "High quality rustproof coating"
My experience was that it was neither high quality nor rustproof.

That about does it for the construction. This is up to date as of Oct. 2004.
40,000 mile TC user is offline  
Old 03-21-2005, 07:23 PM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 62
Default

Wow. That is sobering. Glad no one was hurt. Thank goodness it wasn't at night while people were on board sleeping.

Didn't insurance cover your losses?

I recently asked FMCA to add a safety column to their monthly magazine to review motorhome accidents so that we can all learn and possibly prevent future disasters. Motorhomes have tremendous momentum when traveling. A car would need to travel at over 700 miles per hour to duplicate the impact crash force that a well appointed Class A has at highway speeds. Even while parked, these complex machines are potentially dangerous mixtures of fuels, electricity, water and mechanical systems. They are much more than expensive toys and without proper respect and attention, the outcome of their recreational use can be tragic.

Any lesson(s) you can share with all of us from your tragedy?
Blue Skies is offline  
Old 03-21-2005, 08:22 PM   #6
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10
Default

Actually, The safety aspect was one of the reasons I bought a Truck based RV. There was no way that I would want to be sitting 3 ft. behind the bumper with nothing between me and the accident like most Class A pushers. Much better to have 4,000 lbs. of engine and other structure... before an accident gets to me. Since I drove 30-40,000 miles a year, driving saftey was important to me.

As far as parked saftey is concerned, I had been hooked up at the campground for 3 days when the fire hit. Engine was cold, I was plugged in to a 50 AMP outlet. I had (4) 30 Gal. propane bottles 3 Full with valves closed, and one open 1/2 full. I also had 120 Gals. of Diesel fuel. Everything in the coach was off when I left at 8:30 AM, at 11:00 AM the fire started. Smoke was seen coming out the bathroom vent. A retired Fire Fighter was walking his dog near my coach, and smelled smoke. He tried to knock on the coach door, but it was locked. The passenger truck door was left unlocked, and when he opened it, the flames spilled out. You can see this in the pictures.
The diesel fuel didn't burn or leak.
The propane cylinders all vented as they are designed to do.
The rest you can see burned. It burned so hot that the glass melted. Coins that were in the ashtray melted. The heat went up fuel and gas were below so they were OK.
Everything was damaged by smoke and water. If more things had been in Ziplock bags and Rubbermaid containers they would have been saved from water damage.

Things I would do different.

First of all buy a coach that is really built by someone that knows what they are doing. By this I mean, a company with drawings of what they are building. Most mass produced units need to do this, many limited production coaches don't.

Kingsley could never deliver a schematic of how my coach was wired. They said, we think this is how it was done...
They had NO Load analysis on the circuits. By this I mean they did not have a list of expected loads, wire size calculations or anything to know that the wires that they were using would be adequate for the wiring layout that they chose.

To this day, I bet if every Kingsley customer asks for a schematic, none will get one, at least none will get one that actually matches what is in their coach. This is insane.

Another area that is lacking, is in workmanship. Simple things like stripping wires. If you have a 12 AWG wire that is made up of 15 strands, and during the stripping process, 3 strands are broken off. This is a 20% reduction in current carrying capacity!!! Your 10 amp rated circuit just went down to 8 amps. A more insideious problem are the conductors that are just knicked when stripping. With the vibration that these vehicles see, these will break over time, reducing the current carrying capacity even more.

Sharp edges are an even bigger problem. They can cut through the insulation and leave a short circuit.

Many wires in Kingsleys are run OK and insulated properly maybe most. But unless ALL of them are, you can have VERY serious problems. It isn't the strong links in the chain that get you in trouble, but the weak ones that will screw you.

I have seen at Kingsley holes drilled in a 1" square steel tube used as a wall stud which were not deburred that just had a piece of electrical tape wrapped around the wire to "protect" it from chafing at the razor sharp burrs in the tube???

I have seen 3 or 4 wires hooked up end to end, just because they were short of wire and needed a longer piece.

I have seen wires that were too short "stretched" to fit by running them diagonally across an open space rather than getting a longer piece.

I have seen screws driven through wires in walls, cielings and floors because nobody knew where the wires were running...

I have seen wiring fuse boxes hidden under false closet floors that nobody would ever know about, making it just about impossible to trace down a problem.

Other companies may have problems too, It is just that I know these problems from the Kingsley I had and the 8 or 9 that I have been through.


Other things I have learned:
Have an emergency exit in EVERY room.
Have a smoke detector in every room and closet. At $10 each, times 7 or 8 not very expensive.
AGREED VALUE insurance. Don't let depreciation get you.

I hope this helps. I have a background in Avionics and aircraft wiring, so some of these concepts are second nature to me, but you can not be too careful.
40,000 mile TC user is offline  
Old 03-22-2005, 02:26 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,083
Default

.....someone point me to the pix!...I'm having a special ed. day....[I'm real interested in this FIRE situation]....who was your insurance company?....any difficulty with the underwriter?.....geof kaye
__________________
women-food-money-naps...not necessarly in that order
KAYE RIVERCITY is offline  
Old 03-22-2005, 04:27 AM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 62
Default

Quote:
Originally posted by KAYE RIVERCITY:
.....someone point me to the pix!...
The prior thread in this Kingsley Manufacturer Forum has these powerful photos:

Burning Kingsley
Blue Skies is offline  
Old 03-22-2005, 05:57 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: N.E. Ohio
Posts: 768
Default

Kingsley Customer

That is fantastic information about the chassis and the safety concerns that you pointed out. I bet you are right that most all of the conversion companies do not have wiring schematics for each coach, do to the custom nature of these rigs and cost. What would be interesting to here is how each one of them addresses this issue, how do they run wiring, what kind of testing do they do, how do they insure wires are properly stripped, how are wires protected from chaffing, ect..

The old me would have really hammered Kingsley for something like this. But as I mentioned before I have changed my thinking and would like to see the industry as whole succeed.

Like with any new product, over time a manufacturer is going to realize what works and what does not. Those companies that adapt and continually refine their product will survive and flourish, those that do not, will not. I also think there is some value in a company sticking to a tried and true method in building versus going way out on a limb and putting some new technology or technique out that is most likely going to fail.

I like the fact that Kingsley stepped up and tried to offer you a deal (not sure if it was good or not) but disappointed that they did not instill enough confidence in you that they are or will make a better product. And like I said maybe they have addressed some of these issues now and I would love to have a Representative jump on-line here and let us know what they are doing in 05.

Kingsley Customer you have brought up some awesome new information that alot of us have not even considered. This just makes anyone who reads this information that much more educated when they are ready to buy.

Bill

BTW: Love your avatar - burning candle, had to chuckle over that.
__________________
2012 Showhauler 28'6" Motorhome on a Columbia w/ 450 Mercedes.
Warpath is offline  
Old 03-22-2005, 09:44 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,083
Default

......I'm going over to the Fire Chief Wednesday with your pix and asking his crew what type of fire extinguishers/system would work.......interesting burn....but very sorry it happened to you.....geof kaye
__________________

__________________
women-food-money-naps...not necessarly in that order
KAYE RIVERCITY is offline  
Closed Thread

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:35 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.