Holiday Rambler is an American made motorhome coach maker that began in 1953. It is currently owned by the Navistar Corporation, and it is still going strong after all of these years.
Holiday has been at the forefront of innovative coach development from the beginning, being the first coach maker to use aluminium body framing for a more lightweight and fuel-efficient design. They also were the first coach company to use a slide-out, making the kitchen area in their coaches far less cramped and much more useable. Slideouts have now become common in the industry, with Holiday Rambler leading the way.
They pioneered such things we take for granted now like built-in refrigerators, which was considered an absolute luxury in 1950’s campers, and perhaps best of all, they added in holding tanks for both potable water and wastewater. From then on, showers and onboard bathrooms became the norm.
Today’s Holiday Rambler has almost cult status, outside of the RV world they are rarely talked about, but inside the RV world, they are known as one of the finest RV’s you can find.
As well respected as they are, we are going to give you an insight into 5 of the main problems in modern Holiday Rambler’s.
The weak link in many Holiday Ramblers is the rear trailing arms. In most motorhomes, trailing arms are generally considered as good for the life of the vehicle. In a Holiday Rambler, this may not be the case.
Generally, the trailing arms won’t fail as long as you keep driving on smooth and paved roads, but rougher roads, going over curbs, or driving over anything that may cause the back of your motorhome to go “bump,” may compromise the rear trailing arm. Sway at the rear of the vehicle is a sure sign that your trailing arm has broken free and is no longer fully attached, and if that occurs, your only recourse is to drive slowly until you can park the vehicle.
Strange Electrical Issues
This appears to be a hallmark issue on many modern Ramblers. Strange things indeed, like when the furnace goes on so will the overhead lights, when the water heater goes on for a shower the refrigerator shuts down, and when driving at night the dashboard lights flicker.
Although these are not issues on most Ramblers, they have been reported, and are vexing to the service people trying to figure out why. There are several instances where the entire system, that is causing the problem, has been rewired, yet the issue still exists.
Water Heater Leaks
Many people have reported that the water heater leaks. These units are not manufactured in house, so this is more of a supplier problem. Regardless, no one wants to have a leaking water heater that could potentially cause structural damage if let go long enough. If you can determine that the water heater is leaking while under warranty, it will be replaced free of charge.
Spark Plug Wires
Perhaps the most common of all the problems for Ramblers are the spark plug wires on Ford powered vehicles. Apparently they have been mounted too close to the engine.
Generally under normal circumstances, there won’t be any problem, but during high-stress driving, like going up mountains or traveling at higher speeds, sometimes even idling when there is little to no airflow around the engine, the spark plug wires have a tendency to burn and cease functioning. This will make the engine misfire, causing more stress on the engine and making other spark plug wires burn up.
Generally, they won’t cause a fire, they will just melt and smell bad, which may be the first clue as to what is happening. However, some engine fires have been reported due to burning spark plug wires, so if you smell burning rubber or see smoke coming from the engine compartment, pull over mediately.
Keeping an extra set on hand, and replacing the burnt wire will ensure that you will be able to continue the journey with caution.
Many Holiday Ramblers get their engines and chassis from Ford. The aforementioned spark plug issue would be considered a design problem with the Ford engine, so that has to be something to consider. Now, we are not going to knock Ford Motors as a company.
They produce outstanding vehicles in their own right. But the burning spark plug problem opens up another issue. It seems as though many Ford dealerships won’t work on Holiday Rambler coaches, even though some are fitted with Ford motors and running gear.
It has been noted that some dealerships will say this is a Holiday Rambler problem, and the coach should be taken back to a Holiday dealer for service. On the other hand, there are many Ford dealerships that will gladly work on the Ford components built into a Holiday Rambler.
This isn’t a Rambler problem, it seems to be a Ford problem, as one might think that all of their dealerships should work on Ford components. To that end, it may be in your best interests to call local Ford dealers and find out if they service Ramblers, and also to be on the safe side, call Ford dealerships in and around your destination for the same purpose, just in case.
No one should have to deal with this type of headache, but it is out there and could potentially turn the adventure of a lifetime into a mechanical nightmare.
For the most part, while getting around any Ford issues, people who own Holiday Ramblers, any make or model, love them! If you are willing to deal with the possible Ford service snags, and phone calls to dealerships will certainly alleviate any doubts as to what Ford will do for you, you’ll be getting one fine coach that you might just fall in love with too.