Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Van Leigh 5th Wheel Factory Tour

Posted from Bakersfield CA

Back in February Pam and I visited the Ocala RV show.  We like to see what's new in the RV world and possibly pick up a new idea or see a new product.

Toward the end of our visit, we saw VanLeigh 5th wheels for the first time.  A new 5th wheel company.  Who are these folks?  Never heard of them...

We came to find out that this new company was part of the Tiffin family.  Bob Tiffin serves as the Chairman (and probably Chief Financial Backer?).  The company is headed up by one of his sons - Van - and his grandson Leigh  (VanLeigh).  The company is located in Burnside MS about 40 minutes from Red Bay AL.

We found the large warehouse that is the hub of the operation.  It also has the main offices and assembly plant.  We met Don K in Ocala and he gave us a tour of a couple of their RVs.  Interestly enough, he was on a visit to the factory and he showed us around that facility.  He remembered us and had some time, so we got a detailed explanation of what was going on at each of the stations and production lines.

VanLeigh is currently building 10 5th wheels a week and can not keep up with production needs.  They are signing up new dealers every week and are slowly expanding their network to the midwest and northeast.

The factory looks like a typical RV production facility and is brand new.
Lots of materials and supplies and equipment in the factory waiting to get moved into place and part of a new 5th wheel.
Frames/chassis arrive a few times a week.  The production could fluctuate a little so they have the supplier 'on call'.
One upgrade for 2017 is the new brake system that is one of the first things that are installed.
The floor is one piece and done before any of the units are moved down the production line.

This station is where the aluminum supports for the roof gets put together.
The rubber roof is built over here.
It is a little different seeing the 5th wheel at a station with no motor in place to drive it along to each station.
Here are a couple of front end caps with out the covering on them.
The interior of the endcaps is the bedroom entertainment suite and cabinetry.
In one of the kitchen slideouts, a new microwave is installed over the counter and backsplash.
The slideouts and front cap is moved into position.
The decals are being applied in this station.
Our guide Tom and a woman who is checking for leaks are describing the process.
Inside at the final inspection station, the high ceiling and new furniture make for a comfy living room next to the island and kitchen area.
Large TVs and in-cabinet fireplaces are the norm these days.
This Vilano has a light system with a ceiling box and lots of LED lighting.
We loved being able to see the Tiffin Facility and take a look at the new VanLeigh 5th wheels being built.  It was a bit of a drive from Red Bay, but worth the trip and it was fascinating.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

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