Check out our full photo gallery of the build process!
We decided on a Tiffin Motorcoach for many reasons: the interior layout, the incredible customer service, reliability, and many standard features like full-body paint, led lights, 10-gallon hot water heater, and Corian counters. One of the bonuses of buying a Tiffin is that you can watch your coach being built at the factory in Red Bay, Alabama. Actually you don’t have to be an owner, anyone can come to the factory to join a daily tour or wander around.
Tiffin has been doing this so long that they will give you almost a minute-by-minute build schedule for your coach a couple of weeks in advance. We had decided way back when that we really wanted to watch our build; everyone that has done it says it is a wonderful experience.
We bought our plane tickets and breathlessly waited for March 3 to arrive. Mike got a bad stomach bug three days before our expected flight but recovered in 48 hours (whew!). Then DC expected snow, a lot of snow. Our flight was cancelled two days in advance and we were re-booked on a flight for three hours later. THAT flight was cancelled several hours later and this time we were not automatically rebooked. Mike spent two hours on hold to get to customer service (the web did not help us this time) and re-booked for a 7:30pm flight that same evening. Then I got the stomach bug. This was not turning out to be an auspicious beginning for our new journey. By Monday afternoon, I was kind of okay, so we headed off to the airport. We made it a good two miles before I was not okay anymore so we turned around and came home. After some discussion, we rebooked for the next morning at 11:30. That was enough time for me to recover enough to travel. Off to Alabama we went!
It really was an amazing experience! Within four days, the RV went from a bare chassis to an unpainted completed motorcoach that’s been inspected multiple times.
Red Bay works from 6am to 3pm but to keep the schedule for each coach, workers will work overtime if the coach is not where it’s supposed to be by the end of the day. On the first day, I was a little surprised when all of a sudden almost everyone stopped what they were doing. One of the guys explained, saying it was breaktime. Everyone gets a break from 9-9:10, then lunch from 11:20-12. It makes sense when everyone has to work together in an assembly line.
Getting up at 4:30am to get to the plant by 6am is exhausting but I’m sure I’ve had a grin plastered to my face all day while we’re there. Everyone we met at the plant was crazy friendly! Lots of “where y’all from?”, “is this your unit?”, “is this your first?”, and just some random conversations, grins, and lots of positive feelings from everyone. If you see something “off” with your coach, they will fix it. We got lots of pictures and videos in case we need to find a wire, pipe, or duct in the future but it’s just a kick watching everyone put our motorcoach together! We’re only staying for one week so we’ll miss out on the painting.
If things get a little slow, you can wander around the plant and watch the roofs being built, slides being put together, walls being cut out, etc. If you ask someone a question, they are happy to answer you and give you a few minutes of their time. I don’t know if it’s the South or the Tiffin employees, but it was a very friendly environment.
Watching Tiffin build our RV has made us even more excited to get started! Only a few more weeks until we pick him (her?) up!!
It really is incredible watching all the required parts and pieces being assembled in parallel throughout the factory, arriving at the motorhome at the right time and place for installation. As we wandered around the main plant, we saw our coach number, 96857, on roof frames, furniture, boxes of wires, and more. We were able to see how our raw materials enter the building, are assembled into completed components like walls, then transported—sometimes by forklifts, sometimes by overhead cranes—to the station where our motorhome would be driven to next. It’s clear that the employees work very hard, and they were all so patient with us customers getting in their way, asking questions, and watching them work. I’m extremely glad we were able to make this trip happen, and amazed and appreciative of Tiffin’s willingness to allow customers full access to their factory.
Be sure to check out our full photo gallery of the build process! It includes over 50 photos from start to finish, covering three days of work. Next up is a week in the paint shop for seven coats of paint in four colors, then a week of final finishing and touch-up, and then it’s shipped (driven, actually) to Lazy Days in Tamp, Florida, where we’ll take delivery the first week of April. We can’t wait!Mike
Watching the RV Build in Red Bay, Alabama