Wednesday, February 13, 2013


So, would you like a motorhome?
Why not build it yourself?
It looks easy....
if you have the space,
the materials,
and the tools....
oh, and 850 workers!
(Over 1500 are needed for outside services as well)

Well, maybe you won't want to build one after all!
Mr. Dreamy & I enjoyed a tour of the
Tiffin plant in Red Bay, AL.
I thought you might enjoy a look inside, too.

A basic chassis is driven to the assembly plant.
Tiffin uses some chassis manufactured elsewhere,
and some they assemble at the factory,
depending on the style of the motorhome.
(Did you know that the plural of chassis is... chassis?!)

 Additional steel is welded to the chassis to support storage bays,
water tanks and the floor.

Up to 3 miles of wire is used in each motorhome. 
Wiring harnesses are created for each model.
Wires are labeled by computers and cut individually.
They are laid out along this board 
and sections are taped together.

One of the wire harnesses is installed along the chassis.
More wire is enclosed in walls and the ceiling at 
other points in the assembly area.

CNC machines cut huge sheets of foam layered with other materials
for the floor and the roof of the motorhome.
Cutouts are made for roof vents, lights and wiring.
This machine zips along and little widgets of foam fly all over.
On a bad static day I wonder if the workers go home looking
like little snowmen?

The tile floor for some models is glued down on sub flooring and
grouted at another location and brought to the factory in one piece.
This 'suction' rig will pick the floor up and lay it on top 
of the precut layered foam sandwich that was mounted on the chassis. 

Cabinets, doors and appliances are assembled,
and are ready to be placed on the flooring.
All cabinetry is built at the factory in a huge cabinet shop.

Walls are put together offsite.
Here is the "Flat Stanley" model of a motorhome.

Once everything is inside the motorhome, the walls are put in place.

The roof is almost ready to be placed on the motorhome.
Notice that all roof-top equipment is in place.

 Slide outs, complete with furniture and window treatments,
are ready to be slid into the openings of the walls.

Here goes the slide out.
Geesh, that worker is strong -
look at him lift that slideout as if it weighs nothing,
and one handed, at that!

The motorhome moves on, 
getting the front cap, windows,
and doors for the storage bays.
The front cap is fully assembled, with wiring and windshield 
 before it is put into place.

Finally, the motorhome goes to another site for painting.
It will return to the factory for inspection and cleaning,
and for minor repairs.

Looks easy, right?

What factories have you enjoyed visiting?


  1. I had no idea how much goes into it! Crazy! About 30 miles north of me is the Jelly Belly factory. It is a popular destination for field trips, getting the kids out of the house for the day, etc. I've been there quite a few times, its really fun! My favorite thing is how yummy some of the rooms smell! At the end, everyone leaves with a small sample bag of the 'belly flops' which are the misshaped ones that are sorted out at one point! Its definitely a fun tour.

  2. I would love to own one, though not build it myself! Awesome.

  3. What an amazing process, Dreaming. Thank you for sharing the photos and writing the commentary ~ that was a lot of work and very well done.

    I haven't visited many factories, but I took my students numerous times to the Wemlinger Water Treatment Plant about a mile from my school, Sunrise Elementary. It was always exciting for them and for me to see where the water we drink is processed. Big machines, lots of noise, dangerous chemicals, men in hard hats? What's not to love? The plant's operators weren't used to third graders showing up and needing a potty break in the middle of the tour. The first time, they forgot to remove or hide the "gentlemen's" magazines in the guys' bathroom ~ so our third grade boys got a little more than this teacher expected on the trip. Such are the unexpected fun moments of life!

    Safe journeys!


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