7 Most Common Problems with Chinook RV (Solutions Included)

With effortless braking, handling, and good acceleration, Chinook motorhomes are a joy to ride. However, they are not perfect like other RVs. Before buying one, it is crucial to learn the Chinook RV problems.

Some problems you will most likely encounter are less interior space, regular blowout of the spark plugs, and poor-quality glass holders. Moreover, many users complain about battery problems, vibrating sound from the generator, poor antenna reception, and dribbling of freshwater tanks. 

Fortunately, these problems are manageable with regular maintenance. Let’s look at the reasons and solutions for Chinook motorhome problems.

Chinook RV Problems

7 Common Problems with Chinook RV and Their Solutions:

With Chinook RVs being discontinued long ago, encountering various issues is expected. Explore frequent problems and their solutions to better navigate your RV experience.

Problem 01: Generator Creates Excessive Vibrating Noise

Chinook trailers have generators converting mechanical energy into electrical energy. As a result, the battery of the RV gets electricity for charging.

Moreover, the generator provides electricity to the entire electrical system. Meaning that the generator remains turned on all the time. For this reason, many users experienced constant vibrating noise. Such a sound gave them a worse experience in the trailer.

Generally, 2 reasons are responsible for such vibrating noise, they are:

  • Using subpar-quality fuel
  • Any component of the generator is lost or damaged
  • Lack of lubrication in the component


First, check whether any components are lost. Make sure to tighten the bolts and nuts properly. Moreover, the generator should be installed properly to avoid wobbling.

Check the condition of the springs located between the mounting place and the generator. If the spring condition is bad, change it.

Next, use manufacturer-recommended and premium-quality oil for the generator. This is a must. Good quality oil will stop unusual vibrating sounds and prolong the generator’s lifespan.

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Problem 02: Poor-quality Cup Holder

A cup holder is an essential place in an RV. Since users spend most of their time in the RV, always keep a glass of water or other drinks in the cup holder.

Chinook RVs are designed with cup holders between the sides of the couches and the seats. The cup holders are 2 types in Chinook campers.

You can put different sizes of cups in one cup holder. It holds glasses of different depths and sizes. The other cup holder is a circular bar having a hanger. This cup holder is positioned at the back of the seats. The most significant benefit of these cup holders is they can be attached anywhere, according to your choice.

Sadly, Chinook built the second cup holder using poor-quality materials. The tray material at the arm of the chair needs to be of better quality. Thus, the tray can break after putting it in a cup. Even if you put hot or cold glass in the tray, it can melt or shrink.  


The best solution to the problem is to install better-quality and well-designed glass holders. You can also attach a cupholder console.

Wondering what a cup holder console is?

It is a separate attachment used to hold glasses efficiently.

However, be remindful not to over-pour the cups or glasses. Otherwise, the liquid will most likely spill.

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Problem 03: Battery Issues

The battery is responsible for supplying electricity to various RV components, and it can be damaged over time.

So, what are the signs of a defective battery?

Excessive heat gets generated in the compartment due to the faulty battery. This way, the internal components can get damaged. More dangerously, sockets and wires can melt, causing a short circuit.

If you notice problems during startup or the battery charges improperly, be sure there is something wrong with the battery.

The culprits for the battery damage are below:

  • Corroded connections
  • Extreme hot and cold
  • Poor quality belts and mounts
  • Faulty fuses
  • Insufficient charging


Changing the battery is the only fix to the issue. You will find a wide range of collections in the market.

However, remember, modern batteries might not fit in the Chinook RV. The reason was Chinook discontinued manufacturing RV in 2005. As a result, finding a replacement battery can be challenging.

If you cannot buy a modern one, consider using a converter. Thus, you can easily fit a modern battery in your old Chinook motorhome.

Another good idea will be to keep a spare battery in your RV. Such an act will be beneficial during emergencies.

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Problem 04: Less Spacious Interior

Do you like an RV with a small interior?

If yes, then the Chinook trailer will be an ideal choice.

But if your priority is comfort and a spacious interior, Chinook will surely disappoint you.

Chinook is a small motorhome with a medium-sized bed. Also, the interiors could be more luxurious. Since these are small RVs, they need more tables and furniture. Furthermore, the kitchen size is medium and has a few shelves to store kitchen items.

In addition, the bathroom doesn’t have a bathtub, while the toilet is small too.

For their small size, you can’t place leather sofas and couches. Besides, proper aeration between the furniture is unavailable since oversized windows and ventilators are not there.

Those who like playing indoor games like chess while traveling can’t play these things if you own a Chinook trailer.  

A few users stated that they experienced mold and mildew on the couch. Such a thing happens due to a lack of ventilation. Consequently, the interior smells of odor and creates a suffocating environment.


Be smart if you are a proud owner of Chinook RV. Choose interiors that serve multiple purposes.

Let’s buy a sofa which can also be used as a bed. You can occupy a couch and a bed in the same space.

Follow the same advice while choosing RV kitchenware and other components.

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Problem 05: Blown Out Spark Plug

The spark plugs channel the charge from the plug to the chamber. When this interrupts, they blow out.

Inaccurate air-fuel mixture in the engine chamber is the prime cause of this issue. Even the spark plug itself can be the culprit. However, a mechanical problem in the engine is the main reason for blown-out spark plugs.


When the spark plugs fail, change them with new ones.

If the problem exists, the issue is probably happening because of the defective engine parts. Solving these issues is hard. So, better call a professional mechanic in this case.

Problem 06: Dribbling of Freshwater Tank

Chinook RVs come with a freshwater tank installed on the lower side near the chassis. It serves fresh water for the toilet and kitchen.

The quality of the tank could be better in Chinook trailers. When you drive the RV on rough and uneven surfaces, the bottom part of the tank comes in contact with the roads. This way, cracks and damages appear in the tank.

Moreover, engine heat melts the tank surface, causing leakage.


Check the tank condition before heading on a long trip. If it is cracked or damaged, replace it. Also, consult with a professional mechanic about adjusting the chassis. This will help level the water tank position to avoid contacting uneven roads.

Problem 07: Poor Signal Reception

Poor antenna reception causes for 2 reasons: bad antenna or poor signal.

If you receive a poor signal, ensure your location has excellent reception. Are you still getting a poor signal after confirming it?

Be sure that the antenna has a problem.


Usually, old antennas are prone to receiving antenna signals poorly. The solution is simple: replace the antenna.

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Are Chinook motor homes worth the price?

Chinook gained moderate popularity thanks to its compact size. Users particularly appreciated its easy driving experience. The RV’s problems were manageable and didn’t significantly impact its popularity.

How can I prevent mold and mildew growth in my Chinook RV?

Ensure proper ventilation by using exhaust fans when cooking or showering to prevent mold and mildew growth in your Chinook RV. Regularly inspect and repair any leaks to avoid moisture buildup. Use dehumidifiers or moisture-absorbing products and keep the interior clean and dry to discourage mold growth.

What are common issues faced by Chinook RVs?

Common issues faced with Chinook RVs include electrical problems, air conditioning system malfunctions, water leaks, slide-out mechanism failures, propane system issues, brake problems, generator starting troubles, leveling jack malfunctioning, and engine performance concerns. Regular maintenance and prompt troubleshooting can help prevent or address these problems effectively.

Final Words

With proper periodic maintenance, many of these Chinook RV problems can be mitigated or avoided altogether. Utilizing tips and tricks to troubleshoot and address common problems can help ensure a smoother RV experience. 

Additionally, it is advisable to keep emergency kits and essential supplies onboard to handle unforeseen emergencies, providing peace of mind during travels.

With a proactive approach and preparedness, you can fully enjoy the benefits of Chinook RVs while minimizing potential challenges.

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