Forest River FR3 30DS Problems, Specs, Cost, Mpg, Review

The more things cost, the more you expect them to be problem free. However, that does not seem to be the case when it comes to RVs. The more they cost, the more parts that can go wrong and cause you plenty of headaches.

The main problem may be the Ford F53 chassis not the rest of the RV. The gas fuel injected 7.3 L engine seems fine and it puts out 350 HP at 3900 RPM. But that doesn’t rust, leaks, and corrosion from taking place. Nothing is going to be perfect in the RV industry.

To learn more about this vehicle and its problems, etc., just continue to read our article. It delves into the subject so you have the straight story about its pros and cons, as well as specs. Take a few minutes to see if this rig is perfect for your RV life.

What is a Forest River FR3?


According to Forest River, this RV was a crossover design. It was and is supposed to handle like a Class C motorhome but have the look, feel, and design of a Class A RV.

The company made 4 floor plans on the Ford F53 chassis including the 30 DS and it came with at least 2 slide-outs. Different floor plans have a different slide-out design so you can choose the one you prefer.

It is a well-designed RV that has all the comforts of home inside. The exterior storage space reaches 115 cubic feet with plenty of interior storage space for all your necessities.

Everything you expect to find in a smaller Class A RV is included in this model. If you buy used you will have the benefit of any extra options the previous owner decided they needed.

The length of this RV is 31 feet 8 inches with an overall exterior height of 12 feet 5 inches. That makes it very tough to travel on some back roads.

Common FR3 30DS problems

The common problems found on this RV model will be similar to those found on other RV models made by this and other brands.

1. leaking roof and windows- this seems to be a problem RV makers can’t or do not want to fix. This model will have some issues with rain and you will see the leaks eventually. The solution to this problem is another coat of sealant

2. electrical problems- mostly different electrical components inside the RV. The way to solve those problems is to call for professional help. There are different components that will go bad on the same model. Not every one of these will be universal.

3. toilet and plumbing- for some reason Forest River does not make a good plumbing system. Many of the issues that arise can be the result of human or user error but sometimes the problem comes straight from the factory

Repair or replacement of parts is the way to go. Which one you choose is up to you.

4. Waterline- this may be more of a case of winter storage than summer use. It seems that the water line can freeze on you so you will need to use RV anti-freeze when you camp in the winter or store it during the colder months of the year.

A heater will do also when you are using your RV during the winter season.

5. the slide-out- rust corrosion and lack of lubrication will be your main problems. Do regular maintenance and use the right grease to make sure you do not see these issues that frequently

FR3 30DS Reviews


The reviews are mixed with some people stating that Forest River in general lacks professionalism in its construction of its different RV models. But there are owners that are generally pleased with this model.

One non-owner toured the FR3 30DS and was amazed at how much Forest River copies the Thor Ace model. It is not an original design and this non-owner liked different features found in that particular FR3 30DS. They said the flooring was food, the slide-out was deeper, the dinette was larger and more comfortable, and so on.

What they did not like was the design of the bathroom but that may just be personal preference. Another owner had problems with their steps but said that Forest River provided great customer service when they stopped in at the factory. The steps were replaced with an upgraded style.

Generally, most people are upset more about minor issues that do not fit their preferences or RV use. But they do like the RV and none have said they will get rid of it because of these problems.

What we can tell by the reviews is that this is a reasonably priced RV that does what it is supposed to and most owners are satisfied with it.

FR3 30DS Specs

- Ford F53 Gas Class A Motor Home Chassis

- 7.3L 445 cu in V-8

- 6-Speed TorqueShift Transmission

- Horsepower- 350 hp @ 3,900 RPM

- Torque- 468 ft-lbs. @ 3,900 RPM

- Dimensions- 31’ 8” long, 12’ 5” high, & 8’ 6” wide

- Freshwater tank- 52 gallons

- Gray & Black water - 42 gallons

- LP tank capacity- 103 pounds

- Fuel tank capacity- 80 gallons

- GVWR- 18,000 pounds

- Towing capacity of 5,000 pounds

- GCWR- 23,000 pounds

- Wheel base 190 inches

There may be some difference between these specs as they are from a 2021 and 2022 models. Earlier model years may have slightly different capacities. Check your owner's manual and be careful, some manuals are not FR3 30DS specific.

If they were, you might be able to spot and fix some of the common and other problems that come during your ownership. This was one complaint made by one owner. His manual was not model specific and he had trouble making repairs.

How Tall is a Forest River FR3 30DS?


This is always an important question. Bridge clearances are not universal and older roads may have lower clearances than you will find on the interstate highway system.

The FR3 has an overall height of 12 feet 5 inches making it very close to the minimum bridge clearance on many state and federal highways. 

Planning your route ahead of time will spare you any embarrassment and frustration that comes when you take the wrong road and meet a bridge with a 10-foot clearance.

In the east, there are plenty of historic covered bridges that were not made for the height of most RVs and trailers.

How Much Can a Forest River FR3 Tow?

Like most Class A RVs, towing is the last thing on the minds of the different RV makers. This model is like all the rest and can only tow 5000 pounds. This does not give you a lot of leeway to tow anything you want.

Towing a car these days is a lot of hassle. That is because many car makers do not make their cars to be towed with all four wheels touching the road. You end up using a tow dolly or trailer to bring your vehicle with you on vacation.

When you use those devices, the amount of vehicle weight you can tow goes down. For example, if your tow dolly weighs 500 pounds, you are not limited to towing a vehicle weighing under 4500 pounds.

How Much Does An FR3 Weigh?


The GVWR for this vehicle is 18,000 pounds. That is without adding a towed vehicle. The GCWR (combined weight rating) is 23,000 pounds and you will note that is the total for the GVWR and the towing capacity.

The GAWR front is 7,000 pounds and the GAWR rear is 12,000 pounds. These figures come straight from Forest River’s FR3 2022 fact sheet. You may find different specs when it comes to weight on other fact sheets but this is the most accurate.

You need to know these weight limits so you know how to pack your RV and where to put different items. If you do tow your vehicle, Forest River seems to have included a 7-way trailer plug and a 5,000-pound tow hitch.

That will save you a little money if you plan to tow anything. Be careful as most modern vehicles are not designed to be towed with 4 wheels down.

Forest River FR3 30DS Cost

The price is going to be all over the map with this model of RV. One 2022 model with roughly 9000 miles on it is selling for $184,000 approx., while another 2022 with 7,000 miles on it is selling for $118,000. A third 2022 model with just under 9,000 mile son it is also selling in the $180,000 range.

We found a big jump between the 2022s and the 2021s as the latter, with similar mileage were selling between $115,000 and $119,000. There were some 2022s selling in the $120,00+ range as well.

What you will pay will depend on the area the RV is being sold, its condition, mileage, and so on. You will just have to do some thorough research to make sure you are getting your money's worth and not inheriting someone else’s problems.

There are quite a few on sale right now and you may compare those prices with the upcoming 2023 models if Forest River is still making them

FR3 30DS Gas Mileage


Your gas mileage will vary not just because of your driving habits but also because of the different engines under the hood. For example, the 2022 models had a 7.3 L 8 cylinder gas engine, while the 2020s had a 6.8 L 10 cylinder gas engine under the hood.

What owners have reported getting is between 6 and 8 mpg depending on what they were towing at the time. Those were recorded going 65 mph. One driver reported getting 8.5 mpg but he was driving a constant 55 mph.

The best we have seen so far is 9 but that level was reached when the owners were not rushing but taking their time. They may not have been towing either.

FR3 30DS Floor Plan

There seems to be only 1 floor plan for the FR3 30DS. Forest River built 4 for the Ford F53 chassis but those extra floor plans were not applied to the FR3 30Ds.

The bedroom for this model was or is at the rear of the coach with the bed being on the slide-out. Another slide-out was about halfway up and that held the dinette and hide-a-bed sofa.

The shower is across the floor from the bathroom and it measures 36 by 30 inches in size. There is an overhead bunk available for the kids or grandkids and the entry door is right behind the cab.

If you do not want the sofa, you can get theater seats instead. Everything is laid out against the walls of the RV so there is plenty of walking space in the middle.

Overall it looks like a very organized RV interior that lets you have lots of living space inside.

Some Final Words

This looks to be a comfortable RV and it is not too large nor is it too small. It may be just right for many couples. Every RV is going to have its problems so that should not be your final decision-making factor.

There may be trouble with the steering but that can easily be fixed with after-market parts. The slide-outs provide a little extra room where you need it, in the bedroom.

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