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Old 10-13-2019, 07:49 PM   #1
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Looking at upgrading

Hello all,
The wife and I own a beautiful 20 acre country estate in North Central Arkansas but find ourselves temporarily full time in our 42' Montana 5th wheel. I had an opportunity to finish out my career in Carlsbad NM and we have 5yrs max.

We bought the Montana (High Country 381TH) for weekend kayaking trips and it is ideal for that purpose with it's toy hauler basement garage. That floor plan features a two story rear with bedroom over a garage. You still have full use of the upstairs and don't have to take the toys out of the garage to use the bedroom, they are totally separate.

While I really like the concept (after all I am the one who designed it for Grand Design) it does fall a bit short for full timing and the construction is subpar at best. Going full time really does change your perspective on what is important.

In five years and one second (IE: when we retire) we plan to winter in Florida and hopscotch across the country (drive a day or two/stay a month/drive a day or two/stay a month etc....). We have a LOT of toys we would like to take with us (jet ski, kayaks, 4 seat Can Am Maverick X3 Turbo, Motorcycle).

So we are left with 3 choices and would appreciate commentary/advice on same:

1. Keep our current Montana tow it with our current 1 ton dually and buy the wife a 3/4 ton to tow our 24' enclosed cargo trailer.

2. Upgrade to a used Class A (2-3 yrs old/20K miles or less) and get a stacker (IE: double decker) trailer for toys.

3. And this is where you New Horizons owners come in. Upgrade to a custom floorplan New Horizon built to my design (more on this in a minute) which will require a larger tow vehicle. Sell the 1 ton and get the wife a 3/4 ton to tow the enclosed 24' trailer for toys on occasion. With the floorplan I am thinking of we may be able to get away without the separate enclosed trailer part of the time.

What I have in mind for a floor plan:
At least 42' maybe longer WIDE BODY design. Basically the same concept as the Montana High Country 381TH with front living room, mid kitchen and rear bedroom that has a basement under it and ramp on rear that allows loading of big toys. The 381TH has a 10' deep garage just for reference but it is not wide body so only like 50" wide garage). You can put a motorcycle and two 10' Kayaks or even a golf cart in the garage.

The biggest error in the design of the 381TH is the kitchen sits 3 steps lower than the living room and bedroom/bathroom. My idea is to bring the kitchen floor up to match the living and bedroom floor and totally eliminate the interior stairs. Granted this will add 3 additional steps going in and out of the coach BUT it will eliminate the constant up and down while inside the unit. But the biggest payoff is you will have a nearly three foot tall basement storage area from the rear bumper all the way to the hitch pin cutout (or generator compartment if we include that option)!!!! Now your talking being able to put a good sized side by side in the garage or a small boat! Certainly longer kayaks and canoes would no longer be an issue. Basically you end up with 40' plus of luxury living space upstairs and a massive basement garage/storage area that would far exceed anything even the largest Class A diesel pushers have to offer (basically where they have an engine you would have a garage big enough for a moderate sized side by side, small boat or certainly a golf cart).


One other payoff with raising the kitchen floor level to living and bedroom is you could increase the size of the bathroom a bit as well which would greatly enhance the livability of the unit! I strongly suspect the build would also be easier and stronger to construct.


Now I know some of you are going to immediately jump on the "why don't you just buy a conventional toy hauler with a big garage on the back end of it. No offense but those designs are NOT for us. We don't like the very poor design of the living spaces and having to pull the toys out every time you want to use the back of the camper. Nor do we like the utility feel of those garages and we certainly don't have a need to sleep a family of 6. The mega basement garage concept gives you the best of both worlds. A luxury coach on top but with the ability to carry toys as well.

My main question is does New Horizons have the ability to build such a unit. Would that company be your choice to do so? Are there any other RV builders out there that would be able to tackle a custom build of this nature?
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:28 AM   #2
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I like the concept of your idea, we came from the Class A side of things and loved the storage layout of the Class A. Plus we would like the idea of doing away with the amount of steps you now have in your current Montana, the ones between the kitchen and bathroom area are enough for us LOL!!
New Horizon has done a floorplan very much like the Montana you are in now so they already have a partial concept of what you want to do so I would bet a dollar that they could pull it off.
That will be a bunch more frame work and with it will come weight but I'm sure you have considered that already and you ceiling height would be a bit lower throughout the unit but again I'm sure you have considered that.
Do I think NH could do it, yes is my gut feel. Who else might do it, maybe Spacecraft.
You know, with that much basement space a under floor cooling system may be something to figure out.
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:23 PM   #3
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What is the floor plan you speak of? I haven't seen anything in the NH line that was similar to a Montana HC381TH.
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Old 10-14-2019, 10:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mtlakejim View Post
What is the floor plan you speak of? I haven't seen anything in the NH line that was similar to a Montana HC381TH.
I didn't mean to make it sound exact but they have done a rear raised living room which is a start towards what you describe. It was a custom rig, not one on their floor plan page.
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Old 10-16-2019, 04:15 PM   #5
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Mtlakejim -

Just keep repeating . . . "New Horizons builds custom fifth wheels." Those floor plans on their website are just floor plans they have built that may offer a place to start planning. All New Horizons' RVs are custom-built. The only "spec" units they build are those 3 or 4 that are built to take to the half dozen RV shows they exhibit at - Hershey, Tampa, Phoenix, etc.

Dave and I have both seen one "floor height" custom unit at NH Ambassador's Days last June. One of the ambassadors wanted to, basically, take everything with them. In this case, they had the typical fifth wheel layout, but they shortened the kitchen and raised the living room floor to have a 3' high storage completely under the living area. Talk about storage! On another note, a NH 48' Majestic fondly known as "Big Red" (whose owner is a part of this forum) has a special storage behind the regular forward storage that holds two long kayaks.

From your other post . . . When I retired from the petroleum industry, my wife and I were full-timing in a pre-Thor DRV Elite Suites. For 5 years we enjoyed traveling in the DRV, but there were definite problems developing in the DRV. We made the decision to go with a NH 39' Majestic. Yes, we have had some problems, but we also had problems with a custom built S&B in Lafayette! (AC fell out of the attic!) We love our Majestic! Say, if you want to see a picture of our unit, go to the NH website, the Majestic page, then scroll all the way to the bottom of the Majestic page . . . under that white stuff is our Majestic! As the rally master for the next New Horizons Owners Group rally next September, I invite you as either a NH owner or NH Wannabe to come to Creede and join the rest of us for fun and camaraderie!

Just my two cents,
Ron
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Old 10-16-2019, 08:31 PM   #6
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Well I hate to tell everyone BUT NH is NOT a full on custom builder! The flat refused my idea of raising the interior floor to equal height and I quote "we don't like to reinvent the wheel with every build"!


I am seriously disappointed. Here we sit ready to fund the first of what I am sure will be a big hit of a floor plan and NH is afraid to be the first to build it! Guess it is Spacecraft or bust........


Thanks for the replys though.
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Old 10-17-2019, 08:24 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mtlakejim View Post
Well I hate to tell everyone BUT NH is NOT a full on custom builder! The flat refused my idea of raising the interior floor to equal height and I quote "we don't like to reinvent the wheel with every build"!


I am seriously disappointed. Here we sit ready to fund the first of what I am sure will be a big hit of a floor plan and NH is afraid to be the first to build it! Guess it is Spacecraft or bust........


Thanks for the replys though.
Mtlakejim -

Unfortunately, I should say, just because New Horizons will not build a RV with your ideas does not disqualify them as a custom builder. New Horizons IS a Custom Builder of fifth wheel RVs. If they built your plans, their name would also be on your RV. Perhaps from their experience they see that there would be too many problems with your idea that they do not want their name on the cap. Look, NH has built at least two Majestic bumper pulls! It is not their business to build bumper pull trailers, but they did build at least two. From what I understand, New Horizons will not build another bumper pull. New Horizons is a custom builder, but not for what you want and need.

I would encourage you to look at Spacecraft. They have a different base idea of frames and RV structure. I would say with a semi-trailer base, your dream might be easier reached. I would also encourage you to contact and look at Jack Mayer's website http://rvhlifestyles.com/ for a HDT.

Happy travels and enjoy the lifestyle.

Just my two cents,
Ron
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Old 10-25-2019, 06:32 PM   #8
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Nope New Horizons is NOT a custom builder. They may offer your choice of curtains and cabinet finishes (within limits and if you pay a premium) but that is a FAR CRY from being a CUSTOM Builder!


Spacecraft looks like they will be able to build exactly what we want. Now that IS a custom builder! I might also add that the build quality on Spacecraft looks to be far superior even to New Horizon. I would say their quality is about as far above NH as NH is above Thor. Of course you pay for that quality and custom but I was pleasantly surprised to find that you could get into a Spacecraft 5th wheel (yes they build both 5th wheels and SEMIs) for about 200K in the 42' length. Considering how well built they are that actually sounds reasonable to me.
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Old 10-28-2019, 08:46 AM   #9
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Glad you found a solution to your problem.

I was going to suggest a super C towing a trailer for your toys. Some of the Rengades look beautiful inside. Love the Ikon.
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Old 11-02-2019, 08:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtlakejim View Post
Nope New Horizons is NOT a custom builder. They may offer your choice of curtains and cabinet finishes (within limits and if you pay a premium) but that is a FAR CRY from being a CUSTOM Builder!


Spacecraft looks like they will be able to build exactly what we want. Now that IS a custom builder! I might also add that the build quality on Spacecraft looks to be far superior even to New Horizon. I would say their quality is about as far above NH as NH is above Thor. Of course you pay for that quality and custom but I was pleasantly surprised to find that you could get into a Spacecraft 5th wheel (yes they build both 5th wheels and SEMIs) for about 200K in the 42' length. Considering how well built they are that actually sounds reasonable to me.

In the RV Industry anything that doesn't come off a production line is custom.

When we talked to Spacecraft the only ceiling we could get was molded fiberglass and the lighting had to go in specific areas of the ceiling

If you want a 100% custom trailer talk to Anderson Custom Estates.
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Old 11-03-2019, 10:53 AM   #11
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In the RV Industry anything that doesn't come off a production line is custom.

When we talked to Spacecraft the only ceiling we could get was molded fiberglass and the lighting had to go in specific areas of the ceiling

If you want a 100% custom trailer talk to Anderson Custom Estates.
I'll have to disagree with you on that.
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Old 11-04-2019, 07:00 AM   #12
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I'm sure we all hope things go well with your Spacecraft build.
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