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Old 01-05-2014, 08:09 AM   #15
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Not to be asking a silly question but,Would a Heartland Landmark be suitable for full time use as well?
We have been full timing for 7 years in a Heartland product...6 years in a Bighorn and this past year in a Landmark. We have been in temps from around zero to over 100 with no issues. We do have dual pane windows and a yetti package.

Not all Thor products are junk...they leave Heartland alone and thus they have a great customer service department.

In addition, the Landmark has additional insulation and a 2+5 warranty and is warranted for fulltime use.
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Old 01-05-2014, 08:11 AM   #16
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[QUOTE=Wolfbane4580;1870778]Not to be asking a silly question but,Would a Heartland Landmark be suitable for full time use as well?[/QUOT]
With Excel surely amoung the best for all season full time use, but lets not forget that some people's are full timer in just about any type of RV, we stayed over a years in a old 1992 Winnnebago Brave 28fts with no slide out and a large dog, and we enjoy every minutes of it, but definitely Hartland and Landmark are more suitable for full time use.
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Old 01-05-2014, 08:20 AM   #17
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We have been full timing for 7 years in a Heartland product...6 years in a Bighorn and this past year in a Landmark. We have been in temps from around zero to over 100 with no issues. We do have dual pane windows and a yetti package.

Not all Thor products are junk...they leave Heartland alone and thus they have a great customer service department.

In addition, the Landmark has additional insulation and a 2+5 warranty and is warranted for fulltime use.
Yes, my Cruiser also a Thor product have a 2 + 5 warranty , so far no problem for a not so up the scale 5th wheel, very good customer service department, was not satisfy with the mattress and the upgraded for free.
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Old 01-05-2014, 10:26 AM   #18
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Florida is a real meca for looking at RV's. So you are in a good spot to pick out a rig.
The Tampa RV Show is the 2nd largest in the country and is in your backyard.
Sounds like you are serious about getting the right tow vehicle...cool.

Used units that are really worth a look if you find one are. Newmar 5th wheel Mountain Aire, NuWa Hitchiker or Champaign, Carriage Carri-Lite or Royale, King of the Road, Teton.

Good luck
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Old 01-05-2014, 10:26 AM   #19
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The big problem with Big Horn and Thor (and FR and Keystone) is the frames. They "beef" up the frames to a 12" thin wall I-beam. For a large full-time trailer, I want to see a better foundation under my portable house.

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Old 01-05-2014, 10:44 AM   #20
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The big problem with Big Horn and Thor (and FR and Keystone) is the frames. They "beef" up the frames to a 12" thin wall I-beam. For a large full-time trailer, I want to see a better foundation under my portable house.

Ken
Ken what would be your no 1 choice at a reasonable price (under 80 K) for a 5th wheel suitable for fulltimer ? Thanks
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Old 01-05-2014, 10:50 AM   #21
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The big problem with Big Horn and Thor (and FR and Keystone) is the frames. They "beef" up the frames to a 12" thin wall I-beam. For a large full-time trailer, I want to see a better foundation under my portable house.

Ken
We did NOT find the 12" I beam frame on a Bighorn to be an issue...fact is we put over 80K miles on it in six years...held up just fine. Now the running gear was a different story, that is why we put Mor Ryde IS on the Landmark. Don't expect to ever have an issue...these newer 12" I beam frames have been redesigned and improved, even over our 2008 Bighorn...JMHO.
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Old 01-05-2014, 01:21 PM   #22
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I would consider the Drv first and the Excel 2nd. I have posted this many times when a newbie posts this question, buy a used good quality unit. You really don't know what floor plan you are going to really like until you spend some time living in it. What you think may be your "perfect" floorplan may not be when you spend fulltime in it. Buy a used unit with a floor plan that looks liveable to you, spend a year living in it. Then you will know what you really like and don't like. No one can make that decision for you, everyone's needs or wants are different. You can always buy a new fancy one later. Look past the fancy things and check out the insulation, frame, cabinetry, there are only a few brands that will meet those requirements.
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Old 01-05-2014, 02:03 PM   #23
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I would like to see a Hertz test on trailer frames to see how solid they are. No doubt a well designed thick I-Beam frame with supporting cross members would be better than a thin walled box frame that is poorly supported. Two 6" boxed frames welded together seems to me to depend on human welding skills.

Do the boxed frames hold water thus having rusting issues? Do the welds break?

I will agree that a well designed well built box frame like on the F-150 typically are better (more solid) then 'C' channel truck frames. Don't know of any truck using I-Beam frame but see I-Beams in Costco stores, I-Beam in most bridges, big Pole barns, sky scraper city buildings etc. Seems civil engineers like I-Beam construction.
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Old 01-05-2014, 04:44 PM   #24
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I weld pipe, heaters, boilers,etc in plants and most everything is built on I-beam. Most widely used steel in the world. It does have to be of ample weight and braced accordingly. I would never discount an rv due to I-beam chassis. Weight of steel yes.
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Old 01-05-2014, 08:23 PM   #25
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Glenn, I-beam and C-channel are used for easy of assembly and lower cost materials. A rectangular box frame will have a stiffer section, but cost more.

My rectangular box frame on my Carriage Cameo, is welded closed on the ends so moisture cannot enter the interior of the box. My old 1989 Avion silver had a box frame.

Welding a support for a pressure vessel, etc. is a lot different than a total base frame than a portable house. I had welded some in the past and typical plant frames are I-beam and C-channel. These frames are lifted after assembly and permanently mounted on a concrete base. They do not go bouncing merrily down the road.

Typically the RV frames with I-beam frames are a fairly thin web and flange design. If you want a good heavy duty I-beam frame, look at Space Craft. They build a proper I-beam frame, but MSRP start at $180K and up from there. New Horizon also builds a heavier frame.

There is a balance point between strength and weight which is important in an RV. But a stiffer frame will have much less "racking" or twist of the body structure.

As for a quality trailer, I'd go with DRV (not the Traditions series), Ecel or Lifestyle and not in any particular order. Pick the one that suited your lifestyle and budget.

But as Rusty noted, a quality used unit will be a better bargain than a lower priced new unit.

Ken
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:10 AM   #26
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Would you say that a Caterpillar machine such as a wheel loader or excavator or a track type tractor is a cheaply designed vehicle?
Will they have C-section frames, single plate frames, and I-beam design frame in some of their main structures? Just because some companies choose to use a box section for a frame does not necessary mean that this is the best that can be. The only way to tell if the structure is going to fail and or will not fail is to do a finite element study of that structure in putting in the loads that the structure will see under use. Sometimes a structure can be too stiff and fail because of this stiffness.

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Old 01-06-2014, 10:44 AM   #27
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Either type of frame can be made poorly or better. Truck makers each have C or boxed. All are durable and efficient. Lippert is a good example of I beam construction gone bad. Poor welding and the lack of bracing caused numerous frame failures in the past. It seems to be remedied as IIRC Lippert now requires welding certification for their welders. Boxed or I beam can both be botched with improper build techniques and poor welding.
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Old 01-06-2014, 11:13 AM   #28
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I was buying a Ford at the dealers 1986 and an other customer was trading in his Toyota Camry for 2 Mercury Topaz.
I asked him why not Toyotas.

His answer was he could drive 2 Topaz for the same cost his Camry was costing him on maintenance so far.

The Topaz\Tempo was not that bad a car but it was the numbers out on the streets that looked bad. They outnumbered all other models and more needed repairs.

Well Lippert make much more frames then the so call good units that this year I heard as many bad reports from former owners. And it's been 3 out of 3. While i met many other satisfied Keystone, Forest River, Heartland owners with similar problems.
For us our unit serves us well with a much stronger Wide Flange frame then the previous tube frame unit.
Tube frames are an old technology used by the mobile home industry. To bad for the companies that went out of business because they could not keep up with the times.
There are many companies that did take advantage of aggressive sales that set the pace for a growing industry. And most are going to be around for a while.
One Mobile Suite owner told me he had to trade in his GT due to a $5000 slide motor failure. An other former MS owner asked me if I could keep my unit together because his was always breaking down. He now has a smaller 30ft unit.
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