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Old 07-09-2016, 05:19 PM   #1
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5th wheel reviews

Ok, I know you guys and gals have a lot more experience than my wife and I with 5th wheel full timing. If you have any info on reviews or your own opinion on particular manufacturers I'd like to read it. Any brands to stay away from. What's your favorite. We need a bunkhouse around 50-60k budget. I'm sure some are better than others and some I'm sure are turkeys. Any thoughts?

Jerry and Colleen

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Old 07-09-2016, 06:09 PM   #2
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You're opening up a big can of worms. My .02-

Find the features you want and cross your fingers that you get lucky. The craftsmanship in the RV industry is pathetic. Doesn't matter if you spend $60,000 or $120,000, you're going to run into problems from poor craftsmanship and working under time constraints. We wanted a big frame, disk brakes, independent suspension, thick walls, and the company to honor their warranty. We found those things in DRV, and the factory has been good about taking care of "most" of the issues, but some of the issues we have had have been COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE.

Good luck!

2015 Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn CC LB Dually. Cummins, Aisin, 4X4, 4.10 gears. Max towing-28,750. Max payload-5,436. 2016 DRV Mobile Suites 41RSSB4
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Old 07-09-2016, 10:41 PM   #3
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We don't full time, but use the 5er 3 seasons. We stay home at the beach during June, July, August. My last and current campers are by Keystone. The Montana has been determined the RV of the year for 2016. My current unit is only 35' ~ a Cougar 303RLS.
We were at our dealer to buy another brand when this came in. They put a battery on and opened the slides. It was clean and ready to go. We picked it up a few days later after doing the PDI. Nothing was found during the PDI of either coach. I'm not sure if that is due to Keystone or the Dealer. The last unit had zero warranty problems. During the PDI of the Cougar it was very warm. The AC cooled it down enough to turn the furnace on for a few minutes. On the maiden voyage 730 miles from the dealer the furnace was blowing fuses. A call to Atwood took care of that. In over 3000 miles towed and many nights we had a bulb blow out, the screen door latch needed adjustment, and another forgotten minor item.
Not all Keystone 5ers are problem free but our next one will probably be a Keystone Montana or Alpine as we now have traded the F250 on a new F350 and can handle the extra pin weight.
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Old 07-09-2016, 11:01 PM   #4
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While they're not made anymore, we absolutely love our Nu-Wa HitchHiker. They are to be had (although not sure is they ever made a bunkhouse model) at Kansas RV Center in Chanute, Kansas (site of the former Nu-Wa factory). When they get one in on trade, they refurbish it like new. They also sell other brands, and I can't recommend them enough.

Bob & Karen Tipton
2011 NuWa Hitchhiker 31.5 UKTG
2010 Dodge Ram 3500 DRW 6.7 CTD
Full-Time since September 2014
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Old 07-10-2016, 08:22 AM   #5
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Jerry and Colleen:
I'll refrain degrading any particular brands, but you really need to look carefully before buying - which is exactly what you're doing by asking.

First, understand that sticker/MSRP means nothing. And they're the price that the dealer is asking may not be the MSRP. As a rule of thumb, 25% off MSRP can be used for an estimate.

The industry has had big consolidation. Many of the "brands" are owned by the same parent company. Jayco just got bought by Thor Industries (which many not mean anything short term).

Most RVs use similar components (heaters, ACs, refrigerators, frames, etc). A few things differ:
1) Some construction techniques (wood vs metal frame, how they construct the roof)
2) The care of the line assembly. These are assembled by humans, IMHO, most will have some problems. You can't buy your way into a completely problem free RV.
3) Purchase dealers reputation for service. You need to figure out the reviews on the service department versus the sales department. Some brands can really only be serviced by the place you purchased them, despite what sales will tell you.
4) How the manufacturer treats their customers. I'd HIGHLY encourage you to read BBB complaints - not for the what's wrong, but see how the manufacturer works (or doesn't work) to respond to the consumer. A few brands, you can see some pretty clear trends.

Once you decide (or think you're considering a brand), I'd find that brand specific forum and do some searches. It's probably a waste of time to ask publicly on brand forums if people like their RVs, some sites have fairly strict policies around criticism. Private Message people and you'll get the real answers....

I really like Grand Design as a consumer-friendly brand. They're relatively new but run by some experienced execs and definitely care about brand reputation. They have massive growth.

Just so you're protected as a consumer, listen to this podcast by an consumer-protection attorney:

RV'ing is great, unless you start of with some problems that can't easily be resolved and a dealer/manufacturer that is in no hurry to help you out.
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