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Old 03-24-2015, 08:52 PM   #1
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Another new member with questions.

Hi everyone. I plan to be spending quite a lot of time here from now on. I'll be retiring in a couple of months, and my husband and I will be spending a lot of time on the road in our RV. I have a couple of fundamental questions regarding what brand of 5th wheel to buy. Several years back, after MUCH research, we had decided to buy a Newmar 5th wheel. Then Newmar abruptly quit making 5th wheels. We ended up buying a 30 ft. travel trailer instead. We've now researching again and had pretty much decided on an Excel 5th Wheel. They JUST went out of business. What is going on in this industry? So my question is this..... which brands do you all LOVE? I'm not talking about aesthetically......I'm talking about which brands do you have where the company is financially stable and has good customer service and stands behind their product when something goes wrong. We have to start researching yet again, and hopefully you can help expedite our search. :-) Thanks!

Then I'll be back with a lot more questions. :-)
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Old 03-24-2015, 09:39 PM   #2
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If you were looking at Newmar and Excel, then you were working on the higher end of quality builds. Suggest checking Jayco Pinnacle for quality and history. Some new names getting good reports are Grand Design and Lifestyle. DRV just got bought by Thor or I would have started with them.
Do all your research over again, and pay a lot of attention to details in the new units, not just the bling.
Happy Hunting.
Joe
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Old 03-24-2015, 10:35 PM   #3
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I agree you have to start all over again. The RV industry is really unstable and you never know who is next to go out of business. I find it interesting that NuWa goes out of business but another high end 5th wheel reappears like LifeStyle.

Or Excel goes out of business and low and behold the Augusta Luxe takes it place.

All manufacturers have their run of the mill top line model. Cross Roads Redwood, Keystone Montana, Jayco Pinnacle, Forest River Cardinal or Cedar Creek, KZ Stoneridge, Heartland Landmark, Palomino Columbus, Coachman Brookstone, Evergreen Bayhill, Dutchmen Infinity, Augusta Flex now a more top of the line Luxe, Crossroads Rushmore, Dynamax Trilogy, Grand Design Solitude, And maybe a few others.

Evergreen also builds the Lifestyle, and Alpha One along with the Bayhill.

I would pick from one of the above units.

Look for a min. of 12" I-beam frame, at least 7,000 lb capacity axles, and better than junky 'E' rated chinese bomb tires.

The best units will have 8,000lb axles and a stacked box frame or a reinforced 12" I-Beam Frame along with disc brakes.

Good luck.
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Old 03-25-2015, 12:33 AM   #4
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We're kind of in the same boat. We are going to buy the "Retirement Rig" next Spring and all of our previous research is too old to be accurate. One thing we have discovered is that the towable market is booming and a lot of the Indiana manufacturers are running flat out with whatever help they can hire. Our friends just bought a Pinnacle and it's back at the dealer getting a handful of obvious issues fixed. We have a Montana now and are seriously considering another. But the one we have is 12 years old and that's a lifetime in the RV world.

Jim
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Old 03-25-2015, 07:36 AM   #5
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wingnut60.....precisely!!! We don't care about the bling. We just want a solid and (hopefully) relatively trouble-free unit. We're looking at Grand Design and Lifestyle. They both have floor plans we like. We were also starting to look at DVR, but we didn't know they had been bought out by Thor. Thanks for this bit of info. We plan to go up to northern Indiana soon to visit the factories of some of these places. Thanks for your help!
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Old 03-25-2015, 07:58 AM   #6
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tuffr2......Wow! Thanks for this extensive list. Many of these we've been considering, but many I hadn't even heard of. We're considering Grand Design and Evergreen. And though we used to hate the Forest River products (their units smelled strongly of chemicals), maybe we should take another look at them. I'm reading good things about the their Cedar Creek.

Not sure what a stacked box frame is, but you can be sure we'll check it out. The construction features are the things that confuse me most. We've attended factories in the past, and of course they always 'talk up' THEIR method of construction, and I don't know who to believe. :-)
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Old 03-25-2015, 08:09 AM   #7
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j a wolfe.....I know it's possible to get a 'lemon' with any brand/model. But we want to hedge our bets by trying to research and find the brands with a little better build quality. We joined RV Consumer Group, and there were only a few brands they give 5 stars.....Excel (now gone), New Horizons (custom and VERY expensive). All of the other brands we're considering only got 2 and 1/2 to 3 stars. Maybe that's okay. I don't suppose we need a 'Cadillac'. There are a lot of happy owners out there with other brands like Montana, Lifestyle, Cedar Creek and Grand Design. The main thing I think is to make sure you have a responsive customer service and dealer. So at this point that's what I'm trying to determine. We're in the same boat as you......close to retirement. We won't be full-timers but we do plan to be on the road at least half of the year.....actually traveling, not just parking the RV in one place. It will be good to share info as we are traveling the same path.
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Old 03-25-2015, 08:41 AM   #8
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Here is something to think about--10 years ago this this Feb, we found a 2-yr-old DRV that had only been pulled from the factory to an RV site. Single guy lived in it for 2 years, got ill and had to sell. We could never had afforded a current model ($105 list) equipped as this one was. We are still in that unit and it has done pretty well with few problems.
There are these situations out there, you just have to find them and be ready to pounce.
Good luck in the hunt.

Joe
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Old 03-25-2015, 10:01 AM   #9
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I would suggest that you also visit some of the forums dedicated to the specific brand and see what the members are saying. Such as the Keystone Owners Forum and or a Forest River Owners Forum and the Heartland Owners Forum. I have checked out all three different forums and use to own a Keystone Cougar 318SAB 5th wheel.


The unit has severed me will and for it's purpose at the time and the unit has done will in service with only the decals being an issue. I believe that the decals on a vehicle which is subject to the environment should last more than three years before they start to crack and peel. I do know of production products that the decals have lasted for more than 20 years without degradation. I also know other makes have had issues but it is the customer service that I take issues with and I will never buy another Keystone product again do to customer service from this corporation.


I posted my original comments below in this thread and I believe you should review the entire thread if you have not already.


2015 Montana 3100RL vs Cedar Creek 34RL


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Old 03-25-2015, 12:13 PM   #10
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One thing to remember while visiting the owner forums is that folks readily post complaints but not so much on praise.
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Old 03-25-2015, 12:24 PM   #11
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When we began looking years ago for fivers we found out that there were 3 levels of construction. Weekend use, Snowbird use & Full Time use. We went with a Cedar Creek rated for Snowbird use (designed for 6 months continuous use). Don't buy a trailer rated for weekend use & use it for months at a time & expect it to hold up. You usually get what you pay for. Good luck on your quest.
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Old 03-25-2015, 12:25 PM   #12
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A stacked box frame is, in theory and probably practice a stiffer frame design that reduces twisting of the 5th wheel as it goes down an uneven highway.

To my knowledge there are just a few manufacturers that use the stacked box frame. They are Lifestyle, Excel and DRV. On the Augusta Luxe I believe they use a reinforced I-Beam frame.

Picture a boxed frame design as a 6"X2" enclosed rectagular tube. Typically two of these are laid on top of each other and then welded together.

Not mentioned by me are the really heavy and expensive custom units - SpaceCraft, New Horizons, and Continental Coach. These units are viewed by me as being the very best.
These rigs will require at least a new capable dually with max towing options. A medium duty truck (a freightliner M2 sport chassis for example) would actually be a better fit for these rigs.


I would stay away from any unit that is lite. A good full-time or snowbird unit will be heavier.

A nice used (2011) custom build will cost approx. 110k. A nice used 2013 Keystone Montana will cost 45k. For me it is much easier to justify the 45K 5th wheel.

If you look at used units you may be able to find a great rig. Plus you can look at Excel, NuWa, Newmar, a few others I can't think of now, Carriage Carri-Lite (not Cameo) which are all solid units.
Note - the Carri-lite is not lite and is really an odd name for a heavy full-time unit.

Again good luck
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Old 03-25-2015, 03:11 PM   #13
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Grand Design is one heck of a good company. We've had our 369RL Solitude for two years this month, and totally pleased with it. About 14,000 happy miles so far. And customer service is outstanding. We had a couple of LED lights out, the wife sent GD an email and I recieved a phone call from them within an hour of her sending the email. I talked to JD and told him about the lights then mentioned that we finally tried using the DVD player and found it wouldn't show video, just audio. He said he'd take care of us and a week later I recieved 8 new lights (including fixtures) and a new DVD player. The best part I was out of warranty by almost a year. I can't say enough good things about Grand Design
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Old 03-25-2015, 03:43 PM   #14
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wingnut60......Buying used is a great idea, and we're not totally against the idea. It's just that we would need to make sure of who the owners were, and have it looked over by a technician to make sure it's in great shape. Do you think the fact that DVR has been bought out by Thor will affect the quality or threaten the existence of the Tradition or Mobile Suite 5th wheel?
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