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Old 11-07-2012, 07:55 PM   #1
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Brands for full time on the road living?

Hi I am new to this forum and joined to see what other full timers out there are using. We have lived in a 30 foot TT Cherokee lite with two slides for the past three years with our 3 year old and two dogs. It was getting pretty small and was not made for our rough on the road lifestyle.

We are now looking for a fifth wheel that has a bunkhouse layout with three slides. I would also like to be around 35-38 feet and have a dry weight under 12k and be able to put 2-3k of stuff in it.

I have looked at the Forest River Sierra 365SAQ and their new similar model with a slide in the kitchen. I love the floor plan but I m concerned about the durability. We also looked at the Keystone Sprinter 324FWBHS and I liked the better durability but the floor plan was lacking a larger master bedroom. I saw the Bighorn bunkhouse today and it was nice but the bunkroom was too big and master again too small We have also considered a toy hauler but have not seen any that fit our needs.

Question is am I looking at the right models for fully timing? We don't camp anywhere too cold but I do go in campgrounds with rough terrain and need something durable as we are hard on things. Are there better brands then others? Are these better brands comparable in used FW's too? I have found forest river products not to be in good condition when I see them used.

We have a 2005 Dodge Ram 3500 diesel DRW crew cab 8 ft bed to pull it with.

Thank you!
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:43 AM   #2
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While not being a full timer yet, we've researched various models and will share a couple of thoughts.

Check the warranty on all of those models you suggested. They may have a clause that states no warranty for full or extended use.

The FT units are built strong (12' to 15" frames) and will weigh a minium of 13k# dry. Most are closer to 15k#. We are looking in the 36' to 39' and have yet to see a bunkhouse model.

We have looked at; DRV, Leisure Lifestyle, Landmark, Nuwa to name a few.

Best of luck.
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:22 AM   #3
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The bighorns warrantee is still valid for full time living so we have been looking at them and really like the 36TB with two living room slides a bunk slide and a master slide. It has some better additions like the four seals around slides and a better? Was of adhearing the fiberglass do it dosent delaminate. Also it has a 3k lb capacity for stuff and six leaf spring instead of four. And an overall upgraded suspension over some other rigs. I guess I'm wondering if there is anything I should be looking at that is better or similar?

The brands you suggested are nice but way to $$$ and no bunkhouse models. I am hoping to stay under $45k, 14,500 total weight with my stuff, and under 40' long.
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:12 AM   #4
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True 4-seasons full time 5th wheels will include brands such as DRV (Mobile and Elite Suites), Carriage, NuWa (Hitchhiker), Excel and New Horizons. Because of their construction methods and materials (i.e., heavier frames and running gear, solid wood cabinetry and solid surface countertops, thicker walls with more insulation, thicker plywood floors and roofs instead of OSB, etc.), these are heavier and, yes, more expensive. You would get more bang for your buck, though, with a used, well-maintained true 4-seasons full time 5th wheel than a new lesser brand that doesn't have comparable quality of materials and construction.

Having said that, you'll find very few true 4-seasons full time 5th wheel floorplans with bunk beds for the simple reason that most of these units are purchased by older couples, not young families. In addition, did I mention that they are HEAVY?

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Old 11-09-2012, 10:30 AM   #5
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With the restrictions yo have placed on the unit you would end up with, I suggest you look at Cedar Creeks line up, Montana's line up and maybe some older used end units from DRV, NuWa and Montego Bay. You can always modify the interior to you needs very easily. At around 36 ft. as your limit, taking 6 or 8 to create a bunkhouse only leaves you 28 - 30 for a kitchen /living area, bedroom and bathroom.

Finding a bunkhouse unit pre-made from the mfgs listed in the first paragraph will have already designed the rest of the unit to fit. Have fun searching!
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:24 AM   #6
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You should look at the Heartland lines. They have several trailers with bunkhouse floorplans and the Landmark, Bighorn and Big Country lines are rated and warranted for full time use.
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Old 11-10-2012, 08:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyJC View Post
True 4-seasons full time 5th wheels will include brands such as DRV (Mobile and Elite Suites), Carriage, NuWa (Hitchhiker), Excel and New Horizons. Because of their construction methods and materials (i.e., heavier frames and running gear, solid wood cabinetry and solid surface countertops, thicker walls with more insulation, thicker plywood floors and roofs instead of OSB, etc.), these are heavier and, yes, more expensive. You would get more bang for your buck, though, with a used, well-maintained true 4-seasons full time 5th wheel than a new lesser brand that doesn't have comparable quality of materials and construction.

Having said that, you'll find very few true 4-seasons full time 5th wheel floorplans with bunk beds for the simple reason that most of these units are purchased by older couples, not young families. In addition, did I mention that they are HEAVY?

Rusty

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Old 11-12-2012, 09:07 AM   #8
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Excel by Peterson Industries. Now guaranteed down to -10 degrees. Does any other manufacturer give a temperature guarantee? I don't know of one. We've had an Excel for 8 years and Fulltimers for 2. Worth the investment. Either their Winslow or Limited series. Watch their "how they make them" videos on their website and you'll agree. Best customer service company after the sale too.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:20 AM   #9
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New or used?

We recently purchased a Big Country 5ver and one thing that sold us was the warranty was valid for full timers. We love it but our friends also just bought a 2006 teton 5ver, (no longer in productio) that is amazing, it is built to last, sold for over 125k, they paid less than 50, plus it has a full hydraulic leveling system, cover, generator, and much more. I wish I would have seen it sooner, there are several around the country for sale.
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Old 11-12-2012, 11:40 AM   #10
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Excel by Peterson Industries. Now guaranteed down to -10 degrees. Does any other manufacturer give a temperature guarantee? I don't know of one. We've had an Excel for 8 years and Fulltimers for 2. Worth the investment. Either their Winslow or Limited series. Watch their "how they make them" videos on their website and you'll agree. Best customer service company after the sale too.
Wow! All of that with: " R10 sidewall insulation and R17 floor and roof insulation" quoted from their web site !! As compared to DRV's R25 ceiling and R16 walls and the floor is R29. Actually many manufacturers post sub zero ratings like DRV and Artic Fox and others.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:35 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the help all! I am unable
To spend more then 45k and really need two bedrooms. I have been looking at the excels and the other more full time unit people have suggested but no bunk models and nothing under 80k? Does anyone have suggestions for a model good for a family with a child and under 45k? A lot that I have been looking at MSRP around 55-65 but can be gotten for around 45k... This mainly includes bighorn and Montana mountaineer that I have seen in the bunk model that we like while still be warranteed for full time living.

Thanks again for help!
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:35 PM   #12
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We decided on a bighorn silverado 36 tb. Thank for all the help!
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:27 PM   #13
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Join the Heartland Owners Forum for an immense amount of information from other owners willing and able to help.
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:58 PM   #14
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Money seems to be the biggest factor. (understandable)

After a used high-end unit (mentioned previously) and a slightly use upper middle unit like Montana,Pinnacle,Bighorn,Cedar Creek,etc. something like the Mountaineer or Cedar Creek Silverback may be to your liking?

Hey you live in a Cherokee lite now so any of these units will be an upgrade. I had a 28C a while back and loved that trailer!
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