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Old 01-25-2014, 08:14 AM   #1
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DW & I in agreement our choice for our next FT 5r will be.....

We looked at every FT 5r at the Tampa Super Show for two solid days. Talking to the Reps, taking photo's, all the specs, floor plans, after all is done we came up with our top selections.

1. DRV
2. Space Craft
3. New Horizon
4. Excel
5. HR Presidential
6. Trilogy
7. Open Range
8. Continental Coach
9. Redwood

Not necessarily in that order and I know that I am missing a couple others. We then narrowed that list down for day 2 of the show went back and in that group we came up with

1. DRV
2. New Horizon
3. Excel
4. Presidential
5. Trilogy

Everyone of our top picks had Pro's and Con's. It is tough to weigh features and costs but when you factor in every aspect to include the living space, comfort, build and what we both agreed on our final top pick is the
Excel 37 SDF. With the Rhino Roof.
We would also opt for the Residental Fridge. Everything about this floor space is what we like! Everything! So here is what we really like beside the floor plan is the Hickory Cabinets, Construction, Options and how Excel will modify anything for your specific need. The door being in the slide makes for division between recliners and your table. Makes for a much more open feel inside.
Now the Cons: No real history on Rhino Roofs on RV's yet. Very new technology and Excel is the only brand to venture into this. I expect other's are watching to see how it works out. With that note, if I could get this same build with a Fiberglass roof, I would do that as it is proven. The other factor is when the slide are in, you are limited access to only recliners, table, and 1/2 bath. Maybe the Fridge.
The only thing keeping us from jumping right into this unit now is #1 price is about $130k with options we want. And #2 even though I could make this deal happen, little nervous about that much money into a unit with new technology (Rhino Roof) that has not yet proven itself in the industry. We could opt for the Rubber Roof but I want that tough as nails roof like a Fiberglass. So for now, I think will wait and see if Peterson puts that floorplan on the Limited where I can get the Fiberglass or do a wait and see how the reviews go on the Rhino Roof.
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:02 AM   #2
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Boy are you looking to start a brand war. Your second list is pretty good, but you might want to add Lifestyle to it. In the first list, I would drop Redwood and Trilogy.

These are mostly heavy units, so you will need enough truck to tow them....a current well equipped 1 ton dually and possibly more.


Ken

Have fun shopping.
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:21 AM   #3
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Congrats on surviving two days at the Tampa Show!!! You guys had to be tired after that. Again - congrats!!!

I also saw and liked that unit at the Tampa Show. You can not go wrong with Excel or DRV. The steps in the slide were rock solid, I bet they will help stabilize the rig too.

Minor bummer about the roof. You can't talk them into putting the fiberglass roof on it?
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:27 AM   #4
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Let the war begin - I would drop the Redwood and Open Range.

Since the Lifestyle is really the lower level Carriage Cameo I would keep them off the list. Having the Alpha Gold at 102" wide and the LifeStyle at 96" wide makes no sense.
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Old 01-25-2014, 10:03 AM   #5
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Might add a NU-Wa. H.h. Would have to be used , but worth a look.
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Old 01-25-2014, 10:46 AM   #6
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Kansas rv has a new 2013 NuWa in stock.
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Old 01-25-2014, 10:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Boy are you looking to start a brand war. Your second list is pretty good, but you might want to add Lifestyle to it. In the first list, I would drop Redwood and Trilogy.
Ken
You mention several good units, but I would second Ken's suggestions. While the Lifestyle is 96" wide, its construction is rock solid and the materials and workmanship are excellent. And calling the Cameo the "lowend of Carriage" does not make it bad - - it was/is an excellent coach and heaps ahead of most of the other stuff I saw at the show.

You might want to take a good look for a used Carriage - - nice units. Look for something prior to 2011. Save a bunch of money going used. And, yes, you will need at least a 1 ton dually.

Bob
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Old 01-25-2014, 11:23 AM   #8
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I physically was in that NuWa at Kansas RV last summer. I remember I did not like it. Seems that unit may be the last unit they build and used whatever parts were laying around or may not have been 100% complete.

Maybe that is why it is still unsold.
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:12 PM   #9
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Lifestyle was on our list also, my memory just forgot it when I posted. And I think it was the bedroom area / bath that was DW did not put on our final list. But is a very nice unit indeed!
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Old 01-25-2014, 07:49 PM   #10
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NU Wa made a fantastic 5r and the floor plan we liked is not available any longer as they quit production.
Hoping that might change in the future.

Ken, I have a Ford 1T dully 7.3L. It will pull anything out there. My King is 18k lbs and no problem.

Jeff, We had a fantastic time. Sure did a lot of walking and stair climbing. Peterson will not put the fiberglass roof on the Winslow. I talked with Brian the owner of Peterson for 2 days on questions I had and so on. It is exclusive to the high end Limited units. The process and molding of such a roof would also require a lot of cost to the company. He is very strong on the Rhino roof. He told me he is so sold on it that he put his company on the line with it. Where there some learning curves? Yes, he replied and they learned from them. In my mind I am thinking I would like to see some history behind this or at least hear from some FT who have put some miles on the road with them and if any problems have come to surface. A lot of $$ to lay out on new technology. But it certainly had the most of what we wanted.

Between the DW and I. She wants certain things in the bedroom and bathroom that some of the units did not have. Even the top of the other top units, if it did not have night stands, room around the bed, roominess in the bathroom/shower, window over the headboard, closet/dresser space then she scratched it off the list. When she walked in that Excel she fell in love with everything. Of course another lady was in there at the time and between the two of them they both had me ready to dig out my check book. I look at other aspects such as the build and there is nothing I can say about Excel but positive remarks. The stick build is like my 1st 5r a Prowler Lynx that was built like a tank and never had a lick of problems. But I moved away from that technology into aluminum wall studs. But others say that wood is the way to go for many reasons. Guess I have to default on all advice you pros throw out there as well that have studied these rigs as long or longer than myself. Don't get me wrong, others that made the final cut are fine units and had certain aspects we really liked but push come to shove we went with what we both agreed upon as meeting our needs and wants. Great show though. I wonder how many of those top 5rs found a new home?
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:38 PM   #11
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Well, sounds like you had some tiring days. I will only add that since Excel and maybe Drv seem to be your top choices why don't you ask owners of those units directly some of your questions? At www.suitesowners.com there is a discussion forum with a thread for prospective owners to ask any & all questions you want to ask of actual Suites owners. You do have to sign up with minimal info and ask away. I'm sure Excel has one too. You might get some better info to help with your decision from those of us that own one of those quality units. Good luck
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Old 01-25-2014, 10:47 PM   #12
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kro1957, I sold my 2002 F350 CC DRW 7.3 when I bought the 2012 F350. Wow, what a truck. Lots of power, great ride and only had an A/C issue this past summer.

It hurts to call a Cameo a low end Carriage in such terms as done above. Yes, it cost less than the Carrilite, but it is still an awesome built trailer. The Life styles we looked at were more on the Carrilite level and beautiful.

Ken
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Old 01-26-2014, 08:10 AM   #13
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Kro1957, your list looks a lot like mine did. I bit the bullet and ordered the Excel 37SDF in late Oct of 2013. Mine is just now starting production. I went ahead with the Rino roof, even though it is relatively new. I am putting a lot of faith in Peterson Industries warranty and service testimonials from other Excel owners. The Rino roof now comes with a 5 year warranty instead of the original lifetime warranty. However, the trade-off is that now they add a material below the Rino coating to minimize some of the heat build up that the earlier Rino roofs created. I would like to say the wife really liked the floor-plan, but that would imply I didn't, which wouldn't be true. We added a ton of upgrades (basically made it a Limited, except for the fiberglass roof as they cannot do that for this model). Hope to pick it up in mid-Feb. From reading the latest info from Excel, it appears the have sold over $2m worth of this model since it's introduction (probably 16-20 units) so you should be able to start getting more specific model testimonials from the Excel forum. We got sold our S&B in early Dec so we are homeless and cannot wait till the unit is available for pick-up. Good luck with your continued search, but please understand that if DW really wants to custom order her 37SDF, she will probably have a 3 to 4 month wait. BTW, our 2nd choice was the DRV, I think the model was 39RSS. Although impressed with several aspects of the Lifestyles, the interiors seemed too narrow (and dark) for our tastes, but I did prefer their pricing.
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Old 01-26-2014, 08:11 AM   #14
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Thanks Ken

Ken,

Carriage built a fantastic unit. At the show, we looked at so many top makes and one of them was ???? I forget now, but reps there told us that many of the Carriage execs are with their company now or started it. Almost like saying it's the new Carriage without the name.

If memory is correct, it had all the extra storage in aft but also a rise in the living room area to accommodate. DW said that over time the up and down step might get old. She has tendency to turn ankle wrong. So that one was scratched from our list.

As for the Ford.... I only have about 73k miles on it so it has a lot of life yet. Bottom line I can not have both new truck and new RV I don't have that much money... but I would not refuse any donations...
One thing else I did not think of at the time is the way the stairs on the SDF are mounted. If we were to build a elevated patio at our summer permanent camp site it would require special build in order to use it where as a regular rig steps stay stored so is not an issue.

I would have to put my carpenter skills to task. Jim
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