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Old 06-24-2013, 01:01 PM   #1
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Excel, LifeStyle, DRV - really any difference?

Should I analyze the differences in minute detail or just go with a floorplan? Retired and will be using the rig to FT. Will stay in the south in the winter and travel the north in the summer. May put 6,000 miles on it per year for the next 5 years. (Total 30,000 miles).
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Old 06-24-2013, 06:36 PM   #2
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i would go with Excel had one in the park i'm working at.That was a nice rig and the customer support from the factory is one of the best.
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Old 06-24-2013, 06:41 PM   #3
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There are certainly differences. For one, Excel uses a wood frame superstructure which may have somewhat better insulating qualities but is susceptible to rot in case of water intrusion; the other two utilize an aluminum superstructure.

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Old 06-24-2013, 07:51 PM   #4
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Lifestyle was re-started by the managers and manufacturing group from Carriage (after Carriage closed), real good group of folks. They make they own frames (non-Lippert)

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Old 06-25-2013, 09:37 AM   #5
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I know Excel uses more wood in their framing. Better insulation is a mild concern. I don't plan to spend too much time where it is real cold nor real hot.

Should Excel be eliminated because of the wood in the frame?
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuffr2 View Post
I know Excel uses more wood in their framing. Better insulation is a mild concern. I don't plan to spend too much time where it is real cold nor real hot.

Should Excel be eliminated because of the wood in the frame?
Better sidewall construction and insulation (our Mobile Suites has 3.25" sidewalls) has other benefits. Not only can I freeze my wife out on 100+ degF days, but the interior is very quiet with little outside noise making it in.

Whether or not you eliminate the Excel because of the wood frame superstructure is up to you, but (as you requested) it's a key difference between the Excel and the DRV and Lifestyle 5th wheels that you may want to consider.

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Old 06-25-2013, 10:28 AM   #7
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It all depends on the skills and the quality control of the manufacturing process. All RVs will have some wood, or lots of wood in them. Water leaks around, roofs, seams, window sealing, roof vents, roof windows, roof air conditioners, are places where water can get in and do a number on a wood structure, if you don't catch it and "deal with it". I had 4 RVs, all wood. One was so-so, one was terrible, two were outstanding construction wise. All had leaks, since I kept them all for a long time and pulled them a lot. I ignored the leak in the first one (young and ignorant) and it did a lot of damage to the frame by the time I decided to "deal with it", practical lesson learned.
Wood framing is screwed and stapled, aluminum framing is screwed and welded (mostly welded). In the past outside was typically aluminum stapled to the structures (like the Kropf show below), today the outside is typically fiberglass bonded (glued) to either aluminum, or wood framing (like the Corsica shown below). I have seen some outstanding aluminum frame welding at Newmar factory and some terrible welding and another factory tour (they shall remain nameless). They had a kid doing the welding, big blobs of molten aluminum in one place and blow through holes in other places. I guess they figured once they glue the skin on it will be OK.
The outstanding wood frame fifth I had was made by Kropf, at the factory tour they showed me the fact that "our frames are screwed and glued".

They had all these glue bottles all over, wherever two pieces of wood came together, either stapled or screwed together, they would also put glue in there. I owned that fifth for 10 years and sold it to a friend of mine who used it for another 10 years, not a bit of trouble except for a couple of things you expect to "go" after twenty years.
The other wood fifth I owned, Corsica,

was an absolute piece of crap, mostly just stapled together, it literally started to fall apart after 5 years on the road, then the front frame cracked and insurance company totaled it, I was jumping for joy when it was hauled off to the junkyard.

I looked at Excel seriously few years back, it was one of the two brands we were considering when we were looking for another fifth, when the Corsica went to the dump, I didn't like the way they did the wiring, absolute mess (I think I have a picture of it in my archives, I'll post it when I find it), but that was years ago and maybe they got their act together by now.

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Old 06-25-2013, 10:45 AM   #8
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Humm - clean organized wiring is important to me. Before I decided on a 5th wheel I looked at GulfStream motorhomes. When I saw the wiring I crossed them off my list.

Excel uses hickory wood which is lite in color and very nice. But if their wiring is a mess that tells me they are not into the details.

Please see if you can post those pics again. Also how long ago was this?

Thanks
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:01 AM   #9
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Perhaps I'm spoiled, I am used to things like this.

You can imagine my reaction when I saw this in an Excel.

The yellow wiring was 110VAC, the two color 12VDC and they threw the pex tubing water lines into the mix too. Nothing separated, nothing tie together, or tied to the walls. Lots of it in contact with sharp edges ready to chafe through under road vibration.
But, the only way you will see this if you are willing to open some panels and crawl into spaces that the dealer is not too happy to show you.

They also had a nice vinyl roof in that rig, they didn't tuck it right under the air conditioner trim.

That's just sloppy and shame on the QC person to allow it go onto dealers lot like that.
But again that was many, many years ago, I think around 2005-6

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Old 06-25-2013, 11:54 AM   #10
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In the spirit of full disclosure, if it seems that I campaign for Lifestyle RVs, I am.
I own (the other outstanding unit) a custom build Carriage.

When we found it the Excel didn't have a chance (even though the Carriage was a 10 year old unit then). I knew many folks at Carriage, including their techs and the VP of Engineering, very capable people. I was very saddened when I learned that the company did not survive financially. Then I learned in an RV Industry publication that the ex VP and the key personnel from Carriage migrated to another company and started a high end fifth line under the Lifestyle banner (the Carriage name was sold to someone else). I spoke with the ex-VP at the new company and apparently he has the "power and influence" to impose the quality standards that he was responsible for at Carriage and that's rare in this industry.
Just sayin'.

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Old 06-25-2013, 04:33 PM   #11
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For those who might be interested about what I am talking about, here's some "light reading".
Carriage Inc. | RV Business
Greg Kitson is the individual I am referring to and my fifth wheel was custom built for Clarence T (C.T.) and Ideana Yoder, the owners of Carriage for over 30 years.
Lifestyle is one of the very few manufacturers who build their frames in house, as Carriage did,
http://www.lifestylelrv.com/index.ph...d/construction
no Lippert frames for them, I'm sure you guys heard enough by now about Lippert frames and the fact that almost everybody uses them.

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Old 06-25-2013, 04:57 PM   #12
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My short list would be Lifestyle, then DRV (not the Tradition) and last would be Excel. Rusty listed the reasons above.

But be cautioned, The Carriage/Cameo name was bought by Thor and they are planing to come out with their version of the Carriage name. SO we will have be aware of VINTAGE Carraiges and the new Thor Carriages. I am waiting to see how they cheapen and cut corners. The new Carriage will not be the Carriage of old.

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Old 06-25-2013, 06:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuffr2 View Post
Should I analyze the differences in minute detail or just go with a floorplan? Retired and will be using the rig to FT. Will stay in the south in the winter and travel the north in the summer. May put 6,000 miles on it per year for the next 5 years. (Total 30,000 miles).
The "New" Carriage will be introduced in September of this year. Wait and check it out.

I am.
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:47 PM   #14
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Thor paid 100 grands for the Carriage name, I'm sure they had a plan to re-introduce it from the day they bought it. They also bought Airstream, so they should know about quality.
I also heard that someone was thinking about re-introducing the Royals International model, is it Thor?

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