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Old 11-10-2019, 09:51 AM   #1
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Final Narrowing Down-Help Please!

So, I want to start by giving some background on who we are and what we are doing... We are a young family (mid-30ís with one kid). I am Active Duty, so we move every 3 years. We purchased a used 40í diesel pusher about two years ago. The intent was 4-5 trips, with two being a week or better, per year. The Class A was perfect for this.

I got orders to a place where the rental market isnít great. After lots of thought and discussion, we decided to give full-timing a try. Weíre almost two months in and we are loving it, with one exception; we converted our closet for little man, so he sleeps in our bedroom.

After extensive research and walking more makes and models than we can count, we have decided on a mid-bunk room fifth wheel floor plan. We have narrowed it down to 4 makes/models, but are having a lot of difficulty further narrowing it from there. We are going to full time here in South TX and will most likely be in VA for our next tour. We donít know that we want to full time for the next tour, but would like a fifth wheel capable of full time in that climate.

We were hoping for some help from you all on here that have much more extensive experience than we do.

Our final four are:

-Palomino Columbus 374BH (even though itís rear bunk) and 377MB
**having difficulty determining the difference between the Columbus and the Columbus Compass?**

-Keystone Montana 3855BR (will have to remove the sofa in the mid-room and install a toddler bed)

-Jayco North Point 377RLBH
**skeptical about reviews we have read mentioning service difficulties and lengthy repair visits**

-Grand Design Solitude 377MBS-R and S Class 3740BH-R (even though its rear bunk)

Any insight and advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:12 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by HamboneTHW View Post
So, I want to start by giving some background on who we are and what we are doing... We are a young family (mid-30ís with one kid). I am Active Duty, so we move every 3 years. We purchased a used 40í diesel pusher about two years ago. The intent was 4-5 trips, with two being a week or better, per year. The Class A was perfect for this.

I got orders to a place where the rental market isnít great. After lots of thought and discussion, we decided to give full-timing a try. Weíre almost two months in and we are loving it, with one exception; we converted our closet for little man, so he sleeps in our bedroom.

After extensive research and walking more makes and models than we can count, we have decided on a mid-bunk room fifth wheel floor plan. We have narrowed it down to 4 makes/models, but are having a lot of difficulty further narrowing it from there. We are going to full time here in South TX and will most likely be in VA for our next tour. We donít know that we want to full time for the next tour, but would like a fifth wheel capable of full time in that climate.

We were hoping for some help from you all on here that have much more extensive experience than we do.

Our final four are:

-Palomino Columbus 374BH (even though itís rear bunk) and 377MB
**having difficulty determining the difference between the Columbus and the Columbus Compass?**

-Keystone Montana 3855BR (will have to remove the sofa in the mid-room and install a toddler bed)

-Jayco North Point 377RLBH
**skeptical about reviews we have read mentioning service difficulties and lengthy repair visits**

-Grand Design Solitude 377MBS-R and S Class 3740BH-R (even though its rear bunk)

Any insight and advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
I have a 2018 Jayco 377. Love it. I custom ordered it and it was built the week before Christmas, 2017, luck of the draw, so I was expecting a build quality nightmare, but itís been rock solid. Lucky me. About 12k miles of towing on it so far.

After sale service at the market segment you are looking at is highly dependent on the dealer from which you purchased. Since you will be moving around and full timing, you wonít have a ďhome dealer.Ē However, if youíll be staying put initially for a while, and it sounds like you might, consider buying from whomever is local, so at least you do have initial warranty support.

All the brands you are looking at have the same quality track record, for what itís worth, regardless of the after sale support.

What we like about the mid bunk in the 377 is that it has both the fold down upper bunk and the fold out bed. Our kid is 12 and growing fast, so the fold down bunk is almost too short for her now. The loft bed above the mid bunk room is awesome, too, and her friends stay up there a lot, and an adult can get up there, too.

Only downsides of the 377 for us is the somewhat limited kitchen cabinet storage space (but there are lots of other cabinets in the coach) and the smallish master bedroom space around the bed. The master bedroom space is due to how large the rig is already, and to meet some state laws it has to stay within 400sqft, so floor space somewhere had to be sacrificed, and it seems to be with the depth of the master bedroom slide.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:35 AM   #3
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Great choice on the mid-bunk floor plan - I was going to suggest that.

As far as brands, all on your list are high quality and will have various pros/cons. I'd dig into the construction and find out which offer the best insulation. That's probably going to make the biggest difference for full-timing. Also, do some research on dual pane windows and be sure if it's something you want that you get them.

My first thoughts from your list and research I've done, I like the Jayco. Don't let a few internet reviews derail you. All of the manufacturers have problems and unhappy customers.

With the Columbus the difference might just be an east coast version and a west coast version. Many manufacturers do this and just name them slightly different. The trailers are often nearly identical.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:45 AM   #4
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Out of the few you chose the North Point is prob the better of the choices. Id add Artic Fox to the list though. If you end in a cold place the fox will shine and perform there.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:55 AM   #5
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Jayco and Grand Design will have better customer service and dealer service than the others. Something to remember is all manufactures use all the same parts and equipment, some just assemble it better than others and stand behind their product better.
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Old 11-10-2019, 11:01 AM   #6
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Out of the few you chose the North Point is prob the better of the choices. Id add Artic Fox to the list though. If you end in a cold place the fox will shine and perform there.
Arctic Fox TTs are fantastic. Unfortunately, Arctic Fox (all Northwood Manufacturing products) are rare in South Texas. I know, we've owned 3 of 'em. We bought them in Oregon and Idaho. There are not any stocking dealers that I know of in Texas. There are dealers that will take your order, and "might" have a used one in stock. But no dealers around with any for you to look at or see.

One nice thing... when you go to sell your AF in Texas it sells REALLY fast. In our experience it's never taken more than a week to sell ours.
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Old 11-10-2019, 11:56 AM   #7
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I like the Arctic Fox, but they donít do a bunk room and they arenít quite as large as the other manufacturers. Weíre not looking for a mansion, but definitely want to maximize square footage for the days we canít spend outside.

The Montana has been the #1 selling luxury fifth wheel for more than a decade. Quite a few folks here have them and love them. Is their customer service not as good as Jayco and Grand Design? Iíve never heard anyone that owned a Montana say anything negative. With that said, they donít have the bunk built in.

We like the Palomino, but I donít know much about them.
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Old 11-10-2019, 11:57 AM   #8
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I had good service, and resale with my previous Jayco, and when shopping for your tow truck, keep in mind you will be around 4k pin weight with those units.
Wish yall the best, and thanks for your service.
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Old 11-10-2019, 12:00 PM   #9
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I would add a higher end unit you might think about as a 4 year old that was $200,000 is now under $100,000 and is a step up in both luxury and quality of construction. Look at DRV Mobile Suites 44 Cumberland. Washer driers, disposal in the kitchen, flushers on ALL tanks, Heated elbows on all tank drains, king size beds and gobs of storage.
For about what a Northpoint costs you can get one a couple years old but they are much better built.
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Old 11-10-2019, 12:07 PM   #10
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I would add a higher end unit you might think about as a 4 year old that was $200,000 is now under $100,000 and is a step up in both luxury and quality of construction. Look at DRV Mobile Suites 44 Cumberland. Washer driers, disposal in the kitchen, flushers on ALL tanks, Heated elbows on all tank drains, king size beds and gobs of storage.
For about what a Northpoint costs you can get one a couple years old but they are much better built.
Rigs in the range he’s looking in are $60-70k new (but pretty sure no DRV ever cost $200k?).
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Old 11-10-2019, 12:10 PM   #11
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I would add a higher end unit you might think about as a 4 year old that was $200,000 is now under $100,000 and is a step up in both luxury and quality of construction. Look at DRV Mobile Suites 44 Cumberland. Washer driers, disposal in the kitchen, flushers on ALL tanks, Heated elbows on all tank drains, king size beds and gobs of storage.
For about what a Northpoint costs you can get one a couple years old but they are much better built.


I looked at those. We like DRV, but very tough to find them used. In addition, hard to tow with a F-350.
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Old 11-10-2019, 12:46 PM   #12
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Rigs in the range heís looking in are $60-70k new (but pretty sure no DRV ever cost $200k?).


The new ones do
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Old 11-10-2019, 01:05 PM   #13
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I think you should spend as much time researching the dealer and their service and support as you do the rig you want to buy. I think ALL the models you mentioned are alike as far as appliances and how they are basically assembled. That is to say manufactures are taking the least expensive way to wire things, fasten things, and get them on to and off of the assembly line as quickly as they can.

Sure, there are lots of cosmetic differences but underneath it all is hurry, hurry, hurry; use as little material as possible (to save costs) and get it out the door.

You can see what I have in my signature line. I've been all through it making wiring changes, circuit changes (lights, pump, 50 amp service, etc.). And it is no different than any other RV I've had as far as attention to wiring, screwing, stapling, trim fastening, etc. Not even much different than an expensive Class A I had or any bumper tow trailer I've owned.

All this to say - choose your manufacture as you see fit (and as you get feedback) but choose your dealer much more carefully. Every one of those models you mentioned have both horror stories and satisfaction stories. A lot depends on the support you get AFTER the sale.
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Old 11-10-2019, 01:46 PM   #14
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Just a thought that popped into my head while reading this. Have you considered a toy hauler? Make a whole bedroom instead of just a bunk house.
Another thought is check consignment lots for used units. I got our HitchHiker from PPL motors in Houston 10 years ago and still going strong.
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