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Old 09-07-2015, 01:13 AM   #1
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HELP! Cardinal or Open Range

We are looking at two 5ers we like but ask your opinions. Both are 40'. Both weigh almost the same.
I've never bought a 5th Wheel before, so am unsure of which is better quality or the better deal.

First one is a 2010 Forest River Cardinal 3450RL
Excellent shape. Full body paint. Rear Living Room. Fireplace. Huge Kitchen. Front Bedroom. King Bed.
Storage under front bedroom. Hydraulic jacks.
I can pick this one up for $37,000 CAD
Here's a picture.

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The second one we are looking at is a 2012 Highland Ridge Open Range 386FLR
Excellent shape. Front Living Room. Fireplace with pop up Big screen TV. Smaller Kitchen.
Rear Bedroom. King Bed. Big bath with Walk-in in residential shower. Well appointed.
Tons of exterior storage under bedroom and living room. Full electric self leveling.
This one is a bit more but 2 years newer.
I can pick this one up for $43,500 CAD.
Here's a picture.

Click image for larger version

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What do I do?
Any comments on quality of units would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:07 AM   #2
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Anybody???
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:09 AM   #3
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The 2010 Cardinals were pretty well build units, I believe they still had the Corrugated Steel underbelly that could be removed in sections if service was needed.
The Cardinal will be a much heaver unit than the Open Range and will take more truck to handle it.
Also depending on how long you are planning to keep it, the full body paint Cardinal will survive the sun and look better in the coming years than the Open Range Gel Coat will.
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:27 AM   #4
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The Open Range have had problems with the sidewalls separating from the floor in the slideouts, for this reason, alone I would go with the Cardinal. I also believe that the Cardinal is a much better Quality rig than the Open Range.
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:36 AM   #5
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The Cardinal full body paint is a $10,000 option. That is one of the few options that are "real world" priced as you would pay similar for a basic paint job at any commercial painting facility. All other things being equal it is a huge upgrade as decals/gelcoat always look like a turd after about 10 years unless garage kept.
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:57 AM   #6
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Cardinal has poor (failure) design in the mechanism that attaches the slide to the slide cylinders. The brackets will bend and eventually pull out of the bottom of the slide. This issue occurs on the large slide. FR was to redesign the brackets. I haven't checked one out to see if they have.

Yes we were previous owners of 2010 Cardinal. I had to redesign our slide brackets before they pulled out of the floor.
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Cardinal has poor (failure) design in the mechanism that attaches the slide to the slide cylinders. The brackets will bend and eventually pull out of the bottom of the slide. This issue occurs on the large slide. FR was to redesign the brackets. I haven't checked one out to see if they have.

Yes we were previous owners of 2010 Cardinal. I had to redesign our slide brackets before they pulled out of the floor.
What did you do? How did you redesign them?
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
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What did you do? How did you redesign them?
Les,
Send me an email address then I can forward you some info.
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:55 AM   #9
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If this is your first trailer of any type, I would try to find an experienced person to look them both over carefully. Here in Texas, that gray gelcoat on the Open Ranges start to fade and get chalky in just a couple of years. The full body paint of the Cardinal is a huge plus as long as it was applied correctly and is not peeling or chipping off. I wouldn't worry so much as to the age of the unit, but how it had been used and overall condition. I just got through looking at a couple of not so old units that must have had a herd of pigs living in them. Totally trashed and filthy... You wouldn't know it from the outside so much.
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:58 AM   #10
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I have a 2014 Cardinal 3450RL and love it. They did upgrade the slide supports for the living room slide. You can check the "Cardinal RV Club" website and search of for 'slide supports' and it will explain how the problem was fixed. But, which ever unit you decide to purchase, make sure the tires are sturdy enough to handle the heavier units. Many companies now put on Goodyear Marathon ST tires and these don't seem to handle the heavier rigs. You might want to considered upgrading to a "G" rated tire as soon as possible. There have been a lot of complaints about the Goodyear Marathon ST tires having tread separation. I am one of those and have suffered because of it (damaged trailer extensively). I have now changed to "G" rated LT tires with corresponding rims.
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:11 PM   #11
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Just to add, I will be looking at a 2016 F350 SRW Super Duty as a TV.
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:19 PM   #12
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SRW is not enough truck. Either of those fiver can tip the scales ready to go well over 14,000 pounds with pin weights 3500 or more pounds. Leaving any SRW truck overloaded
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:44 PM   #13
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Sorry, I didn't notice your signature. You're bound to know what you are looking at. My answer now would be whichever one the DW liked the floorplan the best. I still like the Cardinal personally. Yes, you probably need to be thinking dually with these monsters.
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:51 PM   #14
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I would go to both forums one by Forest River and than to the Open Range and see what current owners say about them.

I have a Cedar Creek and they are very similar to the Cardinal units and I am extremely happy with our 2016 model. They are both built be Forest River.
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