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Old 09-30-2013, 09:44 PM   #1
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Lifestyle vs. Trilogy

Hi everyone
We are looking at the 2014 Lifestyle and the 2014 Trilogy by Dynamax. I would appreciate if someone could voice their opinion about either one positive or negative. The built in propane tank in the Trilogy concerns me since it is getting harder to find gas stations with propane big enough for a 60' long rig i wish there was a workaround.
Thanks
John
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Old 10-01-2013, 06:53 AM   #2
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Although both units are very nice the Lifestyle is the better 5th wheel. It is better because of the frame and it is built for full-time use.

Lifestyle competes with DRV, and used/new leftover NuWa and used Carriage units.

Trilogy competes with Redwood, Presidential, and a slew of others. I will say Trilogy competes very well with the other 3rd tier 5th wheels.

To me - 1st tier are New Horizons, SpaceCraft. These are custom built units.

Next are DRV, Lifestyle, NuWa, Carriage.
These units use a boxed or stacked box frame.

Then all the others. Trilogy is near the top of the I-Beam frame group. There are members on this forum that say I-Beam frames are not for full-time use. I disagree and will say I-Beam are not all bad. 90% of 5th wheels are built on I-Beam frames.

The built in propane tank on the Trilogy worries me too. I posted the question a few months ago on how hard to get it filled and was told it was easy. That all MotorHomes have a built in tank and the propane fill hose is long enough to reach their tank.

You should be able to buy a Trilogy for a lot less than a Lifestyle unit.

Between these two units the Lifestyle is the better one.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:16 AM   #3
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Given the option, I would go with the stacked box frame design over a 12" I beam. The box section frame is much stiffer than an I beam. This means less flexing, thus fewer problems on the RV. Be careful with the low line Tradition by DRV. They use the I beam on this one to compete in the lower price market.

We have looked at the Lifestyle and all I can say is Nice. We have not seen a Trilogy.

Ken
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:40 AM   #4
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Given the option, I would go with the stacked box frame design over a 12" I beam. The box section frame is much stiffer than an I beam. This means less flexing, thus fewer problems on the RV. Be careful with the low line Tradition by DRV. They use the I beam on this one to compete in the lower price market.

We have looked at the Lifestyle and all I can say is Nice. We have not seen a Trilogy.

Ken
I agree with this sentiment, RVs, or any housing structures for that matter, do not take kindly to flexing. There is lots of stuff running through the walls, electrical wires, plumbing, slideout components, hydraulics, etc., and there is lots of stuff attached to the walls, cabinets, lights, fixtures, appliances, etc., none of these things benefit from flexing, moving or chafing. An interesting side story, SpaceCraft manufactures 55 footers (and larger) trailers and at one time "tried out" a commercial ready made frame used for commercial tractor trailers, there are over 10 million of these on the road. Turned out that these were very "too flimsy" for RV use and the flexing of these was not good as far as keeping cabinets on the walls and sidewalls from cracking. That's why SpaceCraft builds their own frames,

from 30 footers to 60 footers. Note that they use I-beams for their basic frame and then stack tubing structure above it.

You can use all kinds of materials in structural design from angles, to C-channels, to I-beams, to tubing and same structural integrity can be achieved building the same thing utilizing any of these, the trick is how you design it and the gauge of the components you use. That's why all of these come in all kinds of sizes, thicknesses and steel weights. Compare SpaceCraft I-beam frame,

to a typical I-beam frame from "the rest of the industry".

Paper thin by comparison. SpaceCraft uses pretty heavy I-beam to achieve structural stiffness. Stacked tubing allows you to use thinner and lighter material and build into it the stiffness you need, because you get two vertical walls instead of one and two more horizontal walls in the center, plus the inherent stiffness of the tube. But the RV industry tries to cut corners even there. Here's the cracked tube in front of the trailer by the pin box.

And here the replacement tube installed by the repair shop.

Note the significantly increased wall thickness in the replacement vs. the "original".
The key component missing in the industry is the desire for quality, sadly it's "let's cover things with glitz", "keep the margins high" and "hope the buyer doesn't ask too many probing questions".
I don't know enough about Trilogy to offer a valid opinion, I know that Lifestyle was started by the people and management from Carriage when unfortunately that company went under. Carriage was around for over 30 years and their rigs were legendary for quality and longevity, I have one that is 18 years old and I wouldn't trade it for anything new.
There is a very active Carriage-Lifestyle forum • Index page which you might want to check out.

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Old 10-01-2013, 10:10 AM   #5
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Yes and with a Spacecraft unit, you have a very stiff frame at a good weight penalty. You will need to move up to a MDT (medium duty Truck) like a Freightliner.

Ken
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:20 AM   #6
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SpaceCraft makes a range of fifths and their customs are actually beyond the capability of MDTs and should be pulled with HDTs only. However they do make many shorter and lighter fifths that can be pulled with a well equipped pickup.
Marsha Trautman exhibits every year at the HDT Rally and brings the fifth for the show behind a one ton pickup.

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Old 10-01-2013, 02:40 PM   #7
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Well, I asked for opinions and what I'm getting is hard facts. We currently own a 2008 Royals International which is a Carriage and we had zero issues with it (almost). I agree the boxed frame in the Lifestyle is stiffer and that an RV does not tolerate flex very well. We'll probably order a 2014 Lifestyle LS37RESL after Thanksgiving, it will be considerably more expensive with all the options than the Trilogy but I guess peace of mind has it's price. New Horizons and the like are well over our budget.
Thanks for all the great input
John
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:46 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Cypressloser View Post
Well, I asked for opinions and what I'm getting is hard facts. We currently own a 2008 Royals International which is a Carriage and we had zero issues with it (almost). I agree the boxed frame in the Lifestyle is stiffer and that an RV does not tolerate flex very well. We'll probably order a 2014 Lifestyle LS37RESL after Thanksgiving, it will be considerably more expensive with all the options than the Trilogy but I guess peace of mind has it's price. New Horizons and the like are well over our budget.
Thanks for all the great input
John
Then you are familiar with Carriage, why stray too far. I own this Royals,




It was custom built in 1995 for and by Clarence Yoder, then the owner of Carriage. In terms of quality and features nothing comes close to it even today and from the likes of New Horizon or SpaceCraft.

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Old 10-08-2013, 03:47 PM   #9
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Lifestyle and U.S. Steel

I agree with the Lifestyle. My DW and I have researched 5th wheels to exhaustion. It came down to the Lifestyle and the Excel. For many reasons the Lifestyle won. We will place our order this week for the LS37RESL. What no one is saying is that the Lifestyle frame is made from U.S. Steel, not China steel like the I-beam frames. BIG difference in quality of steel. Not only is the box frame better, but nothing beats U.S. Steel.
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Old 10-08-2013, 05:43 PM   #10
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Bsc27 we're also looking at the LS37RESL with peninsula, MCD shades, 8000# axles with disc brakes, extra insulation and maybe a dishwasher which takes the place of the oven. The gas cooktop then needs to be replaced with an electric one also. We'll have the dealer move the solar panels over from our old unit install the generator (even though I hate propane generators, they are to costly to operate). I'm sure we will both be happy if it's the same build quality as the carriage. We did also consider the Excel which also has a very solid frame but the wood structure can be a problem in case of an (unlikely) leak. We will probably order ours next week. Thanks for sharing
John
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:38 PM   #11
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We were considering the Lifestyle and the Trilogy.... we finally decided on the Trilogy as it had everything we wanted ,floorplan , residential Fridge, 2 awnings , no oven and no god awful gaudy interior fabric designs and a few other items, we also liked the Lifestyles but we just could not find an interior floorplan that we could live with and the one we really liked had what we will call the "suicide step" coming out of the bathroom it may sound trivial but in our eyes it just wasn't acceptable.....so we went with the Trilogy and so far have been satisfied.
The bottom line is when you are looking for an RV, get what FITS YOU and your wants and needs, For us the Trilogy was it ,is it the top shelf like some of the others? Probably not, but fit and finish was excellent , we had a few minor issues that I took care of myself , and we have 1 warranty issue to take care of ...a cracked skylight, all else has been good. Feel free to visit our blog at the link below ,the DW has been doing some video's and pictures on the Trilogy and some of our advetures (she's a bit of a rookie ) but entertaining just the same !
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:00 PM   #12
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Defiant530 I absolutely adore the fit and finish as well as the included standards the Trilogy offers and it was your DW's video report which propelled the Trilogy to the top, I had concerns in regard to the built in propane tank but this wouldn't have been a deal breaker. What made us run was the attitude of the dealership where the salesman first brags about their service department and the dealership as a whole and then won't even return phone calls when I requested simple information.
I owned my own business for over 30 years (successfully I might add) and learned when a dealership shows this kind of behaviour it is time to let go. Since this dealer is already 200 miles from where we live, we simply don't have any other option. The problem is we live in the "boonies", 200 miles to the nearest Lifestyle dealer 380 miles to the nearest Excel dealer and 200 miles to the nearest Trilogy dealer where I don't even know where the second nearest is located. No matter where we buy we will need service eventually.
b.t.w.: I absolutely enjoyed reading your blog, thank you for making this available.
John
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Old 10-09-2013, 03:25 AM   #13
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Defiant530 I absolutely adore the fit and finish as well as the included standards the Trilogy offers and it was your DW's video report which propelled the Trilogy to the top, I had concerns in regard to the built in propane tank but this wouldn't have been a deal breaker. What made us run was the attitude of the dealership where the salesman first brags about their service department and the dealership as a whole and then won't even return phone calls when I requested simple information.
I owned my own business for over 30 years (successfully I might add) and learned when a dealership shows this kind of behaviour it is time to let go. Since this dealer is already 200 miles from where we live, we simply don't have any other option. The problem is we live in the "boonies", 200 miles to the nearest Lifestyle dealer 380 miles to the nearest Excel dealer and 200 miles to the nearest Trilogy dealer where I don't even know where the second nearest is located. No matter where we buy we will need service eventually.
b.t.w.: I absolutely enjoyed reading your blog, thank you for making this available.
John
As you saw our dealer was 600 miles away (good excuse for a little vacation) so as far as service we will use a local Forest River dealer for the things that I can't do myself . I agree dealers are their own worst enemy sometimes, we went thru a few of them , we had a class A to trade in and some of these dealers were not interested so we wasted no more time on them. Service is an issue , I will always try to fix it myself ,I figure since it is "my house" I will do it right and have pride in my work , besides I'm pretty good at it......
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Old 10-09-2013, 01:42 PM   #14
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Trilogy uses fairly heavy I beam. It is not the lightweight steel that many use. I would not even let this concern me. they will remove the propane tank also if asked. They do lack in insulation though. That is the main issue for me.
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