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Old 08-24-2014, 12:28 PM   #1
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Opinions requested

Hello, I enjoy this site, lots of good info here and I'm hoping for some feedback on my question. We are in our 3rd camper. Had a small 5th wheel years ago, then got a larger trailer and (4 yrs ago) bought our current 35 foot Keystone Cougar 5th wheel. We have enjoyed it a lot and hardly any issues. However we have just gone full time as of May and there are things about our current 5th wheel that just aren't quite what we need.

We need a bit more storage, a larger refrigerator, and a washer and dryer. We have narrowed it down to a Bighorn, an Alpine, and a Solitude. They are all about the same size, the prices we are getting from two different dealers are very close as well. We like the features and floor plans of all three. The dealer that has both the Solitude and the Bighorn, his salesman was open in his preference for the Bighorn over the Solitude. Mainly, it seemed, because they have a longer track record.

We will likely make this decision in the next week or so. I would very much appreciate any feedback on any of these 5th wheels. If you were choosing between them which would you pick and why? If you own one of these would you buy it again if you had a do-over opportunity?

Sorry if this is long for a first post, I would really appreciate any feedback.
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Old 08-24-2014, 02:58 PM   #2
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Sorry I can't give you any feedback on your question .
Just wanted to say , Glad to have you with us.
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Old 08-24-2014, 03:18 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum also.


I and my wife have been looking also at up grading to a new 5er. We presently have a 2010 318SAB Cougar (35ft). Have done many upgrades to this unit to make it more to our liking but do not full time in it.

Now we have looked at all of the ones you have looked at plus the Jayco Pinnacle model we are looking at the 31RETS or the 36REQS models. What I like about the Pinnacle models is the fact that the auto leveling system is standard and not an attachment that you need to buy extra.


The Solitude are nice but from what I remember of the Solitudes do not have a silverware drawer or for that matter I do not think there is a drawer in any of the cabinets in the kitchen area.

The Alpine is a Keystone brand and I know it is not a Cougar but after 4 years of ownership I do not think that the decals should be peeling like mine are on the front. So when we buy again it will not be a Keystone product.

Another item is to check the manufactures web site and make sure the unit meets the warranty requirements for full time living some come right out and state warranty void if you plan on using the camper for full time. If the warranty is a concern for you or not?

Jim W.
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Old 08-24-2014, 04:36 PM   #4
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Just my two cents. If you are going full time, you need to make sure the unit is built solid enough for full time. The BigHorn can work for full time, but as I understand, is not designed for it. I am not sure on the Solitude. I say this because I am about to take to delivery of my new coach and am using it full time so I am a tad bias, but the Bay Hill line is designed for full time / extended living and has almost the same plans as the Solitude. During my research I checked into frame size, exterior construction, roof construction ect. and the Bay Hill delivered what I needed for full time (confirmed by calling Bay Hill and asking if it was designed for it) but at a price that was closer to recreational coaches. I am in a Keystone Everest right now, which is in the same class as Heartland trailers and I can tell you it is NOT designed for full time use. It will work, but it has many issues that prove its not designed to be constantly occupied. I dont know much about the Solitude, but it is a nice looking coach, my only complaint is it shows to have "high gloss fiberglass" side walls which is not a true gel coat sidewall, meaning it can oxidize and fade easily. I know at one time Heartland used the same process, especially on some of their nose caps. I look for a true gel coat and full painted nose cap to give the best longevity. Both trailers have an I-beam frame, but how big are the I-beams of each? Find out things like this and then pick the one that suits you best. As long as your happy, your not wrong. Cheers and congrats on the soon to be new coach!

Chad
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Old 08-24-2014, 05:03 PM   #5
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Glad you're aboard. Sorry I can't help on your questions, rather leave it to the one's who know. Enjoy your adventures and be safe.
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:08 PM   #6
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As far as a specific unit I prefer to not say, I have my preference but everyone has different needs and desires. Look at the options you guys are used to and need.
We are full time and have been for over 9 years. We did travel with my work, until I retired April 2012. First do not go cheap!!! You don't have to spend a boat load, but don't cut corner's. Get dual pane windows, the best insulated unit, good stacked washer and dryer, two A/C's with heat strips or A/C with heat pumps and residential refrigerator with an inverter. Also look at the unit for possible cabinet additions as you might need to help with storage, some floor plans you can - others you can't. If you are going to travel the USA, spend the extra with a good suspension system and pin box. If you boon dock, get a generator, if you are planning on camp grounds, don't waste the money.
We ordered and bought a 2009 Cedar Creek, exactly the way we wanted it. I would say don't buy something off a lot, how much has it been "used", there. Even ordering it like we did we found we "needed" a few other things. Over the years we've had it I have installed, a dishwasher (first thing within the first month we owned it LOL , previous 5th wheel had one, factory did not offer it, but was easily installed), more kitchen cabinets, filing cabinet drawers, changed out and rewired 120/240V and 12V electrical systems, added a coat closet. Also we had installed, 6 point LevelUp, and MorRyde IS system, with MorRyde pin box. Pulls and travels and sets up, like a dream, love it!! Whatever you do, get what you want and spend what you need to have your needs and wants fulfilled, that's what matters.

Hope this helps and God bless,
Mike
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:14 PM   #7
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I would recommend looking at the recent thread. Best Quality built 5r. There is a lot of information and opinions to consider.

I would say if you are looking at FT then you need a Quality built unit in the A or B area as I would grade them.

The brands you are considering do not make the cut IMO. If you have the time start looking at a quality built slightly used unit. You can get into one at or below the cost of a new mid range rig.

We were in the same situation last year and it took us a few months but we finally found a King of the Road Royal Villa 37 QSRL. Has electric slide patio, W/D, Triple Axle, Moride, electric awning, sensors, basically everything! It was over 100k new and granted King of the Road is no longer in production, the parent company Chief is and I still have access to certain parts if needed. We are in our rig right now FT and loving it.

There are many high quality rigs still in production and I would focus on something like that.

Some names come to mind, DRV's, Excel, NuWa, Again, look at that other thread and read up on some other opinions. Mine is that a FT should take a serious look at a high end build unit and slightly used is best way to go...
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:35 PM   #8
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You might want to go on the Heartland Owners Club website and ask questions there, they are a good bunch of people and very helpful. By the way some above are incorrect. The Big Horn, Big Country, and Landmark are all Heartland models and warranted for full time.
Good luck in your search.
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:47 PM   #9
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We have bought are first 5ver and after years worth of research my wife and I choose the Grand Design Solitude. The kitchen as all kinds of drawer and cabinet space in fact the whole trailer as plenty of storage. We have had the trailer since March of this year and have never regretted are decision. We have put about 4000 miles on the trailer without any problems.
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Old 08-24-2014, 11:44 PM   #10
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Thanks for the welcome and I do appreciate each one who shared thoughts on these fifth wheel options. I made some notes on some of the things mentioned here as we are going to a dealership tomorrow to look at some that we have been thinking about.

We really don't have to be in a hurry, just wanted to get something this time of year or fall, thinking (maybe misguided) that there would be some good deals about this time. In May we looked at some in dealerships around El Paso and we did get higher quotes there than we have got from some dealers here in Colorado, on the same units.

We were told that the Bighorn is rated for full time but I'm not exactly sure what criteria they use. All the units we are looking at have the 6 point auto leveling systems. Also dual air con. I really like all the storage these units have! The Solitude adverts say 'extended stay' and the dealer with the Alpine said they are designed to meet the needs of full timers. I will be sure to check on their warranty covering full time use!

As for going with a 5th wheel that is considered higher class, and more expensive to start with, but getting it used...we are not opposed to that at all but doesn't seem to be easy to get one as they are snapped up pretty fast seems like. We did look into getting a two year old Redwood but it was sold so fast we didn't get a chance! We aren't staying all that close to any of these dealerships and, of course, been doing other things this summer besides our search for a full time 5W to meet our needs.

Another consideration is that we just got a new F250 truck and put the air bags to help with the load and don't want to go over a certain weight. don't want to go over 39 feet and rather stay around 37.

I didn't know know about some of the things you all brought up....will check out the recommended thread as well. Again, thanks for your responses!
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Old 08-25-2014, 12:10 AM   #11
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I would also look at the Evergreen Bay Hill 379 (front living area). Has the large residential fridge and dishwasher. You can also look the Evergreen Lifestyle and Alfa (slightly quality exterior), but basically the same.
I've the seen the Solitude...very nice, but I would take the Bay Hill 379 over the Solitude...just my opinion. Evergreen (Bay Hill, Lifestyle, Alfa) uses the Denver Mattress pillow top in their nicer units as well so you won't have to replace with an after market mattress.
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Old 08-25-2014, 08:57 AM   #12
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I was going to suggest that you consider a Heartland Landmark fifth wheel (over a Big Horn), as it's better suited for full timers.

However you said you purchased a F250 truck. As a SuperDuty owner, I can say that your truck (and mine) doesn't have the bed weight carrying capability to handle any fifth wheel trailer substantial enough for full time living.

I limited myself to 12K/2K dry weights of my fifth wheel--knowing that I can easily push 13K/3K when fully loaded. Most of the Heartland full size fifth wheels are easily 2K more pounds than my fifth wheel which means you need to trade for a truck with dual rear wheels.
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:41 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texascowboy View Post
Just my two cents. If you are going full time, you need to make sure the unit is built solid enough for full time. The BigHorn can work for full time, but as I understand, is not designed for it. I am not sure on the Solitude. I say this because I am about to take to delivery of my new coach and am using it full time so I am a tad bias, but the Bay Hill line is designed for full time / extended living and has almost the same plans as the Solitude. During my research I checked into frame size, exterior construction, roof construction ect. and the Bay Hill delivered what I needed for full time (confirmed by calling Bay Hill and asking if it was designed for it) but at a price that was closer to recreational coaches. I am in a Keystone Everest right now, which is in the same class as Heartland trailers and I can tell you it is NOT designed for full time use. It will work, but it has many issues that prove its not designed to be constantly occupied. I dont know much about the Solitude, but it is a nice looking coach, my only complaint is it shows to have "high gloss fiberglass" side walls which is not a true gel coat sidewall, meaning it can oxidize and fade easily. I know at one time Heartland used the same process, especially on some of their nose caps. I look for a true gel coat and full painted nose cap to give the best longevity. Both trailers have an I-beam frame, but how big are the I-beams of each? Find out things like this and then pick the one that suits you best. As long as your happy, your not wrong. Cheers and congrats on the soon to be new coach!

Chad
Not only is the Bighorn built for fulltiming, it is fully warranted as such! Spent six years full timing in a 2008 Bighorn which served us beautifully, even in very cold weather...now are full timing in a Heartland Landmark.

The Bighorn is on a 12" I beam and has high gloss gelcoat exterior side walls...
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:50 AM   #14
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Not sure if either one of those are "FULTIME" quality!
If those are your choices, I would make sure they had the "Artic"
package! Auto level and residential fridge with inverter and batteries.
IMHO! Excel,DRV (mobile suites)'new Horzons,(pricy) hitchhiker.
are a few of the fulltime fivers!
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