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Old 06-27-2014, 09:10 AM   #1
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Location: MA
Posts: 135
Our Continuing Fifth Wheel Search

Thanks to all of the great advice we have received here we are becoming more and more aware of what will work for us by way of a truck/fiver combination.

I owe a special thanks to a senior list member who took the time to give us some advice about a particular brand and model we were going to see.
He was kind enough to give us advice first thing in the morning as we were headed out to see some fivers.

We met two branches of the same family that day. They both own RV repair shops and one of them is a Jayco dealer as well as being an outlet for Cruise America rentals. The other does repairs and has started a consignment operation on his site. Both locations are only an hour away from us. We live just outside of Boston. You have to travel a bit to find a spot where people can afford the real estate to be in the RV business.

Both families are avid campers from way back and very down to earth to deal with.

We had the opportunity to view two Carriage fivers, one Excel and a 1999 Avion as well as other more mid level and starter brands. They were all used.

I want to report what a privilege it was to view and appreciate the Carriage, Excel and Avion brands. The youngest of them was from 2006.
Having this opportunity to see and experience the quality of these units meant a lot to us. We examined the frames, axels and the many valuable additions the owners had made to their units. From reading here I could appreciate what we were seeing. You could really feel the love and care given to these fivers by their owners. They were all spotless with high quality interiors for their time.

We are continuing our journey of finding the right combination for us.
Just wanted to let you all know how much I have learned here and how much I appreciate the quality of these brands. You do not see these brands at the RV shows in MA. I do know that the Carriage and Avion are no longer made.

We spoke with the owners of the repair facility who are willing to examine (for a fee of course) any privately owned fivers we might come across for sale. We would rather not have to buy a dually so the heavier units are out for us. We do intend to order a 3500 diesel any day now.

Will let you all know where we finally end up.


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Old 06-27-2014, 03:34 PM   #2
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Need to check out a Teton.

2003 Teton Grand Freedom. 2006 Freightliner Century 120 with Detroit 14L and Ultrashift.. Full time going from job to job. Building and maintaining plants across the USA. Sold 2006 Mobile Suites 32TK3
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Old 06-27-2014, 04:08 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by glennwest View Post
Need to check out a Teton.
Yes, I would like to. Must search for one.

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Old 06-27-2014, 04:43 PM   #4
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Location: Western NC -Cherokee area
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I am in a class A currently but have owned 5 5th wheels. I want to tell you the one thing we finally had in our last 5th wheel that took all the "pain" out of using the fifth wheel and that is a six point hydraulic leveling system. Unhook, push the auto level button and you are set up in a matter of minutes automatically. No more boards, checking, releving, etc. Ours was a "Big Sky" by Montana and for us, it was the Cadillac. My two cents on your search. PS--full body paint stops a lot of chalk run off.
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Old 06-29-2014, 11:54 AM   #5
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 45
Confusion for me also

I was killing some time today and walked into an RV Dealership today.
Came out with some literature on the Palomino Columbus line of 5ers. The internals sure looked very great.
I am an owner of our 2nd 5er; current is a 2005 Excel 28TRW. For the time being this is very comfortable for our weekend and weeklong trips. But as we move toward retirement, I know that it will need to be upsized.
I can not find any reviews, positive or negative on the Columbus line of RVs.

Sorry about pirating this thread with my curiosity.
MN Al and Sue RV'ing Practicers.
2005 Excel 28TRW. '09 Dodge MegaRam 2500 Diesel 6.7L.
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Old 06-29-2014, 12:00 PM   #6
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another Exhart mass produced unit.
2003 Teton Grand Freedom. 2006 Freightliner Century 120 with Detroit 14L and Ultrashift.. Full time going from job to job. Building and maintaining plants across the USA. Sold 2006 Mobile Suites 32TK3
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:48 AM   #7
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Please consider the Heartland lines. The Landmark, Big Horn and Big Country warranted and commonly used for full time use. The Heartland Owners forum is a great resource with lots of information found there. If you are looking for a used unit, there are many listed.
2011 Heartland Landmark Grand Canyon
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Old 07-01-2014, 11:42 AM   #8
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You are doing the right thing by getting out there and asking questions. DW and I looked both physically and on the internet for a year before settling on our 5er. We are extremely please with it. I'm sure it worked out so well was because we put the time in before hand to educate ourselves.
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Old 07-01-2014, 02:25 PM   #9
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We own a 2013 295rl Columbus Palomino. We bought it new 1 1/2 years ago.

We also own a 2001 Dodge cummins 3500 dually and are limited with the weight we can tow safely. Our 5er weights 10,600 empty. Loaded with the truck full weights 18,800. Within limits of our truck safely.

We looked for at least a year before buying ours and found the build quality is good, but as all lighter weight mass produced 5ers, there are problems with fit and finish. The Chinese tires were total crap. We blew a tire at 3,103 miles. I replaced with upscale LT tires.

The trailer says it has really great insulation, but it heats up way to fast in hot weather. We installed fantastic fans in the bedroom, bath and are going to have one installed in the living area to help get the hot air out.

We love our fifth wheels floor plan, it is very easy to live in for long periods of time(2 months is our longest), but this trailer is not made for full time living.

If we can go full time, we will look at an Excel, Mobile suites, or used NuWa along with a new truck, as soon as they figure out the DEF problems with the current diesels.

Hope this helps.


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