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Old 01-17-2012, 08:26 AM   #1
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Thoughts about buying a used Carriage Cameo?

My wife and I are looking to upgrade from our travel trailer to a fifth wheel. We have a friend whose parents are selling their 2008 Carriage Cameo. Assuming that I can get a good deal on it, should I be concerned about getting parts for the camper down the road? Carriage has gone belly up and is being put up for auction soon.

We are also weighing the benefits of buying a used Cameo, vs a new fiver from Heartland, like a Big Country. It looks like the costs will be similar as Carriage carries a premium price. I would welcome any opinions from the veteran fifth wheel owners here.

Thanks!

JD
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:00 AM   #2
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Not sure I would be worried. A good extended warranty might help if you really want added peace of mind. Also, I'm not sure there was anything that proprietary on those units that couldn't be fixed elsewhere if you truly had a large-scale breakdown of some sort.

Also, though they didn't officially buy Carriage's assets (yet), EverGreen did pick up a lot of Carriage's management team for their new luxury 5th wheel division that's being built. See here: Carriage

Best of luck to you! And, please make sure you get enough truck. The higher end 5th wheels usually demand a large diesel dually truck.
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:08 AM   #3
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Yep, doing my homework on tow vehicles as well. I am leaning towards a Ram 3500 DRW. Also looking at GM/Chevy 3500...
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Old 01-17-2012, 02:16 PM   #4
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Good thing! These beasts take beastly trucks to pull them!

Here was a thread that I started asking questions on that. A lot of experienced folks chimed in to help educate me on weights and towing. Might be old hat for you, but worth a glance if you happen to want basic questions answered on towing.

Estimating a good weight range for a (not yet purchased) truck and 5-er


Anyway, best of luck in your search. Those Carriages are super nice if you go that route.
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Old 01-20-2012, 08:02 AM   #5
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I plan on trying to find myself a nice gently used Carriage too. The parts they are made from are pretty much off the shelf items. What items would you be afraid of that you might not be able to find parts for? I was sceptical to like yourself but after giving it some thought I couldn't think of a thing that I couldn't find to repair a Carriage should I need to.. (About the only thing I thought of that I would have problems with would be stuff like decals if the old ones started to peel off or something).

I have to get going.. Have fun with your new RV, whatever one you decide on...
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Old 01-20-2012, 09:57 AM   #6
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Sorry but a different side of the cameo story here. We bought a new Cameo 2009 37ft. Had nothing but trouble with it. Tires all 4 of them blew out on us across Canada and the USA this last summer. We had jack problems, Slide problems, And the worst was the roof, 3 times it peeled open and lifted at the top front starting at the cap joint, 3 times repaired. Carriage didn't know what else to do with it. So we sold the Dodge Ram and Fifth wheel to the dealer and bought a Motor Home.
We meet numerous Cameo owners in the US that came across to us in the campground asking questions. They also were experiencing the same problems.
Hopefully you will be lucky enough to buy this one that has had no problems. But I would ask lots of Questions before buying it.
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Old 01-20-2012, 05:35 PM   #7
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Ouch...sounds like a bad experience with that Cameo. I have heard mostly good things and they get good ratings, but I have not gone to see this one yet....
We are going to the RV show soon and will compare the used Cameo with the new rigs. Heartland owners seem to really like the service they get. I also looked at Prime Time and Open Range recently, but they are pretty new brands. Any other suggestions?
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Old 01-20-2012, 06:19 PM   #8
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Most of the parts of any 5er are made up of outsourced parts and then assembled in the plant. The only downside I see in buying a used rig where the company been sold off is that it might effect resale. Of all the available rigs out there I wouldnt buy a rig from a company that doesnt exist, unless it was a smokin deal . I could also see a problem with the quality of the last rigs produced. Did the company cut corners to save money. Was a lesser product used, i.e tires etc. These are things that I would consider. Theres lots of other good rigs out there.
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Old 01-20-2012, 06:47 PM   #9
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Two things I would like to add to the discussion.

One, never buy new. Too much depreciation when you drive it off the lot.

Two, workmanship/quality has hit the bottom at the factory producing new RVs of anykind. They are interested in production and letting the dealer or new owner work out the bugs. If you know how or get someone who knows how to inspect a used rig you can find one that has the bugs remediated and one that is well taken care of by the previous owner(s).

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Old 01-20-2012, 08:05 PM   #10
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Their are many really good fifth wheel brands out their. Just make sure you check the tires if buying new, see if the tire make is Duro they are made in China and many, many RV's have had bad blow outs with them. Check on the Internet under Duro. Get a deal with a dealer to have them changed.
We have always bought new RV's and have never had troubles like we had with the Cameo, but it certainly didn't put us off buying new. It's no different then buying a new home. And the RV is our home.
Good luck with your search.
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Old 01-21-2012, 08:42 PM   #11
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I don't think I would hesitate to buy one if the price was right. Most of the components are made by common suppliers to the RV industry. Something like a sidewall delamination might be difficult to repair without factory support, but the rig would probably be out of warranty, anyway.
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:08 AM   #12
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No matter what used brand you buy, spend the money for an inspection.

As far as parts are concerned, it's unlikely that carriage used parts that were unique to it and couldn't be found elsewhere...certainly stuff like appliances are made by other companies.

So if the professional inspection turns up no major problems and it's being sold at a decent price (do some research on this), I wouldn't hesitate to buy a used rig made by a company that was no longer in business.
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:17 AM   #13
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I am no expert on the Carriage Products but I can say, IMHO, that you will probably be very satisfied with a Cameo, assuming that it receives the thumbs up from a qualified inspector.
From my experience, I feel that Carriage made an excellent product; I presently own an '02 Carri-Lite. I like the fit, finish, structural integrity and overall design. Early on when shopping for a used 5er, a few manufacturers clearly stood out; Carriage was one of them. Overall, the full time units that were produced by companies that only produced full time units, seemed to be the ones that stood the test of time (yes I did my research on this) and they were noted for their road friendliness (good suspension = no broken dishes, etc) as well. I might sound like a snob but I am not saying that there is anything wrong with less expensive 5ers, it's just that the full time units met the criteria that was important to me, especially because I was purchasing a used unit.
As for a tow vehicle, I made the mistake of starting with a 3/4 ton (2500 Silverado, Diesel) that could legally (barely - I had to travel very light) tow my 5er and ended up trading it in for a 1 ton dually. Although dual rear wheels is not a necessity to pull the heavier (Carriage) trailers, I find that it makes the towing experience more comfortable. However, I spoke with a Cameo owner last year - he tows with a Ford F350, SRW and is very happy with it.
Just my 2 cents...
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Old 01-22-2012, 10:40 AM   #14
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Question

How do I find a qualified fifth wheel inspector to check out used rigs?
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