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Old 08-20-2011, 05:54 PM   #1
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Thoughts and experience on Montana's High Country technology

I'm looking to purchase a new 5th, we are currently very interested in a 2011 Montana High Country 343RL.

I'm finding it very difficult to find out exactly what Keystone has done to cut 2000 lbs off of a similarly equipped Montana as compared to a High Country.

If they cut corners on quality stuff it isn't very apparent from the look and feel of the units.

Does anyone know what the Helium Technology is or have any experience with a High Country model?
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:43 PM   #2
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We bought the Montana. The High Country had plastic (PVC?) trim where we have wood. Cabinets looked lighter (less strong). Probably lighter furniture - our recliners and sofa are quiet heavy. Our dining table and chairs are solid wood. Don't know where else they cut corners to lose 2k lbs.

Beware the tires! One of our made in China Goodyear Marathos blew after about 3500 mi doing $1600 in damage (we were lucky at that). If I buy another 5vr that comes with "China Bombs" on it I will insist on a tire change out as part of the deal (I now run on Michelin LT tires - another $1200 expense).
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:59 PM   #3
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Looking at their brochure; I have to guess they have really reduced the weight of the frame, maybe even the thickness of the sidewalls. "Helium" technology???? Why not put them in the "Lite" category?
Can't really tell as their website kind of keeps it a secret on those models where as they show the size frame on the others.
Maybe someone else can weigh in on the construction of these things; that has a little more insight of what they actually are.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:20 PM   #4
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That was going to be my next question...does anyone know what typo of frame in under these.

I like the Montana name and it seems to have a good reputation, as I have a 2011 F350 diesel, I'm not completely tied down by a "light" trailer, it just would be nice to tow around 2000 lbs less weigh, IF and only IF it doesn't sacrifice quality.
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Old 08-21-2011, 01:57 AM   #5
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. . . it just would be nice to tow around 2000 lbs less weigh, IF and only IF it doesn't sacrifice quality.
If it's both lighter AND less expensive, you WILL sacrifice some quality. Lighter AND equal or better quality almost always mean more expensive. Be very skeptical if a dealer tells you it is lighter, just as good, and cheaper.

If they could build it lighter and just as good for the same price, they would build ALL of their trailers that way.

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Old 08-21-2011, 01:26 PM   #6
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djkarau...call Keystone, they will be happy to talk with you.
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Old 08-22-2011, 01:05 PM   #7
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I know some about the Cougar HC and likely the Montana HC is the same. First all slide mechanisms are BAL cable operated rather than under floor elec or hydraulic (Open Range does the same thing). This is the biggest weight savings. Second, side walls are laminated (so don't need as thick lauan backer board) and I'm guessing do not have aluminum studs every 16 inches. Rear wall is still 'hung wall' type construction. Standard Montana may use wood floor joists and roof rafters, HC uses aluminum. Cabinet frames may be vinyl covered light weight wood rather than hardwood. Minor weight savings thru smaller, fewer cabinets. All this reduction allows for a lighter weight frame.
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Old 08-22-2011, 06:57 PM   #8
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Standard Montana uses Aluminum floor joists and wall studs with arched Steel rafters. When towing with a Diesel a few thousand pounds makes very little difference.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:40 PM   #9
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Recently purchased HC 343RL. Biggest problem trailer sags down on driver's side when hitched by 1 3/4". This side has three slides sagging is noticable to naked eye. When resting on tires and front jacks no sag ????.
I weighed unit on way home from Texas (purchased in Houston) after subtracting empty truck rear axle weight trailer hitch weight 2500+ weight on trailer axles 9380 specs for this unit state empty hitch is 1740. I can't believe I am carrying 800 lbs in bedroom and boots.

Did anyone else have a problem with the mattress support or lack of in bedroom. I had to bring in a sheet of plywood to lay over the hammock affair.

Any suggestions as to cause of sagging?
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:23 AM   #10
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Recently purchased HC 343RL. Biggest problem trailer sags down on driver's side when hitched by 1 3/4". This side has three slides sagging is noticable to naked eye. When resting on tires and front jacks no sag ????.
I weighed unit on way home from Texas (purchased in Houston) after subtracting empty truck rear axle weight trailer hitch weight 2500+ weight on trailer axles 9380 specs for this unit state empty hitch is 1740. I can't believe I am carrying 800 lbs in bedroom and boots.

Did anyone else have a problem with the mattress support or lack of in bedroom. I had to bring in a sheet of plywood to lay over the hammock affair.

Any suggestions as to cause of sagging?
When moving from unhitched (front jacks) to hitched (truck rear axle), there is minimal change in the amount of weight resting on the trailer axles, so there is no reason for the trailer leaf springs to cause a change of 1-3/4 inches. So, it would seem that the springs on one side of the truck's rear axle is most suspect. However you are switching from a 4 point support (two sets of tires and two jacks) to a 3 point support (two sets of tires and the king pin), so on the other hand I guess it is possible that the jack is compensating for a weakness in the trailer leaf spring. When hitched, look closely at the arch of the leaf springs on each side and the angle of the spring shackle, for both truck and trailer. If they aren't nearly identical left side to right side, that could be the problem.
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Old 09-01-2011, 11:16 AM   #11
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My Montana HC problem

Thank you for your input.
I found measuring from the bottom of cap might me unreliable. So I measured from bottom of frame next to the front jacks. The difference when on my hitch is 1" side to side. But the limiting factor my be the amount of tip that is built into the hitch assembly. I did take my trailer to a truck scale and weighed each of the trailer rear wheels seperately. It turns out that the side that sags weights 880 lbs more on rear axles and puts an additional 180 lbs on driver rear tire of my truck. As far as my truck suspension I have checked it out and it is fine. Took the trailer to a spring and break service that specializes in rv's. They also think that the springs on the trailer driver's side rear (3 slide side) are not supporting the weight. Now the fight comes will Keystone pay for additional leaf springs?
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:43 PM   #12
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Thank you for your input.
I found measuring from the bottom of cap might me unreliable. So I measured from bottom of frame next to the front jacks. The difference when on my hitch is 1" side to side. But the limiting factor my be the amount of tip that is built into the hitch assembly. I did take my trailer to a truck scale and weighed each of the trailer rear wheels seperately. It turns out that the side that sags weights 880 lbs more on rear axles and puts an additional 180 lbs on driver rear tire of my truck. As far as my truck suspension I have checked it out and it is fine. Took the trailer to a spring and break service that specializes in rv's. They also think that the springs on the trailer driver's side rear (3 slide side) are not supporting the weight. Now the fight comes will Keystone pay for additional leaf springs?
Any good spring shop can re-arc the leaf springs on one side to level the trailer. But doing that or adding one more leaf to the spring pack will not change the fact that the one side is carrying almost 10% more weight than the other. Since you have all the weights, make sure you inflate both truck and trailer tires on that side higher to handle the additional weight.

Although less likely, it is possible that the spring mounts are not the same on both sides. Measure the distance from the front spring perch to the rear spring perch and compare side-to-side. Also, if there are multiple holes for the spring bolts, the same holes are used on both sides. But I would have expected the shop to check these potential issues.
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Old 09-01-2011, 08:00 PM   #13
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I can understand the extra weight on one side of the trailer...however, because it connects to the truck in the centre of the frame, it is impossible for that sideways weight to transfer to only one axle on your truck. I'm guessing that your fuel tank is on the heavy side of your truck.
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Old 09-02-2011, 02:13 PM   #14
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The fuel tank is center line running lenght of bed should not account for difference. Weight can be transfered laterally.

5th wheel hitches have a certain amount of play side to side front to back. My 16K Huskey will only tip to the release handle side (driver's side). When HC is hitched the hitch support is tipped down on the handle release side. The limiting factor for the sag is how far the hitch plate will piviot before hitting bottom of hitch plate support. Weight can be transfered laterally.
My truck stays level when hitched. I have measured wheel, axle, and frame points. I have also just put a level on back bumper. Keystone has no answer yet.
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