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Old 03-13-2013, 09:23 AM   #15
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Just got an e-mail invitation for the Excel show and tell at Holland RV in Michigan.
Looks like they are going to talk about Insulation, Frames, Winter Living, and a few other topics.

It is 5 hrs I think from Columbus Ohio but I also want to stop in Grand Rapids. In March in Michigan that could be an interesting drive.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:40 AM   #16
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If you can't make it to Smith Center, KS then maybe this will help - here is the link to their construction videos. I researched for over a year before I bought my Excel. For me, it was between Mobil Suites (DRV), New Horizons, and Excel. All are exceptional units with solid construction. What sold us was that Excels price point was better for us and we were able to modify and customize to our heart's content. DRV we couldn't customize very much and NH was ridiculously expensive. Just my perspective.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:25 AM   #17
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Thanks, not finding the link.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:56 AM   #18
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Oops, sorry, I forgot to add the link to my earlier post. Here it is:

http://www.excelrvs.com/resources/videos

Let me just add a little on the modification and customization. We did small and big things like determining where we wanted all of our outlets (PI sent us a schematic of where the outlets are normally and we penciled in where we wanted them), for the chest if drawers we had 4 drawers made instead of the typical 6 to make the drawers bigger and deeper since RV drawers are typically tiny and not very usable. We had the rear flood lights wired to come on when the truck is put into reverse. We combined three of their existing floorplans to make ours and added a custom two table twelve foot booth, also added a custom extra large pantry that is from floor to ceiling and nearly the width of the coach, also had plumbing run to the garage which we later added a custom farm sink (see pic below) and added a closet to the garage. We added a second ac to the garage as well. Those are a few of the changes we made. DRV said they couldn't do that much customization. This is our third and final coach and we knew what we wanted to make it the perfect coach for us. Excel was able to do all that at a very reasonable price. And when ordering our coach we dealt directly with the factory. A dealer was involved only to have the unit shipped to for the PDI. It was by far the best and easiest buying experience we have had.

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Old 03-13-2013, 12:39 PM   #19
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This will be our first, so much to learn. Love the cabinets, and the drawers, that's something I didn't even think of. One thing we're not sure about, the wood framed walls vers the aluminum.the insulation in the Mobile Suites, higher them the Limited.
Do you know if a receiver can be added to the frame, for towing, say small two place snowmobile trailer.
From what I have seen, both companies our manfacturing great trailers.
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:19 PM   #20
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Just a few comments.

1. Customization - DRV will work with you if you want to customize your RV.

2. Superstructure framing - I've owned both wood and aluminum framed RVs and haven't had a problem with either. Each material has advantages and disadvantages - wood is a better insulator but is susceptible to rot in case of water intrusion; aluminum is lighter and not prone to rot, but doesn't insulate as well. You'll get a selling job for whichever material a particular manufacturer uses, but IMHO, superstructure framing material isn't a deal-breaker either way.

3. Trailer hitch receiver - looking at the current Mobile Suites exterior photo gallery on the DRV website, the frame photo (#16) shows a hitch receiver installed at the rear of the frame.

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Old 03-13-2013, 02:04 PM   #21
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Wow - now I remember why I like 5ers much better than a DP. That is really nice work.
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:28 PM   #22
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Yes Excel will add a hitch to the rear if you want it. When I toured the factory, I was very interested in seeing how they build their frames. As I got to that part of the tour they were actually building a hitch on the frame of a unit. The frames and hitch are beefy enough for a trailer or motorcycle lift. What I really like is that they build their own frames in-house and are box frames. One thing they pointed out was that they adjust the camber for each frame they build based on that particular floorplan with the options on that specific unit. I had no idea what exactly that meant so just in case you don't let me explain. They pick the heaviest part of that floorplan on each frame and lay a bead of weld to slightly bow upwards the frame. Over time frames tend to sag in the area where the most weight is so adjusting the camber prevents that sagging. With sagging you will eventually see gaps in areas where the walls meet the ceiling which is why many manufacturers put molding around the top part of the walls. Excel doesn't try to hide gaps with molding around all the walls because they don't need to. I have two spots with molding - the rear wall above the TV and the wall above the pantry and is only for decoration.

Not to discount what Rusty said about DRV (a quality manufacturer), but when we contacted them last year they wouldn't customize to the degree we wanted. They didn't have any floorplans we fell in love with and they wouldn't let us design a layout that worked for us. That may have changed now, but worth looking in to. With Excel we liked the idea of the GKE but didn't like the bedroom or bathroom. So we took a different bedroom and bathroom design and put that in our unit. We didn't want to put the w/d (they offer Whirlpools) in the bedroom and preferred it in the bathroom so they made it happen. In our toyhauler floorplan they also didn't have a layout with a half bath in the garage so I had them run plumbing to the garage so we could put a big stainless farm sink back there. We also wanted a closet in the garage since when we are stationary we use that space as a bedroom for my little girl. We also didn't feel the GKE had a big enough pantry and had no use for the countertop built in so we had them do no countertop and build a bigger pantry. Another major change was the GKE had a free standing dinette which we didn't like, we wanted a booth. So they worked with us to design a 12 ft booth with storage under each section. We love the booth especially when we have guests! Every one has a place to sit w/o being on top of each other! I wish I would have ordered our unit with a residential frig but didn't know they would do that.

As far as wood framed vs aluminum, Rusty is correct in wood's better insulation properties. He also correctly pointed out that if water leaks to the wood you will experience rot which isn't true for aluminum. But if you watch the construction videos you will see that in the 15,000+ trailers Excel has built they have had one known case of delamination due to how they make their sidewalls. There was an issue a few years ago with floor rot on the slides due to design issues but they promptly fixed the design and as far as I know they haven't had any issues since the redesign.

Ultimately it comes down to what you want and what you are comfortable with. I think you would probably be happy with either manufacturer. But for us the huge box frame with camber adjustment, level of customization, and wood frame with pink spun fiberglass insulation, truly insulated slide floors, etc we felt Excel was a better fit for us. We have gone back to factory twice in the last 14 months mainly for more custom work and every time they treat us like family. Whenever I call for a question I simply say my name and they know exactly who I am. Their customers truly are family!

And by the way, they recently changed their GKE floorplan by no longer doing an L shaped kitchen counter and instead of doing an island. But if you want the L shape counter they will do it. That was what happened with our bathroom layout we liked. They no longer offered it but still had the molds so they had no problem doing it for us. They now offer that layout as an option again!

If you have any more questions, please ask, but I will try to keep my future posts a little shorter !



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Old 03-14-2013, 06:29 AM   #23
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Although most heavier full-time 5th wheels come with them today, whatever brand you wind up purchasing, be sure to get the 17.5 inch tires and wheels. The last thing you need to worry about are tire failures of the 16" Goodyear G614 RSTs that came on some of these units.

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Hi

I am unaware of any problems with the G614. I put 30,000 miles on one set and now have them on an equipment trailer and new ones on the 5th wheel. No blowouts and no other problems.

As for the 17.5-lowboy tires I would wait to see if anyone is having structure problems with that tire installed. The 17.5 heavy-duty tire has no thatís ď0Ē side wall flex. Thatís going to create some very high impact loads on the spring attach points.

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Old 03-14-2013, 07:41 AM   #24
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You might want to do a search on iRV2 or even the internet on "G614". Many of us have had tread separation failures with these tires. I had two within 3 months of each other in 2007, the second doing over $2500 in damage to the 5th wheel.

The 17.5s, as I stated, were introduced on these heavier trailers after the G614s proved inadequate and are now standard equipment on most. I upgraded to the 17.5s in 2010 and love 'em - never a problem, even towing across I-10 in West Texas on a 105+ degF day last September or towing to Arizona and back in July 2010. You'll find very, very few reported problems with the 17.5 wheels and tires, and most of those involve road hazards and running deflated after an obvious puncture.

Ya pays yore money and ya takes yore choice (and your chances as well with the G614s!!) I chose not to gamble on the 614s after I was burned by them!

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Old 03-14-2013, 08:01 AM   #25
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Hi

I am unaware of any problems with the G614. I put 30,000 miles on one set and now have them on an equipment trailer and new ones on the 5th wheel. No blowouts and no other problems.

As for the 17.5-lowboy tires I would wait to see if anyone is having structure problems with that tire installed. The 17.5 heavy-duty tire has no thatís ď0Ē side wall flex. Thatís going to create some very high impact loads on the spring attach points.

3665RE
Just an observation. I have 17.5" Michelins on our coach and the Michelin website has an inflation load chart for the tires that goes from a minimum 85 psi to the max 120. Inflation is based on the load. For ours 85 psi is enough to carry the load but I run 95. I pulled it home with 120 in it and sure could feel it bounce. It is much smother with the lower air pressure. As a former motorhome owner I found out how much running the proper air pressure for the load affects the ride so I am assuming doing the same with the 17.5" fiver tires will help with any stress of impacts on the suspension.

Teamtj, very nice. We had some mods done also but not nearly to that extent. This is our 3rd Excel and the experience has been very good.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:59 AM   #26
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You might want to do a search on iRV2 or even the internet on "G614". Many of us have had tread separation failures with these tires. I had two within 3 months of each other in 2007, the second doing over $2500 in damage to the 5th wheel.

Rusty
Hi

I have been watching the post about the G614.

Yes the G614 did have problems in 2006 and 2007. Those were corrected. The only problem the G614 is having now is an unusual tread ware. This can be corrected by rotating the tires every 10,000 miles. Move the rear axel tires to the front axel and I am old school so I donít change them from side to side. The reason for the tread wear is they are regroovable LT tires. The thicker rubber in the tread causes this on the rear axel.

As for 17.5 tire I use them on equipment trailers and the sidewall is very stiff. They donít flex at all under light loads. The average 5th wheel that can use the G614 is considered light for that tire and tire pressure charts for the tire donít show a pressure for the load being carried. Then when you consider the problems with the Lippert frame (I have already failed the frame even with the ďXĒ bracingĒ) I am just going to wait before making change to the 17.5. I could do this at no cost to me seeing as how I already have them mounted on steel wheels and I could just bolt on the trailer.

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Old 03-15-2013, 07:42 AM   #27
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That's your call. I note in your profile that you're towing a Keystone Montana. That's quite a different ballgame than dealing with the weight of one of our full-time construction 5th wheels. Perhaps you can get away with the G614s just fine, but that doesn't mean that I can. Different tools for different jobs.....

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Old 03-15-2013, 08:35 AM   #28
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RustyJC - different tools for different jobs? Humm - and all this time I always rely on the good ole BFH.
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