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Old 08-19-2018, 11:43 AM   #1
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Value of features?

Greetings. We are new to the RV thing and are itching to get on the road. We have been educating ourselves for years and are almost prepared to enter your world.

We have narrowed our fifth wheel choices down to two units, both Keystone products. Now we have to decide what is worth additional cost and what is not. Our choice has come down to either Montana or Montana High Country.

Both units seem relatively the same except for some added bells and whistles on the Montana and some construction features. The bells and whistles will not really enter into our decision (central vac, outdoor entertainment, etc). However, there are some key features which may come into play, I just don't know how to place a value on them. The difference in cost is approximately $10K. Here are the major differences as far as I can tell (I'm probably missing some). What do you think? Is the price difference justified?

We will be traveling up and down the east coast to start and then venture west as we become more comfortable. We will probably spend 4-5 months a year on the road. Our tow vehicle in a 2015 Ford F-350 SRW.

Thanks for your input.

Residential fridge with 1000 watt inverter VS 12 CU. FT. 4 door RV fridge

5" Arched roof rafters VS Residential roof rafters

5/8 thick Dynaspanģ floor decking VS plyveneer floor decking

Powder coated 12" steel I-beam frame VS Powder coated 10" steel I-beam

30,000 BTU Air conditioning system VS 15,000 BTU Air conditioner

6 point auto hydraulic leveling VS 4 point auto electric leveling

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Old 08-19-2018, 01:30 PM   #2
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These are all fairly significant upgrades. I have been very few places where I feel a single 15k ac would be sufficient. Hydraulic leveling is much quicker than elec. however you do have the potential for leaks. 6 jacks offer a bit more stability than 4. We've had both types of fridge and will not give up the capacity and faster recovery of the residential. Not sure how larger / stronger components could ever be a negative.
The only possible downside I see is all this adds weight. Be sure you are not exceeding the CCC of tv.

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Old 08-19-2018, 02:26 PM   #3
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GO with the rig that has the items in 'left column'

Floorplan (slides retracted) allows for use ----kitchen/bathroom/bed access

MAJOR ITEM.......that the F350 SRW REAR AXLE has high enough rating (and rear tires) to fully carry wet pin weight of 5vr FULL GVWR
Is it time for YOUR medication or MINE
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Old 08-19-2018, 02:29 PM   #4
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If this is new to you and the first time you are doing it I highly recommend buying used. I have been full timing for 8 1/2 years and that is what I do. There are a number of reasons.
1) You don't know if you will like the lifestyle.
2) If you have never done it you definitely don't know what you need or even want. Things that sound like a good idea don't get used and things you never thought you would use turn out to be the greatest thing ever invented.

3) If possibly you may want to rent one for a couple of weeks to try it.
4) Watch the newspapers. You will be surprised at the number of RVs you see that were only used 3 - 4 times.

5) Unless you get extremely lucky on your wants and needs you will be looking to buy again in 2 - 3 years and you took a big hit for depreciation on a new rig. We bought our last one from a consignment lot 8 1/2 years ago. It was 2 years old and we paid 2/3 of the original price. And it is still going strong for us.
6) Definitely 2 AC's.

Now all of this is strictly my own opinion but I'm trying to save you some grief and money. Hope to see you down the road someday.


P.S. Be sure you have enough truck to SAFELY handle it. You can tow with lots of things BUT can you stop it? And to much truck is like a unicorn, it does not exist.
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Old 08-19-2018, 02:30 PM   #5
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The 3 last items alone are worth the $. I wouldn't like the electric levelers at all!
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Old 08-19-2018, 02:32 PM   #6
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The HC is a lighter unit from the roof down. So for example the 10" I beam may be under no more load than the 12" I beam of the heavier Montana. Electric slide outs and leveling systems are generally easier to fix. But every brand and model at any price can have terrible problems or be very reliable. Keystone wouldn't keep the HC if it was significantly worse. Buy what you like. I'm sure the HC has the option for a second AC unit.
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Old 08-19-2018, 03:01 PM   #7
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I assume from your handle you are a Carolina guy. That being the case, you well know you can never have enough AC. If the “System” allows for both AC’s to operate even on a 30 amp service, It’s a must have, especially if you going to be doing beach side camping with no shade.
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Old 08-19-2018, 03:18 PM   #8
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Thank you all for your input. I will certainly make sure I am within the proper weights prior to purchase. I am probably right on the line between SRW and DRW. Again, I won't risk our safety or yours.

I know we definitely need two Acs, but I assume I can install the second on my own for under $1K? I can't however change the size of the frame.
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Old 08-19-2018, 04:09 PM   #9
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For refrigerator it depends on how much time you expect to be boon-docking. Personally we like the RV absorption style and have plenty of ice and cold ice-cream. If you only plan brief stops and will spend nearly all the time in RV parks, full hookups, the residential will be fine. If you want to spend time in national forests unless you spend thousands on solar setup, you would be best with the RV style.

The more a/c the merrier. Make sure it is prewired for the second a/c and if there is ducting to tie into. Makes a difference in what type unit to get.
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Old 08-20-2018, 10:34 AM   #10
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I would definitely choose the left column. The refrigerator and levelers would sell it for me.
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Old 08-22-2018, 04:55 PM   #11
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I canít comment on the units you are looking at, but I would pay extra for ducted A/C to include ducted returns. I would recommend going to a dealer that allows you to look at both with A/C running. With the ducted A/C along with returns on our Durango Gold you donít really have to adjust TV volume when A/C cycles on. My DW and I looked at both and ducted is quieter then add ducted returns and significantly quieter.
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Old 08-22-2018, 05:01 PM   #12
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Left column would be my choice.

2 a/c's, 6 point leveling, and the 12" frame are worth the price points alone IMHO.
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Old 08-22-2018, 06:46 PM   #13
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Thanks again all. The price difference is now $20K with a second ducted AC added (new 2018 Montana High Country 305RL). I think I have my answer.

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