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Old 09-02-2013, 12:20 AM   #1
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Which fiver for FTing

We have been in the search for our FT 5er for a few years now. Our list has been boiled down to : Redwood 3650RL or 3650FB, Crosssroads Rushmore Washington, Cardinal 3850RL, Heartland Big Horn3650RL, Landmark Savannah (soon to be released). We have no problem buying the previous years model or even a pre owned. Budget is in the $70's. Any opinions on these?
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:29 AM   #2
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Suggest you look at the Mobile Suite/Exceutive Suite line of coaches. Very well built, good attention to detail and quiet inside.
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Old 09-02-2013, 01:41 AM   #3
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Have a look Excel Winslow line of trailers. Well built full time Fifth Wheel trailers. Great Costumer service. You might find a previous year unit in your price range.
Best of luck in your search.
Scott
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:08 AM   #4
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Redwood would be at the top of that list for me. Other than the Rushmore, the other's don't even compare.
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:27 AM   #5
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X2 on Excel. But understand the difference between "four season" and "full time" rigs. Many rigs are approved and warrented for Four Season "use". That mearly means you can "use" them in all four seasons. It does not mean it is built for full time living 24/7/365. Make sure the manufacturer warrents in writing and builds for Full Time use. There is more to a Full Time rig then just heating pads on tanks and a little more insulation!
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:53 AM   #6
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For a real full time 5er, forget the ones you have listed and check Mobile/Executive Suites, Carriage (2012 was the last year), Teton (out of business), King of the Road (out of business), HitchHiker (out of business), and Excel. These unit are true full time units, not just fancy with lots of glitz.

Ken
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Old 09-02-2013, 03:17 PM   #7
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The units you listed are just ok to full time with. These are the 'best' by manufacturers that make multi-level trailers from entry to lower mid to mid to upper mid to these trailers that they advertise as their best.

I have a trailer kinda in this group. It is really a step down from 'true' full time trailers. On my trailer the frame is too light duty not to mention the tires. (Tires will be improved in the next two months).

My DW retires in mid Oct. We plan to use this trailer to 'full-time' in until we decide on an Excel, DRV Mobile/Elite Suits, LifeStyle, or used NuWa, or Carriage.

The key difference between our trailer and true full-time is the frame. True full-time trailers use a stacked box frame or stacked 'C' channel.
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:59 PM   #8
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My two cents...

Short version: I agree that Excel is the way to go.

Long answer:

There are RV's built to full-time and there is Everything else. This is not to say that Everything else is bad, or sub-standard, merely that it's built to a *different* standard. Everything else is often built to a price point to be competitive in the marketplace. Everything else is also designed and engineered with the understanding that you might use it a few months of the year. They simply aren't capable of supporting a full time lifestyle.

Think of it this way: a stick is a great bridge for hundreds of ants but not for a person. You need to buy what will do the job for the length of time you need to do it.

As far as brands designed and built for full-timing, doing my research (I purchased three months ago) I found four brands that could do the job: Excel/Peterson, DRV/Mobile Suites, NuWa Hitchhiker and New Horizon.

New Horizon was custom build only and was out of my budget.

Couldn't find a NuWa that I particularly liked on my price range.

DRV, while beautiful, is very heavy and would have cut my cargo capacity by approximately 2,000 lbs. Additionally, when I was researching there were many current owners who where upset with the build quality and the length of time it took to get a service appointment with the manufacturer (some measured in months). Maybe those problems have abated but, do your research on these before you buy just to be sure you know what you might be getting into. BTW DRV was my first choice until I started reading and doing the numbers. That led me too...

Excel

Excel has a stellar reputation that is well earned. The build seems, to me, to be extremely well thought out and professionally executed. While the dealers are not as numerous as Everything else, they are trained and certified by the manufacturer before they can sell the product. I've had five warranty items repaired (compared to my Class A neighbor who had 135 in the first two weeks!) and each was done cooperatively and properly. The rig is well equipped, with outstanding use of space and is built to last. Solid wood, not composite. Steel tubing on the slides not I-beams. Hydraulic leveling jacks, not drop-downs, not electric.

Excel is low volume, high quality and built to last.

So much for my opinion, now some context: This is my first RV, ever. I put over 200 hours of research in before I spent a dollar. I am a semi-retired engineer not a designer ;-) so I can't tell you that it's "pretty" only that I like it. FWIW I got it done for just a few thousand more than your indicated budget.

I encourage you to check out the owner forums on this site and research, research, research. Then go look at some and research some more. Then, after all that...buy.

Best of luck to you in your future!

PS. To pull something built for full-timing I urge you to only consider a diesel, dual-rear wheel, one-ton, pickup with a 20k hitch. Anything less is going to struggle and will not last as long as you'd hoped. My choice was a Chevy Silverado 3500HD LTZ. Truck on the outside, luxury car on the inside. Granted it's not my Lexus but, wow, is it nice to drive.
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Old 09-02-2013, 07:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXiceman View Post
For a real full time 5er, forget the ones you have listed and check Mobile/Executive Suites, Carriage (2012 was the last year), Teton (out of business), King of the Road (out of business), HitchHiker (out of business), and Excel. These unit are true full time units, not just fancy with lots of glitz.

Ken
They must have been so fantastic they put themselves out of business.
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:12 PM   #10
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They must have been so fantastic they put themselves out of business.
No it's because people like cheap and then griped about quality. Then griped about cost of a good trailer.
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:16 PM   #11
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When you say "full time" rig, a couple things come to mind with several of them all ready mentioned. What is the frame? What is the construction of the walls? If they are laminated walls, forget it. You want aluminum framing. All of the better coaches suggested are framed, most of them aluminum - - built like a frame home. Your composite walls are famous for delaminating, cannot be repaired as easily, the options during construction are more limited. If you could afford it, a new one on the market is Lifestyle - - great unit, well built, but a bit more than you mentioned. Carriage, in a used unit, would be a great unit. Go for the CarriLite model. Look for quality, not glitz.

Bob
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:25 PM   #12
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When you say "full time" rig, a couple things come to mind with several of them all ready mentioned. What is the frame? What is the construction of the walls? If they are laminated walls, forget it. You want aluminum framing. All of the better coaches suggested are framed, most of them aluminum - - built like a frame home. Your composite walls are famous for delaminating, cannot be repaired as easily, the options during construction are more limited. If you could afford it, a new one on the market is Lifestyle - - great unit, well built, but a bit more than you mentioned. Carriage, in a used unit, would be a great unit. Go for the CarriLite model. Look for quality, not glitz.

Bob
All trailers are framed. I've had plenty down to those studs. Some may be framed more, and all the walls are laminated pieces. Some glued better than others and the openings sealed better.
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:36 PM   #13
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No it's because people like cheap and then griped about quality. Then griped about cost of a good trailer.
Yep, when the economy goes south, the high ticket ones get hurt first. The market for higher end units is just so big and that is all. As noted, people want BIG boxes with a lot of glitz and just hope it will last 10 years and start complaining when it is falling apart at 5 years.

I'd personally pay a bit more and get a well built unit without the bling. The reasons we like the Carriage line is the stacked 2x6 box section (12" high), hung walls with aluminum studs on 16" centers (not laminated). The only other one that I know that builds the stacked box section frame is Mobile Suites in the top 2 lines (not the Tradition).

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Old 09-02-2013, 09:28 PM   #14
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We just bought and moved into a 2014 Redwood 36RL. very nice rig
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