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Old 11-25-2012, 07:23 PM   #1
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Younger confused as heck Rv buyer please help

Hello to all and thank you for any info you share. I am 39 and have a 9 year old daughter. We are planning on going back on the road full time in a fifth wheel unit. I have done a lot of research on trying to find the right unit. But it is getting very confusing to me on where to go from here. I want to buy a unit that doesn't cost a small fortune and will be reliable. I had a Fleet-wood Advantage that was a lot of trouble and just all around more work than enjoyment. I have been looking at the Keystone Alpine 3495FL because I like the front living room and the features they offer. I also have gone as far as looking at the DRV and KZ models with the same floor plan. Well in all the discussion boards I have heard from poor glued roofs to lippert (if I spelled that correctly) frames that split or crack and seem to be junk on Heartland and Keystone Units. And I have heard many who seem to say they did their research but end up from their words "buying junk"so how is this good research? I do agree every company has problems and depending on how it is used will have problems. But what is a good luxury fifth wheel that has a good warranty and doesn't cost $100,000.00? Is it all in the opinion of the buyer or is there a standard of quality? After a few forums the KZ model looks like a good unit but?? You have many more years and experience than I at this and I am always open to listen to experience over advertising propaganda. We love Rv-ing a lot and just want to enjoy the life not repair for life. Thank you for listening. I plan on being around here reading a lot more from now on. Just looking for help not criticism. Andy

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Old 11-25-2012, 07:34 PM   #2
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DRVs with poor roof glues and breaking frames?? That's news to me since we've had ours for over 8 years of service with none of these problems. As a matter of fact, it's never been back to the factory since delivery and has given us good, reliable service with minimal problems. I'm sure if you look long and hard enough on the internet you can find someone who has had problems with any brand, but that hasn't been our experience or the experience of other DRV Mobile or Elite Suites owners I'm aware of.


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Old 11-25-2012, 11:00 PM   #3
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Andy, we have owned a Keystone Cougar (a lower quality 5er, or entry level) and we have nothing but rave reviews for it. We have now traded it for Artic Fox 5er. They have very nice floor plans in our opinion and they are 100 % built at factory, they even design and build their own axles and frames (which even a lot of manufacturers can not say they do). Anyhow, they are heavy but worthwhile checking out.

All the best,
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Paul & Sheryl
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:26 AM   #4
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You should be able to find a really good unit for 40k or 50k. But I would expect small repairs are going to be the norm. I am not sure either how to totally eliminate junk. But the good news is there is less junk out there. Look at Jayco, they now offer a two year warranty. Winnebago is back into building 5th wheels with SunnyBrook. Have not heard anything too bad about them yet. Get a copy of 'Trailer Life' and look at all the for sale units in the back. Oh - also check out the Columbus 5th wheels.

I have heard horror stories in the RV park - I guess when 18 to 22 year old kids actually build most of this stuff you have to hope for the best. But I do think there is less junk being built than 10 years ago.

Good luck
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:33 AM   #5
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We are on our 4th year of ownership in our Big Country by Heartland and no problems since the first week of ownership. We did add lots for our convenveniance but we bought low due to full timing requirements. More means more maintenance. Heavier mean more TV requirements. The previous unit was 15 years old and looked like new. But I had tire problems. I went with LTs and solved it. This BC came with LTs standard and has been great and better then the ptevious unit with great mileage with my 7 year old TV.
I do all my own work though and never get caught with BS repairs like I read a lot about and that is for truck and trailer.
I do follow the Heartland and Powerstroke forums but all the bad is usually reported and the good goes on unnotived.
Just go by your judgement and keep learning.
I sometime want to quit reading the BS but sometimes. I feel I can help so makes it worth it.
Barbara and Laurent, Hartland Big Country 3500RL. 39 ft long and 15500 GVW.
2005 Ford F250 SD, XL F250 4x4, Long Box, 6.0L Diesel, 6 Speed Stick, Hypertech Max Energy for Fuel mileage of 21 MPusG empty, 12.6 MPusG pulling the BC. ScangaugeII for display..
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:26 AM   #6
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We have had a Cardinal 3150 since 2010 and found it to be quite comfortable. We're not fulltimers. Our longest stay has been 50 days. The unit has been back to the dealership twice of slide adjustments. Otherwise its been a pretty good rig. The replacement for this model now has a 12" frame and 7k axles. (I upgraded the axles myself on ours). I would not get anything smaller than a 12" frame and 7k axles.

Just another name to research.

Good luck.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:34 AM   #7
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I would look at Northwood products. They are a privately owned company with a good reputation for quality and value. They may or may not have a floor play you want, but sure wont hurt to nose around their web site so see.
Don and Lorri
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:55 AM   #8
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Northwood Manufacturing: Arctic Fox

You can't go wrong with a Northwood product.

Nash or Artic Fox.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:11 AM   #9
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Not all 5ers are approved, recommended or can stand the rigors of full timing. Check out Excelrvs.com and RV Sales in Moriarity NM for great used rigs.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:42 PM   #10
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Keystone Alpine here headed into our 3rd Michigan winter. No skirting just a heated water line. No problems and warranty wasn't an issue with the cracked table. They never asked if we were fulltiming and we never mentioned it. The dealer that got the table was 500 miles from where we purchased and it wasn't an issue. Good and bad wherever you look.

Whatever you do get the heat pump / AC you'll never regret it. Set the temp and it stays there. 2 nights ago it was 26 and it struggled to defrost but kept us warm below that it automatically switches to furnace
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:01 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Arch Hoagland View Post
Northwood Manufacturing: Arctic Fox

You can't go wrong with a Northwood product.

Nash or Artic Fox.
I don't know much about Arctic Fox, other than by reputation, which is stellar. I would think however, that if it is a small family business type thing, they might be flexible with floor plans. Can't hurt to call and ask. From what I understand Excel is very good about this as well.

Having said that, I have been almost 18 months full time in my KZ, and absolutely love it. If you aren't sold on buying a new rig, have a look at some pre-owned Escalades. I think you will be impressed with the quality of the materials and installation. Mine is solid as a rock. Also, after visiting the Tampa RV show last year, and meeting one of the factory rep's, I was left with a warm fuzzy regarding their attitude.

If you have any questions, please feel free to PM me, I'll help out any way I can.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:11 PM   #12
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Thank you everyone for the info I am very grateful for your opinion's and helpful answers. Andy
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:20 AM   #13
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As you are going to "Full Time" look at units designed to do that. If buying new many mfgrs will void the warranty if full timing. If buying used may not matter. A must is Polar package/4 season. Very important to stay warm. All the "Full Time" units can be purchased on the used market to save money. Just have to do a good inspection. here is my list of full time units.

Mobile Suites
New Horizons
Lifestyle (new mfg no history yet)

The above are the high end well insulated, and you should consider a 1 ton TV either a SRW or dually depending on size/paylaod.

Next level is;
Triple E
Hartland (Bighorn or Landmark)

Arctic Fox could be considered also.

Good Luck and do a lot of research to find the desired unit.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by JohnT View Post
We have had a Cardinal 3150 since 2010 and found it to be quite comfortable. We're not fulltimers. Our longest stay has been 50 days. The unit has been back to the dealership twice of slide adjustments. Otherwise its been a pretty good rig. The replacement for this model now has a 12" frame and 7k axles. (I upgraded the axles myself on ours). I would not get anything smaller than a 12" frame and 7k axles.

Just another name to research.

Good luck.
Good advice about the frame and axles also get good tires like Goodyear G614 not Chinese bombs. They came on my Cedar Creek which is another good unit like Pinnacle,Bighorn,Landmark,Montana,Alpine etc....

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