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Old 10-28-2015, 05:26 PM   #1
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Search for a ToyHauler Begins

Long story but thought 3 years ago when we bought out StoneRidge 37RB it would be the last trailer for awhile BUT, while replacing out old extended cab Ford with a new Mega Cab Ram 3500 my wife and 3 women next door at the Harley dealership were plotting to get me. My wife had picked out her first Harley, needless to say I was out numbered and the bike was hers.
Now we are beginning the search foe a TH. We like the Forest River Thunderbolt but I'm concerned that it is list as the economy class amd we are beginning to ease into full timing. I want to be sure to get one that is well insulated since we don't always follow the warm weather but go into the cold. We have animals that travel with us and some would be in cages in the garage so we need one that hold its heat. Saw that DRV makes what it calls an Asset hauler and I know their 5th wheels are well built and insulated. Saw Horizons at the Hershey RV show and it was just unbelievable but just to far out of my price range. trying to stay around $100K or less.
I figure I'll add a LP Gas Catalytic Heater in the garage for supplemental heat. Solar panels will also be added in the near future.
I'm looking for a bath and a half, wife likes lots of closet and pantry space. A loft is also a must. Also looking for good customer support all around the country. Had issues with that with the KZ StoneRidge.
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Old 10-28-2015, 06:20 PM   #2
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We are very impressed with our XLR Thunderbolt. I certainly wouldn't call it economy class. Every available option including FBP will net you around 115k retail and 75k OTD at a volume dealer like Jeff Couch's which is where we got ours. One thing I didn't care for on the Full House line from DRV is that the garage is just a garage. White gloss walls as if they think we will be throwing buckets of oil at each other that needs cleaned up nightly. LOL. When we get to our destination, we turn our garage into living space and the garage in the DRV's just isn't set up for that. They are a VERY nice rig otherwise. Factory GoPower 160 watt rooftop solar is a factory option with XLR and you can add additional panels with GoPower's add on kits. As to customer support, non selling dealers will ALWAYS be an issue no matter what brand you choose. XLR has been fantastic to us with direct factory support though. I have not been to a dealer since purchase due to this. Good luck with your search...
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Old 10-28-2015, 08:52 PM   #3
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Meterguru,
Be aware that the dodge 3500 megacab and a 5th wheel - you need a slider hitch. You'll probably want an auto-slider unless you want to deal with cab damage or you're pretty diligent about setting the 5th wheel into a "maneuver" position.

If you have owned an RV before, you already know this:

New RVs, even $75k+ toy haulers will likely have issues. The priority is to sell you a unit and as much as they'll tell you that they can be serviced anywhere, it's simply not true - if you didn't buy it there, you're going to the very bottom of the list in terms of service priority, which is usually months.

If you're handy, most of the issues that come up can be easily handled. However, if you expect that RV to have the quality of your dodge and you're going to take it back for every little thing, expect a pretty good period of non-use.

Pick a brand carefully. Not all brands will even provide factory-to-consumer support, so you may be dependent upon your relationship with the dealer.

Warranty periods can be as short as a year. And often turn around time is a 30-day minimum between getting the parts, getting the RV in, and getting the job done.

Make sure that whatever brand you choose that those big 800+ lb Harleys can be ridden up the door without issue. IE - check with other owners of the same brand. Don't ask the dealer. Seen issues where they leave a "track" in the door.

It's fun.. A great way to travel, especially if you have the time. Your truck will tow anything... Just want you to be aware of what you're in for.
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Old 10-28-2015, 09:15 PM   #4
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You have to look at the Grand Design! They have such great factory support even when you unit is out of warranty! Yes, I now own one and have been watching the FB page and owners forum. Join their pages and watch what happens. They take care of their customers. I like my 388M for the true 14' garage and 1 1/2 bath. I liked the AMP as well but wanted 1 1/2 bath. I don't like my tie downs in my garage! I like the TV position. I wish it had more shelves in the cabinets. You will find good and bad in all the brands! Good Luck!
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Old 10-29-2015, 09:57 PM   #5
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Not a fan of sliders

I use the Reese sidewinder pin box on my 5th wheel. Installed it on the trailer even though I had a full side bed. It shorten my trailer response time when backing. Trailer starts coming around faster and in a tighter turning radius. Made it easy when I transitioned to a short bed truck. I will watch the door/ramp for the weight issue. Thats why I came here to start the research.
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Old 10-30-2015, 06:13 AM   #6
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Lippert makes all the ramp doors so no matter what brand of RV you buy, it will be the same. The issue some had were defective doors but the design by Lippert has been changed since then. As to the Sidewinder, it is indeed a great setup. However, it only comes in 16k and 19k configurations. This is fine for most standard 5th wheels, but many of the large 5th toy haulers have a GVWR of 21k which would be beyond what a sidewinder is rated for.
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Old 11-01-2015, 10:54 AM   #7
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I'm already seeing changes for 2016 models and some are coming out with totally new floor plans. Do your homework...extensively because there are a lot of poorly made 5vers now. Honestly, many on here are clueless when it comes to toyhaulers. They own a 5th wheel and see them on the road, but since they aren't shopping for a toyhauler, they have done very little...if any research on them. You'll get all kinds of opinions on here with many of them biased. Many of us have had 5th wheels before and most of us have had different brands. C130 just went from a Fuzion to a Momentum, I have an Evergreen Tesla (that we've been happy with) but selling it to my brother and looking at a DRV Fullhouse and XLR. I'm also waiting for the new Tesla floor plan. and I'm strongly considering a Weekend Warrior...I was very impressed with them. They will build anything you want with any custom paint color. You can go to You Tube (The RV Factory) and see their new 2016 models...really nice toyhauler. I shopped for over a year and personally saw every toyhauler made. When I first started looking, I wanted the Voltage. You'll have some positive comments from Voltage and Cyclone owners...but honestly when I meet them on the road...I realized they didn't shop around. They had their mind made up before they shopped around...which is ok for them, but they are biased to what they own. Like I said you can see my old posts and others old posts with the problems and quality issues with the Voltages and Cyclones...so do your homework! Don't get locked in to local dealers...shop online you can save $$$$$...good luck.
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Old 11-01-2015, 04:00 PM   #8
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Homework is progressing

I have started with a RV rating book that comes out every year. It rates all RVs. I don't take it for gossible but use it as a guide. They break the RV into 3 classes Premium - Like New Horizon, DRV and Grand Design. Then average like Evergreen, Keystone and KZ, then economy like Dutchman, Starcraft and Forest E=River.
The 2 we really like are in the Voltage group and the Thunderbolt because they offer floor plans that fit the need. I really like the DRV and New Horizon but floor plans don't really fit the need and price is putting us right on the edge. But I am willing to spend more since we are easing into full timing and need a well build, well insulated RV.
Also as was pointed out I'm going to have to replace my hitch since I have a short bed and Reese sider winder is not heavy enough for the TH. So I'm looking for an automatic slider if any one makes one heavy enough. So the search for a new hitch begins too.
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Old 11-01-2015, 04:54 PM   #9
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I don't use a slider on my short bed. Just pay attention and you'll be fine. People always use the argument for needing a slider that you can have truck cab to RV contact if you aren't watching closely. Well, sure you can. You can also have truck to tree contact if your not paying attention... LOL Others mention that you can't turn a full 90 degrees with a SB without a slider. Yes, again true but as anyone who has pulled a long travel trailer knows, 90 degrees is a luxury, not a necessity. If it makes you feel more comfortable, then go for it. But it isn't technically necessary...
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Old 11-01-2015, 05:26 PM   #10
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I see where your saying a guide rates Grand Design in the "Premium" group...Grand Design builds a decent unit...but hardly a "Premium" unit...at least not in the class of New Horizon or DRV. Do your research on the Voltage...it has been one of the most popular and my favorite when I started shopping for a TH until I did my research on them. Even after my better judgement, I still almost bought one. They look great and have great floor plans, but the quality falls far behind of almost all toyhaulers. Your on the right track with the XLR, but for us we fulltime more often now, and we have a washer and dryer...which really like. You have to weigh what your needs are. 7-10 trips...then you probably don't need those things. You probably won't need residential fridge either, but if you plan on full timing (3-4 months at a time...or more) then you may consider other needs in what you want. I've posted many posts on the forum about the Voltage and Cyclone and you'll find some owners of those units really honest and some not so honest. People just don't like to admit they spent $80k on a piece...I'm not sure I would either. In the end it's your $ and you'll get what you want...you should. But if you want to avoid the headaches, then you can't do too much research. Peace of mind is also worth a lot!
You mention Premium class...I would now add the weekend warrior to the premium class...even above what we have now. We recently saw one, and I know quality when I see it.
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:29 AM   #11
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Weekend Warrior in the picture

Just finished looking at the Weekend Warrior and talking to a rep on the phone. Look nice and is definitly in the running. Got to take a look at one up close and personal. January and Febuary are not good months for going to Indiana but they have the Tampa Bay Super RV show Jan 13 to the 17. May just run that way for some final comparisons.
Looks like my hitch issue will be solved with a Pullrite SuperGlide 24K. Should fit the needs since Reese Sidewinder only goes to 19K. Any other suggestions for an automatic slide hitch is always welcomed.
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Old 11-05-2015, 10:32 PM   #12
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If you are looking to buy one new, it may be worth waiting to see what Evergreen does with the Alfa Gold this year. Rumors from the RV shows hint it may be changing to a TH line, up market from their Tesla. I liked the Tesla a lot, but as with most THs, the lightening bolts and energy drink decor nearly gave me a headache in 5 minutes (and I am in my 30's). Take the utility of a Tesla and the quality and design from their 'Lifestyle' line and I think it would be a winner. Time will tell.
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:15 AM   #13
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Capt Dan you are correct. We have a Tesla 3950, but I'm selling it (basically giving it to my older brother) but I'm holding off to see the new TH line. Jim Cantor (at the plant) with Evergreen, told me 2 months ago they are adding to their TH line with a new Lifestyle Luxury TH, but they are still revamping the Tesla. They've already posting new pics for the new finishes for the Tesla 3970 and 3950 on their website. I've actually been giving him ideas for their design team for the new line...don't know if they'll actually listen, but well see. We've really enjoyed our 3950, its not quite the floor plan we wanted but we were able to add the residential fridge (and inverter) and we've had almost no problems with it. When we first got it we had some water pressure and hot water minor problems, but nothing since...and that was 6 months ago. We full time for 3-4 months at a time...we've been out for just over 3 months this time, but heading back to Houston for the Holidays in a couple of weeks. I agree with you if they upgrade the TH's to their Lifestyle design extras...it will be really nice. The Tesla is actually built now at the Lifestyle plant so I think they were planning this when they started producing the Tesla. They did get rid of the lighting bolts on the doors and the millwork on the late 2016 Tesla's is different. I think they are going to give an option for millwork choice with the older and brighter cherrywood millwork that they have been using and the more rustic light brown oak or maple millwork...and they've changed the flooring as well. Seems like they are listening to their customers. Jim had told me before the new Lifestyle TH plans would be out in late October, but they haven't posted them yet...I'm curious to see the new Lifestyle TH line before I talk to Weekend Warrior again....and the Evergreen is now giving a 3 year warranty now as well.
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Old 11-12-2015, 08:24 PM   #14
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Great Company, The RV Factory, Bending over backwards to meet deadline after RV Wholesalers lied about deliver date of Raptor 412TS and did not return deposit(not manufactured till spring), but that is another story. Picked from the in production, made changes to floor plan. Held production on unit till they could get a deposit to make the changes, Did not promise my December 3rd delivery, but said they should be close. They said they could do it if i dropped the custom paint. Kept paint. Some time in Hotel won't hurt as i sold house. So far they have jumped through every hoop i asked. Will update on their success in December.
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