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Old 04-12-2013, 03:57 PM   #1
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Toyhauler Questions

Im currently researching fifth wheel toy haulers for possible purchase. Intended use is extended living (aka snowbirding) for two adults. Absolute necessities are room for one full-sized HD in its own garage, and a completely separate bathroom (I dont want an audience when I shower). After digging thru information online, I find units in this class of 5er and that meet my specs to be:
1. Huge. It seems all are 39 or more, possibly creating rv park access issues.
2. Interior seating is limited, at best. Usually one large sofa, or one loveseat and a dinette.
3. TV viewing, at least on paper, seems to be awkward as the abovementioned seating is either perpendicular to the TV (EYES!... LEFT!), or the TV is mounted high (above the entry door) causing one to always look skyward to see it.
4. It seems the manufacturers intend for the owners to use the garage area as additional living space once set up, that one would not desire to keep ones toy(s) inside when not actually in use.

Are these observations accurate, or am I off-base? Just how comfortable can they be to live in for 3-4 months at a time? How likely is it to be turned away for being too big?

Right now, Im sort of drawn to the Heartland Cyclone CY 4000, as it seems to have a logical floorplan that might alleviate numbers 2&3, but at almost 44, its a monster. Also, the garage is certainly bigger than I would need.

The Cyclone CY 3010 has potential, but I seriously question the seating and TV viewing comfort.

The Cyclone CY 3100 also looks decent, but Im not sure about having the TV over the door.

I do have plans to get out and walk thru a whole bunch of trailers, probably enough to drive my DW nuts, once I get a better idea of what it is Im looking for. Despite referencing only the Cyclone models, I'm open to other makes..

Thanks Id appreciate any input you might have to offer.
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Old 04-12-2013, 06:05 PM   #2
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We recently bought a 2013 Voltage 3950 (7 months ago) and we are just long weekend campers, not full-time . I can only convey my personal observations so here it goes. The limited living room is not really an issue for the 3 of us. The sofa in this unit is very big. The TV is at an angle above the door and I find it very comfortable to watch however when we are camping we really watch the outside TV more than inside. After we unload the Golf cart from the garage we lower the seats and install the table and that area becomes my office. Works great for this purpose. Our daughter takes over the loft and that becomes her bedroom and toy area. The master bedroom is very nice and accommodates my wife and I very well. According to the tape measure we 44' nose to tail on the Voltage plus the truck for a total of around 62'. It is a pain to back in so we look for pull through spots. Almost all the KOA's we visit have pull throughs. If we have to back in I request a spot with nothing in front of it. No problem getting this so far. If we wanted to pull the golf cart in at night, its very easy with the electric couch in the garage. Take maybe two minutes to convert back to a garage.
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Old 04-16-2013, 02:40 PM   #3
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We have a Keystone Cougar 325SRX purchased new in 2011. It is 36’7” long with two slides and we love it.
It suffers from Issue #3, but when it comes time to watch TV, I lounge on the couch and the wife brings in one of the folding recliners.
We like to camp in state parks and found out we need to unload or load the bike outside the campsite. The floor on the Cougar is a little higher off the ground than most trailers. This comes in handy on rough roads and driveways (no scraping), but it adds to the challenge of loading and unloading the bike. With the fold out ramp, you need 10’ clearance behind the trailer for the ramp, plus the bike. Usually when you back into a site there is no room behind the trailer to unload. Unloading and loading can be accomplished while checking in or loading water or empting the waste tanks.
As for storing the bike on site, I normally park it under the front of the 5th wheel. My 8’1” Yamaha Royal Star only sticks out a couple of inches. I have seen ‘skirts’ you can get for the front to make this area an enclosed space to protect your bike from the weather.
Oh yea, the Cougar floorplan includes a private bathroom. It is not part of the bedroom.
While doing your research also consider the tow vehicle. The large 3 axel trailers may require a 1 ton rated tow vehicle. The dry weight of the Cougar was 9,311 lbs with a max rating of 12,200 lbs. It has 2 axels and is easy to tow with my F250. Check out the www.keystonerv.org forum for more info and owner feedback.
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Old 04-16-2013, 06:34 PM   #4
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Just completed 3 months snowbirding in a 2013 KZ Stoneridge Sportster. As for your observations: 1) Yea, it's big - 43 feet long and 8.5 feet wide. However, the size doesn't seem to be much of a problem once you get used to it. 2) Seating is a booth (ordered by us instead of a table and free standing chairs), a recliner chair (my spot), and a large couch for DW and the dog. 3) the TV is directly across from the seating so no head turning is required. 4) I also store the Harley under the front overhang after unloading from the TH. Simply use the bike cover and lock everything up. Note that I also installed a combination washer/dryer in the garage area (pre-plumbed by the factory) and DW found the washer to be extremely helpful - start the wash, go to the beach, etc.
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:30 AM   #5
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:14 AM   #6
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We have been FTing in our '12 Excel Wild Cargo for almost a year and a half and have traveled cross country three times. We previously had a Keystone fifth wheel but had some severe frame issues so in researching for our next RV, staying away from a Lippert frame was a must. I cannot begin to tell you how extremely satisfied we are with our Excel TH. The quality is superb and the service is unparalleled. Like you, we wanted to find a FW that had enough seating so folks weren't on top of each other and I wasn't a fan of a perpendicular TV view. We ended up a the 41gke floorplan and heavily modified it. To alleviate the TV situation we added the option if a swing arm so now we can pull the TV out and have almost a head-on view. We also substituted the dinette and recliners with a two table twelve foot booth. The new GKE has no L-shape kitchen counter but if you want it, PI will build it. We also ordered our unit with an enclosed bath where the w/d is housed. We had the factory add plumbing to the garage and later installed a stainless deep sink. We have had no issues with getting to the RV parks of our choice. We physically measure 45 ft. We designed our unit with PI to maximize usability and storage. We did a lot of design changes that I haven't discussed, but if you are interested PM me. Here are some pics:



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Old 04-22-2013, 10:33 PM   #7
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1. Huge. It seems all are 39 or more, possibly creating rv park access issues.
Yes, mine is a 31' 5th wheel + a 12' garage. I research well in advance and so far, i have been able to find sites where I can utilize the patio on back. There are limitations.
2. Interior seating is limited, at best. Usually one large sofa, or one loveseat and a dinette. Yes. Seating is about the same as a 31' 5th wheel.
3. TV viewing, at least on paper, seems to be awkward as the abovementioned seating is either perpendicular to the TV (EYES!... LEFT!), or the TV is mounted high (above the entry door) causing one to always look skyward to see it. 50" TV is at eye level and pretty easy to see from anywhere.
4. It seems the manufacturers intend for the owners to use the garage area as additional living space once set up, that one would not desire to keep ones toy(s) inside when not actually in use. I use mine as additional living space for my dogs, my full size Weber Grill, a buffet table for large(very large) groups of people, a place to take my muddy shoes and wet clothes off.

Are these observations accurate, or am I off-base? Just how comfortable can they be to live in for 3-4 months at a time? How likely is it to be turned away for being too big? As I mentioned in another thread, it is a sacrifice i couldn't live without. For every negative, there are 2-3 positives. My King size bed is as comfortable as my bed at home. YMMV
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:15 PM   #8
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I have to agree with Scotty on most of his points, although my situation is a bit different from just about everybody else. Maybe I'm just a bit nutz or something.
I am full time in my KZ Escalade. Yes, it is massive. During the summer last year there were several campgrounds where I heard the comment made that they had never had anything that big in there. We made it happen at every stop, some requiring a bit more effort than others.
Under the catagory of lessons learned, I will always call ahead, and make sure they can accomodate my rig. The only campground I almost had issues at was a State facility that I booked online. One other spot I had wanted to stay at told me straight up that I wouldn't fit, and recommended a competitor, where I was very happy staying. Especially as a solo, I request a pull-through if at all possible, even if it does cost a few buck extra. It's worth it for the ease of setting up.

Another point you make is storing your bike. Mt garage is 10', so has plenty of room for a full sized bagger. However, there is no way I want to load the thing every night, and unload it every morning. It's a lot of work, and exposure to risk rolling up and down the ramp. I just park the bike outside the front door, and get on with relaxing.

One change I made was to remove the love seat, as every time I went to relax, I would put my feet up, and wind up with my butt between the cushions, and that wasn't comfortable. I instead installed 2 recliners, and wound up with an Amish made magazine rack between them. Pulling the recliner out from the wall a few inches, I can turn it a bit, and find TV watching to be fine.

Don't discount the garage area as added living space. I have seen a lot of TH's with a very nice, and comfortable set up out back, complete with TV, toilet and veranda.

Keep looking, you'll find one that talks to you.

Oh, by the way, as I said before, I do drag this thing around by myself. For the most part, it has not been a problem doing so. I can get packed up in 30 minutes or so, and set up in 20-40 minutes, depending how tired and/or distracted I am.
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:18 AM   #9
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Before the tax man took an extra 2% (our payment difference), we were looking at moving to the Voltage 3200 with the Epic and Epic II packages. We could see ourselves FT in that unit. For just the 2 of us, plus 4 paws, the no bunk would have worked fine and kept the length of the unit to about 36'.
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Old 04-25-2013, 05:45 PM   #10
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Thanks to all who have replied so far. Keep those ideas and opinions coming. One of the problems I seem to keep running into is local availability of the floorplans that interest me. How receptive are the factories to folks dropping in, and would I actually get to walk thru all their floorplans if I did?
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Old 04-25-2013, 05:56 PM   #11
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As far as factory visits, KZ was very open to our visit. Call ahead and they meet you with coffee, brochures, a pen, and notepad. The actual factory tour usually takes place after the workers leave (about 2 PM) so you can hear the tour guide and there's less activity. We timed our tour for the week they were putting the finishing touches on a model we wanted to see in person before we ordered. They were very accommodating.
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:14 PM   #12
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You might want to check out the new DRV Suites Full House. They will work with you on customization as well.

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Old 04-25-2013, 06:17 PM   #13
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Peterson Industries, who builds Excel, gives tours anytime folks show up requesting it. I recommend calling ahead to see what's on the line so you can coordinate your visit with a floorplan you want to see.

If you do take the opportunity to tour PI, you will see and feel how much of a family this company is. When I toured the plant a few months after they built my unit, Ralph, my tour guide, introduced me to the wonderful folks who built my coach. Everybody knew exactly who I was and which unit I had. I can't begin to convey how much PI makes their customers feel like family. The entire process of ordering our unit with all the customization to delivery to going back to the factory for minor tweaks and more customization, was an absolute pleasure.

Wherever we go, I find myself being an unofficial ambassador for PI because there are always folks who see our unit and want a tour or want more info. I love it!
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Old 04-27-2013, 07:58 PM   #14
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I live full time in my 2011 3912lev raptor plus the 26 ft freightliner pulling it. we are 65 ft long. I always check for big rigs and ask if I could get an 18 wheeler in the spot. for 2 or 3 people it would be comfortable. you learn to adapt it to you or you to it.
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