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Old 01-11-2020, 05:42 AM   #1
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Best TT brand for light bunk-quarters floorplan?

Hi folks,
I'll be taking a 6 month long full-timing road trip all across the country soon, so in the market for a TT. This is going to be my first RV, so I'd really love any input the community has on the reliability and value of these brands and/or specific models.

What we're looking for:
  • UVW of at most 6500
  • Closed-off bunkhouse "bunk quarter" type floorplan with private space for the kids
  • Super Reliable - Warranty should be honored for full-timing of course. We'll be hitting the road within a few days of purchase and towing this rig 15000 miles, so we're really looking for a reliable brand to minimize those manufacturing defects which seem common in the industry.

After pouring over the sites of the most common manufacturers, these models all hit our base specs:
  • Heartland Sundance TT291QB
  • Shadow Cruiser 280QBS
  • Coachmen Apex Ultra Lite 289TBSS
  • Forest River Salem Cruise Lite West T282QBXL
  • KZ Sportsmen SE 301BHSE
  • Cruiser Embrace EL280
  • Palomino solaire ultra lite 292QBSK
  • Coachmen Catalina Legacy 293QBCK
  • Coachmen Freedom Express 292BHDSLE
  • Palomino Puma XLE Lite 30DBSC
  • Coachmen Apex 300BHS
  • Jayco Jay Feather 29QB

I'd really love to hear your opinions on the reliability of these manufacturers and/or specific models.
thanks!
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Old 01-11-2020, 05:54 AM   #2
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Didn’t see rockwood ultra lite or grand design imagine or reflection on your list. My research suggest grand design has the best customer service by far (they mail out parts (warranty) directly to you if needed) rockwood is best “bang” for your buck on quality and amenities. If I were doing 6-months on the road, I’d opt for the heavier Outdoors RV 28bks.

Sounds like a great adventure.
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Old 01-11-2020, 11:45 AM   #3
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I'm not 100%, probably 99.5% sure though that none of those are warranted for full timing.
If you're just looking for a one time trip and not planning on camping much after the trip then just pick the floor plan you like. They're all pretty much prone to problems.
The ones with the Azdel walls would be the only ones with any kind of an edge over another if looking to keep it for several more years.
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Old 01-11-2020, 12:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky1926 View Post
Didn’t see rockwood ultra lite or grand design imagine or reflection on your list. My research suggest grand design has the best customer service by far (they mail out parts (warranty) directly to you if needed) rockwood is best “bang” for your buck on quality and amenities. If I were doing 6-months on the road, I’d opt for the heavier Outdoors RV 28bks.

Sounds like a great adventure.
Thanks! Yeah, unfortunately both rockwood and grand design don't make anything that both has a closed off room for the kids and can be towed by my tow vehicle (Ford Expedition with 9300lb tow rating).

Out of these, do any stand out over the others or are they all pretty much the same?
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Old 01-11-2020, 01:07 PM   #5
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I just looked, Rockwood/Flagstaff do not make what you want in the weight you need.

How about the Keystone Cougar? Do they make anything that will work?

Of these I like the Coachman Legacy, or the other Coachman trailers made with Azdel vs Luan wood.

All these trailers are pretty much the same. All made in Indiana with the same worker pool.

Advice is to work a group 29/31 into your deal vs the standard little group 24 battery.
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Old 01-11-2020, 03:56 PM   #6
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Best TT brand for light bunk-quarters floorplan?

Quote:
Originally Posted by UBWan View Post
Thanks! Yeah, unfortunately both rockwood and grand design don't make anything that both has a closed off room for the kids and can be towed by my tow vehicle (Ford Expedition with 9300lb tow rating).



Out of these, do any stand out over the others or are they all pretty much the same?


Yea, I echo tuff...all pretty much the same. Go Azdel. Coachman might be your best in this category.
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Old 01-11-2020, 06:15 PM   #7
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Coachman only uses Azdel on the side walls. Not the slides, front or rear caps. Twos better than none.
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Old 01-12-2020, 09:42 AM   #8
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Quality Travel Trailers

Check this posting for some suggestions for quality travel trailers. It is not a comprehensive list and it does not take into account your specific needs, but it is a start an can give you ideas.


http://www.irv2.com/forums/f50/best-value-quality-brand-443427-2.html
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Old 01-12-2020, 03:41 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions.
I've added the Keystone Passport 292BH to the list. It looks like a great option.
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Old 01-13-2020, 12:05 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by UBWan View Post
Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

I've added the Keystone Passport 292BH to the list. It looks like a great option.


Agree, the Passport would be at the top of those listed. Next choice would be the Coachmen, or Jayco. But, can your Expedition tow it? Tongue weight will be around 900 once your loaded. What’s your payload, and axel ratings? How many passengers? Overall length of 33’ is a lot to handle for any 1/2 ton.

Purchase weeks in advance of your trip, to give you time to find all problem areas, and have repaired. Maybe even schedule an appointment at a reputable dealer along your route in case something comes up. Service centers will be booked months in advance.

There is no such thing as a reliable RV. Inspection before purchase is most crucial.

Have axels serviced, and replace tires if they are cheap China brand.
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:11 PM   #11
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Best TT brand for light bunk-quarters floorplan?

Be very careful on weights...almost all brochure advertised “dry weights” are BS. One of your criteria is max weight. On these larger TT, your actual UVW can be over 500 lbs heavier or more than advertised. The difference is options, both “mandatory/required” packages and individual options.

Some might think of me and others as the “weight police”. However, you can’t put a price on your family’s safety and your piece of mind. Camping is supposed to be fun and relaxing. Let everyone else get there first for no prize. Don’t tow “at the limits”, be well under those limits for safety and those just-in-case moments, drive slower and in control, and enjoy the journey. Maybe I’m getting OLD and wiser. Happy Camping!!!
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Old 01-14-2020, 02:16 AM   #12
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Thanks bneukam and Desert Flyer,
I absolutely want to be certain and safe with my weights, so this is really helpful.

As mentioned, I'll be towing with a Ford Expedition with the heavy duty tow package. The advertised tow rating is 9300lb.

As for the rig - I figured if I look at the GVWR I should be safe. The GVWR on that Passport 292BH is 7200lb. So assuming I pack the trailer to its full capacity (which I probably won't), I still have 2100lb of wiggle room to make sure I don't exceed that when loading the car, right?

Passengers - We'll be 5. Combined passenger weight is around 700 lb
Hitch Weight - Based on an Amazon search should be around 120lb

So:
9300
-7200
- 700
- 120
----------
1280lb left over for cargo in the car, an extra passenger, and some buffer so I'm not towing at limit.

Did I get that right?
thanks again!
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Old 01-14-2020, 10:03 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UBWan View Post
Thanks bneukam and Desert Flyer,
I absolutely want to be certain and safe with my weights, so this is really helpful.

As mentioned, I'll be towing with a Ford Expedition with the heavy duty tow package. The advertised tow rating is 9300lb.

As for the rig - I figured if I look at the GVWR I should be safe. The GVWR on that Passport 292BH is 7200lb. So assuming I pack the trailer to its full capacity (which I probably won't), I still have 2100lb of wiggle room to make sure I don't exceed that when loading the car, right?

Passengers - We'll be 5. Combined passenger weight is around 700 lb
Hitch Weight - Based on an Amazon search should be around 120lb

So:
9300
-7200
- 700
- 120
----------
1280lb left over for cargo in the car, an extra passenger, and some buffer so I'm not towing at limit.

Did I get that right?
thanks again!
Not quite. There's a whole pile of numbers which will "limit" what you can tow.
There's the maximum trailer weight, which is 9300lbs for the short wheel base 4x2 Expedition. 9000lbs for the long wheel base 4x4.
And you've been using the GVWR for the trailers you're considering. Which is also good.
But then there's the GVWR for your Expedition itself. When you put everyone and everything in your Expedition and hitch up the trailer, it should weigh less than the GVWR for the Expedition. And when you hitch up that trailer, the Expedition carries the weight of the tongue. (People count against the GVWR of the expedition not the trailer, unless you're going to make them ride in the trailer...)
My expedition has a payload of 1670lbs (printed on a yellow sticker on the driver's doorpost). We'll pretend yours is identical to mine. So for the Expedition itself, the numbers would be 1670-700lb of passenger weight-120lbs for the hitch, which would leave you 850lbs available for your trailer tongue weight.
The tricky bit with respect to tongue weight is that the lighter the tongue weight the less stable the trailer (the more it sways). The rule of thumb is no less than 12% of the trailer weight. If once you're done loading your Expedition full of people and stuff you have 850lbs of payload left on the Expedition, you'll want to tow a travel trailer no heavier than 7083lbs...
The other numbers which can limit your ability to tow are the receiver limit for tongue weight (930lbs for your Expedition) and the rear axle weight rating (should be 4380lbs on your Expedition). The receiver limit won't be a problem as you'll run out of payload first. The rear axle will likely not be an issue once you get your WDH setup correctly...
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:44 AM   #14
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Looking at your 9300 lb tow rating your good.

But the dry hitch weight on that Passport is 715 lbs, add in your propane, batteries, WDH, and anything you put in the front pass thru storage and you’ll easily be over 1k. This goes directly against your payload, or what you can load inside your Expedition. The payload rating is located just inside the drivers door, and does include 150lbs for a driver, so you can deduct that from all your occupants.
Then you have the limits on your hitch, as you’ll end up somewhere between 1,000 and 1,100 lbs.
Not saying you won’t be within all limits, but at 32’10” overall length it will catch some wind. Personally I would want a heavier truck.

Also, keep an eye on the dry weights on the actual trailer sitting on a dealers lot. Those listed on their website doesn’t include options. These “lightweight” models can be lacking CCC.
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