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Old 01-27-2014, 06:53 AM   #1
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Quality of TT's

Are there any TT's that are better quaity than others? How do I tell well made over not so well made?

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Old 01-27-2014, 06:59 AM   #2
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From what ive seen, Lance puts out a very well built TT. From the wood they use inside to the heated floor and tanks. But of course it comes with a price..about 30k for the 2185 bunkhouse model. We just purchased a KZ 196s for 17k. Not bad but you can really tell the difference from other similar size trailers that cost a bit more.

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Old 01-27-2014, 07:02 AM   #3
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Remember that you pay for what you get. Go out and look at lots of them. We loved our Coachman TT. I like fiberglass better than aluminum. Once you find one you like do a research to see what problems people are having with the same model, etc.
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:51 AM   #4
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We looked at trailers at shows for about three years before we bought a Winnebago Minnie. Minnies are built at the old Sunnybrook factory, the quality is good for their weight and price range.

The choice is aluminum siding (for weight) or fiberglass. Most people spend too much time looking at the features (stove, A/C, wood trim, fabrics, etc.) these tend to be the same in all trailers of one class. What you need to look at is frame construction, wood work underneath all of those seats and beds, fit and finish. In our trailer all of the framing under the beds and seats is simple 1x3's and 1/4 inch plywood tops. If you are a heavy person this may not hold up. Also turn off all of the lights and see how dark the trailer is. Many these days don't seem to have the big windows and skylights of the higher end trailers. At the shows they turn on all of the lights so it looks light and airy. Look at the storage and where it is. Most of the trailers these days do not include awnings over the bump outs. These are essential for keeping stuff out of the gaskets and preventing leaks. MAKE your dealer include them in the deal and put them on. Even a small amount of leakage a few times a year at a campsite will cause massive structural damage.

In general figure out how many people are going to be in this trailer and for how long at any one time. Then look for the SMALLEST thing that you can live in. You're going to have to tow this thing and back it into some small spaces. It's usually easier to find a park site that is under 30 feet than over 30 feet. Over you're competing with all of the really big rigs and there are more and more of them, you'll find fewer and fewer available sites.

Finally think about what you're going to tow this with. GVWR is not the whole story. You can get a small vehicle that has high towing capacity but bad trailer handling. You need something that exceeds the GVWR by at least a third and has the longest wheel base you can afford. That trailer is going to get buffeted around by trucks, the wind and it's own wandering ways and you will need something big enough and heavy enough to handle it. Don't listen to the dealer salesman on this. They will claim if your truck is rated for 9,000 lbs. it's fine to hitch on an 8,500 lb. trailer. Again it's more than just what the vehicle will haul, it's what it can control.

Look hard and long before you buy. Don't jump into anything. The best workmanship we could find was in the Airstream line. 100% quality but at three times the price. Look at the guts of one of these and then figure out where you're willing to compromise with something more reasonable.

Good Luck.
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Old 01-27-2014, 08:07 AM   #5
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Like cars, each brand has models and those models have different option packages.

Look for how you will use it. Since I did not want to do 4 season camping as we can rarely get away in winter, I did not need to go with an Artic Fox, for instance.

I got a little Dutchmen TT with the full option package. Very nice inside and out, but I know it is built for light duty use - which is how I intend to use it. I basically wanted a hardsided tent with amenities. We go for one extended trip in the spring and as many weekend trips as we can in weather between 50 and 90 degrees.

So, my little TT is perfect for our weekend use and does double duty as an office space/den when parked at the house. My profile pic shows it a few feet away from my bedroom at the sticks and bricks. It is perfect for Skyping with my students in a quiet location or practicing my ukulele and not bothering DH.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:13 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jackshephard View Post
From what ive seen, Lance puts out a very well built TT. From the wood they use inside to the heated floor and tanks. But of course it comes with a price..about 30k for the 2185 bunkhouse model. We just purchased a KZ 196s for 17k. Not bad but you can really tell the difference from other similar size trailers that cost a bit more.
We also just purchased a KZ Spree Escape E196S. Haven't had a chance to use it due to the weather, but it was, in our opinion, a good value. It didn't break the bank, but it isn't full featured, either. I hope you enjoy yours!

OP, try to go to a show and look at as many models as you can. You should be able to get a good feel for the craftsmanship. Every manufacturer has horror stories on the web, so don't let a couple negative reviews make your choice for you. However, as the saying goes, where there's smoke there's fire, so don't ignore consistency.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:26 AM   #7
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I have bought two new travel trailers. The first one had a lot of options and the price was good. It was made by a fairly new company. I had nothing but trouble with it and dumped it after a few years.
The second one was made by skyline and the difference was amazing. They both had cheap rubber roofs but the skyline didn't leak.
If I was going to buy another one, the time they have had to figure it out would be a big deal to me.
Good luck
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:20 PM   #8
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Money is only a factor in the amount of fluff you get. ALL RV's will have trouble. Some will only have a few small issues early on and some will have big ones. Doesn't matter whether you spend $17,000 or $80,000. I've been reading different RV forums for 5 yrs and I've seen owners with $60-80,000 5th wheels that were in the shop for repairs for several weeks at a time. Some owners really pi$$ed. On the other hand I've read about owners buying $18,000 RPods and being totally happy.
Only thing IMO to do is look at how well they are put together. Is there enough CCC so you won't be maxed out when you load the TT? How is the fit and finish?
There are some brands that seem to come up less often on forums.
One brand that does come up a lot is Dutchman.
In no particular order I would look at
Jayco (only because it has a 2 yr warranty)
The rest IMO are average.
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:57 PM   #9
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Thanks all, a lot of good advise. I love this forum. I'll keep researching.
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Old 01-27-2014, 08:57 PM   #10
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We emphatically recommend Jayco TTs. They fixed an expensive out of warranty issue free of charge for us. The factory folks are top notch and care about customers.
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:13 PM   #11
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I spent a year looking at trailers. And at the end we settled on a holiday rambler Aluma-lite. We only had a few small issues and towed it just over 5000km with no issues.

Is it the best I don't really know. But fit our needs very well. But compared to jayco and some other company's it seemed well built.

The one that shocked me was lance. After looking at a few the work was very sloppy and for the price I could not justify buying one.

But best of luck on your search. There are lots out there.
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Old 01-28-2014, 06:32 AM   #12
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For a quality TT look at Arctic Fox and Excel. If you want a project, look for a 1980's Avion and do some upgrades and repairs. These old Avions are built like a tank and are a real value if you can do the work.

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Old 01-28-2014, 06:45 AM   #13
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We just went through the process of researching and finding a new trailer to replace our 2002 Sunline which was a really great trailer, but Sunline went out of business quite a few years ago. In our search, we went to RV shows as well as quite a few RV dealers. From what I saw, there are a lot of cheaper trailers that are pretty comparable in terms of mediocre fit and finish as well as cheaper cabinet construction, hardware, etc.

In our case, we were looking to downsize to a smaller trailer that would be around 6k pounds loaded. At the same time, storage space needed for longer trips (4 weeks or longer) was very important. For the money, we found the Winnebago towables offer a very good combination quality and features for the money. The fit and finish of the Winnebago trailers was much better than the majority that we looked at. Our 2201 DS weighs in at just a little over 6k lbs. loaded with gear and some fresh water in the tank. We've only had it out for 3 or 4 trips, but we haven't had any problems other than I had to tighten some plumbing fittings under the kitchen sink.

So, I can only suggest that you go to a lot of dealers and RV shows and determine what size and floorplan you need. Then, look at as many different units as possible and see what looks to be the best "bang for the buck".

I seriously considered buying a Jayco unit due to their 2 year warranty and overall reputation, but their lightweight units just weren't as nice as those made by Winnebago....but in all fairness, their prices were lower.

Good luck in your search!
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Old 01-28-2014, 06:54 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by scbwr View Post
I seriously considered buying a Jayco unit due to their 2 year warranty and overall reputation, but their lightweight units just weren't as nice as those made by Winnebago....but in all fairness, their prices were lower.

Good luck in your search!
Personally, I'm not a fan of any conventionally-manufactured ultra-lites. The manufacturers have to skimp on material and content to get the weight down; the result is thin roofs and floors, skimpy frames and running gear, etc.

We've owned three Jaycos, a Cardinal pop-up and two Designer 5th wheels. All have been good, solid RVs at their respective price points. Jayco's 2-year warranty and customer service is, in my books, unexcelled in their market segments. We had few problems with ours (and those were with buyout items, such as Todd Engineering power converters and a Norcold cooling unit), but the Jayco folks bent over backwards to make each one right - quickly! They even sent us to a non-Jayco repair facility to get the Norcold cooling unit changed out within a few days when the selling dealer couldn't get to our RV for months. After 2 failures, they approved the changeout of the Todd Engineering converter with a Progressive Dynamics PD9155 top-line unit without a second thought.

So, yes, if I were in the market for a TT or 5th wheel, I'd certainly give Jayco's products the benefit of my consideration.


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