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Old 10-04-2013, 03:02 PM   #1
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Wow... How many?

I am amazed at the number of brands of TTs there are. It is very difficult to make a choice, especially if you are looking for good quality. It appears that other than the floor plan, there is really very little difference in these units... until you are willing to spend a lot of bucks...

What say you?

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Old 10-04-2013, 05:32 PM   #2
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The quality one should look for is not obvious, it is hidden by paneling, flooring, etc. What I mean is quality of the structure, frame, etc. You are correct about the visual stuff one sees when entering the trailer, it's all eye candy. A prospective buyers has some options, visit each mfgrs. website and closely inspect the specifications webpages for insulation factors, frame,roof, and wall construction, etc. Things like a rounded roof may seem immaterial, but that rounded roof helps water run off faster and lessens the chance of water pooling on the roof around air conditioners, vents, etc.
Good luck with your hunt, it is time-consuming, slow, tedious, and at times frustrating. The payoff however, hopefully results in purchasing a trouble-free, quality trailer.

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Old 10-04-2013, 06:02 PM   #3
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A lot of TT manufactures build trailers under different names. So, even though it seems like there is a lot, and there are quite a few, a lot of them are made by the same companys with just a different name and maybe floor plan.
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:02 PM   #4
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A lot of manufactures will build the same floor plan in 3 or 4 different levels. Yes - it is confusing. Probably by design. Even up-scale builders do the same thing.

Airstream probably has 5 levels with each level going up with a better interior.
The 'Classic' is their top model.

You can usually tell on the internet what the top unit is called. (But not always).

I would guess in most cases the difference is not the frame, axles, or tires but interior trim.

I have been into RV's since 2005 and read and analyzed a lot of different units. Still I am not sure what I am looking at when I walk onto a trailer. The enclosed underbelly makes it hard to see the frame.
You can not see how the holding tanks are secured, you can't see the sub-flooring, you can't see much of plumbing.

So I agree it is not easy to pick one unit over another.
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Old 10-06-2013, 05:42 PM   #5
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There are hundreds and many are related...and many are crap!

Make sure you make a like of features you want and then satrt narrowing the list by weights (hitch and towing capacity). Leave yourself 30% margin as these units are a LOT heavier than advertised "dry" weights tell you.
You may find the list getting a lot shorter and your trailer get a lot shorter, too.
Then go see lots of them in person. I found 60%+ had poor quality somewhere or everywhere and many brands are just junk. Units that were high on my list were quickly gone from the list.

And look at everything on every lot. We ended up with a unit that was never even on our long list!
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Old 10-06-2013, 06:31 PM   #6
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I will add that a dealer will say they have the very best trailer. Then the next year will not even sell that trailer. They will then tell you that trailer was junk and now their new trailer is the best...ugh

I have purchased 2 trailers and a 5th wheel. So far I have been lucky as I have really not had any issues that I could not fix with a new screw, glue, tape, or a tube shower sealer.

Agree - look at a lot of trailers.
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Old 10-06-2013, 06:51 PM   #7
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If you want a quality travel trailer, look to Arctic Fox. They may not be as showy as some trailers with lots of glizt and bling, but they are well built.

Another avenue would be to look for a good 1980's silver Avion. These were the Cadillacs of the travel trailers. You can pick up a decent used on and do some refurbishing and update work. We had a 1989 Avion 34V that we restored and sold it for $16500 a bit over two years ago. We bought it for much less.

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Old 11-03-2013, 06:49 PM   #8
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whatever you do, don't walk in a trailer and think, wow, how pretty! you've got to think about cabinets and such, and how you will use them. I had a sunline once, loved the table! it could seat 6 easily because it was upfront, longways. since I have 6 girls, this was big! or so I thought. 6 girls? there was never enough space to Put Things. especially shoes! after that, I made sure I paid attention to what was important to me, for my family. That's gonna vary on everyone. some want a tiny bathroom, some want it a little bigger. some want the counter space in a kitchen, some want the living space.
as far as construction? I agree, all will say theirs are the best. Listen, they're travel trailers, while they are built well, they are built for weight too. If you're abusive with things, doesn't matter how well or how poorly it's built, you'll ruin it. If you're gentle with things, also won't matter.

right now? I have 10 grandchildren (so far) from those 6 girls. we just bought our newest trailer, a 316rkds from jayco. to ME, the kitchen is to die for! when we purchased, we thought about us, and how we want to use it. when my kids borrow it? it sleeps 6, but I'd say 5, comfortably. when you look at units, think about what You want to use things for.

have fun on your search! Ricky T's (aka Rick & Theresa)
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Old 11-03-2013, 07:19 PM   #9
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In my experience, most of the problems have morning to do with chassis and frame. I can see mine from front storage and the aluminum is welded perfectly. I don't have any flimsy feeling in from floor or walls although my trailer is an all aluminum ultralight.
What is really killing any trailer reliability are standard electrical and other parts, especially switches, bulbs which are good only for a few days or weeks of use, locks, laminated countertops which hate moisture, caulked seals etc. Yes, most of this stuff is dirt cheap and easy to fix, but it's present in virtually all trailers, from entry level to quite expensive...
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Old 11-03-2013, 07:29 PM   #10
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We spent many, many months researching on line and talking to people. There's a wealth of reviews and info on line, do some searching. We narrowed our search down to about five or six manufacturers, most of which are no longer in business, not because they made bad product, but because they couldn't compete with the factories that hid all their junky construction behind fancy looking facades and accessories. Do your homework and you will be fine. We liked our first 5th wheel so much we upsized to the same brand, glad we did our homework.
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Old 11-03-2013, 07:34 PM   #11
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I searched for just over a year looking for a TT. But I was looking for light weight.

The one we picked was the first we looked at and had everything that we wanted and needed for the two of us and our dog.

We so far have put over 4000km on it this year and have only had a few small issues nothing catastrophic.

As far as how well it will look in 5 years is to be seen but so far I think we made a good choice for our needs.
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:04 PM   #12
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What are your needs (kids?). Do you stay on highways or go on gravel roads? You drive it once in the spring then Park it for the summer? Do you boondock and need water for 3-5 days in the tanks? Do you already have a truck? Can it tow the size of trailer your looking at including the weight of the passengers and cargo?

All these factors will affect what you may be looking for.

Generally speaking, better trailers cost more and weight more. Aluminum is worst than wood if not properly put together. Fiberglass costs more and weighs more. Look at the axle weight rating. Are the tires name brand or ccc (cheap Chinese crap).

After looking for about a year, we felt we could feel and see the difference. Open cabinets, look under the sinks, climb on the roof and most importantly take your time.

We bought a Nash.
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:24 AM   #13
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Try going to an RV show. It's kinda exciting for the first few units you look at. Then they all start to look the same after a while. Many of the components used to build them are identical. Same light fixtures, same aluminum thresholds, same exterior door handles. Yawn. The various sales people can't even answer detailed technical questions.

The manufacturers are looking at each other to see what the latest trends are and they all try to jump on the same bandwagon. They're all flogging bling and eye candy. Lately I've noticed "in" things include barreled ceilings, exterior colors other than white, theater seating and larger capacity fridges. Are they flogging a better designed frame? Nope.

And it's not just about the quality of each particular TT. It's also about the quality of the support from the factory and the dealer when you have warranty issues. Sometimes they deny warranty claims for things that there should be no problem with and blame you for causing it. Some dealers can take forever to repair something.

Thank goodness for the internet nowadays. It can make decision making easier but you need to know what to look for and what questions to ask.
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Old 11-04-2013, 07:26 AM   #14
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Yea go to an RV show for ideas first. The thing i hated most were some of models i was looking at had spongy floors even brand new. It's like walking on a mattress. But in their pictures and brochures, they look awesome.

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