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Old 02-05-2006, 01:57 AM   #1
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Hi all, new poster. I caught the bug! Being almost 50, it is time to get off the ground and stop loading and unloading so much gear. Got real interested in PU's at the Sportsman's show last week and found myself and my g/f in the local Fleetwood store yesterday, drooling over the new Cobalt.
Here's what I like about it:
1) I have a '94 S-10 Blazer with the most powerful V-6 available back then. I am concerned about towing weight. This baby weighs 1245# empty and I figure I don't pack 500# worth of gear, keeping us well under 2000#. I love my S-10 and haven't found a newer 4WD vehicle that I would rather have. It is getting up there in miles, and I don't want to ruin it pulling a PU up 7% grades at altitude.
2) I am not going to take it up really rough 4WD trails, but will be pulling it up and down those unimproved back roads to find a little seclusion. Seems this isn't as heavy duty as their Evolution line, but more rugged looking than some others I see. The local dealer's stock has more units with the lift kit than std clearance, and I like that, although I realize the axle is the lowest point, I won't be crunching as many corners.
3) Switching from tenting for 35 years means I don't need a lot of creature comforts, but I do like the LP stove, comfy bench seats, table, and the furnace. I can even buy a porta potty, and the g/f has no problems with that so I don't need a fancier model with a built in bath/toilet.
I started out thinking I could go get a used one and save thousands, but I take my recreation seriously, and I don't see any used Cobalts availabe, so new is my current leaning. I am considering getting a add a room and BBQ, solar battery charger, 110V deep cycle charger and either astro turf or indoor outdoor carpeting for the add-a-room. Including taxes and license, I will probably be looking at 7K.
Tell me if I am crazy, why I shouldn't get this model, what other brands make a comparable unit for what I want, what options I need, etc before I go out and bite the bullet on this, please and thank you!
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Old 02-05-2006, 08:01 AM   #2
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Welcom DoubleD,

We just bought a Fleetwood a couple of months ago. We have 5 kids with one on the way, so got a little bit bigger model in the Americana series. It was last years model, but new. Now is a good time to get a good deal. We got about $2K knocked off the price, plus they through in A/C and canopy at no charge. Our model came standard with a 3 burner stove and outdoor grill. We are also planning on getting the add a room.

As for your questions.

1) We pull ours with a 96 Chevy Astrovan. It has a transmission cooler. If yours does not have one, you may consider it, to extend the life of your truck. If it does have the trans cooler, then you should be fine, especially with such a lite load. Our van has a 4300 lb limit and we pull no more than 3K lb.

2)I am not familiar with off road experiences, so I can't help you there. I would talk to the dealer about any questions you have. Also google around and see what you can find. There is a lot of info out there. Be as specific as you can when you google to get more specific info.

3) We are former tenters as well and did not like pulling in late and then having to pitch a tent, blow up air mattresses and set everything up while the kids are waiting. We have timed it, and it takes us 10-15 minutes to fully setup the popup and about 20 to take down. We also are not big on amenities. I wanted 3 burners for cooking and the outdoor grill. We also like the Americana series because it has a large step for the kids. We did not get one with a potti in it, but also may get one for the middle of the night emergencies that kids have. We just don't look forward to dumping it LOL.

I am not sure if Fleetwood made that series in 05 or not. If they did, you can get a great deal on one. I would check around the internet at prices to make sure your dealer has not padded the price before you buy. www.fleetwoodrv.com used to list the retail price, but no longer does. When they did, I found that a local dealer in New Orleans had padded their price by about $3K above MSRP. That is significant. I am aggravated that fleetwood no longer will give you the MSRP.

If your tow vehicle does not have electric brake controller installed, you also need to see about the cost of having that installed.

Also, as much as I love my fleetwood and am happy with it, don't box yourself in. go to www.popuptimes.com and poke around at all of the manufactures. Some list their MSRP. Be aware though that I have found that fleetwood popups come with the most standard accessories. A fridge for instance. Most popups list them as optional, yet fleetwood has them standard. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples. You don't want to have buyers remorse.

I still him and haw over whether I chose the right one. Glad it was fleetwood, but am not sure if I should have got the lower end model with more room and an extra bed. I chose the one I did because of the extra burner on the stove, big step entry, waist level crank (some are bumper level and a pain to bend over and crank), outdoor grill, and the higher quality tent fabric. These are some of the differences between the fleetwood series.

Make a list of what is a must for you, and then check them all out.

I hope I covered all of your questions and was at least a little helpful. If you need more answers, just ask. I am new to this too and this site has been wonderful helping us avoid some first timer mistakes.
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Old 02-05-2006, 02:46 PM   #3
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Howdy DoubleD.

mamaloya said most everything I was thinking of. the only thing I might add is if your going down some rough roads you might consider turning your Axel over as this will help your pop up clear some bumps. remember it wont change the distance between your Axel and the ground. I suggest watch the tire size for that.

I'd offer to sell you my Bayside, but you need a bigger truck for it. Its right about at 34K loaded.

Good luck , let us know what you get.
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Old 02-05-2006, 03:30 PM   #4
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Oh, one more thing I learned after the fact goes on in the sales office. Watch that bill of sale. The dealer will try to slip in a "prep fee". If you ask, they will tell you that it is to cover cleaning it up and getting it ready for you. You are buying a NEW camper. You should not have to pay for them to make sure it is in NEW condition. We did not catch that until it was too late. We paid $350 dollars for them to "fix up" our brand new camper. Well, you live and learn. Just make sure to read all of the charges and question them. Someone else mentioned something about a RV manufacturers sticker fee. I don't know anything about that, but from what I am told, it is bogus as well. There is a topic on here about it somewhere that got quite heated as it is a sore subject for some. If I find it, I will post a link.
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Old 02-05-2006, 03:38 PM   #5
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I found that discussion. Here is the link..
dealer prep fee discussion

It gets heated, but is very informative. Might save you a little in the end.
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Old 02-05-2006, 09:39 PM   #6
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Thinking about adding larger wheels. The springs on the lifted unit are already above the axle, whereas the springs are under the axle on the std lift. I have also been told to check into shocks, I wonder if I should have the dealer install them (I like turnkey packages and if they do it, they get to stand behind their work!)
Should I buy a class 3 hitch and install it myself? I have heard that isn't a big job, but once again, I like turnkey (I have a full set of tools but no desire to crawl under my TV and have dirt falling in my eyeballs) Or, do you suggest I check out U-Haul or someone like that?
Do you know of other makes with the more "rugged" style like the Fleetwood Element I can compare them to?
What is your recommendation on dickering? They are offering the $500 for my used tent and 10% on any uninstalled accessories. How much more should I ask for? I have until March 15 for the $500 + 10% on accessories.
Thanks, folks. This board seems to be the most active I have come across and I appreciate your help!
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Old 02-06-2006, 06:27 AM   #7
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My dealer gives every buyer a 10% discount for a year after purchase. That may not be a big deal. Did you go to the popuptimes.com website and look under manufacturers? They have a list of all the manufacturers and you just click the link to their website and you will have access to all of their models along with floor plans and specifications. I was clicking around there yesterday and know I saw a couple of "off road" type popups. That site also has an ebook you can purchase which has information on buying a popup. I don't have it, so can't say how good it is. If I have time this evening, I will try to do some snooping around for you. Glad they did not pressure you and gave you until March 15 to decide. That tells me that they are at least halfway decent.
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Old 02-06-2006, 07:10 AM   #8
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Thanks Sandra,
I did go to the link you gave me and got as far as the Fleetwood units, of course there are no list prices there. I need to go back there. I get to those sites and feel like a ADD kid in a candy store. My brother bought a PU from the same dealer and he said they were a great outfit.
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Old 02-07-2006, 10:03 PM   #9
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I was told on another site to check out the Taos. Any feedback on that model?
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Old 02-08-2006, 06:49 AM   #10
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Never heard of it. Who makes it? I found the Starcraft RT and the Jayco Baja. They both are much more than the Fleetwood and don't come with all amenities standard. I use google.com a lot. I would go there and see what you can find about the Taos.
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Old 02-08-2006, 09:03 AM   #11
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The Taos is a unit PU rental folks have. I found one for sale 5 miles away from my house.
Very similar floorplan to the Cobalt, I think it is made by Fleetwood.
http://www.adventurecamper.com/AC-Taos.HTML
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Old 02-08-2006, 12:24 PM   #12
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It looks pretty good. Is it off road compatible? I looked on ebay and they had one or two of them. I think one was only $2550. You may check it out. Our model is the colonial, but is now called the sante fe. They list the sante fe as sleeping 5-6. We can sleep 7-8 in ours. Of course our kids are little. When they get older, we may have to move up. We are expecting baby #6 Sept 1. We can fit 4 in the king bed, 2-3 in the queen bed, and 1 big one or 2 little ones on the dinette. We eat outside, so it is fine. We will be adding the add a room though. The screen room is nice, but the add a room has vinyl zip up windows in case it rains.

If you want something small and light, the Taos seems perfect. Check out the fleetwood Yuma as well. If you want off road ability, I would do a little more research on the Taos. If it is just ground clearance you are worried about, you may be able to adjust the Taos' axle/tires for that. The Taos I saw was 2002 and Coleman was listed as the maker. Coleman was associated with Fleetwood, but that have since split.

Happy popup hunting!
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Old 02-08-2006, 07:46 PM   #13
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Sandra,
1) How do you manage to find time to post with 5 little ones and another on the way?
2) I went and looked at that Taos. Same floorplan as the Cobalt. It was a rental and obviously used, not a cherry. It didn't sit up as high as the Cobalt, so I would say not as much ground clearance. I like the idea of an add-a-room with vinyl zip up windows, I will have to see if that is availabe.
3) I am definitely leaning more towards the new Cobalt for many reasons. That Yuma is larger and heavier. Oddly enough, I feel I am one of the few who sees smaller is better (no jokes please!) I like the lower weight and better manueverability it seems a smaller unit will provide. I had looked at some of the real small units and for us, that Cobalt is a good size.
4) I appreciate everyone's feedback both past and future. As a newbie, I can learn alot from you all.
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Old 02-11-2006, 04:11 PM   #14
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Hey DoubleD

1) I get my quiet time, that is what keeps me sane. (Although notice how long it has been since I posted) I also can post while they are doing their lessons (I homeschool.) I have also been feeling under the weather this pregnancy and spending a lot of time in bed, so I keep stealing dh's laptop a lot to keep from being lonely. I am feeling better now though, so I think that part is over. My kids are very helpful, so I have no more chores to do than any other mom, if not less.

2) Fleetwood sells a screen room, which is just a screen room, and an add a room, which is a screen room with higher privacy panel, and vinyl zip up windows to keep out the weather. We want the vinyl windows so that in bad weather when we are stuck in the camper, we don't go nuts!

3) If dh and I were back to our prekid days, we would probably go with a much smaller one as well, so I understand the size issue.

4) That is what we are here for. I am a newbie as well, but have already learned a lot and am glad to share what little I know.

Keep us posted on how things go for you!
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