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Old 12-01-2009, 02:28 PM   #1
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Excel vs. Cameo

Hello! Help! Please!
My wife and I recently retired and wish to purchase a fifth wheel. We will not full time, but will travel extensively in the Mountain West for about 6 months per year.
Our research has guided us to either the Excel (Limited?) or the Cameo. Both fivers are very well constructed and highly rated. Both forums reflect discerning folks with intelligent comments and supportive suggestions. Support groups are so very important.
I suspect we would purchase a fiver in the 33' length or so..........

I would love to hear positive, and for that matter any negative testimony from any who would volunteer to help me decide which direction I should take: either the Cameo or the Excel.

Thank you all in advance.. God Bless. <>< alan
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Old 12-01-2009, 03:26 PM   #2
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I have owned 2 Excels over the years, the first a 1997 and at present a 2005 33RSO Classic. Had no problems with the 1997 which prompted me to purchase the 2005 new.

The 2005, in my opinion, had a manufacturing defect in that the seam bar did not cover where the top and bottom of the wall came together between the large and bedroom slide. The seam was about a quarter inch above the seam bar. Long story short, I took same to dealer and they did nothing but caulk the seam as was originally done at the factory, this was in 2007 before warranty ran out. Due to death of my parents over the next couple of years, I did not use the coach. This spring while cleaning and checking the unit over, the leak was back at the same seam and ruined the paneling above large slide by cabinets.

I pulled the unit to Peterson Industries to have repaired, in which they rebuilt the header and installed another seam bar above the original to cover the seam gap, which they promptly charged me $2000 to fix even though it was obvious to me it was a factory flaw. Can't argue the fact that the coach was out of warranty.

I protested the charge to the President of Excel only to have the service manager reply that they had no responsibility for the defect.

This has been my experience with Excels.

Good luck in your endeavors.
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Old 12-01-2009, 05:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zigidachs View Post
Hello! Help! Please!
My wife and I recently retired and wish to purchase a fifth wheel. We will not full time, but will travel extensively in the Mountain West for about 6 months per year.
Our research has guided us to either the Excel (Limited?) or the Cameo. Both fivers are very well constructed and highly rated. Both forums reflect discerning folks with intelligent comments and supportive suggestions. Support groups are so very important.
I suspect we would purchase a fiver in the 33' length or so..........

I would love to hear positive, and for that matter any negative testimony from any who would volunteer to help me decide which direction I should take: either the Cameo or the Excel.

Thank you all in advance.. God Bless. <>< alan

Zigidachs, Welcome to IRV2 with your first post. We hope you post often and join us in the Excel Forum.

I would need some more details before I would even try to give you a comparison. I donít even know who manufactures Cameo and what you are looking for as a comparison. You did not say what time of year and weather you would be using a rig. It would not be fair to Excel if I started a comparison right now . Please feel free to ask questions about our choice and we will be glad to share them with you.
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Old 12-01-2009, 06:54 PM   #4
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My wife and me feel in love with the Carriage Cameo while on a trip to VT 2 years ago. Problem here was there are no dealers within a 2-3 hours drive of NE Ohio till this year. One opened 50 miles away. I have looked at a bunch of 5ers and find the "fit & finish" top notch. Nice floor plans with hitch weights that are in the low 2000 lb. range. I have not heard of any problems relating to the Carriage line.
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Old 12-01-2009, 10:30 PM   #5
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I understand your question and motivation. But I don't know how you will get a real answer from anyone. Who would own both trailers of the same year to accurately compare them?

I suggest you read about Excels on this web site. You'll find good and bad remarks. [For example, compare DHPCPA's story to others who have found Peterson repairing defects out of warranty.]

I know you will find discussions in the Excel forum about satisfaction/dissatisfaction with this brand. Maybe you will find similar discussions about the Cameo here or on RV.NET.

Good luck. Get on the road soon! And make sure you get enough truck!
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Old 12-02-2009, 04:53 AM   #6
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I also found the comments by 'dchpca' somewhat atypical based on my experience with Peterson Industries. We've owned several RVs, TT, MH, and our Excel. None of these units was not without issues, as is IMO, the norm for the RV industry in general. We would all like to believe that after generations of building RVs and the technological advances, that most of these problems would have been solved by now.

Peterson Industries has went above and beyond the terms of their warranty to make our 2005 Excel right. Is it perfect? No, and I doubt you will find a problem-free RV in the industry. IF we were in the market for a new fifth-wheel, we would probably get another Excel.
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Old 12-02-2009, 05:19 AM   #7
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You can also check here for comparison information, RV Ratings for motorhomes, fifth wheels, trailers, toy haulers. Check out the company stability. Find a floor plan you like and go for it. You'll surely find things you like & hate in any RV you buy. IMHO, it's what feels good and works for you today. You can also change your mind down the road.

Good luck and enjoy your RV choice to the fullest.

Tim

BTY: We are completly satisfied with Peterson Industries, Excel. We already changed models and we may change models again.

We were not satisfied with our Chev 3500 dually. We upgraded to a HDT & Smart car.

We did all this after thinking we had everything perfect the first time.
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Old 12-02-2009, 08:22 AM   #8
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We bought a Cameo this past summer. We were looking for a rig that we could use 5 or 6 months of the year when we retire. After our research we liked the Cameo for a number of reasons. One being weight, we could pull the Cameo with our present truck. Excels seem to be a little heavier. They also might be a little more $$. However they both seem to be good quality rvs. I don't think we have any Excel dealers nearby. Good luck on your decision.
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Old 12-02-2009, 08:45 AM   #9
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When we were looking for a new fifth wheel, we narrowed our choice down to Excel, Hitchhiker, and Cameo. After looking at all of them in person, we decided on the Excel (Hitchhiker would have been our second choice). One of the things that swayed us to the Excel over the other two was the lower profile: 11'11" compared to 12'8" for the others. Since we do a lot of boondocking, this lower profile was important to us.
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:56 AM   #10
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Hello we looked at the Cameo & went to the factory to see how they are put together thinking we would buy one in the new year which would have been 2008 but we met Brian in a RV show in PA he sent us a letter & phoned us when we got back to Canada thanking us for looking at his units I thought I would check on the Excel line closer to see how they measured up to the Cameo. after checking on line with all my facts we picked the Excel over the Cameo for these reasons. The Excel had lower centre of gravity, Excel would & did some very nice upgrades which Cameo would not,the unit I bought was under 35 feet long TKE 33 the Cameo was closer to 37 feet long, the Excel Limited had solid roof made of fibgerglass Cameo's was rubber. I felt dealing with Excel was more personal & they seems more willing to make upgrades so we bought a 2008 Excel over the internet I am very happy with the unit I bought though the Cameo is a very nice unit. We went to the Family reunion in May of this year & had a great time also went to New Mexico's camp weekend in Sept of this year as well & was treated very warmly from all the other Excel onwers. If you need any info on the upgrade they did for me I will email you if you like, one other thing I took my unit for some repairs in Sept to Smith Centre they treated you like a somebody very very pleased.Also I have no problem pulling my unit with my 2005 Duramax 2500HD but I did install a exhaust brake & disc on the trailer for add safety
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Old 12-02-2009, 11:39 AM   #11
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My two cents...

I am semi-retired and consider myself a "half-timer". Before we purchased our Excel RKO33 Limited we were pretty much convinced that our next 5th wheel would be a Carriage product. Carriage units are well made and well supported. Carri-lite and Cameo have some very nice floorplans too. If not for an incredible deal on our Excel (left over dealer stock 2007 model in 2008), I would probably own a Cameo. My selection criteria was unique in that I needed a coach with a frame strong enough to carry a motorcycle on the back. Both units have in-house manufactured frames of superior strength though I'd give Excel the nod here based upon differences in construction.

As far as Excel support goes, PI has bent over backwards to take care of my minor warranty problems in the absence of a dealer in my state. I'm sorry to hear about the other owner's out of warranty complaint but it appears to me that circumstances with timing and poor dealer service were the real culprits there.

If I were in the market today for a replacement 5th wheel, I'd probably end up with a Cameo mainly based upon weight considerations. Excel Limited's are VERY heavy although like me, they carry their weight quite well . My one ton DRW truck is not rated to tow the Excel's weight and being a half-timer, I have no desire to go above a one ton tow vehicle or to spend $60k on an F450 that is only marginally superior to a properly configured one ton. My next purchase will be a much lighter fiver. Who knows? Maybe by that time Excel will embrace aluminum and construct a lighter coach with reasonable frame strength and all the amenities of a Limited model.

As a fellow half-timer, I don't think that you could go wrong with either of the two manufacturers you've chosen to consider.
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Old 12-02-2009, 02:21 PM   #12
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Thank you all for your advice. I am concerned about "the truck"! We plan to purchase a new 2011 F 350 DWD which is a new 6.7 with a 6 speed transmission and exhaust brakes. I am aware that the Excels are heavier than the Cameos. I am not so much worried about towing the unit, but stopping it!

It's like the old adage: "It's not the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop at the bottom".

How have you all dealt with the heavier units short of a 450 or heavier TV? Thanks again for your input. alan
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Old 12-02-2009, 02:47 PM   #13
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Make sure you have disc brakes. They'll give you the extra help when needed.
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Old 12-03-2009, 11:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zigidachs View Post
Thank you all for your advice. I am concerned about "the truck"! We plan to purchase a new 2011 F 350 DWD which is a new 6.7 with a 6 speed transmission and exhaust brakes. I am aware that the Excels are heavier than the Cameos. I am not so much worried about towing the unit, but stopping it!

It's like the old adage: "It's not the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop at the bottom".

How have you all dealt with the heavier units short of a 450 or heavier TV? Thanks again for your input. alan
I've been towing my 33LRSE for two plus years now. Loaded down with FT stuff , my combined weight has risen as high as 25,500, still below the 26,000 GCWR on my F350 PSD DRW with tow package and 4.3 axle.

I have the disk brakes on the trailer. Connected to the Ford factory installed integrated brake controller. Real good braking!!

Last year, my trailer brake actuator was not working for a while. Thus no trailer brakes. I towed from Quartzsite to Black Canyon City, north of Phoenix without trailer brakes. Up, down, up, down. No problem.

No need for a 450. Unless you go above 33'

According to the RV Consumer Group, the biggest factor in safe towing is TV wheelbase. 33' required a supercab or crew cab. I chose the supercab for a shorter turning radius and lower weight (200#).
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