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Old 03-30-2012, 05:42 AM   #1
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Want information both good and bad

Want information both good and bad

Hello all

We are looking at purchasing a new Excel Limited 36GKM.

Because of the weight of this unit we will need to purchase a new TV to pull it with.

As this is going to be a major investment I would like to have input from present owners of this model trailer. Not necessarily the 36GKM but the Excel in general.

Thanks in advance

3665RE
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Old 03-30-2012, 06:21 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3665RE
Want information both good and bad

Hello all

We are looking at purchasing a new Excel Limited 36GKM.

Because of the weight of this unit we will need to purchase a new TV to pull it with.

As this is going to be a major investment I would like to have input from present owners of this model trailer. Not necessarily the 36GKM but the Excel in general.

Thanks in advance

3665RE
Welcome to the forum 3665RE. You'll find a wealth of information here. Enjoy it all.

We don't think you could have made a better choice in RV companies. We live full time in ours and are very very happy with our living conditions. The quality of the rig is superb, IMHO! When you live FT in the rig, there is a lot more stress and strain on the systems but this one can definitely take it all in stride.

We have an '11 36' GKE and really like the design. It affords the necessary living, storage and sleeping space. It's comfortable for entertaining or just chilling out.

We have not had any major problems that were not taken care off. The biggest one, a crimped gas line, was fixed and actually is now better than the original.

We've lived in the cold and have been very cozy w/o burning a ton of propane. We've been through a summer of 100's w/o difficulty with only one A/C and stayed comfortable. These rigs are well insulated.

We have enough storage for our "stuff". DW would always like more for her shoes though. We opted to not have a washer dryer and toss that decision back and forth.

We are on our third rig since 2005 and would buy another one in the future. We've changed rigs because we found that after going FT our needs changed and newer designs fit them better.

As for the tow vehicle, we have a Volvo / Smart car setup. We found it much cheaper to buy and operate than any one ton or MDT. If you have questions about this, please PM me. There is also a long thread following our build out of the truck.

There are always minor things that go wrong at sometime. The majority of the issues are caused by just wear and tear. Always remember that this is a house on wheels that is in a constant earthquake when you're moving down the road. There is maintenance to do and when done, it'll last you a long time. We encounter many Excels on the road that are over 10 yrs old and still look great.

Remember to enjoy the journey of life while living in your Excel. Good luck!
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:59 AM   #3
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We have 2010 GKM and are really please with it. Peterson has been real good about taking care any problems we had. We pull ours with a 350 ford dwd. Most of these guys will tell you we don't have enough truck and maybe we don't but I have never been in a situation that scared me. Just take a look at how many 5ers are on the road and you don't see that many HDT pulling them so that tells me that what I'm pulling with is OK and you don't hear of wrecks that much. Good luck in your search you are looking in the right direction.
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Old 03-30-2012, 01:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARRET
We have 2010 GKM and are really please with it. Peterson has been real good about taking care any problems we had. We pull ours with a 350 ford dwd. Most of these guys will tell you we don't have enough truck and maybe we don't but I have never been in a situation that scared me. Just take a look at how many 5ers are on the road and you don't see that many HDT pulling them so that tells me that what I'm pulling with is OK and you don't hear of wrecks that much. Good luck in your search you are looking in the right direction.
I definitely don't want to step on anyone's toes but.... When we bought our current truck, we bought it not because we couldn't pull our rig but because we had a few instances when we had trouble stopping it. By having the HDT, we feel that one safety factor has been addressed. We definitely liked the fact that the cost was less than a new 350 / 3500 for truck, custom bed and Smart car. Plus we realize a savings of over $125 / mo in fuel costs. There are some down sides to this solution but they are minimal compared to the benefits.

You are correct to say that you don't hear of many wrecks. I'm just trying to lessen a possibility. We wish safe travels to all no matter what they drive.
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Old 03-30-2012, 02:53 PM   #5
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3665RE,

We've lived in our 2011 33RSE full time for almost 2 years now. No complaints and no regrets on our decision to purchase an Excel. Not to say we haven't had ANY problems; all RVs have some issues. The electric awning motor had to be replaced once (no charge). The gray tank sensor on our SeeLevel II system had to be replaced (no charge). And the SHURflo motor twice (no charge). Oh yeah, we had some light bulbs burn out.

During our first winter, it got down to 17 BELOW Zero--no problem. Lived in summer temps over 100--no problem (with only one A/C). We recently moved to Phoenix area (job change) and had the second A/C installed for the blistering summers here, but I don't think we'll have any issues.
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Old 03-30-2012, 04:35 PM   #6
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X2 what has been said by everyone. I just had my first visit to PI's plant in Smith Center KS and got to see them practically "hand" building these gems. Well worth your time to go the folks took good care of me and my rig.
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Old 03-30-2012, 05:19 PM   #7
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Thanks for the information.

The only thing we need to do is see what the basement looks like, We carry some model trains with us and the drop frame you see on a lot of the newer 5th wheels is what is needed.

The questions about the TV should be on a different thread. The only thing I have is in Florida if you have a serious accident with a vehicle that is loaded greater than its GVW rating or a combination vehicle loaded above its GCVW rating you are in line for a felony charge and the accident is your fault regardless of what the situation is. A serious accident is when one or more vehicles have to be towed.

Thanks again folks.

3665RE
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Old 03-30-2012, 05:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3665RE
Thanks for the information.

The only thing we need to do is see what the basement looks like, We carry some model trains with us and the drop frame you see on a lot of the newer 5th wheels is what is needed.

The questions about the TV should be on a different thread. The only thing I have is in Florida if you have a serious accident with a vehicle that is loaded greater than its GVW rating or a combination vehicle loaded above its GCVW rating you are in line for a felony charge and the accident is your fault regardless of what the situation is. A serious accident is when one or more vehicles have to be towed.

Thanks again folks.

3665RE
We are currently in the Florida Keys. We'll be moving beginning May 1st. If you want to see our set- up up close, let us know and we can possibly meet up.
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Old 03-30-2012, 09:09 PM   #9
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Welcome to the forum!! Last year was our first year using a MDT to pull our Excel 41GKE. If a HDT/MDT is in your budget I would highly recommend you go that route. The new 3500/350's DRW trucks should be below your CGVWR but some of the older trucks will not. I have had 3-GM 3500's and 1-F350 DRW for trailer hauling.....after switching to a MDT would not go back if hauling a heavy trailer....
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Old 03-31-2012, 12:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3665RE View Post
Thanks for the information.

The questions about the TV should be on a different thread. The only thing I have is in Florida if you have a serious accident with a vehicle that is loaded greater than its GVW rating or a combination vehicle loaded above its GCVW rating you are in line for a felony charge and the accident is your fault regardless of what the situation is. A serious accident is when one or more vehicles have to be towed.

Thanks again folks.

3665RE
Sounds like you know the answer already. And GCWR is different than actual weight. It's a higher standard. 18,750# for that trailer alone, according to the 2012 specs.

As for observations on the vehicles people use to tow, surveys I've seen say that only a minority of RVers even know the weight of their RVs, which is the first step in choosing the proper tow vehicle. My conversations with RVers over the last five years confirms this ignorance.

"I put air bags on my truck to increase the weight capacity."

"I didn't want to spend the extra money for a bigger truck."

"I only tow my rig in summer, so I don't need a bigger truck."

"I use a heavier weight oil." [OK, I made up that one.]

"Get thee behind me."

And don't get me started about the tires on the trailer.

Good luck.
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Old 03-31-2012, 08:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce and Jenna View Post
Sounds like you know the answer already. And GCWR is different than actual weight. It's a higher standard. 18,750# for that trailer alone, according to the 2012 specs.

As for observations on the vehicles people use to tow, surveys I've seen say that only a minority of RVers even know the weight of their RVs, which is the first step in choosing the proper tow vehicle. My conversations with RVers over the last five years confirms this ignorance.

"I put air bags on my truck to increase the weight capacity."

"I didn't want to spend the extra money for a bigger truck."

"I only tow my rig in summer, so I don't need a bigger truck."

"I use a heavier weight oil." [OK, I made up that one.]

"Get thee behind me."

And don't get me started about the tires on the trailer.

Good luck.
Oh, the experience of hard knocks!!!

OK Bruce, not bad information for a "has been"!!! Just kiddin' ol' boy!

Don't forget the about the guy that make up numbers as the conversation progresses and the numbers they give aren't even close, proving they never actually weighed the rig in the first place! rockin'
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Old 04-01-2012, 11:57 PM   #12
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Your choice in Excel is very smart! Wish we woulda got smart earlier. Since 2005 we have bought three new 5ers, with our last one being a '12 41GKE. Our SOB 5ers we also FT'd in and didn't last more than a couple years due to their poor quality.

Those mass-produced manufacturers produce several hundred units a month and use cheap materials to keep the price point low. And to pump out that many units in a short amount of time, quality control suffers. As I mentioned earlier, we finally got smart and just took delivery of our new Excel about a week and a half ago. I am AMAZED at the quality of this unit! To date I have towed 1,200 miles and have woke up in two separate snow storms and had no idea until I stepped outside bc the coach was so warm.

The insulation, box frame, real solid wood cabinets, wood framing, etc, really set this unit apart. If you haven't taken a look at Excel's construction videos on their website, I highly recommend it. One can really tell the difference in quality with Excel bc their quality control is phenomenal, but I suspect that is because they only build two units a week compared to several hundred a month.

We had quite a bit of customization with a full wall to ceiling pantry and 12 foot booth and mixed several floor plans to make ours. Speaking directly with Bryan and Marlene about all our options and customizing is first rate customer service and they got absolutely everything perfect!

As far as tow vehicles, we have a 2012 GMC Sierra 3500 dually Duramax. The GCWR is 30,500 with a 5er towing capacity of 22,300 for our specific truck with its options. Our Excel weighed in from the factory at 16,800 and with our stuff in it we are around 19,000. I have towed through Grant's Pass, Mount Shasta, Hwy 58 through Tehachapi, and the Baker grade and am continually impressed with this truck! The Allison tranny and exhaust brake is a superb combo! I chose GM bc they have a box and ladder frame, had the highest towing capacity, the Allison and exhaust brake combo. I had no brand loyalty and, in fact, traded in my F350 for it. I absolutely don't regret my choice. If your still on the fence about which truck to buy, I posted in a thread called Dreamer Question, a bunch of links on the Big Three trucks. It's sorta a one stop shopping for research that I found and could be useful.

Best of luck and you won't regret buying an Excel!!!
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Old 04-02-2012, 03:05 AM   #13
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[QUOTE=

As far as tow vehicles, we have a 2012 GMC Sierra 3500 dually Duramax. The GCWR is 30,500 with a 5er towing capacity of 22,300 for our specific truck with its options. Our Excel weighed in from the factory at 16,800 and with our stuff in it we are around 19,000. I have towed through Grant's Pass, Mount Shasta, Hwy 58 through Tehachapi, and the Baker grade and am continually impressed with this truck! The Allison tranny and exhaust brake is a superb combo! I chose GM bc they have a box and ladder frame, had the highest towing capacity, the Allison and exhaust brake combo. I had no brand loyalty and, in fact, traded in my F350 for it. I absolutely don't regret my choice. If your still on the fence about which truck to buy, I posted in a thread called Dreamer Question, a bunch of links on the Big Three trucks. It's sorta a one stop shopping for research that I found and could be useful.

Best of luck and you won't regret buying an Excel!!![/QUOTE]

it sounds like GM may have gotten it right. What kind of mileage do you get towing & not? Enjoy it. We really liked our 3500 and do miss it every once in a while.
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:07 AM   #14
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Hi

Thanks all for your information.

As I donít finance anything it will be a few months before I have the money put together without taking extreme hits on some investments.

We will probably go to the factory and do business with them. Our local dealer is not desirable for me to do business with. Not their fault I just have a problem with an employee of theirs.

As for the TV.

I hold a class A CDL and I am very aware of the TVís available. The problem most people have when using a light duty truck like the Chevrolet 3500 is overloading. We are presently using the 2009 Duramax 3500 DRW. We are pulling at 23,000 lbs on a GCVW rating of 23,500 lbs. We get 16 MPG unloaded and 12 MPG loaded on flat ground.

The 2012 Chevrolet 3500 has more power and a good deal of change to the frame, braking system and transmission. The transmission is still the Allison but it has been upgraded to handle more HP and load.

Thanks again

3665RE
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