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Old 01-31-2021, 10:48 AM   #1
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Considering a Grand Design/Dutchman Voltage 5er

Team, I have a few questions and this is going to be a long one so grab some popcorn!

Background:
Long time lurker! We are moving this summer from VA to TX and rather than try to rush it on finding a house when we get down there we have decide to get an RV to live in for a few months while we find something to Rent/Build/Buy in TX. I know this is not the cheapest option (I own a performance sailboat so I am used to holes where you go to dump your money) but the adventure w/the fam is priceless. Now to the details:

Tow Vehicle - 2021 F350 SRW 6.2, 4706lbs payload (looking to keep pin weight around 3k or less)

We have decided on a Toy hauler not because we have heavy toys but because we have lots of hobbies with big things (paddle boards/Kayaks/windsurfing board/dingy sailboats) I do have a Harley but really probably won't use it for that much.

5ers- So we have been looking for a few months now and we have honed in on these models

- GD 320G, 350G, 350M, 351M and our favorite the 2018 354M (one with a dinette however we have only found one)

- Dutchmen Voltage 3605, 3615 and the Endurance 3556.


Questions:

I am not worried about quality on the GD's everyone loves them and they have great resale. So most of my questions are gear'd towards the Dutchmen.

1) Insulation - We are going to be in SATX and will put a 3rd AC in the toy hauler section of whatever we buy, but is there a real difference in the insulation for Hot weather? IE should I only be looking for the weather packages from the various companies? We really like the price/layout of the Endurance 3556 but it doesn't have the weather package.

2) Axels/suspension - I see that a lot of folks upgrade their suspensions with various parts (beefier shackles and do dads). How to tell if one is better than the other? Or is this just something I am going to do no matter what rig?

3) Genny - How hard to install after the fact? Prep packages just mean that the wires and firebox are there but you still have to figure out fuel lines and exhaust right?

4) Couches - Our most RV couches modular? We really need a place to eat as a family (very important to us) but the garage will most likely be a kids room/mess). So our thoughts are to take the 4 couch and remove the middle sections and put a folding dinette there. Anyone figure that out?

5) Water heater - So we both have a gym at work so odd are we won't use the shower while we are full timing it but for kids/and camping conditions. Is a 6 gal really that bad or is this a you don't know until you try it out for your family kind of thing?

6) Pin weight - Is it manufactures number w/ or w/o toys? I figure if it's that bad I can put my full tool box (about 1k) when we are running light or something.

7) Beaver tail - Any cool ideas on how to make that flat? or does everyone just make up a plywood wedge thing? Aftermarket boxes?

8) What am I missing?

Thanks!
Nick
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Old 02-03-2021, 08:56 AM   #2
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Ok I guess I asked room many questions...
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Old 02-03-2021, 09:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LivyZoe View Post
Team, I have a few questions and this is going to be a long one so grab some popcorn!

Background:
?

6) Pin weight - Is it manufactures number w/ or w/o toys? I figure if it's that bad I can put my full tool box (about 1k) when we are running light or something.


Thanks!
Nick
Published pin weight is based on UVW which means no toys of course. Take the GVWR of any 5th wheel and X times 20-25%. That will give you a realistic pin weight.
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Old 02-07-2021, 09:35 PM   #4
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Embedding some thoughts/answers....

1) Insulation - Is there a real difference in the insulation for Hot weather? YES. If the insulation keeps the heat in and cold out in the winter, it will do the reverse during the summer. It will also allow the units to run more efficiently. We have the weather package on our GD Momentum 350M and it does a nice job in hot/cold Temps.

2) Axels/suspension - Seems best system right now is the Mor-ryde IS, but otherwise wet bolts, etc. to the more traditional leaf spring system is the basic upgrade. No suspension problems for our 2016 with 5 years of travel in the eastern half of the US and Canada.

3) Genny - How hard to install after the fact? Ours came with this already installed, but maybe pull this question out by itself and post to see what others have done. I personally would purchase already installed.

Prep packages just mean that the wires and firebox are there but you still have to figure out fuel lines and exhaust right? Yes. Doesn't seem to be much $$ savings IMHO to just purchase it already installed.

4) Couches - Our most RV couches modular? Yes. There are several YouTube videos where folks have removed the center (non-massage sections as you are suggesting) and kept the two end recliners put together. You could purchase or build a dinette for the open area.

5) Water heater - So we both have a gym at work so odd are we won't use the shower while we are full timing it but for kids/and camping conditions. Is a 6 gal really that bad or is this a you don't know until you try it out for your family kind of thing? Don't know. We have a 12 gallon and not an issue.

6) Pin weight - Is it manufactures number w/ or w/o toys? Without. Toyhaulers are pin heavy and I actually like it when we have some weight in the garage. Full generator full tank can help add weight to the back.

7) Beaver tail - Any cool ideas on how to make that flat? or does everyone just make up a plywood wedge thing? Aftermarket boxes? Not an issue for us. There are lots of pics on pinterest of toyhaulers and solutions people have done to the garages. Check out this video by Changing Lanes RV for some pics and for how they use their garage.

https://youtu.be/AC6fHSXMHfA

Good luck with your research and decision.
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Old 02-08-2021, 04:41 AM   #5
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Thanks. When I wrote this we were really considering a Dutchmen Endurance 3556 (at 40k itís hard to beat) that was pretty basic. Since then, lots of research later, we have moved our budget to 60-70k and settled on the Momentumís. Now itís either a used 350/351M or a new 350/353G. The 353G is winning but is kinda of hard to find. Also we need to get it in the next month or so. The plan is to do a few weekend trips, use spring break and Memorial Day weekend as a week long shake downs prior to the big move from VA to TX in June.
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Old 02-08-2021, 07:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LivyZoe View Post
Thanks. When I wrote this we were really considering a Dutchmen Endurance 3556 (at 40k itís hard to beat) that was pretty basic. Since then, lots of research later, we have moved our budget to 60-70k and settled on the Momentumís. Now itís either a used 350/351M or a new 350/353G. The 353G is winning but is kinda of hard to find. Also we need to get it in the next month or so. The plan is to do a few weekend trips, use spring break and Memorial Day weekend as a week long shake downs prior to the big move from VA to TX in June.
I know it wasn't in the equation but take a look at Raptor. The 356 is similar in size/weight to the Momentum 351. Last year I researched both. Raptor is the top trim like the Momentum over the S. I previously had a Raptor 300MP that's shorter and lighter. 35.5 and 15K as I recall. GVWR rating not flawed UVW. I was very happy with the build quality of the 300MP but wanted more room in the living area. I ordered mine before covid and it came in March. Only 2 issues were a grey tank valve not assembled at the factory correctly and fixed quickly under warranty and later the transfer switch wouldn't pass thru generator power which the dealer ordered the part and I put in. They got the "install $$$" from the factory and I didn't have to lose the trailer for a few weeks.

I ordered mine with upgrades so you are unlikely to find these on a lot. FBP, dual pane windows, queen bed, no patio system. Raptor came stock with Sailun LRG tires. Things stock in Raptor are extra with Momentum. Things like 3 TVs I don't care a rats ass about but they are there.

Only bad thing it's a Keystone which is owned by thor. So the trailer is good despite thor.
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Old 02-08-2021, 10:17 AM   #7
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1) Insulation - We are going to be in SATX and will put a 3rd AC in the toy hauler section of whatever we buy, but is there a real difference in the insulation for Hot weather? IE should I only be looking for the weather packages from the various companies? We really like the price/layout of the Endurance 3556 but it doesn't have the weather package.

Yes, one thing I did not pay attention to in my current TH is that the living area is well insulated but the garage is not. If it is hot or cold it makes a huge difference. I only have 2 A/C (bedroom and living room) with 2 celling ducts in the garage. If we close the separating door the A/C will cycle on and off at a set temp. If the garage is open then they will pretty much run constant. I have a fan on my desk (I work from the garage) and one that blows from the living room into the garage.


3) Genny - How hard to install after the fact? Prep packages just mean that the wires and firebox are there but you still have to figure out fuel lines and exhaust right?

While many come "prep" all the ones we looked at with "prep" did not have a fuel tank and had to be run from propane. This is not a good or bad thing but something to be aware of so you can make an informed choice.


5) Water heater - So we both have a gym at work so odd are we won't use the shower while we are full timing it but for kids/and camping conditions. Is a 6 gal really that bad or is this a you don't know until you try it out for your family kind of thing?

I have not used a 6 gallon. Our is a 12 gallon. While heating on gas, we have never run out of hot water even taking moderate length showers with only 5 min in between for 2 of us. I have several friends that complain about running out quickly with their 6 gallon tanks. Obviously there is a ton of variables here.


7) Beaver tail - Any cool ideas on how to make that flat? or does everyone just make up a plywood wedge thing? Aftermarket boxes?

There was a good thread about how someone converted their garage into a nice office space. They built a wedge and I think did the whole floor as one level surface. Google something like toy hauler garage office or bedroom and you will get all kinds of results.

8) What am I missing?
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