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Old 01-11-2014, 07:19 PM   #1
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Columbus, Montana, Alpine, or Big Country? Any info welcomed and appreciated

We just left the St. Louis RV show. We really liked the Columbus, Montana, Alpine and Big Country. Since this will be our last RV we are doing lots of research. Any information, pros and/or cons will be helpful in our final decision. Thank you!
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Old 01-12-2014, 03:28 AM   #2
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How are you going to use the rig? Weekends and Vacations? If so, these 5th wheels will all work. I looked at and liked the Columbus. It seems to be insulated ok with heat pads on the tanks. It also comes with ok axles. (I think 7,000 lbs.)

There are about a dozen or so 5th wheels that compete in this category. I am spending winter as a snow bird. The RV park that I am in has a lot of Montana's, Big Horns, and Infinity's. There are no Columbus, Solitude, Bay Hills or Flexes. These last 4 are the newer entries into the market. You might have not even seen them.

Good luck.
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Old 01-12-2014, 03:44 AM   #3
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Oh - sorry, I thought I was in the 5th wheel section. I see this is the full-time section.
In that case these units are ok at best. They really are not built for full-time use.

In this category look for the one with th he best tires (any with better than E rated China bombs) I say this because china bomb tires will come apart and sometimes the flying rubber will hit and damage the trailer. Buy the one with the best axles and best frame. I think some of these units have just a 10" I-Beam frame. Buy the one with the 12" frame.

Here is a list of units that are built for full-time. I would advise buying one of these units used over a new lesser 5th wheel.

Carriage Carri-Lite, NuWa Hitchiker, Peterson Excel Winslow, DRV Mobile Suites.

Good luck
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Old 01-12-2014, 03:32 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by campingisfun View Post
We just left the St. Louis RV show. We really liked the Columbus, Montana, Alpine and Big Country. Since this will be our last RV we are doing lots of research. Any information, pros and/or cons will be helpful in our final decision. Thank you!
We full time in our Big Horn & have been in temps from over 100 to the low teens. We got the cold weather package with its extra insulation which really makes the interior comfortable in any temp. Our advice - find a floor plan that you are most comfortable in. Go through models at show & dealers. Be critical of each one & write down pros & cons in a notebook.

We love ours & we looked at all the brands as well as Class As. You'll know when you find "the" one. Good luck in your search. Have fun.
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Old 01-13-2014, 06:23 PM   #5
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We've been full time for 5 years, the first three years in a Bighorn and the last two in a Landmark. The Big Country that you liked is rated and warranted for full time use and can be ordered with many upgrades, tires, heavier axles etc.
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Old 01-14-2014, 09:16 AM   #6
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If I remember correctly, Montana is one of the brands that specifically states the warranty is void if the unit is used for full-time living.

Big Country and its sister RV, the Big Horn, are made by Heartland, which recommends them for full-timing. Both are nice units, and the prices are reasonable.
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:50 PM   #7
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4th winter in an Alpine in Michigan no problems after the initial shakedown. Right now using 100lb of propane every 2 weeks. The cold spell of - numbers for a week took one tank but now were back to normal.

Make sure you get the heat pump it saves a lot of propane. Works from about 28 F on up
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Old 01-17-2014, 05:46 PM   #8
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4th winter in an Alpine in Michigan no problems after the initial shakedown. Right now using 100lb of propane every 2 weeks. The cold spell of - numbers for a week took one tank but now were back to normal.

Make sure you get the heat pump it saves a lot of propane. Works from about 28 F on up
You cant use a heat pump that far north.
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Old 01-17-2014, 09:17 PM   #9
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Make sure you get the heat pump it saves a lot of propane. Works from about 28 F on up

Most heat pumps on RVs will pretty much fall flat on their face as you drop below 40 degF. The COP (Coefficient of Performance) drops like a rock. If the humidity is low, the heat pump will work to a bit lower temperatures. If the weather service is predicting 38 degF or lower, I just set the unit for the gas furnace to operate. I set a ceramic heater to operate about 2 degF higher than the furnace. This will keep the trailer and basement warm and cut the propane usage a bit.

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Old 01-18-2014, 05:25 AM   #10
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The heat pump in my Alpine works down to about 28 then automatically switches to the furnace. I'm actually logging the temp at the Br outlet the kitchen counter and 10' outside the door as I type been logging for about a week. tomorrow it's going to about 31 so it will be running and I'll post the data if you would like it.

I do product development for a very large world wide company so I decided to do this to prove how well it works. Yes I'm sending the data to the manufacturer but it was not requested.

Humidity makes a big difference. 2 weeks ago it was 35 out and managed to get it up to 82 inside
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Old 01-18-2014, 06:31 AM   #11
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I just went through this and ended up buying the Columbus 320RS. We do not full time and I thought the Columbus offered the best "bang for the buck". One thing to consider is the selling dealer and their after sales support. This could be critical if warranty work is needed.

Tom
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Old 01-18-2014, 07:23 AM   #12
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You cant use a heat pump that far north.

Why ?? Not that far north. About 100 north of Chicago and about a mile from Lake Michigan
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:02 PM   #13
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You mentioned this is your last RV. Are you going FT? Beyond the inside floor plan and bling on the inside you need to look at the construction and mechanics.

If you want a solid unit but watching your dollars. Look at used higher end units.
NU WA, Carriage, Teton, King of the Road, (no longer in production but were very well built)

New or Used and still in production: Excel, Lifestyle, New Horizon, HR Presidential, DRV, I also think Trilogy makes a great unit for FT. and very reasonably priced.

Honestly, you get some great deals on high end built units that are slightly used if you are budget minded like I am.
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