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Old 02-07-2014, 01:05 PM   #1
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From FT TT to 5th wheel...

Our family began full timing last summer in a 2006 Dutchmen that was 26' with no slides. For a family of 4, we quickly realized this was too small for our needs. In Oct 2013 we fell in love with and purchased a 2013 Kodiak Dutchmen 300BHSL It is truly a great fit for us. However as we travel to colder climates, we are realizing that it is simply not cut out for full timing. We are noticing wear and tear much quicker than should be; trim falling off, electrical shorts, faulty window blinds, and mostly recently the black tank valve that is screwed to the frame outside simply pulled apart from the screws and bracket and now hangs limply underneath the trailer.
Other than the valve, the aforementioned interior issues were repaired under warranty in December. However since we full time, we can't exactly continue to drop the trailer off at a dealership for repairs.
While we love the space, layout, decor, price, and towability of our Kodiak, my husband now believes it just isn't meant for full timing (especially in colder weather) and we need to upgrade to a sturdier fifth wheel. The final straw came this week when we experienced frozen gray tank valve and a frozen line from hot water heater to bathroom faucets.
My question is; if we upgrade to a fifth wheel, are we going to see a substantial difference in quality and cold weather sustainability? We have looked at DRV and other units that are "made for full timing" but we can't find a floor plan that would be remotely compatible with a toddler and infant. We really love our bunkhouse and can't find any in full timing units.
So far I've found several Forest River brands that I like-- Sandpiper, Blue Ridge and Sierra seem to have some great bunkhouse options. However I don't see anything regarding full time use OR cold weather protection. Is any fifth wheel with an arctic or polar package going to be worth the upgrade? We also saw photos of a floor plan from Keystone Avalanche, the 361TG that looks good.
Hoping for some guidance from experienced full timers on this big decision!
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Old 02-07-2014, 01:44 PM   #2
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A true full timing trailer will not be a Keystone really. Or even a Forest River. Do people do that? Yes, but they aren't always warrantied. Not sure what insulation package your current one has, but most fifth wheels have at least an enclosed underbelly. Look for ones that are enclosed, insulated, AND heated with furnace ducts.
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Old 02-07-2014, 01:58 PM   #3
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You could check out the 2014 Arctic Fox 31D travel trailer. It's not a fifth wheel, but it has a bunk house and is made by Northwood Manufacturing who is known for cold weather suitable Rv's. The 31D not only has heated and enclosed underbelly but also has holding tank heat pads. Good luck in your search!
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Old 02-07-2014, 06:16 PM   #4
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Forest River, Keystone, Thor do not make a true full time trailer. They rate and claims some for full time use. But go look at a DRV (mobile Suites) Excel or New Horizons and compare the construction to the fore mentions manufacturers.

Ken
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:19 PM   #5
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Look at an Excel. They are a great full-time rig. Dependable and have a guarantee for cold weather usage.

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Old 02-09-2014, 01:06 PM   #6
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Ken - As I said, we did look at DRV units and unfortunately weren't able to find a bunkhouse floor plan. With 2 children, we really need a floor plan that allows a separate sleeping and play area.

Same with Excel. I have not looked at New Horizons.
It seems to be a trend for full time units to not cater towards families whatsoever.

We did look at the Arctic Fox mentioned above and it's the closest to what we would be looking for. Less bells and whistles than we are accustomed to, but we are impressed after reading up on construction and quality of Northwood units.
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Old 02-09-2014, 04:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GretkasonRD View Post
Ken - As I said, we did look at DRV units and unfortunately weren't able to find a bunkhouse floor plan. With 2 children, we really need a floor plan that allows a separate sleeping and play area.

Same with Excel. I have not looked at New Horizons.
It seems to be a trend for full time units to not cater towards families whatsoever.

We did look at the Arctic Fox mentioned above and it's the closest to what we would be looking for. Less bells and whistles than we are accustomed to, but we are impressed after reading up on construction and quality of Northwood units.
You should ask DRV or Excel if they would make one for you. They might possibly.
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:44 PM   #8
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DRV does make bunk house models. Atlanta, Lexington, Manhattan. They are 43' long and are heavy at around 20'00 lbs. Excel may do some custom work as well as New Horizons.
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
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DRV does make bunk house models. Atlanta, Lexington, Manhattan. They are 43' long and are heavy at around 20'00 lbs. Excel may do some custom work as well as New Horizons.
Forgot to mention have a look at Titanium 36E41 TBR
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