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EverywhereMan

Cedar Creek vs Montana 5th wheel

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Greetings to all,

Narrowing down our 5th wheel choices for full timing next fall to forest river cedar creek 34RE hathaway and the keystone montana 3560RL (new 2018 model) legacy edition.  We like them both for their size, floorplan, standards and add-in options.  Anyone out there who might own these models that would share their pros and cons?  Which manufacturer provides better durability, longevity, and resale value?

Thanks for your thoughts.

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I have owned two Montana Big Sky’s.  I had each one for about seven years (14 total).  The first one was a 2003 model and the second one was a 2010 model.  I don’t have any experience with Cedar Creek.  The Montana’s were decent trailers and there are quite a few people who full time in them.  I would recommend going to the Montana Owners Club website and asking some specific questions there about the floor plan you are interested in.  Their website is montanaowners.com.

I will give you my personal opinion of my experience with the Montana’s I owned.  First, I owned Big Sky’s.  These were Montana’s top of the line trailer.  They would go back and forth between being an add on package or a standalone model for Montana’s over the years.  I don’t think Montana does the Big Sky anymore, but I haven’t checked in the last year.  As I said earlier, I liked the Montana’s I owned, but I only used them for weekend travel (once a month) and a couple longer trips each year.  They served well in with that usage.  The 2010 was built better than the 2003 was and had more amenities.  Montana is good at the bling that RVers tend to want.  They have a lot of features that are very nice.  As for what really matters in an RV (the foundation or in the case of a trailer, the frame and running gear).  I would call the Montana average.  They use a standard I beam frame and equip them with running gear that are at max capacity when the trailer is loaded up.  This functions ok and I never had any major issues with my trailers, but I had minor issues with them and I was not living in them.  I did upgrade to greasable heavy duty shackles and higher capacity wheels and tires (17.5’s) on my 2010.  The original shackles were wearing out and the stock tires were marginal at best.  I was considering upgrading to Mor/Ryde IS, but ended up selling the trailer instead.  

My other concern with Montana’s for full time use is carrying capacity.  We used our trailers for weekends and a few multi week trips each year.  When we loaded up for a multi week trip, I had to be careful not to overload the trailer.  I usually ran within 100 pounds of the trailer GVWR.  If we were full time I would have had a lot more stuff to carry, but no capacity to carry it.  

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to discourage you from a Montana, I just want you to have realistic expectations of it.  I think they are in the upper end of the mid level 5th wheels and would recommend them over a lot of other trailers.  Just make sure you pay attention to the foundation of the trailer.  I know they offer certain suspension and brake upgrades.  For full time use, go with the heaviest capacity tires and axels (or independent suspension-much better) they offer.  Make sure the floor plan is livable for you and be prepared to pair down your possessions to fit into the GVW of the trailer.  

There are better trailers out there and worse ones.  Montana’s are in the middle, not super but also not junk.  

On a side note, I now own a DRV.  It is a night and day difference in the foundation under the trailer.  The DRV has a much sturdier frame and running gear and I can definitely feel the difference.  The DRV I have is also 5000 lbs heavier than my last Montana.  This is mainly because of the framework/foundation and more use of real wood inside (and bigger tanks and the like), but it also cost a lot more too.  You have to work within your means and get the best set up for you and your family.  Find the floor plan that works best for you and then find that floor plan on the best foundation you can afford.  In the price range you are looking, I would also take a hard look at Arctic Fox.  They have a very good foundation under them.  I haven’t owned one, but they are spoken of very highly by those that do.

Edited by Chad Heiser

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I'll second those thoughts. We just traded our Winnebago 5'r up to a Redwood. Night and day difference in the pull, quality and appointments. So glad we did. Make sure you ( again ) get the best undercarriage you can and the greasable "everything" . It will pay of in the long haul ....Yes Pun intended...Will we see you at the ECR ?

 

Edited by NTPA Announcer

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We had a Cedar Creek and was very happy with it, was it perfect, no but the company stood behind it and took care of any issue we had. They started a new line off of Cedar Creek called the River Stone and also the Legacy line of River Stone you might want to look into them as they have many more upgrades standard. Sorry but can not offer any help on a Montana, good luck on your choice.

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Our first new Montana was a 2008 and never had to go back for anything.  Our second new Montana was a 2012 and never had to go back for anything.  A month ago we got our third new Montana and have been in it full time just like we were in the other 2.  I have tried very hard to find something wrong with it but can't.

Can't say anything good or bad about Cedar Creek because never had one but I do know what has worked for us.

Choose your dealer wisely whichever one you decide on. THAT can be the most important decision you make regarding a new purchase.

 

BTW for full timing in a Montana be sure you look at the 3790RD and 3791RD.  TONS OF STORAGE! We have the 3791RD.

Edited by WeBeFulltimers

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Be cautious of the Forest River products for warranty purposes. I have one and they told me I needed to return to Minnesota from Texas to get some warranty work done. After a bit of back and forth they agreed to have a mobile repair company fix the roof issue.

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X2 on the storage.  I like the idea of the plastic tubs with lids. 

and you can write on there what’s in them. Saves a lot of time and really works well 

 

also your dealer is very important. Ours is 15 miles away and  takes very good care of us. 

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EverywhereMan,

Both those trailers are in our top 6. Do you have any idea if Keystone changed the Legacy in 2018.5, dropping the MorRyde pin and 4100 suspension?  A video showed the 3560 without them but it was not a legacy.  The non-legacy package Montana used to have the MorRyde pin and 3000 suspension.

As a side not, Keystone bought Redwood. The 340/3401RL might be a good replacement for the Keystone Big Sky they used to build. But with 8,000 axles, H rated tires, nice pin and the larger drum brakes with disc option.  Sorry, don't mean to take the thread off topic. You and I appear to be shopping in the same price point. And a loaded Montana is in the same price point as the Redwood 340RL. But, it remains to be seen if Keystone does anything with the Redwood brand. I'm hoping they don't drop it like they did the Big Sky.

 

 

 

 

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I believe Keystone did not purchase Redwood, but in fact it was Thor Industries, who also owns Keystone, who purchased Redwood, so Redwood will probably remain different from the Montana line.

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Or Kountry Aire and Torrey Pines, all made by Newmar.  Very well built trailers with some unique features and robust chassis'.

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Our last two 5th wheels both caused us trouble....  We bought a new 2014 Mobile Suites that had some serious issues just outside of the one year waranty and they would not even consider any type of financial help with the repair.

Our next 5th wheel was a 29-5T Arctic Fox.  The electric 6pt leveling system gave us fits for the first two months on a 5000 mile trip and failed completely on the way home. We stopped at the factory and they had it working after replacing the computer and control panel.  The factory has outstanding customer service.  I can't say enough good about them...they will go the extra mile to get things fixed.  

We also had some serious issues including the upper deck of the trailer not being parallel with the lower deck, the upper deck did not meet the outer wall of the coach....about a 3/8" gap in the bathroom allowing light and air to come up from the storage area, and many minor quality issues that should not be allowed through quality control on any trailer.  Things such as most of the cabinet doors not mounted squarely with the cabinets, drawers so out of square they would not close completely, the fireplace cabinet was 3/4" out of square in 30" for no reason other than lack of quality, and a hand rail mounted an inch out of plumb over 30".

There is just no reason for this kind of stuff in what is supposed to be a well built unit.  

We traded the AF for a 39FL Riverstone that we have lived in full time since the 12th of Aug.  We had to replace a failed water pump, but other than that we have had no issues.  I would recommend to anyone considering a new unit for full timing to look at and consider a Riverstone.  Yes, they are a Forest River product but they are built at a much slower rate than the regular FR products, and at a different facility.  

For us at least, it was the right choice.

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