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alan0043

High End Trailers

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Hi Everyone,

I was curious what makes a trailer ' High End ' besides the cost. I am open to all comments. Positive or negative. How long in years does a high end trailer last ? More questions will come later. I choose this section because I was hoping to get the most comments as possible.

Thank you for any input,
Al

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Well my 2003 Teton looks great. Has actual wood cabinets. Even the trim is wood and not processed. Carpet is showing some age but still has life. All windows work, no binding. Door has no binding. All this due to quality construction and a strong chassis. It's a keeper. Before we bought this we went shopping on lots. We were very disappointed. We liked pricing but not the product. Hope this sheds some light on your question

 

 

 

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It starts inside and underneath, the frame.  High End trailer are heavy because they have heavier frames.  Stiffer frames are needed for items with more weight like wood cabinets instead of MDF.

Unfortunately, it is hard to see the frame compared to glitz and glamour in the interior.

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1 hour ago, Mark and Dale Bruss said:

It starts inside and underneath, the frame.  High End trailer are heavy because they have heavier frames.  Stiffer frames are needed for items with more weight like wood cabinets instead of MDF.

Unfortunately, it is hard to see the frame compared to glitz and glamour in the interior.

I agree with your first two sentences.  However, MDF is heavier than lumber.  You may be referring to lighter weight materials like low density fiberboard and such, but not MDF.

Edited by chirakawa

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The first hint in most cases is the empty weight as quality construction will always increase weight. It starts with the chassis, then the frame supporting the trailer, and it continues through the entire construction process. Real wood without any paper wrapped components in the cabinets and interior finish. Look inside of the cabinets to see how the drawers are made, with no plastic pans connected to drawer fronts. Look at the hardware supporting the drawers, the door knobs and hinges, and even at the plumbing fixtures. No metal coated plastic faucets. They will have a 50a power cord with an electrical distribution box made by one of the companies that supply home builders, not some cheaper RV made system. Longer units will have two air conditioners and two furnaces. Look at the windows, as they will be dual pane construction and no flimsy aluminum frames. Most will have a water heater of more than the standard 6 gallons. While checking windows take a close look at the window in the door and compare that to the lower price versions. Look at what we call "fit & finish" as quality finish work takes more time and expensive labor than does the typical RV. 

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By no means am I saying I am an expert on high end rigs but we have owned a Teton and now a Continental Couch and for us one important hallmark of a high end rig from a new prospective is the ability to build one any way you want it.   Our CC started with a blank sheet of paper and DW had it built exactly the way she wanted it.  And I got the things I wanted too!  Materials, you pick 'em-solid hard woods, granite tops, tile floors etc.  Appliances-want residential-you got it. Pick your style lights, finishes,  shades, fabrics, etc.  In the end its one of a kind and its yours.  Not many manufacturers out there now are doing that, New Horizons and Space Craft may be it.  As for durability, as Glenn said the Tetons out there are still good rigs and Teton went out of business in 2006.  We went to a TCI tally a few years ago and there were 35 Tetons there and several were pushing 20 years old and were still road worthy.  Are there rigs out there of high quality from other manufacturers, yes, but your ability to individualize a rig and get nearly unlimited options will vary from one to the next.  And getting a frame and running gear of the very best quality will be difficult as mentioned above.  Is a custom built rig costing $200K or more worth it, only you can answer that question, Best Wishes, Jay

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I would like to bring attention to the new line from Forest River the River Stone Legacy, now yes they use the same parts as other builders but are offering more features as standard and the build time is slowed way down, they take 2 weeks to build the unit and then another 2 weeks in the paint shop. We have had ours now going on 2 years with very little issues, one shade went bad, a drawer soft closing unit bad and a support rod on a cargo door popped off, all things fixed when we attended the FROG Rally. The cargo door support rods were changed to a lesser lb support and they even replaced every rod on every door. Now I am not saying they are high end but they are built to compete with a DRV, Landmark and trailers at that level. Just might be another option out there many do not know of as the dealer network is still being established.

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Hi Everyone,

I want to say ' Thank You ' to the folks that have made comments. I do understand that a good trailer starts with a good frame. I like the idea of real wood being used for cabinets and trim. I also like the big foot leveling system and hydraulic brakes.

The fascinating part for me started with having two blow outs on the same side of the trailer with in 1 hour of each other blow out causing damage. The trailer was not even loaded. I felt that the trailer had the wrong size wheels for the size axles what were on the trailer. The next thing was having a solid surface counter top crack in several places and fall off while the trailer was sitting for the winter. There was a Escapee member trying to help me with this problem. The next problem is with the instinct hot water. Some times it works and other times, no hot water. I have been in contact with the instinct hot water tech line several times. The biggest problem is that the trailer looks like it has acme. There is small little circle's popping off the trailer. The area's are growing. It doesn't really seem that high end trailer have any special or high end siding on them. 

How much money do you put into a trailer before you say enough is enough. Also who do you have to look at the trailer to figure what the cost for repair can be.

One fascinated owner. It just seems like one problem after another. Is high end really worth the cost. 

Al

kvAwzukl.jpg

Edited by alan0043
add picture

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Al's pic of his '07 New Horizons shows clear damage from a bad fiberglass job. Most common cause is moisture getting into the mix, before it cured. It's not a death sentence, but it isn't cheap, either. Value depends on the feelings of the owner towards the unit. Boat guys will throw metric tons of money to keep a boat afloat, and this comes up fairly commonly on their forums, but RV's are cheaper to begin with.

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18 hours ago, Darryl&Rita said:

Al's pic of his '07 New Horizons shows clear damage from a bad fiberglass job. Most common cause is moisture getting into the mix, before it cured. It's not a death sentence, but it isn't cheap, either. Value depends on the feelings of the owner towards the unit. Boat guys will throw metric tons of money to keep a boat afloat, and this comes up fairly commonly on their forums, but RV's are cheaper to begin with.

Hi Everyone,

I have no emotional attachment to the trailer. To me it's just a trailer. The part that scares me is the cost of repair. I am not sure what the trailer is worth. Or what the cost of repair can be. It always seems like the quote you get will be on the low side because there is always something in the back round that no one see's that will cost you extra money. The manufacturer is in Kansas, and I am in Ohio. So getting a quote from the manufacturer for repair is going to take some doing. Is there some kind of formula that someone can use to figure out, is the trailer worth the repair cost ?

Please keep the info coming,
Al

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The value can only be determined by the owner. In the case of a sale, the value is an agreed upon amount.

Any local boat repair, or body shop with fiberglass experience can get you a quote, or you can decide to live with the acne. 

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When looking at a 5th wheel if the GVW was 2K more than  the other one we wanted to know were that 2K was. it  is usually in frame, quality of components. We could never afford a "High end"Rv so made do with the Montana line.We long time and have done over 100K miles since 2006  in two Montana's. They both have served  served us well. Affordability  is usually the determining factor on how "high End" your RV will be. We note folks full timing in every make at every price range.

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4 minutes ago, richfaa said:

 We could never afford a "High end"Rv so made do with the Montana line.We long time and have done over 100K miles since 2006  in two Montana's.

It's not a high end camper?  We've always looked at it as a higher end camper from our standpoint.... LOL  Different strokes for different folks.

 

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If your priority is longevity, as mine is, you should consider Airstream.   There are plenty of units from the 50's and 60's that are still on the road.    They aren't as big and fancy as the newer fifth wheel campers but they stand the test of time.

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6 hours ago, alan0043 said:

Is there some kind of formula that someone can use to figure out, is the trailer worth the repair cost ?

1

Part of the answer is the age of the RV. You can find values for used RVs from NADA or Blue Book.

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4 hours ago, NDBirdman said:

It's not a high end camper?  We've always looked at it as a higher end camper from our standpoint.... LOL  Different strokes for different folks.

 

Well they were the highest end we could afford.

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3 hours ago, richfaa said:

Well they were the highest end we could afford.

Don't take my comment wrong, we hope to move up to a Montana some day.  I consider them fancy/high end with the prices on them.  🙂

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We have had two of them and put a lot of miles on them. IMO the are in the top of the line Ford, GM, etc  price range. They are not in the DRV  or higher category  and they are certainly not  starter units. The Montana Legacy is a solid unit but like all brands will have problems. We live in them most of the year and have put over 100K on them.

 

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If you don't have a strong attachment to this RV, maybe a trade to a newer unit that was better cared for before your possession is in order.

In this case, the filon/gel coated fiberglass was not properly adhered to the backing luan wood.  Repairable yes, but it will not match the rest of the unit without painting the entire unit.

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Hi Everyone,

I went to the NADA RV site to get a value for the trailer. I assume that the bank uses the same site to determine the value of the trailer. I need to have a starting point to see what the trailer is worth. I have also sent an e-mail to the trailer manufacturer showing the problem areas. I am waiting for the trailer manufacturer to get back to me. I am interested in seeing what they have to say. I doubt if they can give me a cost for repairs. When do you stop putting money into a bottomless bucket. If the repair cost is more that 25% of the present value  of the trailer, do you move on ? Another piece of the problem is that the bank still own's the trailer. I need to see what my pay-off is, so a decision can be made. What kind of decision would you make ? I think I might be missing a piece of the problem. What I'm I missing to make a decision ? I believe that there is more going on than just acme to the fiberglass. I really don't see any high end fiberglass on a so called high end trailer.

pINabX5l.jpg

Please keep the comments coming,
Al

 

Edited by alan0043
adding photo

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Depending on where/how you camp you could repair this with sheets of fiberglass & resin, essentially covering the fault, then finish it as you choose. It'll certainly look like a repair but a decorative paint job may disguise it, maybe get jiggy with it and make art. The visually regulated parks may close the gate upon your approach but there's more than one way to set up camp. Or spend more and have someone else do it. This could delay your next purchase until you're confident that your next RV is the right one. One picture that you supplied us shows the acne possibly under a window? Wonder if this is related. Cover that hardware head and associated cracks with the 'glass or EternaBond Tape. Have a Sign Shoppe create, in appropriate décor, the new name of your rig, PATCHES, and live free and easy. Or if the pay off isn't bad for you, get whatever on trade for your next RV. Your budget and financial views, hitherto unknown, are major players in either case and this is where I'd start, to examine what to do next. Fix it on the cheap, fix it not quite cheap, or replace it. Maybe there's other items pertaining to this rig that has you wondering whether to keep or not as well.

 

 

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Putting a lot of money into an 11 year old (almost 12 year old) rig is probably not a wise choice. But on the other hand, you would have a functional rig for less than starting over new. NO rig is going to be problem free over time, and at least you know this one. It is a tough choice, but ANY coach you own is going to require repairs along the way. They are not an "investment" but a depreciating asset, for sure. I'm not sure what I would do in this instance since I don't have all the data. I'd likely fix it myself and see what happens. Doing the glass work is not really that difficult, as long as you have the desire.

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Are you the original owner? That last picture looks to me like it could be a serious problem, but I'm no fiberglass expert. 

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