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Kirk W

Tell me about your current RV?

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There are many discussions or debates about what RVs are good or bad, but lets talk about the RV that each of us currently own and share some facts about it with readers. It seems to me that this could give a new reader some hard data to use in shopping.

We presently own a 2012 Sportsman travel trailer built by KZ, a company currently owned by Thor Ind. This is not an all season RV and it is toward the lower end of the quality/price scale but it has proven to be all that it was claimed to be. As an ultra-lite model it is very easy to pull and requires less towing capacity than most but it also has very little in storage space or cargo capacity. While it has served us well I would never recommend it for all season use because it isn't well insulated and it does have water lines that are exposed to outside temperatures.The air conditioner does pretty well as long as you park in shade on very hot days and we never use it in weather with temperatures much below freezing. We have towed this trailer over most of the US totalling an estimated 30-35k miles. When new it had a 2 year warranty and had only 1 warranty repair. In year 5 the converter failed (WAFCO) and was replaced. (Progressive)  While this is a small, seasonal use RV from the low budget side of the market, it has served us remarkably well. We have spent as long as 5 consecutive months in it and most years we use it at least enough time to total close to 3 months. 

This RV was purchased from Athens RV in Athens, TX and was the most simple RV purchase that we have made with the price quoted as including all taxes, title, and licensing, and out the door price was $12,000. We bought it when downsizing after leaving the fulltime lifestyle and while we sometimes wish that we had bought something a little bit larger, we consider it to be one of our best RV purchases of the 6 that we have owned.

Edited by Kirk W

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Our RV is a 2002 Dutchman 32 ft Fifth Avenue.  We are the second owners.  The reason we bought it was the previous owners bought it new, used it maybe twice a year and stored it inside when not used.  It was in new condition, looked like it was right off the showroom floor.  We were there when they towed it in, the dealership did not even have a chance to clean it up before we saw it.  When we got it home, the tires were original, so for s-n-gs, I put it up on jackstands and replaced the tires, brake assemblies, new bearings/races.  Nothing else was done, it has been used/pulled about 8k miles a year for 2 years, not a single problem until last trip.  Probably a shear-bolt on a slide broke, have not had a chance to work on it.  This RV was built heavy, I have found no manufacture shortcuts in quality/build.  We highly recommend to anyone, if purchasing an older RV, give these a good look.  I plan on keeping this RV when we buy a new one, this one is built well so I may use it for boondocking at my many hunting/fishing locations.  It's a shame Dutchman was bought by THOR, that IMHO ruined the company.  Most Dutchman I have looked at since then have lost the quality.  We refuse to buy an RV owned by THOR, they are made for quantity, not quality, again, IMHO.

We are looking hard now at Grand Design Solitude or Momentum but have heard some of their quality has dropped since Winnie bought them.  We want our next one to be ~38 ft.  Although, the new ones we have looked at, we were impressed so don't believe everything someone says, look at them yourself.  Everyone has a bad day.

 

Again, the above is just my opinion, as in everyone has one.... LOL  We are not full timers.  We *might* become snow-birds after Christmas if I can fix our RV yet this year, or we find the RV we want although that is looking unlikely for this year.  I *might* be able to get it into a heated shop where I can work on it, IF I can find the owner at home.... LOL  I understand most, if not all places down south are probably full for the winter but we have no problem doing dispersed camping, if we can get my backside moving...

Edited by NDBirdman

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We are fulltiming in our 2004 Alfa Gold 38' fiver that we bought new in October of 2003 at Earnhardt's RV in Mesa, AZ. when we started to fulltime. It took us about 18 months before going fulltime to decide what we wanted. Now you have to realize that we had RVed since 1974 so we should have had a good handle what we were going to need. First, a 1974 Viking tent trailer, then a 1976 Prowler travel trailer, and the 3rd, a 1988 Terry travel trailer. All of which served us well. After about 16 months of comparison we had narrowed our selection down to a Hitchhiker Champaign and the Alfa. Both were sold at Earnhardt's lot, so we only needed to walk about 100' from one to the other. When Alfas's were being built there was always a love/hate relationship from owners. We have always liked ours. Storage galore, layout that works. You also have to realize that I am the repairman on this unit. Never have done anything but normal maintenance, no stuck slides, no landing gear issues, etc. Never been back to the factory or a repair facility. We did have a warranty problem with a Carefree Slide Cover Awning and an Atwood stove problem. Never bothered calling Earnhardt's or Alfa. Just dealt directly with Carefree and Atwood. Folks ask us when we are going to a new unit. Ain't gonna happen unless this unit should get totaled. Too much "fluff"' and useless stuff on new units and basically all the vendor supplied products are the same as 16 years ago!  Some of the issues we see while on the road with new units are unbelievable. A couple of years ago while parked in Island Park, ID. a group of 3 motorhomes came in from the FMCA rally in Gillette, WY. One parked beside us and he and I started a conversation about their travels and the rally. During the conversation he mentioned about problems while on the trip. He had a 5 year old motorhome, while the other two couples HAD to have new coaches before leaving the east coast. One new one had it's first problem entering Kentucky and the other made it all the way to Indiana before issues arose that had to be taken care of before continuing on the trip. His older coach already had the bugs taken care of. This Alfa has been all over the West and Alaska.  Many people that are familiar with fivers call the Alfa's flattops because of the straight back roofs which really opens up the inside.

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The basics of our MH is in my signature. We bought it in April 2013  through Camping World, on consignment. The first owner became too ill to use it, so it sat parked in his barn from 2008 until it was moved to CW to sell in 2013. It has always been stored in our RV garage when not in use.

I bought an extended service contract at time of purchase due to the MH not even being started while in storage for 5 years. The ESC more than paid for itself during the 3 yr contract, all expenses were for the chassis portion, no claims were filed on the chassis portion.

Other than scheduled maintenance, the only parts I've bought were broken exhaust manifold (common on ISC engines) and a lift pump(usually fails due to gaskets incompatible with biodiesel)

We have been throughout most of the U.S. and CA maritimes with this RV. We have been diligent with upkeep and normal maintenance, as a result we have never been stranded, broken-down, or had a flat tire _yet.

Although it has only one (living room, kitchen) super-slide, it is enough living space for two people. That slide positioning was important to us because we wanted to be able to live in the MH without opening the slide when necessary - and we do.

If anyone has questions about our MH, I'll be happy to converse by PM.

Thanks for beginning this thread Kirk!

Edited by Ray,IN

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5 hours ago, sandsys said:

Um, there's no signature block on your post.

Linda

There is a signature block and I can see it fine.  You may be on a platform that doesn't display it or you'v got them blocked somehow. 

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We have a 2008 Newmar X-Aire toy hauler.  We bought it in 2014 and are the second owners.  We have had to fix a few things, floor in one slide, replaced all sky lights, minor caulking repairs, upgraded to 6 point BigFoot leveling system, converted the electric over hydraulic brakes to air over hydraulic, and replaced the tires and wheels with 17.5 set. I guess the last three, most expensive items were really upgrades rather than repairs.

We looked for a long time before we bought this unit.  My check list of desires couldn't be met by any of the standard builders, unless we went full custom.  I'm "fiscally sensitive", aka "tight", so we found this unit with Mor-Ryde axles, Dexter brakes, and Newmar built their own frame.  It also has paint, no vinyl to peel.  We give up living space to have a garage, but we only use it 8-10 weeks a year.  Hopefully that will increase since we've both retired.

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This is our 4th season in our bought new 2017 Minnie Winnie 31D. We knew from our 4 years in our Lazy Daze Rear Bath (1999) that  we wanted more space.  I do most of the driving and was apprehensive about the increase in length (from 27 to 32). It turned out to be a non-issue and with the rear air bags, the 31D handles like a dream. Our biggest disappointment was the # of issues that cropped up during the first year or two of ownership. Winnebago was very good about fixing anything we had trouble with and we think we might be out of the woods now (knock on wood). We are in the 4th month of a 4 month trip and haven't had a single problem. The 6 speed Ford E450 (V10) with tow haul feature is easy to drive. We haven't done any climbing yet but based upon our very positive experience with the Lazy Daze, we have no apprehension about it when we do get out West in 2021. The 31D is a great floorplan and filled with features for under 100K. We have done most of our service in Forest City and would highly recommend the Minnie Winnie series. The build quality if very high, something we became accustomed to with the finely built Lazy Daze. However, the Minnie Winnie was $86K vs well over a $110+K for a smaller Lazy Daze with fewer features. Lazy Dazer's tend to be fearful of slides and jacks, both fears unfounded in our experience. In 4 years (not FT but 3-4 months a year) we've had a few issues, and while never fun to deal with, minor in the bigger context of the pluses. (Our Lazy Daze was never a trouble free unit either). We like the extra space and ease of leveling with the HWH jacks. Features of the Minnie Winnie that continue to dazzle us include the comfortable beds (we have 3 not including the dinette), gas/elect hot water heater, ducted air, swivel front seats, 3 nicely mounted and positioned flat screen TVs, MCD solar shades, gas range with oven and glass cover, solid surface countertops, stainless sinks, abundant pantry space, abundant closet and drawer space, a "desk" area where I have my printers and computer set up, opposing slides which create a large living space, and comfortable and durable upholstery. Easy in and out with an inside step, no annoying mechanical step that moves every time the door opens at a rest stop! And we're Class C'ers for life as we love the Ford cab, 3 doors, bed over cab for soft storage, naps, nieces and nephews etc. We travel with full water and do come up right up against the GVWR at 14,500.

Here is a link to a you tube tour of our rig!

 

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We now have a 2017 River Stone Legacy 38MB which was a brand new line from Forest River started in 2015, we previously had a Cedar Creek and received great factory support and enjoy the FROG rallies ( Forest River Owners Group ). We did take a look at Lux before they were obtained by RV Factory and really liked what we saw but decided to stay with Forest River due to all the support we had received, I would like to say that we still are supported well thru the factory and am extremely happy with our decision, not a full timer (yet) but do use our unit well over a hundred nights a year.

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We purchased the largest 5th wheel we could afford. It was a new  06 3400 Montana. We now have a 2013 3402 Montana same conditions apply. We decided against full timing but are long timers. We have logged over 150K miles since 2006 but are now slowing down. We now  winter in Florida. We had the usual  issues with the 5th wheel but Keystone treated us fairly while under warranty and we purchased a ESP plan that as worked well for us over the years. We have not had any what we would consider major issues  over the years.

We are now considering a park model or single wide for our Florida property

We also keep ourselves in moderate climates  year round so no problem with to hot or to cold

Edited by richfaa

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8 hours ago, mptjelgin said:

There is a signature block and I can see it fine.  You may be on a platform that doesn't display it or you'v got them blocked somehow. 

Hmmm. Some have signature blocks but some don't. I wonder what I did?

Linda

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Hi NDBirdman. Bill here. No not all places are full in FL. We stay at Red Oaks Rv Resort in Bushnell, FL. Very large park. 3 heated pool, 4 club houses, lots of activities, 1150 sites. Its located in a rural area. Bushnell has a population of 3100. 20 miles from Brooksville, 20 miles from Leesburg, 20 miles from Inverness, 20 miles from he Villages, an hour from Tampa and Orlando. We love it there.We have so much fun. Give them a call.352/793/7117 I do not work for the park. I will not get anything by telling you about the park

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10 minutes ago, noteven said:

I’m campaigning a Cirrus truck camper right now but that’s not a “real RV” right?

It isn't? I have no idea why you might choose to make such a statement..... 

If you don't mind my asking, for what are you campaigning? You must use spell-check.  😁

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Hello everyone. What a neat thread. Thanks Kirk.

A little history about Brenda and I. We are seniors. I am 75, Brenda is 69. We have been together for 2 1/2 years. My wife passed away a little over 6 years ago. Brenda is from nasty divorce 3 years ago. We were introduced by my next door neighbors. AND WE ARE HAVING THE TIME OF OUT LIVES. In Oct. I decided to sell my class C Thor morotcoach Chateau 31W 

32 long. Wanted something larger. Because we had decided to be snowbirds in FL. Found a 5th wheel on Facebook Marketplace. A 2013 Heartland Landmark Mesa, 40', 3 slides.This unit was on consignment at a dealer about an hour away. When we went to look at it. We could not believe what it looked like. Looked brand new. Lightly used. It had sat for a year,. The tag told us that because ti was a year out of date. Found 4 minor issues. Easy fixes. Perfect for 2 people. We ave just started out adventure together snowbirds in ]FL from Oct. to April. This summer we plan on hitting the road to where??????? The unit has full bodied paint, dual pane windows, w/d, 4 door fridge.  I had to put new tires on it. This past June when at the Heartland North American rally in Goshen, IN. I had disc brakes installed OOOOO what a great upgrade. We have been told so man times not to get rid of this unit. Because it is one of the last of the good ones built by Heartland, because Thor bought Heartland.

No issues with it with the miles we have on it . 15k in the past year. And we love the lay out.

Now the best part. I have Age Related Macular Degeneration. I have lost 90% of my central vision. Brenda does all the driving. And yes she can back it up into a site.

We love the rv life style. to use a quote from above. Not full timers, but long timers.

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To me it is about picking the floor plan, length and something that fits into the budget. As any experienced full timer can tell you, that all rigs have issues. Maybe it’s the name, maybe it was the day it was made on? There are so many variables that go into that. I read that Teatons were a VERY well built rig. It does not seem to matter as they are out of business. So there is a see saw between price and quality. Sometimes that means nothing as I said above. Every manufacture makes a good rig, the question is, is it the one you bought?

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We have a 2016 Arctic Fox 25Y which is about 30 feet long. We have owned about 5 or 6 other RVs over the years including popups, hybrids (Trailmanor) and last a fiver (Titanium 34 ft) but with the kids mostly gone we decided to drop down to the AF. Plus I always wanted an AF but they are very rare down here in FL.

It has features that match our camping style, we plan to go mostly fulltime this coming summer when my wife can retire. We like boondocking out in the back country. Which means driving down gravel roads. And the AF can do that.

People say that AF quality has degraded recently but in my opinion this unit beats all the others we have owned. That's not to say that hasn't had problems. Mainly water leaks due to stupid construction decisions--using band clamps instead of PEX in some places. And nagging electrical issues that I'm tracking down right now. May be a bad converter. And a bad power tongue jack that I replaced with an excellent one.

After that gets down I need to complete the solar installation that is about 75% done.

challis hot spring cg 1.jpg

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22 hours ago, Kirk W said:

It isn't? I have no idea why you might choose to make such a statement..... 

If you don't mind my asking, for what are you campaigning? You must use spell-check.  😁

‘cause there is no sub forum on Escapees forum for truck campers, so they aren’t real RV’s 🤣

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This is a fun topic, it’s interesting to read what others have and what their needs and thought process has been.

I’m solo so my needs are different than couples. 

I’m on my first RV, bought new in Dec 2015. My first thought was that regardless of what type of RV I bought, I would end up towing something. At the time I was working so didn’t want to have to maintain a motor that got limited use, which meant I was down to 5ers, truck campers and travel trailers.

While I was vaguely thinking about an RV, someone made me an offer I couldn’t refuse on my Wrangler. I wasn’t sure about the whole RV thing, so bought a vehicle I thought I could live with, regardless of whether I got an RV or not, which ended up being a Grand Cherokee. That meant I was limited to a small trailer.

I hadn’t realized just how few well-built small trailers there were at that time, because I hadn’t researched RVs before buying the JGC. There are a few more now, but still not that many.

I bought a Lance 1685. The trailer works perfectly for me, I lived in it during the week my last 4 months of work, then left for a 2-1/2 month trip to northern BC and the Black Hills, returning by way of Moab, the first of several multi-month trips.

After 2 years of towing with the JGC, I got tired of the limitations and compromises I had to make to keep everything under weight ratings. So last year I bought an F150, and for the trailer a second house battery, solar on the roof, a generator, etc. 

I sold the S&B house the end of September and am now full-time. While I’ve had my fair share of minor issues (mostly minor plumbing or cosmetic), the trailer hasn’t had any real major problems (rubbing against a tree I was trying to avoid wasn’t cheap, but that wasn’t the trailer’s fault).

There are some features in newer Lance trailers I would like, but it has all the necessities (dry bath, well equipped galley and permanent regular sized queen bed), tons of storage space and has a couple of minor things they have changed on the new trailers that I like on mine. Maybe I’ll buy a newer 1685 some day (no RV will last forever: I assume it will be like an old car - start to nickel and dime you to death or require an overhaul) or maybe I’ll get something bigger (and a larger pickup). Or maybe not. I have RVing friends who think I’m nuts to full-time in a small trailer, but I’m comfortable and it has been more my home than the house was for over a year.

I think I need 6 months as a full-timer to tell if this size will continue to work for me - that will be longer than my longest trip. So far it seems like I’m just on another one of my trips, happily traveling with everything I need to enjoy myself. My trailer is easy to tow, and can get into many places larger rigs can’t. I only have 1 engine to maintain. The F150 is easier to drive than I had anticipated 4 years ago, very comfortable and with enough cargo capacity for me at the moment (though I am at GVWR for both truck and trailer - nowhere near the combined weight rating due to the small trailer).

Laundromats are fine with me - less time required to do laundry. Hookups are optional, I don’t mind visiting a dump station and potable water source every so often, nice change of scenery. If it’s raining, I can watch TV, get on the computer, read a book, etc.

The main issue I’ve occasionally run into is with some commercial campgrounds. If I tell them my trailer is 21 feet long (its length from coupler to bumper), they will put me in a narrow spot big enough for a pop up. My trailer has a 3 foot (literally 36”) slide and I’ve occasionally had problems fitting in. I now tell them its 25’ and am more likely to get a wide enough site.

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1 hour ago, rickeieio said:

Lawrence, you just ain't right. But you make us smile.....👍

I also dint want to give the grad of The School if Arguing Semantics on the Interweb a reason to point out a truck camper is not a vehicle, the vehicle is the vehicle, and quite likely not their preferred brand 🤣

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12 minutes ago, noteven said:

I also dint want to give the grad of The School if Arguing Semantics on the Interweb a reason to point out a truck camper is not a vehicle, the vehicle is the vehicle, and quite likely not their preferred brand 🤣

Why don't you join in and let everyone know what you like about your RV and why you chose it, since that is the only point of the thread? 

Edited by Kirk W

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We are full time for 6.5 years now and have a 2013 HitcHiker Champagne ,,,one of the last ones built.  We bought it from Kansas RV Center, owned by NuWa in Chanute, KS.  They are no longer manufacturer, but have a sales for other brands and a great service center.

The delivery and sale of the unit was great.  I sure hated to see them stop manufacturing.  We have had very few issues with the trailer.  We lover the build quality and comfort.  The Splindide washer-dries, convection microwave, dishwasher and satellite antenna are wonderful.  It is a heavy tri-axle with Mor/Ryde IS suspension.

Looks like the last RV we will have to buy.

Ken

 

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On 12/16/2019 at 4:35 PM, noteven said:

I’m campaigning a Cirrus truck camper right now but that’s not a “real RV” right?

An RV is a recreational vehicle, technically if you enjoy driving a dirt bike through the woods, that is a recreational vehicle. Get my drift_.

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This is our first RV.  When we started shopping, we thought about how we wanted to use the unit.  We both like outdoor activities, and solitary/peaceful surroundings.  This meant something that could handle forest service roads, and being able to stay for 7-10 days in the backcountry.  Before we bought, we rented a 30' class C.  Liked the layout, did not like the lack of power in the mountains, or being pushed around by semis on the freeway.   

After researching units, I was down to the Super C category, either Dynamax or Renegade.  After I saw the prices of the new units, I started looking for used ones.  Both have good bones, and I like working on mechanical units, so we went in expecting to do some work.  I knew the length I wanted, < 35', and watched the selling sites for almost 18 months.  Ended up with a 2007 Dynamax Dynaquest 340 XL.  

The unit has served us well.  We are not full timers, but take 3-4 month trips twice a year.  We have replaced most systems in the unit - only the furnace and generator are still original.  But that is what I was planning on doing when I got the RV.  We ended up with the unit outfitted as we wanted to use it.    We had a fan clutch go out this past fall, but because Freightliner dealers are everywhere, not a big deal.  That is the only issue we have had in 55,000 miles.  It does handle backroads reasonably well, highway driving is easy, and power for the mountains is OK.

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