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Ken & Marion

2020 Montana vs Alpine vs Solitude

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Long time campers, future full timers looking for advice on a fifth wheel RV.  We have narrowed are search to three models based on needs, comfort, storage, what we think our life style will be, imagined of course. The three contestants are Solitude 390RK, Alpine 3710KP, Montana 3790RD. Our biggest concerns are quality, construction, and performance. We understand it is Keystone vs. Grand design, so I wanted to reach out and see if there are any good or bad out there that would sway our decision. Thanks ahead of time for any input.

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We looked at both where we were looking for our full time "home". We discounted both. Got an older high end unit. Having said though, Montana's are very popular. They are light in construction. That is what turned us off. Lots of paper mache in construction. Even our previous DRV had lots. Teton doesn't. But any Teton is over a decade old. 

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Our daughter and son-in-law bought a new Montana about two years ago.  It's been nothing but trouble, and they found the term "four season camper" may not mean it can handle cold or hot temps well.  Furnace, leveling jacks, trim, etc have been some of the issues.  It's spent many months back at the dealer getting issues corrected, or not.  It's too bad, as Montanas enjoyed a good reputation in years past.

As Glenn posted above, buy a clean older unit, and use the savings to pay for any upgrades.  A 10 y/o Montana might be a good place to start.

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 We almost went with a Montana but after some reading about the parent company, we said no way.  We are looking hard at a Grand Design (parent Winnebago) and Forrest River.

Edited by NDBirdman

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Awesome input thus far, the more we look the more we see the quality standards and workmanship has gone down hill, just like in the housing industry. Sad. May have to start looking at older models.

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18 minutes ago, Ken & Marion said:

 May have to start looking at older models.

Ours is older and solid built.  Problem lies on where are you planning on spending the most time.  Where we need to spend time, there are very few camping places in the area.  Unfortunately, both of these require campers less than 10 yrs old.  So far we are lucky, the one place knows us/camper and knows it's not junk, it's well taken care of, looks fairly new so they let us in.  The other place, well, ours looks good but they literally want to charge twice as much.  They will give us seasonal rates ~$1,500/mo. where newer campers are charged $600/mo.  What gets me is both places, as I drive around them, have newer/cheaper campers sitting there that look like they have gone through hell.  Go figure, well, they are newer campers.... LOL  Sorry for that rant, it's silly these places do that.  I have heard of a few other places that do that, guess what I'm trying to say, determine where you plan on spending your time and check the campgrounds out if you decide on an older camper.

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We've been full-time in a Grand Design Reflection for 4-1/2 years and like it. The thing that sets Grand Design apart is the customer service (Grand Design - NOT the dealers). We've experienced that first-hand. We've been happy enough that, deciding this past year to stay on the road for the foreseeable future, we have a new Solitude waiting for us when we get to Georgia in two weeks.

Rob 

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It is somewhat available to make an older coach look newer.  A paint job, while expensive by itself, might provide a more budget friendly customization than putting that same $ into newer, lesser quality built 5ers.  Many times the 10 year rule is more about keeping out poorly maintained or kept up RVs.  Once they see, send them a pic of your rig,  that you are in a well kept class, it is acceptable.  I have seen many recognized quality 5ers that look better than new, and the owners put money into making it theirs as opposed to the high monthly payments for a newer 5er that affects the ability to make it or not make it, theirs.

I have read alot about the modern RVs quality, or better said lack of quality, and how the bygone RVs are so much better, in almost all categories.  I have a Teton and a Newmar 5er for the reason that I prefer doing the upgrades and maintenance on better coaches.  Kinda like a new house isnt necessarily a better house.

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A couple years ago we had also narrowed our search to Montana, Solitude, and VanLeigh Vilano...the solid wood cabinetry made the VL much more attractive than the other two.  After a year and a half, and ~15k miles we’re very happy with our decision.  Unfortunately all new rigs have bugs, but VanLeigh should be on your short list. 

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16 hours ago, Ken & Marion said:

Awesome input thus far, the more we look the more we see the quality standards and workmanship has gone down hill, just like in the housing industry. Sad. May have to start looking at older models.

Hi Folks,

Welcome to the forum. I have a question for you. Do you know what truck you will use to pull your trailer ? This could help making a decision. Good luck and have fun on the journey.

Al

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30 minutes ago, Ken & Marion said:

Great question Al, I have a 1Ton Dually. So pulling any of these would not be an issue.

Maybe, and maybe not.  It's pretty easy to overload your truck.  Items like water in the tanks, clothes, food, pets, and passengers all add up but often aren't considered when buying the trailer or truck. Look up your Gross Combined Vehicle Weight (GCVW) and do the math.

And just because you have enough power, doesn't mean you have enough truck.  I've experienced trailer brake failure three times. Once from road debris taking out a wire, once a faulty ground, and one controller failure.  I was thankful I had enough truck.

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My Teton is a 2003. No dually was rated for the weight. So they built maximum pin weight in to make a very stable RV. I tried. So I now tow with a HDT. In recent years they have been making heavier campers with less pin weight. There has been problems. So just because it is a dually doesn't mean it will tow every RV.

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And to add to the truck/weight discussion.  Newer trucks are being advertised as being able to tow more weight, some up to 30K#.  So, I am not a fan of towing that amount of weight with a PICKUP, even if it has a Cummins/Duramax/Powerstroke.  I dont often need MORE POWER, but I ALWAYS need enough truck to be safe.  I have a CC DRW with a Duramax with a bunch of power adders, and it has far more power than my MDT, but I WONT USE IT to tow my Newmar Kountry Aire.  Its not enough truck for that job and that is specifically about stopping power, weight of the truck and its ability to safely handle that heavy of a trailer in winds etc.

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Valuable information a lot of great information for us to consider as we prepare for our next journey. Thanks to MNRon for mentioning Vanleigh we didn’t know that brand existed.

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Nothing from Keystone.  As noted above, look for a higher end used unit over anything entry level and new.  You will be money ahead.

 

Ken

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We have a River Stone Legacy and have been very pleased with it, very few issues and most were from components used not the build it self. Thee is also a new manufacture just starting out that seems to be getting a lot of attention but honestly I know nothing about them other then what I read on Facebook but will be able to see one next week at the Md. show. Link below for them.

https://www.alliancerv.com/

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We own a 2015 Winnebago Destination fifth wheel. It’s is a fine unit and very well built and appointed. These units were built between 2014 through 2018 and are currently out of production. They are worth the time to search and look at. Several can be fount on RV TRADER. We are very satisfied with ours. Have owned it for a year and a half. 

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On 2/9/2020 at 7:27 PM, Second Chance said:

We've been full-time in a Grand Design Reflection for 4-1/2 years and like it. The thing that sets Grand Design apart is the customer service (Grand Design - NOT the dealers). We've experienced that first-hand. We've been happy enough that, deciding this past year to stay on the road for the foreseeable future, we have a new Solitude waiting for us when we get to Georgia in two weeks.

Rob 

UPDATE: We've been in our new Solitude about seven weeks now. The only issue found during PDI was a drawer slide (on the pull-out ottoman under the bed) that needed adjustment. A few weeks after we took delivery, we returned to the dealer to have a washer and dryer installed (driven by the pandemic and a desire to avoid laundromats). Everything else has been close to flawless. We're SO happy with the insulated windows and all the glass in this floor plan. The Coleman Mach ACs are much quieter than the Dometics in our Reflection. We're very happy with the materials used and the workmanship is good. We were so fortunate to take delivery and move in before everything shut down!

Rob

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We have our eyes on a new Paradigm by Alliance RV. They are new to the scene but the ones we have seen at RV shows are impressive in the quality of the build and features. They are also designed with most timers or full timers in mind. 

 

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1 minute ago, Chalkie said:

We have our eyes on a new Paradigm by Alliance RV. They are new to the scene but the ones we have seen at RV shows are impressive in the quality of the build and features. They are also designed with most timers or full timers in mind. 

 

We looked at this brand also at the Md rv show, we even know the sales rep that was there from when he was with Dynamax. Yes they are nice for the price point but I still saw things that they need to improve on, they do have some good ideas but this is their first year in production so I am sure things will change, let's just hope all the changes are good.

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2 hours ago, dblr said:

We looked at this brand also at the Md rv show, we even know the sales rep that was there from when he was with Dynamax. Yes they are nice for the price point but I still saw things that they need to improve on, they do have some good ideas but this is their first year in production so I am sure things will change, let's just hope all the changes are good.

What in particular did you see that needed improvement? I know we talked to one of the design team about some things we would like to see, for example, venting the range hood to the outside along with some other small things that would not necessarily be deal breakers.

 

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1 hour ago, Chalkie said:

What in particular did you see that needed improvement? 

They boast their flat floor slides with no carpet but the ones we saw the slide floors were all wavy and did not show very good workmanship. Some of their ideas we personally did not care for like the bench seat in one floorplan encroached in the walkway and was not a fan of that, of course our opinion. Some features we felt were missed when trying to appeal to a full timer. Now don't get me wrong they have some great ideas and might end up shaking things up. I also did like how they have the front storage bin was set up but of course you could always set it up to suit your individual needs. They are also planning a rally out in Elkhart in August if your interested.

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