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Looking for Bunkhouse Fifth Wheel similar to Keystone Avalanche 360RB


Family__Guy

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Hi all -


My family and I traveled for 4 months in a 2004 Forest River Wildcat and want to do a year or more in a newer bunkhouse model across the US and through western Canada and Alaska in the summer. During our trip, we had some sort of problem or another that cost us a total of about two weeks of lost time and around $5000. We paid $8600 for it, so to add more than 50% to our initial cost was quite a learning experience (you get what you pay for). We are hoping that a 2012 or newer model may need less repairs than our old 2004 Wildcat, but realize that with our budget of $25,000 to $30,000, we will have to have some repairs.


Here are our criteria:


MUST HAVES

1. Bunkhouse with:

A. two slides

B. lots of inerior storage

C. Either a built in desk to accommodate 4 or room to put a table and 4 chairs

D. half bath

E. two bunks

2. At least 5 slides (Bunkhouse: 2 Kitchen/Living: 2 Bedroom: 1 but would prefer 2)

3. Dining table that seats 4

4. Price $25,000 - $30,000


NICE TO HAVE:

1. Maximum of 2 days lost time per month due to repairs

2. Double refrigerator

3. Automatic Levelling system


MUST NOT HAVE

1. Definitely NO exterior kitchen


We fully realize that with our budget we're not going to get exactly what we want, nor is it going to be the best quality, so are looking mostly at 2012-2014 models.We have looked at dozens of floorplans and prices, and although there are a few with most of the features, nearly all of them seem to have the external kitchen. We definitely want to use that space for a table and chairs for roadschooling, and are not willing to compromise on that feature. So far I the only model I have found that meets our criteria and budget is:


Keystone Avalanche 360RB

Apparently this model is no longer manufactured, but the Avalanche 390RB is the closest current model: http://www.keystonerv.com/avalanche/


We did find a 2013 Avalanche 360RB for $30,000, but weren't really ready to pull the trigger because:


- we would like to have at least 2-3 models to choose from.

- the reviews we've read about Keystone products and their service have been mixed.


The other model that we would love to have, but is simply out of our budget is:


Grand Design 365DEN



With that model, we would have to take out the couches in the rear and add our own bunks and table/chairs, but that's not a big deal for us. The main thing we like about the Grand Designs is the amount of positive user stories regarding how they stand behind their product.


If anyone has any other models they would recommend, or any personal experience with the Avalanche 360RB, we'd appreciate any suggestions or feedback.


Thanks in advance,


Family Guy


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I guess with that experience, I would ask myself if the $ I hav spent in repairs is what was needed and so now, if I sell the trailer, will someone be getting a good trailer that has had the necessary repairs done by someone else and will have a trouble free future.

Of course, this assumes that the repairs took care of any chronic issues rather than just repairing some things and some chronic issues exist.

Using "rolling earthquakes" has its expected maintenance issues which are inherent to their use. Like tires, they are necessary, and if the trailer was used for only vacations, perhaps they were not replaced on time or cared for properly, and so when you sell it someone will be getting a trailer with almost new tires with most of their life expectancy ahead of them.

I did just that to a trailer I sold that I thought was costing me too much to maintain, only to end up replacing the tires on another, newer and more expensive trailer. Uhh!

 

Just sharing

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Kinsa - Thanks very much for that Open Range 427BHS suggestion. I've been looking for a few months, and that's the only one that meets all of our criteria and is close to our budget! I'll definitely look into that one!

 

If you don't mind sharing, what was your experience with your Open Range 5th wheel in terms of quality and number of down days due to repairs?

 

Thanks,

 

Family Guy

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I guess with that experience, I would ask myself if the $ I hav spent in repairs is what was needed and so now, if I sell the trailer, will someone be getting a good trailer that has had the necessary repairs done by someone else and will have a trouble free future.

Of course, this assumes that the repairs took care of any chronic issues rather than just repairing some things and some chronic issues exist.

Using "rolling earthquakes" has its expected maintenance issues which are inherent to their use. Like tires, they are necessary, and if the trailer was used for only vacations, perhaps they were not replaced on time or cared for properly, and so when you sell it someone will be getting a trailer with almost new tires with most of their life expectancy ahead of them.

I did just that to a trailer I sold that I thought was costing me too much to maintain, only to end up replacing the tires on another, newer and more expensive trailer. Uhh!

 

Just sharing

 

Hi Rpsinc - I know we've spent a lot of money on our Wildcat that someone else will get to enjoy. The Wildcat simply does not have the space that we want for fulltiming.

 

I'm fully expecting to have to make some repairs on the next rolling earthquake, but want to minimize the number of days spent repairing.

 

Thanks for sharing,

 

Family Guy

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Kinsa - Thanks very much for that Open Range 427BHS suggestion. I've been looking for a few months, and that's the only one that meets all of our criteria and is close to our budget! I'll definitely look into that one!

 

If you don't mind sharing, what was your experience with your Open Range 5th wheel in terms of quality and number of down days due to repairs?

 

Thanks,

 

Family Guy

 

We were very fortunate to have found a one-year-old lightly used model, so we saved a bunch of money by purchasing "used". Since it was essentially brand new, we didn't have too much of an issue with maintenance. We had to seal up all the windows because - as we found out after the first hard rainstorm - they all leaked. Nothing some sealant couldn't cure. And we had one of the slide cables snap and had to replace that. One hose sprung a leak in the underbelly and had to be replaced. And we ended up replacing an air conditioner unit at one point. And I think that was all??? The only other maintenance issues were things that the kids broke themselves. I know that might sound like a lot, but that was spread out over the course of a year and a half. (You can peruse my travel blog which is linked in my signature line to read about any repairs we had to do along the way.)

 

I really thought the quality of the Open Range was great considering the price point. We had the four seasons package so the underbelly was enclosed and heated, plus we had double-paned windows and higher rated insulation than most others that we looked into at that price. And this isn't really able to be quantified, but it just "felt" better built compared to many models we saw. For example, the cabinetry is solid wood and the countertops are solid-surface Corian. Open Range is a family-owned business and they haven't (so far) sold out to one of the major manufacturers. I think they take great pride in their workmanship and strive to make a quality product.

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

We were very fortunate to have found a one-year-old lightly used model, so we saved a bunch of money by purchasing "used". Since it was essentially brand new, we didn't have too much of an issue with maintenance. We had to seal up all the windows because - as we found out after the first hard rainstorm - they all leaked. Nothing some sealant couldn't cure. And we had one of the slide cables snap and had to replace that. One hose sprung a leak in the underbelly and had to be replaced. And we ended up replacing an air conditioner unit at one point. And I think that was all??? The only other maintenance issues were things that the kids broke themselves. I know that might sound like a lot, but that was spread out over the course of a year and a half. (You can peruse my travel blog which is linked in my signature line to read about any repairs we had to do along the way.)

 

I really thought the quality of the Open Range was great considering the price point. We had the four seasons package so the underbelly was enclosed and heated, plus we had double-paned windows and higher rated insulation than most others that we looked into at that price. And this isn't really able to be quantified, but it just "felt" better built compared to many models we saw. For example, the cabinetry is solid wood and the countertops are solid-surface Corian. Open Range is a family-owned business and they haven't (so far) sold out to one of the major manufacturers. I think they take great pride in their workmanship and strive to make a quality product.

Quoting myself to correct my last statement. Open Range apparently did sell to Jayco in 2014. However, I spent time on the Open Range users forum last night, and the overall concensus is that it was a change for the better. The company is now known as Highland Ridge Open Range.

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