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Grand design solitude 375re vs. forest river cardinal 3825fl


Labauer

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We have never owned or used an rv. We plan on becoming fulltimers next year. We've decided on a 5th wheel and found two we like. We are seeking pros and cons to these choices as well as recommendations on a truck to tow it. We've chosen the Grand Design Solitude 375re or the Forest River Cardinal 3825fl.

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I have no info on the two RVs you are considering. I will suggest that you look very closely at the suspension systems. When we started full timing in 2007 in our first ever RV I totally overlooked suspensions. I learned a lot the first couple years with a blowout and two axle issues. If you want to avoid some problems get the best suspension and tires you can. I'd strongly suggest H rated 17.5" tires and wheels and recommend MOR/ryde IS (Independent Suspension) if you plan to travel much. Auto leveling systems are great. I'd also suggest at least a 1 ton dually diesel, Ford, GM or Ram long bed crew cab. The last couple years the manufacturers have made significant improvements in these trucks. Greg

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Great point on the suspension. I will not have another spring suspended trailer. Mor/Ryde IS is the only way.

 

Also consider the Trailer Saver air ride hitch. I like the air ride hitch over the air ride pin box.

 

Also make sure there are sufficient tires under the trailer and no some Chinese junk that are barely enough for the RV.

 

We have friends with a Grand Design and second time out they lost a wheel bearing. Seal went and ruined the bearing. Seems Lippert has been having some axle QC issues.

 

Ken

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I have no info on the two RVs you are considering. I will suggest that you look very closely at the suspension systems. When we started full timing in 2007 in our first ever RV I totally overlooked suspensions. I learned a lot the first couple years with a blowout and two axle issues. If you want to avoid some problems get the best suspension and tires you can. I'd strongly suggest H rated 17.5" tires and wheels and recommend MOR/ryde IS (Independent Suspension) if you plan to travel much. Auto leveling systems are great. I'd also suggest at least a 1 ton dually diesel, Ford, GM or Ram long bed crew cab. The last couple years the manufacturers have made significant improvements in these trucks. Greg

I AGREE!!! Do your home work and dont repeat what that show on TV shows. Consider the nuts and bolts WAY before you consider the floorplans. The floorplan or decor can be worked on by doing a remodel, but the suspension, roof, exterior, windows etc, those are more challenging. Learn everything you can about what the chassis is and what you consider to be the best for your skill level and budget. Yes, an affordable monthly payment is attractive but having to have repairs done on your HOUSE while your living in it, can be pretty frustrating and expensive(motel rooms on top of the monthly payment). There are MANY coaches out there that have had very good improvements done to a very good chassis which the owner is selling due to specific circumstances. You get a much better value and some reliable bones to use as your HOUSE. Take those monthly payments and make them to yourself now while you are looking, you may find a deal worthy of that cash and no payments.

As for trucks, check the Trailer Life yearly guide for tow vehicles. My 07 GMC CC DW has a tow capacity far different than a newer truck of the same configuration. But I found an excellent opportunity to buy a high quality trailer that exceeded my GMC capacity and so bought an MDT. That deal was around $50K total for truck and trailer. Couldnt even buy a 1-2 year old Dually for that.

Be patient and learn from the experiences of those here that have gone before us. They will help and share. What a wonderful thing.

 

Happy hunting!

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I would also suggest checking out the RV consumers group as an independent reference and ratings source. As has been stated DO NOT fall for a floor plan before checking the basic structure. Another thing to look for first is the cargo carrying capacity listed as CCC on the label. 2 to 3 thousand pounds CCC is the minimum I would consider for full timing. Take your time and have fun.

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Look into the construction of them both. Not just the lipstick of the trailer. Like what kind of frame, insulation, windows, brakes, suspension. This is were the real research and reading comes in and takes the most time. As said invest in any upgrades of you foundation of the trailer as it will pay off down the road.

Get a diesel DRW 1 ton. My Ram 3500 pulls my DRV Mobile Suites very comfortably.

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I love the term "lipstick" that was used. This is a very important issue. We looked at new models of various brands and they sure look beautiful but when you look at the entire unit, frame, tires, suspension and the CCC you will see the real RV.

Ours is a 2006 and I'd rather have ours that looks almost new than one that was made today with light frames and Chinese tires. The tires tell a lot about the manufacturer.

I can only make a suggestion here and that is buy a high quality used one a few years old. You will be far better off down the road. A new RV will give you

warranty and you for sure will need it to correct the issues that were hastily overlooked in building it. In buying a used one those issues have already been corrected.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you everyone for your advice and guidance! We are continuing to look. This week we found an Alpine that we liked so adding that to the mix. We were told that a heavy duty truck would be better than a dually. Any comments?

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For safety an HDT is a lot safer. Just having the larger brakes makes it better in my book, BUT, if a person has no experience in a class 8 truck itis quite intimidating. I have never heard of anyone loosing control because they had too large of a tow vehicle. Now, what does the trailer weigh you are looking at? Any idea that the pin weight is? Those two questions will help you get the answer to how large of a truck is needed.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The GD Solitudes are all well within the the capabilities of a 1-ton DRW diesel - no problem there. As an owner of a Grand Design RV (Reflection series fifth wheel), I'm a bit disappointed in the suspension system. If what i suspect is a bent axle/spindle wears out another tire, I'm having the whole system replaced with MORryde IS. Grand Design has been great on customer support... until this axle problem. Their first reaction was that I "curbed" it. Explain to me how running the right front trailer wheel into something (going forward, of course) would result in the axle/spindle being bent forward and creating toe-in?...

 

Rob

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Labauer We had a 37 Cardinal for 8 seasons. Never had any problems. It was a good unit and we loved the floor plan. Now we have a 43 Mesa Ridge. Less than a year old. Time will tell if we made the right choice. As stated it is the running gear that will give you the most problems. We have the Trailer Saver Air Ride Hitch. That really helps. You asked about a HDT. 5 years ago I climbed into the cab of a 98 Volvo 610 and have been towing our 5er with it ever since. We had a 550 Ford. After towing with the Volvo I'll never go back to a little truck. Our truck is titled as a Motor Home. That really makes things easier. Where do you live? As stated before they are big but what we tow is also big. Have you ever had a 5th wheel push you through a red light panic stop? My truck is use to 80k loads. You can pick up a used HDT a lot cheaper than a Dually. Come visit the HDT site. We have a friend who tows a 38 5er with a dodge dually. Does a good job but like I said I'lll take the Volvo. I'm sitting looking over the traffic not at the rear of somebody. It took me 5 years to convince Shirley to move up to the HDT but the last 5 years she has really enjoyed sitting in her AR seat and just cruising. But only you can make that choice. good Luck Pat

 

 

The Old Sailor

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I recently saw an episode of the RV show that covers people shopping for RVs. The budget was $330,000 and NO mention was made as to drivetrain, frame, tank sizes, roof construction or other MORE IMPORTANT things to consider. BUT WAIT, the color was NICE, the graphics were pretty, the interior decor was appealing. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

 

We must educate ourselves as to what is more important and use those skills to evalute what will be our HOME when we use it. Manufacturers are reacting to us and our choices. Lets forge into this with knowledge and experience. Spend our money in the best place available. We have the power to influence changes that will results in better quality or worse. As consumers, we must be better at our job so that they can be better at theirs.

 

This forum and others like it are GREAT sources to aquire knowledge and steer to the best path to gain experience. Enjoy the journey.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I want to thank all for your responses. I took them to heart and have been studying frames, chassis, insulation, etc. I've made a checklist to compare brands. I subscribed to the rv rating source recommended. I'm reading the other discussion forums. Lots of eye opening stuff! With all this info. so far we are narrowing the field of fivers to dvr, landmark 365, winnebago destination, and leaning towards New Horizons. I still have some questions so I hope you will indulge me further. Will be fulltiming in climates other than winter.

 

1. Steel or aluminum frame?

2. Foam or batten insulation?

3. Double pane or standard windows?

4. Insulated underbelly or not?

5. Thoughts on hot water on demand systems?

6. Thoughts on backup cameras?

 

Just for fun I'd like to ask what is your "must have" gadget that you need with your rv?

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Answers are my opinion, so other will vary-

1.- Steel, aluminum will bend way to easy for the main frame that the RV rides on.

2.- Foam, DRV uses batten wool that when properly applied is a great insulation but it may sag over time. There are some documented cases of this in the past.

3.- Double pane

4.- Insulated underbelly. You need all the insulation and heating you can get.

5.- If you can get the Truma system then on Demand is great. Otherwise, a 12gl heater usually is ok. We have a 12 gl Suburban that we rarely run out of hot water with. We turn on both electric and gas for back to back showers, laundry, dishwasher type mornings.

6.- Love the camera's. Especially with the HDT truck. With a regular dually they would also be good. We back in many sites using hand signals alone.

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  • 2 weeks later...

In my research based on the wonderful replies above I stumbled upon the Augusta RV company. We have fallen in love wih the looks of the Ambition online and have scheduled a factory tour soon.

Toured their factory last year, I thought they offer very nice units and well built. Very nice folks there also good luck and enjoy your tour.

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  • 1 month later...

We bought a new Cedar Creek by Forest River about a year ago. After having it not quite a month we had a major electrical issue with it. I didn't understand why because I had a Surge Guard plugged into the 50amp connection at my house. I called an electrician to see what was wrong and he checked everything and it turned out the power cord had an open neutral in it.

 

We called the dealer and they said bring it in, after the trailer sat for a month at the dealer I contacted Forest River and explained my situation and almost immediately he said this wasn't really their problem and I needed to contact my insurance agency. This went on for another few weeks and the dealer called and said it was ready when we went to pick it up the trailer was completely dead. I threw a fit and one of the mangers got involved and had the cord tested and they found the open neutral also. He then said they would stand behind it and send the cord to FR. When the cord got to FR they had it tested and said it was in good working order and I needed to contact my insurance company. This went back and forth for a couple of months with no resolution.

 

 

All this said I will never own another Forest River product and absolutely cannot recommend anyone else do so after our experience with them.

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