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kstills

New Vs. Used Fifth Wheels

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New rigs are built to current quality standards.  See the quality of cars in todays world.  

There have been many articles written about the subject of the quality in todays RVs.  Watch the FB pages for how many people are having to take their $300K+ motorhomes back to the factory for quality issues because they were shipped out before they were completed.  In other cases, its also about the skill set of those building the RVs.  I have a relative that worked for a company with a division in Elkhart.  They had such a difficult time getting people that had skills to work for them, let along people that would show up to work on Mondays, regularly.  Attendance is a big problem and if so, what suffers, quality.  They even chose to furlough people with pay and a contract that they would return when recalled, because the available work force was so deficient for their needs.

Yet the promises and prices keep increasing.

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As my late wife's mother would say, there are two sides to this and I can argue either one. Buying used certainly saves you a lot of money on depreciation - but if the unit needs too much "bringing up to snuff," that could eat into your savings from buying used. Some will say that if you buy a unit that's a couple of years old, the bugs will already have been worked out. 

It's sometimes difficult to find exactly what you want on the used market. If that's the case, and you are willing to wait, ordering one from the manufacturer just the way you want it and with the options you want will get you into a rig that you'll be satisfied with, too. We just sold our five year old fiver this past winter and moved into a new one we ordered (optioned the way we wanted). So far, we have not had any quality issues other than with the Chinese made LED puck lights (and all rigs have them). The manufacturer sent me a box of replacements directly without having to go through a dealer for the warranty claim. We negotiated a good deal on the RV, but we still paid "new" prices and understand that the depreciation is nearly all up front. Since we are full-time and this is our home, we are happy to have it "our way."

Rob

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I have reasonable fixin' skills if necessary, and good understanding of mechanicals etc. 

I have had good results buying higher end units from smaller volume manufacturers that have been well cared for by previous owners. 

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You can buy New trailers that are a better quality (not perfect but better) but it typically will be a custom build and at a higher price tag. Also most trailers use the same equipment so you really are relying to n the quality of those parts. When we had our trailer built, I went with all residential appliances to help get rid of some of those RV only items. We are heading back to the factory next month with just a few minor 1 year warranty items.

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Several top of the line RV manufacturers went out of business in the 2009 financial panic.  Excellent build quality.  That would be the era to look to, say 2002 to 2009, for an older quality unit.The obvious ones in 5ers would be Teton or Carriage, and there are others.  They ought to be priced at somewhere around 20% of current comparable pricing.

In the MH area, a mid 2000's Country Coach with pre-emissions engine went for around $500,000, they are now under $150,000, and many look new enough to be indistinguishable from the current production.

 

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I was looking at Excel, but the RVCG didn't rate that as high as I would have liked. 

 

Leaning towards Northwood at this point, but I'll check out the Teton and Carriage. 👍

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16 minutes ago, kstills said:

I was looking at Excel, but the RVCG didn't rate that as high as I would have liked. 

 

Leaning towards Northwood at this point, but I'll check out the Teton and Carriage. 👍

Excel made a very nice RV, so I'm curious as to why the RVCG rated it down. Another brand in this quality class was NuWa (Hitchiker). They folded in 2013 or 2014 but made very high quality RV's. We've been full-time in ours for almost 9 years now and it is holding up great. 

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28 minutes ago, mptjelgin said:

Excel made a very nice RV, so I'm curious as to why the RVCG rated it down. Another brand in this quality class was NuWa (Hitchiker). They folded in 2013 or 2014 but made very high quality RV's. We've been full-time in ours for almost 9 years now and it is holding up great. 

They didn't rate it badly, and it did get 4 stars, however the reliability score was sub 80 (just under) which is a personal cutoff .I understand all of these things are subjective.  They have floor plans that I really like, so their not out of consideration. 

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Northwood looks good....high rated, small company, builds their own frame, not sure about the slides.

Try to avoid major components and procedures used by the big guys with the bad reputations.

Factory service usually better than the dealerships, if possible.

 

 

 

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If you're talking a 3 year old unit, owned by  couple with no children or pets that took it out twice a year for vacations, about a hundred miles away, thats one thing but if it's a 7 year old unit that was lived in 9 months a year by a family of 5 with three dogs, two cats and a macaw, that's another. Most people don't want to spend every weekend working on a new-to-them trailer, having to replace expensive appliances before pulling out for the first trip. 

Base that against a new-good brand of trailer that you hook up to and go, the first week of ownership, realizing that small things will break, screws tightened etc. and being fairly handy, they do their own repairs and enjoy it. 

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 Even though we tend to always buy new everything and have for years I can tell you one thing for sure, every RV we have owned has become better than new after we owned it for a year. In fact the New Horizon that we have now that we picked up a year ago April is at this time in better shape now than it was the day we picked it up from the factory. It's just the way it is.

 We are now thinking about selling our current 5th wheel and building a longer one and one of the things holding us back is having to start that "getting through the first year" stage. Well along with the big first year hit we will encounter LOL!!  

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On 8/21/2020 at 2:25 PM, kstills said:

I was looking at Excel, but the RVCG didn't rate that as high as I would have liked. 

 

Leaning towards Northwood at this point, but I'll check out the Teton and Carriage. 👍

I have seen a few Newmar 5ers at pretty reasonable prices.  Excellent quality and maker still in business, although not making 5ers.  If you get the model with dually axles, they are super stable and dont need G rated 16" tires or H rated 17.5".  Can use more readily available E rated and LT tires because the axle setup is 2 axles with 8 wheels, like a dually truck(ie my 2004 Kountry Aire 38').  They made VERY NICE trailers.  Can buy used and then do what you want without worrying about comprimising the warranty.  Its your money and you get to decide how and when you do changes or improvements.

FYI--https://www.rvt.com/Newmar-Kountry-Aire-36KSSH-2008-Fort-Myers-FL-ID9204115-UX90612

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That duall tire does eat into floor space though. And I don't see a benefit. All our tires age out anyway. Just more to buy. Not downong the Newmar, quality coach. Just not the dual tire setup

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And the suspension sway is far less that in 4 tire/2 axle configurations.  It is a nice design, just wonder why no one else ever did it again.

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On 8/19/2020 at 1:26 PM, Second Chance said:

Some will say that if you buy a unit that's a couple of years old, the bugs will already have been worked out. 

Or the owner got frustrated enough taking it in for repairs that he gave up.

Linda

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11 hours ago, rpsinc said:

And the suspension sway is far less that in 4 tire/2 axle configurations.  It is a nice design, just wonder why no one else ever did it again.

Because it eats up floor space. Just to put a washing machine it, you would have to build area up to clear the hump. Chassis is narrower also

Edited by GlennWest

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12 hours ago, sandsys said:

Or the owner got frustrated enough taking it in for repairs that he gave up.

Linda

As I said, "Some will say..." That's not my position. I happen to agree with you, Linda.

Rob

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3 hours ago, GlennWest said:

Because it eats up floor space. Just to put a washing machine it, you would have to build area up to clear the hump. Chassis is narrower also

Not sure how you come to that opinion, but I have a Teton and a Newmar, and I havent seen any negative as you stated in my Newmar. We have washer hookups in place. The floorplans are different for sure, with each having attributes that we like and dislike, but each coach is quality construction and sadly no longer made, having been replaced with more assembly line type of units selling with their own issues.

A big positive we like in terms of storage is that the Newmar has much more outside storage areas by their making compartments all along the length of the trailer, with lockable doors, unlike any other manufacturer that I am familiar with.  Some of those compartments are smaller, but very nice to separate things needing to be stored but not necessarily in the large basement.  My unit also includes a gas Onan 7K generator with fuel tank, 2 levels of storage in the forward area, and a pull out storage in the rear where the spare is stored(mine was converted to battery storage for the solar array).  It appears they did a good job of utilizing as much of the different frame designs opportunites for storage.

I do like the idea that with 8 tires, the opportunity to find an E rated LT tire, in the case of tire issues, is much more likely in small town America at the small family owned tire shop, than to try to find an G rated ST tire on the shelf.  Heck, many places will even have used truck tires to be used in a pinch. 

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