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Howdy the fire,

We are going to be looking for a new camper for next season. Maybe a year or two old. Looking for some knowledgeable help with which brands are better and which to stay away from. I've looked at reviews on the net and it's all horror stories! Axles falling off, cabinets falling. roofs never caulked, many with defective appliances and poor manufacturer support. Even one where the kid fell thru the bed on a brand new unit! One, the back of the trailer fell off on the first trip!  Gawd, it was awful reading them and left me not a clue as what to shop for in the 28-30 foot range with a slide. Hoping someone here can give me some advice!

 

Thanks in Advance,

Eyesa & Ellie

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Get rid of the tires that came with it. Most are super cheap China made with thin plies. If it is a brand you know (Goodyear, Firestone, etc) you should be ok.

I put Firestone Destination truck tires on ours as soon as I got it home. My mechanic could not believe how thin the tires were that came with it.

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A lot of the different "brands" are actually all owned by the same parent company these days.

 

This link to Forest River will show you their "brands".

 

While not always true, quality also comes with a price.  What is your budget? (rhetorical question)

 

Regardless of where  you go for reviews, you're pretty much only going to here from the people with problems.

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Ya, tires aren't going to last long, so keep a close eye on 'em.

 

RV's are built incredibly fast (time is money, ya know), and it's rare to get a new one without problems. My 31' Crossroads "Paradise Pointe" had to have the entire air conditioning system replaced because of a wiring problem. It also had 3 of the 4 plastic studs on one tail light broken off, a very poor-fitting aluminum propane bottle shield, and one side clearance light mounted such that one of the cargo doors couldn't be latched open cuz the light was in the way. All fixed under warranty. I went with a bumper pull because I used to haul a couple kayaks on top of the truck.

Since my daughter grew up, got married, and has a family now, she gave up CAS three years ago, so I bought a second, much smaller, Jayco, and other than big multi-day shoots, it's the one I take now. It's still got everything I need: Bed, closet, two burner range, microwave, a/c, refrigerator, toilet and Hokey-Pokey shower (ya put yer left foot in, take yer left foot out, put yer right foot in, and shake it all about... :lol:) I bought it used, so no problems. All I changed was replacing the single propane bottle with a double setup, and mounted a reading light under the cabinets at the head of the bed.

Jayco.jpg

Trailer.jpg

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I have a 28" Denali made by Dutchman. Had a Dutchman before this one. Stayed with them because they were pretty well built. All my trailers are/were bumper pull. Mine stays indoors when not being used, keeps the UV damage to the roof and plastic fitting to a minimum.

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The wife and I have had good luck with our Forest River Wildcat.  Tires are always an issue, as well as storage, waste tanks, potable water tanks, propane storage, seats and chairs.  Tires are an issue because a blowout can cause a lot of damage as well as putting you on your back changing a tire.   I run the highest load rating I can get on the axle, brands are rather like the Ford and Chevy debate.  If you plan on longer trips closet space is at a premium a fifth wheel and a slide in the bedroom often provide full length closet space.  Most fifth wheels also provide large storage compartments with outside access.  Waste tanks a common dump is handy some don't have that making things more difficult.  Enough waste water capacity to fill your needs which includes showers, dish washing, sewer, ect..   Fresh water  should at least equal your waste capacity.  Propane, you can use quite a bit, hot water, furnace, cooking get the biggest bottles you can get at easily.  It sucks to run out of propane because you didn't want to dig them out to top them off.   

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58 minutes ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

You going with 5-wheel or tongue tow?

What are you use'n to tow it with?

OLG

Tongue tow & F-250 that for some reason is only rated for 8,300 pounds.

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2 hours ago, Eyesa Horg said:

Howdy the fire,

We are going to be looking for a new camper for next season. Maybe a year or two old. Looking for some knowledgeable help with which brands are better and which to stay away from. I've looked at reviews on the net and it's all horror stories! Axles falling off, cabinets falling. roofs never caulked, many with defective appliances and poor manufacturer support. Even one where the kid fell thru the bed on a brand new unit! One, the back of the trailer fell off on the first trip!  Gawd, it was awful reading them and left me not a clue as what to shop for in the 28-30 foot range with a slide. Hoping someone here can give me some advice!

 

Thanks in Advance,

Eyesa & Ellie

 

Ok, looking at where you are if you camp in the winter even with a furnace it might be a little chilly.  If you're going to buy used look it over carefully.  Start at the roof and work your way down looking for loose fittings, water damage and rot.  Go inside and look under the sinks for signs of leaks and check the floor for soft spots.  Run all the appliances and check function.  All travel trailers are built light (to make it easier to tow) but that means that thin light weight materials are used.  So with thin light materials they all tend to shake and rattle going down the road, so it's not unusual for screws and fittings to loosen up.  One last thing to keep in mind, when you get into longer trailers (bumper or 5th wheel) think of the rear axle as a fulcrum, so anything past the rear axle will bounce a lot more than things in front of the axle, so if your kitchen is back there you can imagine what might happen.  

As far as brands what Chief Rick said is spot on, so look at the parent company of whichever trailer you like and see where that model is in there lineup.

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Have had good luck with out Heartland travel trailer. 28 foot with two slides.

 

Only problem has been with tires and axles. Which seen to happen with all of them.

We have gone to only running Maxxis trailer tires. Seen to be the better trailer tire for

that size rim. 225 75R 15

 

Axles they put on any of them are just barely heavy enough. We changed ours out from 4,500 pound axles

to 7,000 pound. More the size that SHOULD come on them. Bearings and brakes are also beefier.     

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24 minutes ago, Eyesa Horg said:

Tongue tow & F-250 that for some reason is only rated for 8,300 pounds.

 

Does it have the trailer tow options like tranny and heavy duty engine cooling?

Have you looked into 5-wheel.

Better ride, and way more stable in wind etc than the t'tow is.

That said-Look at Lance here in Lancaster, CA.

I've used their slide in campers for over 22 yrs now. Their t'tow trailers are nice.

https://www.lancecamper.com/

Solar panels are a good thing to have.......

OLG

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49 minutes ago, Tequila Chase said:

 

Ok, looking at where you are if you camp in the winter even with a furnace it might be a little chilly.  If you're going to buy used look it over carefully.  Start at the roof and work your way down looking for loose fittings, water damage and rot.  Go inside and look under the sinks for signs of leaks and check the floor for soft spots.  Run all the appliances and check function.  All travel trailers are built light (to make it easier to tow) but that means that thin light weight materials are used.  So with thin light materials they all tend to shake and rattle going down the road, so it's not unusual for screws and fittings to loosen up.  One last thing to keep in mind, when you get into longer trailers (bumper or 5th wheel) think of the rear axle as a fulcrum, so anything past the rear axle will bounce a lot more than things in front of the axle, so if your kitchen is back there you can imagine what might happen.  

As far as brands what Chief Rick said is spot on, so look at the parent company of whichever trailer you like and see where that model is in there lineup.

Thanks, I'm pretty familiar those items having owned old campers. We want more luxury now and only use it for Cowboy matches. Started looking for a used unit in the 15K range and decided to check reviews on-line and seemed they all have issues. My 18 year old Keystone still works as intended, everything. I did have to replace the floor however and will never buy another camper with a soft floor. That was a royal pain!

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They cost more, but Air Streams are hard to beat in all categories.   Hoss C.

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Watch the tires on used trailers. Besides making sure the load rating of all the tires adds up to more that the gross weight of the trailer plus all the stuff you put into it.

Check the date code and if the tires are more than 4 years old replace then no matter how much tread is left on them. 

 

BTW Very few trailer forums are filled with the positives. Almost all posts are about problems. For manufacturers that have models ranging from budget to high end.  Usually the more expensive a given model series is the better the quality.

There are some quality trailers made by small companies that are a good value.

 

I chose to buy a used trailer from a dealer. Very little difference in price and they ensured everything worked including that it did not leak.

Verifying the functionality of a used trailer from an individual can be difficult at best. Almost all I found were not where the operation of the AC(s) and appliances could be easily verified.

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I don’t know if they have them up where you are but out here they have an RV inspection service that you can hire to check your potential trailer out. Might be worth the money to do so.

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The best advice I can give you is to make sure you don't buy more trailer than your truck can handle.  That trailer is like a big sail behind you and the longer the trailer, the harder it is to keep under control during windy conditions.  

 

We have a Winnebago Minnie trailer that we bought new about 4 years ago.  Never had a warranty issue and it's been a good one.  I have replaced the Chinese tires with Goodyear Endurance tires, changed out the Chinese wheel bearings with USA made Timken wheel bearings and changed out the nylon shackle bushings with Neverfail bushings.  Maintenance is a major factor on how reliable and how long an RV will last.   Ok, I'm probably a little obsessive about preventive maintenance, but I haven't been sitting the the side of the interstate waiting on a tow truck.

 

Nothing beats staying on the range in your own RV.  

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First thing, payload comes into play many times with Diesel trucks as they are much heavier.  Since you are tongue weight should be good.

 

Many if the trailers are all made in Elkhart Indiana area and most share the same components.   Water heaters, stoves, microwaves, etc....most the same.
 

The trouble with newer used units is that people are usually far upside down in them...where with some looking you can probably find the unit new with a warranty for less money and not worry why they got rid of them so fast.  Some units have 2 year warranties new which does offer some peace of mind.


check out RVDirect or RV wholesalers.  They are a couple sights you can get quick quotes that will beat anyone around you...you would likely find their numbers on new less than local dealers on used so a great negotiating tool if nothing else.  They have closeout sale units all the time and have several locations.   I have personally done business with RV wholesalers and had zero bad to say about them.  I met with RV direct and ended up buying from a more local dealer that actually beat their price. 
 

good luck!  If you can find that used gem from the right people it can save a ton but can be hard to do.

 

 

 

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 If the tires are cheap and dangerous, how can you trust the trailer itself?  Do you think that buying one that’s a year or two old is going to help?  Why do you think it’s for sale?  

 

Cat Brules

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12 hours ago, Eyesa Horg said:

Thanks, I'm pretty familiar those items having owned old campers. We want more luxury now and only use it for Cowboy matches. Started looking for a used unit in the 15K range and decided to check reviews on-line and seemed they all have issues. My 18 year old Keystone still works as intended, everything. I did have to replace the floor however and will never buy another camper with a soft floor. That was a royal pain!

 

I apologize, the wording of your original post made me think that you were new into the RV scene.  It's great that you have the most important aspect, experience.  I now understand that you were only asking about good value for your dollar.  If you've got an 18 yo Keystone that may tell you something about quality.  Another brand that you may like is Alpine, I had one and friends still have them and they like 'em.  I don't know if it's possible but you may want to look into buying it new direct from the factory and pick it up yourself, it may save some $$.  Lots of luck pard and let me know how you do.

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3 minutes ago, Tequila Chase said:

 

I apologize, the wording of your original post made me think that you were new into the RV scene.  It's great that you have the most important aspect, experience.  I now understand that you were only asking about good value for your dollar.  If you've got an 18 yo Keystone that may tell you something about quality.  Another brand that you may like is Alpine, I had one and friends still have them and they like 'em.  I don't know if it's possible but you may want to look into buying it new direct from the factory and pick it up yourself, it may save some $$.  Lots of luck pard and let me know how you do.

TC,

Thanks for the info, I also have an 18 year old Keystone and everything still works like new. Except I had to replace the whole floor and will not be doing that again! Now that it's all repaired I want to sell it and move up to something only a couple years old and with a slider so we can past each other when getting dressed in the morning.:) Campers add a whole new adventure to CAS!

 

Thanks to everyone for your advice.

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I hate problems !!  So Copper Queen and I bought a 1 year old used Airstream 18 years ago. Seller traded it in. 28ft. wanted a 30ft. Still as good as new.  You get what you pay for. It has 15" wheels and the ONLY good quality 15" trailer tires are the Goodyear Enduro.  Made right here in the US. (came with them from the factory)  I have replaced them twice just because of age.  Other than that only a slight leak around the skylight.  Store it outside year round. Just keep the heat on at 40 in the winter.

Edited by Happy Jack, SASS #20451
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So I know little about this subject . . . but if it is for sale and it is 1-2 years old and the seller is taking a beating. . . figure out why it is for sale.  Maybe it just wasn't their cup of tea, or maybe they bought a problem and are now selling it.  Inspect and seek a professional inspector if you think you are not up to the job!

 

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1 hour ago, J. Mark Flint #31954 LIFE said:

So I know little about this subject . . . but if it is for sale and it is 1-2 years old and the seller is taking a beating. . . figure out why it is for sale.  Maybe it just wasn't their cup of tea, or maybe they bought a problem and are now selling it.  Inspect and seek a professional inspector if you think you are not up to the job!

 

Been my thoughts exactly, the big WHY. The good thing is I do know what to check and will bring my own generator so as to be able to check appliances. Water--maybe not this time of year however.  The dealer route has it's pro's, but the warranty would likely run out B4 I can really use it if I keep looking now. However, the prices are better this time of year here. That's why I was curious if any makes were definitely to be avoided. Can't afford an Airstream, even old they are a mortgage! The neighbor had a real pristine 20 yr. old one for a mere 35K. We're more in the 15-20K ballpark!

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My wife and I bought a 2012 Coachman Freedom Express 191 RB last fall, under $10,000 and it looked like new. The microwave, oven and shower had never been used. Our requirements were, no slides, too many problems and many are in the way when not extended, tandem axle, better weight distribution and higher load capacity, light weight, ours weighs 3400# as measured at the weigh station empty, walk around bed on three sides so it's easier to make up and I don't have to crawl over the wife to go to the bathroom at night, fiberglass exterior as I think the tin ones look cheap and it hails here very frequently and the usual shower, oven, microwave, AC. I'd NEVER buy a new one. You lose at least 20% of the value as you drive off the lot and the quality of construction has taken a big hit in the last few years. Thor is the parent company for the vast majority of RV manufacturers now and they don't have a very good reputation. This is a very good site for info. https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-travel-newsletter-issue-919/

Whatever you do DO NOT BUY FROM ANY CAMPING WORLD. https://www.rvtravel.com/campingworldhorror898/. All can have issues, it's about how the company handles them. Airstream has their problems as well, just look at their owners comments. https://www.godownsize.com/common-problems-airstream-trailers/ We've owned an Airstream motorhome and it had it's share of problems. As others have wisely said do your research, check everything carefully on any rig you are considering, people sell them for a variety of reasons, just like anything else.

Edited by Boulder Canyon Bob# 32052L
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Thank you so much guys for all the info & links. It really gives me some good points and more things to research.

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Just curious:  does anybody make a micro 5th wheel?

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Scamp used to make a sixteen foot 5th wheel. Maybe still do.

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We bought a new 5th wheel this year. It was a 2018 carryover. Got a good price and it was set up pretty much like we wanted. It is a toyhauler. Still got new warranty. I have a friend that I picked his brain. He has been a travel trailer dealer for years. The company’s he carries don’t have toyhaulers...or I would have gone through him. He was a very big help. 

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The whole RVindustry is currently in the toilet. There is rumors that Camping World will be filing for bankruptcy. Sales industry wide are nearly 20% off. Some brands are over 50% off. A few have already gone out of business or sold their assets to larger companies.

 

there are tons of brand new 2017 and 2018 trailers on the lot......and very few customers. If you find something you like...I’m sure money will talk.

 

but I might be concerned about a trailer sitting on a lot for nearly three years.

 

it is tough buying an RV......in my estimation they are ALL crap. There is no government regulation......the only regulation is self governed by the RV manufactures. Even the very expensive units are poor build quality. 
 

airstream might be the only exception to the rule.....
 

I spent some time in Australia where RVs are heavily regulated by the government.you can’t believe the build quality. And the places those Australians take them! 
 

some of the Best Buy’s are a private sale where folks are upsizing or getting on in years and don’t want to travel any longer.

 

good luck!

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Stay away from Anything Build by "THOR " in the past 3 years ....

I have 72 pages of work-orders on my 2019 unit and it still isn't right ...

 

Jabez Cowboy

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40 minutes ago, Jabez Cowboy,SASS # 50129 said:

Stay away from Anything Build by "THOR " in the past 3 years ....

I have 72 pages of work-orders on my 2019 unit and it still isn't right ...

 

Jabez Cowboy

That's certainly discouraging. For what they get for them these days, you'd think quality would be a little better.

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I have a 2015 Lance 2285 27ft.  I love it.

D58F83FB-046E-4941-81EA-08D7079766AF.jpeg

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Haven't seen any Lance's here bouts, but that's two thumbs up on that brand. I will be checking into them. Mayo, your's looks just like what we are looking for. Thanks.

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:FlagAm:Brand recognition is biased by ownership and personal experience.  Materials used in construction are extremely important in regards to longevity and reduction in maintenance.  I would strongly suggest considering only units of all metal, aluminum frame construction, no wood framing.  After time, if towed on Forest Service roads or the freeways in LA, the framing will loosen.  Also if you ever have a water leak, either roof or plumbing, wood framing does not fair well.  Another item to look for is the roof material.  Many units use a membrane roof material that needs to be recoated, typically every three to five years to maintain integrity.  Some units, including the Holiday Rambler we own have an all aluminum roof which only requires the ensurance of the joints around the edge to be sealed.

Another item worth consideration is fresh water capacity and the grey and black water holding capacity.  Ours is a 32' bumper pull that holds 100 gallons of fresh, two 40 gallon grey and 40 gallon black.  Makes a big difference in time spent.  If you want a slideout which makes all the difference inside, try to find a unit that uses a hydaulic pump like in a larger motor caoch compared to an electric motor screw drive.

We bought ours ten years ago, a one owner 1998 Alumalite.  Sure we have had to do things and make "improvements" to make it our own, but we do look at newer units and still keep the one we have.

I have rambled enough

Chas:D

 

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