Fifth Wheel Order – We Have a Build Date

Note: For those coming to this page from the Vanleigh Owner’s Facebook page, enter Vilano in the search function to get a list of articles.  This link should work as well. – Mark 

It’s getting real exciting around the Seneker’s house.  Because our new RV is to be built starting 4/7/19. Just got the word from the Vanleigh RV factory who as a side note are now a formal subsidiary of Tiffin Motorhomes.   The dealership is in Oklahoma and has been great to work with so far. The factory support during the ordering process is over the top excellent. I’m planning on asking their sales staff to take a few photos while it’s being built. Some owners drive there and watch the six day process.

I decided to write a blog post in the future about the ordering process to include the details up to scheduling the delivery. Then another after we get it home.  I’ve been spending a lot of time downloading pre-delivery inspection sheets so once we arrive at the dealership Karen and I will know 100% what we need to check before taking delivery. I got lucky and found a longer YouTube video where a guy walks you through the features of the 320GK floor plan we ordered. It’s the best I’ve found so far. It’s last years trailer model but does contain some interesting notes.

I’ve also been spending time reviewing an old spreadsheet I’ve kept over the past few years containing RV related accessories. It’s organized by priorities to include what we need on day one of ownership.  I could use some pointers if you have them!

What about wheel chocks?  I’m leaning toward rubber ones that I can add a rope to.

What about leveling blocks for tires? I’m leaning towards cutting 1×6 boards that are long enough to hold two tires and the wheel chocks. I assume if you have to use leveling blocks/boards then you still need to chock the tires?

And what about a couple modern products like X-Chocks for stabilizing the trailer so it does not move so much when you walk around inside?

X-Chocks

X-Chocks

Do any of you use Anderson Levelers for Trailers? I watched some YouTube video on how they are used and claims that they reduce the time to level the trailer side to side.  And what about knowing if you are close to level before you let the trailer automatic leveling stands down?  Do you guys with automatic leveling use some type of gauge to see if you really need to add anything under the tires?

Anderson levelers

Anderson Levelers for Trailers

And what about blocks for under the jack stand and leveling pads? Those Snap Pads sure look promising. At first I’m planning just to cut some 2×12’s for blocks. If you are looking into Snap Pads their website has a tool for selecting the model you need based on your specific trailer. And a YouTuber I contacted says Snap Pad is getting ready to release a new product that incorporates the need for any blocks under the pads so you don’t extend the levelers to far, causing the trailer to sway when you walk inside. That new feature presumable replace the 2×12’s folks use at times.

Snap Pads

Snap Pads (feet for leveling jacks)

 

I’m still looking into locks we might need for the king pin to stop someone from backing up and hitching up the trailer. Readers have been giving me ideas – thanks for those!  I also got to thinking even with a truck bed cover (blog posting coming soon) we will still need a cable to string through the hitch, a couple boxes with tools, the generator or whatever – because the truck cover will be open when stopping at rest areas and such. It would be nice to have one keys that fits all those locks so I’m been looking at solutions that would allow me to use keyed alike pad locks.

Lots of other accessories to be purchased before we pick up the fifth wheel. I’ll keep you posted on those individual decisions and of course, as always, asking for suggestions.

Karen and I are real excited.  I came home the other night and she had taken nearly all the artwork of the walls of our current sticks and bricks house.  She has been going through drawers and tells me some of the stuff is now in plastic containers that we might as well start getting used to living out of.  We have a tentative schedule for RV trips before I retire later this year and hope to get the house on the market in maybe July. So far we figure we will be in central Missouri in June then up in Michigan in July for sure.  Lots of small trips in between.

 

new flash Here is a Vanleigh Vilano 320GK video that just came out today. Leigh Tiffin is highlighting what the fifth wheel has special compared to others.

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Bought a Hitch

We now look closer to real RV owners when riding around in our truck, having just bought and installed our fifth wheel hitch. I got amazingly lucky one day last week. I wondered if by chance there was a B&W Companion hitch on Craiglist.  Found a brand new one that had already been installed on the same year and model Ram truck we own. The lady selling it used to transport RVs professionally but gave it up after a major accident in the snow. The insurance company replaced her truck and equipment. Thankfully she was not injured.  She never used her new replacement hitch and gave me a heck of a good deal.  Karen and I met her in a Walmart parking lot and moved the hitch from her truck to ours in 10 minutes.

It’s easy to start a major debate on what hitch to buy. I’ll just say my final two selections were the Curt and B&W. And I’ll explain why I went with the B&W simply as it’s beefier, with a 25,000 pound fifth wheel weight capacity and more than a 6,000 pound pin weight capacity.  Compare the locking jaws on hitches and you will see what I mean by beefier.

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You will notice in the above photo how the legs of the hitch attach to the truck bed. That’s the RAM puck system that is part of the fifth wheel prep option. Ford and Chevy have something similar. This allows you to remove the hitch by breaking it down into two parts by turning the handles to lift it out of the truck. The base of the hitch weighs 135 pounds so that’s a two person job. The coupler or head is 75 pounds. Of course you would remove the hitch in case you ever wanted to lay something flat in the truck or hauling large objects.  I’ll repeat this for those that are truck shopping.  Make sure you get the factory fifth wheel prep option with the puck system. The cost of installing a hitch is large without it. 

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I was happy to learn the top of the hitch is below the bed rails of my truck. Although I had studied photos before and expected that. Because – in my garage is a truck bed cover that I’ll report about after it’s installed. This hitch is very adjustable up and down by a few inches and front to back over the rear truck axle.

It also has an articulating head that twists and turns with the trailer. Something very important to note when you go hitch shopping is to make sure the hitch works with whatever king pin you have on your trailer. Some king pins also articulate and can work against the hitch head with opposing forces. Maybe easier described as if the king pin moves one way and the hitch head moves another it could place unnecessary pressure and wear on both. I learned that by joining the Facebook users group for our particular trailer. I talked to friends who own this hitch and claim it’s easier to hitch and unhitch when the trailer is at slight angles.  It does not bind up as easy, if that make sense.

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I should also mention the professional RV delivery person I bought this hitch from has a word of advise. She says there are parts of the country where if you leave your rig unattended a trucker might just pull the arm and release the hitch from your trailer when parked. I circled the area in red above. She says replace the pin that holds the arm closed with a locking pin. She said the issue is more common in… well I’ll say it, the west and east coast.  She says in some areas of our country there are professional drivers that don’t appreciate sharing the road and parking spots with us RV people.

Tools

Selecting what tools to hit the road with has been a harder decision than I expected.  Watched all the YouTube videos as to what others are using and talked to a lot of friends in the process.  It became apparent that until we are on the road we may not have a great idea of what tools will come in handy. For sure, the types of tools one keeps depends on how much of the truck/RV maintenance and modifications one plans to perform on their own compared to hiring it out. For me, I plan to learn as much as possible and do as much as possible.

For me, the starting point is taking inventory of what tools I already own. I sold off some of the larger items in our first garage sale, keeping for sure what I know I’ll need to finish home repairs before our house goes on the market.  Then I looked around at all the boxes and bags, sorted by tool type, and wondered how to consolidate all those into just a few bags for the road.

After years of reading other’s blogs and the Facebook users group for our trailer brand I’ve got a reasonable idea of what to expect. For example, common problems where bolts were not checked and may have led to mechanical failures in the suspension systems.

As our 35′ fifth wheel has a smaller basement than a 40′ model, I suspect the bed of our truck will someday include a larger container for whatever will fit in it.  Here are a few of my tool decisions and what I’m wondering about keeping or not.

Tree branch trimming and wood cutting:  This is a hard one for me. Do I keep the battery operated Sawzall, longer axe or hatchet, buy an electric chain saw or just keep the ratcheting  loppers?  I suspect, but am not sure, there will be times when we at least collect small dead tree branches to start fires and for sure there will be those times when low hanging tree branches may need to be cut from the roof of the fifth wheel before we back in?

Hand tools and electrical stuff: This was an easy decision. I took my two boxes and consolidated what I thought I would need into a single bag. I should have done this a long time ago because more times than not I ran back to the garage for yet another small tool that happened to be stored in a different bag than what I had with me.  I kept a couple extras of some tools, such as a screw driver, for a drawer in the fifth wheel for quick work and a spare set of pliers to store outside with the RV water hose connection rather than having to get the entire bag of tools out. I ended up buying this bag to consolidate everything into:


Mechanics Set of Tools:
  Over 30 years ago I purchased my first set of 3/8″ sockets. Over time I bought a small 1/4″ socket set and had amassed dozens of miscellaneous sockets which I kept in a box, bought more than likely at yard sales.  I would purchase a wrench here and there.  It was time for something more substantial and all inclusive.   Something in a single box I could grab and run with.  Adding a mechanics tool set, along with my new single bag of hand and electrical tools, brings together 90% of what tools I think I’ll need.  Keeping weight in mind, or something reasonable to carry around, I researched a new mechanics tools set. I decide on a 1/4″ and 3/8″ set.  I just do not think I’ll need a full 1/2″ drive set so why add the weight to the box.  I discovered mechanics sets after watching a YouTube where a guy was changing fuel filters on his diesel truck. This is what I purchased:

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Dewalt DWMT73802 142 Piece Mechanics Tools

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Lifetime Guarantee

 

Tool 1 (800x600)

No One Builds Better Latches than Dewalt

Power Tools:  Of course I’ll take along a cordless drill. But what about the remainder of the set I already own that include even a small skill saw?  I’m still undecided and might just keep what I don’t take in our 5’x10′ storage unit until I see if I miss them.

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Not Sure If I’m Keeping These?

Other ToolsFor More Specific Usage: Following the Facebook user’s group for our brand of fifth wheel has netted some great advise. Folks provided specific recommendations for various tools and sizes of wrenches. Adding a torque wrench and one single 1/2″drive deep socket with 6″ extension is apparently all I’ll need for the major suspension components. I’m hoping to avoid bolts backing out while bumping down the road by keeping them tightened at the manufacturers recommendations. Of course take a caulking gun and make sure to have tape and caulk for repairs. I’m also wondering if it’s worth keeping my electric buffer for waxing the trailer? And what about a small shovel, maybe a folding entrenching tool would work. I’ve got a heavier 25′ extension cord which will work, especially as I can pull out the generator if I need to be closer to something. Here is what I bought:

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Tekton 24335 1/2″ – 10 to 150 Pound Torque Wrench

Air Compressor: I own a pancake model with a small tank that is capable of the air pressures I would need. But it’s heavy and takes up space. I’ve looked at the popular Viair portable brand, but they are expensive and slow to inflate. I might get a smaller pancake model that has a tank now that I’m not running any air nailguns nor plan to use air tools. Finally figured out how to air up dual wheel tires and have the basic chucks for that, along with a quality air gauge attached to the air hose. Might write a blog post later on that. I’m not concerned with having a model that hooks to a car battery because we have a generator if needed. I’ll be taking another look at the hoses that are available, especially the space saving type. Although it makes since to go with what I have for now.  I also have a gun attachment that blows air which is invaluable for cleaning dusty parts and even blowing out the garage floor. Wonder if that might work for blowing off the tops of slides?

Gas Powered Equipment: Figure these are not coming along but not sure yet.  We have a 3500 Watt gas generator already so will already be hauling around a few gallons of gas.  What about keeping my gas leaf blower and collapsible weed trimmer?  These two items come apart for storage. The leaf blower could come in handy for blowing off the slide tops or outside mat. I’ve stayed in more than one camping area that needed weeds trimmed.

Ladder and Stool:  Not technically a tool but something to consider. We have a two step folding stool to be used to reach high shelves in the RV and I use it to get in and out of the truck bed. Really thinking about keeping the two step stool in the camper and buying a shorter three step model to keep in the back of the truck. I also have a 12′ heavy folding Werner ladder. I’ve considered going to a collapsible ladder in place of the folding ladder:

Two steep

 

LadderLAdder 2

 

I’ve got a place at home we are storing tool and camper accessories we are not using right now. We plan to take several boxes with us when we pick up our fifth wheel from the dealership. There is time now to put all this together.

Karen and I were talking yesterday about pricing items for sale. We both agreed although we had paid X amount for something new we had, for lack of a better word, joy in using it. That joy cost something and the item is now worn. For me, some tools are harder to dispose of because even after years of usage they are not even close to worn out.  So when you are downsizing it might be helpful to keep in mind you had joy in owning and using something. You can always buy the same worn item again later at a yard sale or any of the same places you used to dispose of them.

Thanks for following along and providing comments. I’ve been shopping for a new truck hitch and still considering a truck bed cover for all the stuff we want to secure. More on all of that later.

What is MSRP – New Fifth Wheel Shopping

Everyone knows MSRP stands for Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price.  However, does the dealership use the same definition of MSRP as the factory?  Probably not…

I’ve been on the phone and emailing back and forth with dealerships in an effort to order our fifth wheel.  More on that later in a blog post once the deal is done.

As part of the process dealerships have been referring to MSRP within their price quotations. I started with three dealerships and added another after learning one was no longer selling the brand of fifth wheel we wanted. In all cases the dealerships MSRP numbers did not match other dealerships. Fortunately, I happen to possess the actual factory MSRP price sheet for our fifth wheel.  This document was not readily available but I happened to get it from a dealership and current owners on the forums or Facebook User Groups will provide it.  This document starts with a base manufacturers price plus line items for each option.  You total this up and you have the true MSRP as published by the manufacturer.

If you want a copy of the MSRP price sheet for the fifth wheel Karen and I are ordering just send me an email request at mseneker@hotmail.com. You can see for yourself how MSRP is actually figured.

What I have been discovering is possibly a method to cloud the deal, maybe not on purpose, by a dealership. By cloud the deal I mean confusing the customer.

I was asked outright what I was looking for in a deal and I was honest and said 30% or better off MSRP on a new custom ordered fifth wheel.  And an “out the door price” that includes all fees.

There have been other price figures to consider beyond factory MSRP when I asked for an out the door price. And those are shipping and whatever paperwork (referred to as dock or paperwork fees) added on by the dealership. They might also include fees for items not provided by the factory such as a second battery.

I’m not sure I’ll ever know the actual shipping cost but for sure think it’s fair I should pay for that to include a fair profit. And I truly believe a good deal ends with the dealership being happy with it as well as I’m happy with it – despite profit or whatever.

What I’ve discovered is dealerships sometimes include shipping and other fees as part of the “MSRP” and some don’t.  And mostly in whatever light makes their deal appear more favorable. Especially when a customer like myself is talking in terms of a percent off MSRP.  For example a dealership might quote MSRP as $98,000 and take X percent off without admitting their MSRP is loaded with other fees.  Then another dealership might use a figure that does not include shipping costs at a factory MSRP of $96,000.   So one dealership takes 30% off $98,000 which is $68,600 and the other takes 30% off $96,000 which is $67,220 then adds on considerable fees from there.

Of course the final number at the bottom of the page is in reality more important. And hopefully that number is an “out the door price” with no surprises.  But, as a tool to judge the honesty of a dealership – get a factory MSRP price sheet and know your true MSRP to include options before you start talking numbers with a dealership. You will quickly discover who is hiding fees in the “MSRP”.

I’ll also add if you receive an MSRP figure that is considerably lower than other dealerships you might want to make sure the quoting dealership has not made a mistake in adding up or including the options you specified for the factory order.

Finally, I’ll mention for me the price is not 100% all important. Selecting dealerships whom you want pricing from is a process all in itself. And that will be another blog topic once our deal is made.

Planning Update – Our Final Year

The clock is ticking down quickly. We expect to be off on our future in an RV by October and spending vacation time on the road before then.  So what are we up to regarding planning this close to take off?

Regarding the Truck: I replaced the front floor mats with the Husky X-Act Contour rubber mats. I also considered the Weather Tech brand but went with the Husky’s which are more rubbery and pliable for removal to clean. The feel of these mats are nice against our shoes. I am seriously considering adding a truck bed cover and plan to report back on that is a future post. Within reason, getting the truck ready to travel is important. I know we can finish it up later on the road and once we learn how we are using the bed space.  I’ve also selected the B&W as our hitch. Might buy that and install it in a couple months.

Regarding the RV: We decided to order a new Vanleigh Vilano 320GK. We both have been members of their unofficial Facebook Group where others have provided advise.  Karen and I agreed to a list of options and I contacted three dealership via email. So far we have pricing from two and are waiting for a third bid. I’ve corresponded with the local Factory Representative and the National Representative who have been incredible to work with. Build time right now is 10 to 12 weeks for delivery. We are looking forward to trips while on vacation and getting to know the trailer. More on this in an upcoming post as well.

Regarding Domicile:  This is a big one and right now we are down to Florida and Texas, having considered what other’s said are important factors such as available healthcare, taxes, vehicle licensing and insurance. I had planned to setup a mail service a couple months before we take off in order to start mail forwarding.  Having contacted a longtime RVer it was suggested before we settle on a state to contact an insurance agent for healthcare. We had wondered if we could get away with visiting family beginning in October and then heading to our domicile state in December to finish up the transition. He suggested transitioning from our current healthcare provider to a new one might effect the timing of the domicile move.

Regarding Tools:  I’ve been seriously looking into what tools I want to pack for the road. I suppose much of the decision has to do with how much I want to work on the camper and truck compared to hiring it out.  More on this topic later in a blog post for sure.

Regarding Cooking on the Road:  Over the past few months I really have enjoyed cooking on our Weber Q 1200. Keeping odors and sometimes heat outside the trailer is a good idea. Plus, I enjoy cooking outside especially as it gives Karen and break.  I had been wondering how to expand the food types we can cook on a common grill. After getting with a friend I purchased a set of BBQ mats. I’ve cooked bacon, eggs and all types of vegetables on these mats which are designed to sit on top of the grill grates, blocking food from falling through. The Weber and these mats have my vote of confidence for sure. Karen also found a roasting pan that sits on the grates used roast a whole chicken or ribs.

Grill Mat

Eggs – Make sure the grill is level 🙂

Roasting pan I used to cook a whole chicken

5.5 pound chicken came out perfect!

Regarding Budget:  I had updated our financial plan the last time in March of 2018, having adjusted it annually for several years.  Now that we are close to leaving, having made the truck purchase, getting bids on the RV, selling major assets and more the budget is more realistic. I’m happy to report we are within budget so far. I’m glad there have been no major surprises so far.  I’ve always been big on keeping track of the numbers in case we have to adjust something. For example when we built our current home if we were over budget in one area then we cut another. That way you don’t wait to the end when there is no chance of making up a deficit.

Regarding Preparing the House for Sale:  This has been hard because we are so busy. And we know that everything we have left to do can actually be condensed into a month or so of great effort. I’m guessing the closer we come to wanting to leave the harder we will work on the house. But, one piece at a time we are making progress. Boxes from work are full of stuff going into a future garage sale, a 5×10 storage unit, our future fifth wheel and family. We finished cleaning out our basement storage area and are now using it for box sorting.  Several rooms in the house have boxes sitting out for trash, burning and more. I’m happy with the progress but have to say, downsizing is always on my mind and is a major source of stress that’s hard to avoid.

Bought a Truck

I bought our new truck a few weeks ago. It is a slightly used 2018 Ram 3500 with the high-output Cummins diesel with Aisin transmission. I decided on the 3.73 gears vs. 3.42 or 4.10 but would have been willing to settle on the 4.10 gears.  This truck came with the optional auto leveling system so it will be interesting to see how that works. It has all our must-haves and nearly all our other wish list items.

The color is a dark metallic grey which is hard to see if in the wrong light. Not that color was all that important.  I had found three trucks within a reasonable driving distance and sure was happy when a truck an hour away came out on top during negotiations.  I really found it easy to do business online with emails and photos at all three locations.  I decided to trade in a family car. All things considered, we came out at 23.1% under original MSRP on the deal. Ended up getting it from a high-end horse trailer dealership that also builds custom interiors of big trucks. The prior owner decided he wanted a larger horse trailer and truck.

I’ve got three items to have the local dealership fix under warranty which include trim items and two of the tire pressure sensors are not working.  Other than that the truck is in perfect shape.

I decided not to wait for the new 2019 version that will not make it to the dealerships for maybe another couple months. Our budget would not have allowed for a new Laramie trim package which we bought as a used truck.  And personally I think Ram is going to raise the price considerably on the 2019 heavy duty trucks if their release of the new 2019 1500s are an indication.

Above is a screen clip from the Ram truck website. The 2018 1500’s are priced $4,500 MSRP lower than the 2019’s. That’s why I’m guessing the new heavy duty 2500 and 3500 will have a substantial increase as well.

If you are waiting for the 2019 Ram heavy duty pricing and options you will have to wait until the end of the month 2/19. I’ve read dealerships have the details but are not to talk about it until then.

Our Final Trailer Decision – Part Three

Back in November 2018 I started to break down the reasons Karen and I have selected the 35’ Vanleigh Vilano 320GK as our next home. That was followed up with a briefer post concerning resources you could go to and find out more specific information from the manufacturer. I’ll continue with a few details in this article for those interested.  This might be worth reading as it could provide a few ideas when selecting your own fifth wheel. This is part three of what is becoming a four part series.

I’ll continue with the specifics from where I left off in November, having already covered available options, customer service and the appliances Vanleigh installs. This posting will cover furniture, electrical, trim and insulation. Part four will include foundation, plumbing, mechanical systems, cargo capacity and additional comments about the exterior and interior.

Furniture:  This is a category we test in every fifth wheel Karen and I considered. You quickly learn there are brands like Thomas Payne (by Lippert) and then the others. Over the years I paid particular attention to brands used by some of the more upscale trailers as well. Regarding the bed mattress; we are leaning towards a queen size to allow more walking room around the sides.  In most new trailers it’s common for dealerships to ask that you not lay on them.  Well, we snuck in a few tests anyway. Personally, I prefer one with inner springs but mostly you find some form of foam used. Vanleigh uses a cool gel memory foam and without living with it for a while I can’t give an honest opinion of its comfort. As this fifth wheel is a wide-body it comes with a full-size 80” sofa while still retaining enough room for small shelves at each end. In this short of a trailer you should also consider the width of the theater seating which in this case, and all 2019 Vilanos regardless of trailer length, is 60”. In the mid- 2019 models they started using Franklin furniture which is custom built for Vanleigh. I first noticed this brand as a luxury when finding it in the 2016 DRV Mobile Suites.  As a side note many manufacturers including Vanleigh are installing theater seating with power recliners. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to operate the seats when not connected to shore power or a generator. A good way to see if you are looking at the most updated 2019 model is to look for the power seat button which was moved from the back inner portion of the seat arm to the front where it is more convenient. Small details like this really help when shopping for the most current version of a floor plan. 

Electrical: There is a lot to cover here but I’ll try and be brief. If you are looking to limit the number of things that could go wrong in an RV, then the Vanleigh Vilano might or might not be the brand for you. Tiffin took their 40 years of motorhome construction experience and transferred some of that knowledge to their fifth wheel. Their Spyder Multiplex wiring system is one of those systems. You will not find many old-style switches for lighting in the Vilano. Panels are well positioned around the RV on touch pads.  This includes the main control panel.  The lights are dimmable inside which is huge to me.  And there is a vendor working on a Bluetooth wireless interface for your phone. Just like Keystone’s inCommand system, you can control the awnings and more from the interface. This system is standard in the Vilano. Motion sensing lights are used in key areas. If it’s important, the living room television is 50” but is not on an arm to view from the kitchen as far as I can find; presumably because the TV also sits on legs for stability when traveling. The Vilano “solar prep” is a joke where you can only add a portable panel plugged into the front of the trailer. Compared to a Keystone Montana who includes wire runs to the roof. Lighting on the celling is recessed for a cleaner look. The trailer is setup with two batteries and an electric cord reel for that heavy 50-amp cord is standard. Personally, I would rather have a manual winding reel. What’s different here is the cord reel is tucked out of the way with the guts concealed behind the wet bay. As far as I know Vanleigh has not added any preparation for WIFI or cellular connectivity which Keystone is now doing. Here is a big one; Vanleigh uses external water and sewer tank level monitors rather than the ones that are installed inside tanks which corrode or cover with toilet paper. Owners on their Facebook page seem to be satisfied with the tank monitors. Of course, as with others in this price point, they are using LED lighting. But go a step further by including LEDs on the outside of the trailer. I have no idea what brand of power converter they are using and can only hope it has multi-stage charging which is more efficient. Nor do I know what brand of inverter they use in the case of the residential refrigerator option other than it is pure sine wave. Twelve-volt tank heaters are standard. I appreciate how they hang the ceiling fan down from the ceiling attached to a large box for better air flow. Like the appliances the stereo and TVs are Furrion brand. They brag about wrapping electrical runs in plastic wire looms to reduce the chance of wires rubbing against framing. USB ports are everywhere but I could never find a 12-volt cigarette lighter style plug which would be beneficial for a portable inverter and more. I’ll probably add an inverter connected to an outlet or two (and the electric recliners) after the fact. And finally I appreciate the whole house vacuums hose feeding from and to an enclosed area in a wall rather than having to store the hose in a closet or otherwise.

Electrical runs in plastic wire looms

Trim Work and Cabinets: If folks buy what they can see, then they will buy this trailer. It’s beautiful with diesel motorhome level trim work and cabinets. This feature, as well as others, might be a reason the cargo capacity is not so great in most of the Vilano floorplans without the 8,000-pound axle option. Although that’s not an issue in the shorter 320GK as I will report about in part four of this “book”. The solid wood cabinets are tall, extending to the ceiling line. This includes within the 8’ slide heights. Karen liked the drawer and cabinet hardware in the 2018 models but not so much in the 2019s as they are knobs rather than handles. She is going to need a stool with two steps to reach the top shelf. With the 320GK being a relatively shorter trailer, the extra cabinet space could come in handy given the basement storage area is smaller than what you get in a 40’ trailer. The drawers are not soft closing, like the Cedar Creek, however I believe they are a tad better constructed than the Cedar Creek, Montana and Bighorn. There are two stain options and several finish gloss selections where the factory will apply whatever glossiness you want. They use off brand shades, meaning something other than the preferred MCD brand. There is no worry of light coming around the shades as the valences are solid wood which extend well around the corners of the shades. I also like the fact there is no carpet, to include the bedroom other than under the theater and dining seating. Another feature in the Vilano is a soft touch vinyl ceiling. I truly believe, and they advertise, the soft touch ceiling is good for noise reduction. The hardwood wainscoting on the bedroom sidewall is a nice residential touch. It seems minor but I really wanted a trailer with cabinets over the theater seating which is included in this floor plan. I think it will be convenient. The reason this is sometimes not found in other trailers is first, other trailers don’t have 8’ ceilings in the slides like the Vilano. And second, the extra cabinets cut out a good portion of what would be a large window on the entrance door side of the trailer. Fortunately this 35′ floor plan does come with a pantry in the kitchen!

Photo from our first tour of the Vilano in January of 2016 – this is not the 320GK which was first built in 2018

2019.5 Vanleigh Vilano 320GK – 35′ Rear Livingroom

Insulation: The fully enclosed underbelly is a common feature. Perhaps not so common is the heating duct to the basement area has a return air for circulation. R45 ceilings and floors with an R11 sidewall that’s slightly better than average. The ceiling has a thermal wrap. There is no venting of the attic space like in the Montana which is used to vent off condensation. Better rolled insulation is used to cover the attic space rather than cutting and filling gaps with foam insulation.

Please let me know if you have any questions in the comment section. I’ll be back later with the final chapter regarding the features of our trailer decision which we thought were important.  Then maybe I’ll have time to announce we bought a truck this past week. It’s a slightly used 2018 Ram 3500!