Everything Else

  • Locks: I watched a video that claims 70% of travel trailer and fifth wheel storage area locks are keyed the same with a key number CH751.  Have to do more research on that.  Keyless entry is not a must but it would be nice.
  • I had been just paying attention to 5th wheel construction, but there are methods used when building motor homes that are applicable.  YouTube has been wonderful for watching factory tours.  Figure we will make a short list someday and visit a couple factories.
  • Sliding interior doors on glides rather than using wheels.  Have to look into that. Montana is using them.
  • Slide Toppers – Yes or no?
  • I’ve been reading that taking deliver of a new rig at the factory is better than at the dealer. The factory techs go over the rig before you pick it up and then again when you are there. That way they can fix anything on the spot.  Other’s go back to the factory before their warranty expires and have everything fixed.
  • Cargo Capacity – Suggested needs are 3,000 pounds minimum. Cargo Carrying Capacity is indeed GVWR – Dry Weight.  Per Howard at RV Dreams “It’s now a federally required number on all RVs since June 2008, and each unit has a sticker with CCC on it.  The CCC assumes the fresh water tank is empty, so traveling with a full tank of water reduces the CCC by however many gallons times 8.33 lbs/gallon.”
  • Bike Hitch – I’m reading where a 1.25″ receiver is to flimsy and to have a 2″ mounted.
  • Rear Ladder – Some hang low and can bump the ground on very steep inclines such as leaving a campsite. I’ve read where people have them modified by cutting off the bottom to avoid this.  If they do hit the ground then they will damage the rear cap at there attachment points.

New Horizons 5th Wheel Standards

Not saying the most expensive fifth wheel necessarily uses the best construction methods, but — New Horizons is one of the most recommended.  I watched a 2013 video and noted they use the following methods:

  • Two hydraulic systems, one for levelers and one for slides.  Not electric
  • Frame reinforced with crossbar where it steps down
  • Water manifold system like DRV uses
  • Easy to work on tank valves because they break all the time
  • Their best seller is 102″ wide (wide body)
  • CDI paints their rigs.  They also paint for Winnebago
  •  England residential furniture with full size couch
  • Fisher dishwasher 1.9 gallons
  • Pex for water lines – not copper ect..
  • Firefly integrated lighting (to connect to I-Pad)
  • Using floor to ceiling storage cabinets rather than extra slide in bedroom
  • Drainage line from AC rather than running condensation across the roof
  • Use dovetail joints on cabinets
  • Moreryde hitch and suspension
  • 12″ I frame with 2×4 tubular steel. 1/4 inch thick. They build their own.
  • If they cut the frame to pass something through they cut a round circle because is better than square where corners would be weak.
  • At least 3,000 pounds of cargo capacity is built in.
  • High density foam walls.  Because will have no compression and studs can be further apart for less heat transfer. In other words the studs are not insulated so they transfer cold/heat.
  • 2 layers of foam in roof, the first layer has the cuts in it for the duct work.
  • Big foot leveling system
  • Water tank is located over the rear axle.

Open Range 5th Wheel Factory Tour Video Notes

I spent a lot of time looking for good video regarding factory tours from which I could make notes.  Following are my notes from the 2013 Open Range factory tour video:

  • They don’t use ABS material for holding tanks because they crack.
  • Use “router mold” for attaching tank fittings by spinning the fittings into place with heat to melt to tank.
  • Waste tanks have a channel in the bottom to help drain at it’s lowest point.
  • Plywood floors rather than OSB to reduce wait.
  • The use Bow Floor for linoleum flooring.
  • JT Strong Arm bracing to stop side to side movement.
  • Use 20 pound rather than 30/40 for LP tanks. Easier to remove and easy to find pre-filled.
  • Built in telescoping sewer arm so you don’t need supports and stands.
  • One piece under belly rather than using sheets.
  • One piece 5/8 floor decking rather than tong and grove.
  • Sealed bearings rather than easy access to lube wheel/axle.
  • They laminate in a climate controlled room to help reduce chance of delamination.
  • They laminate sidewalls and sidewall roofs as well.
  • They wait 24 hours to move the laminated walls (just like (Newmar Motor Homes) so the glue sets.

Grand Design Solitude- A Visit to the Dealership – June 2015

We ended up talking with a salesman (Dee) at Lifestyle RV which is a dealership in Grain Valley, Missouri. He was very helpful and really wanted to explain how Grand Design would be taking over the market.  The company was started by three of the original owners of Keystone. When Thor bought Keystone, according to Dee, these three became upset believing Thor was reducing the quality of the Montana. We drifted into talking about contraction more than floor plans. Here are a few notes regarding Grand Design:

  • They use a lot of Liepert parts (the 400,000 s.f. Grand Design Factory is located near Lippert). Grand Design promotes having fewer parts made by different companies means dealing with fewer companies for repair.
  • Their new water heater does not have an anode rod that needs to be replaced annually.
  • They recirculate air around the holding tanks, compared to just having a single outlet blowing air in.
  • They have a 25 year warranty on all underbelly components, such as the frame. Their floors (vinyl like by Beau Floor) have a seven year warranty and the roof is good for a 12 year warranty.
  • Their windows are framed in with metal studs. Unlike some others who just cut out the side wall and hand a window.
  • They use double welded aluminum studs for sidewalls, wood in the roof so it does not conduct moisture, have laminated sidewalls on their slides (rather than thin hung walls) and their floor has a wood center but is surrounded by Duraspan which is impervious to moisture. Dee said the wood in the roof is better for movement as you travel down the road.
  • Larger slides are hydraulic by Schwintek, smaller are electric.
  • Their floor is framed on 12″ centers.
  • Their insulation is average for an all season rig. They use high density foam.
  • They added a rear basement in their front living room model.
  • Their ac/heat ducts running in the ceiling in a track. The air return is in an exposed part of the AC unit which is quite but not as quite as others (whisper quite). This could knock them out of the running for us.
  • They use three stairs for the entrance because they are aluminum and will not rust. Aluminum stresses to much with four stairs.
  • Air vents in the floor are well done and actually are under cabinets so you don’t walk on them.
  • They come with Trail Air pins and suspension. They are using the cheaper Chinese tires but can upgrade to Goodyear.
  • The Solitude is a wide body (101″) but does not have an arched ceiling like a Montana, Pinnacle and Cedar Creek.
  • They claim to be the first in the industry to have a separate facility dedicated to quality control where every rig is fully inspected.
  • The rear cap on the Solitude is not a full cap, like you see on most high-end fifth wheel fronts. Wonder if that makes the rig vulnerable to water leaks if the seals are not well maintained – have to check on that. This makes the rig rather plain from behind.

One thought on “Miscellaneous

  1. Pingback: Looking at Floor Plans | Our Future in an RV

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