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Help me with current best manufacturers

mikeleblanc413
Explorer
Explorer
It's been some time since I have owned an RV...things have changed. I walked through a couple today at a local dealer and what impressed me was the use of space when you go from 17-18 feet to 25-28 feet. The larger feels like a small (LOL) apartment. I'm sure I would feel much too cramped in the smaller space. Would appreciate your help on whick manufacturers are doing a good (hopefully GREAT) job putting the sticks together. Thanks!
Mike LeBlanc
The Piney Woods Of East Texas
Lufkin, Texas
30 REPLIES 30

synergy_58
Explorer
Explorer
Marine359 wrote:
It all depends on your budget and your tow vehicle. If you have a half ton truck, or SUV equivalent, or mid-size truck, you’ll likely be limited to trailers under 6,000# GVWR. And limited to 26ft or less. Budget-wise, the best brands, like ORV, Northwoods, Airstream, and most larger fiberglass trailers are quite heavy, and very expensive even if purchased used. For those, you’re looking in the $60K and up range, and you’ll need a 3/4 ton truck. We shopped a long time to find a trailer that didn’t require us to get a new truck, and was of moderately good quality. For us, towability and build quality were the factors that settled us on the Winnebago Micro-Minnie line. If buying new, you can expect any trailer to have some things you’ll have to fix after you get it home. If your expectations, no matter what you paid, are that everything should work perfectly with no problems, you will be sorely disappointed. If you’re a good wrench, there will be very few things you won’t be able to fix, otherwise you’ll spend a lot of time and money at a dealership or repair shop. IMHO, the happiest campers are those who stick to their budget by buying a camper that may not be perfect (because there isn’t one), but suitable for their style of camping. Think first of whether you prefer RV parks or dry camping, and then choose and outfit your trailer to fit.


Good comment! It is unfortunate that this is the way things are, that even buying new, we will not get our money's worth. Every vehicle I've ever bought had to go back to the dealer to be repaired, under warranty and after. I don't buy new anymore. I look for good used and find the ones that have been well maintained with all current services and upgrade done, even if it has a few miles on it. I've been a lot happier since doing it this way.

I have searched for RV's, TT's, class B's and C's, and even considered A's, and there are all kinds, all conditions, at an enormous range of pricing. Dealers, new or used, have the worst platform for buying. Unless you like giving away money and being controlled by "warranty work" and unfulfilled promises, and lies.
[img/Users/Frank/Pictures/iPhoto Library_2/Originals/2014/Apr 2, 2014/2009_1306_Nav_BlueMoon.jpg[img]

Marine359
Explorer
Explorer
It all depends on your budget and your tow vehicle. If you have a half ton truck, or SUV equivalent, or mid-size truck, you’ll likely be limited to trailers under 6,000# GVWR. And limited to 26ft or less. Budget-wise, the best brands, like ORV, Northwoods, Airstream, and most larger fiberglass trailers are quite heavy, and very expensive even if purchased used. For those, you’re looking in the $60K and up range, and you’ll need a 3/4 ton truck. We shopped a long time to find a trailer that didn’t require us to get a new truck, and was of moderately good quality. For us, towability and build quality were the factors that settled us on the Winnebago Micro-Minnie line. If buying new, you can expect any trailer to have some things you’ll have to fix after you get it home. If your expectations, no matter what you paid, are that everything should work perfectly with no problems, you will be sorely disappointed. If you’re a good wrench, there will be very few things you won’t be able to fix, otherwise you’ll spend a lot of time and money at a dealership or repair shop. IMHO, the happiest campers are those who stick to their budget by buying a camper that may not be perfect (because there isn’t one), but suitable for their style of camping. Think first of whether you prefer RV parks or dry camping, and then choose and outfit your trailer to fit.

mosseater
Explorer
Explorer
We've had our Sunset Creek by Sunnybrook since 2007 and as far as an "Indiana" product, it's held up remarkably well with minimal maintenance. As J Barca said, concentrate on base construction because as far as I know, most everything on any trailer is a purchased component which each manufacturer specs for their particular trailer. Lippert and Dexter are two major players. I-beam frame rails instead of welded H-beam, axles, brakes, tongue jacks, slide out mechanisms, etc., used to be vendor supplied. Not sure these days. IDK if any of them went proprietary on all components or not.
Sunnybrook used to be a very good trailer before Winnebago bought them out. We bought ours during the take over period and it was claimed long time employees were jumping ship. Sunnybrook had the most long term employee base of most of the manufacturers in Indiana at the time. I would loosely claim "craftsmanship" may have been higher than most, but their stock in trade was not changing designs much over over time. Sort of the bread and butter of trailers without a lot of frills. I admit I don't keep up with it, but early examples of smooth sided trailers (Filon) were abysmal in use. Saw some horror stories unfold on this board many times. I prefer the look and relative ease of repair of stick and tin over "fiberglass" smoothies. Opinions vary. You takes your chances and spin the wheel when you buy one. That much is clear. And yes, get used to doing repairs... or have deep pockets for your local Rv store to do them for you. You WILL likely need to do things yourself.
"It`s not important that you know all the answers, it`s only important to know where to get all the answers" Arone Kleamyck
"...An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it." Col. Jeff Cooper
Sunset Creek 298 BH

Durb
Explorer
Explorer
I like to look at roof construction when considering the quality of a trailer. After all, the roof is your first line of defense against water intrusion which is the single largest detriment to longevity. The molded fiberglass trailers excel here and are the closest to be considered leakproof.

Check out inTech and ATC (Aluminum Trailer Company), both utilize single sheet aluminum roofs. ATC trailers are toy haulers, but their quality is high. Both utilize welded aluminum frames.

Cwilson333
Explorer
Explorer
Huntindog wrote:
Cwilson333 wrote:
Huntindog wrote:
CWilson wrote:
I looked at a 2021 Grand Design TT and it had OEM installed Lionshead Castlerock China Bombs.
If the only thing I did not like about a TT was the tires, I would buy it.
It is literally the easist thing to fix. One could take care of that on the way home from the dealer.


Well that's obvious but when an RV manufacturer decides to install the cheapest borderline tires they can find, and tires are in a location that can easily be seen just by walking up to it, I find it hard to believe they don't also use the cheapest borderline other components and materials in places not easily seen. The Grand stops with the name. There is nothing Grand about them and no better than trailers made by others like Forest River or Thor. If it makes you feel better to believe they're that "Grand", and you somehow purchased a peach that is better than A or B, more power to you but it's only a fantasy.
I seem to have overlooked your all knowing recomendations. Fact is you have not made any. All you have is trash other peoples opinions. As soon as I finish this post I will block you. I encourage others to do the same. With no audience you will soon go away from boredum.


Block away. The fact is Grand Design is no better than lots of Thor, Forest River, or other Winnie brands. The same cheap materials and components, on the same LCI chassis, built by the same paid by the piece workforce at light speed then pushed out the factory door with no quality control whatsoever.

synergy_58
Explorer
Explorer
I checked out an Arctic Fox, tandem axle, I think it was a 22', which is what I'd like to find. The original owner said he had constant roof leaks for the first year of ownership, had to take it to the dealer three times before they finally fixed it, he lost his camping season that first year. Otherwise he liked the unit, but he didn't think it was as quality as his friends Bigfoot, which he wished had had bought instead of the AF. I had to pass due to the weight.
Next up was a Lance model 1895, which I liked too. It wasn't as nice as the AF, but very well played out and nicely built. It was a four season, and the weight is right about 500lbs under my max, so not too bad. The thing I did not like when I checked the under carriage was that th holding tank was right there by the axle, so close, and exposed, it looked like it could easily be damaged. I don't see how this can be considered a four seasons unit.

Hard to find a good manufacturer with true 4 seasons, quality build in a less than 21/22' length, around the 6500 max capacity, in a tandem. I've checked out a number of assembly line manufacturers and they suck! Cheap junk!

I'd love to see an Oliver, but they look small, narrow.

One guy had an Airstream and said he's had nothing but leak issues since the day he bought it new. HE ended up paying $4k to have someone fix the issue because the dealer couldn't get it done under warranty! Crazy!
[img/Users/Frank/Pictures/iPhoto Library_2/Originals/2014/Apr 2, 2014/2009_1306_Nav_BlueMoon.jpg[img]

Huntindog
Explorer
Explorer
Cwilson333 wrote:
Huntindog wrote:
CWilson wrote:
I looked at a 2021 Grand Design TT and it had OEM installed Lionshead Castlerock China Bombs.
If the only thing I did not like about a TT was the tires, I would buy it.
It is literally the easist thing to fix. One could take care of that on the way home from the dealer.


Well that's obvious but when an RV manufacturer decides to install the cheapest borderline tires they can find, and tires are in a location that can easily be seen just by walking up to it, I find it hard to believe they don't also use the cheapest borderline other components and materials in places not easily seen. The Grand stops with the name. There is nothing Grand about them and no better than trailers made by others like Forest River or Thor. If it makes you feel better to believe they're that "Grand", and you somehow purchased a peach that is better than A or B, more power to you but it's only a fantasy.
I seem to have overlooked your all knowing recomendations. Fact is you have not made any. All you have is trash other peoples opinions. As soon as I finish this post I will block you. I encourage others to do the same. With no audience you will soon go away from boredum.
Huntindog
100% boondocking
2021 Grand Design Momentum 398M
2 bathrooms, no waiting
104 gal grey, 104 black,158 fresh
FullBodyPaint, 3,8Kaxles, DiscBrakes
17.5LRH commercial tires
1860watts solar,800 AH Battleborn batterys
2020 Silverado HighCountry CC DA 4X4 DRW

Cwilson333
Explorer
Explorer
Huntindog wrote:
CWilson wrote:
I looked at a 2021 Grand Design TT and it had OEM installed Lionshead Castlerock China Bombs.
If the only thing I did not like about a TT was the tires, I would buy it.
It is literally the easist thing to fix. One could take care of that on the way home from the dealer.


Well that's obvious but when an RV manufacturer decides to install the cheapest borderline tires they can find, and tires are in a location that can easily be seen just by walking up to it, I find it hard to believe they don't also use the cheapest borderline other components and materials in places not easily seen. The Grand stops with the name. There is nothing Grand about them and no better than trailers made by others like Forest River or Thor. If it makes you feel better to believe they're that "Grand", and you somehow purchased a peach that is better than A or B, more power to you but it's only a fantasy.

StirCrazy
Traveler III
Traveler III
the best thing to do is look at a bunch of different brands, start going to rv shows, different dealers and so on, and look through the units.

Look at the little things and decide what matters to you. I can tell you, you can have the best made unit in the world and if the floor plan doesn't work for you, you'll never like it.

for me they are all garbage built, ya there the odd stand out but normal people can't afford those anyways. You just have to decide what you can live with and what you can't. for me it came down too little things like cabinet drawer construction, fit and finish to pick one over the other once I found the layout I wanted.
2014 F350 6.7 Platinum
2016 Cougar 330RBK
1991 Slumberqueen WS100

WinMinnie02
Explorer
Explorer
I have a Winnebago bought new 20 years ago still going strong. I believe build qualities have declined better know how to maintain your unit since the service are worse. Buy tools, learn DIY, and enjoy RVing.

deltabravo
Traveler
Traveler
mikeleblanc413 wrote:
Would appreciate your help on whick manufacturers are doing a good (hopefully GREAT) job putting the sticks together. Thanks!


Northwood MFG (Arctic Fox / Nash / Fox Mountain)
Outdoors RV MFG.
2009 Silverado 3500HD Dually, D/A, CCLB 4x4 (bought new 8/30/09)
2018 Arctic Fox 992 with an Onan 2500i "quiet" model generator

Huntindog
Explorer
Explorer
CWilson wrote:
I looked at a 2021 Grand Design TT and it had OEM installed Lionshead Castlerock China Bombs.
If the only thing I did not like about a TT was the tires, I would buy it.
It is literally the easist thing to fix. One could take care of that on the way home from the dealer.
Huntindog
100% boondocking
2021 Grand Design Momentum 398M
2 bathrooms, no waiting
104 gal grey, 104 black,158 fresh
FullBodyPaint, 3,8Kaxles, DiscBrakes
17.5LRH commercial tires
1860watts solar,800 AH Battleborn batterys
2020 Silverado HighCountry CC DA 4X4 DRW

Huntindog
Explorer
Explorer
CWilson wrote:
Huntindog wrote:
My Momentum has optional 8K axles and disc brakes, 17.5 LRH tires, a 12" tall frame, and is the first RV I have owned where the tanks actually hold what they are spec'ed at. This is my 4th RV over 30 years, and the best one yet.


Thats great, but I am not sure what the height of the frame has to do with quality. One would expect the frame rails to be larger on a bigger rig. A 12" high frame can be fabricated just as shoddy as a 6" high frame and when it comes to LCI that speaks for itself. I've yet to see a quality weld on an LCI frame and its a known fact they use cheap surplus steel whenever they can and the smallest/lightest they can get away with. You paid for the optional axles and disc brakes, what would you have gotten from Grand Design as "stock"? Are you saying that the stock axles and brakes are low quality? I looked at a 2021 Grand Design TT and it had OEM installed Lionshead Castlerock China Bombs.
GD uses Dexter axles with self adjusting brakes. In the 2021 model year they were 7K axles on the big Momentums with an option for 8K with disc brakes and Cooper 17.5 LRH tires. Triple 7Ks had a GVW of 20K and Triple 8Ks bumped that up to 21K. The pin box is/was the limiting factor. Now they are coming With the 8K axles/disc/LRH tires standard. This puts the GD toyhaulers far ahead of the competition.
If you will notice even the 7K axles in 2021 exceeded the GVW of 20K...A stark contrast to the industry standard of subtracting the hitch weight from the GVW to determine axle size.
A testament to GDs confidence in their frame and running gear is that they state the garage can have the entire CC loaded into the garage! My Momentum 398M has a CC approaching 5K!! I have a trip planned where I will load a Jeep into the garage. That would not be possible within the ratings of most of the competition

I haven't been shopping since I bought my Momentum, but at that time, they stood out from the rest. Only DRV, Luxe, and New Horizons were better in some areas. But none of them had the 18' garage we needed
Huntindog
100% boondocking
2021 Grand Design Momentum 398M
2 bathrooms, no waiting
104 gal grey, 104 black,158 fresh
FullBodyPaint, 3,8Kaxles, DiscBrakes
17.5LRH commercial tires
1860watts solar,800 AH Battleborn batterys
2020 Silverado HighCountry CC DA 4X4 DRW

CWilson
Explorer
Explorer
JBarca wrote:



I can speak to the 12" frame comment, and that size does have to do with quality. I have seen the recent years' downsizing of the main frame rails across many brands. I'm not sure what his camper is rated at, but a triple axle camper can now be on a 10" frame. Does it work? Yes, will it last? Maybe not, pending the use of the camper.


His TH is 20K GVWR and 15K UVW.

If it says LCI on it, something is boogered up somewhere or it's just simply wrong, and they used the absolute cheapest of everything.

JBarca
Traveler II
Traveler II
CWilson wrote:
Huntindog wrote:
My Momentum has optional 8K axles and disc brakes, 17.5 LRH tires, a 12" tall frame, and is the first RV I have owned where the tanks actually hold what they are spec'ed at. This is my 4th RV over 30 years, and the best one yet.


Thats great, but I am not sure what the height of the frame has to do with quality. One would expect the frame rails to be larger on a bigger rig. A 12" high frame can be fabricated just as shoddy as a 6" high frame and when it comes to LCI that speaks for itself. I've yet to see a quality weld on an LCI frame and its a known fact they use cheap surplus steel whenever they can and the smallest/lightest they can get away with. You paid for the optional axles and disc brakes, what would you have gotten from Grand Design as "stock"? Are you saying that the stock axles and brakes are low quality? I looked at a 2021 Grand Design TT and it had OEM installed Lionshead Castlerock China Bombs.


I am "not" defending poor craftsmanship. I detest the lack of good quality welds and the lack of pride in a trade that has been mastered long ago. There is more to what Huntingdog was talking about past the craftsmanship issues.

I can speak to the 12" frame comment, and that size does have to do with quality. I have seen the recent years' downsizing of the main frame rails across many brands. I'm not sure what his camper is rated at, but a triple axle camper can now be on a 10" frame. Does it work? Yes, will it last? Maybe not, pending the use of the camper.

As a point of reference, I can speak to the 10,000# GVWR-rated campers, which used to have 10" main frame rails, but now they are nearly non-existent and have been replaced with 8" frame rails other than a few select brands. I will never buy a new camper in the 10,000# GVWR range on 8" frame rails. I have seen what can happen over time with them if you plan to keep and use the camper for a good long time. I dealt with the 10" rails bending behind the rear hangers from a mega pothole-laced highway. And this was on HSLC 55ksi yield steel frame rails. HSLC = High Strength Low Carbon steel has a higher yield and tensile strength and is a way to gain strength without adding weight. The standard 36 ksi steel is the same shape, just not as strong. And downsizing to 8" from 10" is the wrong direction in my view for a camper to last a long time, even if it is on HSLC steel.

These I shape thin main frame rails came out of the manufactured homes industry. They are called MH beams in the industry. The MH beams are unlike a standard true I beam used in buildings and bridges. The MH industry uses them to transport the home to the job site, and that is about it. The RV industry was looking for a lightweight beam that, on paper, would work; they found the MH beams and have been dealing with frame cracks and how to try and stop them ever since. Hanger area web cracks, rear overhang past the rear hanger on longer campers, A-frame failures, and the list goes on. There are ways how to make that shape work, but it costs more $$ in materials and more time to reinforce the frame. Why not add it to all campers using that I shape frame?

Further downsizing on 10,000# campers, axle ratings, and springs is now well established. A 10,000# camper used to come with qty, 2, 5,200# axles and springs on 12" brakes. Many brands have adopted these new 4,400# axles, springs, and 10" brakes. Why?

Thin metal roof rafters and thin composite glued-together floors, in my view, are not of lasting quality either. The list just keeps going...

Quality, even if the craftsmen ship is done right, is also with what components are selected. An RV buyer dealing with past issues is more educated on what "not" to buy. Some of us want to keep our campers for a long time, I being one of that group. In order for long life and leak-free to happen, you have to start with something built better than most and then constantly be on top of the maintenance. My only suggestion is to educate yourself on what fails on certain brands and what to look out for.

There is always more to the story.

John
2005 Ford F350 Super Duty, 4x4; 6.8L V10 with 4.10 RA, 21,000 GCWR, 11,000 GVWR, upgraded 2 1/2" Towbeast Receiver. Hitched with a 1,700# Reese HP WD, HP Dual Cam to a 2004 Sunline Solaris T310R travel trailer.