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Old 03-27-2017, 10:36 PM   #1
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M.O.C. #19606
To buy a Montana?

Hello, new to this forum and joined because we are thinking about buying a Montana and have many questions and am hoping for some help/advice.

Husband and I and 2 dogs are currently "fulltiming" in a 27 foot motorhome. We have been in it for about a month and want bigger. We Plan on spending 10 months a year in RV and 1 to 2 months at our house in Tennessee for the next 5 years. We will change locations every 3 months or so. We will sell our small motor home when We find the fifth wheel we want. We are purchasing the truck after the fifth wheel. The brands We considered for fulltiming were Nuwa, carriage, Peterson, and Montana, Alfa see ya and Teton. We want under 35 feet and under 15,000 lbs gross weight.

The brand I have reasearched least is the Montana. To be honest Montana is a little confusing as there are so many trim levels and floor plans. We have just found a 2011 Montana hickory 326RTL at what we believe is a good price but have numerous questions. I swear I Have tried to get this info from keystone site but it's not very specific.

1- where on the trim level is the hickory? Is it the entry level for Montana and if it is are there any structural or insulation difference between the hickory and the other trim levels? Montana seems to have a very large number of trim levels. We really need a four season coach. The fifth wheel we are looking at has no "polar package" or "artic package" emblem and the owner does not know.

2- is Montana considered a four season coach at its BASE level or do I need to look for additional packages to bring it up to four season level? We will be doing some cold weather camping. The current owner of this coach does not seem to know a lot about it. It has sat in one spot in AZ since 2011. By cold I mean a few days at a time under freezing, don't mean sub zero temps.

3- this fifth wheel had grey water tank leakage and had to have tank and small portion of subfloor replaced. We are current RV owners and know that anything can happen at anytime but did not know if this was especially concerning?

4- this fifth wheel has not been moved since 2011 and has only been driven 18 miles from dealership to park one time. I am thinking this is good and bad, good as not too much wear and tear but bad since there has been no real shake down and all the moving components have been sitting. Anybody have any ideas of what we should look for when we start moving it after we buy it? Of course we will need tires but what else could we be looking at?

Also if anyone has a 2011 326RLT and has any inside info on this model we would love to hear it. We like the floor plan and it is a little over 35 feet but weight is good. We are looking at an asking price of 19,500 and this seems to be a good price. It does have some minor wear. On one of the slide outs the rubber seal is pulling back a little, slight wearing of graphics, furniture slightly worn, coach has sat out in the AZ sun without being covered but it has not been exposed to a lot of rain. Has no odors or signs of leaks. We plan on having a professional inspection and maybe a water test.

Last thing I promise! My parents have a 2005 Montana that is sitting on a lake lot in AL and have had no real issues. Theirs is a big sky and the interior seems a lot more solid than the one we are looking at? The counters, cabinets, closets, sink and bathroom fixtures all seem more sturdy/solid. Has Montana changed anything or is it the trim level?

Thanks for any info, zigpep
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Old 03-28-2017, 04:57 AM   #2
Phil P
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M.O.C. #11206

Some information for you.

To buy used 2 years old but not much more than 3 years old is good.

To buy one that has not been moved for several years or not at all sense purchase is not good at all. These trailers have inherent problems that need to be worked out in the first year of operation.

A fifth wheel trailer 3 years old with 5 to 10 thousand miles on it would be preferable.

As for your concerns about the replaced floor etc these trailers are prone to water intrusion and must be monitored constantly for same. You must be very careful when looking at them. Check around windows, doors, shower floor, basement and storage area floors for evidence of water leaks.

The heaver more than 11,000 lbs gross weight rating seems to have more problems with the frame than the lighter ones.

The lighter trailers seem to fare better than the heaver ones. Ours has a gross weight of 15,909 lbs we are unable to load it to that weight without exceeding the gross combination weight ratting of our 2009 Silverado DRW 3500. We load the trailer to 15,200 lbs and are in compliance. We have experienced frame problems requiring repair. We have had to replace the end wall of the long slide because of water leaks. We had to replace the convenience center and basement floor because of water leaks. Most all manufactures recommend sealant inspection of all exterior openings every 6 months.

The water leak problems are not confined to trailers.

One of the units you mention in your post is Peterson Industries this was a top of the line unit but Peterson is no longer in business and the thing to remember is their house frame work is all wood. Most of today’s trailers that are in production use an aluminum house frame.

You are moving from a 27 ft motor home to a fifth wheel you will find a 27 foot fifth wheel has much more room than the motor home and would be a lighter trailer.

I would research the RV repair facilities in the surrounding area and find one that doesn’t sell new trailers that have good reviews and contact them to do an inspection of any trailer you consider.

Several of the trailers you posted are not considered “full time” trailers.

Last but not least purchasing a used trailer that the manufacture will provide you with the original build information and any information about warranty work they paid for would be an indication of a reasonable company.

Phil P
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Old 03-28-2017, 08:23 AM   #3
Mel B.
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M.O.C. #19469
Hello we just got our new to us 2955RL 2004 Were not full timers yet, but as soon as my wife is willing to go more then two months without seeing the grandkids. We will be. We bought our Montana last Sept. from the origenal owners, a couple in there 70's We new we wanted a montana. But I bought it because it's the perfect size for us, and the owners treated it like it was family. and he let us have it for about $8000 less then anything close to this unit. We were do for an upgrade when we bought this one. I guess what I'm asking is what makes a 5th wheel that is good for FULL TIMING? Were out fitting ours with a solar system now because we're slowly building building a house on our property in northern washington. But we live in Ca. Our 5th wheel is about 32' I wouldn't want anything longer, because we boondock more then anything. We like to go places to hunt & fish, and we have our motorcycles on the back bumper. It just seems there isn't really a coach out there that is best for full timing. I could be wrong (I haven't even spent one night in the Montana yet) but I feel Shelley and I could full time in our current rig. Hopefully in a year or so I'll see you here and see how I feel then.
2004 2955RL 2nd owners 400 watt solar, 2000 inverter/charger 4-6volt golf cart battery's & a champion 3400 remote start dual fuel genny
2000 F-350 swd crew cab long bed 7.3 power stroke transflow 77 gal fuel tank.
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Old 03-28-2017, 09:30 AM   #4
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Interestingly, all the brands you list, except Montana, are no longer in business. Whether that matters to your or not, I don't know. And the Teton probably is above your self imposed weight limit.

Can't really speak much to your concerns. My only concern would be checking the brakes to insure they will work since they have not been used. And having the wheel bearings greased. Since it apparently has been lived in, all appliances and other things should be working.

Our Montana has been as troublefree as we could have ever hoped for. But we are not full timers. And it is an older (2007) unit. Has the Arctic package sticker, but we have never stayed in it in sub freezing temps.
Bill & Patricia

2007 3075RL
2012 F350 SRW CC LB FX4 6.7
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Old 03-28-2017, 01:48 PM   #5
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One thing you will probably miss out on in a 2011 model is the auto leveling system. We would not be without ours and probably would not be spending as much time in it as we do. We are "half-timers"; on the road about 6 months out of the year. We frequently see people older than we are struggling to level their rig and it is not pretty. We bought ours in Northern Indiana and it came with dual pane windows (did not order them). When I inquired at a Keystone dealer in South Carolina about our windows, they never heard of dual pane. Ours is a 3100 RL, 35.5 ft and around 14,000 lbs and it suits us and our two big dogs fine.
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Old 03-28-2017, 02:33 PM   #6
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We've been fulltiming in a 2010 3665 RE for the last six years. Our year, the Hickory edition was the top of the line and our unit is fine in both hot and cold weather.
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Old 03-28-2017, 06:07 PM   #7
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I have the 2017 Montana 3790RD. When we purchased through Camping World we were told that this model is still covered under warranty if lived in full time. We need some things fixed already, (including the fridge that emptied its ammonia everywhere and haven't been able to use it since we got it to our destination) but when I mentioned to the technician we were full time he said if the warranty would be no good. Of course I backtracked as we are back and forth between RVing and home. Does anyone have an idea of where I may find this warranty info in writing? Have been searching and not having much luck.
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Old 03-28-2017, 06:27 PM   #8
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This problem seems to come from dealership employee's not knowing what they are talking about, which isn't suprising since many don't even know there's a galley tank drain hidden infront of the street side tires. Here is what Keystone has to say about the Montana being a full time rig: http://www.keystonerv.com/community/...-in-a-montana/
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Old 03-28-2017, 09:19 PM   #9
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The Montana model you are looking at is the Mountaineer edition which is the entry level category for a Montana and therefore does not have all the bells and whistles that are standard on a Montana. They are still a good unit but not the best one made in the year of the one you are looking. Also, the Big Sky you refer to was top of the line and there are major differences between the Mountaineer and Big Sky.
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Old 03-28-2017, 11:05 PM   #10
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Thank you DQDick I will see what info I can find in the manual...
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Old 03-29-2017, 12:04 PM   #11
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To Zigpep,
Personally, I don't buy used. All of my RV's have been new and I and the dealer worked out any problems during the warranty period.
Some folks will tell you to buy used 1 to 3 years old. Bugs have been worked out and next to new without the cost. Good points.
The unit you are talking about does not fit that criteria.
It's 6 years old.
Bugs have not been worked out because it has sat for 6 years.
The suspension has not moved, the brakes have not been used, the unit hasn't rattled down the road.
Who knows what kind of problems you are going to encounter.
I would be willing to bet that routine maintenance and inspections have not been performed.
You mention needing replacement tires and a slide seal.
You didn't mention if the unit had a transferable extended warranty. (probably doesn't) All repairs will be out of pocket.
Too many unknowns for me.
Because of these issues, I would personally walk away from that unit.
This has nothing to do with Montana. I would walk away from this one regardless of brand.
ATC/NAC Jerry A. Burkholder, USN (RET.)

Rule #1. The Chief is always right.
Rule #2. When in doubt, refer to rule #1.
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Old 03-30-2017, 08:15 PM   #12
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Mel b, fulltiming units need to be of a layout that you can live in without constantly being reminded of things that make you feel like you are actually trying to live in the cardboard box that a 27 cuft fridge came in. Small works if there is decent flow to the layout. Storage matters, but less so if you are always in warm weather. You can't bring a ton of stuff with you into this lifestyle, but the freedom from simplifying your life is very rewarding. Spending winter in the 70's and 80's isn't bad, seeing the usa the other six months is great. So much to see, so little time.
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Old 06-06-2017, 01:34 PM   #13
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There's an 08 kz escalade in our are for 35....looks new...very high quality before Thor bought them..
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