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Old 02-15-2006, 01:45 PM   #1
geb3
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Getting Ready for a 3500rl

We have just begun the search and really like the Montana 3500RL.
Just a couple of questions
The tv I am looking at is a 2500hd either the chevy or the dodge with the diesel. Any opinions? (loaded ?)
Also we are thinking about the quad cab. As I have never pulled a fifth wheel. Any Hints?
I know this is for Montana's but does anybody have input on the Laredo line of Keystone?
i have noticed on several postd that several have airbags is this due to weight or ride?
I think that should be more than enough my brain is already overloaded
How is the 3500Rl? Should have been the 1st ?

Thanks to all in advance!!

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Old 02-15-2006, 02:01 PM   #2
richfaa
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The 3500 is a great Model.Think it is their #2 seller after the 3400RL. If you like the floorplan then it is the model for you. As for the Truck everyone who is pulling with a 3/4 ton will no doubt tell you it pulls great with no problem..However..If you can swing it go for the longbed in whatever you buy and the 1 ton dually then you will not need to be concerned about airbags or pinweight, slider hitches, broken windows or bent trucks..My opinion only..Others will follow..
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Old 02-15-2006, 02:34 PM   #3
Montana Sky
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geb3,
Welcome to the MOC. You have come to the right place to get great information and advice on the Montana. You will not find a better group of people, we look forward to hearing more from you as you narrow down your rv choice. The 3500RL is a great floorplan and has one of the lighter kingpin weights which will work in your favor as far as a tow vehicle goes. I can only offer the facts as they relate to my truck, a 2500HD Duramax diesel and my 3400RL. I chose the diesel over the gas for the additional fuel mileage and the longevity of the diesel motors. I have a shortbed and if you choose one I highly recommend a sliding hitch for those tight turns. The Superglide is my suggestion, it is worth every penny. For my specific truck I do not have airbags as the "squat" is less than 2". In my opinion a 2500HD or a 3500 will serve you well, the longbed or shortbed is more of a personal choice as well as going with a dually or single rear wheel. The single rear wheel has been a solid platform for my setup that has served me well. Again, Welcome to the MOC.
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Old 02-15-2006, 02:54 PM   #4
Northstar
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geb3, Welcome to the forum. I would recommend a 1 ton diesel dually. This covers all your bases. Good luck on your selection.
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Old 02-15-2006, 03:03 PM   #5
Bill Frisbee
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I cannot add much to what Rich and Montana Sky have already stated. Information I have seen (supposedly provided by people who manufacture PullRite Super Glide hitches) indicates that the distance from the rear wheels to the back of the cab is greatest in GM short bed pick-ups and shortest in the Dodge. With Montana's new front cap design, it seems likely that clearance problems between the front of the coach and the rear of the cab on short bed trucks will be avoided ... especially with GM products. If you decide on a short bed, that might be a consideration in your choice of truck brand. I do not think there is a lot of difference among the diesels provided by each of the three major manufacturers. All will do the job without difficulty ... but I do recommend a diesel for the reasons stated by Montana Sky. I chose a short bed and the SRW because the truck is also my daily driver and I live in a city with many narrow streets and short parking spaces. The long bed dually is more of a hassle to drive around and park than I care to deal with unless absolutely necessary. I was also advised by experienced hands that duallys are more difficult to handle in the snow (an occupational hazard of living in the Great White North) than SRWs.

That having been said, I have friends who haul big Montys behind 3/4 ton, short bed trucks without difficulty. Also have friends who haul with long bed, 1 ton duallys who think it is the only way to go. The common denominator across all of them is the big diesel!

I should also add that no one on the planet has conducted more thorough and exhaustive research into the alternative RVs available than Rich & Helen. That they have decided to purchase a new Montana is as strong a recommendation as you will find anywhere.

Bill
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Old 02-15-2006, 07:49 PM   #6
Garin1
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grb3, can't help with the 3/4 truck. Just wanted to welcome you aboard
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Old 02-15-2006, 09:14 PM   #7
stiles watson
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If I could have anything I wanted, I would pull with a Volvo hauler or a customized Freightliner. Since that ain't gonna happen, I am perfectly happy with my longbox 3/4 ton Crewcab Ford F250. Don't need airbags. Don't have instability. Don't have braking problems. It pulls the hills just fine. I get about 10-11 mpg loaded. Of course there are exceptions, like up hill and into the wind. Ok, enough of my truck prejudice.

The unit you are looking at is super---if it fits your needs---if it feels comfortable and liveable to you and the lady of the house. Just remember there is no perfect RV and everything is a trade-off concerning space. To get this you have to give up that. You just have to determine which "this and that" is the more important to you.

We all sympathize with your excitement and your angst. Welcome to the best forum around and Happy RVing.....
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Old 02-16-2006, 11:38 AM   #8
geb3
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Lots of great input!!! Thank you All

While I have been reading all these messages of course additional things popup.
What do ya all think about 4x4 yea or nah?
I know the added expense up front and the mainteance issues.
But those of you that have 4x4 do you really use and can justify it?
I currently have it and it has been used a few times, i'm can't say I needed to but it made things alittle easier. We live out in Ca. Sacramento. So we will be going over the hill and down to the ocean. Any thoughts?
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Old 02-16-2006, 12:12 PM   #9
Montana Sky
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geb3,
The 4x4 is going to take away from the amount of trailer weight you can tow. If you look at the brochures or specs on the websites each truck brand will give you the trailer weight max for a 4x4 and a 2x4. Since I live up here in snow country a 4x4 is a must but, I have also used it a few times in different campgrounds to help get that coach into a spot. Some campgrounds have gravel roads, hills, or just dirt roads and when a little rain comes along things can get pretty slick in a hurry. If you never plan on staying up north during the winter months you would probably be ok with a 2x4. For my personal pick I will always have a 4x4 weither I live in snow country or not, sure nice to have when you need it.
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Old 02-16-2006, 01:56 PM   #10
richfaa
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Guess it depends on what you will use the truck for. A lot of folks in the west and south west do a lot of what they call Boondocking, Drive off in the desert, Fire up the generator,set up the Satellite , turn on the stereo DVD ,A/C and rough it. a 4x4 would be a good thing.Folks like Montana Sky and Dsprik are up to their eyeballs in snow and Ice 6 months out of the year.A 4X4 is a good thing. Then there are folks like me..We drive on interstates and Turnpikes, Stay in four star campgrounds, full hookups only.Do our best to stay out of snow, ice, sleet, mud with the RV and cannot see us ever driving 80K plus of Tv and Camper off road and over hill and dale. A 2X4 is a good thing//// Have fun..
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Old 02-16-2006, 02:02 PM   #11
Bill Frisbee
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I agree entirely with Montana Sky. Without the 4X4 here in Ontario, I would be spending half my time going sideways during the winter. I have also found that having the 4X4 is a real asset in muddy and wet conditions. Hauling 7 tons of RV out of conditions like that can be a difficult task ... one that is made much easier with 4-wheel drive and good quality all-terrain tires. The difference in towing capacity between the 4X4 and 4X2 version of my Dodge Ram 3500 is 300 lbs (13,950 vs. 14,250). I would not be without 4X4.

Bill
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Old 02-16-2006, 02:04 PM   #12
houseof many dogs
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On the question of the 4x4 - on a Ford it gets you away from the Twin I-beam front end - a source of front end camber problems that can lead to uneven tire wear.

Chev and Dodge use unequal length A-arm front ends and not a problem.

Also you may need to consider if you want to put up with all the extra weight of the transfer case, front axle and driveshaft.

Finally, all you get with 4WD is 100yards further in when you get stuck LOL.
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Old 02-16-2006, 03:13 PM   #13
dsprik
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You have to rotate your tires more often, but as Rich and MontanaSky said, 2x4 is NOT an option. I have also heard stories from people saying that moving their 5ver up grades (ever see someone trying to pull a heavy boat up a boat ramp with a 2x4 pickup?), sand and wet grass WILL happen. And also, as Rich stated, I am currently up to my eyeballs in snow... more on the way in the next 24 hrs with a w/ a little wind to stir things up a bit.

We will get a taste of this weather occasionally, due to family logistics. A 2x4 pickup in this stuff is not a 1st through 10th, or more, choice by anyone up here for transportation.
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Old 02-16-2006, 05:00 PM   #14
gkbutler
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Haven't had to use my 4 X 4 yet, but like Montana Sky, it wasn't an option. It will be there if I need it. Haven't had a bit of problems going up and over the mountains, the Duramax pulls like a dream. I have to keep looking in the rear view mirror to make sure the Montana is behind me.
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Old 02-20-2006, 04:49 PM   #15
bigbob7777
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Howdy,
Haven't posted in a while - glad to be back.

My DW and I fulltime in our 2005 3500rl and pull it with a dodge 3500 dually, diesel. All I can say is: when on the freeway and an 18 wheeler passes me, I don't even notice. I mean absolutely zero sway. I don't know if the single rear wheel will do that.

My unit with the splendide 2100 w/d and loaded (not overloaded) with our fulltime "stuff", weighs exactly - and I do mean exactly - 21000 lbs. No water in the fresh tank though, so you may need to add some lbs if you plan to carry some. If you get the 4 x 4 with the 3.73 gears, you will be overweight.

We don't plan to be where the snow is, so 4 x 4 was never an option for us. The truck pulls very well, even though you do need to watch your speed when going down steep grades. It does fine, just be smart.

We absolutely love the floorplan. We have dinner and then relax in the "media room". If one of us wants to go to bed early, we just close the french doors and noone is disturbed. We also have the fireplace, and when some chilly nights sneek up on us, just turning this on makes us feels very toasty.

We average just about 12 mpg towing (at 65 mph), and 19-22 mpg empty. When we take our foot off the gas pedal and average 60 mph, we get 12.5 - 13 mpg.

If you have more questions, please feel free to PM me. I can give you my phone/email as needed.

bob
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Old 02-21-2006, 02:28 AM   #16
dannyl
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A lot of good ideas and thoughts here to confuse one isn't there.
Every situation is different and the needs are different.

1. Look at where you will be traveling. TV to get you there safely.
2. Look at what you are towing. If you drive up in a one ton, either single or dual wheel, you can pull off anything on the lot.
3. Diesel will stay with you for a long time and has great power.
4. Look at the floorplan that makes you happy. You would do the same when buying a house.

The Keystone lines are top of the line RV's. Find a dealer you trust.

Happy camping.
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Old 02-21-2006, 09:51 AM   #17
sreigle
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I've never heard of having to rotate tires more frequently because of 4x4. I've always rotated the same as when I had 4x2 and never a problem doing it that way.

I've had several situations now where I was really glad to have the 4x4. Kept me from having to call for help to get out of a site, or in one case, to get out of the mud I pulled into unknowingly when we stopped alongside the road to check a map.

Those of us who have added airbags did so because the pinweight caused the rear of the truck to sag. In my case it was just a couple of inches but I like the truck level.

While true a 4x4 will have slightly less towing capacity than a corresponding 4x2, I'm sold on the 4x4 and believe it is a worthwhile tradeoff, since the truck still has plenty of towing capacity. My 3/4 ton 4x4 in the Ford F250 variety (2005 model) is rated to tow 15,400 lbs with GCWR of 23,000. More than plenty for any Montana. I am over on GVWR, however. Had I got the Camper Package (for slidein campers) in addition to the Tow Package the truck would have the extra leaf and stabilizer bar that's on the Ford 1-ton trucks and the airbags would have been unnecessary. We towed the same Montana with a 2003 Ford 1-ton and it sat level when hitched.

I understand my opinion is not shared by all but after towing fifthwheels for 11 years and this Montana for 40,000 miles I see no need for a dually. To me the suggestion of more stability is a solution to a problem that does not exist. In addition, a dually is terrible in snow and we spend some time in snow country. We've been a few places a dually could not go and a few where 'no duallies' was posted. To me, the reason to get a dually is if you need the extra payload capacity for a heavy pinweight. The 3500 has a relatively light pinweight compared to ours (3300 lbs actual). I am very happy with my single rear wheel. Again, just my opinion and I realize not everyone agrees. I would invite anyone to ride with us when we're towing and see for themselves.
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Old 02-21-2006, 03:23 PM   #18
richfaa
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To each their own.Whatever you have is the best for you. In all our years of camping and camp grounds we can honestly say we have never seen the need for a 4 wheel drive.Now we have been in CG's that got soft due to rain while we were in there and the C G.owners would NOT allow those who had 4 wheel drives or 2 wheel drive to pull their campers out. They would come in with tractors and sheets of plywood to run the campers on so as not to tear up their turf.That has happened many times. As for a dually.we have one because it suited our needs and I am no kind of a expert but it would seem to me that the wider you are and the more wheels on the ground the more stable it would be.. The dually IS bad news in ice and snow but then again so is ANY pickup truck .Around here folks fill them up with snow or sand bags so as to get some weight over the axles no matter what the truck. When we had our hunting camp up in the PA mountains you had a 4 wheel drive or you got nowhere. We are absolutely certain that whatever you have you are completely happy with it..as well you should be..
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Old 02-21-2006, 04:16 PM   #19
rlwhit
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It is strange how us folks that tow heavy 5th wheels will agree or not agree as to 2wd or 4wd. My TV has so much torgue that I can not back up the Montana to it's parking spot on my gravel diveway without spinging tires unless I am 4WD. Also we have snow in the winter. Maybe next year we will be south when it snows. When we came home last Friday it was cold and snowed last night. 4WD drive is a must. Just decide what you need.
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Old 02-21-2006, 05:59 PM   #20
ols1932
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I pull a 3555RL with a F-250 Diesel with Banks Power Pack. Contrary to what some may say, I take a different approach to tow vehicles. Most of us pulling Montanas are overloaded. My F-250 is rated to tow 12,000 lbs, 20,000 GCWR. My rig loaded weighs 14,800. That's too much. If I were you I wouldn't tow with anything less than a one ton and I would not go with the short box. I've seen too many problems towing with the short box. Plus, the long box allows you to carry normal 4x8 sheets of plywood or other such things when you're not towing. It's up to you, these are just the words of someone who has been at this for some time now.

Orv
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