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Old 05-07-2005, 08:13 PM   #1
RMccord
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Some feedback for a New Mountaineer 335RLBS Owner

Hello all:

My DW and I just plunked down the money to buy a 2005 Montana Mountaineer 335RLBS. It must be the most recent version as it has the concealed propane and batteries up front and the bike/rack rear rack.

We naturally are very excited. But I would like to request some feedback from you seasoned RV'ers.
We just took a small hit in that our first RV was only purchased a couple of months ago. A 2005 Komfort 231T a very nice but far too small TT with no slide outs. Fortunately we have a freind that liked it and we got out taking about a $2000 hit plus tax and lic. Fortunately they are going to be happy and we also should be. We had researched for some time but got convinced by a dealer that it would fit our needs. I won't go there but we were bamboozled a bit I feel. Luck was shining on us a bit as we got out without too costly a lesson.
We have been looking again for almost as long as we have had this trailer and of course had all the info from before. THe good thing is that even in the short time and only 3 weekends out we learned alot about what we wanted and what was missing or too small in actuality. The trailer was great. Everything worked as advertised and no problems except space. We consider it part of the growing process but one not to be repeated anytime soon.
My questions to the group is. I have read on the TrailerLife Forum quite a few comments about quality and construction which of course is taken with a grain of salt as many will make a problem well known to as many as they can but a satisfied customer may only tell a few. Therefore a forum is a good way to bash a brand.
But there also must be some truth there and that is the reason for my posing some questions while I can still avoid another change.
Are the Quality issues real?
Is the Mountaineer units and this one specifically if any one has it as good as I think they appear to be?
I have a 2005 GMC 2500HD Duramax/Allison Long Bed Extended Cab TV. I cannot see where this would not be a great TV for this trailer but I would like to know if you feel it is too small or any other concerns there?
How well does this unit tow? I noticed it has no shocks. Does it suffer not having them?
Are there any features you feel would be worth adding. It has most options on it.
I am considering adding another awning over the bedroom door and window. Would you see this as a useful addition?
Do any of you feel awnings over the slides is really necessary?
What if any problems should I be on the look out for.
My dealer has several full hook up sites at the dealership and I will take delivery next weekend. This gives them plenty of time to PDI.
We have been offered the opportunity to stay there overnite and try out the rig and have any adjustments made while there. We live two hours away so this was a pleasant and nice surprise. Cetainly something my other dealer didn't offer or have.
Any issues with this particular trailer that would be nice for me to know or whatch out for?
Any feedback is really appreciated.
I don't want to put my wife through a disappointment again. Kinda nice to buy her one for mothers day, heh.

We live in So. Cal.
Our hobbies are Bob:
Astronomy, Model Railroading and wood working.
Carol
Quilting, reading and traveling.

We are in our mid fifties and having a great time RV'g even in the short time we have been involved.

We intend to haul this thing from So. Cal. to Durango, CO. and on to the Black Hills in August. Will have 16 days on the road with it and about 3 pre outings with it before then.

Your tips, info, headsup, etc are most appreciated

Happy to be coming into the Montan Owner Group.
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Old 05-08-2005, 06:03 AM   #2
VanMan
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I'll jump in first ! Welcome to the Montana "family"!! We have a 2000 305FKS (a little shorter than yours and a different layout) that we pull with an F-250. Most of the folks on here have 5th wheels but there are several with travel trailers. Someone will be along soon with the exact same model and possibly even the same tow vehicle.

Ours pulls fine - lack of shocks is not a problem. Some folks have installed Bilsteins. You can do a search and find a couple of previous discussions.

Cannot help with the BR awning question, but the slide topper keeps debris from the trees from dropping on the slide and needing removal before retracting it. It also keeps rain from pooling on top of the slide which may enter the trailer when retracted. I'll always have a slide topper!!

We made a similar trip as your planned one 2 years ago. We went from TX to Yellowstone, then across to Black Hills (Mt. Rusmore, Needles Highway, Crazy Horse Memorial, Deadwood, etc.)

We made the Durango trip a few years ago with a smaller TT. We spent a few days in D and then up to Ouray - really GREAT stuff !!
We rented a Jeep, which was probably the highlight of the trip !!

Your dealer has the right idea !!! Be sure to ask all the right questions and don't be afraid to ask on the road either - most RVers are quite willing to help and share their knowledge & experience.

Enjoy !!!
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Old 05-08-2005, 06:42 AM   #3
sreigle
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Wow, what a lot of great questions! First of all, welcome aboard, Bob and Carol, and congratulations on the new Mountaineer.

I think you nailed it square on the head with this statement: "I have read on the TrailerLife Forum quite a few comments about quality and construction which of course is taken with a grain of salt as many will make a problem well known to as many as they can but a satisfied customer may only tell a few. Therefore a forum is a good way to bash a brand."

That says it better than I have been able to when trying to answer the concerns of those who read about problems in this forum. If you do not object, I've saved your wording and may want to quote it in the future. I will attribute to you, of course. If you object, don't hesitate to say so.

Like anything mechanical, there have been some problems. But the vast majority have had very few problems, mostly minor at that. For those who had the major problems that's not much consolation, but it's nice to know it's not widespread. I think you can rest assured that you bought a good quality brand. And, if you have problems, it is nice to know that Keystone is there to help you out.

Your truck will do just fine. The 335RLBS has a GVWR, max weight rating, of 11,100. It's 8,340 as it comes from the factory. Add battery, propane bottles, gear, fluids, food, etc., and you'll likely be around 9500-10000 lbs for your trip. Hitch weight is listed as 940 lbs but that's at the 8340 UVW, so I'd guess you'll be looking at around 1,000 lbs, maybe 1100 hitchweight. That's just a best guess. I have no firsthand experience with the Mountaineer TT's.

Slide toppers. We have them and wouldn't be without them. But many people do just fine without them. The main purpose is to keep debris off the top of the slide so I don't have to climb up on the roof and sweep off the slides before retracting them. If you are pushing your budget pretty hard with a list of things you want to do or add to your Mountaineer, then slide toppers is probably one I'd put at a low priority. Just my opinion.

I don't know how well that unit tows without shocks nor how much difference it will make. We had a '99 Jayco Eagle 255BH, 25 1/2 ft., that came new without shocks. I did not feel it needed shocks for normal towing. Because I also towed a bassboat behind this fifthwheel I did add shocks. The hitchweight of the boat was around 400 pounds and that caused some bouncing which translated to sway. The shocks helped in that situation. If I were you, I'd not worry about it until you find it's a problem.

I think by losing only $2000 you did well. It's nice you were able to correct that mistake and didn't have to live with it for an extended period. That Jayco Eagle was our mistake. The floorplan just didn't work. We kept it 18 months, then traded for our first Montana.

Good luck. Keep us posted. And enjoy the Black Hills! We were there just under a year ago and definitely want to go back. So many things to see and do there. If you want some ideas, click on the "Our RV Travels" at the end of this post, click the "2004 Postcards", then scroll down to the postcards dated July 1, 2004, through July 29, 2004. We were there for 11 nights in June, the July dates are the dates Vicki's e-postcards were mailed.

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Old 05-08-2005, 07:28 AM   #4
azstar
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RMccord,

Welcome to the MOC

Oh yea, Great choice. It tows great. Got the best floor plan of any we have seen. Plenty of storage. Very liveable.

Check out "fulltimedreamers" mods. Go to Members at top of page type in his name and go his link. He has lots of RV mod. pics. there that he has done. Also try to find "Mountaineer Improvments" in the Search area. I need to add to my list, so I think that will bring it up on the current posts.

Steve, is on the money with the weights, my Loaded Trailer Wt. is 10'030 lbs. with a hitch Wt. of 1080 lbs.

What EQ hitch are you using? I would like to recommend the Reese Dual Cam or the Hensley. They both do a great job. Make sure everything is level, the TT, TV and the EQ Bars.

There is at least two of us that can't seem to control ourselves with our 335RLBS Mods. "fulltimedreamer" and yours truly. We can help you spend thousands of dollars more presonalizing yours.

Now about August and the Black Hills. You wouldn't happen to be Bikers are ya? We are guilty of that. That's why the TT and not a 5er. We haul a Royal Star TourDelux in the bed of the Truck. Have been to Sturgis a couple of times for the Rally in August. Loved it. Over 500,000 Bikers.

Anything we can help you with just holler.

Happy Camping

PS, What does "DW" mean. Did you have to get the Wife Drunk to get Her to sign the papers?
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Old 05-08-2005, 09:45 AM   #5
RMccord
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DW means dear wife

Oh I tried searching names for fulltimedreamers but no hits. What name am I looking for?

Thanks
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Old 05-08-2005, 10:35 AM   #6
stiles watson
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I'll welcome you later. For now go to the top of the page on the right hand side. Click on "Members". Select "F" from the alphabet list. Fulltimedreamer is about the third entry. Click on that member name. Then on the profile page, you will see his homepage URL bottom right. Click there and you are in to his info sharing website.
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Old 05-08-2005, 12:03 PM   #7
stiles watson
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Welcome to the MOC Forum. Great questions you ask. There ain't no perfect RV, dealer, or manufacturer. Also I can't find the existance of a trouble free stick house or automobile manufacturer. Maintenance is required on everything. It sounds to me like you may have found a good dealer if he is willing for you to try it out on site. Excellent PDI lists have been posted on this forum in the past. If it were me, I would certainly use one and be firm and determined to address any and all issues.

The majority position on this forum is that Keystone stands behind their product. The whole RV industry needs to have a significant upgrade to their quality control including Keystone. This forum is free from manufacture's centorship, so the posters here let it "all hang out." But seldom do I see the kind of venom as I have seen on some other forums. Some of the posters here have had to deal with significant irritating problems. Others, like myself, have had to deal with relatively minor issues to about the same degree as issues related to buying a new car.

I am pulling a 37' fifth wheel with an F250, so I have no doubt that your 3/4-ton will do the job. Many hear are pulling heavier units than mine with 3/4-ton TVs. Those who use 1-ton TVs are satisfied with having made a good decision and I have no argument with them. But on another forum I was called an "idiot" for not moving up to a 1-ton. Needless to say that kind of open insult was not appreciated and would not be allowed here.

I am satisfied that you will receive straightforward, honest dialog with differences of opinion from which you may determine for yourself the course of action you want to take.

Have a great adventure.
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Old 05-08-2005, 02:34 PM   #8
fulltimedreamer
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Bob and Carol,
Welcome to the MOC and congratulations on the new coach. We have the same model and have really enjoyed it. As AZSTAR has alluded we have made a "few" modifications to our unit. It is our hope to fulltime soon, so we've added a washer and drayer and some other amenities to facilitate fulltiming. Here's a link to my website with the MODs we ahve made:

http://www.geocities.com/fulltimedre...vprojects.html

To answer some of your questions:

We have the slide covers and really like them. They really keep the slides clean and I think they're an extra layer of protection against potential leaks around the slides.

As to an awning over the front door, I think that would be a great addition. We typically enter/exit through the rear door so this is not a big issue. I suppose the one thing I would change is that I wish they had put a full set of steps on the front door. It only has 2 steps so the step to the ground is a big one. I may change these as they are available at Camping World. It's nice having the front door so you can get out when you have guests in the livingroom or if someone is in the bathroom.

As I mentioned earlier we plan to fulltime in this unit. We considered trading for a 5th Wheel but decided we could modify this unit to meet our needs. I have a back injury which has left me with nerve damage to my left leg. Steps can present problems for me so one of the reasons we have decided to stay with a travel trailer is no steps once you get inside.

Your tow vehicle should have no problems with this coach. Having a 35.5' trailer behind a long truck can be a little intimidating, but with good mirrors its not too bad. I may add the Reese Dual Cam load levelers and sway control in the future. I have had no problems using my friction sway control, but I think the Reese Dual Cam system would be good insurance.

I hope you enjoy your new coach as much as we have. Don't hesitate to ask questions. We enjoy discussing our rigs.

Now I guess I'm going to have to go over to the dealer to see what they have changed to hide the propane tanks and batteries.
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Old 05-08-2005, 03:17 PM   #9
trukdoc
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Welcome to the MOC. We went with a 5er vs. a TT. Mostly for the added room and storage.
Ours is a 328RLS and when we speced ours out we pretty much went with every option. While not necessary it is much cheaper to order a unit with everything you want as opposed to adding it later. For instance we had the secong AC added if I remember right it was only about $300.00 more. If I was to add it later it certainly would have been much higher. Also adds to the resale value.
Slide toppers is something I will not be without. I think it helps with the slide leaking issues and keeps debris out of my trailer. Whatever is on top of the slide when it is out will be inside when closed up.
I am very pleased with my Mountaineer and have had only a couple of problems which were minor. My wife used to dread going out in our old motorhome but she is pushing me to take time off to take "Rosie" out somewhere.
As for the invitation to stay a night to try it out. I think that is something worth taking them up on. And work everything, the heat and AC. Probably a good idea to bring a meal to cook as you normally would when you do go out. So in the morning have a good idea of what questions you might have and concerns.
I pull Rosie with a Ford F250 6.0 PS. There is no power or handling problems.
With all that said "Happy RVing" I hope you end up with the pleasureable experiance we did.
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Old 05-08-2005, 03:38 PM   #10
SAndreasen
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Welcome to MOC! We have a 315RLS and pull it with a 2400HD 8.1liter/Allison Tranny. We could not justify the expense of the Hennsey Arrow Hitch system so we just added an extra friction sway bar. We now have one on the left and one on the right. Have driven it in almost all weather conditions (winds, rain, even some snow, etc) and never have had any white knuckle experiences. In fact I sometimes have to look inthe mirror to tell if the TT is still there. Our local RV dealer installed it for us. (RV Centeral of Sheldon, IA-great dealer) Cost us about $75. Works great! I, also, wish the front steps were a full set. Enjoy your new rig. Should work great for you! Enjoy.
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Old 05-09-2005, 04:41 AM   #11
Jeff Heiser
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Hi and welcome to MOC. We have a 327RKS TT and absolutely love it. We were pulling it with a 3500 Chevy dually but just 3 or so weeks ago traded in (up) for a 2005 Dodge LB Quad Cummins TD. Like I said we love our TT. We have had it since our last hurricane evacuation (we picked it up on our way out of town running from the storm). We have stayed in it several times for several weeks on end and not a lick of trouble with it. It goes down the road great and like SAndreasen above stated, sometimes I have to look in the mirror to make sure it's still there. Actually, we did have one small problem. Our holding tank drain value pull handles kept falling off when we would head down the road and of course we would lose them. After three times losing handles and the dealer laughing about it, I attached short peices of chain to each (and the hot water tank door) attaching one end to the handle (and door) the other to the rig. We have not had the problem since. Our's came with the slide cover and I would not go with out it. It protects the slide outside skin, keeps the slide top clean and I too believe that it helps in the prevention of leaks.

Once again, welcome to MOC.

Jeff Heiser
Merritt Island Florida
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Old 05-09-2005, 06:31 AM   #12
Sunshine
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Welcome to MOC and congratulations on the new unit. Glad you were able to make the change without too much $$$ pain. We have a Montana, but have looked at the Mountaineers and they seem to be good units - same company, so you should get the same good service. Slide toppers are one thing we wouldn't do without - they keep the water and debris from getting on top of the slides and we haven't been bothered too much by noise when it is windy. Enjoy your adventures. I think we'll be going through the Black Hills area the last of July.
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Old 05-09-2005, 07:31 AM   #13
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Fulltimedreamer - I picked up a couple of the exercise "steppers" at garage sales for $5 apiece (one still had the video in it's original wrapper). The heights are adjustable - there are several "styles" I just put one of those in front of the short steps and have a "porch" - nice and stable and cheap (like me !)
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Old 05-09-2005, 07:52 AM   #14
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VanMan,
Good solution. We use one of the plastic folding steps but the foot print is kind of small. Maybe I'll run up on some exercise steppers. (Sorry, no pun intended!)
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Old 05-09-2005, 09:50 AM   #15
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By all means, stay in the trailer ovenight at the dealers!! Our dealer had us stay two nights and they were right there to fix the little things we found that needed fixing--a support of one of the cupboard doors was loose and the bottom of a pantry shelf. We moved our stuff from our old 5er to the new one the first evening, then the next day we went through the 5er with the dealer service rep and then "lived" in it. when we found a problem they came and fixed it. Every dealer should have this "option"
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Old 05-09-2005, 12:57 PM   #16
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Hi RMccord and welcome,
We have the 315 RLS Mountaineer. It's an 03 and bought it new. Basically, same model just doesn't have the bedroom slide. We did our shake down run in a state camp ground in St. Augustine which didn't have full hookup. Worked out good, since we have 2 teenagers, you can image the gray tank filled pretty quickly and slightly backed up into the shower. Found out we had a small problem with the connection of the shower drain to the drain pipe to the gray tank and water was leaking under the shower tub from that connection. The dealer fixed and have not had any problems since. We live in Melbourne, so like Jeff's our went though 2 hurricanes last summer, I just tucked it next to the house and filled all the holding tanks and it did fine, no leaks at all. We have the awning over our slide and like others have said it helps keep "stuff" off the slide top. We had the dealer install electric outlets where the main awning connects to the camper, that way when we plug in our "happy lights" we just plug them into the base of the awning. I enjoy reading what Fulltimedreamer and Steve Azstar have done since I have a similar model/floor plan. Anyway as you can see you'll get lots of good info from the forum. Good luck with you new camper. Have fun.
Steve
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Old 05-10-2005, 07:52 AM   #17
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SRD - what does "filling the holding tanks" do for for you ? extra weight during the hurricane winds / suction ?
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Old 05-10-2005, 12:12 PM   #18
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We probably had about 100 mph or a little higher sustained winds in Melbourne from both hurricanes. We had it tucked next to the west side of the house and as high up as the camper sits I was just trying to add some extra weight to the camper. Not sure if it made a difference but made me feel better
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