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Old 09-26-2019, 06:56 AM   #21
Dave W
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We are happy with our '2014 343RL.



It's a very early build '14 which means that it has some 2013 features such as bo pantry (grrrr) and a two door bathroom which means no bigger shower (sigh).


- It has 100% frameless windows.
- It has a combination of solid and coated plywood cabinet

- It has a full counter, not an island to suit my wife
- It has a 10 gallon HW heater so I can take a REAL shower, not a navy shower

- It has lots of storage space for a non full timer
- It has 4 slides and lots of inside room



I've added disc brakes, a second a/c and upgraded the puny Keystone supplied suspension.


A few things we don't care much for:
- The furniture was completely uncomfortable, was sold and has been replaced with the exception of the DR table and chairs
- The poor quality carpet has worn out and will be replaced with solid flooring.
= The 13 foot long LR slide sags from a failed slide bar. That will be corrected by installing rollers as adjusting the cables tighter wont cure that problem. A 13 foot cable operated slide, IMO, is just too much for that system. The other 3 slides, at ~7 feet - just fine. Especially the BR which has rollers(???).
- China Bomb tires but were replaced immediately with LTs



We have towed the rig about 27,000 miles (see the sig map) with nary a problem that would stop us more then a few minutes.


Would I buy another HC - probably, but we would look at other brands, including the non HC Montanas just in case it had better livability and/or better quality features
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Old 09-26-2019, 11:34 AM   #22
jsb5717
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I think most of us don't buy what we like...we buy what we can afford to like. I'm guessing that's true of both campers and full-timers. If we had wanted to spend an additional $20k we would have looked in that bracket and would have likely bought a different trailer. Whether it would have improved our camping exerience is doubtful. We would have bought within our budget and gone camping with our friends and family and had a great time as we always have.

In our Montys there are a few noted differences between the Montana and the HC, like 12" frame vs 10" frame or hydraulic leveling and slides vs electric. Will these differences have an impact on the life of the rig?
Are there any differences in the overall construction? Walls? Roof?

Unlike a lot of trailers, both the Montana and HC are both warranted for full time use. That tells me that, at least in theory, that Keystone has built into both of these models a quality level that translates into durability.

A lot of the differences are only cosmetic. Most, if not all, of the daily use key components are the same: plumbing, water heater, furnace, electrical, television, sound system, AC, furniture. Even the OEM tires and base suspension are typically the same. How many buy a new $80K Monty and replace the mattress right away?

There's a lot to consider when buying a rig and staying within a budget...not the least of which is how you are going to use it. There's definately a difference between an occasional weekender and a full-timer. For us it's always been about being able to enjoy different scenery and experiences while still using our own stuff and sleeping in our own bed. For most of our 35+ years of camping we've enjoyed these things in very inexpensive used trailers. This is our first new rig and, with retirement now upon us, plan to do even more of the same.

Choosing a trailer is a personal decision and very subjective. We want reliability. We like the extravagance and higher end finishes (cosmetic) of the more expensive rigs but decided we don't need them to enjoy the trip. The HC provides good comfort, nice floorplans, easy towing. We're hoping for reliability...we'll see.
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Old 09-26-2019, 07:47 PM   #23
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We just bought 2020 HC 331 RL 10th anniversary edition and couldn't be happier with our choice. After 6 months of looking, We ended up with a Regular Montana on our list along with a Solitude (both over 40')... but the High Country met our needs and for our first 5th wheel we decided to go a bit lighter (14,000 vs 16,800) due to need in Texas to have to get a modified Class B license. We will give it two years and then if decide to go full time we will upgrade to a larger model.
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Old 09-26-2019, 08:59 PM   #24
Renegade1LI
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Provided there are no serious issues I feel the that maintenance and preventative maintenance is the key. No leaks! good tires & regular cleaning goes a long way to preserving the integrity of the rig. We have a HC 381 & because its a toy hauler it has a 12" I beam frame, triple 7000lb axle, 12 gal hwh, cabinet doors & drawer fronts are hardwood to name a few. It seems most toy haulers are built a little more heavy duty. When the slides are in all the windows are frameless, only the so windows are framed. Anything inside can be rebuilt & improved if needed, furniture upgraded & if we were going to keep it for a while I would rhino line the roof, add disc brakes & IS. To me its not worth the extra money to upgrade when we plan to upgrade the rig in a yr or 2.
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Old 09-26-2019, 10:14 PM   #25
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One thing I've noticed over the years, the bigger heavier units have much more suspension problems that the lighter units. Bolts, hangers and bushings fail at a much higher rate on the heavy units. Even leaf springs.

Our Wildcat at 9k Lbs dry still has the original everything on the suspension. Its been towed across the USA several times and more 1k miles trips than I can remember. I have zero faith our HC will travel that many miles without replacing suspension parts.
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Old 09-26-2019, 10:33 PM   #26
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We bought supports for our long slides on both side of RV. Hoping that helps prevent any support issues....
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Old 09-27-2019, 10:08 PM   #27
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In 2016 my wife found the floor plan we (she) had to have in a new HC. We used it a total of 13 months and pulled about 21,000 miles. Only a couple minor cosmetic problems the entire time, but I changed the tires immediately to Sailun. Pulled easily with our F350 diesel. In mid-2019 my wife found a Montana with the floor plan we (she) had to have! What the hell, I bought a new F350 F350 diesel dually 4x4. After all, we ( I ) really needed it.
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Old 09-28-2019, 06:19 AM   #28
Dave W
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjlbj01 View Post
We bought supports for our long slides on both side of RV. Hoping that helps prevent any support issues....

We use them except when on an extended trip. Even if you have that dreaded double flat tire problem that many seem to think will happen while parked, the slide can move up about 3 inches in the hole without damage
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Old 12-06-2019, 04:56 PM   #29
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Wow...
I've been reading and reading and reading....hubby and I are about to pull the trigger on a new fifth wheel - this will be our third RV. First was a 34' fifth wheel with 2 slides - an Alpenlite. We loved it. Got rid of it though, for a bumper pull toy hauler. That was 5 years ago, now we want a short (35' or less) fifth wheel. We are down to two choices - the Montana 3120 and the HC 294RL.
I'm so thankful for sites like these, they are very informative.
I do have one question - one of my biggest concerns between the two trailers is the 7000 vs 6000lb axles. Any input from folks here about if the 6000lb axles could cause a problem maybe being too light?
thanks!
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:00 PM   #30
CaptnJohn
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The axel depends on the model. The model I had was 43’ and a heavy HC and came with 7k axels. What I didn’t like was the LR F tires that came with it and changed immediately.
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Old 12-06-2019, 10:56 PM   #31
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I think to many people worry about whether the 6,000 is strong enough compared to the 7,000 pound axle. Sure the 7,000 pounder is stronger but it also carry's more weight. I gross a little over 16,000 pounds on my Montana so I do need the 7,000 pound axle but if I were 2,000 pounds less like the HC then the 6,000 pound axle would suffice. This is the same with the frame. More weight demands more I-beam and less weight needs less. Just because a Montana has a stronger axle and frame doesn't make it a better rv. The HC has plenty of axle and frame for what it is rated to carry. If you stay within your weight specs and install 14 ply tires on the Montana and a very good quality tire such as the Michelin XPS RIBS on your HC then you should be ok.
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Old 12-06-2019, 11:04 PM   #32
CaptnJohn
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HC have arrived with 110# rated wheels since 2016 or 2017. From the dealer I drove 43 miles to the tire shop and had Sailun S637 tires installed when I bought an HC. It was a great 5er but out needs changed so we now have a Montana with a different floor plan.
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Old 12-07-2019, 05:55 AM   #33
Dave W
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Our '14 HC, 38'/12,000#(in spite of their on line specs)arrived with - gasp - 5200 pound suspension. After a bunch of research found that the only difference between a 5200 and 6000 pound suspension was one more spring leaf and a slightly larger outer bearing. It now has 6000# suspension. Leap ahead to the 7K suspension, you have exactly the same 3" axle tube but have a larger bearings/hub and one more spring leaf and 8 lug wheels. The OEM tires - same load rating though some if not all of the Montanas have Sailuns or similar heavier tires while the HC may have a junk China Bomb. Mechanically, the frame bracketing is the same though the Montana may have the next step up equalizer.


Your possible 294RL fully loaded has a GVW of about 15,000 pounds, the 2300 pond oin weight when loaded will probably be closer to 2500. 15000 - 2500 = 12,500 on the tires. Divided equally is 3125 per tire/wheel. Kinda tells me that you need a 7K axle under a 294RL if you load it fully.


That 294RL is a nice floor plan though
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Old 12-07-2019, 11:32 AM   #34
twindman
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The current 294 has a GVW of around 14,300 lb., not 15K. They claim hitch weight of 2300. I have never seen actual pin weight that isn't higher than advertised. So if you assume 2500 or 2600, the axles would carry 11,900 or 12000. So technically 6K axles are good, but might be a little light. I have a mountaineer and my wheels all weigh in at 5500 to 5800 because I run lighter than the max. Keystone certainly doesn't overbuild any trailer, tho!!! LOL
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Old 12-07-2019, 01:15 PM   #35
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I've lived in my 2019 384br HC for a year and 3 months now for work, I'm happy with it. Wife wanted a bunk room for an office and the loft above for storage.

I look at other trailers from time to time just dreaming. I like the Montana equivalent, the 3854br because of it's 18 cu ft fridge (I have a 12 cu ft) and the barn doors in bedroom and bunk room.

To get that though I lose a lot of kitchen counter space since they put the bunk room door in the kitchen instead of the hallway. And I lose counter space around the oven because of the big fridge and the relocation of the pantry.

The weights are close to the same.
3854 br montana 13576 shipping weight, 3324 carrying capacity.
384 br Montana HC 13226 shipping weight, 3274 carrying capacity.

Tank capacities are the same.

I'm plenty happy with what we've got and wife is even happier.

The Montana shows as being 2 inches longer than the HC.
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Old 12-07-2019, 02:07 PM   #36
Dave W
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Originally Posted by twindman View Post
The current 294 has a GVW of around 14,300 lb., not 15K. They claim hitch weight of 2300. I have never seen actual pin weight that isn't higher than advertised. So if you assume 2500 or 2600, the axles would carry 11,900 or 12000. So technically 6K axles are good, but might be a little light. I have a mountaineer and my wheels all weigh in at 5500 to 5800 because I run lighter than the max. Keystone certainly doesn't overbuild any trailer, tho!!! LOL
Wow, dinged for 700 pounds - phew. I rounded up based on 45 years of owning 5ers that no where met the shipping weight figure with a couple TTs thrown in for good measure

6K axles are too dam' light for 15,000 pounds, give or take a few pounds and are maxed to their absolute limit, no safety factor based on using Keystone's advertised values. My rounded up numbers would put them at 3175 for each wheel, assuming they are equally loaded - which they are not


Keystone's fairy tale from their website:

Shipping Weight
11035
Carrying Capacity
3265
Hitch2300
The max GVW that I would even consider with 6K axles is 12,000 pounds - all od which would be static load while sitting in a driveway or CG
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Old 12-07-2019, 02:13 PM   #37
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So you would not want a 6K axle with a carrying weight of any more than 4800??? On 12000 wt about 2400 is pin weight. 12000-2400=9600 / 2 = 4800.
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Old 12-07-2019, 04:43 PM   #38
Dave W
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So you would not want a 6K axle with a carrying weight of any more than 4800??? On 12000 wt about 2400 is pin weight. 12000-2400=9600 / 2 = 4800.



You tottally miss the point.
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Old 12-09-2019, 05:36 PM   #39
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Thanks for all the info gang
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