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Old 03-20-2006, 12:39 PM   #1
Montana_5571
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New prospect with lots of questions

Montanans

I'm very new to the fifth wheel crowd, but fell in love with the Montana line today at a dealer. Anyone in Ontario wanting a fantastic dealer, go see Bob Plewman at Camping In Style in Brooklin. Great guy. Great follow up. No smoke and mirrors. Just a real decent guy.

Anyway, I looked at Carriage and Montana, and thought that the Montana really offered a lot of bang for the buck.

We looked seriously at the 3400RL and the 3475RL, and thought the 3475RL did the job nicely.

We forgot to ask, though, about basement storage, so we were hoping that we could get some feedback from any current or past Montana owners.

We currently have two Dodge Ram Quad Cab 1500s, but realize that one of them is going to have to be upgraded. We'd appreciate feedback on that, too. What are you guys using to pull your Montana?

We're going to use this for mobile vacations, for the most part, as opposed to driving to somewhere warm, parking for the winter, and using it as a golf club storage bin ;}.

We really would appreciate any comments on the Montana line, any hints, tips, trials and tribulations. We're quite serious about buying one, and think that a forum like this is the perfect place for research.

We look forward to all of your comments, and ask that if you're posting here, that you also kindly email as well, to editor@reach.net.

Thanks so much, and hope to see you somewhere, sometime.

Darryl
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Old 03-20-2006, 07:20 PM   #2
stiles watson
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You have your nose pointed in the right direction. You are right on target with the analysis that the Montana is the "best bang for the buck." The basement space is adequate in these Montanas and can be made more useful with organizational ingenuity. This is the place to peruse in order that you not have to re-invent the wheel.

The truck issue is a bit of a concern. 1/2-ton pickups are just not able to manage the weight of a big fifth wheel safely. You will, at a minimum, need a 3/4-ton heavy duty rig and many folks will vehemenantly defend the need to have a 1-ton, dual rear wheel with four wheel drive.

It may be said you can't have too much truck, however, for most, there has to be a balance between need and financial responsibility. If I could have anything I wanted, I would probably have a Volvo Hauler or a customized Freightliner. That's not going to happen.

Let me say that you came to the right place for hearing many sides of the issues addressed in a extraordinarily calm environment. There is great synergistic creativity among the nice folks who post here. Welcome to the Forum.
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Old 03-20-2006, 08:13 PM   #3
Montana Sky
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Darryl,
Welcome to the group. As Stiles has said, you are going to find a great deal of information here. We hope that you find all the answers to any questions you may have, the folks here are just waiting to help in any way they can. The 3475RL is a nice unit, but as you can see by my pic, I chose the 3400RL. Either one will provide many years of great service to come. On the topic of a tow vehicle, I chose the 2500HD because it met all my needs and requirements. Again, welcome aboard!
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Old 03-21-2006, 02:16 AM   #4
Wordsmith
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Welcome to the forum! The truck situation should be determined on what will tow your unit safely while also meeting your other needs within your budget. Like Stiles said, everyone has an opinion, so listen, do your homework, and then make the best decision.

I still have an F-150 that I used to tow our old TT, but I now only use it for going to work or hauling light loads as there is no way I would put it anywhere near my Montana.
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Old 03-21-2006, 03:01 AM   #5
Longwell
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Welcome. I, too, am researching Montanas. I have found the "search" function to be most useful. It is located in the upper right corner of the screen. You can use is sort of like Google and find most subjects already covered in great extent, such as your tow vehicle needs, etc.
Join in frequently.
Larry
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Old 03-21-2006, 04:38 AM   #6
Sunshine
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Welcome to the forum. This is the right place to get your questions answered. Good luck in your search for the Montana that is perfect for you.
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Old 03-21-2006, 10:21 AM   #7
rak
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Welcome to the forum. This is a great place to get information. I have a 2006 3500RL and pull it with an F350 diesel, cc, drw, and 4.1 rear end. Get what will pull your unit safely and meet your requirements.
Have a great day.
Dick
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Old 03-21-2006, 11:23 AM   #8
OntMont
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Hi,

We have an 05 3670RL (now discontinued) that we bought from Bob at CIS. He bent over backwards to find us this unit even though they did not have one in stock, he was able to negotiate it away from another dealer and as a result we got what we wanted, when we wanted it.

We are pulling with a Chev 2500 HD with Duramax diesel and Allison transmission. You really need to pay careful attention to pin weight (as loaded for camping) and the capacity of your truck, both gross weight and axle weights. A 3500 Single rear wheel may be a good compromise, but you really need to get all the facts and do your homework. Published weights are based on "base units" which probably nobody actually buys, so be realistic and expect you rig to weigh more than the published figures.
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:09 PM   #9
ols1932
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Welcome to the forum. As has been said, you should find the answers you want here. The truck you get is really subjective. But I would get at least a 3/4 ton, even move to a one ton. A lot of RVers have a one ton with single rear wheels. Reason: you can't run a dually through a car wash! Some people swear by the dual rear wheels, saying it gives them better stability. I also think that's subjective. We have a 3/4 ton with single rear wheels and don't notice a lack of stability.

Orv
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Old 03-22-2006, 09:40 AM   #10
deerrahn
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I agree with all the responses above and probably those to follow. I am a FORD Man. I got the extended cab with the diesel engine. Are you a FORD Man, Chevy Man, Dodge Man or others or really don't care, just as long as you get the best deal from a dealer that will take care of you? Gas or Diesel? Both are getting to expensive. Look around, see what interests you. Check out the forum and see what the members have. That is half the fun. The other half is when you get it, you start enjoying it. JUST HAVE FUN
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Old 03-26-2006, 05:24 AM   #11
sreigle
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Welcome aboard. Both those models are excellent choices. You are correct that a 1500 is not going to do it. As for what to upgrade to, you'll find many opinions. There are many of us towing with 3/4 and 1-ton trucks very successfully. The key point is that you buy something properly rated to handle the load. All three brands do a credible job if equipped with the diesel. Likewise, the GM 8.1L V8 and the Ford V10 gas engines do a good job. So does the Dodge V10 but it's not currently available in the new trucks. We've towed this Montana (scaled at 14,360 lbs) with both a '99 Ford F350 V10 gas and with this '05 Ford F250 (3/4 ton) 6.0L diesel with the highly rated TorqueShift automatic. We have been very pleased with both.

The 3400 has a very light (relatively speaking) pinweight. A 3/4 ton handles that pinweight with ease, given the proper engine, axle ratio, and tow package. Check the ratings of the truck. Of interest is GCWR (max load including truck, passengers, fluids, and trailer, etc.), GVWR (max weight rating of the truck with everything including pinweight), GAWR (max weight rating on the axles), and payload (max load in the bed).

Be careful not to automatically assume 3/4 ton is less capable than a 1 ton. The 2005 and 2006 Fords, for example, have higher ratings than the prior year's single rear wheel 1 tons and more than most other brands' 1 tons (with exceptions). That doesn't make Ford better, it's just an example that the ratings are more important than whether it is a 3/4 or 1 ton.

Both shortbed and longbed are very capable. You will want to make this choice based on your personal needs outside of towing. If you get the new Montana with the new nosecap you may not need a sliding hitch to tow it with a shortbed without risking hitting truck to trailer on sharp turns. That's what we're hearing from Keystone but I have no personal experience with that new cap. If you get the older cap, you'll want a sliding hitch. Note that in 11 years of towing with a shortbed we've only had to use our slider four times and only twice with our Montanas since January 2001.

Darryl, you are smart to ask the questions before the purchase. I hope you know you can ask any question here. There are no dumb questions here.
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Old 03-26-2006, 12:19 PM   #12
trukdoc
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We tow our 328RLS which is 34'11" with a Ford F250SD PSD with auto trans and single wheels. Towing power is no problem at all. I catch my speed creeping up over 75 MPH quite often. As far as stability and safety goes, while coming back from Lake Greesen Arkansas last weekend we run into a nasty storm. It was raining very hard and wind blowing when I come across someone in a white car (Hard to see) going about 10 MPH in the fast lane. I jamed on the brakes.... and everything stayed where it was supposed to. On the Ford they have an integrated brake controller that works with the ABS and I am convinced it helped me.
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Old 03-26-2006, 12:36 PM   #13
Montana_5571
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Montanans

You guys are absolutely super. Just being part of this group is enough to encourage us to buy a Montana. What great responses we're getting, and we haven't delved into the other forums as yet, so who knows what awaits us there!

Each of you has provided aspects of towing and RVing that bear great thought. It's interesting to hear the different perspectives on tow vehicles and tow experiences.

Steve, I notice that you haven't ventured into New England yet, and we encourage you to check out that area of the country. If any of you are thinking of travelling through eastern Ontario, please let us know, because we'd love to give you some tips on interesting places.

Please keep the responses coming. This is a tremendous resource for newbies!

Thanks again.

Darryl
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Old 03-27-2006, 09:10 AM   #14
DiananColin
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Welcome to Montana owners.

We purchased our Montana from Outdoor Travel in Hamilton, even though we live in Whitby. The main reason was that CIS were not willing to take our boat as a trade whereas Outdoor Travel were. We had purchased two Mountaineer TT's from them before we bought our Montana. We have stayed with them because their service has always been excellent and I tend to believe service comes ahead of sales after the purchase.

You will see from our signature that we are towing with a Dodge 3500 Turbo diesel which we are very happy with.

We do a lot of towing but at the moment our Montana is in Tampa so that we can get back to it quickly after tax season (husband is Accountant). We did not want to tow it back in February because one can never rely on the weather. Diana

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Old 03-28-2006, 01:54 PM   #15
timandsusan
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We have a 06 3475RL and a F-350 King Ranch diesel, crew cab, single rear wheel to pull the Monty. I recommend going to the 1-ton truck. Our brief trips have been great with no issues on pulling the Monty around the Texas hill country. Our truck sits a little high due to the 4X4 set up but everything works! Also everything works on the Monty--have a blast.
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Old 03-31-2006, 08:02 AM   #16
sreigle
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Trukdoc, I know exactly your feeling. That integrated controller is absolutely the smoothest and best performing brake controller I have ever used and I have used quite a number of them over the years. Stops are not only straight and smooth, there no longer is the clunk of the pin slamming in the hitch on sudden brake application. It's uncanny. I'm glad to hear you avoided an accident. Coming up on someone doing 10 mph on the highway is always a dicey situation, even in clear weather and not towing.

Darryl, you are correct. We have not yet ventured into New England. Our intent WAS to spend August through October in New England, then get to the kids' area in Kansas City by the first of November (a granddaughter's birthday in early November). However, just before we left KC for the Rio Grande Valley in early January we got word we will have a new granddaughter, due in August. So, rather than reduce our NE time we're postponing it until next year.

A 1-ton is always a good choice but the 2005 and 2006 Ford 3/4 tons have higher ratings than prior years' 1 tons, so the 3/4 ton Fords are a very good choice. Our 4x4 sits high but the F250 does not sit quite as high as the F350. In my book, both the F250 and F350 are good choices. With the F250 if you have one of the Montanas with a heavier pinweight you may need airbags to avoid a small amount of sag in the rear. Unless you have the Camper Package in addition to the Tow Package. Yesterday our 2005 F250 turned 50,000 miles. 17 months and a week old.

Since you asked what we tow our Montanas with and I mentioned our F250 having higher numbers than prior years' F350's, I should give you numbers. Equipment will make a difference on these numbers...

2005 Ford F250 3/4-ton, 6.0L diesel, TorqShift 5spd Automatic, 3.73 rear gears. Being a 3/4 ton it is single rear wheel.

These are all CAT scale numbers. I have the receipts if anyone cares to come over to see them.

GVWR - 10,000
GCWR - 23,000
Tow - 15,400

Montana - 2003 3295RK very heavily loaded incl 2/3 fresh water, other tanks empty:

pinweight - 3,300
axles - 11,060
total - 14,360

The Ford tows this rig with aplomb up and down all mountains.
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Old 04-01-2006, 06:00 AM   #17
Bill DeMeulle
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Welcome to the group, as you can see this forum gives you all the information anyone could ever need. I am on my third fifth wheel and also having the same # of boats that I pulled maintenance on and am still learning from reading the items in this forum. The only bad question is the one that is not asked.
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Old 04-02-2006, 05:44 AM   #18
sreigle
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In re-reading this thread I see where I was really pushing the Fords. While I do think the Ford is an excellent choice and my experience bears that out, I also feel all three manufacturers make excellent trucks that can do the job. My recommendation is that you find the truck that meets your other wants and needs or the one that really makes you smile. The brand doesn't really matter that much unless you have some brand loyalties. They all do a great job.
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Old 05-05-2006, 02:54 AM   #19
WACOT
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Darryl, I have a 2955RL trailer, but I bought a 3500 Dodge diesel single rear wheel short bed truck. First, it has more than enough power for the weight I have and maybe more importantly it leaves room for expansion, which we will all want to do sooner or later. (I'm secretly looking for something with a completely enclosed bathroom) A friend of mine has the same truck and pulls a 3400RL without any problems. I made a trip from Texas to sounthern california without problems and he has made two trips from here to Oregon without any problems. Neither of us has an exhaust brake nor have had any great need for one. Coming east out of San Diego into the Imperial Valley an exhaust brake would have been comforting but really was not necessary.We both have Super Glide trailer hitches and in addition to the safety factor in turning, they are very easy to hitch and un-hitch as well as remove from the truck when needed. I have a light weight cable winch mounted to my car port and can remove the hitch in about 15 minutes or less. In short, buy more truck than you need today, then you will already have it when you upgrade the trailer. Good luck. Waco T
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Old 05-21-2006, 11:48 AM   #20
sreigle
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Darryl, one more thing I forgot to mention. Montana is the top selling trailer in North America in each of the past 5 years. There is a reason for that. Any trailer could become the top seller for a year, or even two, but to maintain that sales record requires that the trailer be perceived as well after a few years as it was when new. We're on our second Montana. If we buy another, it will also be a Montana.
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