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Old 11-13-2009, 09:37 AM   #1
KiwiRVer
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New Montana Mountaineer Owner

Hi All. My wife and I own a small business Auckland, New Zealand with a sales office in Atlanta, GA and had been thinking about spending more time in the US to promote our business and see more of the country. We have decided to spend at least 6 months touring the US on a semi-business, semi-holiday trip in an RV, mainly over the warmer northern months. On a trip to the US in July we started to look at RVs and were originally thinking about getting a Class A or C. We hadn't even considered a fifth wheel but out of curiousity had a look at some while we at a dealer in Pasco, WA. We were very pleasantly surprised at the room and facilities of the fifths we saw and liked the idea of only having one powered vehicle.

I spent a considerable amount of time online looking at as many fifths as I could but really had to see them in person so I travelled to the CA RV show in October and spent 4 days there going through all the fifths in detail. By about day three it was down to 3 that seemed to fit our requirements and which fitted our budget. (There were several that were fantastic but were way beyond what I could justify pricewise.)

The three short listed were the Open Range 337RLS, Montana Mountaineer 326RLT and Coachmen Northridge 322RLT. I must admit that prior to arriving at the show I was almost convinced that the Open Range would be the one we would buy. By day 4 it was down to the Open Range and the Mountaineer. (The Coachmen was almost identical to the Mountaineer but did not seem to have quite the quality of fittings for a similar price.)

I really liked the OR, it is much lighter than the Mountaineer and has some great features like the full 4 point levelling system but in the end the thing that really sold me on the Mountaineer was the desk area where I would be able to work from. It also had more storage space in the basement and the interior fitout had a nice homey feeling to it. I can't say we are particular enarmoured with the somewhat dated interior decors that were on offer with most fifths but we can live with that and will be making some changes fairly swiftly. The first things to go will be the rocker recliners that come standard from the factory. They are ugly, uncomfortable and heavy so we will replace these with euro style recliners. We will be on the road a lot and the idea of manouevering heavy recliners into the travel position every time we move does not thrill me. I think we will also end up replacing the standard free standing dining table. The table is fine but it's legs are badly designed making getting into the chairs closest to the window difficult.

We bought the Mountaineer from a CA dealer at the show but will be picking it up in March from an RV service centre close to the factory in Indiana which has been arranged by the CA dealer and the Keystone district sales manager. We plan on spending a week familiarising ourselves with it (hopefully most of the snow will be gone by then) before returning to NZ to await the warmer weather in about May. We decided to pick it up in Indiana as we are planning on spending the first 6 months touring the North East and possibly East coast and didn't really want to drive it all the way from Los Angeles.

We haven't bought a truck yet and again I have spent a considerable amount of time online reading about what I need. Originally I was thinking of getting a 3/4 ton short bed diesel which the RV dealer said would be fine, however after reading what other people are saying about weights etc I have changed my mind and am now looking for a suitable 1 ton. I don't want a dually as I will be driving on the wrong side of the road and whilst I have considerable experience driving in the US, the idea of driving something that wide around the city when not towing doesn't thrill me. I am told I should not buy a Ford older than 08 as the 6.0l turbo had problems with turbo lag. I don't want a long bed unless it is matched with a short cab as I don't want too long a wheel base. I will probably go for a 4WD as even though we are not planning on going off road it is nice to be able to pull out of mud on a wet day if we get into some of the less developed camp grounds.

Buying a vehicle online sight unseen is a little risky, I know, but I will probably have little choice as we are going to need the truck almost as soon as we arrive in March to pick up the Mountaineer. I guess buying from a dealer with good feedback will be my best bet and it does not seem too expensive having it shipped across country if we end up buying out of state. The larger choice of trucks on eBay seems to be in Texas.

Well that's our story to-date. We are really looking forward to our coming adventure and hope to see a few MOC members on the road next year.
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:52 AM   #2
bncinwv
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Wow, interesting reading and welcome to the forum. We will eagerly watch for your posts that we hope will detail your explorations in this part of the world. As a suggestion, check out the rally schedule and see if any part of your journey will overlap one of the many rallies next year. We hope you can fit one or two in your schedule and visit in real-time with the MOC members!!
Bingo
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Bingo and Cathy - Our adventures begin in the hills of WV. We are blessed by our 2014 3850FL Big Sky (previous 2011 3750FL and 2007 3400RL) that we pull with a 2007 Chevy Silverado Classic DRW CC dually.
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:56 AM   #3
KiwiRVer
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Thanks Bingo, we will do.
Craig
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Old 11-13-2009, 11:22 AM   #4
exav8tr
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Craig and Susanne, Welcome to "The Best Darned Forum on the WWW!!!!" I know you will enjoy yourselves on the East coast as we have just finished doing that trip this year. 1st time on that coast for us. Don't forget, this forum is the best place for advice and help with your new Unit and info on trucks is pretty darned good also. Don't be afraid to ask questions as we all thrive on giving advice.....Phil
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Old 11-13-2009, 12:26 PM   #5
KiwiRVer
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Thanks Phil. One bit of advice I would ask; I noted elsewhere that someone mentioned that there were some PDI lists on this site but I have been unable to find them. Any ideas where they might be?..Cheers, Craig
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Old 11-13-2009, 12:42 PM   #6
mcgiver2
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Craig and Susanne Welcome and please jump in anytime this is a great froum with the best people around also iam sure you well enjoy it and i know you will enjoy your new Camping Adventure...........
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Old 11-13-2009, 01:03 PM   #7
Bill-N-Donna
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Welcome aboard the Montana forum!
Weíre certainly glad you joined and weíre looking forward to hearing about your adventures!
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Old 11-13-2009, 01:05 PM   #8
exav8tr
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Go to: www.montanaowners.com , go to bottom and click on RV Related links, then the PDI's are listed on the top right column. Quite extensive but well worth your time. Many folks take a copy to the dealer before picking up their Montana and telling them this is what they want to go thru on the day they pick up their rig. If the dealer says no then the check doesn't get passed to him, or something like that, of course, the choice is yours.....Good luck mate....
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Old 11-13-2009, 01:32 PM   #9
OntMont
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Wow! that is quite an undertaking! Would love to do the same in New Zealand.

Do your own homework on the weight issue, but I would be surprised if you need to go to a full 1 ton truck. Any of the current crop of trucks from the "big three" should serve your needs well.

We agree on the decor comments, we think the interior design gurus have lost their minds, but that is just us. For now, we are sticking with what we have.
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Old 11-13-2009, 02:09 PM   #10
NCFischers
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Craig & Susanne,
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on your new rig. I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as we do ours. We hope to see you at the rallys next year.
Jim & Vickie
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Old 11-14-2009, 12:50 AM   #11
Mudchief
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Welcome and we hope to see you at some of the rallies.
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Dennis & Linda Ward
Paola, Kansas
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Old 11-14-2009, 06:30 AM   #12
KiwiRVer
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Thank you everyone for your kind comments and advice. Thank you Phil for the link to the PDI and to Bruce for your offline advice on trucks. Cheers, Craig
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Old 11-14-2009, 07:28 AM   #13
Tom S.
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I'm guessing you'd win the contest for "furthest stick home base" member!!! Please keep us informed of your adventure and welcome aboard!
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Old 11-14-2009, 08:17 AM   #14
KiwiRVer
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Only if there are no Australian members. They are a little farther away than us.

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Old 03-20-2010, 05:54 PM   #15
KiwiRVer
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M.O.C. #9832
Update: We finally "picked up" our new Mountaineer. It was collected from the factory by our delivery agent Fox RV in Middlebury, IN and my wife and I, having picked up our new truck in GA last Monday and driven to Middlebury, IN,finally saw the Mountaineer for the first time on Tuesday. We have spent the last 3 days living in at Fox RV in Middlebury as our registration plates had not come through so we were unable to move it. We are now on our way back to NZ having still not towed the Mountaineer anywhere but having thoroughly enjoyed the process of moving in and starting to set it up for our six months in it starting early May. We left it at Fox RV who will store it until we get back. I cannot praise Larry Fox and his team highly enough for their assistance with the PDI and familiarisation process. There was only one problem we found in the first 3 days, the landing gear motor had a problem and Fox RV had it replaced within 24 hrs.

During the time we were in Middlebury we also visited the factory in Goshen and had a "private" tour where we got to see the Montana's being built. It reinforced our decision to purchase the Mountaineer with several features, seen and unseen clearly of better construction or quality than is evident in many other brands.

My only criticism would be that the finishing off process was a little haphazard with a few minor scratches here and there and plenty of dust and shavings in odd places that had not been fully cleaned up.

Will let you know how we find it when we finally get "on the road" in May.

Craig
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Old 03-21-2010, 11:21 AM   #16
gobears
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Welcome, enjoy the wonderful drives in the USA. Any of the big 3 trucks will do. We have a 2005 F350 dually with 6.0, no problems to date, I love it, we can pull our Monty up any hill, sometimes even passing the big trucks. Have no idea what the turbo lag you describe is? Ours has the HP and torque to do about anything.

Have a day!
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