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Old 04-16-2014, 06:56 AM   #1
Seasoned Camper
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Montana vs. Big Horn

In my quest to find an affordable full-time 5er I seem to come back to the Montana and the Big Horn. Has anyone else gone through this process and how did you make a decision and what were your decision points?
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:22 AM   #2
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We almost bought the Bighorn too we liked them but for the same price as the Montana they would not include the 6 point auto level,Mor-ryde pin box,Hickory wood Pkg, cool swivel dining room table,slide toppers that sealed it for me I guess that is why Montana is #1 "Bang for the Buck" but if they could have I think my wife and me were leaning toward the Bighorn we liked the interior, IMO you could not go wrong with either they are both built similar I just wanted the most for my hard earned cash and Montana had that
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:31 AM   #3
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We just went thru the same process over the last 4 weeks between Montana, Big Horn and Cedar Creek (by Forest River). We finally decided on the Cedar Creek because:

1. Large bedroom slide holding a washer & dryer thereby freeing up closet space (not available in other 2014s)
2. Goodyear G614s standard
3. Better fit and finish (we think!)
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:32 AM   #4
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IMO they are pretty much the same .One may have a feature or a floor plan that you like better.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:02 AM   #5
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They are vast differences. We sell Keystone, Forest River, and Heartland. Value per dollar, Montana wins. I've sent you a PM.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:59 AM   #6
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I agree with Larry that "there are vast differences". I have owned both so I know first hand. Its what's is beneath the surface that the differences become apparent.
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Old 04-16-2014, 12:05 PM   #7
Artemus Gordon
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Ceiling height was an issue when we looked at SOB's. The Montana 3750 living room was taller than any others we looked at back in 2012! Floor sub material was also major concern. Read up on VOC emissions, the data I researched showed the Montana's building materials were admitting far less dangerous gases.

Lastly, several people known personally by my third cousins nephew, reportedly did not like their BH's and regretted their purchase, but never let that effect my decision! No Sir....

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Old 04-16-2014, 12:43 PM   #8
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We had an 18' forest river TT when we went looking. For what we paid we got a good deal on it. In looking at the other brands I found all too often that the same plumbing and wiring that was in our inexpensive TT was in the "top of the line" 5th wheels. When it came down to it the Montana had more wining marks than the others.
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Old 04-16-2014, 02:26 PM   #9
carl n susan
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The NSA isn't the only one monitoring emails. Here is a competitive analysis of Montana and Alpine. I know, not the specific RVs asked about but it does identify differences that you may not be aware of. Many of these are not visible once the RV is completed and rarely documented in the glossy brochures. Try not to laugh too hard at some of claims, it was obviously commissioned by Montana.

Here are some things a customer will get with a Montana over an Alpine:

Separate Products – The Montana and Alpine have different engineers, purchasing agents, product managers, product workers, plant managers, and are built in separate facilities. Many customers assume because both products are built by Keystone they are basically the same. This is not true.

Construction - The Montana uses aluminum studs sidewalls, floor, slide boxes, front and rear of the unit. The Alpine uses wood studs in the roof, front, rear, and slide boxes.

The Montana has an aluminum studded (2/3”) floor which allows running water lines in the floor to prevent the water lines from freezing up. It also allows the running of heat duct straight through using a metal duct of 12” x 3” vs dryer vent fished through the underbelly for ducting. This moves heat unobstructed through the coach for better heat distribution and fuel efficiency. The top layer of the Montana floor also is a seamless decking. The Alpine uses a laminated floor that forces the water lines to be run in the basement and increases the likely hood of freezing. Also the Alpine's laminated floor is more likely to have soft spots.

The Montana has 5 inch carbon fiber roof trusses from edge to edge that provides the same insulation from edge to edge of the roof. The Alpine’s roof trusses are about 1 inch on the edges and increase gradually to four inches in the middle. Not only does the Montana have more insulation but it is the same from edge to edge. The Alpine has less insulation and almost no insulation at the edge of the roof/ceiling.

Upgraded Suspension – The Montana has the Mor/Ryde 4100. This suspension provides 4 inches of axle travel, and has greasable wet bolts, half inch shackle plates, and bronze bushings. The Alpine has an off=brand suspension system with only 2.5 inches of travel. This may not seem like a big difference, but the ability to lift 12.000 pounds up another inch is a huge difference in suspensions. The Mor/Ryde gives smoother tow plus is heavier duty which will last longer and save money over the long run.

Upgraded Hitch Pin - The upgraded Mor/Ryde hitch pin not only will reduce or eliminate chucking but it also slides one and half inches forward and one and half inched backward. This will smooth out the transitions when starting and stopping. The Alpine uses a Trail-Air pin box that does very little to smooth out transitions. This component is an inexpensive pin box that has only a minor improvement over a metal pin box.

Fiberglass Montana uses a high gloss marine grade fiberglass that is a few notches above the Alpine’s fiberglass. It is double the thickness and has hardening resins in it to be harder and more durable. The better fiberglass is also easier to keep clean and will hold its look longer.

Dexter Nev-R-Adjust Brake - The Dexter Nev-R-Adjust brakes adjust automatically in the forward moving direction eliminating the need for manual adjustment while maintaining optimum performance and braking power. At certain speeds, this will cut the stopping distance almost in half, making for a safer tow. The Alpine does not have this feature.

More Storage Montana runs a back of solid cherry wood cabinetry in the slide box over the dinette and the sofa. The Alpine has no storage like this and significantly less storage.

Arched Interior Ceiling – The Montana has an arched interior ceiling that provides a more spacious feel and allow for significantly more head room in the bathroom and bedroom. The Alpine has a flat ceiling that significantly decreases the height of the ceiling especially in the bedroom and bathroom.

Quality - The 70,000th Montana will be built this year. Having people in the plant that have literally done the same thing tens of thousands of times combined with quality materials has made Montana the most dependable fifth wheel on the market. Each of the last 13 years Montana has been the #1 selling full profile fifth wheel. Eleven of the past thirteen years Montana has been the #1 selling fifth wheel in the market regardless of price point or type of fifth wheel. Customers choose Montana more than any other produce because of the reputation for building quality products. The Alpine is a relatively new brand to the market.

Carl (n Susan) Youngren
There is more to life than fuel mileage.
2012 Montana 3700RL Big Sky Package towed by a 2015 Ford F350 6.7L PSD 4WD CC LWB

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Old 04-16-2014, 04:14 PM   #10
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Thanks Carl that was very informative.
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Old 04-16-2014, 04:50 PM   #11
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We too chose the Montana over the Big Horn after a meticulous side by side comparison of the two. Please don't laugh but in the end, Montana had more "wow factor". We have not regretted our decision.
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:14 PM   #12
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Wife didn't like the interior decor of the Big Horn. Problem solved, off the list. Didn't even get a chance to look at any of the features.
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Old 04-17-2014, 02:36 AM   #13
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When we went to look at our 3725RL we knew we wanted that floor plan. Even though we liked our 2008 3400RL, we were not "married" to the brand Montana if there was something out there with better bang for the buck. The salesman, who was extremely knowledgeable about numerous brands/models, showed us several similar fivers in a $65,000 - $125,000 price range. This process took almost 3 hours. Fit and finish, specifications on framing/structure, and history of manufacturer were the things I considered. Since we were full time and anticipated staying that way for a long time, price mattered but we expanded our price range because we wanted the best fiver we could get with the floor plan we wanted/needed.
Previous: 2008 Montana 3400RL & 2014 3725RL
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Old 04-17-2014, 02:56 AM   #14
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We have taken the factory tours on both of them. Sure there are differences but if you can take the time to do the factory tours where you can see the differences.
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Old 04-17-2014, 03:27 AM   #15
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My research was a bit different. I look at not only the purchase price, I consider what I can sell it for when I am ready for a change.
The difference is your real cost of ownership. Montana has a good resale.

Quality, fit and finish, is on par with others in this price range, it had the features we both wanted. The things I did not like or were not options I simply changed, replaced or added.

Most of the brands in the "Montana" price range have the same frame, jack system, features, systems and appliances so it boils down to floor plan, dealer pricing and availability.


2012 Ram Laramie 3500 DRW 4x4 3.73 Tow Max Pkg B&W Companion 60 gal RDS aux fuel tank. 2014 Montana 3150RL, 2 A/C's, Leather, 6 Point Jacks, Splendede WD2100XC, Mor/ryde X-Factor, Duravis 250 tires with TST 507RV monitors. 2 x Honda EU2000's
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Old 04-17-2014, 03:35 AM   #16
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A lot of things to look at, quality, build, warranty(there are 5vers with 2 year warranty in the same price range),insulation, etc. Go on other forums and ask the same question, you tend to get a biased view here. We love ours, but that's us. You can get a high quality Montana, and evidently you can get junk off the same assembly line. Yep 90,000 units and they still have the same issues.
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Old 04-17-2014, 03:50 AM   #17
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quote:Originally posted by DQDick

Thanks Carl that was very informative.
I wanted to do something similar to what Carl and Susan did, but didn't want to appear to be using the MOC to sell Montes.
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Old 04-17-2014, 03:53 AM   #18
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It was the perfect answer to a question that comes up here a lot.
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Old 04-17-2014, 04:11 AM   #19
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When we bought our Montana, we'd shopped all over and looked at lots of RVs. In our minds, the Montana was the best all around choice. We love our MH, but if we decided to get another 5th wheel, we'd head for the Montana dealer.
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Old 04-17-2014, 04:14 AM   #20
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There is no doubt that the Montana is the "best bang for the buck" our selling dealer sold both Montana's and Jayco's with near the identical floor plan. We could not touch the Jayco for the price we paid for the 06 Montana. We looked at the Heartlands and went to the factory before we purchased the 13 Big sky. we really did not see much difference on the lines .I commented that if we did not know which factory we were in we would not know the difference. Again we could not touch the Heartland for the Big Sky price.

Now I don't know what that means. Why can Keystone sell for so much less. Are they marked up more then sold for less?? It is something to think hard about.

Now we got a great trade in for our 06 3400 and it was on the lot for less than a week. They replaced two leaking tanks replaced some graphics that we already had, cleaned it up and away it went. At times I think we should have done that and kept the 06 3400. We still have two leaking tanks.
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