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Old 07-02-2006, 07:19 PM   #1
Gpa_Dick
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Montana 3400RL vs Cardinal 34QS

I went over to a local dealer,Friday, wanting to look at the 3400RL - thinking they had some on their lot. No Montana's just Challenger's by Keystone. So the salesman said let me show you the Cardinal 34QS. It looks like the same floorplan as the 3400RL.

I am sure people really looked around before buying their 3400RL and the posts I have been ready make me feel that - at least the regular's on this forum - really like their Monty's. I get a real sense of bonding on this forum and I like that.

But I was reading the long, very informative thread started by Driftwoodgal and saw that there were a lot of "issues" to deal with in terms of quality work etc. Nothing really serious but disappointing when one spends so much money on a brand new coach.

The salesman showed me where the Cardinal 34QS has a steel underbelly with foam sprayed everywhere there was a way for air to get into the coach. Richfaa was saying he had a big hole where the springs were on both sides that he had to Gorilla tape closed.

Just wondering if anyone had any "issues" with the Cardinal? Again, I am a 3400RL wannabe but just needed some reassurance from you good folks before I get some money down on any deal.

Thanks for you input ahead of time.
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Old 07-03-2006, 03:12 AM   #2
richfaa
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The only reason we did not buy a Forest River Cardinal was, in our opinion, the factory warranty service/customer relations and the lack of a reliable dealer within a reasonable distance from us. I think the Cardinal and the Montana are very comparable units.Having been through both plants and examining both campers closely. IMO the quality is about the same on both units.They are assembled under the same conditions by the same sort of folks just a few miles from one another and they use the same vendors. Yes I used the better part of a roll of Gorilla tape sealing up the underbelly as well as foam to seal other areas. As for the cuts around the springs the next unit off the line , cut by a different workman may have been ok. You will have the same quality issues with the Cardinal as well as other brands in the price range as the Montana..It is a sad commentary..but true. We concentrated on the company, it's service to the consumer and the dealer more than the brand name..You must have both a company that stands behind the product and a dealer that will service the consumer. You may have a great dealer but if the manufacturer does not stand fully behind the product..nothing will happen.We did not purchase a Montana 3400 because we just had to have one. We purchased it because after looking at the "big picture" Floor plan, Price,Quality, manufacturer service and dealer service Keystone and the 3400 were outstanding.Also..no one has a forum like this forum..It can in many cases help you more then Keystone or your dealer in a shorter period of time..The forum is open 24/7. I would put this forum right up there with other reasons for choosing a Keystone Montana.All of the above is My hopefully objective opinion based on our experience
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Old 07-03-2006, 03:20 AM   #3
Gpa_Dick
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You bring up excellent points. You share a wealth of information, Rich. I will have to visit and research the dealer in my area that sells these Monty's and see how they treat their customers.

As soon as I logged onto this forum a few days ago, I knew this was the place.

Off to work I go. I will check back tonight for anyone elses response.


Thanks Rich for reply.
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Old 07-03-2006, 03:26 AM   #4
Gpa_Dick
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If there is anyone out there that purchased their 5vr in the Portland, OR area, pleas PM or email me. I would like to know the dealer you went through and your experience.

Thanks again.
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Old 07-03-2006, 03:31 AM   #5
CountryGuy
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Hard to beat the support we get from Keystone, there are a few that have been disappointed, but, over all, the feeling here is that Keystone is standing behind their unit, even after warranty in some cases.

Some will say we only say nice things here at MOC about Keystone, but there have been some heated remarks against Keystone and they are still in the archives.

It is not always a smooth trip to warranty repairs, and the dealer makes a world of difference. There is a thread somewhere about dealer satisfaction, you can read it, find good dealers, and so so dealers and dealers some of us will never shadow again.

IF Al and I ever buy a new unit, we will have to find another dealer. Al and I were very distraught at the treatment we received from the dealer after sale, but Keystone treated us like kings and queens and made it good, even replaced some items that the dealer messed up and we had just decided, oh, well, gotta live with it. Keystone said, nope, we are gonna eat this item, replace it for you, we want you happy!

Many units come off the line with few or NO problems. For those of us who are special and not as lucky, there is Keystone!
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Old 07-03-2006, 04:24 AM   #6
Driftwoodgal
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We looked for about four years before buying our 3400. I am sure that ever line will have its problems but having the backing of the manufacturer and the dealership have sold us on our Montana.

If this forum wasn't here I wouldn't have known to look for things that could be wrong. Our dealer took care of each and every issue that I had. I even ended up with the cell phone of the service manager. He told me to call anytime we needed him. Hopefully we won't need it, but it was nice of him to give it to us. The people on this forum probably know about the Montana than the dealers do.

We also purchased the 3400 because of weight and the floor plan. Other lines had some floor plans that we liked but the weight of the rigs were just to heavy for our truck.
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Old 07-03-2006, 07:04 AM   #7
Parrothead
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We did look at the Cardinal among others but always came back to the Montana. We had been looking at them for years - since they first came out. Weight was a factor in our decision but also quality. All brands will have some defects. This is our 3rd 5th wheel and our second had numerous problems. We had made the decision to buy before we found the MOC but after reading for days it only emphasized that we had made the right decision. And we still believe it. We have had no major problems with our Monty and we love the MOC and all the wonderful friends we have made - some we have not met and others we have.
Happy trails.......................
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Old 07-03-2006, 09:29 AM   #8
dsprik
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We also looked at several different brands - and not just at 5vers - Cheryl fell in love with the 3400, the moment she stepped foot in it. I have not been able to shake her from this bond. I showed her other units that I thought she would like, and she has held firm.

I agree with Rich and Sue and the others. The support from this forum is second to none, and I cannot imagine the amount of pain and suffering - financially and physically (no doubt in my mind about this) that the infomation on this forum has saved me from.

There have been some that have just bought a truck and 5ver and then just taken off down the road - maybe with just a little advice from their dealer (not always good). I have seen and heard of a lot of misery and severe "learn-by-experience" situations resulting from this approach. I absolutely dread thinking of what we would have had happened to us without the incredible advice from this forum this pat year.

I can guarantee that you will run into a problem and have a very serious question that needs an answer ASAP. This MOC forum will be my peace of mind while on the road with our 3400.

I'm sure that there are comparable brands out there... Just not comparable help and assistance like this forum
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Old 07-03-2006, 09:32 AM   #9
Cat320
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You are in a quandry...trying to decide between two good rigs. We looked at Nu Wa, Carriage Cameo Lite, Sunny Brook and the Montanas. Last month we ordered a 2007 3400RL primarily because of more 5er for the buck, great (and close) dealer, good deal, not as heavy as the others, good floor plan, and lots of neat little goodies and well thought out ideas the others did not have...did I say great and close dealer? As Rich said, they will all have their problems. If the Cardinal has a forum, check it out...bet they will be complaining about similar items, and bet the forum's not as good as this one. Good luck!
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Old 07-03-2006, 09:56 AM   #10
richfaa
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Cardinal has a forum.I joined when we were in the search mode. You will see the same issues as here..The forum is a good one but nothing like this one.
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Old 07-03-2006, 03:05 PM   #11
Gpa_Dick
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You know, it didn't take me long to see how great this forum is. Everyone that I have read - so far and I am a newby here - have been very informative and genuine and helpful and friendly and .... well I could go on and on and on.

Thank you Rich - wow what a bank of knowledge you have, Colleen - for starting that very informative now 18 page thread and now a happy owner of a new 3400, Dave and Cheryl - anxious to hear about your big day on the 17th, Sue and Ed and Carol for your reassurance. Looking forward to chatting with you all - though it will be awhile before we get our work done to even order the coach.

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Old 07-03-2006, 06:37 PM   #12
Driftwoodgal
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Gpa_Dick,

We feel in love with the 3400 in 2004 and instead bought a used New Vison for hubby to use before we invested in our Montana. I am so new to the RV stuff that I have spent about 6 nights in one. I am the one that searches things on the internet and I am so glad that I found this website. It really helped me when it came to the finally day of deciding that we were buying our Monty. Bob can spend three months or more in the RV working on insurance losses. The New Vision was a great RV for him but just to small when it becomes your office and your home. So we went back to the same floor plan that I feel in love with in 2004. I guess I can post that he loves the floor plan as well since he doens't read the boards.

Lots of information can be found on the thread that is 18 pages long. Most of the first pages really did deal with buying a 3400RL. I still am giggling about the last bit that I started with the windows. I really didn't mean to start the circus act, but it hopefully has put smiles on some faces.

God Bless you and yours, and the service men and their families that are waiting for them at home.

Remember why we are celebrating the Fourth of July.
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Old 07-03-2006, 08:09 PM   #13
Parrothead
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Amen Colleen to your last comment.

Having work (what a dirty word) space and living space is why we choose the 3400 as at the time I was still working and did a lot of work at home - all computer. The desk in the 3400 really makes for a nice work space without being in the way of the television.
Happy trails..............................
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Old 07-04-2006, 03:29 AM   #14
sreigle
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Dick, there have been some really good replies to your question. I'd like to add just one thing. Montana has been the number one selling trailer in North America in each of the last five years. Any brand can take that lead for a year, maybe two. But if they don't build a good product that stands up and if they don't stand behind the product, they won't retain the lead. That five years says a lot to me.

We are on our second Montana. If there is another, it will be a Montana. Cardinal is a good brand and you would not go wrong, in my opinion, with a Cardinal. It was on our short list before each Montana purchase.

Good luck with your decision and whichever brand you go with.
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Old 07-04-2006, 05:15 AM   #15
pud2
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If i'm not mistaken i belive the cardinal is much heavier than the monty. I have a friend who has a cardinal and it is heavier than mine and his is not as big a unit.
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Old 07-04-2006, 05:48 AM   #16
Gpa_Dick
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I talked to a sales guy at dealership close to Portland, OR. I will try going over there this weekend to see the 3400RL. I want to get to know the dealership (sales and service). I will be checking the BBB to see if the dealership has any hits. Any other way of knowing the good and the bad on a dealership? I am not getting any responses from anyone on this forum having purchased a Monty in this area.

Thanks again for all of your responses.

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Old 07-04-2006, 05:56 AM   #17
rickfox
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Happy 4th

My previous 5ver was a Cardinal, and for the most part, I was quite happy with it. Our biggest problem was that the furniture fabrics and the carpet did not hold up well. During the 4 years we owned it, they began to show quite a bit of wear. Before we purchased another rig, we did a lot of used trailer searching - particually to see how well the various brands seemed to hold up. In my opinion, the typical 4 year old Montana looked better than the typical Cardinal. Some of the other less expensive brands really looked rough. On the other hand, some of the more expensive brands didn't look much better.

And, as others have commented, the Cardinal (and especially the Cedar Creek) typically are heavier than the Montanas. I would be especially skeptial with the 34QS, since most of the weight figures are TBD on the Cardinal website! The similar Cedar Creek 37KQS was originally advertised at 11,345#, but when they got sued for deceptive advertising, the weight misteriously grew to 12,800# - and this is before some of the options are added. I'll bet the 34QS will be in this range when the numbers are finally advertised.
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Old 07-04-2006, 10:14 AM   #18
MIMF2
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Gpa Dick,

Everyone is correct about the weight of a Cardinal. I can speak from experience because from time to time, I hook my truck up to different manufactured coaches and the Cardinal is heavier in most cases.

As far as the underbelly is concerned, I think I can speak from experience here also. The one piece steel underbelly on the Cardinal is a great selling point. But, wait until you need to have a hydraulic cylinder replaced or a loose leaking hydraulic connector tightened up. You will go thru h--- to get to to it and get it repaired.

I'm not trying to do any brand bashing here. Cardinals are good units. But in 5 years when your warranty is expired, do you want to pay 1/3 the labor to get something fixed above the underbelly of the Montana or 3 times that (perhaps) on the Cardinal? The underbelly of the Montana is in sections and from a service techs stand point, makes life so much simpler. Our Challenger is all one piece and screwed to the frame from the bottom and not the top as is on the Cardinal.

Weigh everything carefully. Take your time to make up your mind. When you do, it will be what is best for you. Good luck!
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Old 07-04-2006, 11:37 AM   #19
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I think dealer support is important and my dealer in New Castle Indiana is just great. We shopped around and were looking at Cardinals and even had a better deal on our trade in which was a Fleetwood Class A but we kept going back to the 3400RL. We bought a stock unit from the dealers inventory - off the lot- and have only had what I consider one warrenty problem - the flashlight at the end of the counter. We eventually have had it replaced but other than that - na - da. We did have some tape replace over the bedroom slide but that was also covered by warranty when we took the Monty over to have a TrailAir King Pin box installed. We have had the unit to Florida and several weekend trips locally. I wish I could complain some more but sorry - I got a good unit right off the lot.
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Old 07-04-2006, 11:47 AM   #20
Bill Frisbee
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Quote:
quote:The people on this forum probably know about the Montana than the dealers do.
Of all the things said on this Forum, none is more true than this. The same could probably be said with respect to the pick-ups we haul with. I keep telling things to our Dodge dealer that he had no clue about and raise all sorts of questions that he cannot answer. The same thing applies to our Jeep Rubicon.

Bill
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