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Old 02-21-2006, 04:53 PM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Izhevsk
Posts: 4
M.O.C. #5397
Soon to be retired

Hello everyone!
My husband and I are currently living in Izhevsk, Russia, but are originally from Oklahoma. We are looking retirement in the face and are shopping for a 5th wheel. We began looking at the Peterson Excel Limiteds and were very impressed with them, but the weight of the trailers demanded a huge tow vehicle. We began looking at the Montanas after searching the RV Consumer Group recommendations. We are new to 5th wheeling and want to make the transition as easy as possible. Therefore, the weight of the Montanas are very attractive. We have read many of your posts and the satisfaction with your Montanas is very encouraging.

I do have a question about the Big Sky model. Is it still being manufactured? The photos I have seen of them are just amazing! Do they weigh a lot more than the Montanas?

Thanks for all your input!

Carolyn and Jim
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Old 02-21-2006, 06:05 PM   #2
Montana Master
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,740
M.O.C. #1757
I don't think,the big sky model is being produced. However, you might locate a pre-owned one if you really want it. A Montana is a big bang for the buck. Good luck on your search.
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Old 02-21-2006, 09:18 PM   #3
Montana Sky
Montana Master
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Down the Road
Posts: 5,627
M.O.C. #889
Carolyn and Jim,
Welcome to the MOC, you have come to the right place to learn all you could ever imagine about the Montana. Northstar is correct Keystone is no longer making the Big Sky. Keystone has incorporated alot of the features from the Big Sky into the Montana. Congrats on the upcoming retirement.
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Old 02-21-2006, 09:52 PM   #4
stiles watson
Montana Master
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Leona
Posts: 6,382
M.O.C. #2059
I am a preowned advocate. Mine is the Big Sky model. The differences between the Big Sky and the regular Montana's have been narrowed in the more recent models due to the gradual upgrading of the Montana with features from Big Sky models. Many of the differences were cosmetic, including some materials upgrades, while others were standard packages on the Big Sky, but were options on the Monty.

It is all about dollars. If Keystone believes there is a market for the Big Sky, they will start production again, especially since they have dropped the Chambridge line from production.
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:05 PM   #5
Glenn and Lorraine
Montana Master
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Clearwater
Posts: 10,917
M.O.C. #420
With the exception of the paint and graphics there is very little difference in today's Montana and yesterdays Big Sky. I for one wish that the folks at Keystone would offer a paint scheme in the Montys' like they had in the BS.
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Old 02-22-2006, 01:20 AM   #6
Montana Master
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Wetumpka
Posts: 4,936
M.O.C. #1105
How nice to be considered along with the Excel, which is a very respected model. We considered them at one time but changed our mind for the same reason you did. It is nice to have the weight allowance in the Montana so we can take along all our STUFF!

Welcome to the forum, by the way!
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Old 02-24-2006, 07:01 AM   #7
Montana Master
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Oceanside
Posts: 20,028
M.O.C. #20
The Excel, in my opinion, is an excellent choice other than the weight. My aunt and uncle fulltimed in an Excel Noble Esquire (now the Limited) for six years and had no serious problems, just the usual small things all of them have. The Excel is a true four-season rig very highly rated for that purpose by RVCG.

The Montana is not advertised as a four season rig. However, many of us here are fulltiming in Montanas and are very satisified with the performance and, especially, with the way the manufacturer stands behind the product. They do not own nor participate in this forum but they do read it. Some of us have had emails from them about our comments. They have incorporated quite a number of features suggested in this forum. Montana is the number one seller in North America and has been for five years in a row. You know they are doing something right or they could not continue that string.

Our Montana was purchased new in July 2002 (delivery date - we ordered this one, our second Montana). Numerous members bought another Montana when they traded. That says a lot. In addition, this forum has been a blessing for us, both for all the help we have received and for the many good friends we have made through the forum.

There are a number of good choices in the marketplace. We're very pleased with Montana and would likely go with a Montana for the third time should we someday decide to trade. At this point we've put about 40,000 miles on this Montana and are very happy with it. We see no need for us to trade.

Good luck. I'm glad to see you are researching before making your decision. That's a wise move. Please let us know of any and all questions. Nobody here will ever tell you that your question is dumb. If someone does that they will be immediately censured by our excellent forum administrators.

One last thing. What impressed me most about the Montana is the quality of the structure and small things like attic vents to vent out the moisture of everyday living. The all aluminum frame (walls, ceiling and roof) make this a very solid rig without the excessive weight of a wood-framed rig. The wood frame is why the Excel is so heavy. As I said before, the Excel is an excellent choice. However, when you look at "bang for the buck" I feel the Montana can't be beat.

Well, one more thing. Our 2003 model was not intended to be used in the rather severe winter weather we use it in, temperatures down to five below (F). Keystone listened to us and have done a number of things to make it more habitable for that purpose. For one, they moved the low point drains into the basement storage area (the water connection area) where they not likely to freeze. They moved the water lines to just below the floor, in their own channel, where they will not lay on the frame and freeze in severe cold. We do Nov/Dec in the Kansas City area with our kids.

Next month we reach 3 years of fulltiming in our Montana. We feel strongly we made an excellent choice with the Montana.
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Old 02-24-2006, 11:16 AM   #8
Joyce H
Montana Master
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Clermont
Posts: 1,753
M.O.C. #266
As Steve has said I think you would be happy with the Montana. We researched many units including motorhomes, travel trailers and fifth wheels before making our purchase of the Montana in April of 2003. We were about a year short of our retirement and wanted to become familiar with our RV before setting out to live in it seven to eight months a year. (the remaining time is spent in our vacation home in WV). We have now been retired for over a year and this past October we traded up to a little larger unit, and YES we did get another Montana. We have had only minor problems with either unit and our dealer and Keystone have offered wonderful customer service. You must base your decision on what is best for you and your individual likes, dislikes, and needs. Good luck in your research and welcome to the MOC forum. This forum is another plus in owning a Montana...the best owners manual you could ever want is right at your fingertips.
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Old 02-27-2006, 05:07 PM   #9
New Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Izhevsk
Posts: 4
M.O.C. #5397
Thanks so much to all of you for your kind words and the information you provided. This forum is truly a terrific plus for the Montana. Being able to visit with others about so many topics concerning the Montana and RVing in general is a great help. I am now just going to have to count down the time until retirement arrives! I think the 3400RL is going to be our choice - of course, I have done my selection based on the online floorplans so will need to physically set foot in a few models to be sure - it will be a hard job, but someone has to do it! Thanks again!
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Old 02-28-2006, 01:34 AM   #10
Montana Master
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Wetumpka
Posts: 4,936
M.O.C. #1105
Even from the online floorplans, you've picked one of the best, most popular models. Sounds like you're heading in the right direction.
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