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Old 06-09-2007, 01:07 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Hurst
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M.O.C. #7254
Were new this forum also

Hi there, were Jan and Joe and were just getting started it what looks like a great lifestyle.

Our local Monatana dealer point us here and suggested we talk to other Montana owners to help us make up our minds.

I have been combing manufactures websites and other forums for the past couple of months. Its no longer a question of if we were to buy a 5th wheeler but when.

Today we spent most of the day in Cleburne Tx at a dealership and went through at least 30 different models comparing what we saw to a list of things that we felt we wanted in an rv there were over 1500 units on the lot.

My better half has settled on the Montana 3650RK with some upgrades. For me there are a couple of problems, I had a knee replaced a year ago and the darn thing is still really stiff, so those steps into the rv are a challenge, does anyone make a retractable ramp for an rv? Also the chair in the "throne room" is a little on the low side, do they may taller units?

Our long term goal is to spend at least 6 months of the year in the rv. I write computer software and can work from anywhere where I can get a high speed internet connection.

But first we need to downsize down size our permanent residence (way down) all we need is space to hold the stuff we don't want on the road and a place to park the rv between trips.

As far as a haul vehicle I am torn between a gmc 3500 duramax/allison and the ford f350 if anyone has any opinions either way I would like to hear them.

Any now that we have decided on entering the world of RV's we cant wait to get on the road and see the things that we have missed for the past 40 years, we hope to meet others with the same idea.


Jan & Joe
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Old 06-09-2007, 01:30 PM   #2
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Welcome Jan and Joe, sounds like you have lots to things to decide! You won't go wrong with a Montana! We have the 3400 and really enjoy that. Husband just got a new 1 ton Silverado--pretty neat. Good luck!
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Old 06-09-2007, 01:39 PM   #3
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Jan & Joe,
I do not know if they make a retractable ramp but I've seen many "homemade" type. It shouldn't be all that hard to do.

They do make "taller" thrones. We replaced our original one with a taller model.

As far as the tow vehicle.... just check out the MANY threads on this subject and you'll be reading for a month!

Welcome to the MOC and good luck with whatever you end up with.

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Old 06-09-2007, 01:57 PM   #4
Chuck and Carol
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We have the GMC 3500 duramax/allison and Chuck loves it.
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Old 06-09-2007, 02:50 PM   #5
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Another vote for the tried and true Duramax. Ford has a new engine, again, and has not had much luck recently with new engines. Plus, I think even Ford drivers will admit the Allison is the best transmission on the market. The 3500/350 is a good move.
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Old 06-09-2007, 04:39 PM   #6
stiles watson
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The modifications you want to make to the Montana are all doable. All it takes is a few dollars. I would bet your dealer can and would upgrade you to a taller potty. I would also bet there is some available lift technology around for your entry issues. By-the-way, welcome to the forum.
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Old 06-10-2007, 01:05 PM   #7
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Welcome to the FORUM. Don't rule out the New Dodge Cummins 6.7 it might surprise you... We have a 3650RK and love it. Looking forward to seeing you in Branson for the Get Togeather in MAY 2008. Don't forget to sign up on the central region thread. We will keep the light on for you!!!!!!! safe travels John
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Old 06-10-2007, 01:59 PM   #8
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Here is a vote for the 3500/Duramax/Allison. On the ramp, I have seen a fold up ramp for RV's. There is an organization of handicap RVers. Do a search on the internet and you may find one. I am partially handicapped and use the outside assist handle. Also we have a fold up step that we put at the bottom of the steps when we have to go up on blocks to get level. We also installed another assist handle at the inside steps up to the bedroom. It works very well for me going up and going down. It is the same handle that in on the inside of the rig at the outside steps. On the 3400 we installed it on the pantry wall where we were able to get into the framing wood of the pantry. I need the handle to help pull me up on the steps as my right leg does not raise all the way by itself.
Welcome to the forum. You will love the Montana.
Happy trails...........................
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Old 06-10-2007, 02:20 PM   #9
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You are definetly in the right place. There is no question you can ask that wont get a good answer. The dealer in Cleburn is also where we started, we ended up in RV station in Nachodoches. They made a much better deal. Service was good and they prepped the trailer so that we could stay the night somewhere. The owner is Richard and was our salesman. We went with the Mountaineer 328RLS and love it. Another thing to think about is to order a unit rather than get one off the lot. You can order all options you want like the tall porcellin toilet and color scheme. And here in Texas a second AC in the bedroom is essential. HAPPY TRAILS!!!
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Old 06-10-2007, 04:36 PM   #10
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Jan & Joe,

Welcome to the forum. You couldn't have picked a better forum to belong to. Don't you just love all of the answers you have received already.

Annie & I have the 3650RK and we love it too. As for the inside steps you can do what Sue - "Parrothead" did or take a look at this thread about handrail up to the bedroom:
We haven't added the handrail yet, but I need to add one.

We have a 2006 Silverado 3500 DuraMax/Allison LB Ext Cab. We have only had two long trips(1200-1500 miles) and the Chevy did well. I was impressed how it handled with the tow/haul feature going up and down hills. Last October we averaged 11.4 mpg.(Low Sulfur Diesel) Going down to Mt Shasta in May we averaged 10.4 mpg going down and 10.7 mpg coming home.(Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel) That is not good, BUT I have only 6,000 miles on it. The mileage should get better at 15K - 20K miles. I'm reasonably satisfied as others are getting 7-8 mpg.

If you like, take a look at our photo album for our mods.
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Old 06-16-2007, 12:10 PM   #11
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Welcome Jan and Joe. I don't know if it will fit the current model toilet being used in the Montana but Camping World sells an adapter to raise the throne 2 1/2 inches. We used it on our older model toilet, one of the real short ones, in a prior Montana. 2 1/2 inches doesn't sound like much but it made a big difference. I don't know if it works with the SeaLand toilet, though.

As for Montana, there are a number of good brands on the market. What I like about the Montana is I think it's the best bang for the buck. For us, beside the usual floorplan and structural quality criteria, the manufacturer's reputation for standing behind the product is important. These and other factors are why we're fulltiming in our third Montana.

On trucks, all the brands will do a great job for you. We towed with Fords and still think they're excellent choices. We currently tow with a Dodge and although we've only had it for 1900 miles and towed 650 miles I am very, very pleased with it so far. As for transmissions, I don't agree with the other poster who said even Ford owners would agree Allison is best. I think the Allison is excellent but found the Ford TorqShift equally excellent. The only magazine comparison I have seen said the Ford is the smarter transmission about when to hold gears, when to shift up and when to shift down, uphill, flats, and downhill. I know both of mine were excellent. The Ford transmission does not "hunt" for gears. It seems to know which gear to pick. The Allison has an excellent reputation and is an excellent transmission so don't get me wrong about that. I just don't think it's better than the Ford TorqShift. And I've driven them all. Also, we currently have the new Dodge 68RFE six speed automatic (built in Japan) and I am finding it even better than the Ford, so far. With just 1900 miles on the truck I cannot say that beyond any doubt, yet. And the transmission is new so it will be a few years before we know how it holds up. Plus we have the builtin exhaust brake. Bottom line in my opinion is they all do an excellent job. I'd make my buying choice based on other factors, knowing they'll all tow just fine. And, we did just that a couple of weeks ago when we traded trucks. I drove them all and loved the new Ford but am leery of a first year engine. The Dodge engine is "new" but is the tried and true 5.9L Cummins bored and stroked. Basically the same engine that's been around a long time, just improved.

Whichever direction you go with FW and tow vehicle, good luck and enjoy your travels.
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Old 06-17-2007, 02:55 AM   #12
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I just want to say that everyone who has responded to my questions have great, I really do appreciate all the input.


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Old 06-18-2007, 11:21 PM   #13
Jim Jarvis
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As for the TV, Steve has it about right I'd say. All three will give you a good vehicle. Generally people will recommend what they own and I would do the same. I drove Chevys all my life but wouldn't go back from my Ford now for anything. The Ford tranny is every bit the match for allison.
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Old 06-25-2007, 12:49 PM   #14
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Looks like there is lots of good information about your questions. The only thing I will add is that we had a different 5er while we were in Katy, TX on business. We looked at the dealer at CW there, looked at many units and decided on the Montana. We could not come to terms with the dealership and that night I started looking online. Last year we purchased our unit from Suncoast RV in Lake Park, GA. It was the best price we could find anywhere! (and I looked, called, really shopped.) It was in production and we got to make a few modifications, like adding a second AC in the master, no fireplace, adding generator and it was still less than the "sale" prices I was quoted elsewhere. So, just a suggestion, check out Suncoast RV.

Happy RVing!
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Old 07-18-2007, 08:46 AM   #15
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As far as a tow vehicle is concerned, I would steer clear of a Ford. While Ford probably has the best looking truck on the market, they have had nothing but problems with their 6.0 liter engine and have since gone to a 6.4 liter this year. But, the new engine hasn't been out long enough to get any stats on and I know you don't want to make a $50,000 mistake. In my opinion, I would go with either the GMC with the Duramax or Dodge with its Cummings.
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