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Old 07-13-2004, 12:21 AM   #1
Montana Fan
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sault Sainte Marie
Posts: 192
M.O.C. #1801
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Hi All,

As you can tell from the signature, we’re not there yet. We’ll be out looking again this weekend. As I’m sure many of you have been, I got caught in the trailer/tow vehicle upgrade race. Finally, I bought the tow vehicle for the NEXT trailer – but that’s only more encouragement to grab the Montana.

We’re looking at the 3295, the 3380 and the 3400. Carol is keen on getting a better kitchen – especially the extra counter space. I’m big on the windows. Any pros or cons among those three models? One other question – has anyone upgraded to full queen rather than “queen width”? I’m not quite a six footer, but the short bed in the Cougar does get my attention from time to time.

I’m retired from the AF and well into my second career as a hospital administrator. The job currently has us living in Kentucky, but I’m a Yooper at heart. We spend at least two weeks a year in the north woods – usually in September. We also do the Mackinac Bridge walk every Labor day.

Enough of the talking about me. I’m looking forward to learning more from you in pursuit of swapping the Cougar for its big brother.

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Old 07-13-2004, 04:15 AM   #2
Montana Master
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Woodward
Posts: 2,795
M.O.C. #450
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Welcome GordonR to the MOC, I have the 3280RL and just love all the counter space and storage. I have the mountain view windows and it is nice too. I am sure which ever one you choose you will love it as we all love the one that we chose. There has been some that has upgraded the queen bed to make it full size I am sure someone will be along soon to tell you how they did that.
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Old 07-13-2004, 05:48 AM   #3
Montana Master
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Oceanside
Posts: 20,028
M.O.C. #20
Welcome aboard, Gordon and Carol. We went with the 3295RK because we wanted the counter space and this one has the most of all the Montanas. We also like it having "rooms" to some degree, separation of living areas. Since we fulltime, that's important to us, more so than if we were weekending and vacationing. I'm sure others might feel entirely different about that. The 3295 does not have the mountain view windows we had in our 2880rl and I do miss that. But otherwise the 3295rk remains the best choice for us. All three of the models you are looking at are excellent. I think you're going about this the right way, hearing opinions from others as well as doing your own pros and cons list and then picking the one that works best for you. Good luck in your search and keep us posted.

-- Decided I should have added a couple more points. One is from our search the 3295RK also has the most storage space, also very important to us. On the negative side, while the 3295RK layout is excellent for many things, it does not shine for entertaining many people. The compartmentalization of space into "rooms" in this floorplan - while that is one of the things we really like about living in this model, it's not as good for entertaining as are those with more open floorplans.
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Old 07-13-2004, 12:07 PM   #4
Montana Master
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,740
M.O.C. #1757
Gordon'n Carol Welcome to the Montana forum. Oh what fun to study floor plans! Of the choices you have stated I like the 3295RK, however my wife, Lucie prefers the 3650RK because of the island bar.
I retired from the Air Force in 1981, after serving 20 years. I notice that we have many former Air Force/military people in the club. Thanks for sharing and happy rving.
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Old 07-14-2004, 03:05 AM   #5
Joyce H
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Clermont
Posts: 1,753
M.O.C. #266
Gordon n Carol, First of all...welcome to the forum. Thanks for taking the time to post and share with us. Tom is also USAF retired (1979) and will shortly be taking his second retirement from Delta Airlines. We chose the 3295RK because I fell in love with the kitchen and all the storage space. The nice thing about the Montanas is the variety of floorplans, giving each individual a choice of what best suits their needs and personality. I am sure you will be happy with whichever unit you chose. Keep us posted on your decision.
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Old 07-14-2004, 10:57 AM   #6
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sault Sainte Marie
Posts: 192
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Hi Everyone. Thanks for the greetings and making us feel welcome in the MOC.

For the AF retirees, we retired in 87, a few years behind you. I’m not sure yet when we’ll do it for the second time. I’m really enjoying my second career, except that I’d prefer to be a bit further north. (Maybe not quite as far as Walter and Lucie.) Our kids are scattered. One outside Chicago and the other in a NJ suburb of Philly. We don’t get to see them or the grandkids often enough.

It seems that the 3295RK is a pretty popular choice. Steve’s comment (thanks for the addendum) about the storage space is interesting. We hadn’t been seriously concerned about that since fulltiming isn’t a consideration at this point. However, snowbirding in a couple years could be. The multiple “rooms” feel may work well for us since we’re not big entertainers. However, the point is well taken. I may have to rethink the Mountain View windows. Although, Linda and Walt do seem to have both. Linda and Joyce both made the comment about the kitchen and counter space. Carol is right there with you on that being a key factor. As a couple of you said, this is a fun stage of the process.

In any event, storage space and room “feel” are both now on the “consciously evaluate” list. We’re going over to a campground in Indiana, near Louisville, KY, early on Friday for the weekend. We found a dealer there with both the 3295 and the 3400 on the lot so we can compare them. Who knows, we may tell you on Monday that were not wannabes any more!

Does anyone know of a thread regarding hitches? That's also going to be a concern for me.

Thanks again for the welcome and the useful advice.

As a follow up, I did a quick search for hitches. After that, I realized that what I really need is a primer on fifth wheel hitches. I'll probably have one installed as part of the purchase, but they'll probably make it a inexpensive as the can. I don't know a kingpin box extender from a 2 way pivot from a Rice Krispie Treat. Where is a good place to learn? Thanks.
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Old 07-14-2004, 01:31 PM   #7
Montana Fan
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Gardner
Posts: 128
M.O.C. #1683
Hi GordonR;

Welcome to MOC! Our choice was the 3295RK, because of the wide open space in the living area. (Plenty of room for Buff, our golden retriever/cocker spaniel to roam without being in the way.) Although he still likes to be under my feet while I sitting at the table. The kitchen is out of the way of anyone else while trying to prepare meals. Our previous RV, even with a superslide, people were in the way while I was preparing a meal. The counter space makes for easy serving and we use it to place all the food while we fill our plates before sitting at the table. Barb loves the computer table to do her scrapbooking, beading and other crafts. The counter space can easily be used as extension of the computer area. Also the desk has drawers and she loves the light comming from the rear window.

As for getting information on using a 5er instead of a TT, I might suggest reading Trailer Life Magazine. I have been a subscriber for over 5 years. If you don't get it, I is usually found at the public library. They always have articles regarding towing, travel ideas, technical support and problem areas, recall information, etc. It is well worth the $$.

We have only had our Montana since June 17th, we love it even though we have found some ways to improve the unit along with suggestions for eliminating some undesireables. The MOC forum is great for getting help and ideas from other owners, that have more experience in full-timing or just plain RVing.

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Old 07-14-2004, 02:02 PM   #8
Montana Master
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Oceanside
Posts: 20,028
M.O.C. #20
Gordon and Carol, I think we'll all be happy for you no matter which model you get. They're all great, so get the one that works best for you. You're smart to ask the questions, though. Better to ask up front than to wish later you had thought to ask. (First hand experience here - we had our Jayco Eagle with a terrible floorplan for less than a year).

As for hitches, if you know how to use the Search function (upper right part of this page) just enter 'hitch' and let it search both subject and message and all dates, etc. You'll find plenty. Meanwhile, if you have specific questions, just ask away. If you start a new topic more people would likely catch your questions. There's a section on towing and tow vehicles that would be a good place for that topic.

Meanwhile, I suspect the "LB" in your signature line, related to the truck, means "longbed". So, you won't need to worry about a slider hitch. Nor will you need to worry whether it has an extended pinbox (if the pin on the fifthwheel itself comes straight down, it's non-extended. if it's attached to a box that moves it more forward then it's an extended pinbox).

So, all you need is a fifthwheel hitch that is rated to handle the weight of your Montana-to-be. Any from 15k up will work for any Montana. There are several good brands so I won't try to sell you on one brand or another. I've had an RBW brand and a Reese brand and liked them both. Current is a Reese 15K Classic.

I do recommend you get one with the 4-way pivot. Most have that nowadays but not all. The 2-way pivot lets the hitch tilt front and back but not side-to-side. For many years that's all that was available. And there are many of these in use today.

The 4-way pivot pivots front, back, and side to side. One advantage is when your truck tilts but the Montana doesn't (etc. etc.) it's not as likely to stress the hitch attachments on the truck and the pinbox attachments on the Montana. Just as important to me is easier unhitching on an unlevel site. If using boards under the wheels on one side to level the Montana puts the truck and Montana on different planes more than maybe an inch, then with a two-way pivoting hitch you'll need to also put boards under the rear wheel of the truck or the hitch will not release the pin. With the 4-way pivot you may still have to do that but I've had the Montana up 3 to 4 inches and not needed to raise the truck, too. More than that then I do. This doesn't sound like a big problem but, you know, those boards you use to raise the truck just aren't going to still be sitting in the right place when you want to back the truck up to hitch it all up and need to raise that truck wheel again. It's not a matter of lining up the pin and then placing the boards and backing onto them. Tried that. When backing on to the boards the hitch in the truck moves on an arc, throwing off my alignment. Not my idea of fun.

I got kind of wordy but hopes this gives you some idea of the concepts. Do a little searching, especially in the towing and tow vehicles forum then let us know what questions you still have.

Good luck.
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Old 07-19-2004, 02:50 PM   #9
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sault Sainte Marie
Posts: 192
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Well, the wannabe is about to have been. We pick up our 3400RL this Friday. It's mixed emotions to be sure. On one hand, I feel like a kids just before Christmas. On the other, I remember that the last time I spent this much money, the new item came with a foundation. Ahhh... nuts to that. Can't wait for Friday to get here.

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Old 07-19-2004, 03:20 PM   #10
Seasoned Camper
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Manassas
Posts: 75
M.O.C. #462
Gordon n Carol,
Congrats on the new Montana. We have the 3655FL and just love it. We were out about a month ago and looked at the 3400, a real nice floor plan, the wife really like it. Good luck and hope you enjoy yours as much as we have enjoyed ours. 1998 AF retire here.
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Old 07-19-2004, 03:24 PM   #11
Montana Master
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Racine
Posts: 809
M.O.C. #1165
GordonR - Congratulations on your Monty choice. The 3400RL is a lovely rig. Know you will be very happy with it. Have fun loading it up and getting ready for your first road trip. Many happy trails .....
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Old 07-20-2004, 05:26 PM   #12
faeb and genb
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,804
M.O.C. #57
Congratulations Gordon & Carol on your new Montana. Many happy & trouble free miles.
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Old 07-20-2004, 09:33 PM   #13
D and M On The Road
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Orangevale
Posts: 2,341
M.O.C. #49
Congratulations GordonR! How exciting for you. Welcome to the family of Montana owners.
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Old 07-22-2004, 03:06 AM   #14
Montana Master
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: none
Posts: 1,566
M.O.C. #1043
Welcome GordonR, you will fine many reasons to upgrade. Enjoy the information you will receive.
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