It all is about trade-offs. I bought an entry level travel trailer new, knowing that it is the "runt of the litter", because it had no slide-outs, and I would have to learn electrical, plumbing, and other skills in order to keep it maintained.
However, if I were to recommend a quality trailer that is not going to leak, or rot into uselessness in five years, I would recommend a horse trailer manufacturer (Bloomer Trailers out of Salado is one place), and have them do the job right. Just the fact that they use a one piece aluminum roof over rubber and aluminum framing will extend the life of the trailer well past almost anything "mass-produced" today.
A friend of mine had a trailer done this way. It has little in the way of plumbing and electrical (mainly an A/C with a heat strip), but it has gone through ice storms and 110+ degree heat easily. The trailer isn't really cared for, so it shows how well built it is when it just sits for months unused, which is a testament to how well Pace American built things.
I like running the generator while on the road, not just for the A/C in summer and heat in winter, but I save on propane by having the fridge on electric while going down the road. Some fridges might get their pilot light blown out while in motion as well, so it is one less thing to worry about.
The cables are soldered on at best. They will tear off fairly easily.
I've not heard about solar panels falling off, mainly because they tend to be parallel to wind forces, so not that much is needed to keep them secure. However, anything can happen. I'd say that if a panel is secured at four points at the minimum, it will stick around.
I do prefer screws or rivets, but if done right, adhesive mounts can't hurt either.
Lone Star is the closest. Crestview is iffish -- pretty crowded. If you can stand the drive, there are a number of very nice RV parks out 71 towards Bastrop, be it the newer ones like Lost Pines or ones that have a bit of character and a small ranch like Bastrop RV park.
Lone star is about $50 a night, but everything in Austin is hyper-inflated when it comes to lodging. Just make sure to get reservations. I'd probably go that route.
There are many ways to boost quality. Since there isn't the economy of scale auto makers have where having everything done by robot helps, the entire RV assembly has to be done my hand, but we have had companies and quality controls for a long time. Best way, have one round of work done, have it inspected and fixed by a different group, once it passes muster, do the second round, repeat. Have everyone on salary so the focus is not getting it done fast, but done well, especially if bonuses were given if warranty claims and sales were up to par.
I read about so many innovative things coming from RV parts makers... it would be nice to see those, be it cutting edge stuff, or just Seitz windows which are better than the common RV stuff we have in the US because they are double-paned.
I have the hybrid inverter in my build for a Transit van, as well as something I plan to retrofit a class "C" if I go that route.
The coolest thing about the inverter is that it handles the locked rotor amps of an A/C start, which is useful if one has a smaller rig and a generator that can handle the steady current, but would choke on the A/C starting. Of course, the fact that it cures undervoltages, especially when combined with the control panel and a generator controller is a nice thing as well.
Here is my experience. Last year, due to various stuff beyond my control, I left gas in my generator, and it got fouled. I decided to try various ways to kick-start it, including a special engine start additive used with a gallon of gas, and B-12, and even though I'm not sure what specific product worked, the generator now is back to starting easily, and putting Star-Tron in it keeps it starting without problems.
SeaFoam hasn't done much for me, in my experience, so I'd say one's milage will vary with it.
It is on the Sprinter chassis, so find a Mercedes or Freightliner dealer that can handle Sprinters, and can handle class "C"s. These tend to be relatively rare birds. Most maintenance you can do yourself like changing the oil, but it is wise to have a place if something goes wrong or the CEL light comes on and stays on.
My big worry would be where did all that acid go?
x2. First thing I'd be doing is spraying/washing out any internal compartments with baking soda in an effort to neutralize the acid before it does damage.
After that, I'd probably consider going AGM. Twice the price, but they can be tipped or run at virtually any angle without worry.
I am looking at the CDF-11, where it will reside by one seat in my TT and the wall when camping, and when on the road, will be behind the seat in my TV, plugged into a 12 volt socket. It isn't big... but it is big enough to hold some food and keep it cold.
What I'm curious about is the freezer mode. Would that be able to keep frozen food safely below 32 degrees even in Texas heat? I can also use it to freeze water bottles and freezer packs, to help augment cooling of the absorption fridge in these 100+ days here in Texas.
What do people think of Dometic "ice chest" refrigerators. Not the Koolatron thermal-electric coolers, but the models that have an actual compressor?
I'm thinking of buying one in addition to the existing absorption fridge because it does a good job at getting stuff cold, and when it isn't chilling beverages, I can set it to 0 degrees, use it for additional space for frozen items.
There are two general ways to do this:
1: Have a plumber add a "clean-out" near your rig. Semantics are critical here... you don't want to use the words, "dump station", since you might run afoul of a lot of regulations. However, a clean-out where your dump hose adapter screws onto is perfectly OK.
2: Use a macerator pump. Done right, it isn't that much of a hassle, it allows you to pump uphill.
AFAIK, Sunseekers have a fiberglass roof. I don't think it is crowned over the edges like the Winnebago, but unlike TPO or EPDM, you are not a puncture from a tree branch away from major water damage.
Next to the one piece Coach House models or a class "B", I would probably say the best roof would be one piece aluminum, crowned over the sides, similar to how Livin' Lite trailers are made.
I am in the market for a motorhome, but biding my time. So far, I do like the Winnebago Fuse. The advantage Fords have over Mercedes is that if something breaks, there is a Ford dealer almost anywhere. Mercedes dealers, especially the subset that handle Sprinters, and the subset of those that have the bays for class "C"s are relatively rare.
My only gripe about the Winnebago Fuse is that if I'm boondocking in the middle of July or August for more than 1-2 days, I either need to carry a hitch mounted cargo rack full of propane cylinders to use with an Extend-A-Stay device, or I haul my 3000 watt Yamaha generator on the rack and a few five gallon gas cans.
Of course, the Ford E-350/E-450 isnt bad either. It is tried and true, and very reliable. No DEF, no DPF, and very simple to maintain. Only real downside I've encountered is that the drive is more fatiguing over a long distance than a Sprinter or Transit.
My Ford with the keypad makes locking keys in the vehicle a complete non-issue. Only time it might be bad is if the battery died. I do like the key behind the license plate, and have a spare unchipped one, so that might be useful.