My nephew has asked me for some help in evaluating bunk house models while he is currently serving overseas. I understand there are pros and cons about whether a bunk house is desireable or not. I am more interested in specific comments about the units he has on his short list. The tow vehicle is not an issue as he will be purchasing it after he has decided on the trailer.
His current short list includes the Cedar Creek Silverback 35Qb4, Mountaineer 350QBQ and Open Range 3x 427BHS. I have already noted things like fresh water capacity, access to the fridge when the slides are closed, cargo capacity and bunk size. I am really more interested in comments on build quality, accessibility and comfort.
Thanks for your input.
We are on our second Cedar Creek. The first was a 2004 that we traded in 2013 on our current Creek. The only problem we had with it was that the axles were misaligned. That was when Lippert had axle problems and many were being replaced. After determining that our axles were not bad, FR paid to have them aligned. End of problem. We also had them vent our microwave (at no cost). We went back to the factory with our durrent Creek for a few warranty matters. Awning fabric was crooked causing stress when retracting, microwave was not vented and it was shipped with a conventional oven instead of the under stove top storage that we had ordered. All items, and a couple of other minor things that we didn't consider to be a warranty issue, were taken care of promptly.
This August we went to the FROG (Forest River Owners Group) rally. There were over 500 various typed of FR rigs there. Before we went we sent in our service request. All of the things on our list were taken care of by factory techs at no cost. They even replaced our convection/microwave at no cost. I personally saw them working on rigs that were long past any warranty period. Most things were taken care of at no cost altho in a few instances there may have been a small charge for parts.
Three members of our CCRVOC had extensive repairs, caused by suspension problems, that would have ranged from $5,000 to $8,000 done at no cost to them. The scuttlebutt going around the fair grounds was that FR put out $100,000+, not counting factory tech time that was paid while they were at the rally, in repairs during the rally, or back at the factories if repairs couldn't be completed at the rally, at no cost to the owners.
If this doesn't make you lean strongly to a Creek, I don't know what else I can say. They are a well built, attractive unit with excellent factory support. And as SandsOrrell said, the CCRVOC is an added bennefit. A great club.
You might hang a couple of no pest strips in the rig when you are through using it. Home Defense makes them but there is also a generic one available at a farm store that works just as well. When you get ready to use it again, remove the strips and air it out for a couple of days.
We leave the no pest strips in the basement area year round but I wouldn't have it in the living area while we are using it. Works on bugs that you don't even realize you have inhabiting the trailer.
Well after spending another week in a campground where there was little off air TV available, we have determined that we will be taking our Direct TV with us.
We can take the SD receiver from the family room without much problem. However, we don't want to take down the dish each time. We have an extra round dish, with a single LNB, that we used with our old receiver. But when we switched service so that we could get local channels, we got an eliptical dish with three LNBs. I realize that we won't get local channels when we are on the road but will the round dish with the single LNB work with the SD receiver? Or do we need to find an eliptical dish like is hooked up at the house now.
I looked at the Direct TV website but couldn't get an answer. I'm sure for a price that a technician would come out an get us fixed up. But I'd rather do it myself if possible.
We have the same tire on ours, about the same age, only our fifth wheel is about 2,700 pounds lighter, loaded and ready to roll. We have 10,000 miles on them and no problems but we will replace them before we make our first trip next spring just to be on the safe side.
I agree the manufacturers could and should make better tires an option. However, many buyers out there will not be knowledgable enough, or don't want to spring for another couple hundred bucks (about 1% on a $25,000 purchase) to order better tires. I imagine that the manufacturers have computed the warranty rate for repairs due to tire failures and have determined they can still save X dollars going with the cheaper tires. Until consumers as a whole demand better tires, as a standard item, we are not likely to see this change.
I think that this will be too much trailer for your truck. We have a 2010 Chevy 2500 HD long bed, Duramax and the max pin weight is 3000 and max trailer weight is 13,300. Our 5th wheel weighs 12,280 loaded (no water) ready to roll and the pin weight is 2840. This setup pulls just fine, but I would not want to go any heavier.
You can find a FW that will fit within the tow limits of your GMC, but it takes some looking and you need to know your tow specs. Now I will get flamed as someone will post that they pull what you are proposing with their 2500 SRW and have no problems. Be that as it may, we prefer to stay within our limits. I'd like the truck to last us a long time.
We just came through 152 to west I435 last Sunday. There was no blockage although they had been doing some road work in the area. Maybe we were lucky or maybe you were unlucky but that is the route we normally take.
Second taking 152 west at Liberty to west 435. Once you get past the two or three stop lights on the east end of 152 it is smooth sailing to 435. It doesn't seem that traffic on west 435 is as heavy as east 435 and it is shorter.
You might try cleaning the threads on the water heater with a small wire brush. Corrosion can build up enough to make it hard to thread the rod. When we store the RV for the winter, we clean the threads, put a light coat of vaseline on the threads, and then put a clean cloth loosely in the hole. This keeps bugs, etc out of the water heater and keeps the threads from corroding. When we reinstall the rod in the spring, we start it with our fingers, then tighten just enough to snug it with a socket. We also use a wrap of teflon tape on the rod.
A similar thing happened to us about 5 years ago. We plugged into a 30 amp circuit that had mistakenly been wired to 220. You are correct in that it fried more than the microwave. It fried all items with a circuit board, converter, refrigerator, 2 TV's, microwave, satellite receiver, etc. Our insurance covered the fridge, converter and microwave because they are "attached" to the RV. The TV's were on us. All told, the cost to replace everything was over $2,000. So with our $500 deductible and having to replace the TV's on our dime, we were out about $1,000. This little disaster did not raise our rates on our next renewal.
When we got home from that trip we bought a Progressive Industries surge protector/low voltage unit and have used it religiously since. But so far, that has been the only surge that we have experienced. We have had shut downs for low voltage several times.
There a couple of roads in KS that you can take to get over to US 83. Take 83 to North Platte, NE. Holiday RV park there is a nice and easy in, easy out park. Take 83 north of there to 2 and take 2 west to 385. Roads are decent and the route is a scenic as it gets in the panhandle of NE.
When our trailer was new, it was difficult the first few times to get the cord lined up and seated properly. We put a little dielectric grease on the plug and that helped. We also marked, with a magic marker, where the little button on the side of the cord had to be for it to align correctly. Thankfully now that we have plugged and unplugged the cord many times, it is much easier.
We have had good luck with no pest strips hung in the storage compartments. We get them at the farm store and get the generic brand as they are cheaper than the Home Defense brand. It was amazing how many dead critters we had in the compartments when we didn't think we had any problems. These strips are not a good idea for the living area while you are occupying the trailer. But you could put them out for a few days then air the trailer out before you use it.
If it were me, I would take I435 up to 152 then across to I35. That is the route we always take when we are catching I35 on the north side. I don't like downtown KC (I35) even in the car. You do run into 2 or 3 stop lights on 152 just west of I35 but the rest of it is 4 lane road, smooth sailing.
I'm not sure of the mileage but we have done I25 to Springer and then east on US 56 to Marion, KS, east on KS 150 to US 50, US 50 to Emporia, then either I35 or I335/I70 to KC, depending of what part of KC you are headed to. It is good roads all the way and the grades around Santa Fe are not bad at all. We prefer US 56 to US 54 because there is not as much truck traffic and the road is/was in better condition. It is a super two and the slow downs for towns are not bad, actually kind of a nice break. There is a stretch between Springer and Clayton, NM (about 60 miles)with no fuel stops so you have to plan accordingly.
Having been down this road, I can give you a quick check that will tell you if your axles are out of alignment. Measure from hub to hub on both sides. The measures should be virtually equal, maybe 1/8" difference but not 3/4" like our trailer was. Also take a level and measure each wheel vertically and horizontally. Again the measurements should be virtually equal. The vertical will probably be off of straight perpendicular but the difference on each of the wheels should be the same.
We noticed the tire wear problem like you noted and that was when Lippert was having to replace a lot of axles. Our axles were OK but they were out of alignment by 3/4". That caused a lot of tire scrubbing when we were going down the road. Althought it was not that expensive (about $100 ten years ago), the manufacturer reimbursed us even though we were out of warranty by that time.
We clean the threads every fall when we winterize by using the round wire brush used when soldering copper. Then we take a clean cloth, dab it liberally into vaseline, wipe the threads and then leave the cloth loosely in the hole over the winter. When we put the anode rod back in during our spring prep, it goes in smoothly. We also use teflon tape around the rod to help eliminate leaks.
While we don't have the same brand that you do, we don't have any dealers within 300 miles of us that carry our brand. When we were at the factory last summer, which was planned in conjunction with a trip in that area, we asked for and received permission for our local independent RV repair place to perform any other warranty work that we might need. The factory only specified that any warranty issues have to be discussed with them prior to having the work completed. So you might get in touch with the factory, explain your situation and see if they will authorize a local shop to perform the needed repairs.
I don't know about Ohio Technical College but I do know that McPherson College, McPherson, KS has an antique car restoration program. Their graduates are highly recruited. They have even worked on Jay Leno's cars. And this is not a for profit school like those advertising on TV all the time. It is a private liberal arts college.