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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers

 > Wood frame or aluminum???

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Learjet

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Posted: 10/15/08 05:43pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dick_B wrote:

Aluminum frames won't rot if they get wet. That was one of our criteria when we looked at TT's.


Aluminum can crack and split at the welds, I have an aluminum frame trailer and I think both are equal.


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Lantley

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Posted: 10/15/08 05:55pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There is no definitive answer. There are plenty of wood framed trailers around.
Leaks can be catastrophic to any trailer. Aluminum framing will not rot but the rest rest of the trailer may. Most aluminum trailers have fiberglass sides which are subject to delamination issues.
Wood vs. Aluminum is generally a non issue. Choose a floorplan you like and a loaded weight you can handle. They both have pro's and cons. You can roll the dice to determine which one is better


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JJBIRISH

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Posted: 10/15/08 06:58pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lantley... just about nailed it...

its like which is better, Ford or Chevy... we all know Chevy is, but not all are willing to admit it...


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Posted: 10/15/08 07:02pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Kanyonkitty wrote:

OK, dumb blonde girl question: isn't or wouldn't there "still" be some wood that could get damaged in the event of a leak ? I am thinking there is a wood roof, wood floors ?
I am sitting down, ready to feel stupid for asking this question.



not a dumb question at all, and you are absolutly right...

are you sure you are a true blonde???

wileecoyote

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Posted: 10/15/08 09:42pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Some advice from a new TT owner that just completed months of research and made a purchase a few weeks ago:

Initially I had a huge fear of wood frame TT. I assumed that these would be much more likely to have problems with mold, rot, termites, mice, fire, loose fasteners, etc. so I was totally set on getting an aluminum frame TT.

Then we did a lot of shopping and research. All of the aluminum frame TT that we toured still had quite a bit of wood on the interior: ceilings, walls, furniture, dividers, doors, floors, etc. The frame studs might be aluminum but any water leaks would still cause quite a bit of mold / rot, and the risk is still just as great for termites, fire, loose fasteners, etc. Also, there are hundreds of posts on the forum with opinions split roughly down the middle: aluminum vs. wood just depends on who you ask.

Then I talked with a lot of dealers and a few service techs. I was expecting them to sell me on the aluminum frame TT since they are more expensive but every single one of them said it doesn't really matter as long as you get a good quality unit. Every dealer praised the Palomino Puma brand as the best quality wooden frame TT that you can buy so we narrowed it down to a Puma 26RLSS vs. a Rockwood or similar aluminum frame brand with a similar floor plan.

After doing more research it seemed that the only clear advantage of aluminum is the lower weight which translates into better gas mileage and you don't need such a big TV. This is the main reason why so many people by the ultra-lights: they are constrained by the capacity of their TV but they want a bigger trailer. Their only option is to buy an aluminum frame or step down to a smaller TT so most go for the ultralights.

In our case we have a big TV which is rated to tow 10,800 lbs. and the gas mileage only varies by 1 mpg when adding another 2,000 lbs. based on my previous towing experience, so weight was not a factor in our decision. Of all the units we toured and researched, we liked the 26RLSS the best by far and we were able to save a good bit of money on it compared to aluminum so we chose the wood frame and are quite happy with it.





ManInACan

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Posted: 10/16/08 12:01am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

well put wileecoyote. The ppl that say aluminum, in case of a leak wont rot are just being silly. If you have a leak...the least of your worries are what the frame is. That being said...find a floor plan and a weight you are happy with, then research the manufacturer. then make a purchase.


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SteveRankin

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Posted: 10/16/08 12:32am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The issue of wood frame vs. aluminum frame isn't nearly as black and white as some folks would like you to believe.

It is true that the average wood-framed TTs may have issues with fasteners coming loose. However, there are wood-framed TTs that are far stronger than most aluminum-framed TTs. Specifically, Nash and Arctic Fox TT's built by Northwood are built specifically to endure many years of use off-road.

Also, I'd like to point out that fasteners pull out of aluminum framed RVs, too. Especially, all of those plain steel screws in the aluminum frame. Real easy to have happen when water gets past the caulk/seal at the screws.

Then, there is the issue of aluminum frames fatiguing and breaking welds.

And as KanyonKitty pointed out, all of those aluminum framed TTs have wood floors and other wood structures that rot just as easily as the wood frames, maybe even easier.

These are just hypothetical snafus. We've seen all of these problems in a number of coaches. We decided to go with Arctic Fox on our current TT, partly because they insert wood into the aluminum frame so that fasteners hold better. And they use marine plywood in their floors instead of OSB. And they build their unusually strong roofs entirely out of wood.


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PopBeavers

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Posted: 10/16/08 02:38am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

SteveRankin wrote:


And as KanyonKitty pointed out, all of those aluminum framed TTs have wood floors and other wood structures that rot just as easily as the wood frames, maybe even easier.

I do not believe this to be universally true. My Trailmanor is aluminum frame, no wood in walls, floor or roof. It does have wood cabinets. There is no wood in the counter tops. There is no particle board, so formaldahyde odor in a new trailer is reduced drastically if not eliminated.

Most, but not all, Trailmanors fold down for towing. They are all light weight.


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Sluggo54

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Posted: 10/16/08 03:19am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Arctic Fox/Nash, New Horizons, HitchHiker, Excel - all wood framed. All among the better rigs.

For skin - I prefer fiberglas to aluminum. Our rig is wood framed and fiberglas skinned - many times I see folks with aluminum framed and skinned rigs standing outside to use their cell phones. Not a factor with wood rigs.

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Posted: 10/16/08 05:37am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I dont really think less wood to rot has anything to do with it, its wieght, aluminum tube framing cuts down on the wieght a bit.
Sure the aluminum studs and trusses wont rot or mold but they still use the same insulation and plywoods and such.
Most times aluminum is used in place of wood on the fiberglass sided units, because that type of siding adds a bunch of wieght, more so than the aluminum sided units.

Buy what you like, and can afford.


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