Seeking TT Purchase Advice

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john hassell

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Aug 15, 2018
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7
We are considering the purchase of a new travel trailer and would greatly appreciate any help/input that you might have to offer.

Our present, and first, trailer is a 2004 26? Surveyor.  I purchased it used some years ago and have greatly enjoyed camping in it.  However, there were issues with it from the beginning and as a rookie, I was unaware of them.  First large problem: the former owner switched the roof mounted TV antenna with a satellite dish and patched the rubber roof with ?Black Cat?.  Needless to say water intrusion followed shortly thereafter.  Over the years I have poured good money after bad into the unit and am now ready to move on.  We travel for several long weekends and probably take three or four week-long trips each year.  Mostly with just my wife and me or just me, alone, on a fishing trip.  Occasionally my son will join me or maybe a fishing buddy.  Therefore, a large unit is not needed.  I tow with a 2017 Silverado 1500 (5.3L V8 ECOTEC3, 6 SPD automatic and towing package).

Looking for something (new) that will accommodate 3-4 people.  Full sized shower. Prefer a sepation between the sleeping area and the living area.  Outdoor kitchen nice but not necessary.  Enclosed underbody desired (I do camp in the winter).  20? ? 26?, lightweight. Don?t want to break the bank!

After looking at several different trailers we sort of settled on a 22RBPR Premier Ultra Lite by Bullet.  It had a reasonable floorplan, 3 year limited structural warranty, price not bad, and sleeps 3-4 (not with a knife-knife but by converting the dinette).  Just about ready to pull the trigger.  Then?

My wife goes on the internet and looks at consumer reviews.  Evidently there are a lot of negative comments out there regarding this particular line of campers and Keystone, in particular.  Quite possibly, out of the thousands sold there were a few buyers with problems and thus sour grapes.  Probably most of the people happy with the product simply don?t bother to write.

But?I would greatly appreciate any and all input regarding Keystone, their willingness to back-up their warranty?input on other travel trailers that I should consider that fit within my parameters, etc.  Most of you have a great deal more experience with these things than do I.  We are not set on any brand or model at this time but just want to make a reasonably well informed purchase decision. So, please help!

Thanks in advance.

John
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Hard to make a decision based on internet comments because quality on RVs is very inconsistent - ALL the makes and models have their share of lemons! And the less expensive and lighter weight the RV, the more light duty parts and construction it has.

I looked at the floor plan for the 22RBPR Premier Ultra Lite and can readily see why you like it for your needs.  Keystone is a full-line RV company with models at all rice and size points - have you checked to see if they offer than basic floor plan in one of their other models?  They often re-use the same design if it proves popular with buyers.


Other than that, you are probably going to have to slog through floor plans from Forest River and the numerous Thor brands to see what they have that is similar.  The good news is that you can do it at home via the internet instead of visiting a zillion RV dealers.

You should also determine the tow capacity and Payload (CCC) rating of your truck so that you know the upper limit on the trailer GVWR and tongue weight.  Some 1500's are surprisingly low on one or both of those - never assume or believe the sales guys assurances. Get the numbers for your specific truck (not the tv ads!).
 

SargeW

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And remember that 90% of the comments are posted by people that are having an issue with a RV, not the people that are not having problems. As Gary said, all RV's regardless of price point will have problems somewhere along the line. The mitigating factor is how will the company will stand behind their product and make it right.  I would look for reviews about the success or failure of the company in handling complaints. 
 

jefster

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Jul 11, 2018
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We just bought a Keystone Passport this summer.  The passports are very similar to the bullets, they are nice and light with the extended season camping enclosed underbelly.  We bought it from a local dealer and we have odds and ends that need to be fixed.  Stuff like the trim coming down and needs to be stapled back up better, the screen door frame is bent (probably by the dealer), one of the bunks has a screw working its way out.  Stuff like that.  The main systems and structure we are very happy with.

If you buy used you might have let someone else deal with some of those annoying little issues and fix them.  On the other hand buying new you just need to do a really good inspection on delivery and make sure the dealer fixes all of those things. 
 

john hassell

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Aug 15, 2018
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Thanks for the info to this point.  Check and my tow capacity is 9800 lbs...and, I don't want to get very close to that.
 

john hassell

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Aug 15, 2018
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I have requested a build and confirmation about tow capacities from the dealer for my specific vehicle re the VIN number.
 

grashley

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Welcome to the Forum!

Forget all about that 9800# tow capacity!  That does not apply to your truck, but they do make one similar to yours with that capacity!

Use this method to find the TRUE estimated capacity.

Find the yellow banner placard on the driver door latch post.  It will state the maximum weight of passengers and cargo shall not exceed XXXX pounds.  This is the Payload for YOUR truck as it left the factory.

Now add together the weight of all passengers you expect to ride in the truck.  Add all cargo including tools, toys, fishing gear, firewood, etc.  Add 80# for a WD hitch.  Now subtract this total from your Payload.  This is the most hitch  weight you can handle.

Assuming a 10% hitch wt, multiply max hitch wt by 10 to get the largest TT  GVWR you can handle.
Assuming 12.5% hitch wt, multiply max hitch wt by  8  to get the largest TT  GVWR you can handle.
 

john hassell

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Aug 15, 2018
Posts
7
OK...I think that I understand it.
The sticker in the door says passengers and cargo not to exceed 1753 lbs.

220 me
130 wife
80 hitch
500 misc gear
__________
930

leaves 823
X 9 (in between the two)
I could tow approximately 7400 lbs

Therefore, I probably don't want something more than around 5500 lbs loaded...does that sound reasonable?
 

pip

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Jun 21, 2015
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With that weight range, you'll have a large variety of trailers to take a look at in the size range you're looking at.  I had similar weight and size requirements, as well as the 4 season want but different floor plan needs.  We found a Keystone passport 2400BH, Rockwood MiniLite 2509S and Grand Design Imagine 2400BH that were right in our wheel house.  We ruled out the 2509 becuase the murphy bed sounds great now, but as the kids grow we might want a little more privacy from a dedicated bed room. Despite being a little more, we're going with the Grand Design because there were a couple features we liked, and I have the same concerns with Keystone that you posted above.  Small warranty issues like trim fixes and other minor stuff I can deal with, but I personally know two people that have had delamination issues with Keystones purchased in the last 4 years.  I've seen some recent issues with GD axles but they've spec'd stronger ones for 2019 and frankly, those are a much easier repair than delamination. The dealer has a lot to do with it as well, but the Keystone dealer we went to was nearly 30 miles farther away, on the other side of a busy metro area too. 
 

john hassell

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Aug 15, 2018
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Starting to really see what you guys are talking about as regards customer reviews.  I just went online and looked at grand design reviews....just like keystone...they are all over the board.  It almost makes one fearful of spending  20K-30K on any of them!
 

kennyshark

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Jul 11, 2012
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Texas, USA
I have a 2013 Tracer ultra light, 2640 RLS 27' TT, I've had minor issues but overall it's been a great camper. I've done many upgrades myself over the years. I tow with the exact same truck as Yours, except it's a 2013, I'm pretty happy with the way it tow's but I would never take it up into the Rocky Mtns. I would want a 3/4 ton truck for that, I've put helper springs on My GMC which does help but I'd want more truck, for out west anyway.
 

Frank B

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john hassell said:
Starting to really see what you guys are talking about as regards customer reviews.  I just went online and looked at grand design reviews....just like keystone...they are all over the board.  It almost makes one fearful of spending  20K-30K on any of them!


Yeah, frightening, isn't it. :)


Some things that I have found useful in determining a unit's build quality is the cargo carrying capacity. That is the difference between the trailer's shipping weight, and it's allowable loaded weight. The larger the difference, the more solidly it may be built.


I also look for things like quality North American wheels and axles, greasable shackle bolts (as opposed to plastic inserts), size of channel used in the frame between comparable makes, and similar. These are things that are not at eye-level, and therefore trailer manufacturers can often skimp on them. I always get under a unit and have a look before I buy.
 

SeilerBird

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john hassell said:
Starting to really see what you guys are talking about as regards customer reviews.  I just went online and looked at grand design reviews....just like keystone...they are all over the board.  It almost makes one fearful of spending  20K-30K on any of them!
Pay no attention to online RV reviews. RVs are basically custom built so there is not problems with a line of RVs that are typical to the make and model. Rely on a paid inspector to look over the RV you are buying unless you are buying new. If you are buying new then just pick the one with the floor plan you like and don't worry about if it will last. Take care of any RV properly and it will last you.
 

john hassell

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Aug 15, 2018
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7
Thanks for the help so far.  I am going to Myrtle Beach to look at the Grand Design Imagine 21.5.  It seems to be a really nice trailer.
 

Frank B

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Grand Design, if I remember correctly, is owned by Winnebago. I think they are generally well-regarded in the industry. Have fun!
 

WannaBeRVing

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Jul 23, 2018
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Frank B said:
Grand Design, if I remember correctly, is owned by Winnebago. I think they are generally well-regarded in the industry. Have fun!

My understanding is they aren't owned by them, rather they have some type of partnership.  My research shows Grand Design has about as good quality reputation as anybody, except Airstream of course.
 

ski man

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Dec 2, 2017
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Nashville, Tennessee
Thought I would pass on our limited experience with our Premier Bullitt 22 footer the exact model you are considering.  We bought a 2017 used ultralight in Dec. after verifiying it was only 7 months old and had just one trip (to Wisconsin and back) and they traded for something larger.  We loved the floorplan and it was just big enough for the two of us and our two furry dogs.  Its easy to tow and sit up and has all the features we were looking for including the outdoor kitchen and grill.  We have had no problems so far and look to use it for the next couple of years and then look at a class a.  Everything seems to be quality construction and the fit and finish is very good.  Good luck with your shopping. 






















 

Koodog

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Dec 14, 2009
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Boncarbo, CO
You may also wish to check out Northwood Mfg.
Seem to be highly regarded and make a true 4 season TT.
 
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