Vinyl or Gel Coat

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amazongb

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Feb 15, 2006
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I'm thinking about buying a5th Wheel and I'm leaning towards a  36' Mountaineer 344RET  http://keystone-mountaineer.com/?page=floorplans which has a fiberglass/vinyl exterior, or a 

or a Montana  http://keystone-montana.com/?page=floorplans which has a gel coat exterior.  The Montana is quite a bit more expensive, but has a gel coat exterior.

Here's my question.  I'll be leaving this at the Colorado River (in an RV park) all  summer, which gets extremely hot.  Will the vinyl old up?  What are the pros and cons to both vinyl or gel?

Also, I'd love to hear towing advise.  I have a Ford F250 Super Duty Crew, 6.0 Diesel with short bed.  I understand I need a sliding hitch.  The dealer tells me that I have enough truck to tow either trailer, but your opinions will more than likely decide that for me  :) 

Thanks in advance,

John

 

Carl L

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I have a Ford F250 Super Duty Crew, 6.0 Diesel with short bed.  I understand I need a sliding hitch.  The dealer tells me that I have enough truck to tow either trailer, but your opinions will more than likely decide that for me   

Model year?  Rear end ratio?  4WD or 2WD?  Tow in the East or in the West.?
 

Karl

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John,

Unless I read it wrong, the construction details for both specify an EDPM rubber roof with gel-coated fibreglass sidewalls. The only reference to vinyl was in the ceiling, which is on the INTERIOR, not the exterior. Shouldn't be a problem.
 

2006F350

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Gell-Coat is nice. It's still fiberglass, but just has a harder finish. I have a Keystone Everest 364Q and love it. I believe it is built on the same chassis as the Mountineer and the Montana you are looking at. Before you take the plunge, you really need to make sure your F250 can handle the weight. Pin weight, I'm sure will be OK for your truck, but the GVW of the trailer will be pushing it, it think. I am around 5,000 Lbs shy of my GCWR (empty)with my setup. Get a copy of Ford's Trailer and Towing Guide for your max 5W capability. Mine is 19,200Lbs, the trailer's CVW is 14,300Lbs.

Larry
 

amazongb

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Ok, my truck is a 2004 Ford F250 Super Duty Crewcab Diesel 6.0, 4x4, 3.73 Ratio Limited Slip.

Karl, the Keystone website is wrong. The Mountaineer model that my dealer has in stock is fiberglass with a vinyl cover.  The coach is about $9,000 less than a similar Montana model.  I am concerned that the vinyl won't hold up to the heat.

Towing. Looking at the guide that came with my truck, the guide does not list my exact engine. The closest is the 6.8. The 6.8 with 3.73 list the Max GCWR as 17,000 lbs, and max trailer weight as 10,200 lbs.  The dealer might be pulling my leg, but he says I can go over by 10%.  Like I said, you guys tell me "no", then I'm listening.. you've been around the block.

John
 

BruceinFL

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amazongb said:
Ok, my truck is a 2004 Ford F250 Super Duty Crewcab Diesel 6.0, 4x4, 3.73 Ratio Limited Slip.

Karl, the Keystone website is wrong. The Mountaineer model that my dealer has in stock is fiberglass with a vinyl cover.  The coach is about $9,000 less than a similar Montana model.  I am concerned that the vinyl won't hold up to the heat.

Towing. Looking at the guide that came with my truck, the guide does not list my exact engine. The closest is the 6.8. The 6.8 with 3.73 list the Max GCWR as 17,000 lbs, and max trailer weight as 10,200 lbs.  The dealer might be pulling my leg, but he says I can go over by 10%.  Like I said, you guys tell me "no", then I'm listening.. you've been around the block.

John

Never believe a dealer. Your truck is definitely listed in the towing guide, but the weights are also listed in your owners manual. The axle weight limits are posted on the driver's side door frame. You will have to assume that your loaded/fueled unhitched curb weight will be approximately 7500 lbs. I'm almost willing to bet that you will be over both your GCWR and your rear axle weight limit. I also had an 04 F250 6.0 extended cab long bed and had to go to an 05 F350 SRW 6.0 in order to pull my Alpenlite 15000 lb MaxGW 5er. Mine is a 31 ft 5er and you are talking about a 36 ft 5er.
 

Carl L

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amazongb said:
Ok, my truck is a 2004 Ford F250 Super Duty Crewcab Diesel 6.0, 4x4, 3.73 Ratio Limited Slip.

Towing. Looking at the guide that came with my truck, the guide does not list my exact engine. The closest is the 6.8. The 6.8 with 3.73 list the Max GCWR as 17,000 lbs, and max trailer weight as 10,200 lbs.? The dealer might be pulling my leg, but he says I can go over by 10%.? Like I said, you guys tell me "no", then I'm listening.. you've been around the block.

If a vehicle dealer tells me that the sun rises in the east, I would be looking for it to rise in the west.?

The 2006 Trailer Lfie tables list the 2006 version of your rig's tow rating at 15,800# for TTs and 15,500 for 5W.? ?Go to http://www.trailerlife.com ? and follow the pages thru TECH to TOW RATINGS and pick out the tables for the 2004 model year.

As far as the 10% over garbage, our standard recommendation is to go 10% under the rating.? Go 15% under if you are towing in the mountain west or Pacific Coast to allow for steep long grades and altitude at the passes and in the Rockies or Sierra.

 

amazongb

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I went to Trailer Life's website.  If I'm reading it correct, my rig is rated for 12,500.  That said, can I pull the fivers I'm looking at or should I look for something lighter?

No comments on the vinyl and the heat?

Thanks!

John
 

Karl

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John,

I went back to the website and NOWHERE can I find anything about a vinyl skin on the outside. Even downloaded the two product brochures and they show, layer by layer, the construction of the walls, roof, and floor - no mention of vinyl except for the interior head liner. Are you SURE of your facts, and where did you get them from? If find it almost impossible to believe the manufacturer's site could be wrong about something that important. Is this possibly an in-stock, special order unit that you found at a dealer, possibly one that the buyer insisted on having a vinyl skin attached and later decided not to buy (or couldn't pay for)?

That said, I would be very hesitant to get anything with a vinyl side-skin. Not just the heat, but tearing from the inevitable tree branches and shrubs you will encounter. Fiberglas is relatively easy to fix, while tears in the vinyl are not. 
 

amazongb

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I will snap a pic at the dealer this weekend and post, it's vinyl, I promise. 

It might have been a special order, the trailer is a Montana "Mountaineer" Edition, so maybe that has something to do with it.

John
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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To the best of my knowledge there is no such thing as a "vinyl" sidewall.  The letters "vinyl" do appear in a number of chemoical compound names, though, e.g. polyvinyl chrloride (aka "pvc").  Vinyl itself is not a suitable material for a sidewall, but various vinyl compounds might be.

Most RVs have sidewalls formed by bonding together filon panels. Filon has a hard shiny surface which is a fiberglass gel coat.  Gel coat may also be applied as the surface layer in a piece of molded fiberglass, e.g. a boat hull.  The front cap of most motorhomes and fifth wheels is gel-coated molded fiberglass.

The roof material is sometimes referred to as "rubber", "vinyl" or "fiberglass".  The vinyl is a roof isn't really vinyl but instead is a hard, shiny finish on EDPM rubber, but salesmen tend to call it vinyl to distinguish it from the less desirable "rubber" roof. Fiberglass makes a more durable roof (it resists tearing if you drive under low hanging tree limbs) and is considerable more expensive. If one of the trailers you are looking at has a fiberglass roof, that might explain the price difference (though $9000 seems like too much).
 

2006F350

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Maybe the vinyl is the decals on the sides of the fiberglass sidewalls. Was told not to pressure wash as it may peal the vinyl decals off.
 

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