What to BUY??? - Jayflight 31BHS or Dutchmen 31H - DSL

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sueandthecrew

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HI!  We are in the process of trying to decide which trailer to buy - Jayflight 31BHS or the Dutchmen 31H-DSL.  They both have quad bunks and are very similar in layout and design.  We are first time RV buyers and have four children and a large yellow lab.  We will mostly be towing 1 - 3 hour trips and also want to be able to drive across the country .  We have a 1500HD with a 6.0 litre engine (373 diffs) and a trailering package.  Does anyone have any recommendations or advice for us???  Thinking of switching to 4.10'S in the diffs.  We don't want our first purchase to be a mistake!!!
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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What are the tow ratings on your 1500 HD?  GCWR, GVWR and Max tow rating?  And I have to admit  I'm not familiar with that model, nor a with  6.0L Dodge engine. Most people we see here have either the 5.7L hemi or the 5.9L Cummins diesel, typically with a 3.92 axle.  I ask all this because my imediate concern is that a 31 foot trailer is typically pushing the limits for most 1/2 ton trucks.  Make sure you know the truck's capacity and the trailer weights (empty and fully loaded) before you buy.

Sight unseen I would choose a Jayco product over a Dutchman any time. They are usually better built all the way around.
 

Ron

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Well for what its worth I believe the Dutchman is a Thor product.  Although I have never owned a Thor product I have not heard anything good about them.  Based on what I have heard about Thor I think the choice would be easy for me if I was making it.  Maybe others with experience with Thor products will join in here and give their opinions.

 

OldSoldier

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I have a Jayco Jay Flight 245RBS (25 ft.) - 2006 and pull it easily with a Chevy 2500HD 4X4 6.0 gasser and a 4+rear axle.  I am very please with the quality of the Jayco product.

I am, as expressed above, very concerned that any 31 foot trailer or 5'er is safely pullable by a 1/2 ton truck.  Just be very careful and look at those items referred to above.  Both commenting gents are very experienced and very knowledgeable.

Be very wary about what the salesman may tell you and allow youself sufficient margin to stay well within safety margins.

Do due diligence and good luck.
 

Carl L

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.  We have a 1500HD with a 6.0 litre engine (373 diffs) and a trailering package.  Does anyone have any recommendations or advice for us???  Thinking of switching to 4.10'S in the diffs.  We don't want our first purchase to be a mistake!!!

What year is that truck and what cab configuration?  (ie regular, crew, or what?)
 

Smoky

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Jayco has the MUCH better reputation for quality construction.  Dutchmen is indeed a Thor product.  Thor has a reputation for taking over smaller RV companies and then extracting as much profit as they can.  I once owned Thor stock.  I did very well with it as they are quite profitable.  But at the consumer's expense.  Thor's original business was making small commercial commuter buses. That is a quality product and one of the best in that market niche.  But then they decided to become an RV holding company as well, and that is where quality slipped.
 

Carl L

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sueandthecrew said:
The truck is a 2002 crewcab, 4x4

OK, Trailer Life tow ratings for 2002 give 8,000 lbs as the 3.73 rear end tow rating, and 10,000 lbs as the 4.10 rating.

Taking our usual 10% safety factor that gives a rating of 7200 lbs for the 3.73,  9000 lbs for the 4.10.

If you plan on the mountain or Pacific coast west, make that 20% and 6400 lbs and 8000 lbs.

Use the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of the trailer to determine which you can tow.  (GVWR = dry weight + carrying capacity)



 

alfapwr

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Howdy,

Well I have no knowledge about the Dutchman, but we own the exact Jayco model you are considering ( 2006 31BHS).

Feature wise we love it.  We have 4 girls and it's great for each one to have their own bunk without using the dinette or sofa.  The fold-up bunks with the large doors are great.  We can bring an unbelievable amount of crap, including a Honda Ruckus scooter in there.

The downside:  When you're living there's not a ton of storage for clothes.  We usually pack our clothes in the stuff above the queen bed, but the kid's duffelbags appear to go everywhere.  Also there is not much pantry space.  We ended up putting some storage drawers where the tv would go near the dinette.

AND THE THING IS BUILT LIKE CRAP !!!    Although from what I've heard/experienced it is an industrywide phenomenon.  RV's are built to be LIGHT, not necessarily STRONG.  We've had stupid stuff like wood screws in particle board ( duh! ) and staples holding the queen bedframe together ( double duh ! ).  The blackwater tank valve has never worked right.  The brakes failed immediately ( turns out it was the fault of the company that supplied Jayco with the frame and axles ) because the bearings were overpacked.

But to put things in a better light Jayco, and especially my dealer - All Valley RV in Acton, CA - have been great.  All problems ( except the black tank valve ) were fixed and haven't needed repair since.  The two year warranty is nice assurance.


We took the thing for 6 months of "shakedown" trips before taking it on a 2.5 week trip to Seattle and back. 

Now as to your tow vehicle:  This thing weighs almost 8000 lbs DRY.  I'd say we're closer to 9000 with all of our junk, more if the tanks are full.  If your car has an 8k max rating it's too small.  Plus a 1500 truck is probably too light.  Our rig is a 2002 Ford Excursion V10.  It's basically a F250 Superduty with an enclosed back and lighter rear springs.  Our tow capacity is I think 10500 lbs.  It has no problem with hills but mostly it weighs enough to stand up to the trailer's weight.


I know exactly what you are going through having room for 4 kids.  Mine are 14, 7, 5, and 2.5 and it's quite a challenge.  I would not use your truck to haul this trailer.  I would suggest either getting a larger truck or looking for a smaller trailer.  I've seen some that have 4 bunks in the front and a queen slide out the back in a 25 foot length.  But there is no side slide out and you'd be sleeping in a glorified bunk bed.  Unfortunately the RV industry has not seen fit to accomodate families of our size.  Using the dinette or sofa as regular sleeping accomodations is not an option.  Class-A's are ridiculous in their waste's of space.  I think there is one 5th wheel that has a bunkhouse but I can't remember where I saw it.  You have to look it trailers that say they sleep 10 and subtract the 4 they put on the dinette and sofa.  You may even consider a toy hauler.  They are more spartan inside but many have 2 queen bunks that drop down in the back and have a traditional set-up for the parents up front.


Wow did I rant there or what ????

Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions about the Jayflight 32BHS.  My email is [email protected]

I sincerely hope I helped.


Dan Walker
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Well, Dan, we wish you wouldn't hold back on your true feelings like hat!  ;) ;) ;)  Seriously, thanks for the first hand report and sage advice.

The construction on the Jayflight is typical of  light duty, vacation class RVs of which the Jayflight is an example. You get somewhat better construction in Jayco's upper end models (e.g. Designer & Legacy), but it's still going to be similar.  You need to step up to a much heavier (and more expensive) rig to get really good construction.
 

alfapwr

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Hi Gary,

Thanks for understanding my rant.  I had an easy opportunity to return my Jayco under the California Lemon law with all the brake problems I had.  I researched every TT out there and the Jayco still had the best feature set.  We could not live without all the storage in the bunkhouse.  We figure that in about 12 to 15 years we'll move up to a class A.  Until then we're gonna use the heck out of this rig.   

Dan
 
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