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Old 09-15-2016, 12:53 PM   #1
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Advice needed: "Upgrade" to Vibe Extreme Lite 287QBS or Forge on with Grey Wolf 26DBH?

We purchased a 16 Grey Wolf 26DBH in June of 2015. We knew going it that it was an "Entry" level camper, but it has a lot nicer finishes than some other entry level units we liked. We liked the floor plan (it was our favorite) as we just had a baby and blah blah blah.

Skip forward to today, and it's not that we dislike our current unit, but after a pretty event less 2015 from a problems standpoint, 2016 has taught us it definitely has its faults, from both a construction/durability standpoint, and a functionality standpoint. I've put in a lot of hours and money on functionality already, and a lot of time ether taking it to the dealer for warranty repairs, or just dealing with them myself.

We've had at least a dozen QC issues, some bigger than others....however that's basically put us on alert that we won't be able to continue towing it 3,000 miles a year without it falling apart on us. If we have another year like this we will have to put it on a seasonal site if we're going to keep it. I've done the math, and for an average seasonal around Wisconsin, it would cost us about $500 more plus fuel to get there and back than what we're paying now for our 6 or 7 trips a year and 3,000 miles of towing.

Now what I've found, while helping a friend look for a good layout for himself, is another layout that would be better for us...however, it would be falling into the "LITE" category. I like this unit for various reasons over our current unit: Back Bedroom with a door, Fiberglass outside, Outside Kitchen, True walk around front bed, More usable storage. It's nicely priced at $20,000. This is a key point, because we really don't want to spend more money, but.....if we would have to spend more on a seasonal and gas, plus additional monies on making our current unit function, I can sell it to my wife.

I guess my question that needs to be answered is this. Am I really "Upgrading" by going to a VIBE EL, or will I still be stuck with something that is constantly in need of fixing and not really capable of being towed 3k miles a year? Our favorite part about camping is that we get to go all over the place, but I don't want to dump more money into a new unit if I'm going to be in the same place in a year.

Thank You!
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Old 09-15-2016, 01:43 PM   #2
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hidee ho

Good post; nice to hear you're trying to get ahead of the curve before it bites you!
You didn't mention the length or weight of the Vibe you're looking at; I know my 2012 Ram 1500 4X4 hemi is rated to tow 8500lbs, our FR Surveyor is 25' and weighs 5000lbs loaded, so your Ram should tow as much or more if 2 wheel drive. But, and this is important, you should always have a healthy braking, power and safety margin when towing. If we got a longer or heavier trailer I would get a bigger truck because at our trailer at 5000lbs and 25' leaves me a healthy safety margin.
The Vibes are quality units from what I've read on this and other forums so it really comes down to how much and how long you can safely tow. I'm assuming you know the benefits and wisdom of having a weight distributing hitch of good quality as well. (watch your hitch weight as well, don't go over 10-20% of trailer weight). I also put air bags in my coil springs on the rear of my Ram to raise the ass end to get level with the trailer.
I'm hoping other members have nuggets of wisdom and actual experience with Vibes to add to this discussion!
Happy Camping!!

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Old 09-15-2016, 02:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pt1655 View Post
Good post; nice to hear you're trying to get ahead of the curve before it bites you!
You didn't mention the length or weight of the Vibe you're looking at; I know my 2012 Ram 1500 4X4 hemi is rated to tow 8500lbs, our FR Surveyor is 25' and weighs 5000lbs loaded, so your Ram should tow as much or more if 2 wheel drive. But, and this is important, you should always have a healthy braking, power and safety margin when towing. If we got a longer or heavier trailer I would get a bigger truck because at our trailer at 5000lbs and 25' leaves me a healthy safety margin.
The Vibes are quality units from what I've read on this and other forums so it really comes down to how much and how long you can safely tow. I'm assuming you know the benefits and wisdom of having a weight distributing hitch of good quality as well. (watch your hitch weight as well, don't go over 10-20% of trailer weight). I also put air bags in my coil springs on the rear of my Ram to raise the ass end to get level with the trailer.
I'm hoping other members have nuggets of wisdom and actual experience with Vibes to add to this discussion!
Happy Camping!!

Without getting too deep into numbers (because I don't have them with me), my truck is rated to tow just over 10,150lbs. I've got a 1500 Outdoorsman with the 3.92 rear end and 4x4 and I added airlift 1000's to it. I also have an Equal-I-zer 4 point hitch. Gross Max weight on our Grey Wolf is about 7725lbs and it's really 31ft long...The numbers I can find on the Vibe show it to be about the same, right around 7700 lbs and it's about 3 feet longer than our 26dbh at 34ft. My truck would tow it fine, but I wouldn't want to go any longer. The biggest difference would be the height (Wind Profile). The Vibe is about 16" taller.
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2016 Grey Wolf 26DBH following a 2014 RAM 1500 Outdoorsman

Life is good...Live it!
(2014) Nights Camped - 16 in 6 trips (2015) Nights Camped - 20 in 6 trips
(2016) Nights Camped - 21 in 7 trips
Winter :'(
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Old 09-28-2016, 02:51 PM   #4
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I have a 2012 Ram 1500. Purchased 2017 vibe 26 rks. Dodge has Power enough to pull, but porpoising very bad. Added air bags. Did not help. Adjusted weight distribution hitch at least a dozen different combinations. Will not pull above 60 mph without bouncing very bad. Do not recommend pulling with 1500 Ram!!! Have dealer let you try pulling first. Go to interstate and see for yourself.
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Old 09-28-2016, 03:11 PM   #5
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As for the quality of all campers, it seems there are good years and rough years with things happening to it during the year and you just have to ride the wave. Its seems if you start the year with a problem then plane for many more issues hat year and if you don't have any problems then just keep going. Its not easy and for sure not cheap but in the end making memories and seeing the country is the best part. Now what you have for a camper is totally up to you and it seems you know what you want now since you have been doing it a few years so go for it. We had several used TT before finding "The one". So for now we are happy but who knows whats in store so go with it. You either love camping or hate it.

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Old 09-28-2016, 04:03 PM   #6
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I have a 2016 Vibe 315BHK which is very similar to the unit you are considering. As far as the quality it seems about the same as the 2014 flagstaff 27RLWS we had but not as good as a 2006 Flagstaff we had. I have had a lot of small items that I repaired but am currently taking it to the dealer to check out the roof, as it seems to not have been stapled down adequately. I don't think they build them as well as they used to. As far as towing, I tow with a 2006 F150 crew cab 4x4 with a Husky hitch similar to the equalizer and it tows very well, so I don't think you should have a problem there.
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Old 09-28-2016, 04:04 PM   #7
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I have a 2017 vibe. Quality is very poor. Looks great at lot once camping you notice how cheap everything is. First trip out found wire off GFI causing power issue to kitchen, also TV antenna wired wrong. Working under slide out was held by a spring, dropped down enough to short wires. Door knob to bedroom broken 2nd time we used it. Trim around slide out fell off. Window in slide fell out. None of the drawers had catches to hold closed, the open when traveling. Drawer under sofa broke and fell off glides.
Seems like no quality control.
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