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Old 08-11-2018, 10:36 PM   #1
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Model Choice 35VL5 vs 42DS5

New on here, but we have finally narrowed our choices down to the xlr nitro. Thought we were all set on the 35VL5. Then we saw the 42DS5. Now we are back to choices. Anyone have any experience with these two or similar layouts? Any info and/or thoughts are appreciated. Thanks
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Old 08-12-2018, 09:47 AM   #2
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Hello & Welcome to the forum. I have the 35VL5 and I am very happy with it. It really comes down to floor plan and tow vehicle. The 42DS5 UVW is 2726 lbs more than the 35VL5. I would bet that this weight is based on a very base model. (i.e. no extra ACs. Awnings, etc.)

Aside from that what I like about the 35VL5, personal choice, is the large rectangular shower. Our previous TT had a semi-circular corner shower and I am tall and have broad shoulders so I felt cramped.

My truck has a 6.5 ft bed and I was concerned about turning radius and hitting the cab with the camper. I know there are hitches that address this problem but I didn't want to have to think about it. I can still hit the cab if I try but it would be a very severe angle that I would not want to be in to begin with.

The build quality on this 35VL5 has been about average, IMHO. There are the typical wood shavings/sawdust in cavities where plumbing or wiring is run. The electrical wiring is a jumbled mess IMHO. The plumbing is PEX which is a plus, but it too is a jumbled mess IMHO. I have found a small leak behind the outdoor connection convenience center that was easily repaired by me. I feel if FR had been more cautious in the routing of the plumbing there would not have been undue stress on the joint that leaked.

I would suggest, since both of these are large floor plans, getting multiple AC units. Our 35VL5 has three 13.5 AC units and it does a good job of controlling the temps. We live in the SE and that is important to us.

The 6 point leveling system is a huge step up for us and it is fun just hitting a button and watching the camper do it's "happy dance" until its level.

Feel free to ask any questions about the 35VL5 you may have. I also have lots of photos and can take more if needed.

Good luck in your search!
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Old 08-12-2018, 10:25 AM   #3
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Yes, discovered today after some reflection, that the 42DS5 is not going to work for us. We were told we could haul anything on the lot! Not true, once we got home and rechecked the truck verses rv specs. Close but we don't want to push the limit.


So it seems just finding the right 35 now. Of course, I am still looking at other possibilities that come in range. Our biggest feature desire, after the loft in main living area, is auto leveling. That is a huge draw. We do not want to trade again and this would hopefully serve us after the kids are no longer around to help.


Yes, we like the big shower option. Also the extra head height in the bedroom. Do you have any issues with outlet/usb placement? The one we saw had the outlets literally at your head, not to the side. Seems a hassle, but obviously not a deal breaker.



Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 08-12-2018, 10:32 AM   #4
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Nailz, couple more questions. Not sure, but does not look like you have a dually. If not, how is towing the 35 for you? Any issues? Have you been up any mountainous areas?


Also, why the 3 13.5 ac? Most on lots we have seen are 1 15 and 1 13.5. Just wondering if there is a reason for one over the other?



FWIW We are going from a 34' bumper pull with 1 15k ac.


Thanks
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Old 08-12-2018, 10:43 AM   #5
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Also there is an "XLR Toy Hauler Group" on Facebook. You could ask to be a member. There may be someone with the 42DS5.

C
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Old 08-12-2018, 10:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xlrnitrorv View Post
Yes, discovered today after some reflection, that the 42DS5 is not going to work for us. We were told we could haul anything on the lot! Not true, once we got home and rechecked the truck verses rv specs. Close but we don't want to push the limit.


So it seems just finding the right 35 now. Of course, I am still looking at other possibilities that come in range. Our biggest feature desire, after the loft in main living area, is auto leveling. That is a huge draw. We do not want to trade again and this would hopefully serve us after the kids are no longer around to help.


Yes, we like the big shower option. Also the extra head height in the bedroom. Do you have any issues with outlet/usb placement? The one we saw had the outlets literally at your head, not to the side. Seems a hassle, but obviously not a deal breaker.



Thanks for the feedback.
I have seen several different configurations for the cabinetry/shelf at the head of the bed. I do wish that, on our model, they provided AC/USB on both sides of the cabinet. I don't like waking to my wife's phone alarm I don't have any other issue with the placement. There is also an AC plug on the left side of the bed by the matress. I missed this during our walkthrough.
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Old 08-12-2018, 11:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xlrnitrorv View Post
Nailz, couple more questions. Not sure, but does not look like you have a dually. If not, how is towing the 35 for you? Any issues? Have you been up any mountainous areas?


Also, why the 3 13.5 ac? Most on lots we have seen are 1 15 and 1 13.5. Just wondering if there is a reason for one over the other?



FWIW We are going from a 34' bumper pull with 1 15k ac.


Thanks
You are correct, I don't have a dually. This is something we are considering upgrading too in the future for the added cargo limit capability. I am slightly over the cargo carrying limit for my truck in its configuration. I do not have any issues with towing the camper that I am aware of. I have been in the mountains and the truck pulls great. Although I'm not in a race, I can do the speed limit without feeling like I am stressing the engine. I use a combination of downshifting the transmission and braking to control descent. I did add air bags to the truck to level it out.

Our camper included the three 13.5 AC units as configured on the lot. I assume all 35VL5 are wired to accept 3 AC units, so you could add an AC at a later date if you discover you need it. Ours are located in the bedroom, living/kitchen area, and garage. I have not done any comparison on a 35VL5 configured with fewer AC units. I just think MO AC is BETTER "Insert Tim the Toolman Grunt here" especially in the south. On 50 amp hookup or generator I can have all three units running, although they rarely ever do, they all cycle, so any 2 are running simultaneously. Our camper has the "Power Control System" so it will limit what can run simultaneously depending on power source. The power control system is located in the cabinet over the TV in the living room. I do wish they would put all controls like this in a central location. We have not done any boondocking, but if we did I would try to run with just 2 AC units and leave the garage unit off to save gas if possible.

I will also caution you about the Dometic Touch Thermostats. They look nice but I have had trouble with all 3 of them. Sometimes they act like they have buttons that are stuck. I have read suggestions that taking the cover off and pulling the foam in each "button" out a little will correct the issue. This worked for a short time and then they started acting up again. Not all at once and not all of them. I think it may be part bad design and part operator learning curve. I think I push the buttons instead of touching. I am trying to be more conscious of this and so far so good.

C
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Old 08-12-2018, 01:16 PM   #8
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Picture 2 and 3 under the bed picture; are those cubbies beside the bed headboard/shelf area? The one we looked at did not have those. But now I am wondering how the other was setup. 2019 vs 2018 we saw yesterday. Maybe now that we are looking at one model, I will start to keep options/features straight in my head. Probably not.


100% agree that 'mo is better'. Our boys will be sleeping/playing in the garage area, so we may end up adding the 3rd ac. Some trips we take are hot, some cold. But no one wants to have the garage turn into an easy bake oven. I also agree on the control center. One location for all buttons, dials, gauges should be common sense. One RV we looked at had controls by the bathroom, by the TV, and even a few under the kitchen counter side wall. Was a deal breaker for me, not going looking all over each time I need a button. I will have to check over the TV, I have not had anyone show us that panel before.
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Old 08-13-2018, 08:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xlrnitrorv View Post
Picture 2 and 3 under the bed picture; are those cubbies beside the bed headboard/shelf area? The one we looked at did not have those. But now I am wondering how the other was setup. 2019 vs 2018 we saw yesterday. Maybe now that we are looking at one model, I will start to keep options/features straight in my head. Probably not.
Picture 2 & 3 are cubbies below the cabinets but above the shelf at the head of the bed.

Happy Hunting.

C
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:58 PM   #10
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Finally found a video showing them. I like that setup. I am not as fond of the hinged cabinet door they have on the newer model.


Did you get the Thomas Payne heated/massage recliners? Or did yours come with the replacement type fabric power recliners? I cannot tell which ones would be better. Some sales guy said they were getting too many issues with the massaging ones (he had the auto fabric ones). Another (with the heated/massage chairs) said he had not heard of any problems with them.
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Old 08-13-2018, 03:24 PM   #11
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Finally found a video showing them. I like that setup. I am not as fond of the hinged cabinet door they have on the newer model.


Did you get the Thomas Payne heated/massage recliners? Or did yours come with the replacement type fabric power recliners? I cannot tell which ones would be better. Some sales guy said they were getting too many issues with the massaging ones (he had the auto fabric ones). Another (with the heated/massage chairs) said he had not heard of any problems with them.
We have the Thomas Payne heated/massage recliners and have not had any problems with them. I guess the heat/massage operation could quit working (which is very relaxing by the way) but the recline feature is manual just like my recliners at home so I would think it would be reliable.

Also got the dual awning option which creates some nice shade on the side. Rear ramp has the patio option which is a nice feature when the campsite has enough room.

I would recommend getting slide toppers for the 2 slideouts. I did not do this at the dealer and ordered them separately. I have walked on the roof without any trouble but the slide toppers will prevent that from being a "must do" before breaking camp and bringing the slides in.


C
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:41 AM   #12
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FYI we have decided to sell the 35VL5 that we have. If you are interested please contact me.

Happy camping,

C
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Old 09-11-2018, 01:04 PM   #13
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Thanks, but I think we have decided to go with a smaller/lighter/less expensive camper.
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Old 09-11-2018, 01:43 PM   #14
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Understand, thanks for the reply and good luck with your search!

Happy camping,

C
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