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Old 12-05-2009, 01:13 PM   #1
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New truck, new trailer and new to driving them

After considerable indecision and discussion, my wife and I decided no more Europe, Hawaii or cruises for a while. L.A. is nice, but! My wife is retired and I am semi-retired and we have not seen 20% of the USA and have only been to Canada for an hour at the Vancouver Airport where my Mothers family comes from. We considered Pushers to camper shells and decided on a 5th wheel. That sounded easy until we started the purchase. First was the truck, we went with a 09 Ford F250 diesel, crew with a short bed fully loaded. Expensive except on the 4th of July when prices came down on Chevy and Ford by over 10K. Then the trailer, we went to several RV shows and a 32/34 foot Montana was going to be it, except the dealers were holding hard on prices. It may be a great trailer, but in times of economic pressure, things change. Then we saw a 34 foot Cardinal and they were making deals. But, my wife did not like the kitchen design and she saw a Cardinal 3625RT XL. Way to many toys, but several K below the 32 Montana. Our research shows Forest River has been improving quality every year and we felt sure the 2010 was as good as the Montana. We have had the Beast for a couple months and learned how to drive it and broke it in with a dry trip along the California coast for a few days. I had to back it into a space (what an experience) and learned how to use water the trailer way and along the way fell in love with the whole experience. We ventured out a little further a few weeks later and went to Vegas wet camping. More lessons and another good experience.

The Beast, as we call it, has not fallen apart and pulls extremely well. We are now planning another California coast trip in January and will head out for our first major trip in the spring going north into Canada and zig zag east until we get to the mid west and come down and back to Los Angeles.

We look forward to meeting you folks along the way. The people we have met so far have been a real people.

Big Bird
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Old 12-05-2009, 01:31 PM   #2
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Congrats and welcome to the forum. I think you will come to love the RV lifestyle. We certainly do now having only started 4 yrs ago. Wish we did it when the kids were younger but it's never too late.
You will find tons of info here and be sure to check out the Cardinal RV Club as well.
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Old 12-05-2009, 02:10 PM   #3
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welcome

Welcome to the lifestyle, Big Bird. We are also new to this forum, having just joined after selling our Casita 17 and getting a 2010 Surveyor 186. We hope you'll post a photo of your new rig when you get a chance.
Like you, we used to travel all over the place by air, and we are veterans of a dozen cruises, but we have come to enjoy camping so much more. Less stress, fewer hassles, and we are beholden to no one's schedule but our own.
There is much information and help to be found on this forum, and I have already found a couple of new friends here who have new campers just like mine and are willing to exchange information with me as we all deal with similar issues. No real major issues, but there's always something we have questions about.
Again, welcome, and we look forward to getting a look at your new camper and truck.
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Old 12-05-2009, 03:44 PM   #4
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Congratulations on your purchase. we saw the Cardnals going thru the assembly lines in Elkart while we watched our Georgetown XL being made. I was impressed with the construction and Forest River makes a good product. WE have had two Montanas and they were good, but lately since Thor bought out Keystone, they have gone for materials from the cheapest distributer and has a lot of problems with Chinese tires and shakles. The frame that both use is made from Lippert, a manufacture in the area of Elkart. They also make the hydrolic slides you have. A word to the wise towing a 5th wheel is swing wide and have your wife behind you when you back up. We towed three 5th wheels and loved it.
We just came thru LA on a vacation and stayed in a campground just north of LA on I-15. Its called Mountain Lake. Great campground.
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Old 12-05-2009, 07:55 PM   #5
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Hello, Big Bird.

Welcome to FRF. Congrats on the purchase of your Cardinal.

Looking forward to hearing of your travels and seeing the photos. You will post photos, right?

Enjoy the forums,
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Old 12-05-2009, 11:43 PM   #6
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Big Bird,

We live about 30miles Southeast of Seattle, if you plan to stay in the area we can give you some recomendations on places (and places to avoid). Wished we had room for you, we would offer up our place to "camp" if we could but our friends motorhome is stored in our outdoor RV parking spot.

Sounds like a great trip, enjoy. Oh and welcome to the forum.
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Old 12-06-2009, 01:57 PM   #7
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Thanks for the welcome, we look forward to meeting as many of you as possible on the road. We have a pic from when we picked up the Beast and attach for your amusement.

Question, from the pic is the trailer putting too much weight on the truck?


Big Bird
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Old 12-06-2009, 02:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big bird View Post
Question, from the pic is the trailer putting too much weight on the truck?
I would be surprised if you are aren't severly overloaded.

The pin weight on that model has to be close to 3000lbs loaded (dry is listed over 2500#)

Max payload on a 2010 F250 is 2980# with the right configuration....less with other options.


I would really rather see you in a dually or a 1 ton single axle at the least, but you may be able to solve the sagging with airbags.....
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Old 12-06-2009, 04:39 PM   #9
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that is one good looking 5th wheel!!
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Old 12-06-2009, 06:15 PM   #10
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I LOVE the full body paint in the 5ers, looks real sharp. You have a trailer there you can be real comfortable in for a long time. Send some pictures of inside if you have any, we always like to see how other rigs are laid out.
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Old 12-07-2009, 12:25 AM   #11
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Wow i can see why you call it the BEAST. Very nice looking camper and as 08wildcat says you may be pushing your limit.Does seems to squat it a little dont it.You should have it checked out at a dealership and see what they say. I dont have a 5er so it will be no help as how to correct this but hang on some very smart people here and i know for a fact someone will be on here very soon to help you out meantime welcome to the forum and thanks for the picture.We love pictures here. Visit and post often
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Old 12-07-2009, 12:44 AM   #12
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Wow, nice rig. Did you get any actual weights on that thing? 2009 F250 has max fifth wheel towing of 15800 in 4x2, 15300 in 4x4. Towed a 29' Cedar Creek with my old F250 and loved it. Don't think you'll be getting real good fuel mileage though!!
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:19 AM   #13
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Add an extra rear spring and you will have an F350 minus the badge.
That is if specs have not changed from previous version.
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:17 AM   #14
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I want one! Nice looking rig.
We have a 29' TT and a chev 2500 diesel.
Love the whole idea of RV travel (took five vactions the past summer).
Hope you enjoy yours!
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Old 12-07-2009, 12:02 PM   #15
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Big Bird one of the members made a good point. Your close to being overloaded in the rear. We added air bags/onbard compressor on our GMC 2500 while towing a 38ft Montana. It made the ride better and leveled the truck and RV. We had gages inside the cab and at 45 lbs in the bags, it would fluxuate between 38-53 lbs on the gages going down the road and seemed to ride better.
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:29 PM   #16
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Wow

Oh my that is something else. Talk about jumping in with both feet. You will really enjoy it and we hope you will make it to Canada soon. Hopefully you will really enjoy that too. Have fun and welcome aboard. Maybe one day we will meet..........Old Guys
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Old 12-16-2009, 12:32 AM   #17
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Big Bird -
Your story sounds a lot like ours. Like you said, Hawaii, Europe, cruises. Add to that years of snow skiing trips in the US, Canada, and Down Under. Along the way we did lots of tent camping. However, we decided to rent a trailer for a trip to Utah/Colorado this past September and we both really enjoyed it. So ... traded the F150 for a F350 in October and we expect to pick up our Sierra 345RET in a couple of weeks (like you I had a fondness for the Montanas but also couldn't justify the price in this buyer's market). Have ordered the hitch and other accessories. We can hardly wait to get on the road.

BTW -- That is one BEAUTIFUL rig! I'm sure you'll really enjoy it.

Jim
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