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  1. #1
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    Making the jump to a (much) bigger camper.

    Hi everyone. My wife and I have been Grand Design owners, Imagine 2150RB, for about three years now. We really like the quality, service, and are seriously considering making the transition to a much larger camper as we near retirement in about 3 years. We really like the floor plan of the Solitude 390rk, although haven't walked through one yet; we hope to do that soon. I have two questions.

    1) I'm a bit nervous about making the transition from a TT that is just under 28 feet to a 5th wheel that is just over 41 feet. Those of you that made the jump from a relatively small TT to a large 5th wheel, how did you go about doing it. It's not like taking a test drive with a class A or C when you can get it on the road and decide if you can/can't handle it. I'm looking at investing in a larger TV and camper, which is quite an investment to make without knowing for sure that I'm ready for the jump.

    2) now for my second question. After doing my research, I believe I'll need a DRW for a trailer this size. I was at a sport show this past weekend. There were no Grand Design's there but I did see an Alliance Paradigm that was close to size/weight so I had a lengthly conversation with the sales person about the appropriate TV for the Paradigm. He was adamant that a DRW TV wasn't needed and specifically said that DRW's are hard on campers because the ride is so stiff, there is no forgiveness in the suspension, and that campers will start to develop stress fractures/cracks in some key areas as a result. I asked if this was specific to the Paradigm and he said no, any brand will have that issue. Those of you that have larger campers and DRW TV's have you experienced damage to your camper as a result of having a DRW TV?

    Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts.

    FWIW my wife is very impressed with the Paradigm, the storage space, design/colors, no carpet not to mention a few other things she saw. I reminded her that it's only the second year they've made campers so it's difficult to tell how they'll hold up.

  2. #2
    Site Team Ynot4me2's Avatar
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    I can't really help you out but boy, that will be one huge change of scenery. Good for you and good luck.

    Sent from my SM-P610 using Tapatalk
    Steph & Lise
    2019 F150 Lariat 2.7 EB
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  3. #3
    Site Sponsor GeoffnCheri's Avatar
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    The 390RK has a gvwr of over 16K. That is dual wheel territory in my book
    Last edited by GeoffnCheri; 02-16-2021 at 08:31 PM.
    Geoff and Cheri
    2011 F250 CC 6.7L
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffnCheri View Post
    The 390RK has a gvwr of over 16K. That is duel wheel territory in my book
    Mine too. I'm thinking a F450. I was surprised when the sales person was telling me that the DRW caused stress fractures/cracks. I've been reading this forum for three years, since we purchased our Imagine and I don't recall ever reading anything about stress fractures/cracks.

  5. #5
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    I think the salesman was blowing smoke up your you-know-what!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rene L View Post
    Hi everyone. My wife and I have been Grand Design owners, Imagine 2150RB, for about three years now. We really like the quality, service, and are seriously considering making the transition to a much larger camper as we near retirement in about 3 years. We really like the floor plan of the Solitude 390rk, although haven't walked through one yet; we hope to do that soon. I have two questions.

    1) I'm a bit nervous about making the transition from a TT that is just under 28 feet to a 5th wheel that is just over 41 feet. Those of you that made the jump from a relatively small TT to a large 5th wheel, how did you go about doing it. It's not like taking a test drive with a class A or C when you can get it on the road and decide if you can/can't handle it. I'm looking at investing in a larger TV and camper, which is quite an investment to make without knowing for sure that I'm ready for the jump.

    2) now for my second question. After doing my research, I believe I'll need a DRW for a trailer this size. I was at a sport show this past weekend. There were no Grand Design's there but I did see an Alliance Paradigm that was close to size/weight so I had a lengthly conversation with the sales person about the appropriate TV for the Paradigm. He was adamant that a DRW TV wasn't needed and specifically said that DRW's are hard on campers because the ride is so stiff, there is no forgiveness in the suspension, and that campers will start to develop stress fractures/cracks in some key areas as a result. I asked if this was specific to the Paradigm and he said no, any brand will have that issue. Those of you that have larger campers and DRW TV's have you experienced damage to your camper as a result of having a DRW TV?

    Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts.

    FWIW my wife is very impressed with the Paradigm, the storage space, design/colors, no carpet not to mention a few other things she saw. I reminded her that it's only the second year they've made campers so it's difficult to tell how they'll hold up.
    @Rene L I have the 2017 F350 CC SB with the heavy duty tow package and I would say I am near my limits when fully loaded (well,,,, I know I am I did the CAT scales). You may get away with the desired 5th wheel with a properly setup single rear wheel long bed with heavy duty tow package but your towing comfort level may be happier with the dually F350/450. The must do is to run the numbers on the tow rig of choice and 5th wheel of choice. Always keep towing safety your first priority. Lastly, we went from a 37 ft 5th wheel to a 41 and totally appreciate the extra room. Wife loves the dual vanity and walk in closet in our current unit. Do keep us posted on your choice. Always interesting to hear how you came to your decision. Safe Travels!!
    Last edited by zinman; 02-16-2021 at 09:26 PM. Reason: bad spelling
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rene L View Post
    Mine too. I'm thinking a F450. I was surprised when the sales person was telling me that the DRW caused stress fractures/cracks. I've been reading this forum for three years, since we purchased our Imagine and I don't recall ever reading anything about stress fractures/cracks.
    As most of us know, the very last choice for ANY kind of advice about safely towing a camping trailer.....a salesman! 99.9% of them are driven by $$$ and how they make their living selling their products. You've come to the right place for advice. Personally, I would never consider towing a trailer that large without a Dually. Are there SRW trucks that might/could possibly do the job.....the short answer is barely yes. Many of the 2020 and newer 1 Ton trucks have increased their GVWR, and thus the payload capacity. Some of those will be in the 4200-4400 lb payload range and might suffice for the 390RK.

    Having said that, it is ALWAYS wise to calculate for "worst case scenario" numbers. That involves taking the GVWR of the trailer, which in the case of the 390RK is 16,800 lbs and do the 20% to 25% pin weight calculation. 20% would equal...3360 lbs of pin. 25% would equal...4200 lbs of pin. Obviously, it will depend on how heavy you load the trailer, where the stuff is stored, etc. So where does that leave you with a towing vehicle choice? In my opinion, it leaves you with only one real choice.....Chevy, GMC, Ford, Ram.....Dually trucks! As has been stated many, many times before on this and many other forums, PAYLOAD numbers are the Most Important numbers to look at when choosing a 5th Wheel Camping trailer, as you will run out of that, long before you do towing capacity.

    And as far as going from a TT to a 5ver..AND going much bigger, there is definitely a learning curve to that. In my case, I went from a 34' tow behind to a 44' 5ver and just gained about 2' of overall length to my rig. Since the 5ver is attached in the bed of the truck, vs. being attached behind the truck, the overall length of the longer trailer is somewhat negated by where the 5ver is attached to the truck. I made the transition in a very short period of time, as most people do, and I have to say that I'm very happy with the new trailer. Hope this helps and good luck with you new adventure.
    2016 F350 CrewCab Dually
    2018 Momentum 394M....Got it!
    2019 Can Am Spyder RT
    Excessive Payload is a Wonderful Thing

    "If it ain't fast....It ain't Fun"

  8. #8
    Site Team WhittleBurner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rene L View Post
    We really like the floor plan of the Solitude 390rk, although haven't walked through one yet; we hope to do that soon. I have two questions.

    We went through the 390 and was thinking I would feel cramped in the kitchen with the island. Suprisingly the kitchen has more room than it looked like there would be walking around the island in pictures. Most of the storage is in the rear kitchen, almost no storage in the livingroom area. Then of course storage in the bedroom. The huge basement is nice but payload is measley compared to the room for stuff. The upgraded axles and tires for this floorplan is a must unless you're going to be a weekend warrior.
    Hopefully they fixed the issue of not being able to open the fridge door all they way. There was no way to remove the crisper drawers on the left because the fridge was placed in the very end of the rear wall. Walked in thinking no, then walked away really liking this floor plan

    Definately a 450 dually if this were going to be our rig
    Marcy & Gary
    2014 Grand Design - Reflection 303RLS
    2015 GMC Denali 3500 Duramax Longbed SRW
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhittleBurner View Post

    We went through the 390 and was thinking I would feel cramped in the kitchen with the island. Suprisingly the kitchen has more room than it looked like there would be walking around the island in pictures. Most of the storage is in the rear kitchen, almost no storage in the livingroom area. Then of course storage in the bedroom. The huge basement is nice but payload is measley compared to the room for stuff. The upgraded axles and tires for this floorplan is a must unless you're going to be a weekend warrior.
    Hopefully they fixed the issue of not being able to open the fridge door all they way. There was no way to remove the crisper drawers on the left because the fridge was placed in the very end of the rear wall. Walked in thinking no, then walked away really liking this floor plan

    Definately a 450 dually if this were going to be our rig
    Thanks for the input floorplan and what to look for when we do a walk through. I really appreciate it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by xrated View Post
    As most of us know, the very last choice for ANY kind of advice about safely towing a camping trailer.....a salesman! 99.9% of them are driven by $$$ and how they make their living selling their products. You've come to the right place for advice. Personally, I would never consider towing a trailer that large without a Dually. Are there SRW trucks that might/could possibly do the job.....the short answer is barely yes. Many of the 2020 and newer 1 Ton trucks have increased their GVWR, and thus the payload capacity. Some of those will be in the 4200-4400 lb payload range and might suffice for the 390RK.
    I completely agree about getting TV advice from a camper sales person. What I found odd is that I told him I thought I needed a DRW, and that's when he started telling me not to do it because of the problems it causes. I'm convinced I need a DRW for the camper we're looking at I was just looking to confirm if anyone with a DRW experienced cracks/stress fractures because of an unforgiving suspension.

    No one that has replied as mentioned cracks/stress fractures, so I think my hunch is correct that it's not a real thing OR it's very, very isolated.

    Thanks for the insight.

    René

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