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Old 09-25-2015, 07:47 PM   #1
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Can you recommend Winnebago fifth wheels?

Hi everyone,
After a 3-month trip in our 30' TT, we've decided to upgrade our RV. We'll be stopping in Iowa at the Winnebago factory to tour.....looking at both the fifth wheels and Diesel pushers. I know we're not going to find the 'perfect' RV, no matter what manufacturer we go with. But what I'd really like to hear from all of you Winnebago owners is how the service has been for you. Has the company been responsive even if your individual dealer has not? Have you had serious issues or just nit-picky issues, and were they resolved to your satisfaction? We know something can go wrong with ANY RV, but we want to make sure we go with a quality built RV and a company that stands behind their product.

Thanks if you can provide us with some guidance. Thanks!
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Old 10-03-2015, 11:38 PM   #2
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We toured the Winnebago plant and were very impressed with their motor homes. They do not make the 5th wheels at that factory, and we still have not been able to see one, nor can we find anyone who owns one. I got the distinct impression that Winnebago's 5th wheel line is in its infancy, and the meat and potatoes of their business is their Class A's and C's.

Does anyone out there have one of the Class A diesel motor homes? We're thinking we may get a motor home instead of fifth wheel. Please let me know if you've been happy with your rig AND the customer service. Thanks so much!
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Old 10-04-2015, 06:55 AM   #3
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We just got rid of our 2014 Itasca Solei 34T for a FW. If you opt for a MH, make sure you like the floorplan. DW and I fulltime, so being comfortable in what you choose is important.
We've had a Class C, then 2 FW's, then a gasser Class A (Itasca), a DP Class A (Itasca), and finally we're back to a FW. (We're not right in the head!)

As you said, every RV can be susceptible to issues. Our main problems were a blown power transfer switch in the gasser Class A, fixed under warranty, but then we had no confidence in continuing to live in that rig. The DP leaked everywhere (windshield, windows, basement storage bays), furnace mother boards needed replacing (fixed under warranty), sometimes while driving the DP all power would be lost to dashboard for a split second then return to normal. This occurred sporadically. Finally two days before we traded it in on the FW, one of the ACs died, in Alabama heat during Sept, not saying this was Winnebago's fault.

We were foolish to ever leave our previous FWs for the allure of MH RVing. But that was our mistake, MH may be the answer for you. These are just my opinions and observations of what happened to our MHs.

Do your own due diligence before jumping in the deep end of the pool.
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Old 10-05-2015, 07:29 AM   #4
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Thanks for your response

Lanny,

Thanks for this information. You've certainly been full circle, but your insights are helpful! We also wonder if we'd be better off in a 5th wheel. We love the big pantries and there is certainly more storage room inside than with a Class A. Just curious.....which 5th wheel did you recently purchase? Hope you're enjoying it! :-)

The problem is that we haven't been able to find one we like. Of course, we know we'll never find one that is 'perfect'. We've been on several factory tours, and frankly are befuddled by what each manufacturer tells us is the 'best' construction. We're not engineers and really don't know which is 'best'.

We did finally find a floor plan we fell in love with......a Lifestyle by Evergreen. They're made here in Indiana (where we live), and we've been on the factory tour. It wasn't a great tour, frankly......they didn't even know we were coming, even though I called and set up an appointment. They didn't seem very organized. Furthermore, we just returned from a 3-month RV trip out west, and we never saw a single Lifestyle in our travels. I haven't been able to talk to anyone who has one, and I haven't been able to find an owners' forum for them. I'll post another question here at irv2 to see if I get any responses about that.

Thanks again for your input. Talking to people helps, tho' I know anyone can get a lemon, no matter which rig they eventually end up purchasing. Hope that doesn't happen to us! :-)
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Old 10-05-2015, 07:58 AM   #5
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hey fiddled....we have the 2014 Destination 36RL 5th wheel. Overall, I would say we are pleased with its performance. I have issues with how they designed the utilities access concerning winterizing, but have created my own solutions. We have not had any major failures and the rig has performed well in high heat and very cold conditions...no leaks, no window sweating, etc...

We love the big pantry storage, but the high barrel ceilings they are proud of do cause the top cabinets to be a bit harder to reach if you are not 6'2. We have had one light fixture fail...one of the reading lights in the bedroom...due to the design of the light, we could not replace the switch and had to purchase the entire fixture for 70$....one of the hanging pendant lights in the kitchen had a chipped ceramic seat for the bulb from day one but the light still works....I was not too worried about it at the time, so I never called W about replacing it as I mistakenly assumed I would be able to just replace the little ceramic base for the bulb. I will eventually have to buy a whole new fixture.....that is a dumb design in my opinion.

We had the 2nd a/c, an LP generator, and slide-out toppers added when we purchased it and we paid 75K....Unit was listed for a bit over 100K....looking at current pricing today of units, I really believe we should have paid closer to 65-58K for it. But they were brand new to the market and my wife was in love with it.

At the time, we had it narrowed down to a mobile suites estate model 38RSSA....overall, I believe we would be happier with the DRV unit, but there was quite a bit of difference between the prices and since we are not full timing, we could not justify the cost difference. Bottom line....the Winnebago 5th wheels are solid performers, but they are not a true top tier unit as was their goal in coming out with their own signature 5'er...just my opinion after owning a Carriage unit for several years....but they are also not going to cost you over 100K like a top line DRV unit will if you are buying new.

I believe the old Carriage RV forum also includes the Lifestyle RV owners folks as well and I think the site is carriage-lifestyle-owners.com if you want to check out their forum to connect with current owners.
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Old 10-06-2015, 06:07 AM   #6
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We just got our Vilano 365RL right after Labor Day. It's made by Bob Tiffin's son and grandson (Vanleigh Tiffin Sr and Jr), thus the name Vanleigh RV. They took all of the Tiffin MH knowledge and started a FW manufacturing plant close to where the MH plant is located.

They a website, but it is under construction. I found this FW at a dealer's website in Montgomery AL. It's right a 39 feet, rear living room, tons of pantry storage (DW doesn't know what to do with all the space), king size bed, and 3 ACs. The 3 ACs come in handy for cooling the rig down quicker than if we had 2. Once we are at our site and get it cooled, we normally shut one down. Also, if we ever lose one, we at least will have two until we get one fixed. Hopefully, they all wouldn't go at the same time.

We've looked at the Lifestyle's and they appear to be a quality FW, I don't think you'd go wrong with one, if that is your ultimate decision. Good luck.
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Old 10-06-2015, 10:45 AM   #7
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The Winnebago Towables are excellent products. We've had our TT for 2.5 years with no issues. There is a dealer near me and I regularly swing by to check the latest products, and I can say the 5th wheels are really nice and very well made. Also, the storage inside is very well though out and efficient.
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Old 10-07-2015, 08:26 PM   #8
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We love our 2014 Winnebago Lite 5 fifth wheel. Bought it new 2 years ago and have made numerous short and long trips with it. No problems at all. Seems far better built with many features normally not found on lite trailers. Love the corian counter tops, gel coat etc.
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Old 10-08-2015, 06:48 AM   #9
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mcumbie,
The Destination is the unit we’re interested in. Now that we’re home from our trip, I’m going to call the factory and inquire about where I can see the units in person. The 36RL is one of the floor plans we’re interested in. We also like the 39HB.

Thanks for your info. It sounds like the service issues you’ve had have been minor in the big scheme of things, so that’s good. Yes, I know it’s not the same quality as a Mobile Suites, and we love the many floor plans offered by MS, but we just can’t justify the cost at this point. Having said that, we haven’t completely ruled them out either. :-)

I actually just found a Carriage 5th wheel unit that we love. This is the NEW Carriage under Crossroads. Very confusing how all of the RV manufacturers have been bought out or gone out of business, but then they re-invent themselves. The new Carriage by Crossroads sounds like a great unit, and they have one of the best websites I’ve seen.

What is wrong with how Winnebago designed the utilities access? It seemed to me when we took the tour that everything was conveniently located.
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Old 10-08-2015, 06:50 AM   #10
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Lanny,
I just laughed when I read your post. Now I have yet one more brand to consider. :-) I had never heard that Tiffin had started building 5th wheels. (Well, I know it's technically not Tiffin). But I would expect the quality to be the same. They don't have much of a website yet, and I can only find one floor plan. But as we're muddling through trying to find our next unit, we'll check these out as well. Thanks!
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Old 10-08-2015, 06:54 AM   #11
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TDI
Thanks! To have ANY RV for 2 and 1/2 years and not have any issues is quite good. So that's a pretty good testimonial. Good to know! I appreciate your response!
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Old 10-08-2015, 06:57 AM   #12
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mileshuff
Weird! I didn't even know Winnebago made a lite 5th wheel. They don't list it on their website. Winnebago | RVs, Motorhomes, Recreational Vehicles A lite unit would be great, but since we plan to be (almost) full-timers, it may not stand up to such heavy use.....not sure. But I wonder why they don't list it on their website, unless perhaps they aren't making it any longer? Anyway, glad to know that it's been a good unit for you! Good to know!
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Old 10-08-2015, 07:55 AM   #13
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fiddleddd,

The issue I have wit the utilities is this:

1. they placed the whole house water filter completely inside the basement storage area right in the middle almost...you have to crawl inside on your knees to reach the filter to change it or remove it to dump water out of it during long storage period.

2. The low point drains are behind the wall and not accessible from the convenience station where the water hook-ups and drain pulls are located. Again, you have to crawl in the basement area, unscrew a very small cutout square and reach inside to find the drains. It is not an easy reach to get to either....to address this, I just cut an access panel through the sheet metal in the convenience station and installed an access panel door, so that is not a problem anymore.

3. The cutoff valves for the water heater are....you guessed it....behind the wall in side the basement storage. Again, you have to crawl inside to access this through that little door they screwed in on the basement divider wall. For many years, I have used the cutoff valves to the water heater because I used the RV antifreeze to winterize....due to the inconvenience of removing stuff from the basement and having to crawl inside, I changed my winterizing process to blowing the lines out with an air compressor....so not an issue anymore.

So yes, the unit has had ZERO malfunctions or failures...Winnebago has built a very reliable rig and we are happy with it, but I wish they would tweak just those few "convenience" things to the benefit of the owner.

If you end up getting one, get the trail-air pin box with the air bag or have them swap it out for a MORryde pin box....we have noticed more movement of stuff in the 5th wheel after towing than we did with our Carriage unit (had the MORryde box). It could have just been the entire suspension of our old unit that made it tow smoother, but I know the MORryde pin box is better in my experience.

I hear you on the DRV deal....if we were going full time, hands down it would have been my choice just due to better layout of kitchen drawers/cabinets and the better running gear they use on the DRV line. Best of luck on your choice...the Winnebago Destination will serve you perfectly fine if you find a floorplan you love and you will save a lot of $$ over the DRV.
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Old 10-08-2015, 08:40 AM   #14
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2 years ago I purchased a Winnebago One Travel Trailer and have beenhaving a blast with this great trailer. It has been holding up very wellwith minimal maintenance. I have really enjoyed it and will keep it for a fewmore years before stepping up to a Class A. Some things did seemodd - like how they took Lippert 3500lbs axles and slapped 4200lb stickers onthem. Maybe its magicWinnebago pixie dust sprinkled on them to increase the rating? Knowing this I do an annual bearing re-grease.With ~ 10K miles on it so far, I am very satisfied with the Winnebago RV, it reallyis well built and is holding up.

I did install a MORRYDE suspension kit as others have done and it tows a lotbetter now – less wandering back there and tracks nicely.

My issue is specific to the question in the first posting – Winnebago service. For 3 months I’ve been trying to order onerepair part – slow factory response, error in shipping part, andnow lack of subsequent factory response leaves me questioning ifWinnebago is still providing any TT/5W factory support. I have readmany comments about the great Winnebago coach responsiveness. ButWinnebago TT service dept took my money and didn’t deliver the part; now withmany un-answered emails and phone calls I am perplexed about their commitment. Just wish I had a positive service departmentexperience like so many Winnebago coach owners have had. Maybe Ijust caught Winnebago in a performance lull, but it doesn't bode well for an endorsement.

Mac
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Old 10-09-2015, 06:24 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddleddd View Post
mileshuff
Weird! I didn't even know Winnebago made a lite 5th wheel. They don't list it on their website. Winnebago | RVs, Motorhomes, Recreational Vehicles A
Under their product pull down is a selection for Fifth Wheels and another for Tow Behinds. I see a photo of a fifth wheel that's clickable on the link you provided. http://winnebagoind.com/product-classes/fifth-wheel.

Their current lite line is the Voyage which replaced the Lite Five line but is very similar although they no longer have the 29' footer that I have.
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Old 10-17-2015, 10:05 PM   #16
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lmcleister and mcumbie,

Well, an update from us. We've done a bit more research, and I happened to find an excellent review on the Winnebago Destination in the July 2014 issue of Trailer Life Magazine. That magazine has a positive view of the W.... Class A Coaches and travel trailers, but they did not rate the Destination well at all. They thought that perhaps Winnebago may 'get it right' eventually, but they have some work to do on their 5th wheels. Combine that with the fact that I've called the Towable division of Winnebago twice and still have not received a call back, I think we're going to give up on this brand. I've talked to many happy coach owners, but I don't think they're far enough along with their 5th wheels yet.

We're going to northern IN to see the Crossroads 5th wheels.....Carriage, Rushmore (Cameo), and Redwood. Hopefully we'll find something we like.

Thanks for all of your feedback.....it's been very helpful!
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Old 10-17-2015, 10:06 PM   #17
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mileshuff.....thanks! Found it!
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Old 10-19-2015, 06:28 AM   #18
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fiddleddd,

I think you are probably making a good decision to pass on the Destination. Like I said earlier, I have looked at some of the newer generations since purchasing my 2014 and it appears as though the folks designing the 5th wheel lines just do not quite have the handle on what makes a "higher end coach". Though mine has been a solid performer so far, it is still just a mid range unit with some design flaws and poor planning. My wife loves the Winnebago Journey/Itasca Meridian 42E diesel pushers and she hopes we will one day pull the trigger on one...based on my experience with this first W product, I will give those DP's a solid look (in person this time!!) but I will also be heavily comparing to the other major brands.

Best of luck in finding the rig that you guys are happy with and I will always put in another positive plug for the Carriage line if you end up looking at some used units...all things considered, I wish I still had my Cameo!!
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:30 PM   #19
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mcumbie,
For what my opinion is worth, we visited the Winnebago motor home factory in Forest River, Iowa. We were VERY impressed with everything.....the factory tour (people seemed really happy to be working there), and it's quite an amazing operation.....much bigger than any other factory we've visited. They also had an amazing service department arrangement that allowed people to 'camp' there so they could sleep in their RV each night, then take it back in for service again the next day. They had a wonderful reception area where owners hung out while their service was being done. We talked to many of those people and came away with a very good sense of how the service works. We did not talk to one disgruntled customer.....many had had their Winnebagos for years and couldn't sing their praises enough. So I wouldn't hesitate to go with a motor home if that's what we were shopping for. BTW, we've looked for quite a long time.....at Tiffens, Newmars and Winnebagos. I prefer the Winnebagos to the other brands, tho' they are all nice.....just depends on what your priorities are. Just giving you this info in case you do decide to get a DP. :-) Hope this helps.
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Old 10-21-2015, 06:49 AM   #20
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yes, fiddled.....we too have been very pleased with the communication and support we received from Winnebago in the early days of our ownership of this 5th wheel. Although there was nothing they could really do for me aside from giving advice as my issues are design preference type items and not something that actually needed to be repaired.

I look at most of the boards for other manufacturer owners as well as talk to a lot of folks in campgrounds when they have a rig we may have a future interest in and it all seems to be the same....every manufacturer has some issues here and there when looking at the big name brands, so the best you can hope for is good customer service. It is good to hear about your factory visit. That would definitely be on our list to do if we ever go the DP route. The floor plan of the 42E with the front living and L shaped couch is what my wife loves as well as having the half bath off the kitchen and the Winnebago and Itasca are the ones she has liked the most. We almost bought one right before going with this Destination 5th wheel but then could not justify the cost without going full time. Then she found the 5th wheel online and since it was described as W putting all of their high end coach design efforts into their first 5th wheel, we went for it sight unseen aside from pics online.

But like I said, overall we are happy with its performance and nothing major has fouled on it and I anticipate no issues in the future. It just is not everything we hoped for design wise and not quite ready to go toe to toe with the likes of DRV or the other short list of higher end units....good solid unit, just not top tier in my opinion.

For other folks reading this that were interested in the Destination 5th wheel line, do not be discouraged by my comments...the product line is a solid performer and not a bad unit at all. We spend a fair amount of time in our rig when we can and there are just some design elements to the layout that just do not work as well for us as some other units we had considered.
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