How does your warranty procedure work and how do I get warranty items taken care of either on the road or in my home area?
Warranty is currently backed by the largest trailer manufacturer in the country. Should you find that you cannot conveniently return the fifthwheel to our service center for warranty adjustments because you may be located outside our up-fitting/service center area, then arrangements for warranty corrections can be made anywhere in the country by contacting the Factories Customer Service department. The factory has a very professional staff of people who answer the phone, send out parts and administer warranty. They are a privately held company and we think you will find that the personal interest of company management regarding customer satisfaction is far superior in a privately owned corporation than a publicly held corporation. Publicly held companies are usually motivated to reduce costs and increase profits to boost their stock values and the expense of backing good customer service is normally not one of their first requirements. We are proud to say that the factory has established a fine record for customer satisfaction, because of the continued personal interest of top management. All appliances are warranted by the appliance manufacturer. For example: if the Suburban hot water heater has a problem, take it to a Suburban repair point. David Wagler of Florissant, Missouri ordered his LC 28RK about one year ago and picked his LC up last March. He stayed overnight at our up-fitting center and double checked that everything worked like it was intended to do. As a matter of fact we found after that overnight stay and checkout that the thermostat for the furnace worked intermittently and needed to be replaced. Haven't heard from him since - now that's a satisfied customer. We have found that RV dealers generally are not necessarily the best warranty service points. Therefore our customers often use small independent RV service companies. These folks make their living fixing RV's and they need repeat business in order to stay in business. So they often do a better job than dealers, who make their real profits selling things and not fixing things. The factory pays their bills on time and therefore has excellent credit. If the service company will not give the factory credit then the customer can submit an approved invoice for re-imbursement. Independents are nomally warranty points for the appliances used in the fifthwheel. We use national brands of appliances such as Dometic, Suburban, Surflo, Magic Chief, etc. You don't have to contact the factory for warranty repairs on these appliances. Other than the use of good independents, you can always go to any of the Factories Dealers. While traveling I'll bet you can find a good "Mom and Pop" RV service company near you or in almost any area of the country. They also often have a small RV parts and accessory store as part of their operation. Hope this answers your question about warranty.
All other dealerships and RV shows the salespeople tell us that "disc brakes are not necessary" the drum brakes have been used for years and are good enough. Why do you recommend your hydraulic disc brake system?
Times are changing! 5th wheels have grown in size and weight tremendously since the 50's and 60's. In those days the average weight of a 5th wheel was about 7,500 lbs. Magnetic drum brakes worked good, were pretty dependable (depending on the guy who maintained them) and were the only brakes offered. As time flew bye, and the coaches got heavier, the drum brake system has lost most of their usefullness and their stopping power has diminished considerably.
Today we are more safety consciense and demand better systems. Our Hydraulic Disc Brakes
are safe, quiet, smoother operating, will handle the higher payloads today's current 5th wheels have and do it all with a lot less maintenance. If you have owned a previous towable RV (most salespeople haven't but they are experts) you will remember the squealing, jerking, constant maintenance of the old magnetic drum brakes. Disc brake systems are well worth the investment.
Take an Americana for a ride with disc brakes and you will never go back to the old style brakes--I know I wouldn't!
Why did you decide to change your AL-KO torsion ride suspension? Why is air ride suspension better?
For many years the only available suspension on the market was (and still is) standard elliptical spring and shackle type. This type of suspension has been used for hundreds of years in applications from carriages, wagons and automobiles among other things. Torsion suspension came along and dampened (softened) the ride to another level. Air Ride Suspension
is the ultimate system in today's world. Air ride cushions the ride and absorbs the impact from the road resulting in a longer lasting 5th wheel. The handling aspects of air ride are terrific--it tames the "Tiger into a Kitten" and glides down the roadway. Other advantages are (optional) on board 12 V compressor w/90 LB. reservoir tank for emergency tire inflation. Dump valves and gauges for leveling the coach side to side eliminate (in most cases) the use of boards under tires. Absolute load leveling if you were to load the 5th wheel to heavy on one side or the other.
I have read your literature and am curious about the on demand hot water system that you offer. What's it all about and how does it work?
We are constantly looking for more convenient, innovative, and user friendly systems and every so often a product comes along that we feel is something worth looking into. Recovry tank style 6-8-10 gallon LP water heaters have been the norm in the RV industry and have served their purpose for many years. Our "full-timers" wanted to take longer showers without limited water constrictions that they incurred with the current tank systems. We went to work trying to locate a system that would work with our Americana 5th wheel--give trouble free service with no time/water restrictions. We found a tank-less on demand hot water system
and installed it in our Americana 5th wheel for testing. We are very happy to report that this new system not only works as it should but it exceeds all of our expectations.
As I have said "we have to lead the industry - we can't follow" and to our knowledge no other 5th wheel is offered with on demand tank-less hot water system in our price range. Americana continues to lead the RV industry!
Do you have any feedback regarding fuel mileage from any tests or customers? I fully realize that fuel mileage is not going to be anything earth shaking, but would like something to satisfy my curiosity.
The Ulreys are full timers who have a 1997 Dodge Cummins Diesel 4X4. Their truck usually gets 18 to 19 MPG running empty and about 12 MPG towing their GS 32RKT triple slide. They have gone over 16,000 miles in the last year.
Where is the "attic fan" located in the coach? I am not particularly crazy about having it run in the bedroom.
Our standard equipped "fantastic" type fan (900 CFM) is installed in the bathroom not over the bed. The toilet room door is altered allowing the air to flow at full volume therefore eliminating moisture (shower) and pulls a nice welcomed breeze through the windows at each side of the bed. This placement gives you the advantage of great air flow with minimal noise.
I am curious about the undercarriage protection from damage due to water, rocks, etc. Is it enclosed or what?
All Americana 5th wheels are equipped with enclosed, sealed and heated, sectioned underbellies. Our standard system handles rocks, water etc. and is impervious to moisture penetration. This underbelly system also protects the vulnerable tanks and plumbing from harsh weather.
My wife and myself like the Americana, and seem to feel that this is the way to go. What are the requirements for placing an order with respect to up front money etc.?
Our prices are nailed down when we accept an order for a planned delivery (prices are frozen for up to one year - delivery date) to fit your schedule anytime in the future. We require a $6,000.00 deposit with an order. The balance is due when you pick the Americana model up at our service center near the factory. Remember for planning purposes, our production allocation is normally sold out 12 to 14 weeks.
Thank you for your prompt response to our questions. you have easily resolved some of our questions and saved us money. My only reason for questioning the installation of the satellite at the factory, was the consideration of warranty on the rubber roof it is penetrated. For your information, here in Florida, most RV satellite units are either installed by Campingworld or large dealers, such as Lazy Days. Also, if we eliminate the antenna, there is one less hole in the roof, to potentially leak.
I never forget Murphy as he always seems to lurking in the background but . . . . . since we use our RT spec. for roof sealing compounds we just have not had a roof leak for over 6 years. The TV antenna is standard and It would actually cost me money to omit it. For resale value it is better to just leave it there unused. Some day you may wish to re-sell your 5th whell and the TV antenna would be of value then.
As for air conditioning, our 1995 Award 30' trailer is cooled by one 15,000 BTU heat pump, centrally ducted. It is more than able to keep us comfortable. What would you think of upgrading to the 15,000 BTU unit? I assume that the bathroom and bedroom are serviced through a central duct system. My wife is one that likes to stay cool.
Yep, we use a central ducted system and we do get cool air blowing in the bedroom on a very hot day, ie. Arizona. on a 114°F day. For you in Florida I would suggest that we install a 15,000 BTU roof air (my upgrade cost from Dometic is $185.00 and that is your cost) prep wire the bedroom for a second roof A/C unit and install 50 amp service. If you were to determine that I was full of beans then the addition of a second air would be a piece of cake.
Is there plenty of storage in the basement?
If you have seen our current CD's then you should have a good idea about the below bathroom storage space. It is completely finished - top, bottom and sides with compartment liner and it is heated. I can get this type of detail done because our Americana is made on a motorhome production line where the production folks know how to do this kind of work. It is part of the interior and not part of the exterior. Americana has very large pass through storage compartments and every inch has been utilized for maximum "stuff".
What is the approximate hitch weight with bedroom slide and third living room slide?
For best towing, handling and ride we try to put 20 % of the total weight on the king pin. Therefore we feel a 32 model should always have about 2000 lbs. on the king pin (hitch). A fithwheel king pin weight is truck payload and not a hitch weight as listed in most truck operating instructions.
What is the size of the bed? I am 6 feet 5 inches tall and a longer bed is desirable.
Americana's are your choice bed models--king bed most models(72x80) or queen bed all models(60x80). We also offer an optional air mattress sleep system if you really want comfort.
What is the length of the couch?
70 to 72 inches. It is meant to be sat in by day and slept in with the hide-a-bed folded out at night.
Is there a simple rinse system for the blackwater tank or is that your Macerator Pump Sewage Discharge system?
All of our coaches (standard equipment) have black tank flush systems. Macerators have a different system.
What is the cubic footage of the standard refrigerator?
The standard refrigerator is 8 CF.
Mini blinds or privacy shades? Options? Pros and cons.
Day and night pleated shades are standard on all Americana 5th wheels. They are a superior air dam against the window to cut down on convection currents during temperature extremes.
Is the rubber roof rolled over the side or seamed on top?
No seams and rolled. Our RT spec. sealing compound has proved great. Haven't had any roof leaks for years.
Is the ceiling material hard or soft? Is there a choice?
To keep our coach in price restraints our LC model has standard industry hard with vinyl covering. The GS model has a soft padded vinyl upholstered "soft touch" ceiling---the GS model costs a bit more 'cause we have added some of these nice decor items to the GS model package.
We have read/heard that 4x4 trucks are too high and that a modification of the trailer suspension would be required to prevent the fifth wheel from hitting the op of the truck bed. What do you know about that?
Americana 5th wheels are factory set to accommodate 4x4 trucks. We have a nominal 6 or 7 inches of truck bed clearance at coach level front to rear. We do not recommend "axle flipping" to accomodate 4x4 trucks as it changes the towing dynamics of the 5th wheel and it will handle strange and can damage the chassis.
We would like to avoid "dually" rear wheels and that is what led us to Ford as an option in the one-ton. Dodge pick-ups are dually only in the one ton and if we chose a Dodge, would want to stay with the 3/4 ton which leads to other issues.
Newer 1 ton trucks and 3/4 ton trucks have the same GCVWR and therefore will tow exactly the same. The difference is a 1 ton truck will haul more weight in its truck bed therefore it will handle higher king pin weights. This is also true where duals are concerned. I would only recommend dually trucks if the 5th wheel has heavy king pin weights.
Ok, My wife and I went to look at new pickups today. Please recommend the engine and tranmission which we need to pull the GS32/33 model loaded for full timing....I know very little, but I do know that I want to be able to get up the hills safely and have good control on the flat.
The best tow vehicle is not always the best truck for the individual because of budget, parking space, or pre-conceived notions (right or wrong). The available pickup trucks are Ford, Dodge and GMC (Chevy) and I don't have stock in any of the above companies but I have been well trained by my customers over the last 30 years.
So, without considering budget limitations - here goes: Any of the brands would be just fine for one of our GS32/33's. A Diesel engine is the preferred engine because of the long term savings in operating costs. Also Diesels have a better torque power curve for towing and have a lower specific heat output. You should be able to expect at least a 35% better fuel efficiency with any of the Diesels as compared to any of the gas engines.
The "best" gas engine for towing and power would be the largest possible.
Today's "tow mode" automatics transmissions are far superior to a stick shift. I could, and may, write a book about that statement.
Can I use fifth wheel RV's with a short bed truck?
Yes but a glider/slider hitch package would have to be instaalled so it could be moved back to accomodate clearance at the rear of the cab.
The 8' bed is really the best tow vehicle as it will have the longer wheel base. Long wheel bases contribute to ride quality and handling. The only reason any of my customers have come up with for having a short bed as a tow vehicle is that they can't get the longer vehicle in the garage.
Do you do custom work, and if so, what is the cost?
We do build custom fifthwheels (the Sequoyah designed full basement/garage model) at our small factory in Michigan, just across the Indiana border from Elkhart. It takes 5 times more labor to build a custom fifthwheel than a modified production unit. My Sequoyah designs cleanup storage areas above the main floor and create sensational space below the floor in the basement. I relocate the water supply tank, water heater, converter, furnace, holding tanks, drain system, electrical system and water supply systems below the main floor. The water supply and holding tanks are located directly over the axles in the heated double bottomed basement. We make these items almost disappear. These relocated systems become more accessible for maintenance and repair than those found in presently available products from the industry. The basement is the cold air return plenum for the basement mounted furnace.
The inside floor on this flat roofed fifthwheel has only one step-up to the bedroom area, as the main living-room floor/bathroom floor are on the same level (much as you would find in a travel trailer). The door entry is similar to a pusher motorhome as we have a step well for entry.
In our Rear living room model, we can make room below the floor in the basement, for a aluminum fishing boat accessed from the rear. We have enough room below the bathroom in the garage to carry a Harley Davidson Motorcycle. Now you don't have to carry either but I think you can understand the amount of usable space we have recovered from lost storage space currently found in standard designs. We have over 350% more usable space than standard designs built for dealers. It's amazing!! It only takes 30 years hard work and a half million dollars to figure out how to do this.
Off the wall question you may be able to answer to which I have been trying to find information. In our travels we have seen, in certain states, fifth wheels also towing another trailer. Generally this second trailer is a boat trailer. Where is this legal to do? And where can I find out information on how to do this?
RV 5th wheels can often legally haul another trailer tagged on behind in states that allow "commerical doubles" although the negatives out weigh the positives. It is not a very good idea. You can not back up and if you look at commercial doubles you will see that the second trailer is being towed by a "bob tail". The lead trailer's axles are located near the second trailer's forward hitch. An RV fifthwheel often has its axles located at least 10 to 12 feet forward of a potential second trailer hitch. This distance creates a long "arm" to magnify left/right forces and contributes to a very "squirrelly" towing situation. It also has the lever effect of reducing the king pin weight. We always want to keep that weight at about 20% of the total fifthwheel weight to promote best handling. We do not recommend it!!
Question: How much if any improvement in gas mileage do the fairings or wings on top of the pickup cab provide?
Our website covers this in our aerodynamic
roll down tests used in product development. It was found that the adding on spoiler "wings" for a pickup cab can reduce the aerodynamic drag by about 1 1/2% as long as it is hooked to the 5th wheel. Now that is fine except they increase net drag on just the truck alone when it is driving around without the 5th wheel and that is (for most 5th wheelers) about 90% of the total miles on the tow vehicle. So, unless you are a commercial driver and most of your miles are hooked up and towing, the expense seems to be high and the net average gain almost non-existent.
Have you heard of any problems with the Chevrolet 3/4 ton Heavy Duty Pickup powered by the new DuraMax diesel and Allison Automatic Transmission? I would appreciate your comments.
I have two Americana GS model customers who have the new GM pickup Diesel. One is Ralph Anderson from the state of Washington and he has done a lot of mountain towing and the other travels between Omaha and Georgia. Both love their new trucks "so far". They are very quiet, powerful and fuel efficient. Based on their track record, I'll bet GM is scared to death and so are their customers and potential customers. I understand that GM policy is that if anything goes wrong with the engine . . . the warranty station is to pull the whole assembly and send it to GM and totally replace the defective unit . . . . no questions. They really don't want any problems and if they do, they want to know the answers right away. The info. we will be sending you by "snail mail" will have a picture of Marvin Epp with his new GS28/29RK standing in the snow with his new GMC DuraMax custom cab, 4X4 short bed, hooked up and ready to go.