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Old 02-23-2005, 10:45 AM   #1
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Advantages and disadvantages of 28 vs. 34

We have a F250 Super Duty diesel which we understand will pull just about anything on the market. I like the Classic 28 and my wife likes the Classic 34 - of course she would like the Classic 80 if they had one. I have heard two very different opinions. Some say a 34 is too cumbersome to tow and others have said they are easy. Has anyone owned both who can provide a first hand opinion?

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Old 02-23-2005, 10:59 AM   #2
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There are some threads on this very topic in the archives. Perhaps someone will remember where they are and point you to them. However, I think you have already heard the opinion that really matters - unless you plan on sleeping in the truck.

Good luck,

'85 Sovereign, 25'
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Old 02-23-2005, 11:07 AM   #3
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Unfortunately I can't give you any first hand experience. I can say this though, I have never met anyone who has downsized from a 34' unit due to towing concerns. What I hear from owners are positive issues of surprise on how easy the unit tows and in some cases the statement that it tows better than their tandem unit.

I'm not sure if there are issues in how the unit pivots on turns compared to tandem axled units. But going from a 28' to 34' unit does have some ramifications as to available camp sites etc.

Maybe you can compromise on a 30'/31' unit. The major difference between a 34' unit and its smaller cousin is the distance from the kitchen to the front of the trailer. Bath and rear bedroom space is identical.

Other things to consider include storage of the unit when its not in use. We probably could have bought a 34' non slide unit for not more than we paid for the 30' slide. A major issue for me though was the fact that my driveway is not long enough to handle the 34' unit. While we don't store the trailer at home, I do bring it home to wash and to load and unload. Also remember that you now have 6 tires, 6 brakes, and 6 wheel bearings to maintain.

Hope this helps somewhat..


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Old 02-23-2005, 05:59 PM   #4
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Shorter can be better.

In our unit and at Region rallys, I have heard numerous folks wish that they had a 28' or 31' instead of their current 34-footers. The issue is not ease of towing; they all tow well. The general issue seems to be storage space and on-the-road convenience when stopping for fuel, meals, or rest stops. When you get much over 25', suitable stopping places dwindle rapidly and the necessity to not get into untenable situations gets much more critical.

If I hadn't found a lefover 25' Classic at a cant-pass price, I would have ordered a 28' Classic and I still may do so in the future.
John W. Irwin
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Old 02-23-2005, 08:28 PM   #5
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My wife really wanted the 34' (actually 34'10") and I'm glad I listened to her. We compared the 30 and 31 (both actually 31' long). I could've gotten by with the 31 and eating off the fold-out table. I hated the split bath of the 30, but she was willing to take that and give up my half of the big wardrobe to get her dinette across from the galley to use as additional counterspace when cooking, and so she could use the fold-out table as a sewing table. I'm not criticizing, but you know I'd have never heard the end of wishing we had a larger one.

Having towed all sizes for a living once upon a time, it's all just a matter of degree. The greater the distance from the tongue to the axles, the further to the inside of a turn they follow, so the wider you have to swing. The longer the distance from the axles to the rear bumper, the greater the tail swing you have to allow for when turning or backing. There are some places you just can't turn right, two-lane road to two-lane road, especially with a street light or sign on the corner, and it usually doesn't matter what the length of the trailer is there.

The greatest limitation with additional length is getting back in the woods, where roads are often a single lane wide, trees are close to the road, and there are tight turns. With a long trailer, you just don't go into those places. There are campgrounds where it's tight even with a 25', especially one 8-1/2 feet wide. And there are state parks where the longest parking spots aren't much over 25'.

I'd hate to drag ours through the RV pumps at most FlyingJ truck stops because they're so close to the building, the turn out of them is so sharp, and there's concrete barriers around the pumps. But then with a diesel, we don't have to. I go to the big truck islands, but have to go inside to pay. I also do this when towing our 26' sailboat, which is something like 31' long. We park back there with the big guys to go in and eat, and we've slept back there once. The late-2001 and later Ford fuel fillers take the big high-speed nozzles.

Keep in mind, we bought ours with full-timing in mind. For a vacation trailer, I'd buy a 25' exactly like John's, to open up all those woodsy campgrounds. Once you go beyond that, I don't see much difference between 28 and 34.

Hopefully, Porky, Roger and Theo will weigh in there since they also have 34s.
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Old 02-23-2005, 08:50 PM   #6
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Unhappy 80'

Classic 80' there's a thought. But, where the heck would you put the bath? I know, next to the hot tub! Good luck on your choice. But you know what the experts say, as long as mama's happy......
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Old 02-24-2005, 08:59 AM   #7
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BTW, I consider having 3 axles to spread the load over, and two remaining tires on one side if there's a flat on one, to be a good thing. Keep in mind that with one tire remaining on one side, it can be carrying much more than its rated load. It's also nice to have six brakes and tires to dissapate energy as heat on those steep downhills. As mentioned, there's a maintenance and replacement cost associated with these advantages.
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Old 02-24-2005, 03:32 PM   #8
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We have had a variety of lengths over the years, and now have a '94 tri-axle. I was concerned about the length before I bought it, but it's really no big deal. Items left on the kitchen counter or table are there when we arrive, it rides that smoothly. The extra closet space is very nice. The only limitation we've found is trying to get into the local gas station with the trailer attached. It does take some planning for fuel, but even that's not a big deal.

As Moe said, the tri-axle has good points and bad. There are six tires, and six sets of bearings to maintain. The upside is the ride, towability, and stability if there's a tire failure.

I've gotten the Behemoth into some amazingly small campsites, one of the most notable being Indiana Dunes campground with Silvertwinkie. He can attest to how easily the 34 slides into it's spots.

Frankly, once you get to the 28' length or longer, the towing issues among all lengths are pretty similar. I'd base my buying decision on the features and layout rather than length.

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Old 02-24-2005, 04:56 PM   #9
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I have just completed a 1500 mile trip, to New Mexico, with my triple axle - as well as 10,000 miles last year, and I have to say that I very much prefer the triple axle as it is more stable, keeps in line, does not bounce on bad roads as hard as the double axle trailers I have towed. As to cumbersome, I cannot make much of a comment, as I have the Hensley Arrow hitch, which makes towing this amazing home of mine so very easy. I will travel anywhere with my 34, which is actually over 35 ft, front to bumper, with no effort, no scares, and no problems. This week I have towed in Snow, sleet, hail, ice, rain, fog and sunshine, through tiny villages, large towns, on US highways, byways and interstates, with no problems, and I could get into any parking lot I wished to visit, with no problems at all.

I have no cumbersome problems at all, and the braking effort of 6 wheels is the most comfort giving feeling I have ever had towing. I have a Prodigy controller, which I have decided really is the best I have tried thus far, and steep downgrades are NO harrowing experience at all, quite the reverse - to see a very steep and twisting mountain road before me used to raise the pulse a bit, and get me concerned.. With this beautiful 3 axle Excella, all I do, is punch in the third level, and use the brakes sparingly down the grade, allowing the brakes to cool down, no smell, no panic, no fuss. The only problem I have ever had, was to hang up on a hump that would have caught a semi..had I not have been tired, and somewhat irritated by not finding anywhere to go sleep, I would not tried that approach, so it was my fault, not the trailers.

All in all, my experience with over 11,000 miles of towing is very positive, and I truly would recommend the triple axle to anyone who wants room, room and more room. There are just the two of us, but we have had friends stay, and we can comfortably accommodate two guests, or three if two are together.

Theo, from a KOA, in rainy New Mexico - the wireless cards are the best purchase we have made for this trip.
'05 Cargo hauler gooseneck, carrying an '05 Jeep TJ, all hauled by an '05 C4500 Kodiak Truck
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Old 02-24-2005, 06:02 PM   #10
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If you are going to be fulltiming ... get the 34. If I was going to be camping ... I think the 25 (or smaller) would be ideal.

We first considered the 30 ... but after visiting with a friend who owned a 34 ... and taking Moe's advice ... we were sold on the 34. If you are fulltiming ... you will appreciate the extra storage and weight capacity (especially if you are looking at the new '05).

When we spent a month at the Washington Land Yacht Harbor last year, just about every fulltimer there had a 34.

We have never had a problem with turns, parking or taking on fuel. That's not to say we are not extra careful ... and we always try to plan ahead. But that's just common sense .. no matter what size you have.

Final note ... this is our first RV ... we've never towed anything before ... being newbies we had some things to learn ... but we sooned discovered that towing a 34 is really no big deal.

Good luck with your choice!
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Old 02-24-2005, 07:39 PM   #11
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Our 31' works fine for us but I can see the advantage of three axles and extra braking.
Towing is no big deal so next time we will go with a 34'.
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Old 02-25-2005, 10:32 AM   #12
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Once upon a time, I did a scaled comparison of the "Big Three" floorplans. This doesn't include the new 31 with the dinette packed in, which wasn't available at the time. As has been mentioned, the additional 3'10" is in the living/dining/galley area where the rear sleeping/bathing/wardrobe areas are pretty much the same size. The 30 gains room for the dinette by moving the frig from the front area back into to the rear area, reducing the wardrobe significantly, and splitting the bath. Hope this helps.

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