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Old 01-15-2021, 09:28 PM   #1
RunningWild
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284rdbwe

I’ll be looking at a used but newer Cougar 284RDBWE half ton towable with the polar package.

I was hoping to get some feedback from any owners if y’all be so kind. We have 2 dogs and 2 young kids so we need something that fits our lifestyle. We love boondocking but not in Walmart, ��. Our budget is $20-25k with a preference on 2+ slides. Our truck is a Ram 5500 so we can carry extra supplies including water.
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Old 01-16-2021, 08:06 AM   #2
chuckster57
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Welcome to the forum

Well if you typed correctly you have plenty truck. Polar package is a marketing ploy, so donít think your really getting anything extra. Inspect everything, especially the roof seals and seams. I would ask to see everything operate before handing over any $ or signing anything.

Pay close attention to the battery and tire dates, they may need to be replaced.
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Old 01-16-2021, 08:15 AM   #3
RunningWild
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Thanks Chuck! Itís a 2018 so it should be in pretty good condition Iím hoping. Now that Iíve been looking at Cougars Iím really liking the ones with 2 bedrooms like the 29RDB or the 32BHS. Itíd be nice to close the door on the kids occasionally. 😬

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Originally Posted by chuckster57 View Post
Welcome to the forum

Well if you typed correctly you have plenty truck. Polar package is a marketing ploy, so donít think your really getting anything extra. Inspect everything, especially the roof seals and seams. I would ask to see everything operate before handing over any $ or signing anything.

Pay close attention to the battery and tire dates, they may need to be replaced.
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Old 01-16-2021, 08:34 AM   #4
JRTJH
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As for the tires, verify the manufacture date. A 2018 Cougar could have been built in March 2017 (the 2018's were introduced in April, 2017) and tires could have been manufactured (in China) toward the end of 2016. That would make them 4+ years old if your trailer is one of the "first 2018's down the assembly line"...

As for the truck, a 5500 typically is sold as a "chassis cab" with no bed. The suspension is extremely overbuilt for a "no load/light load" configuration. So, it will be "rough riding" with only the pin weight of a "half ton fifth wheel". The pin box on Cougar Half Ton models has no shock absorption or air cushioning capacity, so every bump, jolt, pot hole is going to transfer that stress directly to the pin box and into the front elevated structure. We usually have people wanting to buy trailers with "way too little truck". In your case, you might have "way too much truck" unless you consider some means to absorb the "rough ride" to prevent pinbox/upper deck frame damage.

Additionally, depending on how the truck bed area is configured, you may be "too high or too long" to keep the pin over the rear axle. While being behind the rear axle won't directly affect weight limits on a truck rated that heavy, it may affect how the trailer tows. Also, the height of the pinbox affects "level towing" which can affect rear axle tire wear on the trailer. So, verify the height of the fifth wheel hitch adjustment range on the truck platform to be sure it will adjust enough so the trailer will "tow level" rather than "nose high".....

ADDED: The "Polar Package" is a mandatory build item that is "force optioned on every Cougar Half Ton fifth wheel". So, you can't buy one without a Polar Package. It consists of three features: 1) forced air heat and enclosed underbelly. 2) astrofoil (aluminum backed bubble wrap) insulated slide floors. and 3) enclosed dump valves. There is no "particular advantage" between any Cougar Half Ton. They all have the same "Polar Package" which is more of a "sales gimmick" than a true "cold weather advantage"....
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Old 01-16-2021, 11:40 AM   #5
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My thoughts of a "1/2 ton towable" on the back of a 5500 truck mirrors John's. First thing I envision is a lightweight trailer (built light and relatively flimsy) on a very rough riding truck zipping effortlessly down the highway. The visual I think of is a kid with a Radio flyer wagon with the handle tied to the rear of a bicycle street. Load the wagon with a couple dozen eggs and let a child take off down a cracked and heaved sidewalk. I guess you already have the truck so you know how it rides?
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Old 01-16-2021, 03:57 PM   #6
msubobcats
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We had a 16 284RDB.
Quite a few issues with trim/quality. Nothing major but just several issues. Then in February of 16 we checked it at storage and there was a roof leak, rear over the bunks. Could have been around the rear vent but was not going to dig into it. There was also a BIG issue with running lights/tail lights. A fuse would continually blow. So we traded it.
Since you are buying an 18 chances are (knock on wood) all issues might have been fixed.
Now, whatever you buy just make sure you check EVERY function to see if it operates properly.
We did like ours, it just was not as comfortable as we wished. Could not view the tv from the couch without turning our heads a bunch. Didn't use the bunks near as much as we thought we would, we are Grand/Great Grand parents. Loved the outdoor kitchen and it had pretty good storage. Did not like the fridge with the stinking reostat for adjusting the temp. It was half ton towable for a few half tons. The polar package was so-so. Very easy to winterize. Mixed bag.
Good luck with your venture...
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Old 01-16-2021, 06:02 PM   #7
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After briefly looking at the unit today I decided it wasnít for us. As you said, the build and trim quality just didnít seem to be there for me. Lots of smears on hole fill jobs, rough edges, non-clasping doors, etc.

I will continue to look at different manufacturers. I was always under the impression that the cougar line of rvís was top notch. Maybe thatís no longer the case.

We might look at a Heartland Sundance or possibly a Cougar 32BHS which might suit my truck better. Plus it has the extra bedroom with a real door.

Weíve found that we need 2 bedrooms and at least 2 slides.

Where should I be looking for a bit better quality of build? Iím happy to stay with Keystone if they have a 5th wheel thatís a bit better built. Iím not expecting perfection but it needs to ďfeel goodĒ not cheap. Weíll gladly pay a bit more if needed.

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Originally Posted by msubobcats View Post
We had a 16 284RDB.
Quite a few issues with trim/quality. Nothing major but just several issues. Then in February of 16 we checked it at storage and there was a roof leak, rear over the bunks. Could have been around the rear vent but was not going to dig into it. There was also a BIG issue with running lights/tail lights. A fuse would continually blow. So we traded it.
Since you are buying an 18 chances are (knock on wood) all issues might have been fixed.
Now, whatever you buy just make sure you check EVERY function to see if it operates properly.
We did like ours, it just was not as comfortable as we wished. Could not view the tv from the couch without turning our heads a bunch. Didn't use the bunks near as much as we thought we would, we are Grand/Great Grand parents. Loved the outdoor kitchen and it had pretty good storage. Did not like the fridge with the stinking reostat for adjusting the temp. It was half ton towable for a few half tons. The polar package was so-so. Very easy to winterize. Mixed bag.
Good luck with your venture...
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Old 01-16-2021, 06:15 PM   #8
RunningWild
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Thank you very much for the detailed response! I truly appreciate it.

Iíve decided that unit wasnít for us. We need a true 2 bedroom unit with a real door not a curtain or accordion door. We like the layout of the 32BHS but the nearest one to look at is a few states away.

I never considered a 5th wheel being too light but I could see that being a problem. What other 5thís do you think may work well for our situation? Again, our budget is around $25K give or take.

Today the unit just didnít feel like it was built well at all. I understand itís a mass produced Rv but I need to feel a bit better about it before I spend the money and put my family in it.

Iím looking at a couple of low-profile hitches that work with a flatbed, particularly the Anderson Ultimate Lowered Flatbed Gooseneck hitch. It sits directly over my rear axle. Those are all great points, thank you.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JRTJH View Post
As for the tires, verify the manufacture date. A 2018 Cougar could have been built in March 2017 (the 2018's were introduced in April, 2017) and tires could have been manufactured (in China) toward the end of 2016. That would make them 4+ years old if your trailer is one of the "first 2018's down the assembly line"...

As for the truck, a 5500 typically is sold as a "chassis cab" with no bed. The suspension is extremely overbuilt for a "no load/light load" configuration. So, it will be "rough riding" with only the pin weight of a "half ton fifth wheel". The pin box on Cougar Half Ton models has no shock absorption or air cushioning capacity, so every bump, jolt, pot hole is going to transfer that stress directly to the pin box and into the front elevated structure. We usually have people wanting to buy trailers with "way too little truck". In your case, you might have "way too much truck" unless you consider some means to absorb the "rough ride" to prevent pinbox/upper deck frame damage.

Additionally, depending on how the truck bed area is configured, you may be "too high or too long" to keep the pin over the rear axle. While being behind the rear axle won't directly affect weight limits on a truck rated that heavy, it may affect how the trailer tows. Also, the height of the pinbox affects "level towing" which can affect rear axle tire wear on the trailer. So, verify the height of the fifth wheel hitch adjustment range on the truck platform to be sure it will adjust enough so the trailer will "tow level" rather than "nose high".....

ADDED: The "Polar Package" is a mandatory build item that is "force optioned on every Cougar Half Ton fifth wheel". So, you can't buy one without a Polar Package. It consists of three features: 1) forced air heat and enclosed underbelly. 2) astrofoil (aluminum backed bubble wrap) insulated slide floors. and 3) enclosed dump valves. There is no "particular advantage" between any Cougar Half Ton. They all have the same "Polar Package" which is more of a "sales gimmick" than a true "cold weather advantage"....
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Old 01-16-2021, 06:17 PM   #9
RunningWild
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Thank you very much for the insight. Any recommendations on a heavier 5th that has two bedrooms and at least 2 slides? 35í ish feet? Our budget is around $25k or so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flybouy View Post
My thoughts of a "1/2 ton towable" on the back of a 5500 truck mirrors John's. First thing I envision is a lightweight trailer (built light and relatively flimsy) on a very rough riding truck zipping effortlessly down the highway. The visual I think of is a kid with a Radio flyer wagon with the handle tied to the rear of a bicycle street. Load the wagon with a couple dozen eggs and let a child take off down a cracked and heaved sidewalk. I guess you already have the truck so you know how it rides?
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Old 01-16-2021, 08:10 PM   #10
JRTJH
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In today's RV market, any 35' fifth wheel selling for $25,000 is going to be a "back row unit that doesn't present well enough to move to the front row".

There's one 2019 33' Cougar Half Ton unit listed in the forum classified section for $47K and a 2018 35' Alpine fifth wheel listed for $67K.

In "yesterday's market" a $25K 35' fifth wheel about 4 or 5 years old was a "good find" but also a "possible find"...

In "today's market" finding a 4 or 5 year old 35' fifth wheel in the $25K range, in any "reasonably good shape" is like finding the goose with the golden eggs. Are they out there? Yes, but so far and few between that they are "next to impossible to find" and usually not on a dealership lot, but being sold by a private seller trying to dump or get rid of a trailer that the dealer won't give them enough to pay off the balance of the loan. Upside down trailers are not going to sell for "what they're worth" rather they have to sell "to pay off the balance".... It's hard to negotiate a loan on something like that.

Anyway, for $25K, I don't think you're going to find a 35' fifth wheel that's "in great shape, ready to go camping and that meets your floorplan requirement of separate bedrooms with doors.

Now, if you're willing to risk an older unit, possibly with "hidden structural issues", you may find the floorplan you want for the price you want, but it won't be a "pristine, quality build, that's ready to camp".....
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Old 01-17-2021, 05:36 AM   #11
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Unfortunately in today's market used trailers are selling at a very high premium. With what is now (in the current market) considered a limited budget that means limited choices. With that being said, you must be willing to compromise on your desires such as having a door instead of a curtain. If your handy with some basic tools (hopefully you are when purchasing used or new for that matter) then look at a unit that "almost" checks the boxes that perhaps you can modify.

If you're looking to start camping this spring then time is not on your side. Covid is in full force and the near future is uncertian which means inventory will be low and prices high. As John stated, I'd suggest focusing on private sales over dealer listings. I know this sounds like "doom and gloom" but positive, stay focused, and be patient. Jumping into a deal because you feel pressured will typically turn into a deal you will regret. Good luck in your search.
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