There has been a discussion in a thread at RV Dreams’ forum category entitled “Buying an RV” about the Dynamax Trilogy fifth wheels trailers, now under the umbrella of Forest River. Dynamax has previously manufactured motorhomes, and the Trilogy is a “reasonably” recent entry into the fifth wheel market.
I was asked questions about the Trilogy and my opinion of them, but having never seen one, all I could do was look at the website for Dynamax Trilogy and base opinions upon what they posted in their brochures and on their website. Many times, those sources don’t always give one a good enough basis for analysis.
So today, we had the opportunity to be near the dealership in Oklahoma City that carries the Trilogy. So, we stopped off and looked over the two models by Trilogy that were at Oklahoma RV, which is located on south I-35.
The two models are the Trilogy 3800 D3 and the Trilogy 3850 D3 trailers. Since we hadn’t planned on going by the dealership today, I had not taken my camera, so the best I had to work with was my cell phone to take a few pictures. Some questions that I asked went unanswered because the salesman knew less about the Trilogy than I did from looking on the Trilogy website.
Both models have a GVWR of 18,000 lbs and are 41′ 10″ long and approximately 13′ 2″ tall. Both have a fresh water tank capacity of 64 gallons, 80 gallons for gray water, and 40 gallons for black water. Unlike any other fifth wheel that I know of, the Trilogy models are equipped with a regular LP tank instead of using 2 LP cylinders of either 20 lbs, 30 lbs, or 40 lbs.
Also, unlike any other fifth wheel except some toy haulers, the Trilogy does not have a ladder by which to gain access to the roof. This is a concern for me as there is the need to occasionally access the roof so one can perform preventative maintenance (and actual maintenance) to those air conditioners.
First from the perspective of the wife and the interior, she found that the Trilogy models had a good “fit and finish” look and had a lot of storage in the living room and kitchen area. However, with regards to storage, the bedroom and closet area was lacking, especially compared to the living room area. For instance, in the closet, one side is set aside for a combo washer and dryer unit. If one has a combo washer/dryer in place in the closet, clothes that are hanging on the clothes rod could very well be in the way of getting to and opening the door on the washer/dryer.
The other side has a small dresser with four drawers, although they are fairly small as evidenced by the pictures below. In the one, you can see that my hand covers about 1/3 of the width of the dresser and almost completely covers the area from front to back.
If you look on the Trilogy website, the only other items for clothes storage or organization is the clothes rod and an inset within the front wall of the closet with 3 shelves for shoes or whatever. The shelves aren’t very deep. Unfortunately, I didn’t look at the dresser in the bedroom itself, so I am of no help there.
The 3800 D3 model has the “full size” shower, but from my observation, while the length of the shower is impressive, I felt that it was pretty narrow, especially for my 225 pound frame. I was not too impressed with the shower skylight. It seemed to be overly large, almost the length of the shower, which with the right thing hitting it from above, there would be less strength in the plastic of that skylight. Keep in mind, though, these are just my observations.
The other thing that I personally looked at and took photos of was the swiveling cabinets in the pantry. When they were mentioned on the forums, I was concerned about how strong the hardware was that was holding those cabinets. I was happy to see that they were fastened to the wall with piano hinges. While the hinges looked okay, I did wonder about the wall itself that all the screws in the piano hinge were fastened into. While the wall looked okay, I really couldn’t tell for sure of the depth of the wood.
However, with regards to the swivel cabinets, I wasn’t impressed with the method of fastening the inner side of the cabinet to the back wall. They used heavy magnets and some very cheap latches. (See the photos below.) Because one had to tug pretty heavily on the cabinet to separate the two magnets in the back, I wondered if there would be a problem later of one or the other of the magnets to come loose from the wood they were attached to.
As for the outside of the coach, I found that the frame consisted of 12″ I-beam for the frame from the rear of the coach to at least the basement area. I couldn’t see well enough in that area to tell for sure how thick it was. The axles are 8,000 lb ones with 17’5″ wheels and “H” rated tires. That was good to see. The suspension springs were the normal ones with a center flex point.
With regards to the LP tank, I did have a concern with it. It sits between the frame and is below the underbelly cover in a recessed space for it. It is held in place by large straps across each end. What I was concerned about with regards to those straps was that they are held in place with one bolt and one nut on each bolt. I couldn’t tell if they were locking nuts, so if they aren’t, I would recommend putting a second nut and tightening it against the first nut. Since the tank is not in a space where one can see it without crawling under it, I wouldn’t want the single nut to loosen as the trailer hits rough areas of the roads and eventually cause the tank to fall out of its place.
The other thing I worried about was whether gas vapor from the tank might seep into the underbelly of the coach. If that were to happen and a build-up of gas accumulated in the underbelly, all it would take is one time of the furnace firing up to turn the coach into a bomb. For the most part, since LP gas is heavier than air, it would go lower and away from the coach. However, wind currents under the coach might cause some gas to find a gap in the seam of that inset area for the LP tank. Also, since they have installed a remote filling area at the side of the coach, there is a line that runs from the LP tank to that remote filling compartment. That line seems to run within the underbelly, so if a leak were to occur in that line, gas could be released into the underbelly.
Now for some oddities with the two models. For some reason, only the 3850 D3 model had an extra 20 lb LP cylinder. That is the same size as one finds on one’s gas Bar-B-Q grill. Also, the 3850 D3 had other things that I didn’t find on the 3800 D3. For instance, the 3850 D3 has a water manifold that allows one to turn water off to various areas of the coach. (See photos below.)
The second photo also shows the water filter, the outside shower fitting, the city water inlet and black tank flush fitting, and there are 5 “F” connectors in a vertical line that are for satellite and cable hookups. The 3800 D3 did not have any of those things in the same place as the 3850 D3. The next two photos show small compartments found on the off -door side of the coach.
In the first one, I didn’t notice what that blue line was hooked up to. You can see the three valves, two of which are for the gray tanks and one for the black, or sewage tank. Those fittings at the top of that compartment are the remote filling location for the LP tank. To the left of them is a switch that is a remote fill cut-off switch. This is the compartment on the 3850 D3 model.
The next photo is a similar compartment on the 3800 D3. In it you can see the LP remote fill fittings and cut-off switch, the holding tank valves, and city water and black tank flush fittings. However, if you look closely, there is only one (repeat…1) “F” fitting for cable. I looked in several compartments and couldn’t find any more of the “F” fittings or a water manifold area.
So, even though Trilogy’s brochure states on page 3 the it is “A Recreational Vehicle Designed with LEGENDARY Attention to Detail,” the fact that the 3850 D3 has hookup and features that the 3800 D3 doesn’t seems to indicate a LACK of attention to detail. Why have a water manifold in one model but not in the other? Why only one cable inlet on one model while the other has 3 fittings? Where is the outside shower on the 3800 D3? Why no full house water filter on the 3800 D3 like is on the 3850 D3?
One thing they both do have is the automatic leveling systems, however the controls for the 3850 D3 can be seen near the water filter in the above image. On the 3800D3, those controls are inside a small compartment on the outside on the off-door side of the coach.
If you haven’t seen the forum thread at RV Dreams, you can find the comments made at this link.
There are some very interesting comments that relate to features, strengths and weaknesses at that site. Hopefully, this blog post and that forum thread may be very beneficial to you if you are considering a Dynamax Trilogy.