2007 FW Avalon vs 2018 Rockwood HW296

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by Dingit, May 2, 2018.

  1. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    I think I still want a popup, after looking at everything else. But I want highwall luxury which means Forest River or used. I think the old Fleetwoods have some options I want that the new ones lack. So, here I go again, based on what's on the local market today. :)

    How does something like a 2007 Fleetwood Avalon compare to a new (or very recent) highwall? Pictured here is the largest Rockwood (HW296) which has a similar layout. If the internet is being honest with me, the Fleetwood has a gray tank which is a big plus for me. It also has two larger beds. I think that is because the Avalon has a larger bathroom, so the dinette isn't in the way of the larger bed. Anyway, it seems like a good thing to have.

    I don't know much about lift systems--my previous popup had something completely different. Is there a difference between these two systems?

    What about the slideouts? Do either have a reputation for being crabby?

    Any insight into the general floorplans or anything else to be aware of? I do realize these things are both HUGE.

    Thank you for any contributions!



    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  2. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    In all my research for finding my pup I never ran across any real complaints on the slide mechanism for any brand.

    If you are looking at HW models, StarCraft made some as well - the Centennial series was their HW model for several years. Jayco also made some HW models for a couple years, in addition to the Flagstaff/Rockwood models you mentioned. I think Viking may also have made some, but not positive.

    I really liked the HW models and was willing to deal with the increased height. At the time though my budget didn't allow me to get into serious consideration for a used one.

    The Avalon was a pretty heavy pup though, make sure you have the oomph to tow it. You may find the gray tank is not as good of a deal as you thought. You would still need a tote if you stay longer and fill up the tank. My Jayco has a tank, but it is plumbed only to the shower (which we do not use). I also think that most of the HW models have better toilets but also black tanks. I personally prefer having the towable tote on mine so I don't have to worry about getting too full on the camper.
     
  3. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info--I'm keeping my eye out for other makes. It's a shame that nobody makes HWs anymore (except Forest River).

    The tanks are all little but we currently have about 7 gallons gray and a portapotty. We have...methods. :) I do love my mini gray tank and can only imagine how luxurious a 20 gallon one would be. But a tote for longer stays for sure.

    I think this year (2007) Fleetwood has a black tank instead of cassette. I think the cassette would be better than a built-in black, but based on our portapotty filling history, we'd be okay with it.
     
  4. Toolmaker13

    Toolmaker13 Member

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    I got a 2007 avalon and love it, only problem is the black water tank is too small. I think the paper work for it says it is 13 gallons but I swear it must be closer to 9ish. My two girls and DW used it for the first time a few years ago and filled up the tank in 1 1/2 days. Well the problem is that when they do their business and throw the paper in the toilet and step on the foot pedal to get the water to flow to flush away everything, the paper is always the last thing to flush. I think we were filling the black with 50% clean water. Now we just keep a small trash can in the bathroom and throw the paper in the can and empty every night and that helped alot.
     
  5. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    Thanks TM! I guess I have to figure out how an RV potty works and see if it's going to be a problem. I like our portapotty for water (and waste) savings because it's entirely manual. You use exactly the amount of water you need to do the job--or less, if you're my kids.
     
  6. mstrbill

    mstrbill Active Member

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    Assuming it's the same SeaLand unit they put in the Niagara HWs. It's spec'ed at 9 gal, but I measured it be only 8 1/4 gal to the bottom of the potty section.
    A Macerator pump is a easy way to deal with loading a tote for a trip to the dump station.
     
  7. Adam H

    Adam H Active Member

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    I posted most of this on a different thread a couple of months ago but will repost here. I'm sure I'll get flamed for the statement on the Torque Flex axles but I stand by my statements.

    I have an Avalon, friends I used to camp with have a HW 296, very comparable campers. Here’s my take on why I like my Avalon better. Rockwood is essentially the same as Flagstaff, all owned by Forest River
    Interior is much brighter than the Rockwood.
    Sunbrella instead of Vinyl. Much cooler in the heat.
    The power lift system on a Coleman / Fleetwood is far superior. The Rockwood sounds like a garbage disposal when using, don’t set up during quiet hours. Also the Rockwood requires lift supports after the roof is up because it all hangs on 1 cable. Fleetwoods would have to break several cables for the top to come down.
    Separate waste tank drains for black and gray tanks, why would Rockwood do this?
    Torqueflex axles on a tandem trailer, makes no sense.
    Avalon has an Electric + Gas Water Heater, great if you camp with hook ups.

    I’d go with the Avalon but I might be a little biased :)

    To answer your specific questions:
    Both the Avalon and the Rockwood have approx 20 gallon gray and 9-10 gallon black tanks
    The slide out and beds are larger on the Avalon. Haven't heard of any slide out problems with either.
    Both are HEAVY. Can't tow these with a Subaru, LOL
    Takes my family 4-5 days to fill the black tank. We don't put the paper in a separate basket either, eeeewwwww. All goes down the toilet.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
  8. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    8-1/4 gallons!! heh. 9 was a good guess!

    Appreciate the details, Adam. I went and dug up that post and I still know squat about axles but if it's been on something and still rolls after 10+ years, it's probably okay. :p The current Rockwood has 12 gallon gray (and it's harder to locate that info than it is for an 11 year old trailer from a dead company!) which is obviously not quite as good but considerably better than nothing.

    Of course, an 11 year old popup is somewhat less expensive than a new one, but not as much as one might expect. I guess that's a good thing.

    My TV can do the weight, once I replace all the tires...that's this weekend's project....
     
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  9. mstrbill

    mstrbill Active Member

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  10. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    Yep, Fleetwood stuff is easy to find. But finding the nitty gritty details on the production Forest Rivers requires all sorts of obscure clicks (if you're using their website).
     
  11. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    here are my [2C]
    The biggest problem about fleetwood is parts for them are getting expensive and are getting harder to find especially body parts. You may also notice some RV repair shops may not be willing to work on them as well. Ran into that problem myself. However I love my fleetwood and feel that my lift system is one of the better ones. In my opinion think they are a little more sturdy than the Rockwood too,Then again I may also be biased.;) Obviously the decision is yours and your families. Not to mention the condition of the older units vrs a newish one. I would suggest to possibly keep your eye out for other HW units and not limit yourself to those two. Best of luck.
     
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  12. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, JMk. I'm still at the watching Craigslist stage of looking and the other branded HWs have all been missing something. There's been a beautiful Jayco HW for sale for a while but no bathroom, no oven. That's why I want a highwall! I just stop looking at it if it doesn't have those two things. The big Fleetwoods always have everything and they're also more common around here so that's what I've been looking at.

    It would be easier to get a new Rockwood but I can't help but like the old ones just a little better. (And since the spouse is still not totally onboard with popup vs TT, maybe used is more appealing....)
     
  13. Adam H

    Adam H Active Member

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    I would get a used Fleetwood before I would get a new Rockwood for reasons I posted above.

    Adam
     
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  14. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    I'm liking the used Fleetwoods! But realistically, I don't know that I'll be able to find one when I'm ready to commit. I figure I can pick up a Rockwood whenever. :)
     
  15. Fixitup

    Fixitup Active Member

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    Fleetwoods are out there. There is an 07 Avalon at a local dealer in my area. Do a good search......there out there. Its worth the hunt.
     
  16. Jorja

    Jorja Active Member

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    While we have the high wall 07 Niagara, it's the same bathroom as on the Avalon.

    We have yet to fill the black tank over an extended wknd. We do wait in line for the dump station - but we factor that into our timing.

    I appreciate both the bathroom (for late nights) and the sink for general toiletries (teeth, hand washing) and cleaning dishes for cooking. We are hosting a lot of family in our campouts. So having the black and gray tanks are great.

    Also - have the walls on the bathroom affords some privacy - even for things like changing when people are around.

    The Avalon is very nice, while slightly different - we love our Niagara.

    Good luck with your search.
     
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  17. Fixitup

    Fixitup Active Member

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    We camp with full hook up for the most part. When not, the tanks come in very handy. We use every aspect of our Niagara. Enjoying her right now on the Currituck Sound. 20180503_194722.jpg
     
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  18. Revn

    Revn New Member

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    Ours is an 09 Starcraft Centennial 3612. It’s a HW with hard side potty area.
    I almost went with the Niagra though. It was a tough decision.

    Took me 6 months to find “the one”. Good luck!
     
  19. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    Thanks all!
     

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