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Mountain Master M2 & Carriage 38' Fifth-Wheel

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

With the weight of the larger fifth-wheel trailers escalating, the need for larger trucks
has grown commensurately. The Mountain Master M2 is just such a grown-up truck, capable of
pulling any fully loaded fifth-wheel without driveline vibration, white-knuckle downhills
or overheating when faced with a half-hour climb. In order to test the mettle of the M2, we
hitched it to a new 38-foot Carriage. With the forward-mounted water tank filled, this
provided a pin weight exceeding 3,000 pounds and more than 7.5 tons to pull around. It was
child’s play for the M2. The new Freightliner Business Class is the foundation for the
Mountain Master, with full air brakes, 22.5-inch wheels, wet front-wheel bearings and a
massive rear axle. We could not verify gross combination weight rating (gcwr) on our 2004
test model, though the hitch is rated at 32,000 pounds and the running gear shows up on
trucks with gcwr heavier than 40,000 pounds. Options from Freightliner included the Cat
3126 and Allison transmission, an exhaust brake, a Horton fan clutch, various primers and
heaters, Wabco anti-lock braking system (ABS) and traction control, synthetic fluids and
two 60-gallon fuel tanks. The CW374 is a new floorplan for Carriage, designed to bring the
larger bedroom “suite” of some Class A motorhomes into the fifth-wheel market. A wall of
beveled glass between the bedroom and the “bath lobby” brings “master suite” ambiance, as
do sinks in both bedroom and bathroom. While its mobility might label it a galley, its size
makes this a kitchen, even without a dishwasher. Corian countertops highlight the galley,
the same material used on the island and range cover that stows securely below the oven.
The Mountain Master rides on a boxed steel-rail frame over leaf-sprung MOR/ryde IRE
suspension with Bilstein shocks and 17.5-inch aluminum. The Carriage offers a large amount
of space – a luxury in itself – in a well- thought-out, well-equipped fifth-wheel. Pick up
the February 2004 issue of Trailer Life for full test impressions and details on the
Mountain Master M2 & Carriage 38′ — then subscribe to Trailer Life, so
you can stay informed on the latest tow vehicles, tests, previews, and technical and
RV-lifestyle information. Carriage Inc., (574) 642-3622, carriageinc.com. Mountain Master,
(888) 686-6278, mountainmaster.net.

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