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  7. Fifth Wheel Review: Keystone Montana 3931FB
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  7. Fifth Wheel Review: Keystone Montana 3931FB

Fifth Wheel Review: Keystone Montana 3931FB

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Keystone’s flagship Montana luxury fifth-wheel is consistently popular. So we were looking forward to evaluating a fresh-off-the-line 2020 3931FB. This would be our opportunity to check out the new model year’s design additions and revisit key features that have kept the Montana’s popularity strong year after year. We would also use this occasion to put the all-new Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD through its paces.

Our Montana experience began with a tour of the manufacturing facility at Keystone’s 320-acre campus in Goshen, Indiana. The Montana assembly plant is a 2-acre building constructed in 2010 and dedicated solely to producing Montana fifth-wheels, of which more than 100,000 have been built. This single-product focus is aimed at ensuring consistency and quality of the plant’s output, a philosophy we looked forward to testing.

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A) queen sofa bed B) HDTV and fireplace C) refrigerator D) king bed (optional) E) 48″x30″ shower F) HDTV and dresser G) dinette with storage H) theater seating. Floorplan illustration: Rob Roy

Inside

The 3931FB is the longest of the Montana floorplans. Its sturdy outward appearance, clean lines and attractive graphics are what we have come to expect from the Montana. The Glacier color scheme represents a softening of tone intended to reduce heat absorption. The test unit, equipped with the optional Legacy package ($7,500), sported a stylish dual-tone-painted, one-piece fiberglass rear cap, below which is a 2-inch hitch receiver.

After setting up at Elkhart Campground, we began to explore the Montana’s living space. Specific to the 3931FB’s floorplan design concept is the spacious full-width bath and closet positioned forward of the front bedroom. Dictated by this arrangement is the inclusion of a half-bath downstairs, which provides convenient guest access to facilities without having to traverse the bedroom. The rear portion features a popular and effectual living-room-and-kitchen layout bordered by opposing slides.

Sleeps

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Fresh fabrics and trim in the master suite complement the new interior motif; also added this year is a 48-by-12-inch window above the headboard.

Moving upstairs, a door leads to the bedroom with a standard queen or, as in the test model, an optional king bed. This room has received a lot of attention in the Modern Maple package. In addition to incorporating fresh fabrics and trim surfaces that complement the new motif, an additional 48-by-12-inch window has been added above the headboard, giving the room a more open feeling. Under-bed storage is more than ample for stowing the folding dinette chairs and central-vacuum hardware.

An important new feature is the Renovo Sleep mattress. Beds and mattresses seem to generate a lot of commentary in RV owners’ forums as the quest for sleeping comfort has long been a challenge. The 8-inch-thick memory-foam mattress proved to be comfortable and supportive, and will likely draw positive feedback from users.

Bordering the bed are 25-by-5-inch shelves with 120-volt AC outlets located nearby, but the addition of USB ports here would be a useful touch. Other furnishings in the room include a wardrobe cabinet with mirrored doors, a floor-to-ceiling closet, a dresser with six full-extension drawers and a 32-inch LED TV mounted in an angled cabinet for optimal viewing.

Galley & Storage

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Indirect LED lighting creates a soothing ambience.

The island kitchen space, extending forward of the living area, features a cooking suite with Furrion’s three-burner cooktop and digital-temperature-control oven, as well as a High Pointe microwave convection oven. The generous 6-foot-high pantry and 18-cubic-foot Samsung residential-style refrigerator border the cooking area. “Resi” refrigerators appear to be gaining in popularity in this market segment, even though they impose additional electrical considerations, such as inclusion of an inverter in the system or the need to stay at full-hookup campsites.

A 35-by-12-inch window set into the Modern Subway backsplash behind the cooktop is a component of the Modern Maple package. A washer/dryer-prepped cabinet is positioned in the corner of the kitchen adjacent to the refrigerator. Next to this is a convenient 31-inch coffee bar with cabinets above and below. The island features a large double-bowl undermount stainless sink and pull-down spray faucet.

Solid-surface sink covers can be stored in a convenient under-sink rack or used to augment counter space, a commodity that we found adequate but not abundant.

Living Area

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The living area includes a queen sofa bed and matching theater seating with power-recline, heat and massage features.  PHOTOS: SHAWN SPENCE

Key to the Montana’s 2020 look is the new Modern Maple Edition, a no-charge package of feature enhancements and contemporary decor updates with gray-stained cabinetry. Cabinet framing (stiles) is now hardwood, presenting a more natural look and improved durability. Walls, ceiling and floors are done in light, complementary shades, and windows are trimmed in a contrasting tone, which provide depth and definition to the room. Day/night roller shades by Irvine Shade and Door help manage ambient light level and offer privacy.

Border Shadow Congoleum vinyl flooring is provided throughout the interior with the exception in the street-side slide where a woven PVC product, Sensations by Syntec, has replaced carpeting. This material, long popular in the boating world, promises improved durability and easier maintenance.

Our test unit, done in Bourbon decor, included a Thomas Payne Collection brown leatherette sofa with a queen sofa bed in the rear. Useful side tables bracket the sofa, and a line of glass-front cabinets reside above. Matching theater seating is placed at a right angle within the adjacent slide, and is also accompanied by overhead cabinets. Task lights in this area are controlled by an electronic dimmer, the only one in this model. Seats are equipped with power reclining, heat, massage and accent lighting. The center armrest, with beverage holders and a pop-up power station, can be folded up to unite the chairs in a loveseat configuration.

The living room is spacious with handsome furnishings and generous windows. An entertainment center is directly across from the theater seating and includes a Jensen 50-inch LED TV on an articulating wall mount that affords viewing from multiple locations. Also by Jensen is the system’s stereo/DVD player, which is mounted behind a smoked-glass panel that lifts to reveal space for other components, such as a satellite receiver. Below the entertainment center is a Titan Flame recessed 48-inch electric fireplace that, in addition to providing a variety of fireplace viewing effects, functions as a space heater with digital thermostat controls.

Adjacent to the theater seating within the slide is the dinette with an extending flip-leaf table. A credenza with a pop-up power accessory adds utility. Also included is a clever Chair Buddy that secures the dinette chairs during travel in lieu of using those pesky straps.

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The iN-Command interface can locally or remotely operate various systems including lighting, awnings, slides and HVAC.

Bathroom

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In the spacious front bath, a Sandstone Natural molded vanity top accommodates two 9-by-13-inch undermount stainless-steel sinks.

The fifth-wheel’s roomy half-bath is positioned midship at the base of the stairs, across from the entry door. In addition to a mirrored sink vanity with cabinets above and below, the room boasts another 20 cubic feet of storage space in cabinets inset into the wall.

A sliding barn-style door leads from the bedroom to the aforementioned large front bath, the signature element of this model’s floorplan. The vanity has dual 9-by-13-inch undermount stainless sinks with mirrored cabinets above. The Dometic toilet stands beside a 48-by-30-inch molded shower enclosure with a skylight. A full-width closet behind sliding mirrored doors occupies the entire nose of the fifth-wheel, providing bountiful hanging accommodations and shelf storage.

Special Features

The Montana’s HVAC system employs two 15,000-Btu Whisper Quiet ducted air conditioners for cooling. The evaluation team was impressed by the low sound level of the system, particularly in the living room area. The forward air conditioner, mounted in the bedroom, is less muted but still unobtrusive.

Heat is provided by a Dometic 35,000-Btu gas-fired furnace and a 16,500-Btu heat pump incorporated in the rear air conditioner. The heat pump was used to take the chill off on a couple of cool nights and deemed efficient for the size of the fifth-wheel. Additional environmental control is provided by Maxxair fans, one in each bathroom, and a third in the living room where there is also a three-speed, reversible ceiling fan.

Available with the Legacy package is the iN-Command system, which allows the user to monitor and control virtually all of the RV’s systems from a touch pad or via Bluetooth from a smartphone or other device using the iN-Command app. The system also incorporates a Global Connect feature, which extends these capabilities to any location where internet access is available.

Outside

Materials & Construction

Legacy’s exterior features also include electric-over-hydraulic disc brakes, Furrion side and rear wireless cameras, front-compartment generator prep and an electric power-cord reel. The design team chose to relocate the power cord on most models from its familiar rear placement to a midship position. In many cases this allows easier access to campground connections without the need for an extension cord.

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Montana’s Legacy Package includes an electric power-cord reel placed midships.

Notable Equipment & Features

Two street-side Dometic awnings provide plentiful shade. Both are equipped with Dometic’s PowerChannel rail feature, which allows attachment of accessories such as lights, fans and Bluetooth speakers to a 12-volt DC power track within the awning arm. The entry door is a generous 30 inches wide and employs a friction hinge for stability in windy conditions. Steps are MORryde StepAbove with Strut Assist, which deploy and stow with minimal effort, and have adjustable feet to accommodate uneven terrain.

Exterior Storage Space

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The heated pass-through compartment provides abundant storage for camping accessories and outdoor gear.

Exterior storage is ample in the heated front pass-through compartment, which offers about 100 cubic feet of volume. The previously mentioned front compartment adds to storage capability if a generator is not installed. Introduced last year is an option for an outdoor kitchen housed on a pullout slide mounted in the pass-through. While this significantly reduces storage space, its two refrigerators and cooktop offer interesting alternatives for alfresco food prep and storage. Nearby is the panel for Lippert’s Level Up automatic six-point hydraulic leveling system.

Operation and Ease of Use

We pulled the test fifth-wheel with two vehicles, the 2020 Chevy 2500HD and a 2017 Ford F-350. Our only surprise came quickly when we did the requisite brake check after our first hookup. The effectiveness of the disc brakes threw us solidly into our shoulder harnesses. We made a note to reduce the trailer-brake gain significantly when the fifth-wheel was later hooked to the second tow vehicle.

On the road, handling was agree­able, turns were accomplished with ease, and the drivetrain hummed along without complaint with the 15,000-pound Montana in tow. The Road Armor Trailair equalizer, codeveloped by Lippert and Keystone, helped smooth the ride over varying paved and unpaved road surfaces.

What We Liked

Contemporary design, added windows, quiet air conditioning, abundant storage, comfortable mattress.

What We’d Like to See

USB ports in bedroom, exterior LP-gas quick-connect fitting, light dimmers in additional locations

Final Thoughts

Keystone’s reputation and long-term commercial success with the Montana brand raise the bar in this segment of the industry and produce high expectations. For the prospective buyer who is looking for an up-to-date luxury fifth-wheel with a true master-suite floorplan, the Montana 3931FB deserves serious consideration.

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Manufacturer’s Specs

Exterior Length 42′ 3″
Exterior Width 8′
Exterior Height 13′ 5″
Interior Width 7′ 9″
Interior Height 6′ 6″ to 8′ 5″
Construction 2″ aluminum-frame side walls with welded aluminum studs and R-7 block-foam insulation; 3″ aluminum truss floor with R-9 fiberglass insulation and radiant barrier; 5″ roof with arched wood rafters, R-11 fiberglass insulation, radiant barrier and one-piece TPO membrane.*
Freshwater Cap. 66 gal.
Black-Water Cap. 88 gal.
Gray-Water Cap. 88 gal.
LP-Gas Cap. 14 gal.
Water-Heater Cap. 12 gal.
Refrigerator 18 cu. ft.
Furnace 35,000 Btu
Air Conditioner (2) 15,000 Btu; heat pump/rear
Converter 75 amp
Battery (2) Group 27
Tires ST235/80R16G
Suspension Leaf with Road Armor Trailair equalizers
Weight (freshwater, water heater, LP-gas full; no cargo) 14,268 lbs.
Hitch Weight 2,530 lbs.
GVWR 16,500 lbs.
GAWR (2) 7,000 lbs.
Cargo Carrying Cap. 2,232 lbs.
MSRP, Base $78,375
MSRP, As Tested $105,894
Basic Warranty 1 year

*Keystone states R-values are correct and contain no “equivalency” ratings.

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