Auto-Mate Recreational Products

November 1, 2001 by   - () 10 Comments

Bill Wyrick, president of Auto-Mate Recreational Products Inc., made a decision in 1991 to try to avoid the pitfalls of the RV industry’s ups and downs by selling AutoMate fifth-wheel and travel trailers factory-direct.
“I wanted to avoid the roller coaster of this industry,” said Wyrick, who founded the Los Banos, Calif., company in 1970.

With the move, production decreased from more than 50 units a month to fewer than a dozen. That was OK.

“As a low-volume, factory-direct manufacturer, we have total control,” Wyrick said. “When the industry goes soft, we don’t have to close for a month or two. We can adjust production up or down, and we don’t have to depend on a dealer staying in business when the industry slows down.”

Auto-Mate builds highly customized AutoMate towable trailers in the central San Joaquin Valley, 100 miles south of Sacramento, primarily for the California market, although the company’s reputation for high-quality products has brought customers from as far away as the East Coast.

“Most of our RVs will go out of here with anywhere between $10,000 to $20,000 in options,” Wyrick said. “AutoMates appeal to a guy who has worked all his life, sold his home and the RV has become his home. He wants to be as comfortable in his RV as he was in his home, if not more comfortable. That’s why we have such a high number of options.”

Among the most popular options are a double-insulation package and hydraulic disc brakes. Although the Auto-Mate Air Suspension System is optional, Wyrick said he hasn’t built a fifth-wheel without it in recent memory. The suspension system doubles as a leveling system for setup. Also offered as an option is an Auto-Mate Air Suspension hitch.

The units are built on a custom frame that is manufactured in Auto-Mate’s factory. They feature tubular aluminum framing and a fiberglass exterior vacuum-bonded to DOW Blue Foam and molded fiberglass front and end caps. Travel trailers typically are built with a single sofa/dinette slideout, while fifth-wheels can be equipped with up to three slideouts.

Although able to work with more than 50 floorplans, Wyrick encourages customers to customize one of fewer than two dozen models that are the company’s base. “Usually, they don’t make major changes but they have the opportunity to do their own interior decorating — their own colors, their own fabrics,” he said.
Minimum construction time ranges between five and eight weeks, depending on the options that are being installed. “Mostly it has to do with supplier lead time,” Wyrick said. “Every coach that we build is one-of-a-kind, so there is more time involved.”

Wyrick expected to show a prototype two-story fifth-wheel at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s consumer show in mid-October in Pomona. The unit will provide 6 feet 6 inches of headroom in both the main living area and the gooseneck, where a bedroom will be located. The second floor, accessible via a staircase, will feature two bedrooms for children with 3-1/2 feet of headroom.
“It would take us into a new market — families,” Wyrick said. “And it would put us back where we would establish a dealer network again.”

Auto-Mate also has produced custom-designed dressing rooms for Sony Pictures and built units for Tahoe Rentals, which does business with many of California’s movie studios. In 1995, the company supplied specially built units to Japan following the Kobe earthquake.


10 Responses to “Auto-Mate Recreational Products”

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  2. jeff bruce on October 18th, 2014 6:43 pm

    hi folks~searching for help in regards to a 1976 AutoMate “M” i’ve just purchased~can not seem to find any tech info on this rig~it’s a ’24 dual axle ~ can you help? any i would be ever grateful for!!! thx, jeff

  3. Stephen Pizzo on December 18th, 2014 6:45 pm

    Just purchased a 28 ft. Automate travel trailer and I am need an owners manual for it. Can anyone help me with that?

    Steve Pizzo

  4. Tony foley on January 27th, 2015 9:17 pm

    looking to bye a1990 ,35 ft. Automate fifth wheel. With two slides. With out the vin # is there any possible info you could tell me about this unit. I had never heard of automate,then I read a little about them. Sounds to be a very hand crafted rv. I was a little skeptical of the year,but it still looks great on the inside,a large kitchen,and living room.looks like a pretty heavy oxidation on the outside but I think with the right chemicals it should shine like a new one. Thank you for info. Tony

  5. Dave Frankenfield on March 29th, 2015 1:42 pm

    I just bought a 1995 35′ Automate dual axle 5th wheel with 2 slides living room and bedroom and am looking for the owners manual as nothing was with it. Especially the leveling system and a toggle switch that says park, travel, level. What does this do? When in the travel position a hum from a motor in the storage area can be heard. Also the switch for front and rear axle in and out, what is that all about? It also has 2 somewhat vertical cracks in the exterior fiberglass on each side above the door. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I would gladly pay for a copy of the original owners manual. Thanks in advance.

  6. Nancy Morrell Lewis on October 19th, 2015 3:06 pm

    I have a 19?? 32 ft fifth wheel travel trailer. I finally found a name of the customer who ordered/purchased the trailer from Auto Mate Recreational Product Inc. I got the trailer four years ago. Needed some repairs to the external skin over the bedroom area, which is in the front of the unit (towing end). When I went to register it, the dept of motor vehicles in Texas listed it as a 1992 Aristocat Dutchmen coach. I think I know this is incorrect. Why??? It was custom made for a Rick and Lynn Isaeff. Seller Compliance number 1112105. It has a California License plate # 1DX8713- June 2012 – E6102016. It is my home now. I do not tow it, it is set up as a permanent placement. My problem is the cylenoid went out on the generator and we havent been able to figure out how to get the generator out from under it nor do I have the information for replacing the parts. Also I would like to know how do I drain the fresh water storage tank for the winter, dont want it to freeze and break. Any information on this unit would be appreciated. Oh yes, there is a mystery switch that matches the other switches in the unit so I think it came with the trailer. It is on the wall between the Wedgewood stove and the pull out pantry. What is it for or what does it do? Thank you so much.. Greatfully, Nancy God Bless you and yours.

  7. Carol on February 22nd, 2016 7:09 pm

    Does anyone know where we could get our air ride suspension repaired for our automate 5th wheel

  8. Carol on February 22nd, 2016 7:12 pm

    Nancy, the switch between your stove and the pull out pantry is for starting the gas for the water heater. Also there is a white plastic spigot underneath that will drain your water tank.

  9. Shaun on June 28th, 2016 6:38 pm

    Just purchased a 1998 Automate 5th wheel RV. Looking for a manual for this model. I think it is 30′ with a slide out dining room and couch. The slide out has gotten stuck and I was unable to retract the slide out manually. Sure could use some help


  10. Tamara Harris on September 6th, 2016 11:50 pm

    I’m wondering if anyone knows where I can find a replacement emblem or a complete decal kit for a 2002 36′ AutoMate. I bought it because it’s beautiful inside but the man I bought it from painted all the decals black and I want to know of a economical way to restore the outside back to its original colors.