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Post Info TOPIC: What to look for in a Fifth Wheel that I plan to FullTime?


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What to look for in a Fifth Wheel that I plan to FullTime?


Hey everyone, so I've decided that I'm going to live full time in a fifth wheel! I'm excited!!!

What advice would you give to the novice RV shopper when buying a used fifth wheel to live in full time?

What features should I be looking for?

Looking to spend about $30k max.

So far, according to my research, I like these brands: EverGreen: green + build quality; Carriage, (Carri-lite/Cameo): build quality, Cedar Creek: economical build quality, NuWa (Hitchhiker): build quality & great forum community support, Teton: quality & great in cold weather, Peterson (Excel): build quality, New Horizons: pricey, best quality. Does agree / disagree with this list? Why?

Thanks in advance!



-- Edited by 7point3diesel on Monday 1st of September 2014 12:39:43 PM

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Make a list of things you feel you must have and prioritize them. Scan the internet and owners groups of the manufacturers that you are most interested in. Features? Really depends on you and what you want. You'll want to have an RV inspection and I suggest using only an experienced RV technician to do it, someone that will test all the systems and have the equipment to do it. You'll also need to think about what kind of tow vehicle you'll need unless you already have one and then you'll need to understand what the tow vehicle's limits are before you buy the trailer. Getting the right rig for you is work but well worth the time spent.

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SnowGypsy wrote:

Make a list of things you feel you must have and prioritize them. Scan the internet and owners groups of the manufacturers that you are most interested in. Features? Really depends on you and what you want. You'll want to have an RV inspection and I suggest using only an experienced RV technician to do it, someone that will test all the systems and have the equipment to do it. You'll also need to think about what kind of tow vehicle you'll need unless you already have one and then you'll need to understand what the tow vehicle's limits are before you buy the trailer. Getting the right rig for you is work but well worth the time spent.


That's great advice. Thanks.

Where do I go about finding an independent inspector?

See my tow rig here.

I can live fairly modestly. But I'm just wondering what sorts of things I should be looking out for as far as full-time v. holiday 5th wheel shopping. I know for example that I will need a washing machine. But I'm sure that there are things that I'm not thinking about...



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RV-Dreams Family Member

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SnowGypsy wrote:

Make a list of things you feel you must have and prioritize them. Scan the internet and owners groups of the manufacturers that you are most interested in. Features? Really depends on you and what you want. You'll want to have an RV inspection and I suggest using only an experienced RV technician to do it, someone that will test all the systems and have the equipment to do it. You'll also need to think about what kind of tow vehicle you'll need unless you already have one and then you'll need to understand what the tow vehicle's limits are before you buy the trailer. Getting the right rig for you is work but well worth the time spent.


 That's great advice, thanks.

Where do I go about finding an independent inspector?

I can live modestly. And although I know everyone's definition of "modest" is different, I'd just like to get an idea of what kind of features full-timers specifically should be looking out for as opposed to shoppers who just need a weekend camping 5th wheel. For example, I know I'll need a washing machine while a weekender, in most cases, will not; I'm just sure I'm not thinking of some other stuff I'll need...



-- Edited by 7point3diesel on Tuesday 2nd of September 2014 10:59:57 AM

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7.3Diesel,

I just typed in "Fifth Wheel" in the Search Box (see blue menu bar on top) and lots of info came up with different suggestions and features people like and don't like.

We didn't feel we needed a washer as most campgrounds have laundry rooms, but you might prefer something else.

Also be aware that you can't get financing on rigs over 10 years of age, IF you are planning to finance.

Sherry

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So I went 5th wheel shopping yesterday & looking at the sticker on the 5th wheel I noticed that the trailers has their own GVWR ranging from 7,000 to 16,000 lbs.
What does this rating mean?
Is this the 5th wheel's so called "dry weight"? If not, where do I find the dry weight?
According to a lot of salespeople I talked to yesterday, "a 3/4 ton truck can pull anything but a fully loaded toy hauler". I don't trust them.
What numbers on the trailer to I need to be looking at?



-- Edited by 7point3diesel on Saturday 6th of September 2014 08:23:24 AM

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see this post



-- Edited by 7point3diesel on Saturday 6th of September 2014 01:45:58 PM

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GVWR is the maximum loaded weight of that vehicle.

So your truck has a GVWR, which would be the weight of the truck+fuel+people+hitch+tongue weight+whatever.

Then the trailer has a GVWR, which would be the weight of trailer+water+black/gray+propane+extra equipment+your stuff. I would not subtract tongue weight from that, but some do.

Add those two weights (not ratings) together. That is the GCW, Gross Combined Weight.  GCWR is another rating your truck has.

Do not exceed any of those. For happy, trouble-free towing do not exceed about 80% of any of those.

There's one more you have to be aware of: the axle weight rating of the rear axle of your truck. 5ers can often push this over with their heavy tongue weight even though the GVWR/GCWR are within limits.

Don't "push" this stuff. It's not just a question of the reliability of your equipment, or safety considerations, although both of those are huge, especially the latter. It's also the fact that a combo that is at or over the limit will often be very wearing and unpleasant to drive.



-- Edited by Gannet on Sunday 7th of September 2014 08:29:02 AM



-- Edited by Gannet on Sunday 7th of September 2014 08:30:05 AM

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Carriage is out of business…the name was purchased by somebody else who may or may not be making new ones. A group of former Carriage employees now works for another builder and is trying to start a 5ver line there as well.

Almost all of your other listed choices are out of your budget range…so if that's really your budget then the advice to survey the market by visiting some dealers or shows and then deciding what features you need/want/can afford and then go from there. Make sure any used unit is inspected by a qualified RV inspector before you purchase it…don't take the dealer's inspection as meaning anything. Check the age on the tires and batteries as suggested.

 



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GVWR is not a number to forget about.  That is the manufacturer's rating for the maximum weight capacity for the trailer.

As a reference, CCC is sometimes questionable.  If one sees "x" number of pounds on a website or in a brochure for CCC, it is ONLY a reference.  If one adds an appliance that isn't "standard" according to the manufacturer, it will affect CCC, but the GVWR remains the same.

For instance, when we ordered our trailer, it did not have a washer and dryer installed at the factory.  Had we ordered our coach with a washer and dryer, the CCC would have dropped, but the GVWR would still be the same.  When we had the washer and dryer added at the dealership, we then had to take into account that extra weight when "loading our stuff."

Sometimes, one can't find a brand's GVWR listed, but they will list the empty weight and the CCC weight.  In those cases, one has to add the empty weight to the CCC weight to get an idea of the GVWR.

As for your question about what to look for, that is one that would be difficult to answer as we don't know your interests and lifestyle.  However, I will mention that a good power protection device is important.  For instance, Progressive Industries builds those device that will monitor the electricity flowing to your trailer for a number of things.  Unlike a surge protector, the PI device will monitor both high voltage and low voltage and shut off power to your coach until those electrical voltages return to normal.

Also, if you are going to boondock a lot, an inverter and extra batteries would be really beneficial to run some items that are 120V instead of 12V.  If you will have computers or appliances with computerized circuits, it is also important to get a pure sine wave inverter instead of a modified sine wave one.  Pure sine wave is better for computerized items.

Terry



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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Gannet wrote:
I would not subtract tongue weight from that, but some do.

 Yeah, since you have to factor in the fact that you may be traveling downhill at some point, I don't think subtracting this is wise.



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Neil and Connie wrote:

Carriage is out of business…the name was purchased by somebody else who may or may not be making new ones. A group of former Carriage employees now works for another builder and is trying to start a 5ver line there as well.

Almost all of your other listed choices are out of your budget range…so if that's really your budget then the advice to survey the market by visiting some dealers or shows and then deciding what features you need/want/can afford and then go from there. Make sure any used unit is inspected by a qualified RV inspector before you purchase it…don't take the dealer's inspection as meaning anything. Check the age on the tires and batteries as suggested.

 


Who are the Carriage employees working for now? I've heard at least some have gone to EverGreen.

I should have mentioned that I'm only looking for used 5th wheels. In fact, I have found many of these makes & models in excellent condition from reputable dealerships & individuals well within my price range only a few miles from where I live. Not only that, but I've personally toured two new EverGreens for under $30k. But your right about the inspection, I will look for an inspector as soon as I can find out how to find & contact these people.



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Terry and Jo wrote:

GVWR is not a number to forget about.  That is the manufacturer's rating for the maximum weight capacity for the trailer.

As a reference, CCC is sometimes questionable.  If one sees "x" number of pounds on a website or in a brochure for CCC, it is ONLY a reference.  If one adds an appliance that isn't "standard" according to the manufacturer, it will affect CCC, but the GVWR remains the same.

For instance, when we ordered our trailer, it did not have a washer and dryer installed at the factory.  Had we ordered our coach with a washer and dryer, the CCC would have dropped, but the GVWR would still be the same.  When we had the washer and dryer added at the dealership, we then had to take into account that extra weight when "loading our stuff."

Sometimes, one can't find a brand's GVWR listed, but they will list the empty weight and the CCC weight.  In those cases, one has to add the empty weight to the CCC weight to get an idea of the GVWR.

As for your question about what to look for, that is one that would be difficult to answer as we don't know your interests and lifestyle.  However, I will mention that a good power protection device is important.  For instance, Progressive Industries builds those device that will monitor the electricity flowing to your trailer for a number of things.  Unlike a surge protector, the PI device will monitor both high voltage and low voltage and shut off power to your coach until those electrical voltages return to normal.

Also, if you are going to boondock a lot, an inverter and extra batteries would be really beneficial to run some items that are 120V instead of 12V.  If you will have computers or appliances with computerized circuits, it is also important to get a pure sine wave inverter instead of a modified sine wave one.  Pure sine wave is better for computerized items.

Terry


 Interesting points. Thanks for the electricity info. I will take note.



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One minor addition to what Terry said - I do NOT recommend putting in a modified sine wave inverter these days.If adding an inverter, or ordering a coach with a new inverter, spend the extra money for a pure sine wave inverter. There are too many sensitive electronics in RVs these days.

Can a MSW inverter be safely used? Yes, in many situations, but it does requiring knowing exactly what devices you are powering and monitoring them. In general, I'd much rather see people use a pure sine wave inverter.

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