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Post Info TOPIC: Newbie to RVing


RV-Dreams Community Member

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Newbie to RVing


My husband and I are new to RVing and are on the hunt for a fifth wheel for snow-birding next winter. We've been doing some research and have looked at many fifth wheels. This process is really overwhelming and we don't know what we don't know. My question is how do we narrow down our choices? We've seen many that we really like but we're not sure what size to get, what type of tow vehicle is best, what are the must haves and how to negotiate the best price. Also, should we buy "off the rack" or have one built? Or maybe it makes more sense to buy one slightly used? Any and all advice is welcomed!

 



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A lot depends on the price range when looking for new or used.
You can get a quality used 5th Wheel for the same price as a lower end new 5th Wheel and the quality units hold up much better than the lower end units.
If you are looking at new, a dealer like RVs For Less in Knoxville is a good place to start as they only deal in "Fulltime" 5th Wheels and their inventory consists of several different manufactures and is tailored towards the "Fulltiming" market.

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First, what is your RV experience, weekends, extended trips, none at all? And what size truck do you have to pull the 5th wheel with - ¾ ton, 1-ton?

Barb


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WE went to the big RV show and walked the lot for two full days. I absolutely recommend something similar as nothing beats the experience of walking in and out of the rig and sitting in it for awhile. After two full days we narrowed it down to two and then sat in each of them for 20 minutes of so before we made our final selection. If your looking for a forever home the time investment is totally worth it

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Even for us seasoned RVers choosing a replacement RV can be a daunting task.

I always advise new RVers to buy used. There are many really great used 5th wheels out there. Buy used for three reasons:
1. You will get more for your money (depreciation hit was experienced by the original owners).
2. The new RV bugs will be gone. Majority of new RVs have things wrong, loose trim, bad fit, quality and mechanical issues. Hopefully these have all been taken care of by the original owner while under warranty.
3. If you find you don't like to RV, you will take less of a hit when selling the 5th wheel.

Choice- Find a few that you like. Then spend a couple of hours in each as if you were actually camping in them. Lay on the bed, sit on the toilet, stand in the shower, have lunch at the table, sit and watch the tv, stand at the sink and pretend to do dishes or at the stove cooking. Does everything fit you and are there bottle necks like if someone is standing doing dishes do they have to step out of the way so someone else can get by to go to the bathroom....

Narrow down to two favorites and then negotiate a price. You'll need to research your choices on the internet...see what they are listed for at RV dealers and private ads nationwide. Look on Craigslist, Ebay, RV Trader, Racingjunk.com and other online selling sites.

Come up with a low price and a maximum that you would pay based upon your research. Take the low price and drop it down another $10,000 as a starting price. Work up from there.

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Thank you, Rob. I will check them out.



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RV-Dreams Community Member

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We are serious newbies. We've only been on one trip a few years ago in a rented RV. Also, we are in the market for a new truck as well and thinking about a 1/2 ton diesel. Our current F150 won't cut it.



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RV-Dreams Community Member

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Thank you so much, that is all great info! It makes a lot of sense to buy used. It's hard to know what we'll need in a rig. We plan to do the bulk of our camping in the winter down south but we may do some spring and fall camping up north too so finding something that has the arctic package with good insulation would probably be a good idea since we live in a cold climate. We've looked at so many 5ers that they're all starting to run together by now and it's a bit overwhelming.

Some features that we like are the large rear window with a hideaway sofa and 2 swivel rocker recliners, a center island with double sinks, a dining booth instead of the table and chairs, washer/dryer hookups and a tall shower for my husband. 

We've only been RVing once so as far as the mechanicals go, we don't really know what to look for such as how large of a gray and black water tank we will need. I understand that the batteries are a pretty big deal but not sure what to look for there. I've heard that ceiling vents and skylights tend to leak so not sure if that is something we should try to keep to a minimum. Anyway, I suppose we'll just have to live and learn along the way.

 



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Before you think... truck... think about the 5er you want to FT in first.  Getting that nailed down, will point you toward the truck you will need to tow it with. If you're not used to such a large truck and decide to go with the truck you are comfortable with that is, size-wise, closer to your current vehicle, you may find that your fifth wheel accomodations will be uncomfortably small and some of the appointments less than adequate for your taste. Only you can decide what that might be.  The previous posters have given you good advice... 

Brian



-- Edited by biggaRView on Tuesday 21st of April 2015 07:42:23 PM

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Brian is making a good point.  Choose an RV first, and then based on the weights of that RV, choose the truck.  Many, if not most, 1/2-ton trucks may not handle the size of trailer you are considering.  As an example, we used to have a 26-foot fifth wheel that was "considered" an ultralight so that a 1/2-ton could pull it, but even our 3/4-ton gas pickup worked hard to handle the trailer.  If the trailer under consideration for you is fairly heavy, you may need to look at a 1-ton truck.

With regards to trucks, one wants a truck that is big enough to handle the rig in heavy headwinds and crosswinds.  That also includes being heavy enough to help stop the trailer in the event of an emergency stop.  I've known of folks that traded up after being unable to stop for a light at an intersection.

Terry



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Fergie, battery and tank size depends on intended use. If you will be staying an RV parks and FHU campgrounds exclusively these things are relatively unimportant, however if you plan on boondocking frequently, living "off the grid" for weeks at a time they will be very important, as will a generator, solar system, etc. Only you know how will be using your rig. Batteries and solar are easy to add later. Bigger tanks usually cannot be added. You're sort of stuck with what comes from the factory, so go for bigger tanks if you are unsure of future dry camping plans. Don't forget to look for rigs with adequate cargo carrying capacity. Most FTers suggest at least 3,000 lbs for a couple. If you plan on adding heavy accessories, like a large solar system, plan on more.

Chip

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RV-Dreams Community Member

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Thank you, Chip and Terry. This is all valuable info. We will definitely get the RV before the truck now. And I can see us doing a fair amount of dry camping so we'll look for one with a larger tank and better battery.

Do you recommend going to the rallies? Seems like a great place for newbies to learn more about their rig. If so, which ones do you recommend?

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I'd definitely recommend the RV-Dream rally! We went before buying an RV and were so glad we did! We learned so many things that helped us in making our decision!

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Fergie wrote:

Some features that we like are the large rear window with a hideaway sofa and 2 swivel rocker recliners, a center island with double sinks, a dining booth instead of the table and chairs, washer/dryer hookups and a tall shower for my husband. 


 Except for the booth you are describing my full time rig and the booth is an option. Check out my profile for the additional enhancements I've made (and that's not all the improvements I've done).



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  • currently in a fixed location in SW Washington State but that could change
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