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Post Info TOPIC: 5th Wheel Advice for Future Full Timers


RV-Dreams Community Member

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5th Wheel Advice for Future Full Timers


My husband and I are very seriously considering full-time RVing. We know where we will park it and know that we want a 5th wheel with 2 bedrooms, if at all possible. We want to buy used b/c of the depreciation, etc. etc. We're wanting to separate the wheat from the chaff as much as possible so we're researching what YEAR and NAME seem to stand above the rest. (Of couse, we will be dealing with the variable of the upkeep factor of previous owner(s))  but greatly value input, websites, etc. where we can find more info about these matters. Many thanks! (9 different homes and apartments in our 20 years of being together=Vagabonds biggrin  



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Ann


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Ann:

First, welcome to the forum.  This is a very good place to get many of your questions answered.  Many knowledgeable people here.

Many will chime in but I'll start with this -  I doubt you will find many 5th wheels, especially used, with two bedrooms.  Two bedrooms usually means 1) custom or 2) pretty big.  It could be possible convert a Toy Hauler's garage area (an empty unfinished area in the back) into a bedroom.  That would be my first thought.  But most rigs with 2 bedroom usually have the second area as bunk beds for children.  Perhaps that is what your looking for.  Not clear.

There is no "best" RV.  All RV's have issues one way or another be it the really inexpensive weekend units or a custom New Horizons unit.  It is a learning process and this isn't like buying a car.  There are really no brands, as such, to be excluded because they all have their own set of issues and those vary from unit to unit. 

By paying more you will, many times, get a better frame - critically important - and perhaps more amenities as standard.  Better quality wood, better drawer slides, etc., etc.  But just by brand is a very difficult way to separate the wheat from the chafe because it depends so much on what you want.

I just wanted to start this thread with the above.  I recommend you search this forum.  There are a great many threads outlining so much of what, IMO, you need to know.  Most of RV selection is what works for you and secondly many technical issues which are also very important.

My other advice is this: Do not purchase a truck to pull the trailer till you find the trailer.  This is probably the single most prolific mistake people make.  Truck selection has almost nothing to do with brand.  It has to do with trailer weight and how much weight the trailer's king pin (hitch) puts on the truck's rear axle.  Many make the mistake of purchasing too little truck.  Don't believe the truck manufacture's marketing of "Our truck can pull this much."  Pulling is the easy part. Not being overloaded, stopping and controlling is the hard part.  It's all the other specifications that require close examination after purchasing the trailer.

You've come to a good place.  Start searching here.  Not just for brand but for overall RVing knowledge.

Good searching. . .

BTW, going the the RV-Dreams Rally where much of what you need to know is taught would also be great idea.  H & L do a good job.  You will be "drinking from a fire hose" but it will be worth it.  No RV is required to attend.  See the link at the top of the forum.

Bill



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Bill & Linda



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Thanks so very much, Bill! You guys are running a great site. I've searched and gleaned a lot of info, so far.

As for the truck, does it sound do-able to have it privately moved and placed on the lot first? We are planning on staying in that place for about a year, at least. (When we do, we will ask a friend with a truck or solicit for someone to do so.) Financially, I really want to jump over one hurdle at a time.

Also, thanks for the info on the 5th wheeler. Yes, we are looking for a bunk room--sorry about the confusion. A toy hauler could be a definite possibility. I saw a few people on other threads comment that toy haulers are not generally built as well as regular RV's. Is that true?

In the meantime, I'm making plans for us to visit some RV dealerships this weekend. I figure the more we see, the more we know. (Keep the info coming!! NOT going to buy, just look...and pick brains.)

Many thanks!

Ann

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Ann


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If you plan to stay in one place for months , year or years you may want to consider a park model or destination trailer. These tend to be the same size or a little larger than a 5th wheel but have a flat floor from nose to tail. As we have gotten older we are finding it tougher and tougher to go up and down the steps into the bed/bath room area. We have a friend that used to stay with us from time to time and her knees have gotten so bad that she just can't get from the sofa sleeper and up the steps so she now only visits for a day.

The destination model is designed more for frequent travel; most will have holding tanks and more RV like features. The park models may not have holding tanks and will require a sewer connection or use of a maceration pump system.

Both of these provide a more home like feel and can be moved using a transport service or heavier truck.

Just an option to consider.

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My two cents would include figure out your budget before you go shopping. This will help limit the selection especially if you are looking at trailers that are not older than x number of years. Then decide on floor plan which will reduce selection even further.

Bill - if a person had three specific trailers in mind to buy from, would you agree it would be okay to purchase the truck before the trailer?  In our case, we also want to get used to driving the big monster truck rather than trying to learn towing a big trailer at the same time.



-- Edited by mds1 on Saturday 19th of November 2016 01:30:39 AM

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Mark from Missouri

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2019 Vanleigh Vilano 320GK 35’ fifth wheel 16,000-pound GVWR



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RVVagabonds wrote:

...As for the truck, does it sound do-able to have it privately moved and placed on the lot first? We are planning on staying in that place for about a year, at least. (When we do, we will ask a friend with a truck or solicit for someone to do so.) Financially, I really want to jump over one hurdle at a time.... 


 FWIW, math-wise it's entirely doable, not guaranteed mind you, but doable. If your plan is to stay in one place for a year, then hiring somebody to deliver it your site, while not cheap can be possibly compensated by cost savings from not having the truck expenses for a year but rather continuing to use your current vehicle(s). The risks could include deferring the truck purchase for a that time and having to pay an inflated price for it a year from now though this would likely be minor. you might have or wish to move sooner and incur additional expense to accomplish it. On the plus side you avoid any depreciation on an expensive tow vehicle likely compared to your existing vehicle. You get the time to work out any "bugs" in your rig before going on any adventures. There is no right or wrong here, only what works for you and your comfort zone.

JMHO, Brian.

PS: BTW we have considered this option as well and have not ruled it out for the reasons I have outlined. For us a lot depends on the timing of the economy, the local real estate market etc as to when we pull the trigger on each of the steps it will take to get us on the road FT. YMMV as they say.

 



-- Edited by BiggarView on Saturday 19th of November 2016 09:12:48 AM

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Mark, I think you'll find that the "monster" as you put it, will have a fairly short learning curve, it's just a bigger vehicle and you'll adapt to it faster than you adapted to to your first car because you have the "fundies" (in theory) already mastered. 

FWIW, Brian



-- Edited by BiggarView on Saturday 19th of November 2016 09:23:18 AM

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Brian, Cindi & Josie (our fur baby)
2017 RAM 3500 Laramie 4x4 CCLB, CTD, Aisin, B&W hitch, dually
2020 Keystone Montana Legacy 3813MS w/FBP ,
MORryde 8k IS, Kodiak disc brakes, no solar  YET!



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RVVagabonds wrote:


As for the truck, does it sound do-able to have it privately moved and placed on the lot first? We are planning on staying in that place for about a year, at least. (When we do, we will ask a friend with a truck or solicit for someone to do so.) Financially, I really want to jump over one hurdle at a time.

Also, thanks for the info on the 5th wheeler. Yes, we are looking for a bunk room--sorry about the confusion. A toy hauler could be a definite possibility. I saw a few people on other threads comment that toy haulers are not generally built as well as regular RV's. Is that true?

In the meantime, I'm making plans for us to visit some RV dealerships this weekend. I figure the more we see, the more we know. (Keep the info coming!! NOT going to buy, just look...and pick brains.)

Many thanks!

Ann


 Ann:

Yes there are bonded transport services who can move your trailer.  There is no requirement to purchase the truck if you are going to reside in the trailer and not move around.  There are a few caveats to this - details that need to be addressed, but in general, sure.  Done all the time.  I know of people who have purchased rigs as second homes and never purchased a truck.  In fact they made delivery to their site part of the deal.  But you do that after the PDI (pre-delivery inspection) done a the dealer's.  And if you don't really know how to do a PDI hire a professional to do it.  There are certified inspectors.  Well worth the money IMO.

The quality of build has nothing to do with the trailer being a Toy Hauler or not.  Has to do with how and by who it is manufactured.

As to the RV dealerships, just be careful about most anything a salesperson says.  Remember, their job is to sell you a trailer.  Listen, but evaluate carefully and check out what they say with people who know and "Don't have a dog in this fight." {Grin}

Bill 



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mds1 wrote:


Bill - if a person had three specific trailers in mind to buy from, would you agree it would be okay to purchase the truck before the trailer?  In our case, we also want to get used to driving the big monster truck rather than trying to learn towing a big trailer at the same time.


-- Edited by mds1 on Saturday 19th of November 2016 01:30:39 AM


 Mark:

Well, "it depends."  While it is easy for me to say, so I do, learning to drive the "big monster truck" solo is really not that big a deal.  Not really.  I know it seems that way but it isn't all that hard and there are professionals to help if you think you need additional training.  IMO what takes experience is learning to tow and more importantly to control a rig; and then there's that backing-up part.  Frankly, the bigger the truck, within reason matched to the trailer, the easier it is to tow and control a trailer.  Really.  "Ask me how I know this."

To the point, I'd really be careful about purchasing the truck until you run some pretty accurate trailer numbers (weights) against a given truck.  Sometimes you really think you know what you are going to purchase, and then it changes.  Just saying.  But if you know how to accurately spec out a truck against the largest (weight and other factors wise) trailer you could possibly purchase now, or in the future, yes, that can be done.  But I can't emphasize enough to really understand the specs, weights and clearances.  If you do, that's fine.  And by "you" I'm saying this generically to anyone reading along.  But I do recommend getting some help in this regard.  In addition to weights the selection of the proper hitch - not just based on weight specs but other important factors - is critically important.  And that selection needs to be done based on the type of pin box on the trailer, IMO.  Air ride - no air ride - etc.  Also, IMO never purchase a short bed truck.  Also what about truck bed rail to trailer clearance?  Is that going to be OK with the selected trailer or does the trailer need to be lifted based on truck selection?  BTW, all new trucks, Ford, Chevy, Dodge have very high bed rails. In this regard no brand is "better" by any amount that matters.  It's just math.

Not trying to overly concern anyone.  Just saying that people have said to me after having an issue "Why didn't someone tell me about this when I bought the trailer or truck?"  Well, you asked and I'm sharing my opinions.

Bill



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Bill & Linda



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Thanks again, everyone for all the "pearls!" Your information is helping us make some wise decisions.

(We are on the budget/style formula at this point.)

Back to the toy hauler question: Integrity-wise, are they generally as well-built as other 5th wheels? (I had read a couple of comments somewhere about them not being built as well as "regular" RV's. Just wondering what you've all heard...

Is there anywhere I can go online to find ratings of particular RV's or "red flags" we should look for when giving those final RV contenders a thorough check?







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Ann


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I've heard both sides of the spectrum on toy haulers. It occurs to me that a mfr will sorta build similar quality into toy haulers as they do into their other lines if they have them and most do. For me the toy haulers, typically (and I'll get some heat for this) are not geared for full timing since their primary purpose seems to be.... hauling toys. In my mind they are used to go out for a short term adventure with the ATVs, motocrossers, BMX crowd, hunters etc and thus they function perfectly for that environment. Yes they come equipped to live short term adequately and yes you can get them "souped up" to do more living but they seem to be the exception not the rule. For me, they don't work for our future plans because the floor plans necessarily restrict living space in exchange for space to haul gear though they could be remodelled for other duties. That's probably more work than we are prepared to do. Still, there are those that find the toy hauler fits their needs perfectly.

As is commonly said 'round these parts there is no right or wrong way to do this. What works for you is perfectly okay. Know thyself and thou shall find the solution for thyne situation.smile

JHMO, Brian



-- Edited by BiggarView on Saturday 19th of November 2016 04:40:26 PM

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Brian, Cindi & Josie (our fur baby)
2017 RAM 3500 Laramie 4x4 CCLB, CTD, Aisin, B&W hitch, dually
2020 Keystone Montana Legacy 3813MS w/FBP ,
MORryde 8k IS, Kodiak disc brakes, no solar  YET!



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With regard to salesmen, when you visit a dealership, make sure that the salesman is asking you questions at the outset.  If they aren't asking you the questions, they really have no idea of "what you want to do with your RV."  Once they ask basic questions and then make recommendations, then you pepper them with questions, hopefully that you learned by reading the forums.

If they don't ask questions of you to learn what you want from an RV, then either find another salesman or another dealership.  You want someone that sincerely wants to make you happy, not their pocketbook.

Terry



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Josie:
Please thank your dad for the info.

Sorry, but I have (yet) another question:

Are 5th wheel RV's sometimes made with lofts (or is that a special order item?) I've noticed them in a few toy haulers and we really like that amenity.

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Ann


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There a few models out there that have a "loft" (I'm assuming you are referring to "other than a toy hauler"). This is not a recommendation but Grand Design, for example, has a Solitude 377MBS that has a loft. There are other similar examples from other mfrs so you have options in this area. 



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Brian, Cindi & Josie (our fur baby)
2017 RAM 3500 Laramie 4x4 CCLB, CTD, Aisin, B&W hitch, dually
2020 Keystone Montana Legacy 3813MS w/FBP ,
MORryde 8k IS, Kodiak disc brakes, no solar  YET!



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Ann:

Your questions are good questions.  But if you are considering full-timing - that's a big life changing decision.  You will be purchasing a totally different kind of "home."  RV's are not houses as to how they are made or "operate."  They are different in almost all regards.  This may not be possible now, but if you could work out going to the January Tampa RV show (or the September Hershey, PA show) you will see more RV's of different designs in two or three days then you will see in months going to RV dealers.  There are also truck up-fitters there who can tell you about possible truck choices along with more "RV do-dads" then you could imagine.  You will see a huge variety in both style and price.  You can also go and "sit" in various units; imagine if you can actually see yourself living, making dinner, sleeping, in a specific unit. That's important.

Most don't go there to buy.  But go to get exposed to what's available.

I still recommend going to Howard and Linda's Rally this spring as it is probably the most important thing one could do to learn about the lifestyle and equipment. While what is said at the Rally is not the last word, it is a lot of words.  They will tell you about rigs; the good, some of the bad, the "how  do I do this." Also  ask the most important question, "is this life for you."  Well worth the time and money, IMO.

Bill

 



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"still recommend going to Howard and Linda's Rally this spring as it is probably the most important thing one could do to learn about the lifestyle and equipment. While what is said at the Rally is not the last word, it is a lot of words. They will tell you about rigs; the good, some of the bad, the "how do I do this." Also ask the most important question, "is this life for you." Well worth the time and money, IMO."


Could not agree more on this.We had such a GREAT time last year, we are going back this year. VERY, VERY, informative.

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Ann,

FYI, DRV builds a toyhauler - http://www.drvsuites.com/full-house-luxury-fifth-wheel-toy-haulers/floor-plans.html

DRV's are well built units.



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