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Author Topic: Going from zero experience to full time this year!  (Read 1584 times)

Burnrate

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  • Justin
Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« on: May 25, 2017, 09:24:00 PM »
Hello all :)

We have yet to put any money where our collective mouth is but we are heading there fast.

I'll just jump right into what we are planning and follow with all of our questions.  I've read several library articles and done some forum searches but it's always nice to get personal feedback :)

We are planning on buying an RV (most likely class A, perhaps 5th wheel and truck) and then selling our home, in that order.  Hopefully that will give us a little bit of time to get some experience before going full time.

Our goal is to tour many different states and areas of the country in order to find out where we would like to settle down permanently.  We are looking at being full time for 1 and half to 2 years.

We are looking at a Class A about 35 feet long or a 5th wheel that is slightly shorter.  We definitely want a small separate room with a bed in it for our 1 year old to take naps.  We are aiming to get the class A or the 5th wheel and a truck for somewhere between 40-50k.  It looks doable with all the RVs we have looked at.  One class A we are looking at is a 34' 2007 Surf Side made by National.  It's in great shape, doesn't smell, and meets all of our needs.  A 5th wheel we saw and liked was a 34' Cougar High Country with a GVW of 7700.  With the class A we would tow our current vehicle.

Our thoughts on the options are that a class A would be better when moving around a lot.  It would be very easy to stop and go in the back whenever we need to and let the little one take naps without having to go outside in inclement weather.  On the other hand the 5th wheel seems like you get more space and comfort and would be better when staying places for longer periods of time.


So here are my questions (I know some/all of these have answers around the forum and the internet but I'm always looking for more thoughts and a discussion is always nice.  If you don't want to answer these and just give me some general advice I welcome that as well :) ) :

For those who have traveled full time in both a 5th wheel and a class A?  What are your thoughts on the differences?  What about with kids?

When buying a fifth wheel of around 7700 GVW what size truck would you recommend?  I've seen lots of different thoughts on this.  The most common is that a 3/4 ton would be best (like an F250) because it would be much more comfortable for the driver and put a lot less strain on everything and anything bigger would be overkill.

How hard is it to go through Colorado on I-70?  What type of RV did you take through there?  What are some things you learned doing it?  Is it not really a big deal and I'm just worrying?

What is it like when a class A needs maintenance vs a 5th wheel?  With the class A if you need towing or fixing it's one thing but with a 5th wheel if the truck needs work you need to pull the truck and the RV somewhere to get work done.  With a 5th wheel you only have one engine to worry about though.  What are some experiences people have had getting work done while fulltiming?  Obviously prevention is the best option  :)

Should we get a 4WD truck for towing a 5th wheel?  Are there benefits with 4WD for towing on the highway (like with a 4HI setting going slow (40mph, or more?) in bad weather), or just perhaps moving through parks in bad weather?  Will a vehicle with 4WD, even if it's not engaged, generally handle the weight better?  We aren't really interested in off-roading so if there isn't any great benefit to 4WD I think not getting it would be better.

How is the power situation of a 5th wheel vs a class A?  It generally seems like all class A's have a generator and more batteries while a 5th wheel is intended to be hooked up.  It seems like, as a supplement, you could get a pretty good solar panel setup (~200 W) added on for less than $1000 including an installation (at a reasonable place) or a few hundred less if you DIY install.   (I have read several posts on this and handybobsolar but the solar tech is changing so fast I was wondering if anyone has more recent experiences.)

I get the general impression that class A's are considered to be fancier/nicer than 5th wheels.  Why?  Is a class A generally easier to be in?

Punomatic

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    • Life in Black and Blue
Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2017, 10:20:59 PM »
Hello Burnrate, welcome to the forum. You have come to the right place for answers. I have no experience with 5th wheel trailers (5er), but i have owned a class A coach (MH), although it was 19 years old when we bought it. We have also had TTs (travel trailer) and a TC (truck camper). Here's my take on RVs in general:
  • MH is totally self contained. You can drive it to a destination and live in it. Some are built pretty stout, and others are pretty flimsy. They are all basically a truck swallowed up by a house. The downside is that you can't leave the house behind and go for an excursion with the truck. Most full timers tow a second motor vehicle for that purpose.
  • TT and 5er are houses on wheels. Some are built pretty stout, and others are pretty flimsy. They are fully self contained for living, but require another vehicle to move them. The upside to this arrangement is that when you disconnect the trailer, you have a motor vehicle for traveling around, whether to the grocery store or for sightseeing excursions. This arrangement is a truck pulling a house.
  • TC is like a TT of 5er in that it is a house that is self contained for living but requires another vehicle to move it. Some are built pretty stout, and others are pretty flimsy. The big difference is that the TC rides on top of the truck, rather than being pulled by it or built onto it. It also allows you to separate the two components and have a vehicle for excursions. The big advantage of the TC, in my mind is that it has no axles or wheels or brakes to maintain and repair. The downside is that they tend to be pretty small inside, or they require a behemoth of a pickup to carry them, and that is not necessarily a convenient excursion vehicle.
 
Whatever type of RV you decide on, the way you will live in it is the most important consideration. Find a floor plan that works for the way you live your life. If you are a gourmet chef, don't get an RV with a tiny kitchen with no counter space. You will make yourself crazy. When you find an RV that you think might work for your lifestyle, spend A LOT of time in it imagining all the things you do on a daily basis, from your morning shower/toilet activities to cooking to working to watching TV or using a computer. Will you be comfortable doing your day to day activities in this space, or would another layout or a different size living space or bedroom space work better? Every RV is a vehicle when you are traveling down the road, but when you stop for a spell and live aboard, you need to be sure the one you pick is comfortable for you and your family. So, think floor plan, storage, accessibility to the things you will use frequently, etc.

Most of your questions will need answers from others, but it took me 4 tries to find the perfect RV for me and DW. The above suggestions are what I learned along the way. Good luck with your quest, and happy travels.
2016 Riverside White Water Retro 195
2014 Nissan Titan SL Crew Cab
DW and me and Pogo (the neurotic terrier-gone to the rainbow bridge) and Lulu (the Moxie with moxie)

Oldgator73

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Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2017, 10:40:07 PM »
Welcome to the forum. We haven't fulltimed in quite a few years but I can still tell you how we did it. About a year before I retired from the AF we decided we wanted an RV. We decided we wanted to maintain only one drivetrain so we went with a 5th wheel. One of criteria was the kitchen had to be usable when the slides were in. We planned staying in rest stops, Walmart and truck stops while on the road and needed use of the kitchen without utilizing the slide. Our unit was 37' with three slides. We traveled the country with it from Texas to South Dakota to Florida, and Oregon and most everywhere in between. The unit was quite roomy with plenty of storage. We bought it in 1998 and sold it in 2003. We pulled it with a 3/4 ton Dodge singlecab, 2wd with a Cummings diesel. Really never had any problems and we traveled a lot. As far as whether you should go with a MH or 5th wheel, you just have to weigh the pros and cons. We have a small TT now, 17' Winnie Drop. I would like to have a small MH. For the reasons you pointed out-moving about the unit while on the road;grandkids can play games and take naps (I tend to drive 12-15 hours a day). Do a ton of homework and make sure you get the most functional floor plan for your needs. Good luck. Oh, and we did travel I-70 through Colorado. Didn't have any problems.

Larry N.

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Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2017, 07:23:31 AM »
Welcome -- I'm not a full timer, and I've not had a 5th wheel, but the main advantages to a 4WD when not off roading are that you have a bit of an advantage on slick roads and that you're better able to handle wet grass and mud in non-paved campsites, especially when pulling a trailer. Otherwise, a 2WD will probably get slightly better mileage (at least when not towing) and will weigh a little less, therefore having slightly greater capacity.

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How hard is it to go through Colorado on I-70?

The road is generally good, but there are occasions, especially from late fall to late spring, when certain areas are subject to rock slides blocking the road, particularly through Glenwood Canyon (near Glenwood Springs). For most of this the barriers the DOT has installed contain it just fine, but once in a while there's a road closure -- just check the road conditions before starting through.

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Is it not really a big deal and I'm just worrying?

It CAN be a big deal if you're not careful, but it's nothing you can't handle. You need to be aware that you're starting (through the mountains) at around 6,000 plus feet of elevation, and at the Eisenhower Tunnel it's just over 11,000 feet, which means that you might encounter snow and/or slippery roads at the higher portions of the road (check road conditions) when it's clear or just wet at lower elevations. You can't see all that far away, so the weather can change unexpectedly and rapidly at times. The altitude also means that you need to be careful of too much exertion, as it takes time (weeks) to become acclimated to the altitude. And drink lots of water throughout the mountain west, as the dry climate tends to dehydrate you without being obvious, and dehydration (and altitude sickness) catch some folks by surprise, so drink a lot of water, more than you think you need.

That altitude also means that your vehicle has less power (unless it's turbocharged), so it might not be as peppy as you're used to.

There are some long 5%, 6% and 7% grades that will really slow you down in a motorhome, and maybe in a 5th wheel, depending on the truck. In all three rigs I've had (1 gas, 2 diesel) I've been down to 30-35 mph going up the steeper grades in all three, sometimes passing semis, sometimes being passed by semis. Same deal with 5th wheels, though more of them pass me than get passed by me. You should also be aware that there are very long stretches with no place to pull over, and some of the rest areas have length restrictions (30-35 feet TOTAL length).

Going down those grades (many are several miles long) you need to be very careful with the braking, probably keeping it slow at the peak and downshift (or engage the engine brake) to minimize your brake usage. Then let the speed slowly build until you're approaching too much speed and use the brakes to get you slowed back down (don't ride them, just slow fairly quickly then release the brakes to let them cool off). It's not particularly difficult, but at times gets tedious and occasionally requires more than normal concentration on your task, being especially careful of descending curves. There are areas of 50 or 55 mph speed limits -- believe it, you need to slow to those speeds.

Hope this helps.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL, Bounder, Beaver
  de N8GGG

Burnrate

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  • Justin
Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2017, 09:20:58 AM »
Thank you for all the info and thoughs everyone :)

We are pretty restricted on floor plans because we definitely want a bunk in a separate room.  Very few class A under 35' have these.  The 5th wheel has the added benefit of the rooms being on opposite ends as well.  I will be working as well so we will probably only move once per week at most.  Those Keystone 5th wheels are nice because of the huge windows all around the table pullout.  It's odd, it seems like a 5th wheel would be better for many logical reasons but a class A feels like it would be better (and maybe easier).  Maybe it's just from seeing them more often in movies and on tv or something.

One of criteria was the kitchen had to be usable when the slides were in.

That is a very good thing to think about.  Thank you for pointing that out!

Going down those grades (many are several miles long) you need to be very careful with the braking

Definitely something I will have to remember to read up on before going through.  I'm always thinking about the difficulty of climbing up, but while going up you can always stop if something happens.  If your brakes overheat that is another whole level of bad.

captaindomon

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Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2017, 10:43:56 AM »
My recommendation on this type of thing is to not sell your house immediately if you have a choice. I have two different friends now that have decided to go full-timing without any experience with RVs, sold their house, and after a month or two realized they had made a mistake, and their house was gone, and things were not good. Can you keep the house for a while? Rent it or something? That will give you the ability to backtrack in your decision if you decide you hate it. RVs aren't for everyone, but it's hard to tell until you have some experience with them.

Lou Schneider

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Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2017, 11:30:51 AM »
Welcome to The RV Forum!

Should we get a 4WD truck for towing a 5th wheel?  Are there benefits with 4WD for towing on the highway (like with a 4HI setting going slow (40mph, or more?) in bad weather), or just perhaps moving through parks in bad weather?  Will a vehicle with 4WD, even if it's not engaged, generally handle the weight better?  We aren't really interested in off-roading so if there isn't any great benefit to 4WD I think not getting it would be better.

4WD is never used on hard surfaces.  It locks the front and rear axles together so the wheels have to be able to slip as the axles take different length paths whenever you turn.  When there's good traction this makes the drivetrain components bind up and creates excessive stress on them.

4WD is useful if you're parked on dirt or grass and the morning dew or rain has made the surface slippery when you're trying to leave.

You may be thinking of All Wheel Drive (AWD).  This differs from 4WD in that there is a differential in the transfer case so you can use it on dry pavement without binding.

AWD is more common on lightweight SUVs that rarely go off pavement and is less capable than true 4WD when you're trying to get going on a slick surface.

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What is it like when a class A needs maintenance vs a 5th wheel?  With the class A if you need towing or fixing it's one thing but with a 5th wheel if the truck needs work you need to pull the truck and the RV somewhere to get work done.  With a 5th wheel you only have one engine to worry about though.  What are some experiences people have had getting work done while fulltiming?  Obviously prevention is the best option

You're looking at it backwards.  When a motorhome requires service, your house goes into the shop at the same time and you have to go elsewhere.  With a 5th wheel only the truck has to go into the shop and the trailer can stay in a local campground for you to live in.  Maybe rent a car to get around if the truck will be tied up for a while.

Some shops will let you sleep in a motorhome overnight if the repairs will take more than one day but this may be a problem with kids due to liability concerns.  If you can't stay in the motorhome you'll have to go to a motel.

Be sure to get a good road service plan with unlimited towing like CoachNet or Good Sam.  Both of these cover both 5th wheels and motorhomes and will deliver your rig to a repair shop if you break down.   Other towing coverage like through AAA or your insurance policy aren't as comprehensive and can leave you with a huge towing bill.


« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 12:20:05 PM by Lou Schneider »

Burnrate

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  • Justin
Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2017, 01:31:32 PM »
My recommendation on this type of thing is to not sell your house immediately if you have a choice. I have two different friends now that have decided to go full-timing without any experience with RVs, sold their house, and after a month or two realized they had made a mistake, and their house was gone, and things were not good. Can you keep the house for a while? Rent it or something? That will give you the ability to backtrack in your decision if you decide you hate it. RVs aren't for everyone, but it's hard to tell until you have some experience with them.

Thank you, that is good advice.  Given both of our experiences though I'm certain we will enjoy it.  It's also something we have wanted to do for a long time so it is thankfully not an impulsive decision.  It's just happening quickly (I hope :) ).  We have a plan also for why we are going and how long we are going to be living fulltime so I think that gives us a lot of comfort instead of an unknown end.  We also don't really want to have the next baby while on the road. :)  We will probably have the RV for a month or two before selling the house so if for some weird reason it's absolutely terrible we can bail without becoming homeless.


Be sure to get a good road service plan with unlimited towing like CoachNet or Good Sam.  Both of these cover both 5th wheels and motorhomes and will deliver your rig to a repair shop if you break down.   Other towing coverage like through AAA or your insurance policy aren't as comprehensive and can leave you with a huge towing bill.

Thank you for the 4WD info Lou.  I'm thinking we won't have a strong conviction either way so it depends on what used vehicles are available at the time.  Also thank you for the towing company recommendations :)  I renewed my AAA to have plusRV starting in June which gives 100 mile tows for a service call.  That is probably not enough especially in someplace like Alaska or with a class A that would need a specialized shop.

Lou Schneider

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Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2017, 01:39:50 PM »
It doesn't have to be in the middle of Alaska.  When my motorhome broke down in Death Valley National Park Coachnet found a qualified repair shop and sent a flatbed semi-trailer big rig tow truck to get it there.  173 miles at no cost to me.

If I had a 100 mile limitation I would have been out of pocket several hundred dollars.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 01:41:24 PM by Lou Schneider »

Larry N.

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Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2017, 02:20:28 PM »
In addition to what Lou said (and I fully concur), Coachnet also has techs on call 24 hours -- they can talk you through some repairs that you can handle without a mechanic, give advice, and/or help you isolate whatever trouble you have prior to calling for repair. And they can actually find someone for the repair without you having to try to figure out who to call. I did that in January, and I wasn't in need of a tow -- it was a generator problem, and I was in touch with a mobile repair tech before long.

And one thing really impressed me beyond all the above: On the initial contact they asked if I was in a safe place, a question that was repeated on a later contact. That concern is comforting, too.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL, Bounder, Beaver
  de N8GGG

AStravelers

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Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2017, 03:43:58 PM »
Quote
We are looking at a Class A about 35 feet long or a 5th wheel that is slightly shorter.  We definitely want a small separate room with a bed in it for our 1 year old to take naps.  We are aiming to get the class A or the 5th wheel and a truck for somewhere between 40-50k.  It looks doable with all the RVs we have looked at.  One class A we are looking at is a 34' 2007 Surf Side made by National.  It's in great shape, doesn't smell, and meets all of our needs.  A 5th wheel we saw and liked was a 34' Cougar High Country with a GVW of 7700.  With the class A we would tow our current vehicle.

I think the GVW of 7700 is the dry weight of the trailer.  The GVWR is probably more like 10,000 pounds. 

You want at least a 3/4 ton (2500 or 250 model).  A 1 ton single rear wheel would be a little better.  I would not pull a 5th wheel w/o a 4x4 truck, unless you will only stay a RV parks.  If you will go to National Forest, BLM, some state parks, it is really nice to have the 4x4 to be able to put it in low range and slowly pull up some minor hills with some pot holes on grave roads.  Also to back into some campsites you have to push the trailer up a little incline.  It is so much easier with 4x4 in low range.  Also if you hit some snow or mud 4x4 is nice. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

AStravelers

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Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2017, 03:53:21 PM »
You mentioned towing your current vehicle behind the Class A.  There is a limited number of cars/truck which can be towed with all 4 wheels down. 

Here is a link to a website listing the vehicles that can be towed 4 wheels down:  http://www.motorhome.com/download-dinghy-guides/
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Burnrate

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  • Justin
Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2017, 05:30:54 PM »
You mentioned towing your current vehicle behind the Class A.  There is a limited number of cars/truck which can be towed with all 4 wheels down. 

Here is a link to a website listing the vehicles that can be towed 4 wheels down:  http://www.motorhome.com/download-dinghy-guides/

Thanks! We have a 2007 Jeep Compass.  I didn't see anything for it in that year but later years says it works quit well.

Burnrate

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  • Justin
Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2017, 06:16:58 PM »
Thank you everyone again for all the great advice and thoughts :)

Another question, this is probably very specific to the model, but what is it like to do quick stops with a fifth wheel or stay in a rest stop on a multi driving day trip?  I've read here that setting up and breaking down a fifth wheel can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 1.5 hours.  Obviously when not getting set up fully like at an RV park it would be quicker.  I guess I just want to hear more experiences and opinions on what it is like moving around in a 5th wheel.  We are planning on staying 2, maybe 3 weeks at a time in one place.

I'm just really trying to get a feel for what it is like moving around in a 5th wheel.  They seemed to be a lot more geared towards being setup with hookups in an RV park for longer periods of time.  Class A's seem to be more friendly with moving around more.

A good way to summarize my thoughts is that a Class A offers more convenience while a 5th wheel offers more of everything else.

Lou Schneider

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Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2017, 08:53:36 PM »
A lot depends on the layout of the fifth wheel.  With the slides in it might be completely usable except for getting to a few cabinets.  Or another model might need the slides out to use the kitchen or get to the bathroom or bedroom.

As far as quick stops, as long as the site is fairly level so the refrigerator stays happy,  turn off and lock the truck, pull out the step and unlock the 5th wheel's door.  You don't have to unhitch from the truck or do any further setup unless you want to.

BTW, parking level for the refrigerator applies to motorhomes, too.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 09:02:47 PM by Lou Schneider »

Oldgator73

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Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2017, 05:39:21 AM »
As fulltimers we were destination campers. We didn't stay at campgrounds while traveling. We pulled into rest stops, Walmart, or truck stops. There isn't any setup or tear down when you stop for the night. As far as for tear down when leaving a CG, it depends on how much "stuff" you have out around your unit. Could take all day or it could take a few minutes. On average I would say it took me about an hour to get ready to pull out of a CG.

dabrooks

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Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2017, 05:55:05 AM »
One other thing to consider is the convenience of the onboard generator on the class A versus the 5th wheeler. We do stop at Walmarts occasionally and being able to start the onboard generator an hour or so before we stop to cool down the coach works great. I am not sure what generator configurations are available on 5th wheelers but someone else can chime in with that information.
Dave Brooks
2013 Tiffin 35 QBA
Ford f-53
Maryland

Burnrate

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  • Justin
Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2017, 09:17:34 PM »
Thank you again everyone for your thoughts and experiences :)

I think we have made a decision on which type of RV we are going to get.  It comes down to one thing: safety.

With a class A there is just no way to offer a child any protection in the event of an accident.  If anyone knows of things that can be done such as modifications or a company that creates safe class A's I would love to hear about it though :)

It seems we are going to go 5th wheel.  Probably looking for something small enough to pull with a 150 or a 250 if we can find the room in the budget for both the truck and RV after selling our current car.  We will do some light solar to augment the power availability and make sure we are going to get hookups if we need AC somewhere.  I will post again when we know more :)

clockdrfla

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Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2017, 09:58:37 AM »
Had dreamed about full time RVing and finally decided to do it after shopping RV's and attending shows to compare different styles.   Drove many miles during this time and asked numerous questions.  Ended up with a 39' 5th wheel and a diesel truck to tow it with.  Lots of great advice on this board from experienced vets. I still consider myself a newbie after full timing for 10 months.  Here's a few suggestions. First, don't buy too small.  Camp close to dealership where you purchase for about 4 days or so after purchasing to get familiar with the set up and tear down procedures and mainly to make sure all systems are go before hitting the open road.  It's not a competition to see how fast you can set it up. Take your time and develop a routine.  If not sure about something, ask somebody.  Maintaining proper tire pressures are extremely important. Can't stress this enough.  If buying a unit out of warranty, consider purchasing a maintenance and service contract. A fireplace is nice on a cool morning.   Not saying any particular RV is better than another.  We are very comfortable in our 5th wheel.   Good luck.

Larry N.

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Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2017, 10:23:39 AM »
Quote
Probably looking for something small enough to pull with a 150 or a 250...

It's unlikely you'll find a 150 that can safely pull a 5th wheel (unless maybe the Scamp version), so it may be between a 250 and a 350.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL, Bounder, Beaver
  de N8GGG

AStravelers

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Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2017, 03:21:43 PM »
Do not try to pull a 5th wheel with a 150/1500 truck unless it is a really small one, like 24-25 foot.   For safety and ease of towing go with the 250/2500 (3/4 ton).
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Burnrate

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  • Justin
Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2017, 09:24:16 PM »
I'm pretty certain we will be going with a 250 or similar.  We were looking at 25' and below or those fancy aluminum ones for a 150 but it's just too small with a child or too expensive.

First, don't buy too small.

I like this advice  ;)

Trivet

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Re: Going from zero experience to full time this year!
« Reply #22 on: May 30, 2017, 10:42:40 AM »
One of criteria was the kitchen had to be usable when the slides were in.
Burnrate, you acknowledged this comment, but it bears repeating.  Fifth wheels in particular can have issues with usability when the slides are in.  The island in the kitchen is nice, but it's not usable when it becomes enclosed by the opposing slides.  I saw one the other day where the refrigerator wasn't accessible with the slides in.  And I believe I saw a bunk-bed model that had inaccessible bunk beds with the slide in. 

Given both of our experiences though I'm certain we will enjoy it.  It's also something we have wanted to do for a long time so it is thankfully not an impulsive decision.  It's just happening quickly (I hope :) ).  We have a plan also for why we are going and how long we are going to be living fulltime so I think that gives us a lot of comfort instead of an unknown end. 
We were living separately when we bought the RV (our first), and sold both our houses to go fulltime, with an unknown end.  I'm sure almost everybody would have advised against that (some say to rent an RV first, for example), but we're in year 13 of fulltiming.  Nobody knows you like you do.  Hopefully.