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Author Topic: Looking for advice on TT selection....  (Read 294 times)

senedane

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Looking for advice on TT selection....
« on: August 22, 2017, 11:41:58 PM »
Hey guys, Charlie here...  I'm in the market for a travel trailer and was hoping I could get some (non-salesman) answers on a few things.  I'm still doing my homework, but after walking through about 50 different models at this point I had a couple in mind and was curious as to the thoughts of others.  The only other RV I've ever owned was a 1988 31 foot Komfort, which was used as a camping toy.  I'd be spending a lot more time in this....

My needs/goal:
I'm currently a 34 year old telecommuting software engineer with two small dogs and a significant other that would be accompanying me on occasion.  I've always enjoyed traveling (I'm a former US Marine in a past life, after all ;)) and after 6 years of sitting in one place in Fort Collins, Colorado I'm feeling an itch to hit the road.  I'm in the process of re-painting and re-furnishing my home to turn it into a predominately VRBO unit for this undertaking.  My girlfriend and I recently decided we wanted to wait at least another year to get married and have children, and it dawned on me; "Who knows how long I'll have a job where I don't have to be in the office and have no children".  Why not take advantage of it, right?  Bonus points for the fact my company has offices in Boulder, San Diego, and DC which means a lot of my miles are potentially tax deductible due to business use in terms of my truck (I made sure to log enough trips to California in it when I bought it to Section 179 it already...).  I'm looking for something big enough that I'd be comfortable living and working in it at least a couple weeks a month, since I'm planning to spend quite a bit of time out and about.

My truck:
I'm currently driving a 2015 King Ranch.  It has the 3.5L EcoBoost, FX4 package, and heavy duty tow package.  It's rated for 12,200 towing capacity and a payload of 3,180.  While it's only a half ton, I owned it before I got this bug and figure it leaves me enough options that I have no desire to trade it in on a larger truck (besides, Colorado kills diesel owners on registration and emissions, and if I were to step up that's where I'd go....).

TT vs 5th Wheel:
I've decided the TT is likely my right option since I have a Ducati motorcycle I'd like to take with me.  I'm weight limited for a fifth wheel if a toy hauler becomes the requirement as a result, but there are plenty of trailers with hitch rating where the trailer and my motorcycle would still leave me ample payload for the truck.

New vs used:
I've been looking new, but would certainly not be adverse to a used trailer.  Honestly, my experience with TTs is limited enough at this point that it's hard to look at used without going listing by listing and comparing them to NADA values in terms of price when I find anything I remotely like...  Price isn't a huge concern for me, but if anyone had any good recommendations for high quality used trailer models 3-5 years old I'd be more than open.

What I've been looking at and could use some advice on, especially in regards to quality/price:
Of all the models I've looked at I'm most seriously considering the following two:

1)  2018 Sprinter 312MLS (They didn't have an MKS in stock, but it trades the outdoor kitchen for a pullout in the bedroom...  That might appeal to me)
Pros:
-  I like the floorplan.  Having recliners facing a main-wall TV is quite pleasant.  The opposing pullouts have a very 5th-wheel feel to them, with plenty of space.  It also has a kitchen bar which would be a pleasant place to work on a laptop.
-  Larger tank capacities for boondocking
-  A very nice outdoor kitchen (My girlfriend seems hell bent on one....  That being said, I'm not sure I'd miss it if I didn't have it.  What do I know, though...)

Cons:
-  It's heavier than others I've been considering.  Shipping weight of 8255, with a max GVWR of 11,000.  I could tow it;  Not sure I'd love the gas mileage or leaving myself a mere 1,200 pounds of tow room (especially with a +/-450 lb motorcycle potentially in the bed of the truck..)

List on it is $44,476.35.  They offered it to me for $37,235.00.  I was thinking about aiming for $36K and them doing a decent capacity solar install?

2)  2017 Cougar XLite 30RLI (I also liked the 33MLS they had, which was a similar feel but traded the bedroom pullout for an outdoor kitchen)
Pros:
-  It's on closeout since it's a 2017.  $53,694 List, Sale price (assuming a 3K rebate if I let them do the financing) of $36,870.  I haven't asked them for a best price on it yet, though.  Any input on what would be a fair number to have in my head would be appreciated.
-  Similar layout to the Sprinter above
-  Bedroom is a pullout with a king size bed, and has more space than the Sprinter (Either model can trade the outdoor kitchen for the pullout, as they're fairly similar floorplans between the two lines).
-  Lighter weight;  7704 shipping weight, max GVWR is 9500

Cons:
-  Lower capacity for water, propane, etc that they obviously sacrificed chasing weight reductions
-  The interior feels slightly nicer in other models with stainless sinks, truly solid countertops, etc. that heavier models have


Any thoughts on those two options would be greatly appreciated (or proposals for better ones...).  How high is the quality of the new Keystones?  I haven't looked at the Jayco's and such yet, but I'm not adverse to it.  These come at a price premium over the aluminum walled trailers I looked at, but honestly my suspicion is that if I'm going to use it during all four seasons (I do reside primarily in northern Colorado...) I'd be glad I just spent the money?  Keep in mind I plan to spend a substantial amount of time in it for at least the next year....  As an aside, there is an RV show down in Colorado Springs in a month;  Would that place me in a better negotiating position to wait for, or not so much?

Thoughts and advice greatly appreciated!
« Last Edit: August 23, 2017, 10:38:43 AM by scottydl »

senedane

  • Posts: 2
Re: Looking for advice on TT selection....
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2017, 02:44:40 AM »
Also, it seems odd looking at craigslist ads;  Tons of late model trailers seem to be listed for many thousands higher than their NADA book?

DearMissMermaid

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Re: Looking for advice on TT selection....
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2017, 05:50:42 AM »
Craigslist has both dealers and owners, so you may want to sort the two out.

Many folks don't realize how much depreciation their late model trailer has suffered until it goes unsold for a long time.

If I were you, I would stick to used and try to pay cash so you travel without payments. Your internet bill may be higher as many camps won't be able to provide high speed for fulltime working, so you may have to cobble something together on your own with cell phone companies.

A toy hauler might be your best bet because it's easy to convert the garage area to an office with storage and fold out desk etc., after removing the motorcycle.

VRBo is great way to profit from your home. Make sure you have a meticulous maid. Renters want the place to look like no one else has ever stay there.

If you are pet friendly, your place will rent faster than the non-pet places. Just charge a damage deposit. In my experience, the drunks do more damage than the pets.

I was managing a gorgeous beach house, when some drunks decided to try to light up some sort of citronella oil (so they claimed) but the end result was our white paint job turned a hideous gray.

Luckily this happened before their week was out and the maid called me right away. The rest of their vacation was spent tip toeing around the painting crew. We had new customers arriving 5 hours after their departure, so the painting had to be done immediately.  We suggested they leave after breakfast and stay gone 12 hours each day to avoid the hassle.
http://DearMissMermaid.Com

Living, working. playing  in a Class C, 1994 Tioga Montara, 28'

Pack half the stuff and twice the cash.
http://dearmissmermaid.blogspot.com/

kdbgoat

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Re: Looking for advice on TT selection....
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2017, 06:01:58 AM »
That payload of 3180 is probably fiction. That number most likely came from a brochure. There is the infamous "yellow sticker" on the pillar by the driver's seat when you open the door. That sticker will give the actual payload for your individual truck. Everything added to the truck must have it's weight subtracted from that number. That means bedliner, those thick rubber floor mats, running boards, stuff you usually carry in the truck, people, wife's purse, kids toys....everything.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant


2016 Leprechaun 319DS

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Looking for advice on TT selection....
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2017, 07:02:20 AM »
Hard to believe that an F150 has a 3180 lb payload, so check the federal weight & tire placard on the door post. That's the payload (CCC) for your specific truck.  But if you go with the travel trailer, payload is not likely to be an issue (except maybe for that motorcycle in the truck bed).

You appear to have done your homework well and understand the tradeoffs of lite construction, tank sizes, etc. I would not be concerned about mpg differences between your choices, because there won't be much, if any. It's gonna suck no matter which you choose. Weight has relatively little effect on mpg - the primary factors are wind resistance (frontal area) and tire friction.

The NADA RV Guide is not a gospel like its automobile counterpart. The RV market is a lot more variable and localized, and there is no nationwide wholesale market to stabilize prices. The free online NADA RV Guide is merely estimated depreciation and does not represent actual sales prices.  Furthermore, asking prices are all over the map and many private sellers start out really high, both because they owe more than the rig is worth and they fail to understand how deep the depreciation is.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2017, 07:06:22 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Gods Country

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Re: Looking for advice on TT selection....
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2017, 07:04:51 AM »
Not buying the payload of your truck.  I'll bet it's more like 1500-1700.
What does the sticker on your truck say?

Second any 1/2 ton truck is not enough truck to haul a 5W of any size.
Most 3/4 ton trucks don't have the payload.

ETA:  Even the lighter trailer is going to cut about 1100 pounds from your payload, plus passengers, and cargo like your bike, is going to likely throw you over weight.  Unless your truck has an exceptional rating for its size.
Possible I guess, but you need to confirm that.

« Last Edit: August 23, 2017, 07:19:04 AM by Gods Country »

kdbgoat

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Re: Looking for advice on TT selection....
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2017, 08:27:46 AM »
Also those trailers you posted about are 36' long. That's a lot of sail effect for a 1/2 ton truck.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant


2016 Leprechaun 319DS

Gods Country

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Re: Looking for advice on TT selection....
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2017, 08:58:37 AM »
Also those trailers you posted about are 36' long. That's a lot of sail effect for a 1/2 ton truck.

Agreed.  Don't like it.

scottydl

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Re: Looking for advice on TT selection....
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2017, 03:26:46 PM »
Search the word "Ecoboost" in this forum and you'll find owners who have been underwhelmed by the actual ability of that package to tow long/heavy travel trailers.  Your manual might say you can tow a 12k# trailer, but you are talking about a 32'+ rolling box which will not be handled well by the limitations of your 1/2 ton truck.  3/4 ton tow vehicles have many other upgraded features, such as beefier suspension, brakes, and engine cooling (along with engine and transmission upgrades).

Not to poo-poo on your idea altogether... ;)  You have clearly thought this out to some extent and have a fairly realistic outlook.  If you've looked at ~50 models already, you have seen about every floorplan that's available.  There's not THAT many of them out there.  If an outdoor kitchen is on your "must have" list, that has been an option on trailers for the last 5-7 years.  You can save major money up front, and not worry about the depreciation by buying gently used.  It's true that many private sellers have a limited concept of what their used trailer is worth, but if you research/shop long enough you'll find the best rig for you at a good price I'm sure.  It takes patience though. 

Also be aware that new RV's are not like new cars, with everything perfect and no problems expected for several years.  Most of an RV's problems will happen in the first couple years, after that rolling box hits the road and everything starts "bouncing around" so to speak.  And RV warranty service is not quick like car warranty service either... oftentimes your trailer (if waiting for warranty work) is going to be pushed to the back of the line, or will have to wait until off-season to be repaired.  Depending on what's needed, that could put your RV out of commission (no camping or living in it) for weeks or months.  Yet another reason to buy something 3-5 years old that already has the "bugs" worked out by the first owner, who also takes the depreciation hit (instead of you).

Year/make/model of any RV is far less important than budget/floorplan/options/condition.  Keep on shopping and keep on posting/reading here, and we'll help get you pointed in the right direction!
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

 

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