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Author Topic: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel  (Read 28715 times)

Sadie_08

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Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« on: May 10, 2010, 10:35:30 AM »
So I thought we were all set on getting a 5th wheel and F350, but now I'm reconsidering as we are thinking about all the stuff we want to do around the places we will be and the gas mileage with the F350 vs a small little car.    Of course a class A is more expensive though.   So...I'm really up in the air about which is the better option.   I don't really want to have to worry about maintaining a class A as I assume that would be fairly expensive compared to a fifth wheel.   Is there anywhere that has a good cost comparison that takes all these things into consideration?    I was going to put the time in to do one myself but thought I would check here first.  Many thanks.

Honest John

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2010, 11:59:58 AM »
You will get some interesting replies on this one....

We are on our second 5th wheel and in retrospect I wish we had gotten a Class A instead of our latest 5th wheel.  It is a very nice unit and we like it, but a class A has many conveniences that would be nice to have.  Setting up (and preparing to leave) is much easier with a class A.  It is nice to stop and not have to get out to get a snack or go to the bathroom etc. (especially when it is raining etc.).

Remember, by the time you purchase a new truck and nice trailer you have a significant investment already.  A class A will probably be more, but you will have more conveniences too.

Before we got ours I rationalized the decision and figured that the truck & 5th wheel was more practical.  I suspect I was right in that decision.  But, looking back I sort of wish I had taken the other path.  As I mentioned, I am sure you will get many different opinions.

 ;)
36' 2015 Thor Motorhome
2005 Honda CRV toad

steved44

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2010, 12:39:25 PM »
Yes, you will get many differing opinions on this one.  We chose the MH car because neither one of us wanted to drive a truck around as a daily driver.  We have a Chevy Trailblazer 4x4 and it works great for what we do.  We've had it in a few places that a dually crew cab would definitely not fit.  Even though we don't do it often, we can drive both vehicles if we need to.  One trip up through Dallas, Tx, we unhooked the car as we were approaching the south part and I drove the MH through the city and parked at a casino just north of the Oklahoma border.  My wife and daughter took the car and went shopping in Dallas and then met me at the casino and re hooked.  That worked out well except for what the shopping trip cost me ::)  I would say if you're prone to stay in one place longer, then the 5th wheel might be a better choice.  We tend to move around quite a bit, and the set up process is a little easier with a motor home.  We were sitting at a casino for a while last year and had electric and water hookups but no sewer.  We had to dump our gray tank about every 6 days and move to the other side of the parking lot to where the dump station was located.  I got to where I could get ready, move, dump, return and re-park in about 20 minutes.  My neighbor, with a 5th wheel, was still getting ready to pull out when I finished re-parking.  One thing about 5th wheels is a lot of them have a really nice view from the rear and motor homes, at least rear diesel ones, don't.  We have a friend that has a 5th wheel pulled by a HD truck (volvo) and tows a jeep behind the 5th wheel.  Some states don't allow towing like that, but he drives the jeep separate through those.  There are all kinds of ways to do this, you just have to see what seems the best for you guys.  Good Luck    Steve

utmtman

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2010, 12:46:56 PM »
Yeppers you will get a lot of different answers lol.  We had a travel trailer and went looking for one with slides, in the same process we looked at 5th wheels, than Class C's just for the heck of it, when it was all said and done we end up with a Class A gas hog and have not regretted that decision.  One of the things that convinced us what the amount of room for carrying the necessities and the ability to be able to site see with a car instead of the 3/4 t we had.
Lee
Holiday Rambler Vacationer
While traveling down life's paths, stop to smell the flowers.

2KViggen

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2010, 01:41:11 PM »
How much does a 5th wheel + F350 cost? 

My fiance originally wanted a trailer + truck but I prefer RV's.  Took her on a trip from Ohio to Key West & she was sold on the RV..... her being able to use the facilities when we go down the road & also grab me some food makes it so nice...... also her 3 kids get along better being able to spread out in a RV vs being crammed in a pickup...... she had a F150 & sold it to get a wrangler unlimited which we tow behind out RV.  She was debating (briefly) about getting a trailer to tow behind the jeep but then she realized how small/light it had to be. 

If you haven't already take a few RV's for a spin so you can see what you think of them.  Some love it.... some hate it
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Marc L

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2010, 02:04:47 PM »
I started this topic a few weeks ago, some different opinions for different reasons. 

Might be worth a read:  http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php?topic=31208.msg295025

Marc...

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2010, 09:07:58 PM »
A nice 5W and a diesel truck adequate to pull it is going to put you right into Class A territory, price-wise. You can get a new Class A for around $85,000-$90,000 MSRP. Or get a late model used one and save a bundle.
Gary
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Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

John From Detroit

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2010, 09:27:06 PM »
Imagine this: (Or these)

1: You get to your destination campground.. It's pouring down rain.. You park, depress the parking brake pedal, push a few buttons, Walk back into the unit, fix dinner, Watch some TV, and when the rain quits. plug in and hook up.

2: You pull over to the shoulder, while traveling from park A to park B, pull over, again in a driving rain, Walk back and use the facilities (Or let your co-driver take over in a freeway parking lot)

Done both

Try either one in a trailer of either kind (you got to go outside and walk around the beast)
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
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Jack Nichols

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2010, 02:34:27 PM »
My decision was sort of made for me.

I had a toad, did not have a truck of any kind.

Price of RVs is so depressed there are super great deals out there.  Just because I bought one that is too big and a little too much "house", does not mean I would make a decision to go with a 5th wheel.

The only thing I would change is shop a little more carefully and pay about half what I wound up paying.  I am getting used to the luxury, though. ;*)  I have seen babied, beautiful used gas Class As for $50-70 thousand.  Current interest rates keep the payments reasonable.
"Before the internet, the village idiot stayed in his own village - or Washington"
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Sadie_08

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2010, 06:33:53 PM »
Wow, I am really grateful for all of this feedback.   After I posted I figured, oh boy people probably ask that every week....so I appreciate your patience with another newbie :)

I think we are definitely going to go test drive a few things to get more perspective, a class A, and an F350, and I'm still going to have to do a full cost comparison on insurance, maintenance, etc.  but I have a feeling it mostly evens out with the pluses and minuses.   

Oldedit

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2010, 09:11:36 PM »
Having never driven an A nor a 5th, I'm an expert observer. :)

After spending almost two weeks camping with A and 5ths, I've observed that the owners of both seem to love what they have. The A is more expensive to buy and own, and you get what you pay for. The 5th is great for part-timers who have or can use big pickups when they're not traveling and many are very roomy and almost as luxurious as an expensive A. Fuel economy seems to be about the same for the A and the 5th, based on what owners have told me.

You can get a good used A for $100k or less. And you can get into a used, big 5th and a used truck for under $50k. I think it's pretty hard to spend more than $120k to $150k for a new 5th and truck. You can spend $500k to $1 million plus for a new A.

Which is easier to drive? We're in a B because DW was afraid to try to drive anything bigger, and she wants to share the driving. Now that she's driven our B, I think she'd be comfortable in a pickup or C, maybe even an A.

My impression is that the happiest A owners like to work on them. They are do-it-yourself mechanics, etc. Do 5ths require as much mechanical know how and skill as an A does. Seems to me that with a 5th, all you have to know where the truck dealer is for maintenance, although appliances and other RV breakables still have to be taken care of.

Thoughts?
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Jim Godward

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2010, 11:14:19 PM »
I think most of the 5er owners I know do as much on the 5er as the MHers do on the MH includng the truck itself.  Granted much of the chassis stuff is done at shops because of access to the facility to work on them - RV Parks usually do not allow mechanical work but do sort of look the other way on much of the work on the RV part of the setup.  This is partly true because there is a lot done inside the RV or the bays underneath.   :) 

In my case there is more being done by shops as I cannot do it any longer but I still do quite a bit on the MH and little on the chassis.
Jim
Jim & Pat Godward
AC7PO & KD7ZDM
Hillsboro, Oregon

Mc2guy

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2010, 12:22:56 PM »
For me it would come down to this:

1) Do I already own or have a need for a large 1-ton pick-up? 

2) How far do I typically travel.

If the answer is I already own or need a 1-ton PU, and generally don't travel too far, I would go with the 5W.  If you have no need for a PU and want to tour the country, I think the benefits lean toward a Motorhome. 

I don't own a PU, and I have kids, and I travel long distances.  Add it up and the MH was the best options for me and mine.  As Gary pointed out, by the time you buy the 5W and a truck that is capable of safely towing it, you are in the same price range as a Gas MH.

YRMV.

Oh, and to Oldedit's point, the happiest owners seem to be the ones willing to accept the fact that houses on wheels often require patience and a little bit of work.  Going into your purchase expecting zero maintenance perfection will leave you disappointed.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2010, 12:25:14 PM by Mc2guy »
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Sadie_08

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel - UPDATE
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2010, 01:16:32 PM »
So we went shopping today, or rather "browsing" and the guy of course was taking us to the 100k class As, and more expensive $60k fifth wheels, trying to justify he could get the payment where I want it.   I just don't feel comfortable taking on all that extra debt when I just got out from under a house that cost me to get out of it with the market.   So, let me get your opinion between these two if you have any feedback:

$35 - $40k for a 2000 class A Winnebago Chieftan, 50k miles, would need to trade in our cars for an economical smaller SUV (so the dogs can ride comfy)

$35k give or take a few on a Lakota Estate 36ft  (have to buy a truck, somewhere between $15 - 20k used)

$42k or so on a 2009 Newmar Cypress (lower end Newmar) but only 33ft, still have to buy the big truck.

As you can see, I'm getting overwhelmed!  :)

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2010, 04:38:10 PM »
Keep on looking and leave your checkbook at home for awhile. You need to immerse yourself in available floor plans and models for awhile until you get a better feel for what layouts and style of vehicle work best for you, as well as prices. And shop both new and used for awhile.

Check out some trucks too - I think you may have to up the budget a bit for a hefty truck to haul a larger-size fifth wheel. Depends on the age of the truck, obviously, but nice one ton diesel can be pricey.
Gary
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Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Sadie_08

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2010, 09:57:29 AM »
THanks, you were right about leaving the checkbook at home!   Almost got roped into buying a truck on Saturday when we went "just to look"  but then I thought what the heck am I doing!!! I'm not ready for this!!    So, I'm giving myself some more breathing room to make THE final decisions, but after much looking, discussing, and thinking this weekend, I am pretty excited to say that we have actually decided to go with a Class A and small SUV in tow.   We can trade both of our cars in pretty soon (will probably get a Jeep Liberty or maybe a Suzuki Grand Vitara) and looking at lots of class As in our price range, there really are a lot of good deals.   We probably won't buy the coach for about two months at least.   

seilerbird

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2010, 10:01:36 AM »
Wow, I am really grateful for all of this feedback.   After I posted I figured, oh boy people probably ask that every week....so I appreciate your patience with another newbie :)

I think we are definitely going to go test drive a few things to get more perspective, a class A, and an F350, and I'm still going to have to do a full cost comparison on insurance, maintenance, etc.  but I have a feeling it mostly evens out with the pluses and minuses.

Driving a DP is heaven compared to driving a truck towing a trailer.

Sadie_08

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2010, 12:14:02 PM »
New Question - is it easier to boondock/dry camp in a fifth wheel/truck vs a class A?   Or is it more of an overall size issue?    We plan to dry camp a LOT so that is a big concern for us.   I feel like maybe the terrain in some spots would be harder to navigate with a class A, or possibly get stuck or something.   

Marc L

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2010, 01:49:33 PM »
Boondocking means no water, power or sewer hookups.  So that part of it can be done from setups as basic as a backpack to a full size bus. 

The terrain will dictate what you drive.  In a motorhome, I would maybe venture on some dirt roads, but certainly not soft areas.  With a Jeep and a small off-road popup trailer, I would be braver.  Anywhere you need a 4x4 to get to is likely off limits to a motorhome, unless of course it's on a Unimog or Pinzgauer chassis.
Marc...

1bgmxcn

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2010, 03:05:21 PM »
Something no one has touched on, is that a 33' class A is a lot easier to maneuver than a 33' 5er.  In fact some national parks "say" they do not take trailers over 27' because you really need to be pretty good at cutting those things into your spots.  I often times see people at parks take a real long time getting frustrated trying to back into a spot. 

As for the cost comparison, there is so much to consider in each purchase it would really be hard to really compare apples to apples.  Remember when you do buy a toad you need to account the $2-3k your going to spend on being able to tow it safely.  Same is said for the 5er after you buy a truck you still need to spend the extra money to equip it to pull a 5er. 

We have a gas engine class A, bought it new last year and got it for about $30k under MSRP.  We tow a Jeep Wrangler and love it!  My good friend just got a 2001 Fourwinds Class C with about 19k miles on it for under $20,000.  There are a ton of choices out there for you.  Be patient, go into many, many, different models and find the floor plan you want then start your search for one. 

Goodluck.
Big Ern
2009 Fleetwood Bounder 34G
Tow: 2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited X

RoyM

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2010, 08:23:20 PM »
We considered a class C and tow the Ranger but went with the trailer, thought the Ranger would handle it. Wrong.
We had one vehicle for a while and decided it was not flexible enough, she needs her own because our work schedules don't mesh. Rather than buy a MH which would get limited use before we retire and a second car, we elected to keep the Ranger. It is paid for and worth little on trade because of age and mileage. We now have my commuter, an 05 Dodge diesel, for vacations. This may change once we retire and only need one car.
It comes down to lifestyle and personal preferences. We love the trailer, set up camp and leave for the day. It's not a biggie to get out for potty breaks, lunch, and a stretch while on the road. Just my .02 CDN worth.
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Marc L

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2010, 05:33:42 AM »
We too need two vehicles, so a motorhome would make a 3rd motorized vehicle to maintain.  While I have seen some used MH for cheaper than I paid for my truck and trailer combined, I still need the truck.

The only way to really make the best decision is to write down on a piece of paper what all your requirements are as well as the pros and cons of both.  The pros and cons from your perspective as a disadvantage for one could be an advantage for another.
Marc...

Biker56

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2010, 12:27:27 PM »
Quote
We too need two vehicles, so a motorhome would make a 3rd motorized vehicle to maintain.
Since this is a Fulltimeing forum.  :D

Why would you still need a truck and a car with a MH?  ???
Most full time people don't need that many vehicles. Maybe 99.9% only need one toad.
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Jack Nichols

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2010, 03:34:12 PM »
Whatever you decide, you will love the lifestyle.  When you park next to a $1 million Newmar or Provost, just think of what his payments are on that thing- it comes into perspective pretty quick.

If you do decide to go with a 5th wheel, just be sure to get enough truck.  When you look in the dictionary under "white knuckle" you will see a picture of a big 5th wheel and a very marginal pickup.  Big tractor-trailer type tractors can be had for surprisingly little money, compared to what a spiffied up 3/4 ton dually diesel pickup costs.

As seilerbird said, driving a diesel pusher is a cinch, once you figure out where the corners are.  When backing, get out and look, back a bit, then get out and look, and you can put them in amazingly tight spaces.

I do love mine.
"Before the internet, the village idiot stayed in his own village - or Washington"
"Be kinder than you have to be - most people are fighting some sort of demon in thier lives"

Marsha/CA

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2010, 04:50:40 PM »
Biker56,  This is NOT a full-timing forum, far from it.  Most of us on here still have homes, or condos; or are still working and only gone from home for long weekends; or for 2 week long vacations. 

Only a handful of folks here are full-timers.   

Marsha~
2017 Heartland Mallard IDM231 Travel Trailer....Small but mighty.

BernieD

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2010, 06:08:38 PM »
Marsha

The message was posted on the "Full-Timers" Board, so unless the OP posted on the wrong board, Biker56 had a valid question.
Bernie & Marlene Dobrin
Home is Goodyear, AZ
Missing our Travel Supreme

Marsha/CA

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2010, 11:46:30 AM »
Hi Bernie, because Biker56 called it a Full-timers "Forum" is why I pointed out the difference.

Marsha~
2017 Heartland Mallard IDM231 Travel Trailer....Small but mighty.

BruceinFL

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #27 on: May 24, 2010, 12:35:24 PM »
You can get a brand new F350 and a new high quality fifth wheel for at least 20-30k less than a new diesel motorhome and a toad. 20-30k can buy you a whole bunch of years worth of diesel fuel to run around in your truck. If money is your primary concern, you need to run the numbers on a spreadsheet and then make your decision.
Bruce A.
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2005 Ford F-350 SRW 6.0L

BernieD

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2010, 12:40:38 PM »
Hi Bernie, because Biker56 called it a Full-timers "Forum" is why I pointed out the difference.


Marsha

OK, that makes sense. Poor choice of words by Biker
Bernie & Marlene Dobrin
Home is Goodyear, AZ
Missing our Travel Supreme

TIREDTRAVELER

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Re: Class A and small toad vs Truck & Fifth wheel
« Reply #29 on: November 07, 2010, 06:49:54 PM »
Sadie_08, what if anything did you end up doing?

JIM ???

 

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