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Author Topic: 5th Wheel for fulltime living?  (Read 6509 times)

OToole

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5th Wheel for fulltime living?
« on: June 13, 2014, 06:03:16 AM »
We have decided to go fulltime in a 5th wheel in the next year. We already have certain floorplan requirements and know that storage is an important factor. What I haven’t been able to determine is: What makes a 5th wheel worthy of use for fulltime living? What construction materials and methods should we be looking for? Are there particular components that are more desirable than others?  I imagine it is the same as a house in that you need to start with a strong foundation and the whole is the sum of the parts. Knowing very little about RV construction makes it difficult to evaluate one unit against another. We have seen some that are “Warrantied for full time use”. But just what does that mean? At this point I don’t know what to look for and what questions to ask dealers/manufacturers. Simply put….I don’t know what I don’t know. I would like to evaluate units to ensure we are getting the biggest bang for the buck.
We plan on doing a fair amount of traveling the first year or so and then more or less settle into a routine of north in the summer and south in the winter.
Thanks in advance for any insight.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: 5th Wheel for fulltime living?
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2014, 09:08:08 AM »
Your question is a common one but difficult to answer. Most RVs are built very much alike and a large percentage of the components are sourced from the same couple of vendors, so in some sense there is little to delineate between them. The difference is mostly in the details of construction, materials and workmanship. The MSRP is a fair indicator when comparing two seemingly identical models - RV pricing is extremely competitive and lower-priced models usually have cut corners somewhere to reduce the cost and get a lower price. If you have an experienced eye for fit & finish, cabinetry construction, and interiors (flooring, upholstery, etc), that will give you good clues about how the rest is made. Another clue for trailers is the weight & the running gear. The lighter the frame construction is, the less sturdy it will be for the long term. And better-made trailers generally have heavier duty axles and larger tires. Trailer manufactures often skimp on the axle weight ratings (GAWR) and tire size/brand - look for ones that exceed the minimum needed for the GVWR.

By the way, you need to get familiar with terms like GVWR, GAWR, the tire sidewall information, pin weight, etc. At least learn what they mean, so that we can help you determine if a rig you like has adequate specs.

Likewise, buying the truck to tote the 5W is a major piece of the buying decision. You need to at least narrow down the field of trailers you want before you can figure what truck will be adequate for the job. It's a somewhat iterative process: estimate the trailer size/weight you would like, then figure the truck need to pull it, then consider the tradeoffs of truck size/type/cost vs the trailer you like, and then maybe reconsider both.
Gary
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Great Horned Owl

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Re: 5th Wheel for fulltime living?
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2014, 09:23:38 AM »
A lot of RVs are not warrantied for full time living. Pick one that is.

Joel
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Tom Hoffman

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Re: 5th Wheel for fulltime living?
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2014, 11:18:10 AM »
In Yuma last winter I noticed a very high percentage of Montana, Big Horn and Big Sky model 5th wheels and the people I talked to who owned them pulled them all over the place and lived in the 4-12 months of the year. 

This is just my informal poll done from observation. 

Drive through RV Parks and look for your self and stop and ask questions.  The owners love to brag about their smart purchases.  Don't listen to RV Sales people.

You are potential $$$ in their pocket and they are most definitely biased.

Tom...
« Last Edit: June 13, 2014, 11:23:01 AM by Tom Hoffman »
Wife said to me. "What cha doin' today?"  "Nothin'" says I.  "Ya did that yestiday!" Says she.  "I didn't get done!" says I

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ArdraF

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Re: 5th Wheel for fulltime living?
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2014, 01:14:54 PM »
Visiting RV manufacturers and taking their tours can be a real eye-opener.  When we were looking for our first DP we visited five or six manufacturers and it was very enlightening.  Those tours helped in the decision making.  Some of the RV sales people will tell you anything you want to hear so don't fall for their lines.  Same for the truck dealers who will say "This truck can tow any trailer out there" - NOT!  Take your time and ask lots of questions.  Also, leave your checkbook at home until you're sure you've found "the" RV you really love.  Meanwhile, have fun looking.

ArdraF
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OToole

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Re: 5th Wheel for fulltime living?
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2014, 05:11:42 AM »
I appreciate the feedback. We spent yesterday looking at Big Country, Pinnacle, Bay Hill, Solitude, and Redwood. The Solitude and Redwood stood out from the rest. The Redwood also had a much better fit and finish on cabinetry and DW liked all the storage in the 38GK. It was also the most $$$ of the lot. Each unit had its pros and cons. We still would like to look at Mobile Suites, Big Horn, Montana, and Landmark. Are there any others that we should consider? 

As far as a tow vehicle, we've decided on a 1 Ton dually, diesel, crew cab, 8' bed. Although, we won't purchase the truck until we decide on the 5th wheel. At which point I will size the truck appropriately but given what we have seen so far a 1 Ton dually is probably the territory we'll be in.

Would really like to tour some manufacturing facilities but that is a 1,200 mile trip we won't be able to make.

Lots to consider.

donn

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Re: 5th Wheel for fulltime living?
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2014, 08:43:35 AM »
If you have a dealer close by also look at Forest River, Cedar Creek.  They are well built and offer lots of amenities for the dollar.  A bit outside the box check out Arctic Fox by Northwood Mfg.  In house designed and built frames and quality second to none.

tarheelnative2

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Re: 5th Wheel for fulltime living?
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2014, 12:17:54 PM »
Don't pass  up the Jayco Premier series either. They have several floorplans and their construction and insulation properties are what drew up to them. The cabinetry and fit and finish are top-notch and ours has LOADS of storage, along with high ceilings for a spacious feeling. Having had experience with Jayco travel trailers in the past, pulling them all over the east coast, helped us decide in their favor for our first 5th wheel, now going full-time as soon as our house is sold here in Nevada.

Tom Hoffman

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Re: 5th Wheel for fulltime living?
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2014, 02:59:09 PM »
Just ran across this one and thought I would offer it up ;D   The wife thought we should buy if for our southern home location in Yuma and keep our TT for our northern home in Iowa.  Yeah right!!!

http://csrvsales.com/new/show/1784

It's a little small at 41' and only has two baths and five slides, but if we pack tight we might just be able to live in it, just the two of us. ;D

 ;D

Tom...
« Last Edit: July 14, 2014, 01:06:03 PM by Lou Schneider »
Wife said to me. "What cha doin' today?"  "Nothin'" says I.  "Ya did that yestiday!" Says she.  "I didn't get done!" says I

2003 F-350 Super Duty Lariat Dually 7.3 Diesel
2008 34' Sunny Brook, Brookside

vmyoung61

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Re: 5th Wheel for fulltime living?
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2014, 04:26:59 PM »
We have a Montana 3900FB.  After looking at several, we decided it had the best bang for the buck.  May be trading up to the Big Sky, which is Montana's higher end unit with double paned windows, heated tanks, more insulation, and a host of other add-ons.  You would be hard pressed to talk me out of a Montana.  Don't let MSRP scare you.  They deal like crazy.
Steve and Gina
2017 Thor Palazzo 33.2

Dar

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Re: 5th Wheel for fulltime living?
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2014, 12:21:09 PM »
Like yourself we also considered Redwood, Mobile Suites & Landmark when considering full-time 5vers.

Are there any others that we should consider?
Others we considered were the http://www.lifestylelrv.com/  and we just yesterday saw one of these in person that I believe would have made the list of contenders if it existed then; http://winnebagotowables.com/destination.php

Ultimately we ended up staying in the MH division but I believe we would have been very happy with any one of the manufacturers above. Lots of luck with your search, have the fun is looking. I am sure there are many others out there as well so should keep you real busy for a while  ;D.
Dar & Bill
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Lou Schneider

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Re: 5th Wheel for fulltime living?
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2014, 01:07:34 PM »
The wife thought we should buy if for our southern home location in Yuma and keep our TT for our northern home in Iowa.  Yeah right!!!

Have you considered a park model for your Yuma location?  They're like a full size mobile home with house style appliances and furnishings, only less than 400 sq. ft. so they're classified as an RV for zoning purchases.

If you stay in one place while you're in Yuma, a park model may make sense.   Especially if you include the costs of towing a trailer back and forth each year.

Tom Hoffman

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Re: 5th Wheel for fulltime living?
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2014, 04:56:46 PM »
Have you considered a park model for your Yuma location?  They're like a full size mobile home with house style appliances and furnishings, only less than 400 sq. ft. so they're classified as an RV for zoning purchases.

If you stay in one place while you're in Yuma, a park model may make sense.   Especially if you include the costs of towing a trailer back and forth each year.

Lou,  My post was in jest,  we will be in Yuma for 5 months,  however your idea does intrigue me.  I will have to look into it.

Tom...
Wife said to me. "What cha doin' today?"  "Nothin'" says I.  "Ya did that yestiday!" Says she.  "I didn't get done!" says I

2003 F-350 Super Duty Lariat Dually 7.3 Diesel
2008 34' Sunny Brook, Brookside

cdat

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Re: 5th Wheel for fulltime living?
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2014, 10:51:14 PM »
One of the key terms and the consequences of ignoring that term to learn in "NCC" or "carrying capacity". Many people neglect to correctly assess the amount and weight of the personal items, propane, accessories etc: that you will be putting in the 5th. When you compare MFGs, you will notice that the ability to carry what you need to full time varies between not just mfgs, but also between product lines. As Gary stated above, proper chassis components, frame size etc: costs each mfg about the same, if there is a significant price difference between competing products either they've cut costs with interior fittings, insulation, cabinets or the thickness of the frame brakes etc. Make sure you compare apples to apples. Enjoy the hunt, it's fun part of the purchase.
John
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Angelbunnie13182

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Re: 5th Wheel for fulltime living?
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2014, 10:55:59 PM »
We got our 5th wheel because of the space inside. 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms was a big sell for us. I'm sure you can have this done too with other kind of RV's but we had ours made with a four seasons/polar package that helps a lot during winter time with heated floors and extra insulation.
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Leliko

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Re: 5th Wheel for fulltime living?
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2014, 09:45:31 AM »
So I'm curious if the OToole has found an ideal 5th Wheel for fulltime living. I'm in exactly same situation, bitterly disappointed after visiting Maryland RV Show yesterday. My ideal floorplan AND desired quality indicate I have to purchase DRV Mobile Suites Atlanta but there is no way I can afford 150K sticket price. Other way to go would be to order same floorplan custom-made by either New Horizons or Space Craft but I suspect that will also cost at least 100K if not more (although I'm going to inquire with them anyway). Nothing else appeals to eye and makes a lasting impression.
Have YOU found THE ONE? :)

Sr Fox

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Re: 5th Wheel for fulltime living?
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2014, 09:20:04 AM »
We think we found "the one".  We just purchased a "like new" older Mobile Suites. You can pick them up for under $40, depending on the year and if you shop a bit. Take a look at a few and you will see very quickly how they have been used. There are good deals out there but you have to be quick as the good ones sell very fast.
http://www.romamexico.com/
https://www.facebook.com/srfoxmexico
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Leliko

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Re: 5th Wheel for fulltime living?
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2014, 10:06:05 AM »
Unfortunately I haven't been able to find a used Mobile Suites that would answer all our needs. Right now we are thinking to order a new DRV MS Atlanta - even though we cannot afford its sticker price of 150K, I believe we can get it for around 110K which is still a lot but we have decided to swallow the bait and go enjoy traveling around US/Canada in a big, comfortable, and convenient QUALITY fifth wheel. That's the plan as of now. I'm struggling to decide regarding oven, kitchen island, and some desk design issues to be ready to order by March 2015. Can't wait!!!

Glenn West

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Re: 5th Wheel for fulltime living?
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2014, 01:53:06 PM »
Check out New Horizons, Space Craft, Continental Coach. There are no better. They are totally custom also
2003 Teton Grand Freedom towed with 2012 Chevy 3500 dually Hauler bed with E Z Floater air hitch. Traveling America welding and repairing plants, really enjoying Gods great country

CLiNTon

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Re: 5th Wheel for fulltime living?
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2015, 03:10:09 PM »
Quote
What I haven’t been able to determine is: What makes a 5th wheel worthy of use for fulltime living?

...And you're NOT going to be able to determine that easily either. I'm pretty sure the industry is based around part time camping, and not full timing.
Construction is typically not that dissimilar across the board unless you start getting up in the higher priced market, even then it's doubtful.
Custom makes are usually very expensive.
How you use/drive and maintain it will be the biggest factor for living full time in any RV.

My take:
Choose an axle weight that will give you plenty of weight room to play with as far as cargo carrying capacity & a truck that can LEGALLY pull it.
Inspect or have a professional inspect anything that is not new. You'll want to know what you're dealing with ASAP, and there will usually always be foibles.
Maintenance; frequent inspection of tires/pressure will be your number one maintenance task, as well as the towing truck too.

« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 03:13:10 PM by CLiNTon »
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