Motorhome v 5W comparison - one perspective

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Tom

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We've owned motorhomes for 37 years, and were very happy with our 29 foot Pace Arrow and 38 foot Monaco Camelot.

Since buying a lot at an RV resort in Wyoming 7 years ago, we went around the loop of motorhome|fifthwheel|park model multiple times. A year ago, Chris (our primary driver) decided she didn't want to drive the coach any more and, after arriving in WY, wanted to finalize the decision.

After a deal for a new Montana 5W fell through (dealer's issue), we bought a used 42 foot Grand Design Reflection 5W from a neighbor. Since I have no intent to buy a diesel truck, we had to rely on someone else to tow the 5W to winter storage and tow it back to our lot for the summer.

These are just my random thoughts comparing the Monaco coach to the Grand Design 5W, and I'll update as new thoughts come to mind :

- The quality of the Grand Design is nowhere near the quality of the Monaco.

- The 5W is 4 feet longer than the coach, the living quarters are larger, and we have a King v Queen bed. Makes it much more roomy/comfortable living/sleeping with 2 doggies.

- After 1.5 seasons, I still feel somewhat claustraphobic in the 5W. This is largely due to the fact that the 5W doesn't have the 'front' windshield to look out (the bedroom of the 5W is in the front). In our search, we looked at 'front kitchen' fifthwheels, but the lower ceiling height was an issue for me.

- The bathroom and shower in the 5W feel roomier than in the coach.

- Basement storage in the coach is much greater than in the 5W.

- I really like the 2nd bedroom with a sofabed and door in the 5W. I use it as an office/music room, which pleases Chris that I don't have instruments and music stands in the living area. The 5W also has a large (double) bunk above the 2nd bedroom (accessible from the hallway). This would work well for adult visitors and grandkids.

- 2 of the 3 dump valves on the 5W are accessible at shoulder height in an exterior compartment, and the 3rd valve is accessible while standing outside the 5W. This beats getting on my knees to dump tanks with the motorhome.

- The 5W would benefit from a second bathroom, as would the motorhome.

- The refrigerator in the 5W doesn't have an icemaker, but Chris bought a standalone icemake for one of the storage compartments. Works great, and we recently bought/donated a second one to a neighbor.
 
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Laura & Charles

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All good points from your personal experience. But it seems the bottom line is: one’s preference is going to be highly subjective and based on what works for them.
You didn’t address the aspect of a tow vehicle for those who don’t want to be stationary. If you were planning on moving around with it, would that be worth a mention?
I’ve considered a fiver more than once… definitely some advantages.
 

Tom

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All good points from your personal experience. But it seems the bottom line is: one’s preference is going to be highly subjective and based on what works for them.
No disagreement. I can't predict what someone else's preferences might be.
You didn’t address the aspect of a tow vehicle for those who don’t want to be stationary. If you were planning on moving around with it, would that be worth a mention?
I thought I made it clear that I have no intention of buying a diesel tow vehicle.
 

Laura & Charles

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You did. But you’ve been at this a lot longer than we have. I guess I was hoping you’d expand on that, reasons and such. I certainly haven’t ruled out owning a fiver, but a diesel tow vehicle, as a daily driver, somehow is daunting. (And that seems odd to me as our coach is about as big as they come and mostly I quite enjoy driving her.)

Anyway, I’m glad you posted this… a perspective comparing class A vs 5W from one who’s had both is good information.
 

Tom

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I guess I was hoping you’d expand on that, reasons and such.
I thought I made it clear that our primary driver no longer wishes to drive. She drove our motorhomes, towing a Suburban and then an Explorer.
I certainly haven’t ruled out owning a fiver, but a diesel tow vehicle, as a daily driver, somehow is daunting.
We have no reason/intent to have a diesel truck as a daily driver.
 

Lou Schneider

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I recently bought a used DRV Mobile Suites 36 ft. triple slide 5th wheel. It was available locally at a great price and it's much better insulated and better constructed than my former 35 ft. Intruder motorhome or 29 ft. Sunnybrook pull trailer. Real wood cabinets, thicker walls and R-35 floors and ceilings so it stays very comfortable during Pahrump's 100-110 degree summer weather. I like the island kitchen floorplan and having the TV directly across from the recliner in the living area. Plus it has room to install a washer and a separate dryer.

I put a 5th wheel hitch on my F-350 pickup to move it across town and onto my site. The truck tows the Sunnybrook trailer very nicely. The dry weight of the DRV is well over it's tow rating, but it will move it in a pinch. I don't plan on moving the DRV off of my site but who knows if I can find a truck that can handle it's weight in the future.
 

xrated

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I recently bought a used DRV Mobile Suites 36 ft. triple slide 5th wheel. It was available locally at a great price and it's much better insulated and better constructed than my former 35 ft. Intruder motorhome or 29 ft. Sunnybrook pull trailer. Real wood cabinets, thicker walls and R-35 floors and ceilings so it stays very comfortable during Pahrump's 100-110 degree summer weather. I like the island kitchen floorplan and having the TV directly across from the recliner in the living area. Plus it has room to install a washer and a separate dryer.

I put a 5th wheel hitch on my F-350 pickup to move it across town and onto my site. The truck tows the Sunnybrook trailer very nicely. The dry weight of the DRV is well over it's tow rating, but it will move it in a pinch. I don't plan on moving the DRV off of my site but who knows if I can find a truck that can handle it's weight in the future.
It has a 20K GVWR, so very likely that any of the modern diesel Dually trucks should be able to handle it. Most of them are in the 5200 lbs up to maybe 5600 lbs in payload capacity, depending on trim level and optional equipment. I tow a 44' GD Momentum triple axle with a 2016 F350 Dually (5270 lbs payload) and my pin weights are in the 3800 to 4000 lb range....depending on whether there is a Toy in the garage or not.
 

Skookum

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I think the factor here is how itinerant one wants or needs to be.

Still in our working years, RVing happens during our time off, on weekends, holidays, etc. We like seeing different places, and the journey is a big (and often, significant) part of the trip. So a motorhome is what fits our needs, having everything available to us going down the road. Two of us plus dog cannot be comfortable in just a pickup truck.

If you’re parked for a long time, I can see how a 5’er, TT or park model might be a better choice.
 

Tom

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I recently bought a used DRV Mobile Suites 36 ft. triple slide 5th wheel. It was available locally at a great price and it's much better insulated and better constructed than my former 35 ft. Intruder motorhome or 29 ft. Sunnybrook pull trailer. Real wood cabinets, thicker walls and R-35 floors and ceilings so it stays very comfortable during Pahrump's 100-110 degree summer weather. I like the island kitchen floorplan and having the TV directly across from the recliner in the living area. Plus it has room to install a washer and a separate dryer.

I put a 5th wheel hitch on my F-350 pickup to move it across town and onto my site. The truck tows the Sunnybrook trailer very nicely. The dry weight of the DRV is well over it's tow rating, but it will move it in a pinch. I don't plan on moving the DRV off of my site but who knows if I can find a truck that can handle it's weight in the future.
Congrats Lou. Mobile Suites is a really nice unit. We have a few here in the park, including our next door neighbor.
 

Tom

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I think the factor here is how itinerant one wants or needs to be.
True. We were mobile for over 35 years, including RVing and boating. When we both worked at the same company, 3 times a month we'd drive to work on Friday morning in the motorhome, with boat in tow. We'd sneak out early, hit the commuter lane on the expressway, and enjoy the weekend.

The maiden voyage on our current motorhome (still have it) was 10,000 miles. So we didn't exactly stay in one place.
 

Babe2201

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If it is only going to be moved twice a year I would take something that is not designed quite as nice rather than have a motorhome with a lot more moving parts that are not moving for 99% of the time.
 
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Utclmjmpr

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Looks like your just evolving from RVing to a summer home to go to part time,, next will be to buy a bigger house!!.. You won't need a truck for that either..>>>Dan ( At least your going to a great fishing area)
 

Kirk

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I have seen many theories about which is better a fifth wheel or a class A but even though most of them have some valid points, I really think that the preference is more one of personal preferences and feelings. I still believe that the best RV type is the one that the occupants like best and logic often plays a pretty minor role in that preference. I am happy that Tom likes his fifth wheel but doubt that we would ever like one.
 

Tom

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Looks like your just evolving from RVing to a summer home to go to part time,, next will be to buy a bigger house!!.. You won't need a truck for that either..>>>Dan ( At least your going to a great fishing area)
We've looked at houses up here for several years (including one last weekend). But it would necessarily be part time (5 months a year). Not sure we could take the winters here in WY, any more than we can take the winters at our Ohio townhouse. Our CA house on the water is just too convenient for launching the fishing boat, and winters are much more comfortable.

Oh BTW did I mention that the CA house on the water is also very convenient for incoming boats that Chris works on.
 
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Tom

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... I really think that the preference is more one of personal preferences and feelings. I still believe that the best RV type is the one that the occupants like best ...
No disagreement, and that's why the subject line of this thread reads "one perspective".
I am happy that Tom likes his fifth wheel ...
Don't think I said that, and there are pros and cons to both. For several reasons, I still prefer our class A coach, but Chris wanted to stop driving the coach, and opted for a 5th wheel.
 
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