Newcomer's first question

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Kimbal

New member
Joined
Jan 4, 2007
Posts
4
Hi all, 
This is my first question but certainly not my last.  I have no RV currently and am 6-8 months away from buying and becoming a fulltimer.  I am looking for a trailer for  two people.  I am concerned that I have some flexibilty in how I use the interior of the trailer.  Is there any merit to considering a Toy Hauler where you could tailor the cargo area to your interests - e.g. a hobby room etc. ? Do you sacrafice too much to get this space?  Are there other viable approaches to having some undefined space in a trailer such as removing bunks from a BH model?  I would really appreciate any thoughts/advice.
Thanks - Kimbal
 

Jim Dick

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Feb 11, 2005
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Titusville, FL
Hi Kimbal,

Welcome to the forum. You've come to the right place for some good advice.

Since this is the time of year that many RV shows are running I would suggest you try to make one and check out all the units they have displayed. It's the best place to see a variety of rigs since no one dealer will have all of them. Take your time and don't be pressured by the sales personnel that want to get you in a rig today. Show prices usually are no better than what you can do on your own if armed with information. That information can be obtained here. :)

I don't know how much modification you are thinking about but RVs are not quite like a house. You can make  changes but only if the structure is adequate. Do a lot of research and I'm sure things will become much clearer as you go along. Keep asking questions here.
 

Ned

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Feb 1, 2005
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I wouldn't recommend a toy hauler for what you propose as they have a large door in the rear that drops down to load and unload vehicles.  There are some manufacturers that will build you an RV to your specs, perhaps another member here has had that done.  A trailer is just a box with some furniture and appliances in it and can often be remodeled to suit different purposes without compromising the structure.
 

Lou Schneider

Site Team
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Mar 14, 2005
Posts
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Some of the new toy haulers are every bit as nice (and durable) as regular trailers.  Others are constructed rather cheaply and won't hold up to fulltime use.

Go to a show and look around.  Compare the quality of construction on things you can see.  How do the countertops feel?  Is the tub/shower substantially mounted or is it made out of thin plastic that flexes when you step into it?  What about the dinette cushions - are they made out of flimsy lightweight foam that will compress over time or something better?

Some toyhaulers carry the cargo in the main living area.  Others have a wall and door seperating the cargo from the living areas.  I'd prefer the second type.  Look carefully at the way the cargo door opens and closes and how well it seals around the edges.  It's likely you'll have some dust leakage around the edges of even the best sealing door, which is why I'd prefer a trailer that lets you seal off the main living area while underway.
 

ArdraF

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Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Posts
10,682
Hi Newcomer!

May I ask how you've come to settle on a trailer as opposed to a motorhome?  This is the most important issue for your first rig.  Do you plan to travel a lot?  If so, you might want a motorhome.  Do you intend to go somewhere and park it for an extended period of time?  If so, then the trailer may indeed be your most logical choice.  As suggested earlier, do go to some RV shows and go in both types of RVs so you can see how they differ.  One may turn out to suit your needs more than the other.  Also look carefully at their quality.  The February 2007 issue of Motorhome magazine listed quite a few RV shows, but I'm sure you also can find them on the internet.  We have a lot of fulltimers on the Forum who have had both trailers and motorhomes and they most probably can shed insight as to the pros and cons of each.

In any event, this will be quite a life changing experience and one we all hope will be a happy and fullfilling one.

Happy trails!
ArdraF
 

Wendy

Site Team
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May 14, 2005
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Colorado
We had a 35-foot Kountry Aire fifth wheel that started out as a 2-bedroom model. We had the manufacturer make some changes so that the bathroom ended up bigger and the back bedroom smaller. They installed cupboards and counters in the back room which became Mike's darkroom.

Wendy
Pahrump, Nevada
 

Kimbal

New member
Joined
Jan 4, 2007
Posts
4
Thanks for all the greetings and advice.  ArdraF, my decisiom on a trailer vs a motorhome is not etched in stone.  I am planning on staying in place for considerable time as I find places I like.  Another consideration is initial outlay.  I really want slides on whatever I buy and I plan to buy used.  That really limits the choices to fairly recent models of either trailers or motorhomes.  I have a solid f250 diesel which allso is an influence.  I have read enough about tow vehicle selection to discover I can't really handle a large 5ver because of the hitch weight on the rear axle, but I have tons of pulling power (no pun internded) so will probably go with a TT as a way to get decent size with slides.  Nothing is absolute, but this is how I am leaning at this time.  I will start the rounds of RV shows soon but up til recently I didn't feel I knew enough to make them productive.  I would have just been overwhelmed I think.  Thanks again everyone!
Kimbal
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
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A trailer will be fine for you - the motorhome vs trailer thing is mostly a matter of personal preference anyway. We've had both (have a motorhome now) and find the motorhome to be slightly more convenient (especially when traveling every day or two) but somewhat more expensive to operate and maintain.

Our last trailer was an 11,000 lb fifth wheel we towed with a 1999 F250 Superduty diesel.  It was  max'ed out on towing/carrying capacity at that weight, but 11,000 lbs will get you a very nice fifth wheel if you want to go with that rather than a travel trailer.  There are plenty of nice used rigs around, so just be prepared for a lot of shopping and you will find what suits you. You can do a lot of shopping online via sites like rvtrader.com, rvclassified.com, research.com, rv-online.com, etc.  You may or may not want to buy through them, but you can see a lot of rigs in a short time that way. They usually have excellent photos on the interior so you can judge what makes and models might be suitable for you. Both dealers and private sales are advertised there.
 

ArdraF

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Posts
10,682
Maybe some of the trailer people will comment on the pros and cons of travel trailer vs. fifth wheel.  Seems to me the fifth wheel has more stability.

ArdraF
 

cougar3514v

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 29, 2005
Posts
290
I think that my fifthwheel is much more stable than a trailer.  In addition, I've found trailers can jack knife quicker when backing up than can a FW.  This, however, also means that I can't get the FW to react as quickly as I'd like it to when I'm backing up.  I also have a long-bed truck which means I don't have to worry about a slider hitch. And yes, I've known some people who have short bed trucks that don't use a slider hitch, but I'm a worrier by nature.

-Dave
 

Lowell

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Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Posts
2,221
Location
Tempe, AZ
ArdraF said:
Maybe some of the trailer people will comment on the pros and cons of travel trailer vs. fifth wheel.  Seems to me the fifth wheel has more stability.

ArdraF

I haven't pulled a 5th wheel trailer but I do pull a travel trailer.  I have never been concerned about stability of the TT.  In high cross winds, one need to slow down, whether there are pulling a TT, 5th wheel, or driving a MH. 

The decision on what type of RV to buy has more to do with how one intends to use the RV or if they need a tow vehicle for purposes other than towing.  With a MH, it's likely a toad will be required for day to day activities. It all comes down to our personal choices.
 

Carl L

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Mar 14, 2005
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7,239
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west Los Angeles
ArdraF said:
Maybe some of the trailer people will comment on the pros and cons of travel trailer vs. fifth wheel.  Seems to me the fifth wheel has more stability.

ArdraF

Not really.  We have been over this ground previously, but here goes again:

A properly set up travel trailer is a safe stable tow.   To set it up properly, you need a weight distributing hitch system of the appropriate weight class for the trailer.   You need to couple this with a good antisway system like the Reese Dual Cam, the Equal-i-zer, the Hensley Arrow system, or even an appropriate single or dual friction bar system.   I use the Rees Dual Cam myself and have used it on 2 travel trailers and a boat trailer.   During that period, even with my sort wheel base tow vehicle, I have never even gotten near an ustable condition, including in emergency stops on a rain slick road.   I tow in the far west.   Just to leave town I have to go thru mountain passes, Cajon or Banning, plagued by strong cross winds.  No problems.

Yes you will have to lay out about $800 or even more for a decent hitch system but the last time I heard 5th wheel hitches are not free either.

In general, a given length of TT will have more flat floorspace.   They sit lower than 5ers presenting a lower profile to head and crosswinds -- and campsite trees.  The TT closely tracks the tow vehicle.  A 5er turns inside the tow vehicle's track forcing the driver to take a wider swing lest he start clipping off fire hydrants or campsite posts.  

Jackknifing TTs?!   Well I suppose anything is possible, but I have never been near the problem.

In the real world, TTs make the best medium and small units and they can be pulled by a wide range of vehicle types, from SUVs to pickups.   5ers make the best large trailers but require a pickup with a free bed or a medium duty truck tractor.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
I'm a bit more positive on fifth wheels vs travel trailers than Carl, but  agree with everything he said.  I do think, however, that a travel trailer that is at or beyond the rig's limits is more susceptible to serious problems than a fiver in the similar circumstances. It has to do with the leverage exerted by the hitch on the tow vehicle. With the travel trailer hitch point behind the tow vehicle, a problem situation can get real bad real fast. Having had a travel trailer spin us around and then flip over while we went backwards down the road makes me a bit cautious on this point!  But I also now know that my tow vehicle was totally outclassed at the time, even with  Reese Dual Cam hitch. That likely accounts for my somewhat conservative advice on marginal tow vehicles.

I think the "jackknife" comment refers to the greater maneuverability of the travel trailer when backing. Any steering input is magnified by the distance between tow vehicle rear axle and the hitch, resulting in quick and sharp trailer turns. Yes, the unwary or inexperienced can easily jackknife it.  Newbies have a hard time getting a fifth wheel to turn at all, while with a travel trailer they tend to turn too much too soon. 
 

cougar3514v

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 29, 2005
Posts
290
Thanks, Gary.  You put my description of backing up into words much better than I could.

-Dave
 

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