Which 5th Wheel for Us???

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kelownagirl

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Apr 29, 2005
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Hi,

My husband are I are about to join the world of RV'ing and travel round Canada and America with a 5th Wheel.

As new starters, would anyone have recommendations on the size/weight of 5th wheel we should be considering.

As we have never towed anything before I am concerned that we purchase a 5th wheel that we dont have the skills yet to tow safely.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Elaine
 

Steve CDN

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Hello Elaine, from our Nation's Capital!

Welcome to the RV Forum and congratulations on your decision to join a most enjoyable lifestyle.

An RV can be thought of as a tool to do a required job or to fill the needs of the user at a given time.  To help you zero in on the size coach you should consider will need some additional input from you.

Is your plan to travel for vacations or fulltiming?  If vacation, then how long in time and distance per trip?  Do you travel with others besides yourself and your husband?  Do you have additional hobbies or interests that require storage like bicycles, fishing, sewing machine, knittiing machine, tools in addition to regular mechanical maintenance tools and so on?  Do you and your husband need your space from time to time?  Will you be including a computer work station, extra sound equipment, washer/ dryer, generator?

Do you expect to be boondocking, requiring extended stays with no hookups or will you always head for full hookup locations?  Will you use many Provincial/State parks where big rigs are sometimes an issue or size does not matter?

What do you have in mind for a tow vehicle?  Custom large size tractor or off the rack pickup?

When do you plan to make your purchase and do you plan to buy in Canada or in the U.S.?

Give us some feedback and we'll try to give you some direction.
 

Ron

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Welcome to the RV Forum.  You have found the right place to get your answers.

When purchasing a 5th wheel be sure to consider what size truck you have or plan to buy to tow with.  Be sure the truck has enough capacity to safely tow the 5ver you plan to buy.  Don't believe salesman on this point since many of them haven't a clue and are manly focused on the sale not your safety.  You do not exceed the Gross weight of the trailer or the truck nor do you want to exceed the combined gross weight ratings.  I am sure others will give you more advise in this respect.

Thanks for joining us.
 

joelmyer

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Georgia
Ron said:
When purchasing a 5th wheel be sure to consider what size truck you have or plan to buy to tow with.

Thanks for joining us.

Amen on what Ron said.  Don't be in a hurry to buy, there's lots to consider.

I bought my Sunnybrook 2750 last year and we're still happy with it.  I went to Sunnybrook because of advise over time on this forum.  We fell in love with the 2750.  I would suggest Sunnybrook as a place to start and something to compare others to.

Be careful about falling in love with the bigger 5th wheels.  You have to have an adequate truck to  tow it and it can impact where you can go.  I was looking for something under 10,000 lbs gross.  Much over that and you start needing a medium duty truck.

On that subject "Tow rating" is just the tip of the iceberg as Ron pointed out.  Ask as you get into it.

My experience is only in towing mine, but I don't think the necessary skills change with size weight.  Of course a longer rig will be more of a challange in tight quarters.



 

DonJordan

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Elaine,

Welcome to the RV Forum.? We are happy to see you here and hope that you get the answers you are looking for.? You should!? We have quite a? good sized group of experienced RVers here and most are happy to help.? I see that Steve and others have given you some starting information.? After you have had the chance to digest what you have already received here, come on back and ask whatever questions you still have.

Regards,

Don
 

Dave R

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North Carolina
I second all that Joel said. We have a 30 ft fiver. It has been our experience that this is abour the
max length for us. We like to go to state/provencial parks and Forest Service Parks, and Corp of Engineers
parks and many of these have lenght restrictions and you can not get into them with rigs longer than
30 ft. Many of the Forest Service campsites were built many years ago and their length restrictions are
in the lower 20 ft range.

If you are going to spend long periods of time in one place a bigger trailer may be called for, although we
spend about 10 months of the year in ours and we seem to have plenty of room for our needs. You
may need more or less. If you are primarily traveling as we are remember it takes more fuel to tow a
bigger/heavy trailer.

Dave in NC
 

JoeinTex

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Apr 18, 2005
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When my wife and I were doing all the research on RVs, we found the RV Consumer Group (www.RV.com) site to be very helpful.  They are dedicated to researching and rating RVs for safety, value and reliability.  For a fee, they will provide you with rating information about new and used RVs of virtually every maker.  Even if you don't buy their information, they have a lot of information that is free to help in the evaluation process.  As has been pointed out by the other gentlemen, you have some thinking to do and desicions to make.  There are trade-offs in the decision process.  You'll need to focus  on those aspects of your travel plans and features in Truck & tow unit possibilities that are the most important to you.  In our case we were very sensitive to the towing safety aspects - things to do with the balance characteristics of the tow unit.  In general, longer units are more susceptable to being unbalanced or more difficult to ensure proper balance.  A well balanced unit pulls much better and wont give you the feeling that the tow unit is pushing around the truck as it bounces on the road or is buffeted by wind.  As you do a little reading and talking with your resources here or other places, these things will become clearer to you.  Good luck to you.
 

Ron

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The RV Consumer Group does provide some information but one should take into consideration their information is not based on actual testing but rather personal assumtions and opinions.  I would not recommend taking their information as 100 percent factual.  Best to look at other resources as well.

 

JoeinTex

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Ron,

I agree that consumers should access multiple resources of information.  It is also true that the RV Consumer Group do not base their recommendations from actual test data.  However, I felt like they explained clearly the basis of their analysis and their assumptions. They provided the only comprehensive source of ratings that I was able to find 15 months ago.  I also found their general writeups about various topics associated with RVs useful, especially for the novice just entering the market.  With the bewildering number of RV manufacturers for which most new buyers know virtually nothing, I used the ratings data to generally narrow the field of units to consider.  Of course we also considered input of friends, forums like this one, and physical inspections at multiple RV shows.  Certainly, the folks on this forum can provide much of the same information.
 

Ron

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IMHO anyone taking RV Consumer groups ratings at face value are doing themselves a disfavor.  I'm not saying it is bad to look at how they rate different products but to take is as gospel is NOT recommended.  Use several different sources including this forum.  I firmly believe that the best source for information is from RVers who have owned a particular brand and has had first hand experience.  Sorry RVCG does not get any support from me.

 

kelownagirl

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Apr 29, 2005
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Hi Steve,

Thanks to you and all the others who have given their thoughts.

We are planning on travelling for about 4 months wit the RV in both Canada and the US and then we are planning on living in it for about 6 months whilst we buy a house in Canada (we are emigrating out there in September!)

Think the only hobbies items we would need to store would be our skis and most of our stuff will be in storage so we are hoping to travel light!

As newbies to both Rving and Canada, guess most of travelling will be on our own, until either family come visit or we meet some new friends.

As for boondocking etc , we are not sure.? So many options eh!

We are planning on towing with a F350 (Diesel). We are in the process of getting the spec of this sorted out.

As for where we plan to purchase, we hadnt decided either. Guess it would be a mix of price, service etc would make us decide.

We did take a look at the Sydney Outback by Reystone and were very impressed.? You certainly dont get anything like this in the UK!!

Also, I've posted another question in this forum regarding box size with the truck.  Some dealers are saying we should go with a short box, some with the long box for clearance when turning with a fifth wheel (ie the 5th wheel doesn't collide with the cab!) doe you have any ideas about how to work this out? 

Kindest Regards
Elaine
 

PancakeBill

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Hi
We are going thru a simillar decision process.  We are downsizing, but emigrating to FL from Rhode Island.  Well, more like moving, but big change in life.  Towards that end we are looking at various 5th wheels, but with a little less trave indicated.  We want a 5er for the room, and the fact we won't be buying an angine, as our first couple years we won't need one.  Npt ready to buy a house there, just something to live in and be ready to move.

Now as to truck size, I am a proponent of te long bed.  I have an F350 ext cab, diesel, 4wd.  It has a 20,000 total, so you just start subtracting.  I am leaning towards the empty weight mainly because we wil not be traveling that often, and when we do, we can unoad a bit if needed. 

One thing that I have in the back of my mind, is that is that 20k gospel?  I see so many rigs on the oad towing bigger rigs than I know they are rated for, I have yet to see one broken down.  Sure, not seeing everything, but what is the margin? 
 

Ron

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One thing that I have in the back of my mind, is that is that 20k gospel?  I see so many rigs on the oad towing bigger rigs than
I know they are rated for, I have yet to see one broken down.  Sure, not seeing everything, but what is the margin? 

You usually don't hear from those having problems due to being overweight.  Not because it don't happen but its not often one will admit to being the cause of their problem. :)

IMHO As for the margin I would say Zero.  If your over the legal weight limit for your equipment you are putting yourself and others at risk.  Many get away with being over weight but should they get involved in an accident and the out of limits condition is discovered it could mean a big liability bill.
 

Terry A. Brewer

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Bill

>> I see so many rigs on the oad towing bigger rigs than I know they are rated for, I have yet to see one broken down. <<


A few years ago in the summer with temps approaching 100 we counted 13 fifth-wheels broken down on CA 395 going north from Bishop, Ca. I assume most of them overheated because they all had their hoods open. I was surprised to see only one motorhome broken down & it was a 20 year+ Pace Arrow gasser. I really get scared driving in the western Mt's when I see these obviously overloaded trucks towing these 3 axle 5vers....I get away from them as fast as I can.


Terry
At Clark Fork, ID
 

Ron

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I really get scared driving in the western Mt's when I see these obviously overloaded trucks towing these 3 axle 5vers....I get away from them as fast as I can.

Good idea Terry we do the same thing.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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One thing that I have in the back of my mind, is that is that 20k gospel?  I see so many rigs on the oad towing bigger rigs than I know they are rated for, I have yet to see one broken down.  Sure, not seeing everything, but what is the margin?

Gospel?  Certainly "Yes" in the legal sense, since you would assuredly be liable if something went awry and you had knowingly overloaded.  But it is "No" in the sense that 19,999 is guarunteed OK  but 20,001 is instant failure.  The GVWR and GCWR are set based on an engineer's (and a lawyer's) analysis of a wide range of operating variables.  It's a one-size-fits-all number forsomething where every actual usage is going to be different.  Wear, heat  and  mechanical stress increase with weight while braking capacity and handling decrease.  At some point the sum of those things becomes unacceptable and a breakdown or accident occurs, sooner or later. 

When I had a truck almost identical to yours, I did not worry any more at 20,300 lbs than I did at 19,700. In both cases I knew I was pushing the envelope. What I needed was a truck with a substantially greater GCWR, e.g. 26,000 lbs, to get me back well inside the envelope.  [I never had to solve that problem because we switched to a motorhome.]
 

PancakeBill

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Gary
You are seeing the point I was making.  The numbers are there for a number of reasons and condtions.  Pulling flat in FL is way different than over the Rockies, but the rating is the same.  Heck in an accident who knows what might happen.  If someone sideswiped you I don't think your weight would enter into it, unless you couldn't stop for the light or something.

For our immediate use we need space, and not much pulling.  I won't be too concerned with getting more than my rating.  When we go on the road fulltime I will be concerned, then I will be heading over the rockies, and by then I'll have the MH.

 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Pulling flat in FL is way different than over the Rockies, but the rating is the same.

Yes it is, but it is more complex than just flat versus mountain. For example, Florida is much hotter than the Rockies and excess heat is one of the major causes of early-life failures.  And stopping a rig traveling at 60 mph is pretty much the same whether flat or downhill. You just have to do it more often in the mountains, which brings us back to the heat issue.

The legal issue is unpredictable.  Once you are involved in an accident, the other guy may claim most anything about your actions leading up to & during the event.  If you have exceeded your GVWR or GCWR, he has a prima facie case that you were negligent and contributed to the accident in some way.  It's hard to tell what will become significant in a civil lawsuit.  And if the contributory negligence issue costs your insurer a case they might otherwise have won, your insurer could conceivably decide to deny you collision and comprehensive coverage based on that as well.

I'm not saying you cannot ever exceed the ratings, but if you do, you should have your eyes wide open about the risks you are taking.
 

Jack

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There something wrong when a staff member (Ron) is able to bad mouth a very valuable group like the non- profit RV Consumer Group..  The RVCG is the only source of unbiased rv information that I know of.  Their information is a GREAT deal more than "personal assumtions & opionions"  sp.

  A great many people that have used the RVCG for many years, are great believers in this fine organization.  I have no connection with the RVCG but their information saved me a great deal of money and kept me from making a big mistake.  I have been rving for well over 30 years .

  I would also like to know why Ron is able to advertise his business with each posting?  This IS a conflict of interest.
 

Tom

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Jack said:
I would also like to know why Ron is able to advertise his business with each posting? This IS a conflict of interest.

No conflict of interest at all. What does it conflict with? Commercial ads per se are not allowed in the body of forum messages, but all of us have the ability to include the URL of our web site in our signature line.

Forum members, irrespective of whether they are volunteer staff or not, are free to express their opinions, just as you are. I'll let Ron explain his position on RVCG if he wishes, but the choice is his.

Please do not post your messages twice in different topics or message boards here. I'd already responded to your first message. I'll go back and delete your original and my response to it.
 
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