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Lowmiler

Why HDT + 5er vs Class A + Toad?

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Good points.  To be fair, one would have to compare a new Spacecraft or New Horizons, and new HDT to be apples/apples with a unit like yours, also new.  From what I've seen, the truck/5er might be a bit cheaper, perhaps enough to throw in a smart..;)

Or, one could thumb through the" for sale" section, and try to do a rough comparison of the units to fit their wallet.

The one thing that's certain, as in the rest of life, RV's are one compromise after another.  Pick the ones that suit you.

Personally, if we had been able to find a decent used t/c, that would be my choice, but we aren't full timers.

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Yea, it's a tough call and we are scratching our heads hard...lol I really want an HDT and fiver, but getting it set up to haul my jeep keeps kicking my butt. What we have fits our need perfect, so makes the thought process even harder. We live in our coach, so we can't just sell and hope to find an HDT and trailer, on the flip side, we can't just go buy a new set up as we can't afford both...lol

Sometimes I think I enjoy the challenge more than the outcome.

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My 2 cents worth.  We have "camped" for 55+ years, and like many folks here we have went the whole route.  Bedroll on the ground, rented tent, PU slide-in, pop-up, and 5ths(5 of them).  Pulled  3 of the 5ths with PUs, and they pulled them fine, didn't stop them so well.

Went to a new FL-70 mid-sized, and towed a Jeep for 14 years.  Felt safe, towed fine, and if stopped for over length, I could unhook Jeep, and stay on the road.  Hated that truck for 14 years, then SHE said you've hated it log enough!!  Thought about going back to a PU, but again SHE said no way!  The comfort, and visibility in the MDT is too good. Went to a HDT, kept both axels, and now haul the Jeep, motorcycle, bikes, and kayaks.  No airplane(yet), but about every tool, and toy you can think of.  Kinda' crazy.

We are on the road for 7-10 months a year, and as we age (74-73) we know there might be a time for a MH "IF" Lord willing, and we are still able to live this good life.  At one time, we did own an older MH for a trip down the Baja, and felt it was so much easier, but still kept the 5th as well.  Our last 2 5ths were heavy a Teton @ about 20K, and now a Spacecraft about the same weight.  We dry camp most of the time so with all the batteries etc. we will always be heavy. Don't think we could go to all the sights we go with a MH, and probably not with the 5th.  Took 2 days one time in the desert for me to dig out.  I was too proud to call for help. 

Sorry to ramble, but as I post this, I'm reliving some memories.  Any how, like others have said, the choice is different for everyone.

Man, I guess I could have said that in one sentence.  Good luck with your choice, it will be the correct one.  Or 2.

   Dick T 

   

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A Jeep would be carried at an angle and truck stay tandem. This would have eliminated us having the storage we have now. Also we personally don't care for them. The Smartcar better choice for us. All these choices are different. No wrong way, just what you are content with. 

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Lots of good opinions here, and even some facts ;)

On the "quality" issue, comparing a higher-end DP to an HDT/fiver, I'll express my opinion. Some would say facts. I'll leave that up to the reader.....  :)

You can get into a NEW custom built HDT that will act as a motorhome for short trips, have every luxury, amenity and capability as a high end DP, and be about as comfortable (although not quite the ride, but close). When I say every capability I'm thinking of driving capability like lane keeping, automatic braking, cruise following, etc. Then pair that with a NEW custom built 5th wheel that will have every amenity, comfort and capability as a DP. Every single feature that a DP has the 5er will have that and perhaps more. It will also have more interior space, a higher ceiling, deeper slides, bigger windows. It will have equal or more exterior storage, although laid out differently. It will be custom painted and color matched to the truck.  All this will cost you 1/3 LESS than a comparable DP of the same quality. It may actually be less than half, depending on who you compare with. It will not be cheap, however.....it will be in the 500,000 range. And easily comparable to a King Air or that ilk at 900K. You will not find these at your local RV dealer. They will have to be custom ordered, and custom built. But at least you get everything to YOUR specifications.

All that is well and good, but it does not resolve the issue of a "runaround" car. A smart is the obvious target and works well for some. A Fiat 500 is a very good second choice but it makes the truck a little larger. There frankly is no good solution for a Rubicon 4-door. There are "possible" solutions, but IMO they are not "good" solutions. Thus, with that set of requirements a DP wins every time. 

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Wonder if could load the Fiat 500 at an angle? We have to consider one to replace the Smart eventually.  Deer pretty much destroy them. Ask me how I know

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In summary, in my personal opinion, you have to clearly identify the various aspects that are important to you.  Then, for each individual aspect, compare the pro's and cons of the various configurations.  That will ultimately lead you to the ideal compromise for your unique needs and desires.  It will always be a compromise.

The aspects that are important to us are below.  Your list will probably be different.

1) Maneuverability.
2) Bringing a second vehicle with us but not limited to something small.
3) Ease of finding service for the drive train.
4) Crash safety.
5) Flexibility if our lifestyles or living space requirements change.
6) Multi-purpose use.
7) Comfort while driving.
8) Price.
9) Access to a bathroom while moving.
10) Accommodations are not rendered unusable due to vehicle break down or maintenance.
11) Ease of setup and tear down at a camp site.

 

You might find it easier to ask for input on the various benefits and detriments of each aspect that is important to you, rather than a general question about HDT's versus motorhomes.  Because we've all made a compromise with our setup, but each setup and each compromise is as unique as our personalities and proclivities.

The compromise that we chose was a full height condo sleeper HDT with a customized interior, an autoshift transmission, and an 18' bed on the back with a flip up plate to expose the RV fifth wheel when needed.  We've never used the fifth wheel hitch because our trailer is a large and tall travel trailer.

We are not full time, but if we were, we would most likely have a custom travel trailer (not a fifth wheel) built by Spacecraft so that we can retain the same functionality that is working for us right now.  I would also use the stake pockets on our bed to install a full height cover on the bed so that it can double as workshop space.

We can haul any vehicle on the bed.  The travel trailer that we have now has been far more than we need for our trips so far.  It has been the ideal compromise for us.

 

Good luck and please let us know which direction you end up going.  We can all learn from each others experiences and research on the various aspects of our chosen configurations.

 

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49 minutes ago, GlennWest said:

Wonder if could load the Fiat 500 at an angle? We have to consider one to replace the Smart eventually.  Deer pretty much destroy them. Ask me how I know

I've been wanting to design a Fiat 500 bed for awhile now. Just gotta find someone who wants one....If not, when I build my new truck I may do it for myself. I pretty much know what I want to do....

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19 hours ago, mrchips said:

Dick, how do you haul your jeep, or do you double tow it?

As I stated in my post, we did double tow for years, and got along fine, and I feel we were safe.  We had brakes on the Jeep, and a rear camera on the 5th.  Couldn't back though without unhooking the Jeep, not a big problem for us though.  When we upgraded to a HDT, we planned to double tow, but I thought I would try loading the Jeep on an old flat bed we had temporarily.  Liked it that way, but now we have to stay with the older (2006 and older) 2 door Wrangler, as the newer Jeeps are 8" longer.  Still good for us except we are kinda' nuts, and I'm not sure how long I can keep this Jeep glued together.  It leads a ruff life.  We all have to make choices, and I don't think our choices would be the same even for us everyday, but just don't let "the tail wag the dog".  Ain't no perfect fit. 

    Good luck, and be happy,   Dick T  

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12 minutes ago, oletimer said:

As I stated in my post, we did double tow for years, and got along fine, and I feel we were safe.  We had brakes on the Jeep, and a rear camera on the 5th. 

Ain't no perfect fit. 

   

We also towed doubles for over 8 years of fulltiming. We had no real issues doing it, and like Dick we mitigated the risk the best we could with cameras, braking systems, tire monitors, etc. I pulled a Jeep well over 100,000 miles that way.  That said, I like the smart on the truck a lot better. It feels safer, and there is less to go wrong, IMO.

The key advice that Dick offered was "Ain't no perfect fit", and that is very true. RVing is all about which compromises you are willing to make. As life progresses, these generally change for most people. 

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47 minutes ago, oletimer said:

I don't think our choices would be the same even for us everyday, but just don't let "the tail wag the dog".  Ain't no perfect fit. 

Wiser words were never spoken.

Like Dick, we started with a tent, borrowed pickup cap, pop-up, etc.  Our climb up the rv ladder has been slow and progressive, not always the smartest.  But, we're not unhappy with our current rig.

Edited by rickeieio

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Just for a example I have a 2018 48' New Horizons and a 2018 Volvo to pull it and I am under 400K total. For that price you could get into a mid level typical (not Prevost) 45' bus, say a Entegra Anthem, a Newmar Dutch Star or Mountain Aire with a hefty discount. While those are certainly nice they are far, far from top of the line. You pick from their pre existing floor plans and from a few color choices and you are done. I designed every inch of my 5er. I pick the kind of wood the stain the appliances the furniture and the location of everything. To be able to do the same thing with a bus I would have needed to spend 900K-1M with Foretravel of which I am about 500K short.   

As for my Volvo it is 21-1/2 feet long which is the exact length of the 3500 crew cab long bed Ram that I just sold. I paid $118K for it which was the proceeds from selling my house and Ram. I take it to the grocery store to get a hair cut and to Costco. No harder to park than a dually pick up. Smart cars and Fiat's are cute but you are rolling the dice with your life every time you drive one. If I was unable to stay in my trailer because of repairs I would just get a hotel room. I just don't see that happening very often. 

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Don't want an argument but Smartcars a lot safer than lots of cars on the road. Sure, up against an HDT, no contest. But what car is? I hit a buck deer, 75 mph head on with my 2013 Smart. Not a scratch on me. Not sore, not nothing negative but car totaled. Had more air bags around me than I ever seen. Insurance stated air bag likely totaled, air bags totaled. My dually was a royal pain as a daily commute. Expensive also. 

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I have not gotten the truck yet but I will tell you why I decided to go this way. I am 44 years old.  5 years ago I bought a 5 year old diesel pickup for $30,000. In the past 5 years of pulling a 10,000 lb 5th wheel I have had to put $10,000 into it. So right now i have 40k invested in a 10 year old pickup. I borrowed money form my boss to fix it once and refinanced it twice.  I am going to have to drive it until I die to get my money out of it. I'm tired of pulling the guts out of it.

Monday I will go look at a 2005 Volvo. The dealer is asking 10k for it. No matter what truck I get I have plans to install a jackknife sofa and seat belts for 3 in the back. For now we will just have to drive the truck around when we get to our destinations. I have 6 kids. 3 are grown and gone. If more kids go along than can fit in the truck safely or friends want to go along, we will just have to take 2 vehicles. I have a hitch on my camper but if I double tow I will be over length and I'm not sure it would handle it anyway.

Not to say the big trucks don't break down but minor things that will shut down a pickup truck wont bother a semi. You can still limp it home. I once bob tailed a 1985 Peterbuilt from Alabama to Nebraska with no clutch. I had to shut it off to stop and restart it in gear. And I wont have to worry about overheating my transmission any more. You wont work the truck nearly as hard. Heck my grain trailer and certainly my side dump trailer EMPTY weighs more than my camper loaded.

 

I wanted a class A motor home but my wife said no. She is on board with this plan. She is reluctant but she is on board, I think. She never said no so that means yes. Right?

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A simple air line can stop an HDT. But most are a simple fix if you prepare for this. Spare air lines, assortment of air fittings. Not downing them though. Really enjoy mine.

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Ok, I'm starting to see the light.

HDT + 5er:

A bit more space than a large RV.

More homey feel than large RV, maybe due to high ceilings and overall proportions.

Safer than most RVs, in terms of crash testing.

Ultimately way cheaper apples to apples with a top of the line DP, even compared to top of line 5er and new HDT.

 

I've spent a good amount of time on rvhaulers site and youtube channel (thanks, Jack!), and have a good understanding of what you get dollar for dollar on a properly set up HDT.

 

So, that begs the question:

Why do a high end DP and toad? 

Curious is what the pluses are with that set-up, now I've come full circle. A larger toad, easily a four seater, is one plus. Access to facilities and moving around room when traveling is another. Anything else?

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1 hour ago, Lowmiler said:

Ok, I'm starting to see the light.

....

So, that begs the question:

Why do a high end DP and toad? 

Curious is what the pluses are with that set-up, now I've come full circle. A larger toad, easily a four seater, is one plus. Access to facilities and moving around room when traveling is another. Anything else?

My opinion has a couple of factors:

If going from an HDT to a DP it seems to be for easier access as the climb into the HDT is usually harder unless you do some changes.

If you go to a sales lot, you are more likely to see a DP vs a high end 5th wheel and the sales person is highly unlikely to recommend using an HDT to pull it, plus he doesn't carry them so he would rather sell you a DP.

If all you can find, if you do not know about HDT's, then which one would you pick between an DP and a heavy, overweight for a pickup, 5th wheel?

Dave

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We all love the Rigs we bought.

I chose a Showhauler Motorhome Conversion.

It has a 12.5KW Generator and 200 gallons of water and Solar on the Roof.

Very easy to Boondock and tons of storage.

Although we don't pull a trailer, many do.

It also has a 40K hitch.

JohnnyB

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9 hours ago, Lowmiler said:

I've spent a good amount of time on rvhaulers site and youtube channel (thanks, Jack!), and have a good understanding of what you get dollar for dollar on a properly set up HDT.

 

So, that begs the question:

Why do a high end DP and toad? 

Curious is what the pluses are with that set-up, now I've come full circle. A larger toad, easily a four seater, is one plus. Access to facilities and moving around room when traveling is another. Anything else?

Maybe I can shed light from my end as I have a high end DP and a toad (even though my coach is 10 years old I would put it against anything new). It really comes down to choice. There are many good discussion points on here so won't rehash those. The biggest reason I have for a DP and tow over the HDT and fiver is that, well I don't have any really IF you have your HDT set up with bed, refer, micro, and most importantly toilet. Most don't have all this so it really comes down to having the ability to carry on with business, whatever it is without stopping. My wife likes the ability to fix something for me to eat, walk around, go to the bathroom, etc while I drive. Is that important, it's a choice. The DP and tow is easier in so many areas. Set up, we can be leveled and watching tv within 15 minutes of arriving and that is all shore ties connected. If it's raining, we can be leveled and watching TV within 5 minutes and stay dry. When we leave, from the time we say pull in the slides we can be rolling in less than 20 minutes and that is hooking up the jeep and doing all pre checks. So again it is a choice, and easy is a choice. Big coaches typically have much more bay storage than a typical fiver. BUT with all that said, remember I am looking at changing from a DP to an HDT. BUT I just don't think I can meet my need or desire unless I get a bumper pull trailer and I don't want a 22' bed on an HDT to contend with. So again, it is just preference and need really that drives the final outcome for anyone. The last thing I guess I would bring up, fiver tires.....For the life of me I don't know why fiver tires can't make it. I have seen time and again fiver tires that have let loose and torn complete under bellies out of the trailer, to include walls, electrical, plumbing windows....some serious damage. I talk to a lot of fiver owners throughout our travels and I have yet in two years to have one tell me they have not blown a tire and torn something up, and these are with new or newer tires, not worn out leave em no tracks. In 10+ years of A coach ownership I have never blown a tire (knock on wood). See most people on here or any other HDT site always talk about how good the HDT is and how reliable it is and crash safety it is...etc but VERY few talk about the fiver they are pulling. You have to think about your rig from end to end, not just end to pivot point in the case of an HDT and fiver. But it still all just boils down to choice. I don't even know really why I want to switch from my DP and tow, but I do and would if I could get it sold.

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I never had a tire problem as soon as I realized what a good tire is. Teton never a tire problem. Changed them as soon as I got it. Drv, early on, changed tires and no problems after that. Problem lots of junk tires on the market.

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The tire problem on trailers, not just fivers is tires that are at or near limits and poor quality.    The better 5th wheels often have 17.5 commercial rated tires, these are higher weight capacity and speed rating.     Most ST tires are rated at speeds below what many tow at, any prolonged drive above the max speed is just asking for trouble.     Triple axle trailers ARE hard on tires no doubt, that said, most tire issues are load and speed related.    

Commercial truck tires are another option for trailer tires that often have better load and speed ratings.     Tire heat is where many failures begin, overload or over speed builds heat.     Tow at 70 for several hours with highly stressed tires and a failure is almost a given.     DP Motorhomes generally have 22.5 commercial truck tires rated for 70-80MPH at max weight and inflation.    Even on your DP with good tires, improper inflation could cause a failure.      Tires are often overlooked in RV applications until something happens.

 

Steve  

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Few moons ago I would find myself flying around south of the border with a wealthy geezer that had semi-retired (had a board position....sorta....rarely attended) from a outfit with +100,000 employees.............

One day we were grinding along on a way to a remote spot with a tiny airstrip with a medical clinic at the end and we were hauling a new young Dr and a couple nurses that the old man had enticed into saving that part of the world.......

It was HOT and MUGGY as only the jungle can be at zero lat and bumpy ride dodging HUGE thunderstorms and the old-man had a smile from ear to ear sitting in the copilots seat........

I was a bit grumpy about a few things that were needing some attention on the old wreck we were flying and the old man just listened as I vented some.......

I paused and the old man smiled and said ........."well son......life is a adventure for sure.......one evening I attended a gala party with about 200 folks attending to send me off into retirement.........there was the best food prepared by world renowned chefs......wine that cost as much as a car and gold plates........and you know I assumed that I might get one more Gold Watch as a send off..........but heck no.......oh no Gold Watch for me........one day I had a corporate fleet of jets at my call and the next morning I was a .......Bus Driver.........sure it was a amazing bus but you are still a ........Bus Driver......"

The old man used the Prevo a few times and then donated it to a worthy cause and bought a very functional cheep divers watch that fit his very active life in the outbacks of the world.

The gifted Prevo was along the lines for the times as the Prevo in the  link below.....

https://www.marathoncoach.com/product/marathon-coach-1269/

Maybe you have a amazing Marathon Coach but you are still a........Bus Driver.....

 

Life is a .....adventure.....

 

Drive on...........(so many choices in the ....adventure of life)

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That Prevost is the absolute definition of more money than brains.  

$2.2m for a bus?  I don't care how much Italian marble or Martian gold flake granite it has in it...

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