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Alice

Future Full Timers - We think?

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We've never heard of anyone having an issue because their RV "is not warranted for full-timing".  If a company states that it's most-likely because they think their product would not hold up during full-timing.  There definitely is a difference in how a RV is made for extended use.  Full-timers buy new every brand out there.

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You have gotten some great advice here. My wife and I are rank newbies in the same place that you are . Still searching for the “right“ RV. We went to a local RV show on a lark to take a look at what was on the market. We walked through a lot of motorhomes and (just like shoes and clothes) Mrs Av8r loved the most expensive ones. But the most important info came from chatting with experienced RV-ers who gave us tips on stuff big and small that we never would have even considered. If you go to a show talk to the other attendees, not the salesmen. (sorry RV salesmen). 

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One of my favorite RV shopping experiences is when Dave and I were looking at an RV and talking about what we liked and what concerned us. When we were leaving, the salesman thanked us for educating him. :)

Linda Sand

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8 hours ago, sandsys said:

One of my favorite RV shopping experiences is when Dave and I were looking at an RV and talking about what we liked and what concerned us. When we were leaving, the salesman thanked us for educating him. :)

Linda Sand

That kind of happened to us yesterday.  The salesman asked how long we'd been looking,  because we were better informed than he'd ever seen.  I was mentioning model numbers of this and that TT and he had no idea what i was talking about. LOL. 

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11 hours ago, Oldav8r said:

You have gotten some great advice here. My wife and I are rank newbies in the same place that you are . Still searching for the “right“ RV. We went to a local RV show on a lark to take a look at what was on the market. We walked through a lot of motorhomes and (just like shoes and clothes) Mrs Av8r loved the most expensive ones. But the most important info came from chatting with experienced RV-ers who gave us tips on stuff big and small that we never would have even considered. If you go to a show talk to the other attendees, not the salesmen. (sorry RV salesmen). 

Went to a show yesterday and did a bit of both.  I have to admit we are now thinking of fifth wheels for full-time. And my aversion to slides is becoming less an issue the more I look at the larger units

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Slides can change the game a great deal. While nothing is totally trouble free, most of the early problems with them have been solved and the effect that they give to any type of RV is big. We just saw a class C with opposing slides and what a difference!  Occasionally slides can be too wide for a campsite but not often. We have owned RVs since 1972 of various types and have stayed in campgrounds of nearly every agency and while there are some narrow ones, length and maneuverability were far more often problems. State parks are beginning to get larger but many federal parks have not changed significantly. 

Edited by Kirk Wood

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It depends on what kind of RVing you do but we did a lot of national forest, national park stays. Think trees!  Opposing slides would have been a big problem for many of our stays.  Many campsites have trees lining both sides of the parking space.

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Alice, may I make a suggestion, this worked for us.

Not sure where in Missouri your from but with all the State Parks and Corp Campgrounds get out and walk thru a few. 

Early morning or later afternoon, watch people set up or take down. Don’t interrupt but after they seem at a stopping place just strike up a conversation. Believe me 99% love to talk about their rigs. Ask questions like what are the yellow things under the leg things, why is that big box your cord is plugged into blinking , why do you have that dial thing on the water faucet. 

In other words let REAL RV’ers educate you. We did this and it was better than any dealer, show or online search you could ever do. We went to the Escapees event in Sedalia in June for one day. Wish we could have gone to the boot camp. 

I would suggest you do the bootcamp if you could before you jump in if possible. You don’t need an RV first. 

Good luck on your search hope to see ya’ll on the road! 

 

 

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57 minutes ago, MidMOTraveler said:

Alice, may I make a suggestion, this worked for us.

Not sure where in Missouri your from but with all the State Parks and Corp Campgrounds get out and walk thru a few. 

Early morning or later afternoon, watch people set up or take down. Don’t interrupt but after they seem at a stopping place just strike up a conversation. Believe me 99% love to talk about their rigs. Ask questions like what are the yellow things under the leg things, why is that big box your cord is plugged into blinking , why do you have that dial thing on the water faucet.  

In other words let REAL RV’ers educate you. We did this and it was better than any dealer, show or online search you could ever do. We went to the Escapees event in Sedalia in June for one day. Wish we could have gone to the boot camp. 

I would suggest you do the bootcamp if you could before you jump in if possible. You don’t need an RV first. 

Good luck on your search hope to see ya’ll on the road! 

 

 

Great suggestions!  Thanks Fellow Mid-MO person! :D 

I'm in JC.  So Sedalia is just up the road a bit.  I had no idea there were such events nearby.  I suppose we're at the end of the season for things like that but I'll look into it.  Bootcamp is pricey!  That will have to wait a bit.  My husband and I did pester a couple at a Bennett Springs campground when we were tenting this summer, but only one.

Thanks again!

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Well howdy neighbor we’re in Fulton. Yep Bennett is a great place to visit. That’s where we spent a lot of time. Now on our first summer of retirement. Not full time but on the road now since 7/11 plan to return late October 

We first thought a TT under 30’ was gonna work. Nope, ended up with a 39’ 5er and F450 it keeps us out of NP and some SP but there are lots of private places, 

Take your time and like others have said only buy your last RV first! 

 

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15 hours ago, MidMOTraveler said:

We went to the Escapees event in Sedalia in June for one day. Wish we could have gone to the boot camp. 

It is good to hear that you had a good experience with us in Sedalia! I sure wish I could have met you there! We will be at the next one in Tucson next March so if you can get there we would love to meet you.

14 hours ago, Alice said:

Bootcamp is pricey!  That will have to wait a bit.

At $400 for a couple for 20+ hours of classroom and assorted other things it really isn't that bad. I can't recall ever speaking to anyone who attended that didn't feel that they got their money's worth. I think that you would find it very helpful to go before you select your RV as they address many important aspects of RV life. 

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Several problems I see here. Avoid RV salespeople as most have never lived in an RV and don't know about weights etc. I didn't know what an RV was when my DH suggested it 8 years ago, now I'll never go back to a house. 

Avoid anything light...it won't handle the rock and rolling of fulltime plus they can't handle any inclement weather. Travelling a couple of hours for an RV show will get you used to the travel needed to see this great USA. I'd also suggest you keep a notebook of all of your DR visits, medication etc. If you need A Dr. on the road, you'll have everything you need at your fingertips. Every RV has tradeoffs so your 3 MUST HAVEs have already been identified, go for them. I usually suggest 36-38' is ideal for fulltime but that doesn't mean you can't do it smaller. This forum is all I had to help me once we decided to go fulltime. Happy shopping. You'll LOVE the freedom.

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3 hours ago, blrsmith said:

I'd also suggest you keep a notebook of all of your DR visits, medication etc. If you need A Dr. on the road, you'll have everything you need at your fingertips.

Thanks!  That was actually something I had only just started thinking about.  In fact, I did some research over my lunch hour, since it's open enrollment time, and learned some stuff about retirement and our insurance.  I wasn't at all sure how it worked, but turns out we'll have much smaller premiums than I expected and, at least if we still have the same insurance when I retire, there are a lot of in-network providers all over the country.  I'm pretty happy with what I found out. 

Now if only retirement wasn't still a few years away.  :)

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15 minutes ago, Alice said:

Now if only retirement wasn't still a few years away.  :)

If you hope to buy used in a few years, now is the time to look at new rigs that will be used then. That may help you know which ones are worth going to see when the time comes.

Linda Sand

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1 hour ago, sandsys said:

If you hope to buy used in a few years, now is the time to look at new rigs that will be used then. That may help you know which ones are worth going to see when the time comes.

Linda Sand

 

That is exactly why we're doing that, looking at things we really can't afford, and don't even have the truck for yet.  That way we know what truck to get for the size/weight/type of trailer we want and we can have some specific ones to look for.  :)

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I would shop lightly used better quality trailers over entry models by Forest River.  We have experienced Forest River, and over the years, like most manufacturers, the products aren't what they used to be.  Yes, they have some unique floorplans, but often in that case, one learns that the more standard floorplans used work out best for living/moving around in one.  It makes a lot of sense to look at used trailers to see how they have held up, and this will be eye-opening!  Poor quality shows up pretty quick, and even the best care by the owner will not hide it.  Don't buy something that you will be terrified to pull - I have seen this a few times, and it really limits the lifestyle.  I am seeing more and more people towing a travel trailer, full-timers passing through.  I never liked the few stairs, or the lack of symmetry that came with the 5th wheels and was exaggerated by the slide.  Slides are fine, but they cost a LOT of money to repair when something goes wrong - budget for it.  Be careful of RV salesman!  When you finally shop, determine how much you will spend and know what you want, and stick to it.  We have always "slept on it" before making the purchase.  If someone else buys it before tomorrow, it wasn't meant to be ours in the first place.

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19 hours ago, SnowGypsy said:

I would shop lightly used better quality trailers

Thanks!  Even since I posted this thread, our plans have "evolved".  Right now our main interest is in Grand Design, but we're not ruling anything out just yet.  I appreciate the input!

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There’s just too much out there.  We've been to shows and dealers and on and on... 

We’re still making plans and thinking and looking.  Here’s the issue, among other things:  We started thinking travel trailer…then looked at 5th wheels and fell in love with the room in them – even the smaller ones.  Recently we looked at a couple of amazing 36 foot toy haulers by Grand Design that has every “must have” and most “wish-list” items. I mean, could anything be better for boondocking?  They have an actual garage (storage galore! Plus of course, a place for bikes or kayaks or whatever), a “patio”, HUGE water tanks, gas tanks you can actually use to refuel the generator or in case you pull a stupid and forget to fill up.  The only down-side is size.  But, then I recently looked at some Class A’s on-line that didn’t have “deal killer” bathrooms and really nice floor plans and I’m wondering if we should stop ruling those out. 

 We’re losing our minds.  We still have no experience RVing, but boy have we had experience shopping.  We even had an RV salesman call us (rather disrespectfully) “professional shoppers”.  True...but not very nice.  Won’t be in a hurry to go back to him when we have our minds made up!  Eh...it was Camping World anyway.

 We know we need to upgrade the truck.  Probably.  We decided that we’ll just buy a ¾ ton pickup and that will be big enough for a 5th wheel and if it’s more truck than we need for a TT, well that just means it’ll pull easy.  We need to upgrade the truck w/in a year or two (currently upside-down on ours, but won’t be in 10-12 months), to have the new truck mostly paid off by the time we retire so we can easily pay the rest of the loan with our lump-sum retirement or house sale proceeds.  BUT, (here’s the “probably”) what if we change our minds and decide we want a Class A?  Then we need a toad and I’m darned if we’ll pull a full-size truck.  So we’d end up trading off the truck for a small SUV or something – because we still need 4WD to get to our cabin. 

 One thought had been to just get a small trailer our Colorado could handle, a Wolf Pup or something, so we could do some travel now.  The next thought was to wait until we upgrade the truck and just get a bigger TT that we can even FT in for a time, even if it’s not perfect, until we find the 5th wheel we like or even until we’re sure we like full-timing.  I mean, how are we to know until we’ve done it?  Of course, we can pay for a small TT with our current truck payment a lot easier than we can pay for a large TT with a larger truck payment...it's a unique numbers game.  Complicating the problem is husband found a new truck with payments we can actually afford…probably...even being upside down.  But I'm a person who tends toward frugal - many might go so far as really, really cheap - and I'm not sure I want to spend the money yet! 

Part of me thinks it would be so much better to just forget everything for a couple years, concentrate on paying off credit cards (which we’re doing anyway, but we could do faster) and have fewer bills to pay off when we retire…upgrading the truck is going to add $100 or so to our budget for the more expensive vehicle, not to mention more fuel expense and higher taxes.   But the RV is calling…

Not sure why I'm even posting this...I think I'm just really thinking out loud.  :(  Well, not "out loud"...you know what I mean.  

Edited by Alice

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Just now, Alice said:

We decided that we’ll just buy a ¾ ton pickup and that will be big enough for a 5th wheel and if it’s more truck than we need for a TT, well that just means it’ll pull easy. 

Friendly advice:  Do not buy a 3/4 ton pickup. At this point I'm not sure why they even exist, as a single-rear wheel (SRW) one-ton pickup is only a couple of hundred dollars more expensive and will have significantly more capacity on the rear axle. You'll be shocked at how easy it is to overload the rear axle on a 3/4 ton truck if you do decide to get a fifth wheel. 

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1 hour ago, mptjelgin said:

Friendly advice:  Do not buy a 3/4 ton pickup. At this point I'm not sure why they even exist, as a single-rear wheel (SRW) one-ton pickup is only a couple of hundred dollars more expensive and will have significantly more capacity on the rear axle. You'll be shocked at how easy it is to overload the rear axle on a 3/4 ton truck if you do decide to get a fifth wheel.

I'm shocked.  Like, totally, completely shocked.  Everyone we know in real life loves their 3/4 tons.  My husband has a friend who does a lot of 5th wheel towing of like, race car carriers, etc. and he specifically recommended a Silverado 2500.  We will NOT have a 2WD.  We insist of 4WD.  It's a thing...and we have a really crappy road to our cabin.  Whatever we buy, it'll have to stay in town when we're home. 

****

WELL HECK!  Just looked up the 5th wheel capacities of Silverados..and you are more than correct.  The people we most recently talked to we specifically tossed out 15,000+ lb GVW on the trailers, and they were all "Oh yeah... no problem!"  When the Chevy website clearly shows that only the full-size diesel will tow that!  Of course, it also shows 3500 HD and 2500 HD to have the same capacity, so not sure wth is going on there. 

Now my head hurts. 

Edited by Alice

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In terms of combined weight rating (weight of truck + trailer + passengers + stuff + etc.) the trucks are rated the same because their drivetrains (engine, transmission, etc.) are essentially the same. But the amount of weight you can put in the bed (think the weight of the fifth-wheel kingpin) is much higher on the 3500 HD than the 2500 HD, even for the single rear wheel (SRW) version.  I found numbers for the 2018 Chevy's and the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) for the 2500 max's out at 10000 lbs, while the 3500 SRW can go to 11,600 pounds.  That extra 1600 pounds makes a big difference with a fifth wheel.

Fifth wheel pins tend to be very heavy compared to travel trailer hitch weights, and all of that weight sits squarely over the rear axle. Pretty much the sole advantage of a one-ton SRW over a 3/4 ton SRW is the ability the handle that additional weight on the rear axle. 

Decent article on difference between SRW 3/4 ton and one-ton

You are about to make some expensive purchases and knowing what all of the different weight ratings mean is hugely important. Because I promise you that the RV salesman will tell you that whatever truck you have will work, and often the truck salesmen aren't a heck of a lot better. 

To be honest, if you are looking at a long toyhauler loaded full of stuff even a SRW one-ton may be overloaded. You may well be creeping into dually (Dual-rear Wheel, DRW) territory. 

Edited by mptjelgin

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2 hours ago, Alice said:

We still have no experience RVing, but boy have we had experience shopping. 

Have you considered renting an RV for a trip of a week or two, just to get a little bit of experience before you spend the money to buy a truck or any type of RV? I really think that part of your dilemma comes from the fact that you are depending on the advice of others and your imagination about what it will be like. Nothing is going to remove all risk, but to have a little experience can only help. 

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I completely agree with mptjelgin If you are looking at any decent size 5th wheel, a one tone pick up will be much better for towing.  I personally would lean toward a dual rear wheel one ton for any 5th wheel, but that is partly personal preference/experience and partly my desire to be well under rated capacities when towing.  It all comes down to weight ratings/capacities and how much of a cushion you are comfortable having when towing.

I am on my third 5th wheel now.  I started with a 36' Montana 5th Wheel with a GVW in the 15k lb range.  I had a 3/4 ton Chevy with the Duramax/Allison combination and it worked well together, but I was somewhat new to RV travel at the time and was not as aware of weight ratings and capacities then.  I never actually weighed that rig combination so I don't know how close I was to the max ratings of any of the components, but the set up was relatively comfortable to tow.  I eventually bought a one ton dual rear wheel Chevy to replace my 3/4 ton because I knew I eventually wanted a bigger trailer. 

When I hooked the dual rear wheel truck up to the same 36' 5th wheel, it was night and day difference in the feel of driving the combination.  The dual rear wheel one ton was so much more stable and comfortable to drive.  I couldn't believe how much of a difference adding the dual rear wheel made when towing a 5th wheel.  Not too long after getting the one ton, I bought a new, heavier 40' Montana.  I was much more familiar with weights and ratings by then and weighed everything to make sure I was within capacities. Fully loaded, the 5th wheel was within 100 lbs of its GVWR and within 1000 lbs of the trailer towing capacity of the one ton.  I didn't like being this close to the max capacities of my equipment, but I wasn't full time so I was not as concerned about being that close to my capacities on a regular basis like a full timer would be.  This one ton was a 2007 so the capacities were nowhere near what they are today in the pick ups.  I towed this combination all over the western US over all different terrain.  For the most part it was uneventful towing.

I did have an issue that made me really consider what I was doing and how I was doing it though.  I lost my trailer brakes on a two lane mountain road.  Luckily it was a relatively short decent, but my one ton really struggled to keep control of the rig.  I lost the trailer brakes because of a bad connection in the 7 pin connector.  This was something out of my control and luckily it didn't have any major consequences.  What it did do, though, was convince me that running so close to max capacities was not such a good idea.  I knew I eventually wanted to get an even bigger and heavier 5th wheel so I started looking at possible solutions.

The rest of this story is well beyond what you will be dealing with, but I am sharing it to get to my final point at the end.

I ultimately decided to buy a used over the road tractor (a Kenworth T2000).  It was way overkill for my Montana, but it fulfilled my desire to have more fudge room in my towing capacities and it fulfilled some other desires that are not germane to this conversation.  I towed the Montana with the Kenworth for a few years and eventually upgraded to the 5th wheel I have now, which is a 42' DRV that weighs in at 21500 lbs.  The Kenworth is still way overkill for even this new 5th wheel, but it gives me great piece of mind when towing.

Here is the point I was getting to.  I was towing over the same two lane mountain road with the Kenworth and DRV that I had been on with the Chevy and Montana when I lost the trailer brakes on that rig.  This time I lost the trailer brakes on the DRV because of a faulty caliper bolt that fell out and caused the hydraulic brake line to fail and drain my trailer braking system of all brake fluid.  The difference this time was that I had no idea I lost the trailer brakes.  The DRV is 5000 lbs heavier than the Montana was, but because of having more truck than I needed I was unable to tell the DRV no longer had brakes.  I didn't discover the broken brake line until I pulled into my property at my house and went to unhook the DRV and did my walk around.

The moral of this story is that I would much rather have more truck than I need to handle whatever I am towing.  I am not telling you to go out and buy an over the road tractor, or even a one ton dual rear wheel pick up, but I am suggesting that you buy the most truck you can that will fit within your needs.  This will really be determined by the weights of the trailer you want to buy.  It is much better to determine exactly what you will be towing and then match the appropriate truck to that trailer (with decent margins under the listed max weight ratings).  If you don't know the exact trailer you intend to pull, then it would be better to err on the side of caution and go with the largest capacity truck you are willing to drive and then make sure the trailer you end up with fits well within its capacities.  It would be horrible to buy a lesser truck for comfort or cost and then get stuck with a trailer that is "lesser" than what you really want because of the limits of the truck.

I realize this was a long winded response, but hopefully it was helpful to you and your thought process.

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8 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

Have you considered renting an RV for a trip of a week or two, just to get a little bit of experience before you spend the money to buy a truck or any type of RV? I really think that part of your dilemma comes from the fact that you are depending on the advice of others and your imagination about what it will be like. Nothing is going to remove all risk, but to have a little experience can only help. 

Here's the thing...there is NOWHERE around here to rent a trailer or 5th wheel and even if we DID rent a trailer or 5th wheel we'd also have to rent a truck to pull it because we don't have one that will do the trick.  Sure, we could rent something tiny...a pop up or a really small trailer - but we would still have to buy the appropriate hitch, etc., to pull it and it's not what we need to know about anyway.  We can rent a Class C in our area, (which we already know we don't want), IF we want to spend over $1000 to rent it for a whole week.  There is no one or two day type rentals.  We do NOT have the available cash for that.  All our money is tied up in our retirement/deferred comp.  That's where we'll be getting the money to make the big purchases.  Credit we have...but we're trying to get that paid off.  So yes, we have considered renting an RV, but we simply don't have the means.

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