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mickeyblueyes

So how DO You choose full time living Class A vs 5er?

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Sorry for beating a dead horse, or a age old topic. But how do you choose ,frankly except for toy haulers all layouts pretty much look the same front lr rear bed room or vice versa, I see signature of members that full time in class A than switch to a 5er or back the othe way, I know the bottom line is going to be well it’s personal what ever suits your life style. But I haven’t got there yet I’m prepping and getting ready making the best decisions I can.

one has me in knots. A vs 5. Same price point ,not a lopsided choice.?help me.........I’m stuck and can’t get going.

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It doesn't matter what choice you make, it won't be perfect.  All types and sizes of RV's have their advantages and shortcomings.

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I agree with chirakawa in principle. Fivers are safer in any front impact or rollover accident because you are belted into a safety engineered and tested vehicle, and not in the trailer.

Class A almost always have built in push button levelers. Most fivers don't. But they can be ordered. I never had them while fulltiming.

Class A your cabin goes in for cabin and engine major repairs. Fiver goes in alone if needed. Truck repairs once the fiver is parked don't make you get a hotel. Many repair places let you stay with the fiver or in the class A avoiding motel fees.

You can back up your fiver without disconnecting. Class A with toad has to stop and disconnect the toad first.

Stopping on the side of the road for lunch and bathroom breaks in the rain the fiver passengers get wet. Class A doesn't require getting out. I am assuming both stay belted in while underway.

Class A uses very expensive tires, windshield wipers, and windshields. Class A usually have to order parts if no nearby dealer.

Dodge, Ford, Chevy light/Medium duty 3/4 and 1 tons have parts anywhere/overnight. Class A needs a dealer or order. Repairs can be done just about anywhere on trucks.

All appliances on A and fiver are the same, with some custom A/C units or water heaters possible on both.

Bus conversion class A have the most storage in many cases and have much larger water and black water tanks.

Most class A have built in generators. Fivers can have gensets built in, but usually fiver drivers carry a generator in the truck bed, or make do without. I never traveled with a generator because there were no quiet inverter gensets until after we were off the road.

You can change your own pickup tire on the road. I wouldn't even try at my age with those monster tires and wheels on Class A.

Class A except some multi million dollar custom German motor homes don't have 4wheel drive. Trucks can have 4WD, and go anywhere necessary with the trailer. Or unhitch and go for help. Class A toads can go for help and have 4WD too. Just not while traveling with the toad being towed on the road. 

Many smaller motor homes are not as tall as fivers.

I did not address heavy duty class tractors as I've never owned one.

Fivers can stay setup in camp to refill the portable propane cylinders. Class A has to break camp and move the motor home to the propane fill stations.

You can buy a bigger or newer truck without replacing the trailer, and vice versa.

Assuming a rubber roof and wood or aluminum slab sided frame on both, both will last before new roof or rattles about the same time before roof replacement in ten years assuming correct maintenance.

Go to the RV Consumers group for some excellent free advice here: https://rv.org/blogs/news

If you buy a Class A be sure to avoid short wheelbase, more here: https://rv.org/blogs/news/short-wheelbases-and-accidents-go-hand-in-hand

Hope that helps.

Edited by RV_

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For me it comes down to what you want to drive while camped--a car or a truck. Each works better than the other for some people.

The other option is to buy a small enough motorhome and make short enough stays that you don't need to tow a car. That's especially helpful when you are still in vacation mode as we were for nearly two years.

Linda Sand

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Thanks RV-     Derek?? You spelled out a whole lot of stuff that was before my eyes but did not see, the 5 Er I’m leaning towards has self levelers, many new ones do and it has a built in gen. I’ve been driving a Dually for the past 15 years . So that’s another point. I suppose a 5 th would work better for me .we are not planning on running coast to coast. Thanks for the links too.

 

thanks everyone how has piped in.

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We happily full-timed for 8 years in a 33' 5th wheel.  From day one we disliked driving the big truck around. We like exploring gravel roads looking for animals and found the truck was too noisy for that.  It also didn't allow us to drive tiny forest one-tracks a lot of the time. We learned our lesson after receiving a lot of unplanned pinstriping down the side of the truck.

Friends got us hooked on Jeeping and we felt it was time to change RVs anyway so we full-timed another happy 8 years towing a Jeep.  The Jeep allowed us to very quietly drive backroads no matter how narrow the road was.  Quite often we hooked up with a group of 4-wheelers to spend all day boulder hopping.  The Jeep gave us endless fun!

Once we had the motorhome we found it to be superior in traveling. The big windshield gave us awesome panoramas and when we parked and boondocked we often had a gorgeous view of a lake or stream.  In Denali Nat'l Park we even had a view of 'the' mountain.  Naturally, we encountered rain at times and it was great just pulling over or into a site and not have to get out until it cleared.  Also, the comments of many about being able to get up for a snack or the bathroom (by the passenger) was an added perk.  We both drove it so got equal bathroom time. :)

We fit in the same public campgrounds with the 33' 5th wheel as we did with the 40' motorhome.  We didn't purposely plan on getting a long motorhome but after test driving the wheelbase on the 40' gave a better ride.  We had no problems getting spots in national parks, state parks, national forest campgrounds, COE, county and city parks - the majority of time without reservations.

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Most of us who have been fulltimers tend to think that everyone should do as we found best. To me, the real key is what your priorities are. There is no question that the fifth wheels have more room for the size of the outfit but they also have stairs that must be dealt with every day. You can use it while the truck is in the shop, but a motorhome towing allows you to be able to drive somewhere even if the engine does break down and you don't have to drive the big truck when shopping or site seeing. You probably spend some less to equip yourself with a truck and fifth wheel but all of the miles you travel even when parked to see an area are put on your tow truck, while the class A towing a small car is much more fuel efficient and you don't put those miles on the more expensive engine. In our 12 years on the road, we put about 80k miles on the motorhome and in that same time we put about 200k on two CR-V's. 

 I believe that most people seem to just feel more at home in one or another type of RV. We have friends who traded their travel trailer for a fifth wheel when they went fulltime and after 5 years they went back to a large travel trailer because they hated the fiver. Most of us seem to prefer either a class A or a fiver, but we have known folks in a class C who preferred that to any of the other choices. We also know a couple in a super C that would never go back to a class A. I think much as the 2 gypsies do, but nothing says that you will think the same way. 

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Stick your head in as many different RV's as you can get away with. Talk to as many owners as you can. Listen to the ones that recommend you follow their lead. Really listen to the ones that recommend not following them.

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Our cats made the final decision for us.  With the motorhome they never had to leave their home.  When they heard the diesel fire, they were up on the coach, settled into their places for a four hour nap.  Plus, no getting wet if it was raining when we pulled into a rest area or park.  Just enjoy our home.  We also geocache and didn’t want a MDT/HDT to pull a 5er similar to our motorhome.   

Most DPs will have fiberglass roofs, and passthrough basement storeage.  

You have to figure out what type of RVer you are and what you want to do.  

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6 hours ago, mickeyblueyes said:

one has me in knots. A vs 5. Same price point ,not a lopsided choice.?help me.........I’m stuck and can’t get going.

Mickeyblueyes, I'm in virtually the same boat as you.  I'm heavily leaning toward a Class A diesel pusher.  However, finances may dictate a gas rig.  And, I haven't completely ruled out a fiver, either.  If I already had a suitable truck (which I don't), I'd probably be leaning the other way.

 

For me, the most important thing is trying to imagine the amount of work required on a regular basis to setup/breakdown camp.  Remember, you'll be doing this dozens of times each year, usually before and after a long day of driving - and the weather may not always be favorable.  In a motorhome, you can just stop, push a button to level, and go to bed.  Hookups can wait until the morning.  In a fiver, you have to set out the legs, chock the wheels, unhook the truck, level the rig, then you can go to bed (and it could very well be raining the whole time).  Also, I dread the day that I forget to lock the pin in place before driving off.  I like the idea that you can park in the pouring rain, have supper or do whatever you want and not have to get wet in a Class A.  I don't like the idea of not being able to back up without unhooking the toad.  However, I'd rather have a small, fuel-efficient toad to sight-see in than a big, noisy truck.  A fiver has more interior space, but far less storage space.  If you run out of propane in a motorhome, you have to move the whole rig to refill.  In a fiver, you can just put the tanks in the truck and get them refilled.   For me, I'm looking at doing a fair amount of boondocking, and I don't know that either setup has a clear advantage in that area.

 

My wife and I are going to an RV show this weekend - the only goal is to get closer to making a decision on the TYPE of rig we want to spend the next 10 or more years in.  Maybe that strategy would help you as well...

 

-Jim

 

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3 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

I believe that most people seem to just feel more at home in one or another type of RV. 

This reminds me of the time Dave's mother asked me whether I butter the salted or unsalted side of a cracker. She said there's no one right answer but everyone know which side they butter.

Linda Sand

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I agree with most of 2Gypsies arguments, but I was able to get all the benefits they got when they switched to a class A by using an HDT to tow my 5er and then also tow a Jeep behind the 5er.  I get all the benefits of the 5er, plus all the benefits they list under their class A stuff because the HDT has a big front windshield up high above other normal vehicles and a built in sleeper that we can get up and walk around in.  The sleeper has a fridge, microwave, TV, inverter w/battery bank, porta potty, couch, bunk bed, table, etc.  Then we also have our Jeep to tool around in.  Eventually (when I retire) I have plans to also carry a motorcycle on the back of the truck in front of the 5er.  Then I will really have it “all” in my opinion.  This type of set up is definitely not for everyone, but it works great for us and I think I get the best stuff from both the 5er and the class A arguments.

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Umm guys, today's diesels that haven't been tampered with are as quiet as a car. Personally I want the stock mufflers and no lift kits. My Cummins diesels today get 22mpg with no load, and 11-12 towing. It's my understanding the average gas motorhome gets 7-8. 

Make sure you go to dealer parts departments and ask for the price for the giant motorhome windshield wipers, rear view mirrors, and how many quarts of oil they take, and how much the oil filter costs.

I guess most motorhome owners missed the link above with the overturned motorhome. Fivers are just as flimsy in a roll over, but we don't ride in them. We are in a safety caged and certified, front side and rear end crash tested vehicle to protect the belted in occupants. Odds of surviving in a truck is much higher in a head on or roll over than in a motorhome cabin.

I don't get the comments about not wanting to drive a 20 foot truck. The average lengths of Class A for full-timing is between 30' to 40'. You have to drive through towns and around road work in a giant Class A relative to a pickup. Then say they don't want to drive the "GINORMOUS" pickup. My truck is even a long bed crew cab four door. It only seemed big the first week I drove it. My petite 5'2" bride of 46 years loves driving the truck. And could handle the 36 foot trailer. 

So the rain everyone thinks is an issue still requires you go out and unhitch the toad to back in, and many pull-throughs are not long enough for both, and you have to go out in that rain without the fiver overhang to get under. Does rain keep you inside or do y'all go to the store in whatever vehicle and risk having rain hit you?

Here is a page of wrecks with motorhomes and Fivers. https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=motorhome rollover accidents&qs=n&form=QBIR&sp=-1&pq=motorhome rollover accidents&sc=0-28&sk=&cvid=EA8035915651448BBBCCF43749B39EB7

I wonder if any of them thought they would have a wreck. Look at how may cockpits were ripped out like the sides where the top of the seat belts would be fastened. What happens to anyone walking around a motorhome underway, in a non rollover accident where they hit a concrete abutment, or rear ended another anything, and not belted in minor collisions will be airborne! Right through the windshield ????

Again none of them ever thought their RV would get in a wreck. Which do you want to be in in a wreck? A truck, or RV cabin, be that cabin on top of a motorhome chassis or trailer frame, or in a passenger safety engineered truck?

I hope to never be in a wreck. Nor any of our fellow RVrs. And certainly not in the cabin.

For beginners you can see in the videos why we call TTs tail waggers.

Pictures and videos aren't opinions.

Edited by RV_

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8 hours ago, OregonJim said:

I'm heavily leaning toward a Class A diesel pusher.  However, finances may dictate a gas rig. 

Don't let anyone convince you to spend more than your financial security provides. While it is true that the diesel pushers get somewhat better fuel mileage than gas coaches, it isn't nearly enough to offset the increased cost to buy and maintain a diesel. To me, the biggest advantage to diesels have.is their air ride, which some lower cost oned do not have. In many cases, the pushers have a higher cargo capacity but that too isn't always the case. Gas chassis today have far higher GVWR limits and much of the difference is offset by the higher dry weight of the diesels since their chassis weight more. 

Some owners will also go on about how it is risky to travel in a motorhome if you have an accident and show you ugly pictures, but those things happen to people towing fifth wheels too. The risks are different in the various types of RV and each one has both good and bad points, but the accident statistics don't support the claim that fifth wheel travel is safer.  If that were true the insurance costs would reflect it. 

Edited by Kirk Wood

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There's no reason you couldn't FT in a Class C. Disconnecting our toad takes 4 minutes. The Ford Cab has airbags and a more secure cabin than an A. It is 1-2 fewer steps in and out. We have 3 entry/ exit doors. Our floorplan beats most I have seen in big Class A. We like the small Honda for local travel. Who wants to take a 1Ton truck to the store to buy groceries? Or do laundry. (I know, you have a washer and dryer on board.) LOL.

Each to his own, just sayin....

Take a look at the Minnie Winnie 31D.

We are not FTers. Our rig is "easy" all the way around.

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Jim,

Just a few things to think about.   If you have a motorhome you don't have to move to get propane tanks refilled.  A lot of areas have laws that allow for propane tank refills in motorhomes at their sites.   In other areas, a lot of motorhome owners get extend-a-stay fittings and use exterior tanks for their stays.   Plus, we've always been able to go one winter on a full tank of propane using our electrical space heaters most of the time - - but then we try to be in areas where it doesn't freeze at night.

Unhooking the toad - we've done that in under 3 minutes in an emergency situation.  Otherwise it is 5 minutes.   And if we have a pull through site - no unhooking needed.   

As for being tired from a long day of travel - if you are doing that you are doing it (fulltiming) wrong.  We leave about 10:00 am and arrive at our next stop about 2:00 pm.  We don't stop for lunch, just breaks to change drivers.   There is no reason to put in long days of driving unless you are trying to stay ahead of a storm or you have a family emergency.  Otherwise, slow down and enjoy the journey

 

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For me, it's how many drive trains do you want to maintain and would you like taking your home to a service station for one of them?

That simple for me. 

Set-up times, not an issue important enough to consider, at least for me.

 

Do let us know what you decide.

Thanks

Edited by markandkim

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It totally depends on one's priorities and for us, the deciding factor is the cost of ownership. We have had two Arctic Fox fifth wheels in 11 years of full-timing, because trailers cost much less to maintain than a motorhome, at least in our experience. 

For instance, 10-ply trailer tires on our fifth wheel are about $121 each through places like SimpleTire. Our friend was just telling us that a good tire on his motorhome is about $800. And he needs more of them than we do.

Maintenance on our Dodge has also cost less than what it costs to maintain a motorhome and toad. If we ever wanted to sell our Dodge (we don't), we would get a decent resale value on it even for a 2006, as opposed to a used passenger vehicle toad.

Sure, it would be nice to have a motorhome sometimes, but the thought of needing to work harder to pay for it just doesn't rock our world. Our rig is low maintenance and paid for, and we like it that way.

 

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50 minutes ago, LiveWorkDream said:

Our friend was just telling us that a good tire on his motorhome is about $800. And he needs more of them than we do.

Quote
  • Part Number: 756305050 
  • Service Description: 138 B  
  • Sidewall: TL 
  • Load Range: G (14 Ply) 
  • Type: Commercial All Position 
  • Application(s): Coach/Bus,RV
FREE SHIPPING
BUY NOW: Limited availability.
Price will increase soon.

Today's Price                $518.92                    $2,075.68 Set of 4

 

 

Edited by Kirk Wood

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7 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

 

Thanks! I will send him there, he's been shopping at all the wrong places obviously.

But. . . $518.92 for a Class A versus $121 is still quite a difference, especially if cost is a concern. I think I'd have a heart attack if I had to buy tires that cost that much.

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23 hours ago, OregonJim said:

For me, the most important thing is trying to imagine the amount of work required on a regular basis to setup/breakdown camp.  Remember, you'll be doing this dozens of times each year, usually before and after a long day of driving - and the weather may not always be favorable.  In a motorhome, you can just stop, push a button to level, and go to bed.  Hookups can wait until the morning.  In a fiver, you have to set out the legs, chock the wheels, unhook the truck, level the rig, then you can go to bed (and it could very well be raining the whole time).  Also, I dread the day that I forget to lock the pin in place before driving off. 

Pro to a Class A is everything is on one level.  Walk up one set of stairs from outside and you're in.  In a 5er, there are stairs to (usually) the bedroom and sometimes also the livingroom.

As for setup, many new 5ers come with an auto level system.  True, you need to unhook prior to using the auto level.  As for chocking the wheels, haven't done that since our first 5er with the auto level.  Same with setting legs.  There are none to set manually...just push a button.  Depends on the 5er.

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48 minutes ago, LiveWorkDream said:

But. . . $518.92 for a Class A versus $121 is still quite a difference, especially if cost is a concern. I think I'd have a heart attack if I had to buy tires that cost that much.

Count the number of tires. With most motorhmes, there are 6 while a truck and fiver come up with 10. Tow a car and you do add  4 more but at much less cost. And many  owners of heavy haulers have tires that cost just as much as the motorhome and carry a small car too.

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On 10/10/2018 at 1:54 PM, mickeyblueyes said:

Sorry for beating a dead horse, or a age old topic.

 

On 10/10/2018 at 1:59 PM, chirakawa said:

It doesn't matter what choice you make, it won't be perfect.  All types and sizes of RV's have their advantages and shortcomings.

I think that you got your best answer in the very first response. There is simply no way to study this issue to the point that you get the "perfect" RV for your needs. The good news is that many different options are available, and all of them will work just fine. But all of them involve compromises. 

As you can see from just the responses above some folks put crash worthiness at the top of their list, others convenience in setting up in the rain, and others overall cost of ownership. We would never consider the first two as top-priorities, but certainly agree that cost of ownership is an important criteria for most. 

Make an reasonably informed decision, and then enjoy yourself.   

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33 minutes ago, mptjelgin said:

Make an reasonably informed decision, and then enjoy yourself.   

Also, make a reasonably informed decision then STOP SHOPPING!

Linda Sand

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3 minutes ago, sandsys said:

Also, make a reasonably informed decision then STOP SHOPPING!

 

This is a good point. Once we bought our fulltime RV home we stopped visiting RV shows for at least 10 years. Why keep looking once you buy to try and find an RV that will make you wish you could buy something different? 

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