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GR "Scott" Cundiff

Which would you prefer? The old MH vrs 5ver discussion revisited

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I've been doing some research and it brings this to mind.

Just for fun: for about the same amount of money would you rather have a 15 year old high end motorhome with a used towed or a new diesel pickup with a 3 year old high end 5th wheel? Why?

(Note: I'm not asking you to tell me what I should do, and I know there are mitigating circumstances - it just seems to be an interesting decision that, apparently many fulltimers have made.)

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8 minutes ago, Barbaraok said:

Easy for us.  MH because I don’t want a huge PU as a daily driver.

Exactly that^ , plus a MH is set up and made ready for travel in a few minutes . Not to mention there are fewer stairs to have to navigate and generally a MH seems to be built better .

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Easy decision for me, too.

A 15 year old motorhome will require major repairs and service 12-15 years sooner than a new pickup and a 3 year old fifth wheel.  When something breaks, the motorhome is locked the shop.  Maybe they will let you sleep in the motorhome at night, if not you're stuck in a motel for the duration of the repair.  A truck with the rig's entire drivertrain can go into the shop while your 5th wheel home stays comfortably set up in a campground.

How does a motorhome get on the road faster than a 5th wheel?   The only differences are hitching or unhitching a truck and trailer, or connecting or disconnecting a toad from the motorhome.  Both take about the same amount of time and effort.

And, as your example points out, you generally get much more bang for the buck out of a truck and trailer combo, if total cost is an issue in your financial planning.  

That leaves using the truck as your daily driver versus using a used, smaller toad.  How much is this worth to you?

Edited by Lou Schneider

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Our coach is 16 years old.  We don’t have her locked on a shop to get repaired.  She keeps on going with planned maintenance and upgrades.  How much is not having a truck, which would have to be an MDT, at least, to pull a 5th wheel comparable to our  MH - obviously more than picking out fictitious  reasons not to have a motorhome.

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I'm glad your choice works for you, Barbara.  My choice works for me, too.  Viva la difference.

I chose a pickup truck and trailer for it's greater value.  I have a reliable $8k truck (1999 Ford 7.3 PowerStroke) that does a great job pulling a nice $7k trailer (2001 Sunnybrook).  I bought them four years ago, shortly before I retired, after owning a few motorhomes.  I may replace one or the other sometime in the future, but so far they're doing fine.  Going this route let me retire when I did with a comfortable nest egg instead having to work another 3-4 years to buy a reliable motorhome. 

That's reality, not fiction.

Edited by Lou Schneider

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My personal choice was to buy one of each. I use my MH for continuous summer travels, a to b to c to d. I use my 5'er for extended winter stays in same spot. My experience with both shows the MH is faster to setup/teardown, but it depends on whether the 5'er has auto or manual leveling.  Most 5'ers don't come from the factory with auto jacks; most MH do. Most MH can be parked & leveled without stepping outside. If you change locations every few days, the ease of setup/teardown is a major factor. If you only move once a month, its not a big factor.

Assuming the MH got regular maint, the 15 yr old motorhome is likely to have less problems than a new diesel pickup. My 12 yr old class A diesel pusher has never been in the shop except for routine oil/filter changes when I didn't feel like doing it myself. My new diesel pickup was in the shop 10 times in the first year.  Lately it seems each new version of a deisel pickup engine is a trial & error experiment. Likewise, no reason to think the 3 yr old 5'er won't end up in the shop as often as the MH.  I tell folks to pick the one you think is a better deal and fits your own personal preferences. The only mistake you can make, is basing your decision on someone elses preferences.

Edited by JRP

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 Both motorhomes 15 years old and fivers that are 3 years old have a very wide range in price. Your diesel truck is going to cost on the order of $50-60k or more and trailers probably $40k or so, which means we have a budget of about $100K for a motorhome and car. Looking at RV Trader, it looks like we could get a 2005 Alpine Coach with 43k miles for $85K leaving $15k for a tow vehicle. Or a 2006 Country Coach with 77K also for $85k. Or a 2006 Beaver with 45K miles also for $85k. Based on this data I would choose the class A with tow car.

Edited by Kirk W

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If it was a DP with a m/c lift already on the back, probably the MH and toad, depending on hours and mileage of each.  If that MH is well cared for, I doubt it would spend much time in the shop.

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The MH will have air leveling, the 5th will have jacks.  The MH will have a hydro-hot or similar, the 5th will have propane for heat and hot water.  You can run the generator and air, or the heat, while traveling in a MH, not so much for the 5th.   The MH has a diesel generator, the 5th lacks one or it is on propane, and is much smaller, but assumed to be fit for purpose and sized properly.

The MH is a bit more maneuverable due to larger wheel cut and independent front suspension.  The 5th cuts inside the PU a lot more, so a much wider turn.

Amenities should be similar.  Living space parked may favor the 5th, as the slides can be larger (deeper). 

Annual maintenance on the MH will be a lot more than for the PU and 5th to cover the air dryer, the hydro hot, and the engine, and replacing tires and batteries as needed.

One issue with a 5th is reaching to the hitch on a dually, which is likely needed if you are comparing a DP to comparable 5th.  Getting to the hitch operating lever can be a challenge on a dually, less so on an MDT or HDT. 

One issue unique to the coach is how it drives.  Some require a lot of attention and steering input, and some less.  It can usually be cured with motion control in the air lines and tire pressure adjusted to the load.  Some are a bit less curable.

A 5th is higher inside than a MH.  If you are short, you cant reach the storage shelves.  If you are tall, (say over 6'4) you may have headroom issues in a MH.

Have had both, and they both have their pros and cons.  We are currently in a MH and happy with it, but would go back to a 5th and also be happy.

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We first went shopping about a decade ago, DW did not like a motorhome. Feels like a bus. 5ther looked like a home. I can see pros and cons both ways. Bottom line for us , Mama not happen nobody happy

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18 minutes ago, GlennWest said:

We first went shopping about a decade ago, DW did not like a motorhome. Feels like a bus. 5ther looked like a home. I can see pros and cons both ways. Bottom line for us , Mama not happen nobody happy

Which is why we have a motorhome.  Plus, it kept our cats happy; which is important because dogs have owners, cats have staff.😸

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Motorhome. I have a condition which requires quick access to a bathroom at times. Dave can pull onto the shoulder while I'm already making my way down the hall.

Plus, we liked being able to pull in while it was raining and eat a meal without having to go outside--even if that meant waiting for the next day to do hookups.

Linda Sand

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 We have been fulltime in a MH for over 6 years now and have loved it. But we have a 5th wheel being built and will be switching in April, why, well because we are going to start moving less often and I don't want the engine, belts, hoses ect sitting for longer periods (2, 3, 4 months at a time).

 I think both have their strong and weak points and I can say with certainty that the 5th wheel and truck combo we are getting isn't much less than we paid for our motorhome, in fact we are paying more for the truck and 5th wheel combo than we paid for our current motorhome and pickup so we don't expect to experience any less quality.

 In a few months we will be able to speak intelligently about what we feel is best for (us).  

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Lou hits most of the high points.  We have a different perspective when it comes to MH vs. fiver for full timing since we have now done it both ways.

The difference in setting up time, maintenance cost comparison, resale possibilities, and all the other variables really wasn't the deciding factor when we returned to full timing. 

The major deciding factor for us was the toad(s).  Previously we could get around great in our 1 ton diesel.  However this time around we wanted to have a regular car plus our Harley with us at all times.  As it turns out we added a 14' Kayak to the mix and are in the process of adding a second one.  All of this would have been next to impossible if we would have tried to return to a fiver type combination.

So just because there are a lot of differences between having a MH and a fiver when full timing, toad or daily driver considerations could be a deciding factor for many.  With our MH we can change our daily driver to about anything we want and have more than one.   With a fiver you are pretty much limited.

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I was told early on that you get a MH to drive and a trailer, including 5th wheel, to park. With a fiver your pickup is your transportation and you only have one engine to take care of. We park our fiver in the UP of MI for 4 or 5 months each summer. It is not a problem to drive a large PU because as a part time rancher in SE Texas for many years, I always drove big PUs. Good Luck

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16 hours ago, Kirk W said:

 Both motorhomes 15 years old and fivers that are 3 years old have a very wide range in price. Your diesel truck is going to cost on the order of $50-60k or more and trailers probably $40k or so, which means we have a budget of about $100K for a motorhome and car. Looking at RV Trader, it looks like we could get a 2005 Alpine Coach with 43k miles for $85K leaving $15k for a tow vehicle. Or a 2006 Country Coach with 77K also for $85k. Or a 2006 Beaver with 45K miles also for $85k. Based on this data I would choose the class A with tow car.

That's about what I came up with too.  I'm thinking that, not counting repairs, etc. the motorhome in my scenario would cost about 5k more to own over 5 years.

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We had not owned a fifth wheel before going fulltime but had owned pop-ups, TT, a Class A and a Class C for 12 years. Even though I really liked the convenience when traveling in a MH, we really wanted the storage space and home feel of the fifth wheel for fulltime so we didn’t even look at MHs. After 3 years in our 5er, I thought it might be fun to just “check out” some DP MH at an RV show (in case we made the wrong choice- ha).

 We looked at many different units and manufacters, both DP and gas, new and used, and could not find any floor plans that had the must haves list that we had when we bought our 5W. Or any that I could live fulltime with now. So I guess my vote would still be 5W and truck.

Vicki

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We spent several years researching before we bought. First we had to decide what sort of RV we needed. As we looked at how we thought our full-time adventure would go, we decided that a MH was the best choice for us. Only then did we start to focus on specific brands and then specific years and models. That led us to our 1993 Foretravel U300. The interior is always at a comfortable temperature whether we're parked or traveling. No slides means that we don't have those headaches. No Aquahot means more basement space and no annual maintenance. Air bag leveling means no jacks or jack pads to deal with.

We start to make plans and God starts laughing. Our original thought was that we wouldn't spend more than a month at a time anywhere, and normally moving a couple hundred miles 2-3 times a month. Well, since then we've gotten connected with Laborers For Christ, our church's group that helps congregations and related entities with their construction projects. We're on the job site for several months at a time. We've also started doing campground hosting. Again, two months at a time is happening more than we ever thought it would. The result is that our Foretravel is now for sale and we are looking for a used pickup and a used 34' Airstream.

Why not a 5'er? I don't want that large of a truck or that tall of a trailer. Our Foretravel is 11' 10" tall. I have a placard on the dash that says "Safe clearance 12" 6" " to give myself a bit of a safety margin. Less than 100 Airstreams were built with slides, so finding one without slides is easy.

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Like Glenn, I chose to go with a semi, a large 5th wheel and a Smart car.  Unlike him, I'm retired and single.  For me, there was only one person voting, and he doesn't have any health constraints yet, so I bought what I wanted 😉

My trailer is auto-leveling (activated by a remote key fob).  It came with a washer and a dryer, 4 slide-outs, a 21 cubic foot residential refrigerator, 800 watts of solar and a 1000 pounds of batteries.  It weighs over 20K pounds and is designed to last a long time, inside and out.  My trailer requires a powerful tow vehicle.

The Volvo 770 I chose brakes better than any pickup truck.  It also climbs hills better than almost any motor home.  And if I were to be involved in an accident, I'd be better protected than I would be in any pickup truck or motor home.  And the service availability for my truck is best in class (RVs).

I realize that the size of my rig will prevent me from the enjoyment of places that are height, length or weight restricted.  All rigs have constraints. My choice was best for me, for what I want.

Dan

Edited by DanZemke
clarification

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