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Newbie and Looking at fifth wheels need advice


m5Mike&Denise

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Hello everyone,

My husband Mike and I are new to this forum and are looking at purchasing a fifth wheel in the next few months, however we are so overwhelmed looking at all the units available I feel we need a little help. We have narrowed our search to a few floor plans, but as far as which model and manufacturer we are conflicted. I was looking at purchasing a book "Travel trailer & fifth wheel comparison guide" by Randel Eaton and wanted to know if anyone has used this book and if so did you find it useful? Thanks for any help :)

Denise

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Welcome to the forum. It took me 15 years to decide on a brand. Most of my information came from reading this and other forums, going to RV shows and pouring over manufacturers literature concentrating on specs and construction. My choice was to buy a higher quality/priced rig intended for fulltiming that was a couple years old.

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Welcome to the Escapee forums! It is great having you join us and I notice that you are a fellow Texan! That is the official home of the Escapee organization, although not everyone has their domicile here(we happen to live here too).

 

On the make of RV, there are a number of pretty good buyer's guides around with varying degrees of validity. I am not familiar with that particular one but have found the best advice in my opinion to be that of the RV Consumer Group, and the guide which they publish. But there are also a lot of folks here who can give advice on the makes/models that they have owned. It might be helpful to get more valid advice if you were to share with us your intended use of the RV. It requires a much higher quality of RV to survive constant use as your only home than it would for vacations and weekends.

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Here's how we narrowed our choices

1. We scoured the RV forums for a list of brands that people were full timing in. Then narrowed the list to the top 7

2 we then inspected these units new for fit, finish and build quality, narrowing the field down to about 5 brands

 

3 we then searched out those brands in used units in the year range we were interested in buying. We looked for how well they held up physically. Looked for structural components. Things such as refers, furnaces etc didn't enter the picture as they all come from just a few manufacturers and will have their own inherent problems

 

4 this narrowed our search to the few brands we would consider. The floor plan was important but we also felt quality of build came first. To us a great floor plan was of no help if the rig fell as part around our heads.

 

We ended up with a used 7 year old rig that may not have been the fanciest one but served us well for another 7 years. We didn't get concerned about it being an orphan rig. It was after all used!!

 

We used the same approach when looking for our MH. We knew which brands and years we would consider, had a couple must haves and knew what we would give up to get the important stuff. Took us 3 years to find our current MH

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Thanks for the responses and info. Kirk, for the next couple of years we will be using it for weekends and a couple of 2week vacations, but after that the plan is using it for a couple of months at a time in our favorite states. Just wanting to make sure we get a unit that is built well and will hold up for our needs.

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Welcome, if you plan on using the fiver a lot, full time, there are not that many that are rated for full time use and they tend to

be heavier and better built. Most of the fivers are rated for occasional use only, it should clearly indicate that in their paperwork.

Good Luck

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We knew we would be looking to go full-time - which eliminated a whole slew of makes and models. I agree with Kirk that we found the information from RV Consumer Group to be very helpful. While no review can be taken as absolute "gospel", it helped us narrow down the field to a few makes & models. We spent LOTS of time looking at www.rvtrader.com and www.rvt.com looking at our preferred makes & models - getting a feel for price, looking at the floor plans we liked, etc. Of course, visiting dealers & RV shows to see various units first-hand. And definitely listening to comments on the forums!

 

Since it was our plan to be going full-time, we envisioned spending weeks and months together in the units we visited. Our initial size estimates expanded somewhat as we did this (also, many forum members have indicated that the bought too small & had to trade up.) But now we have a unit that was gently used, has a floor plan we love, and is planned to be our home for years to come.

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Hello everyone,

My husband Mike and I are new to this forum and are looking at purchasing a fifth wheel in the next few months, however we are so overwhelmed looking at all the units available I feel we need a little help. We have narrowed our search to a few floor plans, but as far as which model and manufacturer we are conflicted. I was looking at purchasing a book "Travel trailer & fifth wheel comparison guide" by Randel Eaton and wanted to know if anyone has used this book and if so did you find it useful? Thanks for any help :)

Denise

Feel absolutely blessed that you have already narrowed your search to 5th wheels only. After years of research into our decision, we have just recently come to the conclusion that a 5th wheel is the right set-up for us... at least we think so. :D I've not heard of the book you referenced but will check it out. Thanks and good luck.

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Denise,

 

I am exactly where you are in the selection process and I'm just as overwhelmed. Just about the time I think I've got the field narrowed down, I come across one that starts me all over again.

 

So far the best advice I can give (and remember I'm a newb just like you), is to go to as many RV shows as you can stand. After a while you'll start to notice rigs that just 'feel' cheap and rigs that just 'feel' solid. Usually the price will be a pretty good tell. I'm finding the $50k-60k (show pricing) range is a pretty good break-point between weekend-warrior level and full-time possibles. I'm also finding that most of the real high end manufacturers don't typically present at the shows.

 

One thing that might help is to sit down and make up a spreadsheet of the types of life/lifestyle versus rig types and see what the results are. Here's one I did that as you can see pointed me towards a smaller fifth wheel. My answers below are what fit for me. Yours will very likely be totally different.

 

 

Comparison%20Spreadsheet_zpslqaphkm5.jpg

 

Hope this helps.

 

Russ

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I don't think the RV Consumer Group, http://www.rv.org/ , is gospel but we used it and it certainly was an influential information source for us. The forums are good, but people will trumpet thier own brand, or someone with a bad experience may be an outlier rather than representative of the brand. I looked at units, listened to recommendations on the forums and then cross checked my impressions with RV consumer group. Rv consumer does break them down into categories, recreationial, snowbirding , fulltime, etc and also gives you an idea of the street prices so at least you are comparing apples to apples.

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Hi. I bought my rig last May. I'm a finance guy so I approached the hunt in an analytical way, plus I have some real estate appraisal background, so I knew how to value equipment. The blizzard of crap you'll see is mind boggling, so narrow down to the actual make and model, then go to the market to find it. Or, pick two that you're indifferent to, then go to the market. But, be ready to buy when you see a deal, and you need to know (because you've researched values) to do this. If making a reasonable trade at a reasonable prince is your style, that's great. I wanted to by under market if possible, so I know what I wanted, had a list of comparables that were on the market, then jumped on a deal when I was posted on RVtrader. I got it just in tie to avoid other offers coming in. It was a by owner.

 

Anyhow, learn the inventory cycles and when dealers are flush with inventory and eager to sell. After a big show, the local dealers will have lots of inventory from trades, for example. A the end of summer, lots of snow birds in FL trade in. Knowig when the inventory is greatest is helpful. Talking to RV salesfolks is like talkign to drunken circus clowns, which you likely know, so do your own homework so you can use their bull as a guild, but don't rely exclusively on any sales person.

 

I'm commenting more on acquisition process, than what you might want. Good luck.

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