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New and fact finding.


finally03gt

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Hello all,

 

DW and I just purchased a Jayco 26 BH and it has kicked off the idea of fulltimeing, when we empty nest. We have 4 yrs until the youngest graduates. We have a place in Conroe, TX where we raised the kiddos, and a place in Livingston, just a few miles from the Escapees Park. Our mother in law is also staying with us. She is healthy, just needs a little financial help. I work offshore on 4 week rotations and my DW is a RN.

 

So the plan: Get the kiddo out of HS, move back to Livingston, sell the place in Conroe. Use the equity to pay off and make a few improvements in Livingston, and use it as a place for mom in law to live, and as a "home base". I'm a car nut, so a shop to tinker around in is high on my list. Spend a year or so in Livingston preping finances and getting the kiddo settled into college. My DW plans to begin contract nursing that would provide her work in various areas on 5-18 week contracts. Buy a F350, and a 35-40' 5'r, and hit the road follwing her work. We plan to do one contract, then home for about the same period of time, give or take.

 

Obviously, I have time on my side here, but, I'll like to learn as much as possible for the experience of others. Ideas/Suggestions?

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1. Make sure the floor plan and 5ver size is something that you both primarily agree upon; not to big/not to small(what you mentioned would be fine)

2. A F350-450 dually diesel is strongly recommended for the size range mentioned. One of the biggest things I see people do is to buy less truck than they need because someone says, "that 250-350 single wheel truck with a diesel will pull it ok". Don't cheap on the truck size. Don't want a big truck, don't get a big 5ver.

3. A newer pre-owned both vs new might be a consideration as the bugs/problems will have been worked out by someone else.

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Thanks,

 

I had to work the DW into the Dually idea. We started at 3/4 tons. Personally, I'd consider a MDT/HDT, but she'll need transportation to and from work, once we get set up in a place. If we had to do it now the http://www.jayco.com/products/fifth-wheels/2016-north-point/377rlbh/ is our favorite so far. We want to be able to sleep another 2 adults and 3 kids or so, without dedicating a lot of space specifically to that purpose. It has a max Gross of just under 16K#, so I think the F350 woud handle that.

 

On new vs pre-owned.... I'm completely comfortable looking for a pre-owned truck. I do NOT have the first clue about pre-owned 5'rs. I spend alot of time turning wrenches on older vehicles, keeping the family mobile and kinda like the idea of new and extended warranties and let some one else worry about it. So, on a truck for example, I feel that 1-2 years old with 20-30K miles is a reasonable compromise. How old/what to look for, on a 5'r before I should get nervous about buying someone elses problem?

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I guess my biggest quesiton is, what questions do I need to be asking. I think we are in good spot budget wise, and there is alot of information. TV and weight considerations have been one of the biggest discussion points. I've notice that a few mfg'rs actually market their 5'rs as extended stay, or lifestyle, while others say in the warranty fine print, for recreational use only. So what are the questions that people didn't even realize to ask when starting out?

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Understand your weights and what your ultimate cargo capacity after water propane is. Fulltime requires a minimum 1k person.

Start looking thru forums at what 5th wheels most fulltimers are using. Make a list of about 7. (You can find user forums to read about inherent issues in some brands). Go look at those rigs new and look for quality of build. Narrow your list to about 5. Now go find some of those units used and see how they have held up. Narrow your field and start looking at those used units. That's how we bought our first fulltime rig. It worked very well

We ignored floor plans until we narrowed our final list and then went shopping with our must have list in mind.

Buying our second rig took 3 years of looking but we had the advantage of 5+ years of seeing lots of MH and knowing what our priorities were.

 

Used to us is a good thing. Bugs have been worked out and overlooking some things is easy because you can redecorate, rip out carpet etc

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First, welcome to the Escapee forums! I think that you will find this a good place to get solid advice from those with a great deal of experience.

I guess my biggest quesiton is, what questions do I need to be asking.

I believe that you have already demonstrated that you are one up on the game by starting to plan early and doing your home-work. In my opinion, the first thing that you should do is to get and read at least one and perhaps two good books on the full-time RV lifestyle. My suggestion is to check with your local library as they probably have more than one, or if you wish to buy, check out the long list of such books available from Amazon. In addition, if you look in the signature line of many of us who post here, you will find a link to the website or blog that the author has and in those you will find a great deal of valuable information. By reading as many as you can you will begin to see the very wide range of lifestyles which those of us who live in an RV have chosen to live. Most people are quite surprised at some of the different ways of life, but the only limit to what you can do while living in an RV is your own imagination.

 

Since you live in Texas already, you may find it helpful to take a hard look at the services that Escapees RV Club have to offer, but there is plenty of time for that one and since you have a home in Livingston, I suggest that at some convenient time you drop by, take the tour and just generally familiarize yourself with the group and what they offer. They publish what I consider to be the very best of the RV related magazines.

 

At this point, I would not make any hard line plans but just stick with learning the ropes and exploring what sort of things you will need to address and the options available for dealing with them. You have plenty of time, but use it well as it will go by more quickly than you expect. As you do so, join in to conversations here and ask any questions as there is nearly always someone on these forums who has experienced most of the problems you may encounter.

 

Welcome!

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If we had to do it now the http://www.jayco.com/products/fifth-wheels/2016-north-point/377rlbh/ is our favorite so far. We want to be able to sleep another 2 adults and 3 kids or so, without dedicating a lot of space specifically to that purpose.

Wow! That is one of the most livable floor plans I've seen! I could see that bonus room quickly becoming someone's hideout space--maybe for doing crafts where you wouldn't have to pick up everything at mealtime. Since you plan to make extended stays having to pick up everything to move wouldn't be as much as a problem as it would for some of us.

 

As to "recreational only" classification--to me that means things will wear out sooner rather than later. If you go that route plan your budget accordingly.

 

Linda Sand

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Nana25K, Thanks. At this point I'm just using the 5'rs GVWR. If I understand properly, that's the most I can ever put on it's frame, but more so, axles, brakes, and tires. If max GVRW as described by the MFG is not a good number, let me know..

 

Kirk, I appreciate the input. Being of the cyber generations, I am more likely to hover around forum boards and such, rather than read a book cover to cover. I am working my way through about 3 web pages/blogs ect from some fulltimers out there. http://rvlifestyleexperts.com/ http://www.rvlifestyle.net/ http://www.rv-dreams.com/ That said, I'll be looking at the list you hyperlinked. I plan to swing by the Escapees in Livingston next time I go up to cut the grass. Thank you for the welcome.

 

Sandsys. We've seen it in person and it's awesome. Don't know if you caught it, but there is a full side bed in a loft over that bonus room. Easily sleep 2 teens. Then the pull out couch in the bonus room. The bunk in the bonus room is "toddler" size. Then the full pull out couch in the living room. We figure we could have one of our our daughter, a spouse, and 3-4 of their kids. Best part is, not a lot of space dedicated to a "bunk room" . In our Jayco warranty "fine print" they can actually decline warranty repairs if the TT is used full time. As suggested by nana25k, I'll be seeing who has what. I'm also planning to make some drive throughs at a couple of parks, and see what's around, and what looks like its holding up.

 

I will say, you RV folks are just about as friendly as a car swap meet.. haha. I'm loving it already. Now, if I could just figure out how to RV and pull my garage around with me...... :rolleyes:

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Kirk, I appreciate the input. Being of the cyber generations, I am more likely to hover around forum boards and such, rather than read a book cover to cover.

Quite a few of those books are available in an "E" version so don't dismiss them too quickly. As good as the websites are, there are none that I know of which are as complete and well arranged as the better books. I also suggest that you add some sites to your list from those of us who post here as we have some excellent ones on these forums. I'd highly recommend that you take a look at Jack Meyer's site, the site of Mark Nemeth and several others, and also invite you to take a look at the website that we keep as well. There are some talented writers who contribute to these pages so don't overlook the folks here. :)

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At this point I'm just using the 5'rs GVWR. If I understand properly, that's the most I can ever put on it's frame, but more so, axles, brakes, and tires. If max GVRW as described by the MFG is not a good number, let me know..

 

Yes, the GVWR of the fifth wheel is the number you want to keep in mind. Also, the hitch weight on the bed of the truck will be 20%-25% of the fiver's GVWR.

 

When looking at trucks, keep in mind that the towing numbers are for a basic truck with no options, a partial tank of fuel (1/8?), no gear, no passengers, and only one 150# driver.

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Yes ma'am. I'm calculating 25% of max trailer gross (pin weight), and 1000-1500# of people and cargo when I consider my "payload" numbers, on the TV itself. Most Duallies now don't seem to have a problem with 17000# of 5th wheel, but I am watching that. And then of course, Truck weight, plus the above mentioned people and cargo, and the trailer max GVRW all go toward TV GCVWR. I saw someone mention staying at or below 80% of the TV's limits, so I'll be adding that to my calculations.

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Sandsys. We've seen it in person and it's awesome. Don't know if you caught it, but there is a full side bed in a loft over that bonus room. Easily sleep 2 teens.

Thanks for pointing that out. I diid indeed miss the loft bed. I did suspect the bunk in the bonus room of being toddler sized. But this unit just gets better and better for those wanting family to join them occasionally.

 

Linda Sand

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All IMO.

 

Me, for a trailer that big, I wouldn't do anything smaller than an F450. For comfortable, non-white-knuckle, towing, you want to be at no more than about 75-80% of the closest rating, not 100%. As to the ratings, with 5ers you will generally find that the rear axle rating is the limiting factor, not the trailer weight or the GCWR. But ALL have to be well within spec.

 

I think you'll also find that very few used F350s are properly optioned for the max tow rating, whereas F450s come with all that stuff standard. So you look for an F450 that was bought as a "glamour truck" - you know what I mean. There are quite a few out there, with low miles (because glamour), more than you'd think.

 

As to the 5er, always, always, always buy used, unless you badly need some specific feature or floorplan you can't get on the used market. Depreciation on RVs is horrific, and there are lots of them out there that are barely used. Lets face it, unless you're a retiree with savings to spend, affording a large RV generally means having a good-paying job, which means very little time to use the RV. Use these facts to your advantage. For sure whatever you spend on an RV is pretty close to a sunk cost.

 

As to buying a used RV, pretty much like buying a used car: condition is everything. :) Ideally, you want to buy something that was used sparingly, by somebody with money, and stored INDOORS. Believe me, this stuff is out there, though admittedly maybe more common with Class As than big 5ers. Still, you buy condition and the previous owner as much as you do the vehicle. All your previous experience in dealing with vehicles is applicable, there just are more systems now.

 

Finally, realize that no matter how big a 5er looks you're still going to have to give up almost all your "stuff". So then the extra space is just floor space. Do you really need more floor space for just two people? If you're the friendly sort, and like to invite people in a lot, then yes, having a lot of floor space is very nice. Other than that? So why am I dragging up the old 5er vs. MH argument? Because I hear that one of you is going to need to commute in a 4-wheeler. Commuting, or even sightseeing, in a Giant Pickup is simply a PITA and No Fun. With a MH your commute car is an actual car. Much more pleasant, and cheaper to run. People worry about the fuel economy of their rig, but I think for most people they do about 3-4x the miles in their 4-wheeler as they do in their rig.

 

So here's my advice, fwiw: go to dealers and RV shows. Go through the rigs and play 2 games: first, identify where every single thing in your life is going to be stored, and second, go through the motions of daily life. Pretend to take a shower, use the john, cook a meal, watch TV, sleep, enjoy your hobbies. You will learn a huge amount.

 

When we did this, we learned a few things (for us): we ended up ruling out a 5er, even though we were leaning that way. Yes, they look like they have a lot of storage - inside. But a Class A has as much storage or more - when you add in inside and outside. And when we were actually sitting, or cooking, or using the facilities, or lying on the bed, we found all that floor space was just wasted. Then add in that when you're traveling with a 5er you can't get to the john or your living space without going outside, and in many/most 5ers with slides (like, all, today), you can't get to much of anything but the john and the fridge with the slides in. And, the view out through a Class A windshield bears no comparison to the view through a pickup windshield.

 

So, up to you. Not intending to argue or question your choices. Just giving another viewpoint. Good luck!

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Actually, now that I think about it, let me suggest another plan.

 

It sounds like you're trying to pick your Perfect RV. Which is understandable. But if you read through the archives here and on other forums one thing you'll see repeated over and over is that people nearly ALWAYS end up wanting something very different from what they originally pick. When you haven't "done it" yet, imagination is fine, but it's a long, long way from actual experience. Lots of things in life are like that. :)

 

So, here are my thoughts: at first at least, you intend to go out and back, out and back. This means if you change your mind/make a mistake it's not a disaster, because you have a "back" to come back to. It also means you don't have to limit everything you own to what you can carry, because you'll leave some stuff at the house. So what about this? Buy a used, maybe 10 year old, smallish 5er (or MH), say around 32' (better for learning, smaller is better if you can make the adjustment). Tell yourself right from the get-go that this is your learner RV and you are going to get another one you like better once you have learned, through experience, what you like and don't like. That way there's no notion that you're "settling", and you can put up with anything you don't like because you know it's just temporary. Take it out on a couple of these contract cycles. Learn. Enjoy. THEN go buy your "real" rig, when you know something for real instead of just from imagining and forum posts. A nice 5er like that can be easily found for $15k. It might be the best RV investment you ever make. For sure if you buy a new one over 35' and then trade it, you'll lose a lot more than $15k on depreciation,.

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Duely noted. Thank you for the time you invested in your comments,and you raise several good points. DW is fairly strong willed, and has her mind made up that she doesn't need a "trial period" I'm pushing for one myself. We may revisit the MH idea, but one thing we know is important to us, is the ability to sleep about 4-5 extra people. We are young, and want to enjoy having our daughters and their families meeting up with or tagging along with us occasionally. We've noticed three basic layouts.

1. This thing is for *us* and everyone else can just deal with it when there are here. Example. Very common lay out with "master bedroom" and generous living area, but the only additional sleeping is one pull out couch (this is just not a good fit for us)

2. This is primarily for *us*, but still like some flexibility. Example: units with 2 pull out couches in living area. (This is a more ideal fit for us)

3. The whole family is comming along. Example: bunk house designs. (we don't want to dedicate that much space to accomidations for others)

 

It seems most nice class A's are #1. That is a large reason we are not looking at them hard. If we found a layout with more flexibility for sleeping arrangments, we may be more open.

The second factor is cost. Even if I went and spent $60K on a brand new truck and $70 on a brand new 5'r, it's hard to find the same "luxury" in a MH for $130K, at least from what we've seen. Bearing in mind, we haven't shopped used yet.

Third, I'm just the kinda guy that likes to have a truck around. I'm a DIY/car guy, and a pickup is needed for many projects.

Finally, there is the upkeep of 2 drivetrains, and the need to replace the "home" and the "TV" at the same time with a MH. They are seperate with a truck and 5'r.

 

Not saying MH is out, but it's alot of draw backs to overcome, and that's why we are leaning 5'r. Only real advantage I see to a MH is on the road access and a toad.

 

I'm all about pre-owned, but I still have some convincing to do.

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JC2 wrote Oct 6
One of the biggest things I see people do is to buy less truck than they need because someone says, "that 250-350 single wheel truck with a diesel will pull it ok". Don't cheap on the truck size. Don't want a big truck, don't get a big 5ver.

 

This statement is very important as a lots can be pulled but they never mention stopping. You are on track looking at the bottom of the RV as some have the axle and tires are overloads. The math will work out that 7000# axles and E rated tire are not overloaded but take time to read about the weight on the individual tires

 

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My wife and I just bought our first motorhome. We had been looking at trailers for a long time before but were running into the truck issue. We have 4 small kids and didn't want to sacrifice and of our vehicles to replace them with a truck specifically for pulling a trailer. We have been watching her brother go from a bumper to a fifth wheel and he keeps dumping more money into his truck because he bought the truck without thinking he would upgrade his camper. We stumbled on a used 2013 motorhome with only 3k miles on it.

 

The advantage we saw with the used motorhome is we could get the living space we wanted and not have to worry about having enough truck. If we need to upgrade our living space then we ate not left with an under sized truck for our upgrade.

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To safely tow a 16,000 pound trailer you must go to at least a 350/3500 DRW. The GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) for the SRW is typically around 23,500#. The curb weight of the truck is around 8,000 + 16,000# for the trailer and you are already over the GCWR before you add people, hitch, tools, or anything else that is "cargo" for the truck. So, be sure you run the numbers carefully on your planned equipment. (The CGWR for a DRW is typically around 30,000#).

 

We did not follow the conventional wisdom of using a "trial rig" before buying our permanent rig. But we did spend a lot of time walking through trailers at RV shows & RV dealers. When we started, we thought we wanted something in the 30 - 32 ft. range. But spending time in them & envisioning living & working in them we quickly saw that we needed more room. "YOUR" floor plan is the best compromise for all of your needs when it's the two of you, when you have family there, etc. and only you can make that decision. But look, look look.

 

Regarding full-timer quality, it is my observation that most of the people who are complaining about their RV or its manufacturer are people who bought a light weight, occasional use unit but they are using it full time. If the unit is designed for a couple weekends a month and a couple weeks vacation (say 40 nights/year to be generous), you will put more wear on the unit in one year than it is designed for in 10 years of "occasional use". Buy the best quality construction you can! Especially if this is not a "trial rig".

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I just went and kicked tires on class A's. Gas just doesn't do it for me. Diesel is expensive. My DW is the one that will have to commute in the TV, so she has most to gain by going MH. The only thing she saw, that made her want to abandon 5'r was about $340K ($450K MSRP)...haha. We do ok, but not that well. Going to check out used, but....

$60K for a truck, and $60-90K for a pretty nice 5'r, is looking like a cost effective option.

I'm using all new prices, b/c they are easier to compare and easier to kick tires. Still interested in used options.

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My wife and I just bought our first motorhome. We had been looking at trailers for a long time before but were running into the truck issue. We have 4 small kids and didn't want to sacrifice and of our vehicles to replace them with a truck specifically for pulling a trailer.

Welcome to the Escapee forums! We are truly happy to have you join us so please do not hesitate to join in or to ask questions at any time and on any of the forum areas! :D

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