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best travel trailer for full timers (newbies)


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My husband is retired military (1991); I am a retired school teacher (2012). We decided to sell our home of 27 years and buy a house in a 55+ adult community. Well it has not worked out the way we planned (it is what is-everything happens for a reason-our glasses are always half full :lol:) We had some unexpected expenses that depleted our savings so needless to say we are house poor- paying 1200.00 a month for mortgage and HOA fees of 400.00 every quarter. We do not use many of the amenities because frankly most of them revolve around alcohol and my husband does not drink.

Anyway we have never "RVed" except one time when we sold our first home and bought this house. Our first house sold in 5 days and this one was not built. So we rented an old dilapidated 30 foot travel trailer for 3 months. We did not travel; we stayed at a Good Sam RV Park called Blazing Star. It was so nice. We had two dogs and we walked them. The people were very nice; and my husband and I love our memories of that time.Then we moved into the adult community, we feel at times we are back in high school cliques, etc. Anyway we have traveled a lot being military-Florida, Michigan, Spain, New Mexico, Mississippi, and finally San Antonio, Texas. So we are used to traveling.

We have one daughter-she got married at 38. At 40 she was told she would not be able to have kids. Well she is almost 22 weeks pregnant, and they say everything looks great. She just got a double promotion at Topgolf and has moved to Portland, Oregon. She lived in Dallas for ten years so we are used to that. She is an "Aggie" and was away at college for many years as well. I digress! I want to see my granddaughter as much as possible, but believe me that is not the only reason we are going to full time. We want to go places and see things before we get too old to enjoy it. I also want to mention that we are "testing" co-habitation" in a rented 26 foot Jayco with 3 dogs and driving to Oregon to be there for our granddaughter's birth in October. If we can live in that a month without killing each other, then I think we can make it as full timers. :wub: :wub:

Finally, my questions: we wanted a fifth wheel but they cost more than travel trailers. Our credit score is 660 so our rates suck but we are working on that. We want to get a new travel trailer because we think the bank may give us a better deal-at least I was told that. In addition the new ones have more storage. At first we were looking at lite weight trailers and 5th wheels but everyone said if you are going to full time, get something sturdier and that makes sense. I just noticed I have not asked my questions yet :rolleyes: Question 1 -I have heard from dealers that you cannot get a loan for a full time rv if you own a home? How do we get around that until we sell our house. We need the cash for the down payment! Question 2-please give us advice on the best FULL TIME travel trailers and fifth wheels that WON'T cost and arm and a leg???

We have a chance to get a 2015 F-250 with Automatic O/D that is not too expensive-extended cab for the doggies- not diesel-cannot afford it.Thanks in advance.

 

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Are you looking for an RV that is rated for "full time" living or are you going to live in an RV full time? Rated for full time living will significantly reduce your choices.

 

I have never heard of lenders refusing to give a loan to buy an RV unless your credit was not good, regardless of home ownership. I've never heard of a lender asking what your RVing plans are, for that matter. Doesn't mean they don't, I've just never heard of it.

 

A company called "Evergreen RV" has just gone out of business. Their coaches on dealer lots should be AT or VERY close to dealer cost...perhaps even below their cost. Evergreen was the parent company for several brands. While there will be no factory support, negotiating an extended warranty should be easy...and you should still be thousands of dollars ahead.

 

http://www.goevergreenrv.com/

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Hello,

There is not enough space here to share all the advise you could use but maybe enough readers will reply to answer some of your questions.

I went back and checked out your posting history and have some observations from that.

What happened to the Class C idea? That might work for you. Did you plan to buy the CRV as a toad?

If you retired from the Texas Teachers Association and with your husband's military retirement you should be able to float your note?

Since you are both short of 65 then Social Security is still out there but after 62 your husband can start drawing reduced SS funds. If you are drawing Texas Teachers Retirement they are self funded and while you were paying into that retirement you were not paying into any SS Quarters, unless you worked part time outside the Teachers Retirement Umbrella.

Do you plan to just travel or are you considering Workamping as a source to assist your finances?

I'll let what I've said settle in and see if you are monitoring this topic you have started, many times we here take time to offer our thoughts and the poster never comes back with any kind of response.

Good luck at any rate no matter how you handle your situation.

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Question 1 -I have heard from dealers that you cannot get a loan for a full time rv if you own a home? How do we get around that until we sell our house. We need the cash for the down payment!

I have no idea where that statement comes from, but it is not true. If you have the credit and the income to meet the repayments of the loan, there is no reason why any lender would not give you the needed loan. Many people buy RVs and finance them while owning a house, probably the majority of such loans go to people who own a house.

 

Question 2-please give us advice on the best FULL TIME travel trailers and fifth wheels that WON'T cost and arm and a leg???

The best RV for fulltime is not going to be the cheapest one. There is a wide range of price/quality RVs in the market and that is because most buyers do not live in their RVs but just spend a couple of weeks of vacation and a few weekends in theirs. That type of use takes many years to put as much use on one as a fulltimer does in one year. You can buy cheap, or you can buy quality, but you are not likely to manage both on the same RV. Of course there is also a wide range in price within the higher quality fifth wheel trailers also because they come in lengths from about 25' to as much as 40'+. If your budget is small you need to be looking at some of the older but high quality RVs. One can easily spend $75k to $100k for a new fulltime RV.

 

We have a chance to get a 2015 F-250 with Automatic O/D that is not too expensive-extended cab for the doggies- not diesel-cannot afford it.

If you don't buy a diesel truck you will be somewhat limited in the size of RV that you can tow. Make sure that you understand the weight limitations of ratings of the truck you buy and choose an RV that meets those limits. If you don't you will risk your safety and probably damage the truck.

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We are not looking for an rv rated full-time-we are looking for an rv to live in. We want some suggestions and thoughts of what has worked for other people. My husband will definitely Workkamp but we do want to travel some. We were told we could not get a loan if the bank thought we were going to full time and then sell our house-I am still confused about that too; I will go to one of the credit application that says something to that effect and cut and paste it into another reply

I do get Texas Teacher Retirement; we took option#1 so if I pass away first, my husband will get my retirement. It does not work like that with military benefits; his checks will stop, but I still have medical and base priviledges. However we have term life insurance that will help.

I did get my 40 quarters in for SS but it is only going to be about 200.00-Windfall Act. I will be taking it at 62. My husband took his at 62.

I wish I could afford a diesel but when we had to deplete our 401, things changed. I think the truck can tow 12,000 lbs ( i downloaded a towing guide)

We are looking at older ones as well. 2 BIG QUESTIONS (maybe 3) 1. Does anyone reading this full time in a travel trailer. 2. What brands are good quality (I heard Jayco is not doing a good job lately) 3. Husband wants to know when you are setting up in an rv park which one is easier to set up-TT or 5th wheel? He drove fuel trucks in the Air Force and I am planning to go to Livingston to take Boot Camp.Has anyone ever gone to the Hershey RV show? Besides the chocolate kisses :P is it worth it.

Let me go find that statement about full timers and owning a home-you're probably right I am confused. One thing else...Best dealers in Texas-used or new.

(truck should cost 30,000. After we sell the house we were thinking of putting down more than the 10%-good idea or not. I am really working hard at getting my credit score. My husband is landscaping in our community instead of me subbing and giving it back to Uncle Sam, especially when they take about 40% of my measly SS. Some teacher just told me that I won't get any of my husband's SS if he dies first and guess what-I can't get an answer from SS. I am making an appointment to meet with them.Thanks guys for all your insight. Can you tell I am a retired teacher-I like to write. :rolleyes:

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"Borrowing against an owned home is not an option unless the money is used directly for that home. Home mortgage interest deduction is restricted to interest paid on mortgage debt used to purchase or improve a residence, or to refinance the remaining balance on a purchase or improvement. The purchase of an RV, therefore, does not qualify for this deduction. Home equity loans limit the amount of interest that is deductible, if your RV loan balance exceeds $100,000. Home mortgage interest deduction is limited to interest paid on home equity loans up to $100,000. "FROM A LOAN APP

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1. BUY TRUCK FIRST FOR TRIP TO OREGON WHEN BABY IS DUE. IF WE DON'T KILL EACH OTHER IN A MONTH IN THE 26 FOOT JAYCO WITH 3 DOGS, THEN...

 

2. HAVE THE HOMEBUILDER FIXED OUR CRACKED FOUNDATION (HOUSE IS ABOUT 4 YEARS OLD AND ABOUT 20 HOUSES HAVE CRACKED FOUNDATIONS ON OUR STREET-I DIGRESS AGAIN.

3. HAIL DAMAGE-NEED NEW ROOF

4. PUT HOUSE UP FOR SALE; WHEN WE GET A BUYER WE RENT AN RV AND STAY AT BLAZING STAR.

5. AFTER WE CLOSE, TAKE SOME OF THE PROFIT FOR THE DOWN PAYMENT AND PUT THE REST IN SAVINGS.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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"Borrowing against an owned home is not an option unless the money is used directly for that home. Home mortgage interest deduction is restricted to interest paid on mortgage debt used to purchase or improve a residence, or to refinance the remaining balance on a purchase or improvement. The purchase of an RV, therefore, does not qualify for this deduction. Home equity loans limit the amount of interest that is deductible, if your RV loan balance exceeds $100,000. Home mortgage interest deduction is limited to interest paid on home equity loans up to $100,000. "FROM A LOAN APP

 

This says NOTHING about being unable to buy an RV while you also have a mortgage. The entire paragraph looks like restrictions on a home refi. Re-read sentence 2 and 3. If you buy an RV with the money from the refi, you can not DEDUCT the mortgage interest. That is all.

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... Some teacher just told me that I won't get any of my husband's SS if he dies first and guess what-I can't get an answer from SS...

Here is a link to an explanation of how the Government Pension Offset affects spousal Social Security benefits of those collecting a pension who did not pay Social Security taxes on the income on which the pension is based. In most cases, if two thirds of your pension is equal to or more than the Social Security spousal benefit, yo will not receive any spousal benefit.

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This says NOTHING about being unable to buy an RV while you also have a mortgage. The entire paragraph looks like restrictions on a home refi. Re-read sentence 2 and 3. If you buy an RV with the money from the refi, you can not DEDUCT the mortgage interest. That is all.

Also, if you borrow against the house to buy the RV, that entire loan will have to be paid off when you sell the house at the time of closing. But there is nothing at all to prevent you from using the purchased RV as security for the loan to buy it, whether or not you own a house. Many lenders will give a better interest rate to borrowers who own a house, when using the RV as security for the loan.

 

We are not looking for an rv rated full-time-we are looking for an rv to live in. We want some suggestions and thoughts of what has worked for other people.

I really don't understand what it is that you are saying here?? There is a lot of discussion about so called "fulltime rated" or not fulltime rated RVs but there is no such rating system in use by the RV industry. There is an excellent guide for RV evaluation published by the RV Consumer Group that does separate RVs into such categories, but much of the common use of the terms are by people who are not members of the group (we were for about 15 years) and who really don't understand the term as defined or know what RVs are in each category. Most of the use of that term here is just a generic use to try and separate the RVs that are well build from those which are not so well built. There is very good reason why there are models which are built by the same RV manufacturer and are the same size that are very different in price. That reason is the difference in materials used in construction of the RV. RVCG has tried to break the different models into some type of category that makes it possible to price/quality compare the different brands of RV which are marketed to the same general market sector. People who buy an RV just for occasional use have no real need to spend enough for one of the highest quality RVs. The divisions do not say that you can't live in any of the different choices, but it is safe to say that if you could live in any of the different types, but those at the high end will survive that type of use for many years and still be reliable, while those at the lower end (price/quality) will not. You can very easily see that by visiting several used RV lots and notice that the RVs which are at the top of the price/quality market can be found still available after 15 to 20 years of use in fairly large numbers, while those at the lowest price side are seldom found at more than 10 years old, even though they were probably used less than the more expensive ones. Since you are shopping used, unless you plan to buy a different RV every 5 to 10 years, you need to be very careful to purchase something that was well built and which will survive the constant use.

 

We lived in our RV, with no house anywhere for 12 years and ours was in the group that RVCG rates as Snowbird use. Here are the actual categories, from the RV Consumer Group.

 

Vacation ~ ~ weekend use and vacations with light live-in activities vacation use to 60 days a year of moderate live-in activity.
RV Treking ~ ~ treks into the wilderness with extended stays to 90 days with extensive housekeeping activities.
Snowbird ~ ~ snowbirding use to 6 months a year with light to moderate housekeeping.
Fulltier ~ ~ full-time live-in activities with extensive housekeeping.

Nobody says that you can't live in any of these, but they do say that this was the level of use each group were designed for and which they can be expected to hold up and continue to look good and serve well with minimal maintenance and repair. It is important to realize that the vacation and weekend user seldom puts more than 30 - 60 days use on the RV and it's appliances in any given year, while the person living in his will put more than 5 times that much use and so things will wear out quickly if not designed for a higher level of use.

 

The other factor involved is your level of comfort in your chosen RV. The RVs at the lower end of this market group have very little insulation, all waste tanks and plumbing are exposed to the weather and they never have things like dual pane windows, all of which will be found in the tow highest rated groups. I have been using RVs since we bought our first one in 1972 and I can tell you that it is very difficult to live comfortably in the vacation group of RVs for very long or when weather is difficult. On the other hand, we lived very comfortably in our "snowbird" rated RV for 12 years, experiencing most types of weather and when we sold it after 14 years of owning it, the RV still looked quite attractive and the new owners were quite happy with it as snowbirds and the last I heard from them was a year ago. The RV in question was a 1998 model. At the age which you are, most of us assume that you want an RV which can survive constant use for many years without excessive need of repair. This means that you need to get one of more than entry level quality. In addition, you will need an RV that maintains it's appearance with proper maintenance as really ugly RVs are not welcomed into many of the nicer RV parks. There are many people on these forums who have lived in the RV which they chose for a long time and you would be wise to pay attention to what they suggest.

 

Most RV manufacturers build models that are designed with each of the groups of use in mind. Even the most reputable RV builder's cheapest RV can't be expected to hold up as well as would his most expensive one. Most of us who have lived in our RVs for a long period have chosen one of the models that would fit into one of the top three groups above and most would be in either snowbird or fulltimer. There is probably no RV made that someone has not lived in all of the time. I knew a fellow who bought an older, lowest priced RV which he lived in for a long time but his chief hobby was maintaining that RV. He completely rebuilt it inside and over time replaced nearly all of the interior and did major upgrades to it outside and also remodeled the chassis. Being a handy person, he actually spent far less than we did, but he also spent many more hours working on the RV than I and he also has a better set of skills than I have. Even so, he did so and he kept a 5 year old, low price RV for more than 15 years and may still have it. There is no doubt that some people can do what he did, but most of us either can't do that or do not want to. Remember that this is not supposed to be a survival experience but an enjoyable way to live.

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Since your husband is retired military you are qualified to join/use USAA. Since you are in San Antonio you might even be able to visit their office for advice. To me, they usually have the best rates around for things like insurance and purchasing a RV. I would at least give them a call.

Hope to see yawl on the road!

Catfish

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We have a chance to get a 2015 F-250 with Automatic O/D that is not too expensive-extended cab for the doggies- not diesel-cannot afford it.Thanks in advance.

 

 

This will greatly reduce the size of any travel trailer or fifth wheel you can tow. Be SURE you understand all the weight ratings for this truck BEFORE you buy any trailer!

 

Here's a Travel Trailer Weight Calculator that will help you in doing the math:

 

http://changingears.com/rv-sec-calc-trailer-weight-tt.shtml

 

Here's the weight calculator for fifth wheels:

 

http://changingears.com/rv-sec-calc-trailer-weight-fw.shtml

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Are you absolutely sure about husbands military pension stopping? When I retired from US Army Reserves I signed up for Survivor Benefit Plan and upon my death my wife will draw 55% of my pension and keep all benefits for her lifetime. This is through military finance and is not a separate private policy. It also is not free as there is a small monthly deduction from my pension. The SBP is not an automatic thing and must be signed up for.

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Welcome to the forum. Your situation is not unique. You are getting a little ahead of yourselves, though. You've got a basic plan for your fulltime experience, and that's a good start. I agree that a towable sounds like the best choice for you. It sounds like you are going to buy a truck to serve as your tow vehicle. The price difference between an F250, F350, and F450 isn't all that great. There are lots of those trucks available, so make the decision on what sort of trailer you want first and then buy a truck to suit.

 

A fifth wheel will give you more interior space and more exterior storage space than a travel trailer, but at the cost of a taller, heavier coach. Trade-offs. With a travel trailer you will need to use the bed of the truck for much of your exterior storage space.

 

We're full-timers, currently in a Foretravel motor home. We did three years of research before we decided what we needed for our full-time life. This coach met all of our needs, but then our needs changed, and now our Foretravel is for sale. When it sells we'll buy a used Airstream travel trailer and an F250 for a tow vehicle.

 

My suggestion is that you go out to as many RV shows and dealers as you can and look at every coach you can - never mind the price or condition - and evaluate the floorplan to see if it would work FOR YOU. There are only so many ways to arrange the interior of a box, so find the arrangements that will work FOR YOU. Then you can actually start shopping for models that suit you.

 

At this point you should be looking only at used, higher end coaches, not new ones. The reason is that very few people actually buy the right coach the first time, no matter how much research they do. New coaches depreciate quite a bit the first year, so when you trade in an almost new coach on something else you will lose quite a bit of money. Some friends of ours bought a brand new popular brand of motor home for full-timing, and within a year they traded it even-up for a 10-year-old Foretravel because they could see their brand new coach wouldn't stand up to full-time living. That's quite a financial hit.

 

Your original question was what travel trailers are suitable for full-time use. My suggestion is that you look at Airstream and Arctic Fox. Take a look at http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/ to get some ideas for price. airforums.com is the place for Airstream information. Should you decide on a fifth wheel, I'd suggest you look for a DRV, New Horizons, or comparable brand.

 

Once you decide on whether you want a TT or 5'er you can start thinking about a truck. Simply get the gross weight of the heaviest coach on your list and use that to guide you as you shop for a truck. Remember that with a TT 10-15% of that gross weight will go on the rear axle of the truck, while with a 5'er 20-25% of the gross weight will be carried there.

 

Ask lots of questions before you buy anything.

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Are you absolutely sure about husbands military pension stopping? When I retired from US Army Reserves I signed up for Survivor Benefit Plan and upon my death my wife will draw 55% of my pension and keep all benefits for her lifetime. This is through military finance and is not a separate private policy. It also is not free as there is a small monthly deduction from my pension. The SBP is not an automatic thing and must be signed up for.

 

I will get Survivor Benefits but I do not think it will be 55%. We chose an amount when he retired but I am not sure what it was-I will have my husband check into it and let you know. Thank you :)

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Welcome to the forum. Your situation is not unique. You are getting a little ahead of yourselves, though. You've got a basic plan for your fulltime experience, and that's a good start. I agree that a towable sounds like the best choice for you. It sounds like you are going to buy a truck to serve as your tow vehicle. The price difference between an F250, F350, and F450 isn't all that great. There are lots of those trucks available, so make the decision on what sort of trailer you want first and then buy a truck to suit.

 

A fifth wheel will give you more interior space and more exterior storage space than a travel trailer, but at the cost of a taller, heavier coach. Trade-offs. With a travel trailer you will need to use the bed of the truck for much of your exterior storage space.

 

We're full-timers, currently in a Foretravel motor home. We did three years of research before we decided what we needed for our full-time life. This coach met all of our needs, but then our needs changed, and now our Foretravel is for sale. When it sells we'll buy a used Airstream travel trailer and an F250 for a tow vehicle.

 

My suggestion is that you go out to as many RV shows and dealers as you can and look at every coach you can - never mind the price or condition - and evaluate the floorplan to see if it would work FOR YOU. There are only so many ways to arrange the interior of a box, so find the arrangements that will work FOR YOU. Then you can actually start shopping for models that suit you.

 

At this point you should be looking only at used, higher end coaches, not new ones. The reason is that very few people actually buy the right coach the first time, no matter how much research they do. New coaches depreciate quite a bit the first year, so when you trade in an almost new coach on something else you will lose quite a bit of money. Some friends of ours bought a brand new popular brand of motor home for full-timing, and within a year they traded it even-up for a 10-year-old Foretravel because they could see their brand new coach wouldn't stand up to full-time living. That's quite a financial hit.

 

Your original question was what travel trailers are suitable for full-time use. My suggestion is that you look at Airstream and Arctic Fox. Take a look at http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/ to get some ideas for price. airforums.com is the place for Airstream information. Should you decide on a fifth wheel, I'd suggest you look for a DRV, New Horizons, or comparable brand.

 

Once you decide on whether you want a TT or 5'er you can start thinking about a truck. Simply get the gross weight of the heaviest coach on your list and use that to guide you as you shop for a truck. Remember that with a TT 10-15% of that gross weight will go on the rear axle of the truck, while with a 5'er 20-25% of the gross weight will be carried there.

 

Ask lots of questions before you buy anything.

Thank you for all the info. I am going on line to look at F-350s -I know diesels are better. The only reason we were getting the truck first was that we were going to rent the 26ft. Jayco for the trip to Oregon in October when my granddaughter is due. We wanted to get the rv first. Thank you for all your insight and I will let you know what happens.

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You made the same kind of post in April and were considering a Class C. Have you ruled that out?

 

You probably have a car now. You might want to consider a Class A and keep your car. If it's not towable then you can get a dolly for it. You could get a quality used Class A for a good price. You'd have a lot more storage space; your dogs would be comfortable riding in it and you wouldn't have to buy a truck. Just some thoughts....

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I really don't understand what it is that you are saying here?? There is a lot of discussion about so called "fulltime rated" or not fulltime rated RVs but there is no such rating system in use by the RV industry.

 

There are some manufacturers who tout their rigs for full time use. If I had the latest copy of "Trailer Life" magazine, I could cite you at least 2 builders.

 

However, it is a moot point. As she stated above, they are looking to live in an RV full time, not buying an RV that is built for full time living.

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However, it is a moot point. As she stated above, they are looking to live in an RV full time, not buying an RV that is built for full time living.

Nearly all manufacturers claim to have the best RV for the money also. Manufacturer claims mean very little. That is exactly the reason that the RVCG has developed the classifications which are becoming more commonly used and are based upon actual design features and materials and not what the sales ad happens to claim that they are.

 

 

They need to choose an RV which will serve well under continuous use for many years, meaning one of reasonably good quality,

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If you don't buy a diesel truck you will be somewhat limited in the size of RV that you can tow. Make sure that you understand the weight limitations of ratings of the truck you buy and choose an RV that meets those limits. If you don't you will risk your safety and probably damage the truck.

 

Not necessarily. I have owned a 1999 F-250 and now a 2010 F-350 truck with the V-10 gasoline engine and 4.30 rear end. In both years the V-10 truck (with the appropriate rear gear) was rated to tow the same weight trailer, (or even a bit more as the V-10 engine weighs significantly less) as the diesel. My current truck has a GCWR of 23,000 pounds which is identical to the SRW diesel trucks. I have been towing a heavy Hitchhiker fifth wheel in and out of the Rockies for over 5 years now and it handles fine.

 

I do agree that the OP needs to understand the ratings of the truck, but a gasoline powered F-250 may be able to handle a substantial travel trailer or fifth wheel if properly equipped. On the other hand an F-250 with the base V-8 and default axle ratio may well be significantly limited with regard to tow capacity.

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They need to choose an RV which will serve well under continuous use for many years, meaning one of reasonably good quality,

 

Well, yeah.

 

However, there is no guarantee that anything they buy will be built with reasonable quality. High end coaches can have significant issues and lower end issues could have none. It is like the RV industry is operating like the Bog-3 US car builders of the 60s and 70s. Shove them out the door and let the dealer fix it.

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