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What 5th wheel do I go with?


brodhag

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The family and I are looking at hitting the road full time and we are trying to figure out what 5th wheel to go with. Here is our situation...

 

Family of 4, mom and dad (32), son (8), daughter (6) and 1 chocolate lab. We have looked at many options and have decided that for full time a 5th wheel is the way to go for us. We would like to keep the price around $40k so this limits our options. Our main concerns are floor plan and durability. We are not worried about many luxuries as long as we have the basic amenities. It seems that some sort of bunk house is the way to go as we would like the kids to have their own space and a permanent bed that does not need to be assembled and disassembled daily.

 

We really like the floor plan in the Jayco Eagle HT 29.5FBDS and it seems to be a solid unit. The concerns I have is that it is listed as a "half ton" model, and I have also heard these referred to as "camping" or "weekend" models and not "full time."

 

My questions are as follows.

 

-Am I getting less quality/durability going with the 1/2 ton model vs a standard 5th wheel? Is it manufactured the same with fewer luxuries to keep the weight down? Or do they use lighter duty construction?

 

-Is this a decent unit for full time? Should it hold up to the daily use?

 

I would love to hear some opinions on this model or some suggestions for other models.

 

Thank you for the help,

Matt

 

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Welcome to the forum. What type of truck are you planning on using as your tow vehicle?

Buying used may give you more RV for your dollar as well.

Grand Design has several bunkhouse floor plans to consider, as well. If you haven't done a lot of research on bunk house type 5th wheels, it is worthwhile to do so. Keep in mind that most manufacturers use the same components, most even assemble the units the same way. So the quality that goes into the assembly is what matters most. Generally the lighter the weight, the less durable the units are...... within reason. What you don't want is pressboard/particle board cabinets that are vinyl wrapped typed construction. It looks good for a short time but falls apart with hard use, such as fulltime living.

In the lighter weight catagory I would look at Open Range, Jayco (as you have) and Grand Design.

If you have enough truck, look at toyhaulers as well. Again the list would be Jayco, Grand Design, Weekend Warrior as a few that owners say are better built.

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I don't have any experience with the fifth wheel you mention, but I will give my experiences....

 

The wife and I are both retired and decided to spend a couple of months on the road to see if we really wanted to try full timing. We have a 2015 toy hauler and hit the road this spring. We found that the toy hauler floor plan was not going to work for us in a full time environment but more importantly we discovered that a "weekend" coach could not take the beating of a full time lifestyle. We put over 10k miles on the coach and found that as the frame flexes down the road trim work would work loose and floors would start to squeak. We also found that day-after-day use of the coach the carpeting started to wear down and look old and dirty. The interior build of all weekend coaches is put together with photo board walls and over time will start to show wear.

 

These are just a few of the things that we discovered over a 2 month time period and we just ordered a new coach to replace the toy hauler. The money you mention could possibly get you into a 2006 - 2010 quality coach that has been well taken care of if you don't mind used. My opinion is that if the manufacturer states "light" in the name (ie; towable with a 1/2 ton truck) it usually means they have tried to build it with lighter materials which will make it more susceptible to wear and tear.

 

Again....MY OPINION! I wish you well in your journey - RVers are some of the best people out there and I'm sure others will chime in. By the way....some manufacturers will not warranty the coach if you are going to use it for "full time". Check with the dealer to determine.

 

Jim

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Buying an RV is not like buying car. One can buy a less expensive car and have a reasonable expectation to drive it across country. Take it from my experience you cannot do that in an RV. Spend more or but a good quality unit used.

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Thank you for the help. We will be towing with Chevy 3500, crew cab, long bed, diesel, SRW. We are not opposed to used but we have heard horror stories about used with leaks, twisted frames (not visible to the naked eye), and so on. Will it be better to buy a used "High end" or "full time" coach vs a new "lower end?" There are so many options and I am finding it hard to determine what is high quality and what is not.

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Again....my opinion, we have found that a used high quality coach is MUCH better than a new weekender. My experience has led me to look at DRV and Arctic Fox models. Not sure if you can find the floor plan you're looking for in those models - our kids have been out of the house for some time. Maybe some of the other members can chime in with their experience. Just realize that the weekender manufacturers punch out about 3 times the number of units per month than the higher end manufacturers do and the quality shows. When looking at used units we open all the cupboards and check for wet spots and try and smell for mold or mildew. I also climb up on the roof and see how well they have maintained the roof seals. That's usually where any water damage will start.

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You should definitely buy a used quality unit versus a cheaper mid level unit. Drv, Jayco, Excel, hitchhiker are all good choices. Get an inspection by an rv technician so you know if there are any leaks, issues, etc. Just my 2 cents, but 29 feet is going to be pretty small and crowded with kids. Look at the Facebook page of Fulltime Families, they are living the fulltime life and would have better suggestions than most of us, who are retired old farts. Also, start reading all the rv forums like www.rv.net, www.Irv2.com. You will learn a lot. When you narrow down your search start reading the owner's forums of that brand, they know the issues & problems.

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I think I have heard more horror stories in the last one or 2 years when buying new.. but if you want something solid and tough..and you like there floorr plan, I wouldn't look anywhere else but Arctic Fox...they don't have a lot of "bling"..if you want that but built solid and tough.. and geared to more longtimers / full timers.

 

We are not in that category (yet) but have put about 13K miles on it (last year to date) and am most impressed..however, I did upgrade the tires to LT..

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While its been 9 years on the road for us we have always taken the used high end route. While an older unit may not have bling, and it may be showing wear in such things as carpet and furniture( all of which can easily be be replaced , the quality build will serve you well in the long haul

I commend you for not falling for a new weekend style unit.

Many Facebook pages are littered with unhappy campers who bought cheap and are now crying the blues over list's of repair issues with their new rigs.

Take your time, go looking around.

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Another vote for a used higher quality unit. Higher quality units are usually heavier and will require a larger truck. Be very careful with the truck selection and do not listen to the dealer on what it takes to pull the trailer. The recent copy of the Escapees magazine had an excellent article on My trucks oull it just fine.....NOT.

 

I think you will find a 30' 5er a bit small for a family of 4 with growing kids and a large dog.

 

You will also find the once loaded, the trailer and truck weight will be higher than you expected.

 

I would suspect you will find a 34' 5er better suited to your family. With the larger trailer and once loaded, I would be looking at a 1 ton SRW as a minimum and more likely a DRW truck.

 

I cannot see a family of 4 in a 5er with a 1/2 ton truck.

 

Ken

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Another vote for a used higher quality unit. Higher quality units are usually heavier and will require a larger truck. Be very careful with the truck selection and do not listen to the dealer on what it takes to pull the trailer. The recent copy of the Escapees magazine had an excellent article on My trucks oull it just fine.....NOT.

 

I think you will find a 30' 5er a bit small for a family of 4 with growing kids and a large dog.

 

You will also find the once loaded, the trailer and truck weight will be higher than you expected.

 

I would suspect you will find a 34' 5er better suited to your family. With the larger trailer and once loaded, I would be looking at a 1 ton SRW as a minimum and more likely a DRW truck.

 

I cannot see a family of 4 in a 5er with a 1/2 ton truck.

 

Ken

 

He said in post #5 that he has a Chevy 3500, LWB, diesel, SRW truck. He should be fine with a fiver in the 34" range.

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Another vote for a used higher quality unit. Higher quality units are usually heavier and will require a larger truck. Be very careful with the truck selection and do not listen to the dealer on what it takes to pull the trailer. The recent copy of the Escapees magazine had an excellent article on My trucks oull it just fine.....NOT.

 

Great article..thanks for pointing it our..

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  • 9 months later...

I will keep looking. ty. I think we r just going to have to make the trip to VA, 6 hours each way. We just don't have a lot to look at round us. praying whatever we buy we can drive it. its starting to get real and the length of all this is intimidating.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dominique   Where are you going in Va. I'm down on the coast. We tow a 43' Open Range. The truck is a 98 610 Volvo singled and titled as a motorhome. This is our 4 5er. The first one was a 31 Sunnybrook. Good unit. Not for a family of 4 w/dog. Then a 37 Cardinal. good quality had a W/D. We loved the floor plan(had a rear den) but would have been tough for 4+. I think as stated before 34" at least and a bunkhouse for sure. If you get down here let me know. The first 2 we had were used units. If you buy new make sure you get the extended warrenty. And make sure it"s full replacement. And I can tell you why.   Pat

 

 

The Old Sailor 

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similar boat, if you are patient you can find what you need. We were looking for a two bedroom model and searched for over 6 months. We ended up with a 2007 Teton 2 bedroom (Scottsdale XT4 model) that was in great shape, but very dated and just dirty. Blood, sweat, and tears remodeling method as we had funds over the winter. Super happy with the end result (not totally finished yet, but close). Reach out to a few RV brokers and tell them what you are looking for. PPL in Texas has several locations and is huge. Never used them, but I know a few people who tried selling their motorhomes/trailers for months on end, consigned the unit with PPL and it sold within a few weeks each time. Seemed like a good experience for the 4 people I know.

Quality and weight go hand in hand is best advice so far. Be patient and have cash ready when you find what you want. 

HTH,

 

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On 6/22/2017 at 10:31 PM, JPL said:

Dominique   Where are you going in Va. I'm down on the coast. We tow a 43' Open Range. The truck is a 98 610 Volvo singled and titled as a motorhome. This is our 4 5er. The first one was a 31 Sunnybrook. Good unit. Not for a family of 4 w/dog. Then a 37 Cardinal. good quality had a W/D. We loved the floor plan(had a rear den) but would have been tough for 4+. I think as stated before 34" at least and a bunkhouse for sure. If you get down here let me know. The first 2 we had were used units. If you buy new make sure you get the extended warrenty. And make sure it"s full replacement. And I can tell you why.   Pat

 

 

The Old Sailor 

thank u so much! we are going to go with the warrior as long as when we get down there we love it. We don't have much of a choice about length because we r taking the two parleys. I am feeling really good about the decision but there are a few versions so I am hoping to get to see them when I head to Ringgold VA. Thanks for the full replacement info I really appreciate it. We r getting so excited. the house goes on the market tomorrow

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17 hours ago, lockmup68 said:

similar boat, if you are patient you can find what you need. We were looking for a two bedroom model and searched for over 6 months. We ended up with a 2007 Teton 2 bedroom (Scottsdale XT4 model) that was in great shape, but very dated and just dirty. Blood, sweat, and tears remodeling method as we had funds over the winter. Super happy with the end result (not totally finished yet, but close). Reach out to a few RV brokers and tell them what you are looking for. PPL in Texas has several locations and is huge. Never used them, but I know a few people who tried selling their motorhomes/trailers for months on end, consigned the unit with PPL and it sold within a few weeks each time. Seemed like a good experience for the 4 people I know.

Quality and weight go hand in hand is best advice so far. Be patient and have cash ready when you find what you want. 

HTH,

 

thank you. that is route we decided to go too. we stepped back and just doing a ton of research.

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