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Flagstaff 8524RLWS opinion


Iproff

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New to this forum and really enjoying it so far.

My wife and I are retired we have a 300 Sundance boat and figure Rving won't be much different outside of a lot less money.

We live in Wasaga Beach Ontario and are thinking that a small 5th wheel like the Flagstaff 8524RLWS would be a great start for us. It is just the two of us and a Siamese cat named Simcoe. We want to travel from our home to Winnipeg Manitoba to camp with our grandsons age 4 and 1. Well the younger one will stay with our daughter and son-in-law in their trailer.

Interested in finding out any information both positive and negative about this unit or even suggestions on another unit. We like the size of this one and the total weight makes it towable by some 1/2 tons.

This search is not something we are rushing into not looking to purchase a unit till late April or even May.

 

Thank you for any and all input.

 

Ken

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Hello Ken,

First of all, welcome to the forum!

Secondly, a few years ago we were also considering very lightweight units like the Forest River you indicated. In our case, it's for full-time living, and I get the impression your case would be part-time or at most long-time living, so YMMV... But here are some things we learned here, from more experienced folks:

- even a light "half-ton" towable actually works much better with a 3/4- or even a 1-ton truck. The mantra is "you can't have to much truck".

- for long-time, or even extended-time living, you might need more than the 1421lb of CCC; as it includes not only cargo but also any options you added to your trailer, as well as fresh water and the contents of your grey/black tanks. We've been told to look, for full time living, to at least 3000 lbs of CCC.

- light-weight units usually skimp on thermal insulation and overall construction quality, so by picking up such a unit, you could end up having to spend a lot on propane (for heating with the furnace) or electricity (for cooling with the AC) if the weather turns out to be anything but temperate. Re: construction quality, a skimpy trailer could end up costing you more in fixes and in lost resale value further down the road.

- a new unit loses a lot of monetary value during the first few years (sp. the first year) so you are usually better off purchasing a gently-used unit than a brand new one: letting the previous owner "eat" the depreciation could enable you to buy a better quality unit and end up spending less on it, when you consider both the purchase price and the price you will be able to sell it for, a few years down the road.

These (and other considerations) have made us change our initial plans to get a new unit much like the Forest River you indicate, pulled by a 1/2-ton pickup, to our current plans of getting a used Northwood Arctic Fox or Grand Design Reflection pulled by a 1-ton. But we will be fulltiming on it, so your plans might very well differ.

Also, please wait for the more experienced folks here to chime in, as we're still pretty much beginners (we've rented a few times during or vacations, but we're still 1.5 years off from starting full-time RV living and purchasing our own rig).

Cheers,
--
Vall and Mo.

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Welcome to the forums.

First off let me say that ValandMo have given some very good advice.

Look at a number of RVs and think about going about your daily life in each. Is there enough room for your daily food preparation. How does the location of the toilet work for you. Shower the right height?

Consider being in it all day due to inclement weather.

Heavier wieght points to better insulation. Heavier insulation means you can be comfortable in a wider range of weather conditions.

Consider the cargo carrying capacity. Water, propane, batteries all take up a portion of that capacity. How much food, clothing, hobbies, and other things do you want with you.

Last of all find the RV that fits you and your situation then fit the truck to the RV.

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Thank you I really appreciate the advice so far. We lived for 7 weeks on our 30 foot boat anchored out for all but 3 nights. A true test of living in a small space and our marriage. Not committed to anything gathering of information over the winter will help us make a much better decision. Great advice on a used unit.

The truck size is a concern for driving when not connect to the 5th wheel. A smaller lighter TT might have to be our first step.

 

Hope for lots of comments.

 

Thanks

 

Ken

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Welcome to the Escapees forums! We are pleased that you have chosen us and we will do our very best to assist and support you in your RV adventure.

 

Based upon your boating experience I'm sure that you do have more knowledge to fall back upon than would the typical person new to RV travels, but there are some very different things to also consider. If you have lived aboard the boat for periods similar time periods to what you expect to do with an RV, then you truly have much more to base your size choices upon than would the more typical first time RV buyer. But it is also important to note that there are some additional weight issues to consider which are safety issues. Additionally, it is important to realize that RVs are built is at least as wide a range of price/quality models as are boats and very likely an even wider range. I strongly suggest that you consider joining the RV Consumer Group to get a feel for what those ranges are before you spend your money because mistakes can be costly.

 

On the issue of light weight RVs versus more heavily built ones, we have owned a very wide range of RVs and currently own an "ultra light" version. I agree very much with Val's opinion that the light weight RVs are not built nearly as solidly as those which are heavier and that they can not be. Most are of totally aluminum frames to lower weight, which also lower strength and insulation quality. I have never seen one of them that had dual pane windows and most have very light weight windows which transmit heat very effectively. They are more difficult to heat and air condition for those reasons. Typically they also do not have enclosed waste tanks or plumbing and most have at least some water lines under the floor where they are exposed to weather and that very much limits the lower temperatures that they are habitable.

 

On the choice of tow vehicle, let me offer an opinion there as well. Our current light weight trailer has a gross weight of just under 4000# and we began towing it with an SUV that was rated for towing up to 5000# and was powered by a V-6 gasoline engine. The SUV would get 20-22 mpg when empty but towing it rarely exceeded 11 mpg and at times if in steep grades would drop down to 9 mpg. Last January I had the opportunity to purchase from a neighbor a one owner, 2003 Dodge, 2500 diesel truck as a tow vehicle and we are now nearing the end of our summer travels towing our trailer with it. After approximately 7,000 miles from Texas to Vermont, to Michigan, to Indiana, to Kansas, and next stop back to Texas again, I can say without hesitation that the higher capacity truck totally changes the work involved in towing. The SUV did the job and relatively safely but I was constantly aware of the load behind me and in windy conditions it required slower travel and constant attention in order to travel safely. By comparison, with the truck I know must use cruise control or I tend to speed up as you are hardly aware it is behind you. On our trip thus far there have been only 3 occasions that the truck had downshifted from OD due to a steep grade, where the SUV only used OD when on flat ground. Average mpg for the trip thus far has been between 15 & 16 mpg. Even in very windy conditions, the trailer is much better behaved and has minimal impact upon the control of the truck.

 

In addition, driving a 250/2500 sized truck when not towing is really very little different than driving one that is 150/1500 since the two have pretty much the same footprint. Lower weight trailers do not require the use of a dual wheel version of truck so that part should be no problem. Should you shift to a fifth wheel of greater size/weight, then you may want to consider going up to a dual wheel truck. Another thing to consider is that if you buy the minimal sized truck to tow with, then you will need to trade trucks as well as trailers in the event that you choose to go to a heavier trailer.

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Ken there is no difference in outside size between a 1/2 ton and a 3/4 ton, or even a srw one ton for that matter. There is a huge difference in capabilities for towing.

I was looking at that today but there is almost 20,000.00 difference in price. When home we have a Mustang to drive around and I would drive the truck. I just have a hard time justify spending over 70,000.00 for a Ram Laramie 2500 with the same options on a 1500 at 49,000.00 here in Canada. Even a used one is pricey. I get you get what you pay for but by the time I buy a trailer an A class is a better deal.

 

Ken

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What defines your tow vehicle is what you are pulling. This includes all passengers and all your stuff. That is why it is encouraged that you buy your trailer first. I notice that in adds for the 5th you are looking for, they only mention dry weight. Dry Weight is the actual weight of a vehicle or trailer containing standard equipment without fuel, fluids, cargo, passengers, or optional equipment.. I hear batteries and appliances are sometimes left out of that number. When talking to the sales rep, as what the actual weight is sitting in the yard. Then start adding. Just like for your boat.

 

I agree with the others..there really isn't a 1/2 ton that will pull a 5th wheel (big surprise for me because I have a Hemi RAM, air bag rear suspension, etc) unless you buy a Scamp 5th or like unit. You will be pushing the trucks limits..and can be done..but if stuff happens..

 

This isn't a hard and fast rule, but better trailers that hold up well over time tend to be heavier. From watching comments on this board and many others... I think a 2 or 3 year old rig rig would be a better buy than a new rig.. but floor plan is key..

 

With MHs, I am starting to notice comments of how little weight they can actually carry. Look at weight and capacities closely. With a MH, you have to drag another car. The Mustang ( I drive one too) cannot be towed 4 down..unless something has changed ..so you will required to pull it on a trolley..

 

Just a few things to watch for...

 

 

 

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What defines your tow vehicle is what you are pulling. This includes all passengers and all your stuff. That is why it is encouraged that you buy your trailer first. I notice that in adds for the 5th you are looking for, they only mention dry weight. Dry Weight is the actual weight of a vehicle or trailer containing standard equipment without fuel, fluids, cargo, passengers, or optional equipment.. I hear batteries and appliances are sometimes left out of that number. When talking to the sales rep, as what the actual weight is sitting in the yard. Then start adding. Just like for your boat.

 

I agree with the others..there really isn't a 1/2 ton that will pull a 5th wheel (big surprise for me because I have a Hemi RAM, air bag rear suspension, etc) unless you buy a Scamp 5th or like unit. You will be pushing the trucks limits..and can be done..but if stuff happens..

 

This isn't a hard and fast rule, but better trailers that hold up well over time tend to be heavier. From watching comments on this board and many others... I think a 2 or 3 year old rig rig would be a better buy than a new rig.. but floor plan is key..

 

With MHs, I am starting to notice comments of how little weight they can actually carry. Look at weight and capacities closely. With a MH, you have to drag another car. The Mustang ( I drive one too) cannot be towed 4 down..unless something has changed ..so you will required to pull it on a trolley..

 

Just a few things to watch for...

 

 

 

I actually wish I had never mentioned the truck. The plan is to find a trailer this winter once I do that I will buy the truck. I want to find a trailer in the USA but will buy the truck in Canada.

 

Thank you for your input I do appreciate it.

 

Ken

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I actually wish I had never mentioned the truck. The plan is to find a trailer this winter once I do that I will buy the truck. I want to find a trailer in the USA but will buy the truck in Canada.

That makes a lot of sense to me, but also take plenty of time and look at everything. If there is a spouse, be sure that they participate in this process. Most of us at some point find an RV which just seems to fit. It may even be one of a type which you don't presently think highly of and usually the floor plan is a part of that feeling. For us, it happened to be a motorized RV that had a large bath with a side aisle such that one could not see between the bedroom and the living area. We loved the way that I could be an early riser and yet my activities didn't impact my late sleeper wife. That is only an example of the sort of personal issue that could be unique to you and yours. In my mind, budget is priority #1 and proper fit is close behind.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Keep us posted on your search, Ken and don't hesitate to join in here with questions or comments. Folks here enjoy helping new RV people find the right fit and get started in our lifestyle. Pam tells me that I am an evangelist for the RV lifestyle... :P

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