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Lani

MH or 5th wheel?

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I am widow that wants to travel , but would probably stay put in a safe place for weeks or a few months at a time. I've been told it would be better to have a 5th wheel, since MH need to be driven to keep the engine parts in good shape. But towing a huge home behind me scares me  a little. I will be 70. My DH & I once had a GMC Royale. We towed a small car. Loved it! I don't know what a 5th wheel would be like. Easier?

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16 minutes ago, Lani said:

I am widow that wants to travel , but would probably stay put in a safe place for weeks or a few months at a time. I've been told it would be better to have a 5th wheel, since MH need to be driven to keep the engine parts in good shape. But towing a huge home behind me scares me  a little. I will be 70. My DH & I once had a GMC Royale. We towed a small car. Loved it! I don't know what a 5th wheel would be like. Easier?

They didn't know what they were talking about .

You want a motor home , get one . As far as I can see , they are a lot less hassle .

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If you will do a search on this subject you will find tons of info. A motorhome less hassle???? Still need to bring a commute vehicle unless you drive that motorhome to grocery store, doctors, etc. I don't see a toe vehicle being any better than a 5ther and truck. Still got to unhook. Also I would not consider it a problem for a month or two with a motorhome. Now 6 months to a year, yes, consider a 5ther.

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Get a motorhome. You're a 70-year-old single woman. It will be a lot better for you, put you at ease safety-wise, and you already know what it's like because you've had one and loved it.

Don't worry about not moving it for weeks or months. Think of all the snowbirders who do that every winter.  It will not harm it by sitting.

It is much easier to disconnect a towed car from a motorhome than a truck from a 5th wheel. We've had both.  Backing into campsites is also easier with a motorhome. Also, would you really rather drive a truck around for siteseeing or a nice little car. :)

Best of luck with your decision.

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First of all, let me say welcome to the Escapees forums! We are here to help so do feel free to post as often as you wish and to ask anything that concerns you. 

Your post makes it clear that you are a bit nervous about this and that is a normal thing. By saying that you would stay in a "safe place" for months at a time, I'd assume that you are thinking of commercial RV parks? I would consider that to be a good approach at least as you get started and get comfortable traveling alone. 

I must strongly disagree with those who advise a fifth-wheel for you, traveling alone with previous experience traveling with a motorhome. I suggest that you should do what you are familiar with and also I agree that it will be less problem dealing with a tow car than it would be travel with a fifth wheel and big truck. We lived in a gas powered motorhome for 12 years and spent from 1 to 4 months sitting in one place as RV volunteers at least two times each year and sometimes three. There is no problem at all as long as you add a fuel treatment and fill the fuel tank just before you park each extended stay. Then do not start the engine at all until a week or so before traveling as part of preparing to move on. I have done this many times and we have known many other RV folks who do the same. 

As one who is now 75, I am very pleased to see you moving in that direction as it would be my plan if something were to happen to Pam soon and I was to find myself alone. Please feel free to post here or to send me a private note at any time if there is anything at all that we might be able to do to help you. 

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5 hours ago, Lani said:

I am widow that wants to travel , but would probably stay put in a safe place for weeks or a few months at a time. 

A few weeks/months at a time is VERY unlikely to cause issues with a MH sitting.  If it was years, that would be a different story.

Find a MH with the floor plan you like at a price you can afford, find the toad that you like at a price you can afford, hook it up, and GO HAVE FUN!!!

BTW, my DW and I are having similar MH/5er discussions for fulltiming.  We are half-timing now with a 5er.  A 5er has more usable living space than a MH of the same length, but the MH's advantages of setup, easier boondocking for a few days, and single-level living makes them attractive.  

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5 hours ago, Pat & Pete said:

They didn't know what they were talking about .

Agreed!

3 hours ago, 2gypsies said:

Don't worry about not moving it for weeks or months.

It is much easier to disconnect a towed car from a motorhome than a truck from a 5th wheel.

Absolutely.

In your case... I'll throw my hat in the MH ring as well. A modestly sized MH will give you more than ample living and storage space for single traveller. Add a small toad onto the back and you're good to go play!

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I agree if OP had a motorhome previously go with another. But I cannot buy a motorhome being easier than a 5ther. only real advantage is if raining you can level and run slides out and stay dry. Hooking up a 5ther or unhooking a 5ther is simple. I have unhooked a toe vehicle form a motorhome and they are very comparable in time to a 5ther. You not going to do much backing with that short car behind that motorhome either. 

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You've all been so helpful! Thank you! I already have my tow vehicle. A 2014 Kia Soul, all paid off. Now to decide on gas or DP, and size.

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3 minutes ago, GlennWest said:

But I cannot buy a motorhome being easier than a 5ther. 

I think the comparison being made was between unhooking/hooking a 5'er... to have a "get-around-towner"... vs. a toad. A toad is much easier. 

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We never had to back up the motorhome with the car attached.  There's rarely a reason to get yourself in that kind of situation. For a back-in site you just disconnect the car at the office or if the park road isn't busy, do it in front of your site. With a small car you can park it along the campground road or many times we just pulled it into a nearby free site until the motorhome was parked.  It really goes fast.

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12 hours ago, Lani said:

I already have my tow vehicle. A 2014 Kia Soul, all paid off. Now to decide on gas or DP, and size.

As long as your Soul is a manual transmission it will be fine to tow but if it has an automatic transmission it will need to be on a dolly.

In choosing diesel or gasoline, I would make the choice based more on the budget than anything else. There is no question that the diesels have some advantages over a gasoline-powered motorhome but the cost of gasoline RVs is much less and the maintenance is less costly as well. There are many who will tell you that you need a diesel engine and I am still told that even though we lived quite comfortably in a gas coach for 12 years and owned it for 14 years. Based on what you have previously said, I suspect that you will not put really high mileage on your RV and that should be considered in your decision. Traveling alone you probably won't need the space of a really large coach, although we did meet a widow lady who was traveling in a 40' diesel pusher. My suggestion would be that you look at a range of motorhomes and I would compare the Sprinter diesel chassis coaches as well as some of the smaller gas class A coaches as well as some class C  RVs as well. Keep an open mind as you start shopping and do not buy anything until you have looked at everything. And keep your guard up as you deal with salespeople since they will probably target you since you will be a woman alone and taking advantage is part of what most of them do. If you have an experienced male RV friend, I'd suggest that you take him along, mostly to deflect aggressive salespeople. Having worked with a sales team for many years, I assure you that very few of them hesitate to take advantage of vulnerable customers. 

Edited by Kirk Wood

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I agree with Kirk on his advice.  When my father-in-law died my mother-in-law soon traded their 40' diesel motorhome for a 33' gas motorhome and it has worked out well for her as a single person.  She towed the same Chevy Malibu as the diesel and it actually did mountain passes better than the old diesel,, which was a bit under powered.  She is a strong willed person and did some shopping on her own, but she appreciated my wife and myself being along to deal with the salespeople.  

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18 hours ago, GlennWest said:

I agree if OP had a motorhome previously go with another. But I cannot buy a motorhome being easier than a 5ther. only real advantage is if raining you can level and run slides out and stay dry. Hooking up a 5ther or unhooking a 5ther is simple. I have unhooked a toe vehicle form a motorhome and they are very comparable in time to a 5ther. You not going to do much backing with that short car behind that motorhome either. 

But, you are not a 70 year old woman. You have a physicality that she probably doesn't have. As a 70 year old woman myself, I vote motorhome.

Linda Sand

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Lani,

We have a 37' motorhome and pull a car.   Dave's back has gone out - as he was flat on his back in bed and couldn't get up and we had to move down the road.   Can I get it all ready to go?   Not a problem,  as I did most things the night before (i.e., took down window covers, dumped tanks and put away hose, unhooked water so we ran off the fresh water tank) and thus the morning of moving it was easy to move the car to the hook up place in the park, walk back, unhook the power cord and store it, start the coach and pull out the jack pads as the air filled and she became ready to go.   I then pulled down the road to the hookup place, pulled the car up behind the motorhome, hooked up (which with an all-terrain tow-bar is easy to do), hit the turn signals to check, and we hit the road.  

Got to our next place, unhooked the car and found a site that suited us, walked the site to determine where I wanted to be, moved the coach and backed in, got out and checked, got back in and pulled forward to move over a little, then backed in again.   Plug in, hit the button to level and finish hooking up utilities.  

The first time I "walked" the coach down a mountain pass with the exhaust brake sold me on having a diesel.  But if you aren't going to go over the Rockies/Sierras/Cascades 2-4 times a year, then a gas will probably do just as well.  

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Lot's of good advice here.  I have never owned a MH, but having watched folks come and go with them, I think it would be your best option too.  If your car can't be flat towed, I would suggest you trade it for one that can be, rather than use a dolly.  The dolly is just one more thing to deal with. 

A smaller rig will obviously be easier to park and I would think that a single person would need a little less space than a couple.  Since you plan to stay put a lot, you just need to decide how much you want more space, and how easy you want it to be to park on those days you do move it, and find the best size for you.  

I have heard RV'rs say they like going to laundromat to meet and socialize with other people and get their laundry done faster.  My wife and I really appreciate having a separate washer and dryer in our 5th wheel. 

You may be just as capable of negotiating an RV purchase as most men, but it is possible that the sales persons won't think so.  Don't hesitate to ask someone knowledgeable to help you.  

That advice applies after you head out too.  I have never minded helping other RV'rs who either asked for help, or I could see they needed my help.  The person doing the helping is rewarded by the experience as well.  Even dumping someones black tank has made me feel good.  So don't hesitate to ask for help. 

Enjoy! 

Jim

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I think it would be hard for any of us to really give you much advise.  Did you grow up on a farm or in a rural area?  Have you driven large equipment before?  If purchasing new or used there will either be a lot of self maintenance or maintenance done by professionals, not like owning a regular home.  

I just think it would be a challenge for a 70 year old to start full timing all alone (my DW is 71).  It would be hard enough if you had several years of that life style under your belt, but just to jump into it may turn out to be disheartening.  

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5 hours ago, FL-JOE said:

I just think it would be a challenge for a 70 year old to start full timing all alone (my DW is 71).  It would be hard enough if you had several years of that life style under your belt, but just to jump into it may turn out to be disheartening.  

I think you'd be surprised at how many women do this after their spouse dies.

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On 3/4/2018 at 8:07 PM, Lani said:

You've all been so helpful! Thank you! I already have my tow vehicle. A 2014 Kia Soul, all paid off. Now to decide on gas or DP, and size.

Your Kia to be towed 4 down needs to be a manual transmission with the 1.6L engine.
All others with automatic transmission have to be towed on a Tow Dolly.

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1 hour ago, the ol farm boy said:

It may be possible to have a drive shaft disconnect or a transmission pump and still tow flat.

Front wheel drive so no disconnect and no transmission pump option. So must use a tow dolly unless a manual.

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Another welcome, Lani! My suggestion would be for you to come up with your "mission profile" before you start looking at coaches. You say, "I am widow that wants to travel , but would probably stay put in a safe place for weeks or a few months at a time." That shouldn't be a problem with any coach. Spending six months parked might be a bit much on any motorized vehicle as various seals and gaskets will dry out leading to all sorts of hard-to-find leaks. ALL motor vehicles, no matter their size, require regular exercise, which means getting up to highway speeds for long enough to get everything up to operating temperatures and pressures. BTW, that includes generators. While you are exercising your MH run the generator with either heat or a/c on (depending on temperature) to provide a load on it.

Go to a large RV dealer that sells all sorts of coaches and look at how tall a new MH is compared to a 5'er. There isn't all that much difference. While you are there you can look at lots of coaches of all sorts of prices. Do so. You aren't looking at price or condition but quality and floor plan. Don't be afraid to look at a $2,000,000 MH or the $1000 travel trailer way back in the weeds. Remember, you are looking at floor plans. There are only so many ways manufacturers can arrange the interior of a box, so find the one(s) that work for you.

Quality is another important point. Remember that the typical rv (Lite, Light, or half-ton towable are clues) is intended to be used for only a few weeks a year. A full-timer can easily put on 10 years' worth of wear and tear in a single year.

I'm also a strong believer in buying used. Look at the prices of USED one-year-old coaches and compare them to a similar brand-new one. I'm not talking about a new left-over, but current model year vs USED last year's model.

Finally, be sure to budget $3000 or so to make your car towable. That means a base plate, tow bar (if the MH doesn't already have one), brake system for the car, cables, installation, etc. I just found the invoice from 2014 when we had all of that done to our 2012 Jeep Liberty. The price was $3200. We just traded the Jeep for a Lincoln MKT. I took off the InvisiBrake, but not the base plate. Since we still have the same MH, it should cost me maybe $1000 for the base plate and a couple hundred to have the InvisiBrake installed on the MKT. We'll see.

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We stayed in one park for three months one summer. But each month we took our Class A for a drive for a couple of hours and ran the generator while out. That kept everything working just fine.

Linda Sand

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