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Will this be a good start?


skylve

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Hello everyone,

Lately I've been contemplating on whether or not its worth it to get into rving, I've looked at many options, and generally rving seems to be somewhat reasonable financially. Although I've never stayed in an rv, I've camped a few times in a tent, and I've been to many cottages. I really enjoy going places, so it seems an rv would be perfect to travel both close and far. I'll be moving into a new house with my parents soon and will have space to park an rv so the only thing left will be to decide whether or not to buy and rv and what to buy. I'm planning on spending about 20k on a truck and under 20k on the rv.

Now that I've explained what situation I'm in, my plan is to buy a used semi-tractor, get a hitch installed, change the wiring, add a couple extra seats, and "convert" it into a "motorhome". Then buy a used fifth wheel and pull it with the truck. The reason I'd like a used semi tractor is cause its hard to find a reliable pickup truck these days for a reasonable price, and a semi-tractor is much more comfortable to drive in.

My main questions regarding buying a truck and rv:

1. Is it a good idea to buy a semi truck and fifth wheel as a first timer?

2. Should I buy new or used for the rv? I've read that used is better in value, but have seen the argument that a used rv can end up being a leaky, broken mess.

3. What would be a good brand/type for a medium sized fifth wheel rv, preferably under 20k CAD?

4. Is modifying an rv necessary, like changing axles, tires, slides, pinboxes, etc?

If you want me to clarify anything else feel free to ask, I'm located in Ontario, Canada, thanks.

 

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I don't have a specific answer to your question but I have one thing you might want to consider. Having "space to park an RV" does not necessarily mean you will be allowed to park an RV there. Please, check all local laws/regulations before you get too far down this path. I had a huge driveway but a neighbor complained so I was given a set number of days to move the RV or be fined $50 a night. The RV was, at that time, our only vehicle and we were preparing our house for sale. So we parked there all day, every day, then drove to a local campground for the night--it's a good thing they only charged for nights. :)

Linda Sand

Blog: http://sandcastle.sandsys.org/

Former Rigs: Liesure Travel van, Winnebago View 24H, Winnebago Journey 34Y, Sportsmobile Sprinter conversion van

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I suggest pursuing what is involved with owning and using a semi-tractor for your intended purpose in Canada, and presumable into the U.S.A. before actually spending money. Hopefully some of the HDT forum members will jump in with their thoughts and advice.

 

2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA IN 1SG retired;Good Sam Life member,FMCA ." And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.  John F. Kennedy 20 Jan 1961

 

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I can't help on what is required to own and drive a HDT in Canada but I have a HDT.  One thing to keep in mind a used truck or 5er may need repairs.  When I purchased our HDT we found some problems and spent $6,000 bringing things up to standards.  Then we went about  the mods to pull a 5er.  When we bought our 5er it also needed some repairs.  Tires for instance can require a significant investment.   So I recommend you budget for this.  Better to have the funds if needed than need it and not have the funds.

Hopefully you have some experience driving big rigs or at least pickups and trailers.  If not you may want to seek some training.  Things like air brakes and other things require some special skills and procedures.  We have had our HDT for about 14 years now and it has been great.  Good luck and happy travels.

Randy

2001 Volvo VNL 42 Cummins ISX Autoshift

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What Randy said (wrote).  If you have the experience to drive a large rig, and are ready to pull the trigger, there's a "ready to toll" complete rig listed in the "for sale" section of this forum for about $30k.  I  know nothing of the rig or seller.

KW T-680, POPEMOBILE
Newmar X-Aire, VATICAN
Lots of old motorcycles, Moto Guzzi Griso and Spyder F3 currently in the front row
Young enough to play in the dirt as a retired farmer.
contact me at rickeieio@yahoo.com

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As to "new or used" on the RV itself, you'll see many, many pieces of information online that lean towards "used".  No RV rolls off the lot bug-free, there is ALWAYS something to fix. A used RV, that's been cared for, will have many of these kinks worked out.  A new RV likely won't, and you'll read story after story after story after story about how someone's new RV has been in the shop as soon as they drove off the lot and could return back, and it's been in the shop from 1 to 10 months.

For ANY RV you buy, new OR used, get an inspector.  You'd never buy a sticks-n-bricks without one, don't skimp on this for the RV.  You can find one here: https://nrvia.org/

Edited by Will B.
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18 hours ago, sandsys said:

I don't have a specific answer to your question but I have one thing you might want to consider. Having "space to park an RV" does not necessarily mean you will be allowed to park an RV there. Please, check all local laws/regulations before you get too far down this path. I had a huge driveway but a neighbor complained so I was given a set number of days to move the RV or be fined $50 a night. The RV was, at that time, our only vehicle and we were preparing our house for sale. So we parked there all day, every day, then drove to a local campground for the night--it's a good thing they only charged for nights. :)

Linda Sand

I've looked at local laws, and pretty much all southern Ontario municipalities prohibit rv parking, but being a bylaw, it is only enforced only by complaint. Many people with larger properties have trailers, boats, and rv's parked on their driveway so it seems that complaints aren't too common.

18 hours ago, Ray,IN said:

I suggest pursuing what is involved with owning and using a semi-tractor for your intended purpose in Canada, and presumable into the U.S.A. before actually spending money. Hopefully some of the HDT forum members will jump in with their thoughts and advice.

Requirements for owning an HDT rv in Ontario are pretty simple, have an airbrake endorsement and either a full or restricted class A license. There aren't any more restrictions for an hdt than a dually pickup.

17 hours ago, Randyretired said:

I can't help on what is required to own and drive a HDT in Canada but I have a HDT.  One thing to keep in mind a used truck or 5er may need repairs.  When I purchased our HDT we found some problems and spent $6,000 bringing things up to standards.  Then we went about  the mods to pull a 5er.  When we bought our 5er it also needed some repairs.  Tires for instance can require a significant investment.   So I recommend you budget for this.  Better to have the funds if needed than need it and not have the funds.

Hopefully you have some experience driving big rigs or at least pickups and trailers.  If not you may want to seek some training.  Things like air brakes and other things require some special skills and procedures.  We have had our HDT for about 14 years now and it has been great.  Good luck and happy travels.

I'll be hoping the truck I buy won't have any major issues, and I'll try to get an rv fifth wheel professionally installed, the rest like convering into a "motorhome" and changing the electrical connections I can do myself, although it will be a new field for me. Will make sure to consider the fact that I may need new tires.

I'm current in truck school, it was actually there that I got the idea to use a hdt for towing an rv. A random conversation with one of the instructors let me to consider an hdt over a pickup truck. I should be fine towing an rv after I finish truck school.

Thanks for the advice.

9 hours ago, rickeieio said:

What Randy said (wrote).  If you have the experience to drive a large rig, and are ready to pull the trigger, there's a "ready to toll" complete rig listed in the "for sale" section of this forum for about $30k.  I  know nothing of the rig or seller.

I'll be converting my own rig, won't go too crazy, just a different hitch, a "motorhome" conversion, and make an adapter for the electrical, but thanks for mentioning.

7 hours ago, Will B. said:

As to "new or used" on the RV itself, you'll see many, many pieces of information online that lean towards "used".  No RV rolls off the lot bug-free, there is ALWAYS something to fix. A used RV, that's been cared for, will have many of these kinks worked out.  A new RV likely won't, and you'll read story after story after story after story about how someone's new RV has been in the shop as soon as they drove off the lot and could return back, and it's been in the shop from 1 to 10 months.

For ANY RV you buy, new OR used, get an inspector.  You'd never buy a sticks-n-bricks without one, don't skimp on this for the RV.  You can find one here: https://nrvia.org/

Alright used it is then, and I've never known that rv inspectors exist. Will definitely have one look at the rv that I will buy. Thanks!

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14 minutes ago, skylve said:

'll be converting my own rig, won't go too crazy, just a different hitch, a "motorhome" conversion, and make an adapter for the electrical, but thanks for mentioning.

You can't do your own conversion for what the seller's asking.  Not even close.  Been there, got the bills to prove it.

KW T-680, POPEMOBILE
Newmar X-Aire, VATICAN
Lots of old motorcycles, Moto Guzzi Griso and Spyder F3 currently in the front row
Young enough to play in the dirt as a retired farmer.
contact me at rickeieio@yahoo.com

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I was lucky and found a truck and Smart Car all set to go here on these forums plus a few folks reached out that knew the truck which built up my courage to jump at the opportunity, yes things will need fixed some small some not so small, my biggest upgrade so far was my ET Hitch which I am very glad I did, now the small stuff falls into place. Good luck and you will receive great info here.

2017 River Stone Legacy 38MB

2001 T2000 Kenworth

2009 Smart Passion

ET Junior hitch

 

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1 hour ago, rickeieio said:

You can't do your own conversion for what the seller's asking.  Not even close.  Been there, got the bills to prove it.

Approximately how much will I need to spend? I'm not planning to change any axles or add a deck.

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What size RV are you thinking of getting?  A small RV is overkill for a HDT.  What kind of places do you want to go?  You may be limited depending on the size such as Provincial parks, etc.

Full-timed for 16 Years
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Motorhome
and 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th Wheel

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One of the thing involved is insurance on the HDT, I assume you've already investigated that aspect.

 

2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA IN 1SG retired;Good Sam Life member,FMCA ." And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.  John F. Kennedy 20 Jan 1961

 

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27 minutes ago, 2gypsies said:

What size RV are you thinking of getting?  A small RV is overkill for a HDT.  What kind of places do you want to go?  You may be limited depending on the size such as Provincial parks, etc.

I'm planning on buying a medium sized fifth wheel somewhere on the lower end of 30ft+, going to travel to various destinations in Ontario at first, but will slowly explore further. I know an hdt is overkill but the reason I'd like an hdt is for the comfort during travel and due to personal preference, I also don't need a second "car" so might as well get a specialized tow vehicle and it can be cheaper than a decent pickup truck these days.

28 minutes ago, Ray,IN said:

One of the thing involved is insurance on the HDT, I assume you've already investigated that aspect.

I hit a dead end on that one. Somewhere I read that statefarm and cooperators insures hdt trucks, but I called both and neither insures hdt trucks??? I'll have to do some more digging.

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Depending on the HDT you choose it  may be more maneuverable than many pickups.  Volvos and some others will turn sharper than a lot of pickups.  In addition most mount the hitch behind the axle which helps tracking and is much more responsive when backing.  If you don't put a bed on be sure to add fenders and good mud flaps.  It was good to see you plan another hitch.  The 5er will fit into the commercial hitch but most recommend an air hitch.

Randy

2001 Volvo VNL 42 Cummins ISX Autoshift

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Building out the frame for a hitch, and then buying the hitch can cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand.  I understand you don't think you want a bed, but having a flat surface to carry things makes the vehicle much more useful overall.

Here's a truck we looked at back in late Nov.  It's a good truck, just wouldn't work for us.  It would have been a step sideways, and so not worth the paperwork and effort to import it.  But since you're already in CA.........  

 

KW T-680, POPEMOBILE
Newmar X-Aire, VATICAN
Lots of old motorcycles, Moto Guzzi Griso and Spyder F3 currently in the front row
Young enough to play in the dirt as a retired farmer.
contact me at rickeieio@yahoo.com

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2 hours ago, Randyretired said:

Depending on the HDT you choose it  may be more maneuverable than many pickups.  Volvos and some others will turn sharper than a lot of pickups.  In addition most mount the hitch behind the axle which helps tracking and is much more responsive when backing.  If you don't put a bed on be sure to add fenders and good mud flaps.  It was good to see you plan another hitch.  The 5er will fit into the commercial hitch but most recommend an air hitch.

Thanks for the advice on the fenders, never thought of those, added to my list. I was considering using the original hitch but I read that it will destroy the rv frame, so it'll be worth it getting an air ride hitch.

1 hour ago, rickeieio said:

Building out the frame for a hitch, and then buying the hitch can cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand.  I understand you don't think you want a bed, but having a flat surface to carry things makes the vehicle much more useful overall.

Here's a truck we looked at back in late Nov.  It's a good truck, just wouldn't work for us.  It would have been a step sideways, and so not worth the paperwork and effort to import it.  But since you're already in CA.........  

 

I think a couple thousand to get a hitch professionally installed would be reasonable, cause I'd never trust anything I'd install myself to hold a 10,000lb trailer on the highway,  so I'm fine with that. I'll likely install some kind of storage compartments later on.

That truck is nice, but $42k is still expensive, and I would like a manual transmission which doesn't seem to come in any already built rv haulers. Thanks for suggesting it, never saw an hdt for sale close to me.

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16 hours ago, sandsys said:

Why? Just curious.

Linda

Mainly personal preference, there's nothing like rowing your own gears down the scenic route. I care as much about the journey as I do about the destination.

9 hours ago, Kirk W said:

Definitely one of the nicer trucks, but its in the US, and with the lower Canadian dollar 25k would end up being around 33k along with the hassle of importing it here.

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1 hour ago, skylve said:

Mainly personal preference, there's nothing like rowing your own gears down the scenic route. I care as much about the journey as I do about the destination.

I just think about the hassles of a manual shift when gong up the mountains. I can drive a manual shift in a car but I would not want to do so every trip up then down the mountains. Those runaway truck ramps scare me. :) 

Maybe because I remember my mom burning up her clutch then having to use the emergency brake to drive through downtown Minneapolis to get us home. We could never teach her not to ride the clutch. Then, when she got an automatic, she rode the brake. She thought she had to have both feet on pedals at all times. When she first started driving she kept one foot on the accelerator and one on the clutch. She thought you slowed down just by not pressing the accelerator. Brake wasn't part of her vocabulary yet. I was sure glad once I learned to drive and she let me.

Linda

Blog: http://sandcastle.sandsys.org/

Former Rigs: Liesure Travel van, Winnebago View 24H, Winnebago Journey 34Y, Sportsmobile Sprinter conversion van

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5 minutes ago, sandsys said:

I just think about the hassles of a manual shift when gong up the mountains. I can drive a manual shift in a car but I would not want to do so every trip up then down the mountains. Those runaway truck ramps scare me. :) 

Maybe because I remember my mom burning up her clutch then having to use the emergency brake to drive through downtown Minneapolis to get us home. We could never teach her not to ride the clutch. Then, when she got an automatic, she rode the brake. She thought she had to have both feet on pedals at all times. When she first started driving she kept one foot on the accelerator and one on the clutch. She thought you slowed down just by not pressing the accelerator. Brake wasn't part of her vocabulary yet. I was sure glad once I learned to drive and she let me.

Linda

Driving a truck with a manual transmission is not directly comparable to driving a car with a manual transmission. In a car, you generally put it in top gear and just drive until you get to mountains. On a class 8 truck, there's significantly more shifting just to adapt to changing traffic conditions. I personally prefer a manual transmission in my truck, mostly because to avoid the added expense and complexity of the automated transmissions. Plus, my truck is really easy to drive and shift. Don't mind doing it at all. Jay

 

 
 
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HDT auto transmissions are just manual transmissions with computer controlled shifts.  When decending hills a button push determines the gear and it will hold in that gear until you release it, if possible.  Like all heavy trucks gear selection is life or disaster when decending in the mountains.  Most HDT's also have a very capable engine brake to help.   I prefer an auto as it is relaxing and it is easier to hold my drink without spilling but everyone has their preference.

Randy

2001 Volvo VNL 42 Cummins ISX Autoshift

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4 hours ago, 2gypsies said:

Even driving an automatic in the mountains you shift gears - or you should, at least.  It really saves the brakes.

Yes, but there's so few gears in a car. I'm under the impression an HDT has more of them. Kinda like comparing a standard bicycle to a ten-speed.

Linda

Blog: http://sandcastle.sandsys.org/

Former Rigs: Liesure Travel van, Winnebago View 24H, Winnebago Journey 34Y, Sportsmobile Sprinter conversion van

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I drove trucks for UPS for over 32 years and after I retired they started getting automatics, yes my HDT is a auto and it does make getting there a lot nicer but I too miss shifting gears, I drove the little brown trucks for 7 years and can remember loosing my clutch towards the end of day on a Friday, there was no way I was waiting Lord knows how long for a mechanic or tow truck to show up to get me home , I drove that puppy home praying for as few traffic lights as possible. When I moved up to the tractor trailers they mostly had trucks with a wet clutch air assisted, talk about learning all over again, really glad I learned how to float the gears. Hope you find the truck you are looking for, good luck and enjoy

2017 River Stone Legacy 38MB

2001 T2000 Kenworth

2009 Smart Passion

ET Junior hitch

 

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