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5thwheel vs class A or class C, what did you choose and why?


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8 minutes ago, whj469 said:

If you are going to do a lot of moving a MH could be good. I you park and stay in one place a lot them a fiver could be better. I spend the summer in the UP so we got fivers last three RVs.

Except your daily driver is a big pickup.   

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We mainly wanted a 5th wheel for our needs. We haul a custom vehicle to go to car shows. When we were having trouble finding units that were not poluted with Formaldehyde (the wife was getting sick) we started looking at used Class A's that would be large enough to tow an enclosed trailer large enough for our show vehicle and our daily driver which is a smart car. That meant we needed a larger diesel pusher. A couple things we did not like about them that hasn't been mentioned so far, was most have a front access door in front of the passenger seat which we have noticed in many campgrounds puts you stepping out if the coach and into the road. The other was the cost for property tax in our state of SC. It was going to be $3-5k per year. Plus many of those units still had Formaldehyde issues. 

In 2019, we finally found a trailer manufacturer that would build a custom 5th wheel in our budget that could handle our show vehicle in the garage our our SUV if we were not bringing the show vehicle. If we do bring the show vehicle, we put our smart car as our daily driver on the back of our HDT.  We have done some long site seeing trips in the smart. We can also use the HDT as a mini motorhome if we want to go to some smaller campgrounds. It is mostly all about personal choice. Maybe try to hit some of the larger rallies to see what some units in actual use are before you make a final decision. Also always check how much you can move around in a unit with the slides in. Many times important stuff like bedroom, bathroom, refrigerator, microwave are blocked.

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We opted for a fifth wheel.  It was my first RV.  My wife grew up with RV's.

Financially, the feds were giving a light truck tax credit which made a f350 diesel dually affordable. We bought a good quality older 5er and fixed it up after a year in it to figure out the good, bad and ugly  Very little ugly. Quite a bit less expensive than the MH's we saw and felt would serve our purposes.

Aesthetically, my wife says the 5er is less like a bowling alley than a MH.  Here parents full timed in a Prevost for 12 years. She hated the layout.  Visitors described the inside of our rig as more "homey" than expected.

Work wise, I think a 5er is more work if you travel more than two consecutive days, and for setting up and tearing down, generally.  I base that on seeing others with MH's.  A lot of the newer 5ers have systems that cut down on this work.  For two day runs in the 5er we just park relatively level and stay hooked up.  In the morning we move in slides, disconnect electric, run through checklist and go

Travel wise, I expect the MH contents take far less of a beating than goes on in a 5er.  7.5 earthquake comes to mind.  You learn to pack well. Also I expect the MH cruises faster than I do.  Normal travel involves winter in one or two places in FL, travel 12 weeks or so in the spring/early summer seeing grandkids on the way, a couple of months or so in ME with visits from grandkids, and 6-8 weeks back down to FL (and see grandkids on the way).

All told the 5er was cheaper, travels well for those of us who never travel more than two days in a row, and is for us more comfortable.  It has been home for three years.  It feels like home.

Wayne & Jinx
2017 F-350 diesel, dually
2006 Carriage Carri-Lite 36KSQ

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Our fiver suited for many of the same reasons. We used the RV Roadie 2X2X2 rule, We never traveled more than 200 miles in a day, always arrived by 2 pm because we never made reservations, (this was 1997-2003) and always stayed two days regardless of where. That gave us the first afternoon  to settle down to some brews and relaxation. Then day 2 we explored the area and many times, in the middle of nowhere, we found some cool stuff to see and do or eat!

We did that two days or more of travel in our first year and then we learned how to fulltime, never made plans to be anywhere at a certain day or time and only when we were in the town of a friend or relative, and set up, at our leisure we would call and invite them over for a fire if we had a fire ring at the space like in Fiddler's Cove Military Famcamp on The Strand next to the Navy seals HQ and training center and down the street from Coronado Naval Air Station with all facilities.

We stayed at SKP parks and CoOps and military bases primarily our first year. and mostly for the other six years but more civilian parks because - Canada.

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We had in order: tent trailer pop up. Truck camper. Small Class A, Class C, Class A. Bus conversion, and a  second bus converted,  converted by us as was the first.

We vote motorhome regardless of class.  The truck camper was a sort of motorhome. We could get from the truck cab to the camper without going outside. Of course that was over  forty years ago. 

We like the convience of one floor living and the bathroom is always available.

Our $0.02

Bill

 

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We're going through this discussion now, and we did it 10 years ago, too. We knew we would be full-timers and that was about all we knew. We did tent camping, went to a Class C, then back to a larger tent. We bought a small travel trailer that our Mountaineer could tow just to see what that would be like. We liked it, so sold that and seriously searched for our full-time coach.

At first we were against a motor home because they use a LOT of fuel. Then we figured out that they can tow a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Then we figured out that we would always have something towing something else. Once we reached that conclusion the MH became a possibility.

At that time we thought we would be moving 2-5 times per month, and only about 150-200 miles per move. That was back in 2012. We now know that life doesn't work that way. We've looking to replace the MH we bought then, and discussing what would be the best option for us. What will fit us may not be right for you. Figure out what you expect to be doing and then find the best coach that matches your wants and needs.

Our Foretravel gets about 7.5 mpg, and the towed, a 2015 Lincoln MKT, gets about 25 mpg. We put a LOT more miles on the MKT than we do on the Foretravel. One possibility we're looking at is a combo deal of a 2008 F450 and Mobile Suites fifth wheel. That combo will cost us more in fuel costs but save on maintenance costs. Another possibility is a slightly newer Foretravel. That will give us slightly better fuel economy and let us keep the MKT.

Get what suits you and your needs and don't worry about what others choose.

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On 3/17/2021 at 9:04 PM, northwest323 said:

Thanks for the responses. I threw the question here quickly at lunch time. I already have a 3/4 ton RAM cummins. Wife likes the motor-home, but I am the  one that would be maintaining the engines. We are planning for retirement and at least a year of full time RV living/traveling. My point of view is with a motor home, I have to maintain 2 engines and if it is a diesel pusher, I hear costs if its a major issue can be costly plus if engine work is needed, we need to find a hotel vs. a 5thwheel. If we go motor home, I would at least like a class C diesel because the engine is much easier to access.

Any comments based on this info?

 

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On 3/18/2021 at 12:40 AM, RV_ said:

If you've got a Ram you can likely meet weight limits for GCVWR if you're careful. We pulled with a Ram 1 ton diesel dually long bed. We pulled a 36 foot HitchHiker and for seven years did everything West of the Mississippi and from Mexico up to and including a season in Alaska. While you are shopping check out the price of windshield wipers, motor home size tires, oil changes, and then find the fuel mileage for a motor home 5-7 mpg versus 11-13 mpg realistically pulling a load for the Ram. What year and engine is your Ram? We had a Sunnybrook 28.5 fiver that we could easily have fulltimed in for our seven years before we came off the road to care for aging. And remember Class A slab sided motor homes are not crash tested to protect the occupants. in a wreck the fiver drivers are safe in their truck, not in a flying debris field of cabinets, TVs, anything in the closets. Read a lot here:  Motor home crashworthiness https://rv.org/blogs/news/about-reliability-and-structural-integrity

If you are budgeting the cost differences and having proven passenger and driver steel protection all around the holds together as long as you are belted in is important to us. 

As well if the fiver has to be repaired you can stay with it. But if the truck needs service or overnight repairs the fiver can be parked without breaking camp.

While you can back a MH with a toad but not far and damage likely. If I made a wrong turn I could back out immediately. I drove that long diesel to work my last year active duty. My 5'1" wife loved driving it too. When we came off the road after 7 years she drove it as her work truck flipping houses and doing interior trim on new construction. I had a long bed 2500 Ram diesel too for my use and towing our part time fivers.

That is my favorite type and my reasons why. YMMV

Safe Travels!

Were did you find that wife? Mine refuses to drive our F-250. 

 

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Bossier City Louisiana in 1971. We've been together since. We had matching 1975 Norton 850 Commandos to do the mountains. Think Arlo's lyrics to "I don't want a pickle"  ;)

Edited by RV_
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In mid-2020, my wife and I decided that we needed to find an RV that would allow us to get out and do some exploring of places we have previously passed by as we hopped from hotel to hotel across the USA.

As retired grandparents, we considered those opportunities we would hope to have when we could bring along the grandchildren to share our experiences.

At first, we looked at Class C motorhomes, since we had no tow vehicle and figured that being fully self-contained would be our best choice.  The more units we walked through, the more disappointed we were with the space layout, bed spaces for kids, etc.  When we ended up looking at 32' Class C motorhomes, it was clear that looking at Class A units was going to be more likely to meet our perceived needs.

So, we moved on to looking at Class A motorhomes.  We soon determined that a front  engine gasser wasn't going to work for us, so a rear engine diesel was needed to go the Class A route.  The whole MH route led to the need for a toad, tow bar setup, braking system, etc, which now had us looking at two new motor vehicles to add to our "stable" just to go traveling, since we owned no flat-towable vehicle we could drag along.  With all of the added maintenance and licensing/insurance, this rapidly eclipsed what we expected to be spending when we first looked at RV-ing.

After stopping for some reality-checking and spreadsheet analysis, we backed up and went down the 5th wheel path.  This was based on swapping one of our current motor vehicles for a new TV, keeping us at two motor vehicles to maintain, license and insure.  Then we searched long and hard to find a 5th wheel that not only suited us, but could accommodate the infrequent hosting of several grandkids as well.

In the end, we have a new 1-ton diesel truck that replaced one of our two "daily drivers" (not that we even drive daily, being retired), and a new 5th wheel trailer that is big enough to feel open and comfortable when we are alone, and sufficient to house several grandkid when the situation presents itself.

Other than having a rough-riding heavy duty truck for some of my basic transportation needs, this seems to be our best solution.  I can always ride one of my motorcycles if I don't want to drive the truck and the weather is good enough.

Edited by HiWay-OurWay
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3 hours ago, GlennWest said:

Don't mean to be arguing but we find the HDT and Smart car save's us lots of money. Now I don't understand why a motorhome would be more exspensive than a dually towing a fifth wheel. Mine was very costly to operate. 

Because people are familiar with pickups and so feel that strange things like HDT and Motorhomes are 'different', therefore MUST be costly to maintain.   Of course, when it comes to things like tires, etc., yes when we talk about costs, it will cost us more fore because we have Bigger Rigs - a larger house cost more to heat/cool/maintain than a smaller place. 

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I don't see much difference in cost of tires on my HDT than my previous dually. And my Smart car gets 40 ish mpg. Cost today $20.00 to fill up but gas is getting high. Dually was $100.00 to fill and that was weekly. So $80.00 week savings. 

Edited by GlennWest
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5 hours ago, Barbaraok said:

Of course, when it comes to things like tires, etc., yes when we talk about costs, it will cost us more fore because we have Bigger Rigs 

But does it really?  Yes the up front cost is more but the life time cost is same or less.

I just got my first HDT this year so I am still learning.  What I have found so far is that everything on the HDT cost 2-4 times as much but lasts 4-8 times longer.  

Factory oil change in Volvo is just over 2x as much as my 1 ton, but the frequency is 4x as long.  

On my dually I end up doing tires every other year at ~$1500 so over 10 years that is $7500.  Even buying the most expensive HDT tires are going to run under $6000 and will likely last that same 10 years.  I know the recent set of dives and steers (10), with my trade in was quoted at $3700. 

Even for fuel, on our last trip from WA to AZ and back was about 2700 miles.  The other 2 pick up routinely filled up for $3.25-$3.40/ gallon.  I filled up 2x since I have 275 gallons once at $2.65 and once at $2.80.  While I get a lower MPG, my overall fuel cost was similar. 

Edited by Nwcid
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Big advantage of the dually is I can take it to any Ford, Chevy or Ram dealer for work or any one of many independent shops.  I do not have to find and schedule a Freightliner or Cummins shop.  When the truck is in the shop, I still have a 5er to live in.  With the motorhome, your house goes in the shop and you are stuck in a motel or hotel.  For transportation, I just rent an inexpensive car for a few days if needed.

Ken

 

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NO, we are not stuck in a motel waiting for repairs.   Most facilities that handle Motorhomes have places on site where you can stay in your rig at night.   During the day, we got see the area, do laundry at a local laundromat, etc.  

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9 hours ago, TXiceman said:

With the motorhome, your house goes in the shop and you are stuck in a motel or hotel. 

We never had that experience while living in our motorhome. Do fifth wheel RVs never need service work?  What did you use to drive while your truck was in the shop? We took the tow car and went exploring when our motorhome needed service. Each has its advantages but for some reason many people seem to want us to believe that other choices are wrong. The best choice is always the one that the users enjoy most. If you think that what you have is best, then it is best, no matter what it happens to be. 

We may have been lucky, but in our 11+ years we were never forced to use a motel, but were once at our kids for several days. For us, the best choice has changed several times over the years.

Edited by Kirk W
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5 hours ago, TXiceman said:

Big advantage of the dually is I can take it to any Ford, Chevy or Ram dealer for work or any one of many independent shops.  I do not have to find and schedule a Freightliner or Cummins shop.  When the truck is in the shop, I still have a 5er to live in.  With the motorhome, your house goes in the shop and you are stuck in a motel or hotel.  For transportation, I just rent an inexpensive car for a few days if needed.

Ken

 

In 8 yr. we never spent a night anywhere but our motorhome and never had to rent a car.  It's no issue. 

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5 hours ago, Kirk W said:

We never had that experience while living in our motorhome. Do fifth wheel RVs never need service work?  What did you use to drive while your truck was in the shop? We took the tow car and went exploring when our motorhome needed service. Each has its advantages but for some reason many people seem to want us to believe that other choices are wrong. The best choice is always the one that the users enjoy most. If you think that what you have is best, then it is best, no matter what it happens to be. 

Kirk, yes, 5ers do need occasional repairs in the shop.  Where motorhomes are repaired, not all will allow staying in the coach at night.   As for truck repairs, we had to have an engine replace in 2014 and the truck was in the shop for 3 weeks.  The other parties insurance paid for a site for the RV for 3 weeks, a rental car for 3 weeks and repaired the truck.  Our road service towed the truck and trailer to a pull through site and we dropped the trailer and took the truck on to a Ford dealer.

It is a personal choice of which devil you care to dance with.  Both choices have the potential for issues.  With the more recent diesel trucks and diesel motorhomes, the biggest issues we see are the pollution controls disabling the engine.  And both can have problems with the slide units.

And 2gypsies, you have been very lucky.

Ken

Edited by TXiceman
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Quote

I

t is a personal choice of which devil you care to dance with.  Both choices have the potential for issues.  With the more recent diesel trucks and diesel motorhomes, the biggest issues we see are the pollution controls disabling the engine.  And both can have problems with the slide units.

So why bring up a none issue?  

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7 hours ago, Kirk W said:

We never had that experience while living in our motorhome. Do fifth wheel RVs never need service work?  What did you use to drive while your truck was in the shop? We took the tow car and went exploring when our motorhome needed service. Each has its advantages but for some reason many people seem to want us to believe that other choices are wrong. The best choice is always the one that the users enjoy most. If you think that what you have is best, then it is best, no matter what it happens to be. 

Kirk,

What experience did you never have? Did you never have to have yours serviced? Or you never had to sleep in a motel? Since you now have the best diesel light duty truck made, and a trailer, as well as you spent years motorhoming with a gas MH, which did you never have a breakdown or service or had to stay at a motel with the MH, the travel trailer, both?

What "many people?"  The question was RV or Motorhome and why. Did you expect the fiver owners to not say why?

As you said whatever you have is the best and when someone asks about pros and cons for each, not one of them said other choices are wrong, unless I missed it. Did you see that anywhere?

Edited by RV_
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