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Trading Up


Warrader
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So, a little backstory:

I'm 54 and I've been fulltime RVing for almost 3 years now.  I have a 28ft travel trailer with 1 slide that I call home.  Stir crazy?  Cabin fever?  Maybe a little.  I still work locally so I'm not home much, except weekends.  

I'm looking to upgrade to a 5th wheel, 3-4 slides, 38ft or longer, gross under 15000lbs and limited sleeping numbers (the less sleep number capability the more room for other comforts).  I've been online shopping for many months and, after reviewing multiple manufacturers, I've come to the conclusion that ALL brands have problems; and the haters love to post.  I guess it comes down to manufacturer support more than complaints.  

So, I'm open to any suggestions about brands and how the manufacturers supported you when the inevitable breakdown occurred.  Currently looking at a Crossroads Cameo.  

Thank you for your input.

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Welcome to the forum. You'll get lots of good advice here. Some will contradict what others say. Take everything offered as a genuine attempt to help.

We're looking at DRV mainly because of insulation. They have thicker walls and ceilings, so more insulation and larger tanks. I believe the 36' Mobile Suites are about 15,000 pounds GVWR. The 38' ones are a bit heavier.

Remember that quality weighs more.

We've been fulltiming in a Foretravel MH and make annual trips to Nacogdoches for service. You may we well served to find a service center near you that has a good reputation and go with what they suggest. It sounds like you are looking at new coaches, rather than used. Buying used may open up more possibilities.

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We went with a Dune Sport unit out of Mesa AZ. They build to order so you will not find new ones on any lots. You can have it built to your wants and needs. They have been great to work with on our warranty items. We had it built in September of 2019 and probably have close to 35-40k miles on it already. The price range was in our price range versus a more expensive custom build from New Horizons or Spacecraft which also tend to be heavier units. 

You can build a base estimate on their website and they will contact you to add pricing like slides or give Casey a call and he do it right from the beginning. Dune Sport mainly builds Toyhaulers but will build other types of units, you will just have to ask them to price it out. Basically you are only paying for the items you want and need this way. 

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I see from your profile that you are in CA so that may effect pricing. One thing to consider when moving from a TT to a 5th wheel is the need for a heavier duty tow vehicle which may also change your considerations.

DRV is a good brand to look at. We just purchased a Montana which Keystone certifies for full time living. 

Your budget range would help us help you but we understand the need for space when full timing.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Chalkie said:

I see from your profile that you are in CA so that may effect pricing. One thing to consider when moving from a TT to a 5th wheel is the need for a heavier duty tow vehicle which may also change your considerations.

DRV is a good brand to look at. We just purchased a Montana which Keystone certifies for full time living. 

Your budget range would help us help you but we understand the need for space when full timing.

 

 

My tow vehicle is a 2006 Silverado 2500HD, 6.6L diesel, so I can definitely pull a 5th wheel, just not one that's too heavy.  My price range is about $55,000-$65,000.  Thanks for the input.

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If you decide on DRV, check out Whiskey Mountain in Mesa Arizona.  That's not too far from you, they only deal in DRVs but they have LOTS of nice looking RVs in ALL price ranges!  They only sell USED RVs there. They have a super staff there that are extremely knowledgable about DRVs and their quirks. They're GREAT people to deal with, we were just there.  

ALL RVs have problems from time to time, pick your "poison".  LOL

Good luck in your upgrade search!  

 

Dan

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12 hours ago, Warrader said:

My tow vehicle is a 2006 Silverado 2500HD, 6.6L diesel, so I can definitely pull a 5th wheel, just not one that's too heavy.

I suggest that you be very sure of the numbers before buying a fiver, particularly payload and rear GAWR.  A 2500 is usually a great truck for a TT, but often isn't much truck in fifth wheel terms. 

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

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9 hours ago, rpsinc said:

I find this resource to be helpful to determine tow capacities of particular trucks.  

https://www.trailerlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Trailer-Life-Towing-Guide-2006.pdf

It has certainly enlightened me when I thought I had enough truck for a particular application.

This is a good guide for towing capacity only.  It doesn't help with payload or axle capacity calculations.

Warrader, if you want to post a photo of the info/capacity plates inside of the driver's door I or someone else here will go through the calculations with you.

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

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You guys are all so great!  I appreciate all of the input and I love that so many people are willing and ready to offer support.  Having worked for a Chevrolet Dealership for 26 years, and having access to manufacturer information that many people don't, I think I've come to a conclusion: a lot of people over tow with trucks like mine!  There are many forums that feature guys talking about towing way above the recommended GCWR.  Luckily, this "campfire posturing" doesn't hold a lot of water with me.  I want to protect my truck and keep driving it for another 200,000 miles.  That being said, I've laid out the numbers, done some remedial math, (with a calculator!) and decided that I can pull a fairly nice 5er behind my truck.  (NOT a Redwood!  Holy cow!  Those things are REALLY heavy!)  

Here's my math:

The unladen weight of my truck, per my DMV title, is 6,725 lbs.  Everything that I have read says that this includes a full tank of fuel.  Now, whether it includes a fat guy like me in the driver's seat is up for debate.  The GCWR, per the GM website, is 22,000 lbs.  That means that I have 15,275 lbs. to work with above my unladen weight rating.  As an aside, I have a "power up" chip and air bags to help with the load (which I know throw off the numbers somewhat).  The Prime Time Sanibel 5th wheel I'm looking at has a UVW of 11,859 lbs., with a cargo capacity of 2,439 lbs.  That means, fully loaded, it would "max out" at 14,298 lbs.  Hitch weight is 2298 lbs., where my maximum is listed at 3000 lbs.  So, after adding and subtracting, hopefully correctly, I end up with an allowable cargo balance, besides my truck and fully loaded trailer, of 977lbs.  That's a lot of firewood!  Add in a Dewalt generator and a fully loaded ice chest with beer, and I might be getting close to my max.  But still way below the manly posturing on the LBZ diesel forums which tout 16,000 to 18,000 lbs. without a problem.  It's never a problem, until it is.

So, I'm going to look at this rig on Saturday.  I like everything about it.  At $55,000, it's well within my budget.  I pray that I can stay cool, negotiate like a Wall Street pro and, hopefully, come away with a new place to live.

Go math!

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Don’t forget to add the weight of the 5th wheel hitch to your math.  I also would not hang my hat on the sticker weight of your truck.  Fill it up with fuel and you and any passengers/cargo you would typically carry when towing and drive it across a scale to get the actual weight of the truck and use that number instead for calculations.  You should also use the GVW number of the trailer and plan on 20 to 25% of that weight as pin weight on the truck.  You may find you are within specs on GCWR, but may be over on rear axle rating.  That is a common problem when towing a fifth wheel with a 3/4 ton truck.

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3 hours ago, Warrader said:

Here's my math:

The unladen weight of my truck, per my DMV title, is 6,725 lbs.  Everything that I have read says that this includes a full tank of fuel.  Now, whether it includes a fat guy like me in the driver's seat is up for debate.  The GCWR, per the GM website, is 22,000 lbs.  That means that I have 15,275 lbs. to work with above my unladen weight rating.  As an aside, I have a "power up" chip and air bags to help with the load (which I know throw off the numbers somewhat).  The Prime Time Sanibel 5th wheel I'm looking at has a UVW of 11,859 lbs., with a cargo capacity of 2,439 lbs.  That means, fully loaded, it would "max out" at 14,298 lbs.  Hitch weight is 2298 lbs., where my maximum is listed at 3000 lbs.  So, after adding and subtracting, hopefully correctly, I end up with an allowable cargo balance, besides my truck and fully loaded trailer, of 977lbs.  That's a lot of firewood!  Add in a Dewalt generator and a fully loaded ice chest with beer, and I might be getting close to my max.  But still way below the manly posturing on the LBZ diesel forums which tout 16,000 to 18,000 lbs. without a problem.  It's never a problem, until it is.

As I read your math I don't see any payload or axle weight calculations.  This is just pure towing capacity which, as noted above by me and others, is only a small part of the story.  Here's my math from the 2006 Silverado manual and your numbers above.

Payload:  Payload is important.  Pushing to or over this number drastically affects emergency handling, suspension life, tire wear and all around pleasure of driving. 

The 2500HD has a gross payload of 9200#.  That means the truck, all contents, fuel, hitch, passengers, driver, etc. - everything in or on the truck - cannot exceed 9200# (and this does not include a safety margin).  Your vehicle curb weight is 6725#.  This includes fuel but nothing else. That means you have a net payload (what you can put into and on the truck over curb weight (including you) of 2,475#.  The UVW hitch weight of your Sanibel is 2298# which is just over 19% of UVW of 11,859#.  Applying that number to the Sanibel GVWR of 14,298 gives a rough loaded hitch weight of 2,770#.  So right now, without the weight of driver, passenger, pet dog, hitch, truck keys and water bottles, you are going to be about 300# over payload.  When you put in driver, passenger, generator, hitch and sundries, you are pushing a half ton over gross payload.  If you carry nothing in the trailer and truck, and only have you in the cab and the hitch in the bed, you will be over payload.  A power chip and air bags will not fix this problem.

I don't have the Rear GAWR number, but I expect it to be similarly out of whack.

I don't mean to rain on your parade, but this is not enough truck.  Assuming you weight 200# and plan to carry no passengers or anything else in the truck, you might be able to tow a 5er with a maximum loaded pin weight somewhere under 2000#.

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

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 Using your math, that would leave you with a 4% safety factor.  If it works for you then make the best decision you can.  For me, I'm a 10%+ sort of person.  I tow with an LBZ CC DRW for my peace of mind.  My 5er is in a similar weight standing as the one you are going to look at.

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Thank you to everyone who reached out with advice and recommendations: I honestly do appreciate them all.  After talking with veteran techs who have not only worked on these vehicles, but also towed with similar ones, I am still going to upgrade to a 5th wheel.  Many of my close friends, who are also GM techs, have spent years evaluating and repairing Duramax diesels, coupled to Allison transmissions and suspended on GM chassis.  Having consulted with them in their respective specialties, I am confident that the powertrain is sufficient, the suspension is worthy, and the brakes and chassis can handle the larger load.  (Plus, my dad gave me the "thumbs up!")

(This next part is very hard for me, so a little bit of grace and understanding at this point would be great.) 

Here is where things get real; as fellow "full timers," I'd ask for some "kudos" and support.  I never thought that this would be my life; I lost everything in my divorce and I'm trying to find my way in this new life.  Transitioning from a home on 2 1/2 acres to a 28ft box has been extremely challenging; it has been incredibly difficult to navigate this new set of life-rules.  My desire is to trade this "box" for something that lends itself to an easier and more expansive living arrangement until I can get out of California and settle in a more conservative environment.  (Read: Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota.) 

I hope my truck is up to the challenge, my paycheck can handle the expense, and my new friends on EscapeesRVclub can continue to buoy my attitude as I find my way.

Stay tuned: more to come....

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You can't  hope away the math...trying to rationalize what friends and colleagues are saying to you doesn't change the facts of the numbers, and they are not the ones that will be driving the rig down the road....jinx is giving you solid factual based advice and not opinions..however it's certainly your choice to make but don't use your current life's situation to turn a blind eye on the facts..and yes that's my opinion.  I wish you all the best and know those people here will help with information and support,  great group here. 

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Good luck.  Finding one's way after that sort of life event takes time and patience.  Speaking from experience, you can/are forced to learn quite a bit along the way.

Last word from me on payload/axle capacity:

• Fifth-wheel trailer kingpin loads are higher than conventional trailer tongue loads, so pay careful attention to the truck’s payload capacity and rear axle weight ratings.

This is from the Chevrolet truck Towing Guide (2017)

Travel safely.

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

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On 4/25/2021 at 12:48 AM, Warrader said:

My tow vehicle is a 2006 Silverado 2500HD, 6.6L diesel, so I can definitely pull a 5th wheel, just not one that's too heavy.  My price range is about $55,000-$65,000.  Thanks for the input.

If you use this online weight calculator it will accurately and safely match your truck to prospective 5ers. Then you may dismiss all the jazz salemen spout.

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We have been FT for 8+ years now and when we started the rig weighed in at just under 25k. A recent scale ticket shows we now weigh over 27k. Adding weight is hard to control, whether it's personal weight gain or rig weight! Leave yourself plenty of margin when it comes to rig weight.

Edited by gjhunter01
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8 hours ago, gjhunter01 said:

We have been FT for 8+ years now and when we started the rig weighed in at just under 25k. A recent scale ticket shows we now weigh over 27k. Adding weight is hard to control, whether it's personal weight gain or rig weight! Leave yourself plenty of margin when it comes to rig weight.

To deal with this problem we have several tactics.

1-Think carefully before acquiring things.

2- In-so-out rule:  If you bring something in, something goes out.  Jinx has a caveat for that rule.  If something of hers comes in, something of mine must go.

3-  Weed things out!  If you haven't used it in six months you probably don't need it.  We do a major weeding every spring and fall.  I got rid of about 90# of stuff last month.

4-  Weigh annually.  SmartWeigh is a great program and is available at several Escapees parks.  Truck scales are another option but are less thorough.  SmartWeigh gives wheel-by-wheel weights,  vehicle height, and covers tire, axle and vehicle capacities as part of the evaluation.

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

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On 5/8/2021 at 5:16 AM, Jinx & Wayne said:

To deal with this problem we have several tactics.

1-Think carefully before acquiring things.

2- In-so-out rule:  If you bring something in, something goes out.  Jinx has a caveat for that rule.  If something of hers comes in, something of mine must go.

3-  Weed things out!  If you haven't used it in six months you probably don't need it.  We do a major weeding every spring and fall.  I got rid of about 90# of stuff last month.

4-  Weigh annually.  SmartWeigh is a great program and is available at several Escapees parks.  Truck scales are another option but are less thorough.  SmartWeigh gives wheel-by-wheel weights,  vehicle height, and covers tire, axle and vehicle capacities as part of the evaluation.

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

In/out rule was also our plan, but that is easier said than done. Some items become necessities like adding a washer/dryer or a dehumidifer, or even upgrading the 5 tires to a much heavier G series, not to mention upgrading RV furniture to a heavier durable brand. RV's are like people, most will weigh heavier after 8+ years.

Edited by gjhunter01
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On another side note:  while all the opinions are the basis for consideration and can be used for final decision making, please also remember that those charts that are published are very often used my insurance companies to deny claims in the case of accidents, and finding that you MAY be at fault for towing a trailer that is, by those same charts etc, too heavy for your truck and as such you caused the risk and that, in their opinion, is why you are at fault in a particular accident.

As Elmer Fudd used to say:  Be Very Very careful(well he said quiet but you get the point)

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  • 2 months later...

Not in disagreement of any of specs or warnings on capacity or danger of overloading. After 20 plus years of vehicle manufacturing engineering design experience with prototype vehicle testing experience i can tell you manufacturers rate vehicles at 2/3 of spec design intent and durability test failures. So over rated spec is at your risk but design material rating and testing provide 1-1/2 x rated capacity for liability protection for manufacturer as well as any incident by user.

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Bearings and axles are all rated higher but springs are another matter. Even a 3500 dually is limited here. My Teton bowed the springs backwards. Also on a personal note, I felt like an ant in my dually towing my Teton. 

Edited by GlennWest
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