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Hello from Idaho

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  #1  
Old 05-16-2011, 11:11 AM
Camper
Camper Type: None
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: meridian, idaho
Posts: 2
Default Hello from Idaho

Will be purchasing trailer or fifth wheel in next few months and want to get as much information as available what is best way to go, what kind of vehichle for pulling etc etc, so just checking this out and reading as much as I can for ideas. Thanks for any input
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  #2  
Old 05-16-2011, 12:42 PM
Addicted Camper
Camper Type: Toy Hauler
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Oregon
Posts: 162
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You ask a simple question that is difficult to answer simply. First, how many will use this RV? What are your intentions for use ie. occasional short use a few times a year, several times for a few weeks or longer, well you get the point. How much money do you have to allocate for the combination? I would start by saying that dollar for dollar a used RV is a better buy but you have to realize that in buying used you run the risk of getting one with leakage issues, equipment that doesn't work and even possible frame damage as in bending or even brakage, although that is not common it still happens on cheaper brands. Basically most half ton pickups can handle realatively small travel trailers say under 25 ft with larger requiring three quarter ton and in my opinion fifth wheelers are best left to the one ton duallies. Others will argue but I'm a strong believer in an over sized truck for one's needs because of safety. One thing I would strongly discourage is believing anything a salesman tells you, remember his/her best interest is getting you to buy what they have and will always tell you that your truck is good enough or anything else to get the sale. I would also suggest you join forums like RVNET and RV COMMUNITY forum or any other and ask campers your questions. Good luck hunting for your RV
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  #3  
Old 05-16-2011, 04:21 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 852
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What Gerry said.

And welcome aboard
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  #4  
Old 05-16-2011, 07:25 PM
Camping Guru
Camper Type: 5th Wheel
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Murrieta, CA
Posts: 971
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Wow? I didn't write that? Well, my name is not Gerry so I guess I didn't but that's a great start!

Whatever you do, base the tow vehicle on a Trailer's GROSS vehicle weight. Like Gerry warns, sales personnel will sell you a rig based on shipping weight (empty of gear) and as soon as you drive it off the lot it will NEVER weigh that again! Then you load it up and now you are in trouble. Don't forget anything you put in the trailer or in the tow vehicle will add weight. There are a list of weights you must conform to for the utmost in safety. A big diesel motor is NOT the answer because there are a multitude of other vehicle factors - transmission, differential, axles, tires, wheels, driveshaft, U-Joints, leaf springs, brakes, hardware and the list goes on and on!

Most after-market options DO NOT increase the GVWR - another common sales ploy. For example, bigger wheels or tires, air bags, new springs, new shocks, etc. because the item you upgrade may not be the only item that needs upgrading to do it right. Dealers are notorious for saying, "just add some air bags and you'll be fine". WRONG!!!

Okay enough for now. We're talking about trailers.

Trailers versus Fifth Wheels:

Trailers are typically lighter and carry less because they sit at the tow vehicle's bumper. Fifth Wheels are typically larger and carry more weight because they sit over the rear axles - Tow vehicles will usually have a higher weight rating for a 5er because of this. But a heavier load means more tow vehicle is needed and the fuel economy will suffer. In either case, expect your mpgs to plummit if not for the weight you are towing it's also because of the wind you are driving against.

A trailer is more subject to sway and may be a tougher tow as they get larger because they tow so far back from the tow vehicle. Believe it or not, the ride is better when the trailer sits over the axle like with a 5er. But a 5er tends to be heavier because it can handle heavier loads.

A trailer can be towed by more vehicle types as long as the tow vehicle's rating is not exceeded. A 5er must be towed by a truck and the hitch takes up truck bed space. The tradeoff is that since the 5er can usually haul more then the load gets put in the trailer.

Inch for Inch a 5er is a shorter in length than a trailer when measuring total length. The same length of each trailer type and the 5er is a shorter rig combination than a travel trailer because it overlaps over the tow vehicle. This is important to conform to state length laws, or paying less fees if you use a Ferry, or looking for a suitable campsite, or maneuvering through the streets and sites.

A 5er driver needs to worry about height because of the "front cap overhang" and some of the living space being towed very high. A Travel trailer does not have this problem, but its longer length might still make for difficulty maneuvering through fuel stations.

The hitch hardware for a travel trailer is less invasive (don't need to drill the truck bed), but is also simpler and therefore has less weight ratings to worry about. They are pretty much the same in functionality no matter what the brand. 5er hitches are quite capable and there are a variety in usability and comfort - far more options and complexities if you want something fancy - short bed versus long bed, removable or not, flat bed or bed rails, air bags or not, etc.

There's so much more to add - discussions storage, slideouts to provide larger living areas, accessories, and the possible "shucks, now that I'm used to it, I need a bigger rig (and maybe a bigger tow vehicle)".

Combined with the previous posts these are just a few ideas. Expect that there's many, many more but our goal is to prevent your buyer's remorse since you want to know before the plunge!
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Murrieta, CA

2006 Ford F-250/350
2006 Montana 3500RL
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  #5  
Old 05-16-2011, 08:19 PM
Camper
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: meridian, idaho
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Thank You All.....for taking the time and explaning so much. Very much appreciated !! I'm leaning towards used fifth wheel as I've been told they handle safer and easier to pull. My current plans are a trip or two to Palm Springs area a year from Boise (900 miles ). And a trip or two to Seattle / Oregon coast per year. Other uses will be short jaunts within 100 miles of Boise. I will keep reading and getting ideas from RV'rs. Thanks again so very much.
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  #6  
Old 05-16-2011, 08:29 PM
Camping Guru
Camper Type: 5th Wheel
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Murrieta, CA
Posts: 971
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Very good. I live just 75 miles south of Palm Springs. I hope you know not to go there in Summer time!
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Art
Murrieta, CA

2006 Ford F-250/350
2006 Montana 3500RL
Tent & Backpack with all the gear
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  #7  
Old 05-16-2011, 11:10 PM
Addicted Camper
Camper Type: Toy Hauler
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Oregon
Posts: 162
Default looking for 5er

I have a 2001 Dodge 2500 with one ton springs and a Cummins but I would be reluctant to pull much of a fifth wheel with it, I know it's done every day but it gets down to how much weight winds up on the rear axle. Mine's rated for slightly over 6000lbs and has 2850lbs just with me and a full fuel tank. That leaves just 3000lbs with my lady and nothing else. While 3000 sounds like a lot when you factor in that 20-25% of a fifth wheel's weight is on the rear axle that's not much cushion. That's why I believe unless it's a small 5er, say under 28ft, I would opt for a dually. One other thing is axle rating and tire size. My first toy hauler only had C rated 14 inch tires on 3500lb axles. With our Polaris RZR and everything else loaded we had over 6000lbs on tires that were rated for not much more. When we upgraded to a bigger unit I made sure to get D rated 15 inch tires and now loaded even with 50 gallons of water we have over 2000lbs to spare. With a 5ER i'd want at least 16 inch wheels. Also as may have been stated DO NOT pay any attention to EMPTY weight, nobody tows empty. The weight to use is the MAXIMUM GROSS weight that will be found inside one of the cabinets or doors inside the trailer. It has been my experience that RVers tend to come closer by far to the max rather than empty weight figure. Gerry
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  #8  
Old 05-17-2011, 01:36 PM
Camping Guru
Camper Type: 5th Wheel
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Murrieta, CA
Posts: 971
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Gerry has a great explanation. I hope the OP understands it.

I have a Ford 3/4 ton and was able to provide the correct hardware to upgrade properly to a Ford 1 ton configuration (I also have air bags, but they do not upgrade any weight rating). I am within ALL weight ratings a every point of the scale, so, it is possible to tow a 5er with single rear wheels. But I have an older model 5er with a 14,000 Gross trailer weight and have been at the scales to verify my trailer currently weighs 13,500 loaded up. I would not be able to tow the newer models of my trailer because they weigh up to 15,500 now.

The good news is that many of the older 5ers weigh less than their newer models so weight is more accommodating if you have an older truck, too. Do your analysis BEFORE you buy. It's so much easier than getting surprised then trying to fix it afterwards, because most times you can't. In my case, I was lucky.
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Murrieta, CA

2006 Ford F-250/350
2006 Montana 3500RL
Tent & Backpack with all the gear

Last edited by artmart; 05-17-2011 at 01:40 PM..
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  #9  
Old 05-17-2011, 06:21 PM
Camper
Camper Type: Motorhome
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 18
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Lots of good information here, but I have two words for you: Motor Home.

Here is my reasoning. If you have a tag along it is a pretty good bet your tow vehicle will have to be a daily driver when not pulling the camper... That means poor gas mileage 365 days a year. or you can buy a motorhome and only have poor gas mileage when you are using it.

My 99 Allegro gets about 9 MPG while towing a vehicle. It is 12 years old and only has 35k miles on it. My tow car is the daily driver and gets 40 MPG. Either way you go, you need two vehicles (camper and daily driver) so you might as well go the more economical way. Plus I have set up tag alongs and I much rather back into my site, drop the hydraulic jacks, plug in, hook up the water and start a fire and have a beer than I would back in, unhook, mess around with leveling etc...

Last edited by RVadventurer; 05-17-2011 at 06:25 PM..
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  #10  
Old 05-19-2011, 07:10 AM
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Camper Type: Travel Trailer
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: TN
Posts: 1,188
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Sorry a little late, but welcome from TN!
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