Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Travel Trailer vs. Motorhome (my situation)
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 > Travel Trailer vs. Motorhome (my situation)

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Central FL

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Posted: 07/16/19 07:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DallasSteve wrote:


Thanks for all that info. That's a beautiful motorhome you have. I might still go that route. I know that the HD trucks are expensive (I would probably need an F250), but big truck + big TT is still significantly less than big RV + Jeep. The Jeep Wranglers aren't cheap, either, and I would want the 4 door version (more $$$).

There are a few points you raised that I would quibble with.

1 - You start off comparing a new big truck to a lightly used big RV. Sure, you can save money if you go used, but then you can go used on the big truck and it's still cheaper. We need to compare apples to apples. Used to used or new to new. The last thing I would probably buy is a used motorhome. I think there are too many more expensive gotchas that could bite me later and I'm not an expert at inspecting all of those things (and I don't know how to pick an "expert" I would trust). It's new or nothing for me.

2 - You talk about how much easier it is to set up the motorhome, but you don't mention the toad. Is there a button you can push to unhook the toad without getting wet in the rain? Apples to apples again. I'm not going to travel in a motorhome unless I pull a Jeep. If I'm going to buy and tow a Jeep I want to unhook it when I get to the campground. I guess you can unhook it later when the rain stops if you have a big enough space to wait, but I think a lot of RV parks don't have spaces that long or you'd probably have to pay extra for them.

3 - You make the class A sound safer than a big truck in a head on collision. At high speed nothing is very safe, but I would feel safer with the engine compartment in front of me instead of under me. And a big HD truck sits pretty high, too. It's not like the car in your example.

One other pro for the big truck + big TT that I left off my initial post is that (I think) you can find more mechanics who know how to work on an HD truck than a Class A motorhome engine, but I may be wrong about that. That's what my brother tells me about his Class C motorhome, that it's easier to find service because it's based on a Ford or Chevy truck. Class C is another can of worms that I had considered earlier, but it's probably not for me.


Thanks for taking the time to read and respond!

1. When you say "big truck", that obviously means something different to you. When I think big truck, I'm thinking an F350 dually with a diesel! When you price those, and a big 5ver, that can easily exceed the cost of a Class A (gasser) + Jeep.

I did buy my Class A used, with 10K miles. It came with a transferable factory warranty for the chassis/drivetrain from Ford. It's still good for another year yet. The coach itself only had a 30 day warranty, but I could have purchased one of three available levels via Lazy Days (dealer). Having owned RVs for so many years, and doing almost all of my own repairs, mods, and upgrades, there was no reason for "me" to do this. Obviously YMMV. I don't know many people willing or able to do the stuff I find fun. I'm weird that way.

2. The slick thing about the TOAD is not having to wait to unhitch at the campground, especially when it's raining. I can simply go to the nearest gas station, with covered pumps, pull in, and unhitch. The process takes about 2-3 minutes. Incredibly easy, and the towbar arms collapse, and fold. They stay attached to the back of the motorhome. No heavy lifting.

Once I've backed the motorhome into the site, pushed all the magic buttons, I press the one for the awning, and now the wife has a covered carport to park the Jeep. Cheating, but when you live in Florida, where rain can be a daily event, you tend to be creative. How do you like them apples? [emoticon]


When we depart, we have the same options for hitching. BUT, since I'm going to need to disconnect the shore connections, I typically throw on the poncho, and take care of everything at once. Not as slick for sure.

3. The engine is still in front of the driver on our Class A.


But it is lower than the driver. The engine cover is only a few inches above the floor. From the outside, it's hard to see the very long dash between the driver, and the front of the vehicle. The windshield at the front of the rig gives a false impression of where it's located.

This evening I took a tape measure to get an accurate reading on the height of the driver in our Class A. The interior floor of the motorhome is almost 48". The seat is another 18". That puts my butt 5.5' or about 66 inches in the air. This is why my eye level is about the same as a full sized tractor trailer rig. The average car is well shorter than that, which is why I made the comment. There are no winners in an accident, but the odds are better if most of the collision is where you're not.

The F53/F550 chassis is by far the most common. The V10 6.8L gas engine has been around a long time for RVs and trucks, and can be serviced at ANY Ford dealership, and probably every other shop as well. Kind of like finding someone to work on a Chevy 350. Doesn't require a "diesel mechanic", or some weird authorized service center. It even has the standard OBDII computer port for diagnostics.

Everyone will have a different opinion. My recommendation is to listen to those who actually own/use a particular setup, and take complaints about something they don't own with a block of salt. I've been on this forum a very long time, and you wouldn't believe the number of people who told me what I was already doing wouldn't work, despite pictures and videos to the contrary!

But your preferences are yours, and yours alone. Whatever you think works best for you, probably will. Go kick the tires, take 'em for a drive, try to get a little seat time before you commit a big chunk on a new setup. Renting for a week is another consideration.

Happy Shopping!

Merritt Island, FL
2015 Forest River Georgetown 328TS
2006 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited TOAD
Falcon 2 Towbar, Roadmaster 9400 Even Brake System



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Posted: 07/16/19 08:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator


Thanks for response. I'll reply to the 3 responses.

1 - You're comparing apples and oranges again (diesel vs. gas). For a big truck I'm thinking F250 gas; maybe F350 gas. As I remember they actually can tow a little more because the motor weighs less. New big gas truck + new travel trailer I estimate to be about 20% to 30% less cost than new gas motorhome + new Jeep Wrangler.

2 - I hadn't thought of unhooking the toad at a gas station with a high cover (may be hard to find?) but that's a good idea (if I had two drivers). I know this sounds crazy but for reasons I won't go into here my wife doesn't have her license.

3 - OK, it looks like the engine is significantly in front of you so I would say it's about equal to a big truck in crash safety, but not much safer as you were first saying.

Still, a big motorhome + a Jeep Wrangler is a possible solution for me. My plan is to walk around some $90K to $100K new class A gassers before I make a decision. I will probably also walk around a few fivers before I make a decision. At this time I'm still leaning in favor of the bumper pull, but I've spent more time inside those than the others. Before I pull the trigger I need to browse the other RV types some more. I saw a few at an RV show, but I need to see more again.

Thanks, Steve


No paticular place.

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Posted: 07/16/19 11:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DallasSteve wrote:

I also remember reading a post here a few years ago that fifth wheels are much harder to resell than bumper pulls because they are more expensive and require the special hitch. Maybe that's not true either, but it sounds reasonable. And I've seen posts here talking about a problem with fiver handling; I think they called it "chucking". And some posters here say they have driven both and they think bumper pulls ride smoother. (That's sure to raise another reply from jshupe telling everybody again that I've already made up my mind) I think a lot of the great hype about fifth wheels may be that's what the salesman told them, they bought it, now they need to believe they made a good decision. Of course the salesman is going to say it's better because it has a higher price tag.

A properly set up TT will tow just fine...but there is a little more to getting it set up properly.

But even with a proper setup, a 5er still tows much nicer.

PS: no issues selling a 5th wheel. 30-40yrs ago, they made up a tiny portion of the market. Now they are probably around to 50% of the towable RV market (over 28'). There is no issue selling them when the time comes.

Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2008 Copper Canyon 5er
Catalac Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and 5er



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Posted: 07/17/19 12:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Don't fall into Analysis Paralysis! Someone mentioned renting. Check out You can rent they types that interest you and do some camping at a local state park. Lots of renters will tow the RV to your camping spot and show you how to set up - so you can camp in a fifth wheel, travel trailer, and most likely drive a Class A or C to your spot.

Experience without good judgment is worthless; good judgment without experience is still good judgment!

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2018 Grand Design Reflection 303RLS


Close to Madison Wisconsin

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Posted: 07/18/19 06:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OP. You are young enough to do what you want and have fun.

Another ten or fifteen years and a MH will look allot more attractive.

2014 Leprechaun 290QB
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Posted: 07/21/19 05:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think the OP should also consider what kind of roads he will be traveling. If he’s pulling big hills, I’m not so sure a gas class A will climb all that well. Will it get up the hill? Yes but it will be frustratingly slow. A diesel pusher will have a lot more torque.

Also consider stability is bad weather conditions. How stable is the rig when there’s a crosswind?

I do like the higher quality fit and finish of some of the older diesel pusher class A’s. Set up and break down does seem easier. And being able to tow a Jeep that can go off-road is a definite plus.

I’ve not personally towed a travel trailer. But in my travels I have seen quite a few going down the road that did not seem very stable. These were towed most often by lighter duty trucks or even suvs.

The worst is when there’s a crosswind. That’s when I see travel trailers being blown about. Even some of the class A’s have that issue. The tag axle class A’s however seem much more stable.

We regularly encounter 8 - 8.5% grades that last for several miles. On this last trip we went over the top of a national park at 9910 feet, on narrow, twisty and bumpy roads. Through it all, I never felt unsafe and the rig pulled beautifully. Going up the hills we pass all the motorhomes and semis.

And while my dually will never make it off-road, at least we’ve got air bags all around. Take a look at the IIHS safety ratings on jeeps. They’re not good in accidents especially if you’re hit sideways.

The big MH’s are really nice. And there are few reported fatalities from accidents. Nevertheless it is a giant fiberglass box. Passengers in the back are held in place by a lap belt on a sofa that’s bolted down to the box. If you have an accident what happens when all your stuff comes flying forward?

At the end of the day, one has to make your own assessment of your risk tolerance, the kind of roads you travel, and of course your budget.

2017 Ruby Red Platinum F450 - my kids call her "Big Red"
2018 Grand Design Reflection 28bh

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