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way2roll

Wilmington NC

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Posted: 06/04/20 07:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My only experience with owning RV's is Class A motor homes. As we look to part time next year (3-6 mos at a time) I am looking at new MH's. But I am curious about fifth wheels. They certainly offer more space to full or part time in but I know next to nothing about them. I know I would need a truck big enough but as I start to explore if it's even option I want to pursue I had a few questions. Forgive me if they've been asked before and excuse my complete ignorance - looking to educate myself.

Are they hard to maneuver, park, drive, navigating gas stations etc?

If I get something like an f250 diesel, what would mileage be?

How are grades navigated?

what's set up like?

How hard is it to break camp and travel?

Quality is always suspect but what are the standard issues?

Care/maintenance?

DW worries about them flipping over and taking the truck with it in an accident, wind or uneven terrain. is that risk real?

I could go on, but already that's a lot of questions.

Thanks - any input is helpful.


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2oldman

New Mexico

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Posted: 06/04/20 07:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Are they hard to maneuver, park, drive, navigating gas stations etc?
I guess that's a relative term. The longer they are the more you have to be careful when turning.


How are grades navigated?
No difference there, just try to get enough truck. I usually need to downshift.

what's set up like?
They are more work than a MH, for sure. The part I don't like is leveling, but newer coaches come with levelers.

How hard is it to break camp and travel?
I wouldn't say it's hard, just more time consuming.

DW worries about them flipping over and taking the truck with it in an accident, wind or uneven terrain. is that risk real?
I suppose anything is possible in a crash. Wind? I've been in Lake Mead wind with my 34' coach. Scared out of my mind, but nothing happened. Fivers are not something you want to be pulling into ATV territory.

jmtandem

western nevada

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Posted: 06/04/20 08:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

looking to educate myself.


Since you asked, I will start with the fact that a fifth wheel has no steering wheel in the living area; that you need no toad; that the truck can be used for errands, sightseeing, and should the fifth be in the shop the truck is still useful or if the truck is in the shop the coach is still fully liveable. As far as some of your questions go the quality is like any other RV, some are very high quality and some less so. A Ford diesel 250's fuel mileage will depend on lots of variables not the least how you drive and how much weight the fifth weighs. As far as tipping over, that is likely not a serious issue depending on how you drive safely. A couple downsides to a fifth is that you cannot get up and make a sandwich, use the bathroom, etc, while somebody else driving.


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fj12ryder

Platte City, MO

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Posted: 06/04/20 08:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Are they hard to maneuver, park, drive, navigating gas stations etc?
They can be more challenging than a motorhome depending on the size. Fueling up can be a little bit of a challenge with a long, 40' trailer, unless you just stop at larger truck stops. But are do-able without too much foofaraw.

If I get something like an f250 diesel, what would mileage be?
Of course it is dependent on your driving style, speed of travel, size of 5th wheel, but pretty easy to figure around 10 mpg.

How are grades navigated?
Just like anything: if you're big and heavy you'll likely be slower than the surrounding traffic. No Biggie.

what's set up like?
Not much different than a motorhome. Electric, water, sewer, etc. Quite a few new fifth wheels now come with auto leveling which makes setup easier I would imagine.

How hard is it to break camp and travel?
See above.

Quality is always suspect but what are the standard issues?
Poor construction is always an issue. Sloppy joinings, poor fit of cabinets, poor caulking, cheaper materials. More expensive 5th wheels don't guarantee there will be no issues, but do tend to have better materials. Due diligence, and a thorough PDI are absolute necessities.

Care/maintenance?
Thorough inspections of the roof and wheels/axles periodically. Normal vehicle maintenance of the tow vehicle. A close watch for any water intrusion.

DW worries about them flipping over and taking the truck with it in an accident, wind or uneven terrain. is that risk real?
Sure, if you search out YouTube videos you'll find graphic evidence that even semis can be blown over by the wind. Now, it's real, but unless you knowingly drive into severe weather conditions, you're unlikely to have it happen. Some parts of the country have very high winds as a normal occurrence. But if you're watchful, and travel with your eyes open, it is very unlikely to ever be a problem.


Howard and Peggy

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Coach-man

Florida

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Posted: 06/04/20 08:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hello, I have owned RV’s for over 15 years, class C, Class A including Diesel pusher, and a 5th wheel. Your observation is correct, the front 4 to 6 feet in a motor powered RV is dedicated to driving, and you loose that as living space. Also, when camping, at least I did this, I would generally go site seeing, which in an A or C required a toad. That resulted in two vehicles registration, insurance and maintenance.

Now for your questions, first had to do with maneuvering. Yes it takes a bit of practice to “get the hang of it”. Even if you are used to maneuvering trailers, as a 5th wheel starts to turn more slowly than a trailer, but ends up much faster! A very short time and you will find it second nature and will be able to park it almost anywhere. Just take your time and you should have no problem.

You mentioned a 250 for a vehicle. Need to be careful, you need to be worried about your tounge weight rather than tow weight. This by itself can become a whole topic of conversation. I personally had a Ram 2500 with “helper springs, and was a t maximum with a 35 foot 5th wheel. Now to your question. Yes gas stations were a pain with a 5th wheel. I solved this by, one diesel pick up and a 45 gallon aux tank. I averaged 10 MPG and therefore could travel all day, (which I did not quit around 3 in the PM). And even if I were just overnighting on the way to a destination I could quickly un hook, and drive to a service station and fill up without the 5th wheel. I hope this also answers your question on hooking up and unhooking!

Very easy you back up under the hitch, most new trucks have a bed camera, push a button on the 5th wheel, plug in your cord, make sure your hitch is locked, and your off! Of course electric, water & sewer which are the same for 5th wheel or RV!

Accidents, yes they are real never speed, and drive defensively! There is a chance the 5th wheel could flip you, not a big one I would say your a lot safer in a pick up with a big Diesel engine in front of you vs a pusher with sheet metal a plastic between you and a crash! I was in my pusher and heavy winds, rocked it pretty good, in fact the slide toppers were blown open, like a jib on a sail boat once! Never felt unsafe or unstable with the 5th wheel!

Never had an issue climbing mountains, again with the diesel plenty of power going up, and engine brake coming down! I hope I have answered most of your questions.

RCMAN46

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Posted: 06/04/20 08:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"Are they hard to maneuver, park, drive, navigating gas stations etc?"


One very big difference between a 5th wheel and a Motor home with a toad attached.

It is virtually impossible to back a motor home with a toad attached. where as no problem with a 5th wheel.

I can remember my father making a mistake and getting in a situation where he had to disconnect the toad.

jdc1

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Posted: 06/04/20 08:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The ONLY thing m wife dislikes about a 5th wheel is not being able to get up to use the restroom or make a sandwich while I drive. We've owned them all. TT's, 37' MH, class B+. She would actually prefer a 30' TT because of the head room in the bedroom area. But, she's says she fine with the 5th wheel, with the floorplan she loves. As for the rest of your questions....I see no real difference in anything driving a MH with a toad. Mileage is going to be about 12mpg towing. Better than a MH. Having a truck at home for a second vehicle is great too.

way2roll

Wilmington NC

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Posted: 06/04/20 08:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

All very helpful answers so far. I should mention that with a Class A we always tow a car. The difference to me is that my tow bars allow the toad to track exactly the same as the MH. If I understand the fiver tracks like any trailer - at a different radius in turns. So it seems more caution, thus my question about filling stations etc. I'm pretty adept at maneuvering my MH with a car, I am intimidated with a fiver but the point about the ability to back up is a valid one.

The other major concern is what others stated. In any MH we had there was always the luxury of passengers using the bathroom, making food, heck my son would lay in bed and watch TV, my wife took a shower going down the road on more than one occasion. All the comforts of a rolling apartment (with necessary precautions - not looking for a flaming). Setting up in the rain is super easy in a MH, pull in, level, slides out, and plug in when the rain stops.

The main reasons for looking at a fiver is living space and budget. While a Class A is about the same price as a truck and a fiver combo (in my budget anyway) it seems financially more responsible to buy a fiver and a truck that has much more usability in every day life than a derivable RV. That truck can be used every day and be far more valuable in 10 years than a motorized RV (depreciation respective). And current state of affairs, I can get a real good deal on a truck and spend less on the fiver. No one is really slashing prices on Class A's. I should also mention that my 07 F150 with 250k miles is getting long in the tooth. It won't be long until I need a new(er) truck anyway.

If the fiver sits for weeks at a time and I am still using the truck, seems less of a concern than a more expensive motorized RV sitting - engine and all.

But our nature of travel lends itself to a Class A. Long drive days and stays of only a few days or a week at a time. More nomadic than staying put for long periods.

Ok that was a lot, brain dump.

valhalla360

No paticular place.

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Posted: 06/04/20 10:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

way2roll wrote:

My only experience with owning RV's is Class A motor homes. As we look to part time next year (3-6 mos at a time) I am looking at new MH's. But I am curious about fifth wheels. They certainly offer more space to full or part time in but I know next to nothing about them. I know I would need a truck big enough but as I start to explore if it's even option I want to pursue I had a few questions. Forgive me if they've been asked before and excuse my complete ignorance - looking to educate myself.

Are they hard to maneuver, park, drive, navigating gas stations etc?
When you account for having a toad it's a wash. Some things are easier, some harder. Mostly just different.

Of course, you never have to go to a gas station with the 5er attached. You always have to take the motorhome when you fill the motorhome.


If I get something like an f250 diesel, what would mileage be?

We got 13mpg long term average when we had an old 7.3l Ford pulling a 9500lb 5er. Newer ones with all the emissions might be a bit worse but generally better by a good margin over class A motorhomes.

How are grades navigated?

Pretty much the same assuming you are comparing apples to apples.

A new diesel dually will likely outperform a gasser MH. The newer trucks have exhaust brakes and built in brake controllers, they are really nice machines and 5ers tow really nice.


what's set up like?

I always laugh when people say a MH saves them time. Assuming it's set up with the same toys (like auto leveling systems), there really is no difference to speak of. You still have to connect to the same utilities, you still have to hook up for towing (toad in the case of MH). It's just not an issue.

How hard is it to break camp and travel?

See last entry.

Quality is always suspect but what are the standard issues?

Pretty much same as you would find in a MH (unless you are comparing to top of the line diesel pushers but then you have to compare to top of the line custom 5ers...I don't have experience with either)

Care/maintenance?

Same as a MH for the house but you only have one drive train to take care of.

DW worries about them flipping over and taking the truck with it in an accident, wind or uneven terrain. is that risk real?

Sure, anything is possible but relative to a MH not much difference in risk. Anything you would be comfortable taking the MH out in, you can comfortably take the 5er out in.

I could go on, but already that's a lot of questions.

Thanks - any input is helpful.


As someone else mentioned, when comparing, an equivilent 5er is likely 4-6ft shorter because you aren't losing space to the cockpit area.

If the engine dies, it's easy to find a new pickup just about anywhere. MH, you have a much bigger item to replace.

Towing a 5er is usually limited by payload and figure 20-25% of the trailer weight is on the hitch, so 3/4 ton trucks can be marginal if you want a big trailer. A 15k lb trailer will likely have a pin weight north of 3,000lb. Up above 14k lb, my preference (others feel differently) is you are looking at 1 ton truck territory and probably dually.


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


wanderingaimlessly

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Posted: 06/04/20 10:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One other consideration,,,,
If you were full timing before, Do you still have the Toad and it's setup?
If so, why not look at a smaller MH be it an A B+ or a C?
You didn't say what size MH you were running before.
Maintain the style of travel you became accustomed to, but with a downsize for the shorter trips.

* This post was edited 06/04/20 11:11am by wanderingaimlessly *

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