Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Fifth-Wheels: Ultra Lite vs Normal Weight
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TenOC

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Posted: 08/25/20 07:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am in the market for a new to me -- used fifth wheel. I have a three-quarter ton diesel truck so I really do not need an ultralight trailer. However, I have found a good deal on an ultralight unit.

My question is: what is the disadvantage of an ultralight? How do they save weight? Is it simply smaller holding tanks, or do they reduce weight on the main structures of the trailer?


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Posted: 08/25/20 08:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

From what I have seen, they are built cheaper to get lighter. Tires, axles and brakes are cheaper, cheaper frame, etc. Push on the walls and floors and see how it gives. Cabinets are plastic laminate over particle board, cabinets are stapled rather than screwed and glued.

Take a flash light and look behind cabinets (remove drawers) and in the back of the basement.

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Ed9824v

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Posted: 08/25/20 08:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Some light weights have gone to aluminum frames. but more plastic and less wood.


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way2roll

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Posted: 08/25/20 08:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Materials, build quality, insulation, etc - all to get it lighter. And the "how" it's built. Really depends on what you will use it for. Weekending - all those things may not matter. Full or part timing I think you will find that lighter means cheaper/lesser quality. Nothing wrong with it so long as you have realistic expectations. I would also guess that suspension, tires etc will be less robust and require more frequent maintenance and replacement.


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agesilaus

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Posted: 08/25/20 08:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

From what I have seen, they are built cheaper to get lighter. Tires, axles and brakes are cheaper, cheaper frame, etc. Push on the walls and floors and see how it gives. Cabinets are plastic laminate over particle board, cabinets are stapled rather than screwed and glued.


Quite right, Ultra Lite = Flimsy and Cheap. And will fall apart in a year or two.

As for aluminum, Arctic Foxes are all aluminum construction and are some of the heaviest campers you can buy. I doubt these ultralight units have much aluminum, for one thing that costs more.

If you only intend to use the camper for a couple weeks a year and you carefully cover and care for it, then maybe it makes some sense to go cheap. With the understanding that the camper may not last as long as the loan to pay for it does.


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RobWNY

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Posted: 08/25/20 08:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Our first 5th wheel was an ultra light. Besides what others have pointed out, the walls were 1.5" thick, barely any insulation. My wife could be outside and talk to me while I was inside like we had nothing between us. Ours only had one AC unit to keep the weight down so spending the winter in Florida wasn't ideal with that RV. It didn't save us much of anything in fuel costs being lighter either. We traded it in when we returned home and bought a 5th wheel with thicker walls, two AC units and better insulation. Our new 5th wheel is so much better built with much better fit and finish. It's not top of the line by any means but fits our wants and needs now. You get what you pay for.


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Durb

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Posted: 08/25/20 09:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Some of the ultralights were designed for half ton trucks and have lower front overhang heights. They may not fit a newer 4WD 2500 truck with sufficient clearance without towing nose high. Advise taking some measurements before buying.

Old-Biscuit

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Posted: 08/25/20 09:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

TenOC wrote:

I am in the market for a new to me -- used fifth wheel. I have a three-quarter ton diesel truck so I really do not need an ultralight trailer. However, I have found a good deal on an ultralight unit.

My question is: what is the disadvantage of an ultralight? How do they save weight? Is it simply smaller holding tanks, or do they reduce weight on the main structures of the trailer?


With a 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Diesel.....
5th wheel GVWR should be 12K or Less so you do not overload the rear axle/tires with wet pin weight
RAWR....6010#

* This post was edited 08/25/20 09:43am by Old-Biscuit *


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Lynnmor

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Posted: 08/25/20 10:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You need to go by actual weight, the words ultra-light, super-lite, half-ton tow-able etc. are just that.... words. There are no standards in force.





valhalla360

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Posted: 08/25/20 12:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lynnmor wrote:

You need to go by actual weight, the words ultra-light, super-lite, half-ton tow-able etc. are just that.... words. There are no standards in force.


Beat me to it...mostly marketing terms.

I've seen plenty of Ultra Lite trailers that were overweight pigs that should never be considered with a 1/2 ton truck.

Start looking for GVWR and Loaded Pin Weights of the trailer and compare that to the payload (including anything in the truck including you) of your truck and tow rating. Doesn't matter what the marketing term they use on the trailer.


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