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 > New to 5th wheel, have questions !!

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supercub

Modesto CA

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Posted: 03/21/22 08:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've been RVing for 20 years all in Class A's, mostly diesel pushers. I'm planning on selling my current 38 ft diesel pusher and downsizing to a smaller 5th wheel. I'm thinking something in the 25 foot range or so. Planning on pulling it with an F-150.
I'll be looking for a used unit and $15,000 or less.
First question.........what should I be aware of a 5th wheel that might be different the a Class A that I'm familiar with.........such as, chassis, axles, hitches.......anything there to be on the lookout for?
Best I can tell I'll be looking back to 2000 year or newer.........is there models to stay away from or ones that are better then others?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thank You.

ssthrd

Vancouver Island

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Posted: 03/21/22 09:51pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This will give you a few ideas to start with.

I have never owned or driven a Class A, so I can't help you with a comparison. I Googled this which seems like a fairly comprehensive look at the pros and cons of each.


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time2roll

Southern California

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Posted: 03/21/22 10:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My Springdale has been good. Watch the pin weight with an F150.


2001 F150 SuperCrew
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C Schomer

Pueblo West, Co.

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Posted: 03/21/22 10:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I had 3- 25 foot fivers in a row. Great for getting into the forest service road camping places and they were great for mostly weekend camping we were doing then. They were also OK for a few 2 to 3 week vacations.. We had enough storage inside but They had very very little storage on the outside.
AVoid any of the cheaper, lite built units. I had a 25 foot 1998 forest river Wildwood. I am a darn good handyman and can fix anything but that Wildwood was such a flimsy piece of junk it was literally falling apart and nobody could’ve kept it together. It had aluminum siding and when it was falling apart I could see there was no vapor barrier, just fiberglass batting And wind blew right through that POS. We learned our lesson and spent the money and got our first Sunny Brook and we’ve had two more sense. You’re definitely money ahead if you buy a heavier well-built unit the first time.
Our last two fivers have been model 30s, actual 32 feet, and they have plenty of storage inside and out and all the creature comforts .:.with two slides.
We’ve even done a lot of off-road camping with these 32 foot units and I wouldn’t want anything bigger or heavier, 15k lbs, that’s for sure. Craig


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supercub

Modesto CA

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Posted: 03/21/22 10:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What did you use to tow the 25 footers? What kind of gas mileage did you get when towing? Thanks for the good info.
C Schomer wrote:

I had 3- 25 foot fivers in a row. Great for getting into the forest service road camping places and they were great for mostly weekend camping we were doing then. They were also OK for a few 2 to 3 week vacations.. We had enough storage inside but They had very very little storage on the outside.
AVoid any of the cheaper, lite built units. I had a 25 foot 1998 forest river Wildwood. I am a darn good handyman and can fix anything but that Wildwood was such a flimsy piece of junk it was literally falling apart and nobody could’ve kept it together. It had aluminum siding and when it was falling apart I could see there was no vapor barrier, just fiberglass batting And wind blew right through that POS. We learned our lesson and spent the money and got our first Sunny Brook and we’ve had two more sense. You’re definitely money ahead if you buy a heavier well-built unit the first time.
Our last two fivers have been model 30s, actual 32 feet, and they have plenty of storage inside and out and all the creature comforts .:.with two slides.
We’ve even done a lot of off-road camping with these 32 foot units and I wouldn’t want anything bigger or heavier, 15k lbs, that’s for sure. Craig


C Schomer

Pueblo West, Co.

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Posted: 03/21/22 11:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My first 25 foot five or was a 94 shadow cruiser, 7 feet wide, low profile and it weighed 5000 pounds loaded. I towed it with the 96 Dodge half ton short bed extended cab 360 V8 with 3.92 gears and I got 9-9.5 mpg. It was a great match. Then I traded the gasserfor a 97 CTD’s 2500 long bed extended cab, five speed, 3.54 gears and I get 18 mpg.
Then I got the wider, taller, 98 Wildwood 25 foot fiver and mpg went down to 14.
That I got the much heavier Sunnybrook 25 foot fiver and mileage went down to 12.
A friend who had the same Sunnybrook pulled his with a F150 and he was not very happy with it.
The 97, 2500 CTD and the 25 foot Sunnybrook was an awesome match.
I would never waste my time with another half ton or a SB for pulling a fifth wheel. Craig

valhalla360

No paticular place.

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Posted: 03/22/22 04:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Do you have the F150 already? If so, what does the payload sticker say?

A 7000lb GVWR trailer is going to eat up 1400-1800lb of your payload as pin weight. Add in a couple hundred pounds for the hitch and anything else in the truck (including passengers)...You are likely going to need a payload north of 2000lb and a lot of 1/2 ton pickups don't have that.

It's possible you can stay within specs with a 1/2 ton but really have to keep a close eye on the numbers and you will always have to be on about throwing something extra in the truck bed.

If you don't have the truck, consider jumping up to a 3/4 ton (or even a 1 ton SRW), then the payload issues for a small 5er go away.

If you are set on a 1/2 ton truck, I would be looking travel trailer. Instead of 20-25% of the trailer weight on the pin, you are at 12-15% on the hitch, so payload doesn't get eaten up as quickly.

As far as mileage, depends what the power train is and how hard you push it. If you feel the need to do jack rabbit starts and keep it at 75mph on freeways, don't be surprised if you are down in the 6-7mpg range. If you take it easy and run at 55-65, 8-11mpg is possible but to hard to say with certainty.

Pandemic prices are a bit crazy but I would expect something closer to 2010-2015 with your price range. Bigger issue is under about 28ft, not many 5ers kicking around because below that size, travel trailers make a lot of sense, so there may be limited selection.


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MFL

Midwest

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Posted: 03/22/22 05:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As mentioned, a smaller, older FW, will not have near the outside storage space compared to class As.

If your 1/2 ton is newer, it may be too tall for the older small FWs. Some will need to be raised, to tow closer to level.

Comparing axles and springs to your A MHs, many trailers have a much cheaper design. Axles can be barely adequate, and shackles/shackle bushings wear out quickly. Wheel bearing, and brake service may be needed, a good time to check all these things.

Some older FWs certainly better than others, and the Sunnybrook models that Craig mentioned a good choice.

Jerry





southernsky

Ponchatoula La.

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Posted: 03/22/22 05:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Do yourself a favor and go with a 3/4 ton. More than you may need but the comfort in pulling is priceless.


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ReneeG

Meridian, Idaho

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Posted: 03/22/22 07:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Before we purchased our current FW (in the signature), we were dead set on a Class A. We comparison shopped both. Test drove a Class A. What really made me look at the FW, among other things, was when my husband asked me, "where will you put the garbage can?" for the motorhome. The storage was minimal compared to the FW we were looking at. So, with the said, be careful you don't overload. I am the "weight police" at our house and it's easy to overload when you have a lot of storage. Oh! yes, in the FW our garbage can is under the sink, out of sight, and there is plenty of room for everything else!


2011 Bighorn 3055RL
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