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Old 07-29-2012, 07:56 PM   #1
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New to RV'ing

Hello.....

We are about to embark into the RV world as 1st timers having never owned or towed one. We are looking at a 2011 Forest River Sterling edition 32RL.
Does anyone have any opinions on this model?
I have a 2006 Ford F250 Diesel (Not dually) with a gooseneck hitch, should I replace the hitch to a 5th wheel type hitch or buy an adapter to fit the ball type on my truck?
Thoughts on the size of my truck... books shows a towing capacity of 15K and the trailer shows 10.5K?

I sure could use any and all input from you veterans.

I thank you very much and look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Thanks in advance
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Old 07-29-2012, 10:38 PM   #2
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Certainly buying used is a good way to go. The depreciation in the first year is huge.

The big thing to do is crawl over every inch of it and check every system.

I was going to get a 5ver at one time, and others told me the Turnover ball would do just fine.
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:37 PM   #3
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Hi,

While you are waiting for feedback from members I wanted to give you a big to the FR Forums!

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Old 07-30-2012, 12:45 AM   #4
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Also a big welcome to the forum, my guess is that your 250 diesel is enough truck for your trailer if what you state is max loaded weight. There are experts on this subject who will chime in, and know fords better than me, also there will be loads of threads on towing capacity if you search.

2011 is nearly new or is it stock thats been sitting and it is new? Either way spend as much time as you can going thru it. Before hauling it away check tire pressures they should be at max as stated on the tire.

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Old 07-30-2012, 07:36 AM   #5
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Since it is a 2011 I'm guessing it will have the Girard Tankless water heater. If you're buying from a dealer I would suggest you make them replace it with a standard 6 or 10 gallon water heater.

My nephew has a 2011 Sterling with the Rear Kitchen and has had many issues with the unit. BTW, he hates the tankless water heater. I owned a 2008 Wildcat that was one headache after another. if I were you I would take a good hard look at the unit before buying something built by Wildcat.

Look in the Wildcat subforum on this board and read the posts.
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Old 07-30-2012, 08:40 AM   #6
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Seems a bit unfair to condemn an entire line because of an issue with the tankless water heater. There are many happy campers with these units, no?
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Old 07-30-2012, 08:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EPrince View Post
Thoughts on the size of my truck... books shows a towing capacity of 15K and the trailer shows 10.5K?
Capacity to pull (max trailer rating) and the capacity to "carry" (available payload on the truck) are two very different things.

IMO, to discover how much "trailer" you can actually pull for YOUR situation (family, cargo in the truck, mods to the truck, etc) weigh your truck NOW with your family and planned cargo on board; subtract that weight from your GVWR of your truck.

That is the remaining available pin you can carry.

Since the pin weight must fall between 15 and 25% (for 5th wheels types only - Travel Trailers fall between 10 and 15% for tongue load) of your gross camper weight (unhitched sitting on the pavement - not axle load), you can reverse figure your max camper weight available.

So since you have a 3/4 ton "class" with diesel (much heavier than stock engine) we will use my GMC Sierra with Duramax as an example.

Max GVWR = 9200 pounds
Weight with family and dog, full gas tanks, hitch, generator, tire changing tools, and wood leveling blocks: 7600 pounds

Available payload left for pin weight: 1600 pounds

ACTUAL available towing capacity (15,400 pounds published):

FORMULA - available pin / decimal of percent ratio = available camper size

IE 1600 pounds divided by 0.20 (20%) equals maximum camper weight unhitched.

At 20% "optimum" pin weight for handling: 8,000 pounds

At 15% minimum pin weight (careful loading required and you WILL get front end "hunting" while driving and accelerated front tire wear.) = 10,667 pounds

At 25% Max loading (hard to do normally but could happen easily with some floorplans) = 6,400 pounds.


All three no where near the "listed" 15,400 pounds by GMC.

The REASON is because the 15,400 pounds REQUIRES a regular cab STANDARD TRUCK (no weight adding options or custom modifications); EMPTY, except for a 150 pound driver and full tank of gas).
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Old 07-30-2012, 09:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herk7769 View Post
Seems a bit unfair to condemn an entire line because of an issue with the tankless water heater. There are many happy campers with these units, no?
Unfair? Not in my opinion, and my opinion isn't just because of the tankless water heater. I have owned two Wildcats, the first an early model was pretty much trouble free, the second one sucked. I have been a member of the Wildcat Owners Forum for many years. I've read about so many problems it's a wonder people are still buying Wildcats. Common issues beginning with the 2006 model year and continuing are slideouts that leak, delamination, and hydraulic leaks. My personal observation is based on my 2008 RKBS, my wife's cousin who we camp with quite a bit HAD a 24 RL that developed an unseen leaked causing major damage to the back wall and door damage caused by the exhaust of the water heater (poor design). An in-law of mine who's brother owns a 30 LSBS and no longer camps with it because of the many issues. And my nephew who owns the 2011 Sterling that has had many issues including a leg on the level up system that creeps down while traveling. All of the units I mentioned had many other issues as well.

While many people love their Wildcats, if you take the time and get into a serious face to face conversation with an owner about their unit, chances are they will eventually fess up to having, or had, real problems with their units. I personally think that Wildcat is a victim of their own success and now produce units too quickly with very little quality control. EPrince asked for opinions and I just gave mine based on experience.

To be honest, our 2008 Wildcat had so many problems over the years that I was ready to quit RVing and try going back to tent camping. My wife talked me into trading for our current Silverback and I'm glad she did. I have rediscovered what fun traveling with an RV can be.

Here's another opinion of mine, if I were offered a Wildcat (including Sterling) free of charge I'd pass on the offer. That my friend is no lie.
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:51 AM   #9
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Apologies to EPrince.

I did not intend to hijack your thread with my observation regarding Oakman's comment. You are, of course, free to select whatever camper you believe you will enjoy and tow safely.
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