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Old 07-08-2016, 04:32 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Possibly Looking at a Fifth Wheel

We are possibly looking at purchasing a fifth wheel. Not sure, but I have heard some good feedback on a fifth wheel over a travel trailer. We currently have a Surveyor that has a bunkhouse and a slide out with a couch in the main area. I was wondering which fifth wheel people prefer. We are not looking at soon, but have no idea on quality etc.

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Old 07-08-2016, 04:40 PM   #2
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Location: Jonesboro AR--Home of Arkansas State University and the Red Wolves
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We first owned a Jayco WhiteHawk bunkhouse with slide, 30 ft, for 9 months thinking we needed it for the grandkids....they seldom went...traded it for a Cedar Creek Silverback 33RL 5th wheel, king bed, washer/dryer, recliners, sofa/sleeper, dining table/with chairs, much better , easier to pull, NOT looking back...Camping life is so much better.....We did have to make a change on our TV....3/4 ton diesel.

Lloyd & Kathy & Kit(17 yr old cat)
2014 Forest River Cedar Creek Silverback 33RL
2016 Chevy 3500HD Z71 LTZ 4WD Crew Cab, DuraMax/Allison.
2014 - 38 nights/3500 mi.
2015 - 66 nights/6260 mi.
2016 - 33 nights/4707 mi.
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Old 07-08-2016, 04:57 PM   #3
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Location: Texas
Posts: 282
When we upgraded from a travel trailer to a 5th wheel we were overwhelmed by all the choices available. What helped us narrow our search down to a handful of choices was going to a couple of RV shows and trying to pin down the floor plan and "feel" that best suited our needs. Once you narrow your list down, you can then focus on researching the different manufacturers to see which will give you the best bang for the buck.

A word of advice, make sure you take into consideration the capabilities of your tow vehicle and don't trust the dealer when they tell you your truck will haul anything on the lot. Pin weights on fivers are usually much heavier than tongue weights on bumper pulls. It won't take much of a fifth wheel to put you in the 3/4 ton truck category.
Kevin & Janine
2006 Dodge 2500 Megacab CTD 2WD
2012 Palomino Sabre 32RCTS
Pullrite Superglide 16K Hitch
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Old 07-08-2016, 05:44 PM   #4
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I suggest you narrow down your choices for 5th wheels, how long, how many slides, toy hauler, intended use. After you're down to a shorter list go look at as many as possible (leave your checkbook home). Pay careful attention to the gross weight and pin weight stickers on the actual trailers. These weights are of the trailer you're looking at, not the stripped down model in the sales brochures. NOW figure out how big a truck you need to comfortably tow the models you want.
2015 Rockwood Ultra Lite 2604 WS. Rear LR, large street side slide with small wardrobe slide in BR.
2014 Ram 1500 Eco Diesel Laramie Quad Cab.
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Old 07-09-2016, 12:37 PM   #5
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We too moved up from a travel trailer to a fifth wheel. We are glad that we did. Lots more storage space and living space. The fifth wheel tows easier than the travel trailer. As others have stated you need to do a lot of research on weights etc. This is to ensure that you are not buying a fifth wheel that is too heavy for your tow vehicle. In our case we already had the three-quarter ton pick up truck when we bought our Flagstaff so it was not an issue. We have had very few issues with our Flagstaff and have been very happy with it. With so many options out there you'll certainly find the right one for you if you do the research.
Greg & Patty
2014 Flagstaff 8528IKWS
2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Crew Cab 4x4
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Old 07-09-2016, 12:40 PM   #6
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A lot to consider, and some good advice offered. When you leave your checkbook home, also leave your credit card with it.

Most of your initial shopping can be done online. Look at floorplans for layouts that appeal to you. Do you need a queen bed or king? Do you want lots of counter space or can you do with less? Want an island in the kitchen or not? Once you get to 34' you need to consider a second AC for the bedroom. ALWAYS upgrade the AC to 15K...and ALWAYS go with one upgrade level on the entire unit. You'll get some features and quality that are well worth it. No need to go to the top level of finish unless you are truly luxury driven.

Other questions: what kind of camping will you be doing? Long trips or short? Weekends, weeks, or months? All play into what kind of fiver you'll need/want. Longer time periods camping = need for space.

Once you've found some floor plans that look good to you, then go visit them at dealerships. Find a sales guy or gal who know their stuff - you'll know if they can point out at least five outstanding features AND benefits of each coach you look at. Really pay attention to the layout - we opted for a rear kitchen because my wife could not reach the high cabinets in a side and front kitchen. It also delivered a whole lot more counter space.

Also give thought to if a lightweight would be good for you, or if you really need a standard fiver. The difference in weight and price is significant. For those who poo-poo ultralights as not sturdy, we've been living in ours full time for two years, and so far, so good.

Weight of the fiver you settle on will determine the truck you need. Anything approaching 10,000 lbs dry weight (empty) will move you up to 3/4 ton immediately. Then you have to consider diesel vs gas. You can get great torque with gas IF you get a different gear ratio on your rear end. Diesel is super for pulling, but most of the time you will be using that truck as a passenger vehicle to travel around and visit areas near where you are camped.

In our two years, we've put 60K on the truck, and I'd estimate about 10-12,000 of that has been pulling. The rest has been sightseeing and adventure in the truck. Diesels pull well but are noise and gigantic for running around. Everything is a trade-off.

We are quite happy with our Rockwood Signature Ultralight 8280WS with a rear kitchen. Only one slide living slide and a wardrobe/closet slide in the bedroom, but it's just the two of us. We pull it with an Ford F150 ecoboost with a 3.73 rear end and heavy duty tow package. not a lick of problems and we have towed from east to west coast and back again. all up and down the west coast. Through the mountains of Colorado and Oregon and Washington and Montana. And Great Smoky Mountains as well. Now working our way up to the Canadian Maritimes. never a challenge towing with this truck. We have the super crew so having passengers with us is a delight for all. We get about 22 mpg without the fiver, and getting close to 11 with the fiver. Our trip from Florida to NJ (where we are now) we got 11.2 mpg.

Check the forums before you buy, and pay attention to the frequency and nature of problems. You are buying a house on wheels (which you should know from your trailer experience) and you'll have a bunch of little things to take care of most likely. Part of the game.

As for towing, the only thing that beats a fiver is a motorhome. The fiver simply does not have the sway challenges of a trailer. Your towing feels like it is all one single unit.

The other key advantage to the fiver is you will most like get vaulted ceilings - which makes the interior feel a whole lot bigger. You will be surprised at the difference in living experiences.

Also before you buy, check and see if you can find a one or two year old model of exactly what you want. You'll find that they have barely been used, and the price difference is substantial. You can get essentially a brand new fiver for at least 25% less than the best price you would pay on a new unit at a dealership. Failing that, the advantage of a new one is the warranty - with Rockwood you can extend the one year to two years by sending in the simple form and a $150 check within 30 days (might be 90, can't remember) of purchase. Well worth it!! I've had two minor warranty things that needed coverage and neither were the fault of Rockwood. They took care of them both promptly and professionally and were willing to color outside of the lines a bit to help out these full timers.

All the best to you in your move up. And it is a move up. You'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner. Most of all, have fun out there on the road, and take your time.
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Old 07-09-2016, 01:10 PM   #7
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Make a check list of items that are "Required"

We are also looking at upgrading and have made a list of items/features that are mandatory for the new floorplan. Larger residential refrigerator (unless you like grocery shopping every 3 days), pantry, enough kitchen cabinets for your dishes (missing on so many units, really), a linen cabinet, auto-leveling, 2nd A/C (we are in Texas, duh). Then the list goes to "Like to Have" items which are not deal breakers, but desired.
After taking a 30+ day trip out west in the Wind Jammer last year we discovered that these items are a must. So, I have a spreadsheet (anal retentive is such an awkward word, I prefer detail oriented) that shows the contenders along with columns for length, pin weight, GVWR, the "Must Have" items, and then lists amenities. We have looked at so many units this is the only way we can remember if a particular unit has been considered or not. We love the TT, but intend to travel for 30-90 days at a time starting next year and want the larger FW.
D_B Travelers - 30 nights in 2016... so far. 54 nights in 2015. 2014 Rockwood Windjammer 3001W Diamond Pkg, 2015 GMC 3500HD CC DRW Duramax, Equalizer 14K hitch, TST 507rv TPMS.
"Happiness? A good meal, a good cigar and a good woman - or a bad woman; it depends on how much happiness you can handle."
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Old 07-09-2016, 01:14 PM   #8
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We had a Mini Lite 2502ks. As we are planning longer trips, several 4 to 6 weeks, we decided to upgrade to a fifth wheel. We established definite criteria.
1. Our GMC 2500 Duramax has a max payload of 2254 lbs. I am a believer in staying within the stated payload. Our empty pin weight is 1400 lbs.
2. 5er had to be no longer than 34 feet so it will fit in our side drive.
3. Kitchen slide needed to be on driver side so we were not looking at our neighbors campsite but at ours.
4. Large wardrobe with ample drawers.
5. Large linen closet.
6. Individual recliners in lieu of theater seats.
The only FR product that we saw that came close was the Wildcat but it had the kitchen slide on the passenger side and theater seats. I believe Rockwood/Flagstaff have a new Floorplan that was close but couldn't find one without traveling several hundred miles.
We ended up buying an SOB. We found the Open Range Light 297RLS satisfied ALL of our criteria.
After the first two trips we are extremely pleased with our purchase. Believe it or not we think we found our perfect layout.
One final note. Be careful of stated pin weights. Don't forget to add to it around 20% of the weight of clothes, food, camping gear loaded into the unit plus weight of the hitch, gear and people in the truck.
2016 Open Range Light 297RLS Fifth Wheel
2015 GMC 2500HD 6.6L Duramax

Days Camped. 2015: 17
Days Camped 2016: 58
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Old 07-09-2016, 03:05 PM   #9
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Only thing I can disagree on with the above is diesels are noisy. The noise and smoke disappeared 4 - 5 years ago. Once you pull with one you will never go back.

Go to the RV shows if you can and LOOK only. Those show specials can often be beat later. Sit in each that looks interesting for at least 10 minutes without a sales guy. Go with an open mind to each show or dealer. We had made up our mind we THOUGHT on a Rockwood 5er. While at the dealer with checkbook ready saw a SOB come off the transporters truck and bought it instead.
2016 Keystone Cougar 303RLS
2016 F350 diesel
Edgewater 205 EX 150 Yamaha
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Old 07-09-2016, 03:17 PM   #10
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Posts: 271
Another thing to consider is your stage in life. We had a fifth wheel and diesel truck combo. Although we liked it after my knee replacements and my husband's heart attack we both struggled at times. I hated the stairs and high cupboards and DH struggled at times hooking and unhooking the 5th wheel hitch. We now have a small motorhome with 3 slides and find it much easier for both of us. We hope it will keep us camping for years to come. Good luck with your decision.


Phil, Heather & Olaf the Boxer
Ontario Canada
Lexington 283GTS
nights camped 2015-89
2016 - 31
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