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Old 01-06-2015, 12:45 PM   #1
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Ready to Jump into the RV Lifestyle!!!

My wife and I are about to become empty nesters and have always wanted to go off the grid in a RV. We live in PA and plan to go west and south. The plan is to live in RV maybe a month or 2 at a time. Of course being new what should we get is the first question. We've gone to a dealer and decided to go with a used fifth wheel or trailer.

I have a 2013 F-150 stx so I'm not sure what I can pull yet, or get a more powerful truck.

Since it's just the 2 of us and a dog we don't want or need a bunkhouse. I definitely want to bring my motorcycle but don't really want a toy hauler.

This weekend we're going to the Lehigh Valley RV Show to learn more about everything.

I welcome any and all advice.

Best,

Mike
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Old 01-06-2015, 01:11 PM   #2
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You just opened the flood gates on that post. Check the show. Check with a auto mechanic. Check with the truck dealers. Check with the "Build and Price" for the three main truck names. It is all open at this time for opinions and options. Good luck.
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Old 01-06-2015, 01:19 PM   #3
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My first advise is to not immediately jump into "a month or two at a time." If you haven't RV'd before then you'll want to take some small trips first, like weekends to start, and get used to the smaller living space. Then as you become more comfortable, you move up to a week long trip, then a couple of weeks, etc...

Next is what you should be looking at. I can't answer that, most people can't. Each person's needs are going to vary. We can however provide some guidelines to help you make a decision:

1) Since your end goal is to live in it long term, then take that into consideration when you're looking at floorplans. Like do you need space for yourselves, to get away from each other on occasion. Did you want onboard laundry or are you willing to use a laundromat. Do you need to walk around the bed or are you fine climbing over each other to get up in the morning? Onboard shower or camp showers? Etc...

2) With a 1/2 ton, your payload is most likely going to be the limiting factor. While there's a few people on here who have the right options to tow a fifth wheel, the majority do not. A good site to determine what you might be able to tow is Learn To RV: What Can I Tow?. With that knowledge, you'll need to decide if you want to keep the F-150, or possibly look at a larger truck first, so that you can tow that larger trailer you might prefer. Since you're looking at some lengthy trips, you really don't want to pigeonhole yourself into a trailer you don't like just because it's in your tow ratings with your current truck.

3) You pretty much will want to consider a toy hauler if you want to bring the motorcycle with you. If you try putting it in the bed of your truck, you'll be taking up a significant amount of your payload, reducing what you can tow.
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Old 01-06-2015, 03:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeyB View Post
My wife and I are about to become empty nesters and have always wanted to go off the grid in a RV. We live in PA and plan to go west and south. The plan is to live in RV maybe a month or 2 at a time. Of course being new what should we get is the first question. We've gone to a dealer and decided to go with a used fifth wheel or trailer.

I have a 2013 F-150 stx so I'm not sure what I can pull yet, or get a more powerful truck.

Since it's just the 2 of us and a dog we don't want or need a bunkhouse. I definitely want to bring my motorcycle but don't really want a toy hauler.

This weekend we're going to the Lehigh Valley RV Show to learn more about everything.

I welcome any and all advice.

Best,

Mike
The first thing you will need is money. And then get more of it!

You probably will go thru at least 2 rv's before you decide what is right for you. Buy only the items that you will need and use regularly until you feel comfortable in needing more things. Hence the need for more money. You won't need a wallet because this lifestyle won't let you keep any money.

I say some of these things in humor but you won't find another enjoyable endeavor.

The second thing you will need is money!
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:24 AM   #5
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Hi MikeyB,

My wife and I are in a similar situation. We've been boaters for 15 years and are considering the switch to the RV lifestyle.

I have a Ford Raptor which I have no intention of trading. So that right there limited my options. I can't do a fifth wheel hitch on a 5.5' bed per the Ford towing guide. And most fifth wheels weigh more than 8,000 lbs. which is the Raptor max towing. So I'm limited to travel trailers.

We are used to close quarters but I'd like to get as much space as possible. There are a number of models in the 26-33 ft. range that weigh 6-7,000 lbs. That's pushing the limit since there are supplies and personal effects you will carry that add to that, but I have read many folks successfully hauling these new "light" trailers with F150s. I've got my eye on a Windjammer 3008W.

There's no substitute for going to a dealer or RV show and putting yourself inside all sort of trailer. At the end of the day it will boil down to a personal preference of floor plan and build quality/design.

I would also suggest having the mindset this will be the first of two or three trailers you will buy over a relatively short period of time. There is no substitute for living it for a few months. You will start a list of things you like, you don't like, and that you want to get in your "next" RV. We bought three boats in three years, and the third one we've had for over 12 years.

On the RV I'd like a motor home. But we decided to start with a travel trailer my F150 could haul. IF we like it, we may opt for a bigger trailer or fifth wheel, at which point a F250 would be required. Or maybe go up to a motor home. But only after at least 1 year playing with a lighter trailer to make sure this is something we want to do.

Good luck!
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Old 01-13-2015, 11:15 AM   #6
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My parents are in a similar situation. They are looking at a class C, but want to haul a Harley and tow a Jeep. They are heavily considering getting a frame mounted lift that the Harley rides on and then towing a Jeep 4 down. If I were to do something like this and didn't want a toyhauler, I'd be considering a 1 ton SRW pickup with an 8 foot bed. I'd get one of the hydraulic platform lifts to haul the motorcycle in the bed. Only certain ones allow the tailgate to remain installed and close, so you'd have to watch out for that. I would then get whatever travel trailer I wanted. The motorcycle and lift will likely use up ~1500 pounds of payload, but most SRW 1 tons would have sufficient payload to tow just about any trailer.

If you stay with your F150, your only option is going to be a toy hauler- most likely one that uses living area for garage space. Your wife is probably not going to like that.
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Old 01-13-2015, 11:33 AM   #7
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We tow a Rockwood 2703WS with our 2013 Ford stx. 5.0 ltr 3.55 rear end with no problems. Our trailer has a dry weight of 6446 lbs. Loaded probably 7200 lbs. You will need to put the MC in the bed and that might put you over the truck capacity.
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Old 01-13-2015, 11:49 AM   #8
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I would suggest you don't jump into the RV lifestyle but ease yourselves into it. You say you want to be 'off the grid'. Keep in mind you'll need a generator and a source of water and a way to dispose of black & grey tank contents.
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Old 01-13-2015, 01:25 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ZBoater View Post
Hi MikeyB,

My wife and I are in a similar situation. We've been boaters for 15 years and are considering the switch to the RV lifestyle.

I have a Ford Raptor which I have no intention of trading. So that right there limited my options. I can't do a fifth wheel hitch on a 5.5' bed per the Ford towing guide. And most fifth wheels weigh more than 8,000 lbs. which is the Raptor max towing. So I'm limited to travel trailers.

We are used to close quarters but I'd like to get as much space as possible. There are a number of models in the 26-33 ft. range that weigh 6-7,000 lbs. That's pushing the limit since there are supplies and personal effects you will carry that add to that, but I have read many folks successfully hauling these new "light" trailers with F150s. I've got my eye on a Windjammer 3008W.

There's no substitute for going to a dealer or RV show and putting yourself inside all sort of trailer. At the end of the day it will boil down to a personal preference of floor plan and build quality/design.

I would also suggest having the mindset this will be the first of two or three trailers you will buy over a relatively short period of time. There is no substitute for living it for a few months. You will start a list of things you like, you don't like, and that you want to get in your "next" RV. We bought three boats in three years, and the third one we've had for over 12 years.

On the RV I'd like a motor home. But we decided to start with a travel trailer my F150 could haul. IF we like it, we may opt for a bigger trailer or fifth wheel, at which point a F250 would be required. Or maybe go up to a motor home. But only after at least 1 year playing with a lighter trailer to make sure this is something we want to do.

Good luck!
I purchased my 3008W about 3 1/2 years ago. We love the trailer and thus far have pulled it over 23,000 miles and spent 200 nights in it. I pull it with a Toyota Tundra 5.7 L. engine and it does a great job.

I suggest you get 50 amp service. We have 30 amp and you are constantly having to watch which items you will run simultaneously. We live in Texas and one AC just doesn't cut it so we don't use the trailer in the summer in Texas. When you are cooking, you have the ac blowing down your neck unless you close the side vents and it can interfere with the flame on the range.

The factory tires are garbage. Within the first 18 months, I had troubles with three of the 5 tires with the last issue being a blow out. I replaced the tires with 10 ply Hercules and that ended the troubles.

While we still love the trailer, we are in a deliberation as to how to proceed. While at a FROG rally in October, I found a stress crack above the living room slide. After taking it to the dealer, they said I have a broken frame weld in the living room which caused the stress crack. I also had a broken floor beam. We don't understand how either of these happened. We travel on paved roads and are unaware of hitting any pot holes, etc. that could have jarred the trailer that badly. We are out of warranty and Forest River won't pay the local dealer to repair these items. They did say that they will put a new side on the trailer -free of charge-if I take it to the factory, but the factory is 1,200 miles from home and it is my expense to get it there. They said a spring trip would be better and suggest I only take two or three short trips remaining no more than 100 miles from home prior to the trip to the factory. (I'm limited to 400 to 600 miles of towing but a 1,200 mile trip to the factory is OK? They also said I "should" be OK to make the 1,200 mile trip. If they guess wrong, I could be part way there and have the trailer coming apart on me!)

We are not feeling comfortable in moving forward with repairing the 3008W and beginning to look at upgrading to a 5th wheel.

My last thoughts on the 3008W are that I'm not sure the frame design is sturdy enough. From the beginning, if we sat in the slide or one of us was lying in bed then you couldn't close the bathroom door. I replaced the striker plate with a larger one with a large rectangular opening which did solve that problem for a while. But the issue is that if sitting in the slide shifts the trailer enough that you can't close the bathroom door, then it has to be putting stress on the frame. The dealer says it is frame stress that caused the frame break and the stress crack through the side wall.

Make sure you carry dowel rods or toothpicks. You will have screws backing out every time you move the trailer. The first problem came with the screws in the track holding the sliding door from the bath to the bedroom. If you can't open the door, that is the first thing to look for.

It is a well laid out trailer and we've had many fun times in it. I guess it wasn't built for the kind of miles we've pulled it.

Good luck in your decision,

Bob H.
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:58 PM   #10
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Thank you Bob for that feedback. I know nothing about RVs, so I come at this with no bias or preconceptions. The Rockwood stuff looks nice, but when I compare it to he Airstream, I notice a difference in build quality. There is a big difference in price, too.

To me it seems like cars. You get what you pay for. Higher price usually means better quality, but not always. Bigger manufacturers have more options, better pricing, but potentially more quality issues. I've been reading about warranty issues and claims, which makes me leary of buying out of state to get a better deal. Better to spend a little extra and buy from a local reputable dealer that can solve problems for me even if I have to pay for service.

But for my "starter" trailer I want to go cheap. After I've used one for a year or so, I may consider spending more, or even going the Motorhome route.
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