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Old 12-24-2014, 12:31 PM   #1
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5th Wheel Replacement with Class A

My wife and I currently tow a 29 Keystone Loredo 5th wheel behind my 91 F250 7.3 with Banks turbo and several additional upgrades that allow us to handle the west coast mountains where we spend most of our time. Were considering a change to a class A to make our trips a little more comfortable, and give us a chance to hall more toys.
I went through a long learning curve with the Ford / Keystone combination, and would like to spend more time traveling and less modifying if we switch to a motorhome. Here are my concerns.
The rule of thumb that says 1 hp per 100 lbs. may work on the freeway, but not on the grades we travel. I like the ISBs, but wonder how theyll do in a 36 coach towing a pickup with two motorcycles in the back. The ISCs provide more torque, but I dont see them in that size coach.
Id like to stay with older models (2003 to 2009) because of the simpler engines. The 24 valve setups on the 6.7 and newer 5.9s sound good, but have just that much more to go wrong.
We love the floor plan in our 29 5th wheel, and believe itll take about a 36 motorhome to provide the same living space. Im guessing that coach with a truck and bikes in tow will weigh in at a little over 30,000 lbs. Id guess wed need 350 hp and over 600 ft. lbs. of torque to handle our mountains.
Advice??????????????
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Old 12-24-2014, 01:06 PM   #2
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We pulled a 36' 5er for 10 years before getting the MH in 2012. We love it! After we retired and wanted to do more long-distance traveling we decided that a MH would be a better choice. We figured that a 40' MH would give us about the same floor space that the 36' 5er did.

Our Windsor has an ISC 350 Cummins engine. On the really steep mountains we are traveling at 35 to 40 MPH towing a Honda Accord, but that doesn't bother us since we have the time!

Hope you find the right rig for your needs!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!



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Old 12-24-2014, 01:13 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougsdiesel View Post
My wife and I currently tow a 29 Keystone Loredo 5th wheel behind my 91 F250 7.3 with Banks turbo and several additional upgrades that allow us to handle the west coast mountains where we spend most of our time. Were considering a change to a class A to make our trips a little more comfortable, and give us a chance to hall more toys.
I went through a long learning curve with the Ford / Keystone combination, and would like to spend more time traveling and less modifying if we switch to a motorhome. Here are my concerns.
The rule of thumb that says 1 hp per 100 lbs. may work on the freeway, but not on the grades we travel. I like the ISBs, but wonder how theyll do in a 36 coach towing a pickup with two motorcycles in the back. The ISCs provide more torque, but I dont see them in that size coach.
Id like to stay with older models (2003 to 2009) because of the simpler engines. The 24 valve setups on the 6.7 and newer 5.9s sound good, but have just that much more to go wrong.
We love the floor plan in our 29 5th wheel, and believe itll take about a 36 motorhome to provide the same living space. Im guessing that coach with a truck and bikes in tow will weigh in at a little over 30,000 lbs. Id guess wed need 350 hp and over 600 ft. lbs. of torque to handle our mountains.
Advice??????????????
So glad you found us!

For what this is worth, I like the Freightliner, Cummins, Alison combination. Why limit your size to 36'? We are very happy with our Winnebago product at this time. We had a '05 Winnebago Vectra but found it was not built to handle full-timing. The basement on the slides was not good for us. Too much stuff/weight for that arrangement.

The coach we are now in has a residential refrigerator, which is fantastic, and a great floor plan. The basement is very large and great for our volunteer work tools. I was a bit concerned about the DEF system but I have become accustom to it. The power increase on the ISC/w DEF is great. Another good thing with Winnebago products is the availability of resources. Diagrams and parts are always available. Their website gives access to the diagrams. I don't know if this is true for other manufactures. My coach will pull 10K# so I think you will be able to find something to accommodate your needs.

I look forward to hearing of your hunting expeditions for your new rig. Your adventures posted here will help others when doing this same thing.

Happy trails,

Rick Y
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Old 12-24-2014, 07:18 PM   #4
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We have the C8.3 Cummins engine, which has about 325HP and 850lb torque. Our coach GVW is 29,000 lb., and we tow a 4900lb SUV. The power is adequate in the western mountains. Newer coaches will have slides, which means more weight, so that will affect mountain climbing power.

I have noticed that most manufacturers today are using the B series engines in the coaches 38' and less. I have often wondered how they would fare on mountain grades.

Monaco built the Windsor and Dynasty models in the years you're considering that were available in 38' length, all with the big Cummins engines between 350 and 400 HP. Those two models are very high quality, upper end coaches.

The Monaco Dynasty tag axle coaches were made in the 38' Earl and Bishop models with the ISL 400 Cummins engine. I think that would be a nice package.

Jim
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Old 12-24-2014, 10:45 PM   #5
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5th Wheel Replacement with Class A

Just got thru looking at a 2003 36' Foretravel with the Cummins 450HP ISM with an Allison transmission with retarder. That would get you and your equipment up and down the mountains easily. The retarder is great for steep mountains. I've come down several passes and hardly had to touch the brake. No matter what you go with, just remember that getting up in style is only part of the equation, you have to get get down also. A coach with a transmission retarder such as Monaco and Foretravel would be quite an asset for someone who does a lot of mountain driving. Guess I'm prejudiced...or maybe just spoiled.


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Old 12-25-2014, 09:34 AM   #6
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We had a 36' Cedar Creek for 6 years before trading it on the MH. Nothing was wrong with the 5ver just wanted to move up to a DP. IT is nice having access to everything while traveling without having to stop. Ours has the Cummins ISC, 360 hp & 1050 tq. Weigh in at about 32,000 & tow a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Plenty of power & about 8 mpg at 67 mph.
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Old 12-25-2014, 09:45 AM   #7
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One main point to look at, is not only the motor but the TRANS TOO. Most (not all) diesels with less then 360hp. have the Allison 2500 trans which will only give you 5000lbs towing capacity. With what you're looking to tow the P/U and Bikes (which I read to mean motorcycles) you could easily go over the 5000lb towing capacity of the Allison 2500 trans. So look for motors over 360hp. A good motor is the Cummins ISL series which can be chipped from the factory anywhere from 380-450hp.
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Old 12-27-2014, 11:57 AM   #8
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We have a 38 foot class A with a ISL 400 Cummins in it. We pull a F150 with a Polaris RZR in the bed. It pulls the mountains fine if your not in a hurry. The biggest difference we found in going to a Class A from a Fifthwheel was the storage. Our Fifthwheel had a very large storage under the front and the Class A doesn't have as much. There are many advantages to each type of rig but you can't take a RZR with you in a Fifthwheel unless you triple tow.
Its a hard decision to make, best of luck to you.
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Old 12-28-2014, 09:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skibum61 View Post
We have a 38 foot class A with a ISL 400 Cummins in it. We pull a F150 with a Polaris RZR in the bed. It pulls the mountains fine if your not in a hurry. The biggest difference we found in going to a Class A from a Fifthwheel was the storage. Our Fifthwheel had a very large storage under the front and the Class A doesn't have as much. There are many advantages to each type of rig but you can't take a RZR with you in a Fifthwheel unless you triple tow.
Its a hard decision to make, best of luck to you.
Basement storage capacity is by chassis design. Our coach has one of the largest basements in the industry. This Cummins/Alison is rated at 10K# towing. I would not hesitate to pull that. A 400 or 450HP power train would be better than this 380, true. But, in the mountains, as we are now configured, I am very pleased with the performance. 7% grades and 7K+ feet are not a worry.

We are very happy campers.

Rick Y
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