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Old 12-12-2018, 01:44 PM   #1
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Class A vs 5th Wheel

My wife and I have lived in a 5th wheel full time for about 5 years. We did this for two reasons; travel with my work and to lower costs so we'd have more during retirement. (we felt a 5th wheel also had more room and was better suited to our needs while I was working)

We're now a year or so from retirement and have options to consider.

We look forward to traveling more (for pleasure). Our impression is that traveling in a Class A is much more comfortable than a 5th wheel.

If acquisition costs were the same for similar RV's (5th wheel and class a), is there a difference in the amount of wear and tear that each RV type would incur? Is there a difference in maintenance cost? I know it depends on the specific vehicle. I'm just looking for tendencies (e.g., Is a class A more durable? Is a class A less costly to maintain given the wear and tear of driving two old folks around the country?).

Thoughts?
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Old 12-12-2018, 02:08 PM   #2
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I have had both 5th wheels and motorhomes.

As far as comfort while traveling; IMO, a class A is much more comfortable while traveling. In fact, this is why we now have a class A. It is so much easier for my wife to be comfortable and stay comfortable while traveling.

As far as maintenance cost, I would say that when you consider the maintenance expense for a 5th wheel/truck combo -verses- class A; if the class A is a gasser, maintenance cost is probably about the same. If compared to a class A diesel pusher, the class a maintenance expense is going to be higher, but not terrible. The diesel requires more oil and a couple of extra filters. Even so, I would not trade my diesel pusher for a gas motorhome.
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Old 12-12-2018, 02:21 PM   #3
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That is not an easy question to answer. So many variables. One for example is Gas motorhome or Diesel pusher? I will say as far as chassis goes that the Ford V10 is one of the most reliable engines. A diesel pusher will have a higher maintenance cost but the ride and comfort is better than a gas coach. Also the workhorse chassis is pretty reliable as well in general. Also depends largely on the RV manufacturer. If you want something that will be good for the long haul, don't go cheap. I would suggest to look around and if you find some coaches you like go online and do allot of research. Bottom line......take your time......look around.....and research research research.



Happy trails and good luck shopping
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Old 12-12-2018, 05:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRebel View Post
I have had both 5th wheels and motorhomes.

As far as comfort while traveling; IMO, a class A is much more comfortable while traveling. In fact, this is why we now have a class A. It is so much easier for my wife to be comfortable and stay comfortable while traveling.

As far as maintenance cost, I would say that when you consider the maintenance expense for a 5th wheel/truck combo -verses- class A; if the class A is a gasser, maintenance cost is probably about the same. If compared to a class A diesel pusher, the class a maintenance expense is going to be higher, but not terrible. The diesel requires more oil and a couple of extra filters. Even so, I would not trade my diesel pusher for a gas motorhome.
Well said. The only thing to add is "floor plan" and ease of using a smaller toad when going to town vs. a big truck. Plus, if it's raining, I like just pulling over and walking into the kitchen...or bathroom, depending on the urgency!
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Old 12-12-2018, 06:04 PM   #5
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We transitioned from a fifth wheel to a class A.
Since we went with a Ford V-10 gasser, the vehicular maintenance costs are lower. We sold all of our diesel trucks and are down to one (Cummins, ISB CRD) pickup now - it serves ranch duties.

If you are pulling your current fiver with a diesel, the same costs will be there (more oil, larger and more expensive filters, fuel conditioners, DEF, DPF issues), plus any added costs for maintaining a DP - such as air systems and air brakes.


The DP offers better ride characteristics if it is equipped with airbags. The ability for my wife to hit the bathroom while going down the road is a definite advantage for us. I also like the fact that when we're WallyDocking or overnighting at a rest area, I don't have to get dressed to jump behind the wheel and get going if the need arises.
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Old 12-13-2018, 06:52 AM   #6
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Primary Decision Criteria

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Originally Posted by DryCreek View Post

The ability for my wife to hit the bathroom while going down the road is a definite advantage for us. I also like the fact that when we're WallyDocking or overnighting at a rest area, I don't have to get dressed to jump behind the wheel and get going if the need arises.
Great point! Having the ability for my wife to use the restroom while driving (given proper aim and stability) is worth any additional cost that a Class A would require. That will save us time and cost of stopping every 15 minutes for sure! Thanks (Ha)
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Old 12-13-2018, 07:55 AM   #7
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For us the Class A was the way to go,just easier to get in and go,set up,and break down.We upgraded from a 26 ft bumper pull.As far as actual maintenance costs,a lot depends on how much you do yourself.Sounds like,from your background, all you will be buying for the most part, is oil,filters,and parts.That is a huge savings on routine maintenance.Labor working on these things is high.Our A is on a workhorse chassis with a 8.1 GM Vortec engine and Allison trans.I also have a mechanics background so I can do most everything on it with the exception of trans rebuild.So as far as costs I would think they would be very similar.And as said,the DW loves the available bathroom while on the road.Especially when stuck in heavy traffic.
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Old 12-13-2018, 08:15 AM   #8
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We've had all types and we absolutely love our simple Gas, Class A...No slides. The layout is perfect and there is more than enough room for us.. And our watchdog Tia who is a Belgian Malinois.
It's way easier to drive than any kind of tow rig. Bumper or 5ver... Ours has air bags and just rides like an old Caddie.. Just floats along...

Class A motorhomes are built on a BUS chassis...These engine/transmission/driveline combinations are meant to go 250 thousand miles before major maintenance.. (Oil changes and tune ups are all that's necessary) ... And with overhauls they are designed to go a million miles before retirement...

For me this is the major difference in a Class A rig...
The secret to finding the right rig is to be prepared financially and just look and wait for the right one to come along... Being able to pounce when you find it is the secret to getting in at the lowest price..


Good luck.

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Old 12-13-2018, 08:31 AM   #9
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No matter how comfortable the seats are in a pickup, they do not compare to the seats in our DP, not even close. The view in a DP is far better, you are higher and the windshield is 200% bigger. Ours is a mid entry DP, so the passenger side window is huge, actually 6" bigger than the driver side window, with no window and door pillars in the way. All the convienence of moving around; we don't do the 'belted in at all times' thing. Go to the bathroom, do laundry, load the crockpot, inventory the fridge, get the driver some snacks and drinks, snooze in the reclined passenger seat with powered footrest, or go back to the bedroom and watch tv. There is no way I'd trade this DP for a 5er, NONE, unless something unimagineable happens.
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Old 12-13-2018, 08:35 AM   #10
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Comfort of travel is definitely a big decision factor for us. As stated, being able to go to the bathroom. Can make a sandwich going down the road. If you travel with pets, it is so much nicer in the MH.
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Old 12-13-2018, 08:39 AM   #11
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No matter how comfortable the seats are in a pickup, they do not compare to the seats in our DP, not even close. The view in a DP is far better, you are higher and the windshield is 200% bigger. Ours is a mid entry DP, so the passenger side window is huge, actually 6" bigger than the driver side window, with no window and door pillars in the way. All the convienence of moving around; we don't do the 'belted in at all times' thing. Go to the bathroom, do laundry, load the crockpot, inventory the fridge, get the driver some snacks and drinks, snooze in the reclined passenger seat with powered footrest, or go back to the bedroom and watch tv. There is no way I'd trade this DP for a 5er, NONE, unless something unimagineable happens.
Actually the law probably requires all passengers to buckled in while under way. That's why there are seat belts for the couches in them. That said we don't strictly adhere to that rule and she will get up to use the facilities or get a snack. Otherwise she is buckled in as that's safer. I suppose that if people were seen by LEO wandering around while under way you the driver could get ticketed for that. Others with specific knowledge can chime in.
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Old 12-13-2018, 02:41 PM   #12
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Thanks (so far)

All of your responses are insightful and are helping me make a better, long term decision.

Keep the feedback coming. I just wanted to say how much I appreciate everyone's help.
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Old 12-13-2018, 06:47 PM   #13
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We went from an old Winnebago Indian back in the early 80's to Coachman Bumper pull in the early 90's to a 5er in the late 90's to a Class A Itasca in the mid 2000's to the 39' Adventurer a few years ago. Class A just works better for us for all the reasons mentioned above.

One other thing I will mention. Most of my friends and the folks I meet during our travels confirm that a modern Turbo Diesel pickup pulling a nice 35' 5th wheel will roll down the road at a pretty good clip with plenty of power for any situation. They also confirm that it's not often they get much over 8-9MPG when maintaining the speed limit. So your average F350 pulling a nice 5'er is getting the same basic mileage as a nice motorhome.
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Old 12-13-2018, 07:07 PM   #14
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Actually the law probably requires all passengers to buckled in while under way. That's why there are seat belts for the couches in them. That said we don't strictly adhere to that rule and she will get up to use the facilities or get a snack. Otherwise she is buckled in as that's safer. I suppose that if people were seen by LEO wandering around while under way you the driver could get ticketed for that. Others with specific knowledge can chime in.


I donít believe there is a seatbelt law for buses. I may be mistaken.
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