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Old 01-09-2016, 04:06 PM   #1
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Question Diesel pusher vs 5th wheel

Hi. Everyone! New to the site! We are trying to decide between a used Diesel Pusher (100 -125k range) or a 38-40' fifth wheel and new truck.

We are semi retired now and ready to see the country! Most of our trips will last 2-4 weeks. We rented a 40' diesel pusher for a couple of weeks to test out the motorhome and really enjoyed it!

While we enjoyed the motorhome I can see where there are some arguments for the truck and fifth wheel route. Please share some of your experience to help us with the pros and cons of this decision! Thanks for your help!

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Old 01-09-2016, 04:16 PM   #2
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If you're gonna take a lot of 2-4 week trips, then the DP would be my choice. If most of your RV'ing will be weekends with an occasional longer trip, then I would go with the 5er for now. DP's need to be used a lot to justify the cost and added maintenance.

We pulled 5ers for 11 years while still working, then bought the DP after retiring.

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!

Joe & Annette

2002 Monaco Windsor 40PBT, 2013 Honda CRV AWD
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Old 01-09-2016, 05:22 PM   #3
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We've never had a 5th wheel so can't comment on them but I can tell you that we enjoy the Class A that we have. We had a gasser that we enjoyed camping in for 3 years but it was a B.E.A.R. to drive so we rehomed it and found a DP. Not only do we enjoy camping in it, we enjoy traveling in it too.

There are pros and cons to both I suppose...

With the Class A, you almost have to have a towed vehicle which means another motor to deal with but when you get to your destination, you have a vehicle to use that isn't as large or doesn't use as much fuel as the truck you'd have to tow your fiver.

We like stopping for lunch and not having to get out of the coach to fix lunch. I can get drinks & snacks while we're moving too. The bathroom is right there which is nice as well.

The class A also gives you a huge window to watch the scenery and gives a good view of the road.

If you're towing, it's nearly impossible to back up very far in the Class A so you've got to make sure you can fit and maneuver before you pull into a gas station or parking lot. That's probably true of 5th wheels as well but you do have the option of backing out of a predicament.

I know there are threads on iRV2 that discuss moving from one to the other. You might search and see what pops up.

Good luck with your decision!
Karen & Gary
Glamping is not for the faint of heart!
with furkids Gypsy & Cody &
traveling in a 2011 Ventana 3433!
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Old 01-09-2016, 05:28 PM   #4
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Similar discussion here.
Dave & Jo Ann
'08 HitchHiker Champagne 35LKRSB | '11 F350 Lariat 6.7PSD
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Old 01-09-2016, 05:37 PM   #5
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Hi G.B.

You'll have fun either way!! We've had both, and we do miss the fact that we would take our 5er farther away from the pavement to find a good spot than we will with a coach, but it's also nice that the kitchen and bathroom are available in the coach while driving down the road. The 5er's will get in and out of some tight RV park spots easier because they "bend in the middle" but if you buy a 40' 5er, it's not that big of a difference. If you decide on a 5er consider having a generator installed, or carry a pair of Honda's, it makes boondocking much easier.

Good luck with your search!! Hopefully you will post your decision.
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Old 01-09-2016, 05:40 PM   #6
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The maintenance and carrying cost of a Class A DP is going to be higher then a 5th wheel and truck. It helps if you can do your own oil changes and lubrication.

Also, in most cases a Class A DP will be more complicated to keep all the systems working. The electrical systems can be harder to troubleshoot and may or not be fixable by the "average" person. Same with the engine and drive train.

A 5th wheel, in most cases, is much less complicated

In making your decision you need to know you can afford the up keep and maintenance. There are several threads out there now that discuss this very topic.
Jim J
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Old 01-09-2016, 05:48 PM   #7
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Hard choice. Both have advantages and disadvantages. I would say depends on your travel plans and budget. Lots of road time moving about I would go with a class A. Go to one place and stay for weeks the fifth wheel might suit you better. Pretty much all the living area item and usable square footage are close to equal.

Fifth wheels are pretty comfortable with a lot of room when the slides are extended. Slides are a bit deeper on a towable than a drivable. The front living room models with the rear master bedroom are a bit enticing to a prospective buyer. Fuel usage might be better considering the overall weight is less. Down side might be having to use a large truck for transportation beyond a camp ground. Set up is a bit more work to connect or disconnect the rig from the truck. Initial costs can be less for both than a class A depending on how much bling each has.

Diesel are bit more comfortable going down the road, particularly for you co-pilot. The only time you'll need to stop for a bathroom break is when the driver needs too. Overnight stops between destinations are very easy in a class A. Park, close the curtains, go to sleep. No need to leave the coach. Camp site set up is easy and other than connecting power/water/sewer you don't even need to leave the coach. The big advantage is towing a car to site see with. If you leave in an area which potential power outages the coach is fully self contained with the onboard tanks and generator. If the fuel tank is full you can go a long time waiting for power to come back on.

Myself, I'll probably always stay with a class A. We're adventurers and don't stay in once place for very long. The camp ground is where we sleep when on the road it's all the stuff beyond entry gates that we want to see. Heading out in our daily driving car is a bit simpler for us. Plus we've had a few hurricanes come thru that knocked power out for more than a day or two. I've got a good size generator that will keep most stuff in the house working but not the AC. The coach generator will run the coach AC without a worry.
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Old 01-09-2016, 05:54 PM   #8
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Having had both, DW and I confirmed that we are FWer people. This is mainly based on how we full time. We tend to stay somewhere for a month or more, which lends itself to a FW. We tried that "you can make me a something to eat as we're driving", but it never happened. Probably because we couldn't afford the right MH. We're happy being back in a FW, it feels like home.
Lanny, Retired GySgt USMC
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Old 01-09-2016, 06:12 PM   #9
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We have had two 5th wheels and they were good for weekend trips but long trips not so good for us. We bought the DS class A last year and love it just took trip south for a month and loved it. Haveing everything there while driving is great would not want to go back to the 5th wheel.can drive all day + and don't need to look for fuel.
Joe and Bonnie
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Old 01-09-2016, 07:00 PM   #10
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If you've already spent time in a DP and liked it I think that would be the way to go. The story on the 1 year old DP I'm about to buy is that the owners decoded to go with a new 5th wheel. Maybe they wanted the extra spac, maybe they wanted a toy hauler. Who knows. 5th wheelers are about the only RV we have not had. No interest in trying to park something like that. The DP is much easier to handle/park than the 28 foot travel trailer we used to have.
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Old 01-09-2016, 07:21 PM   #11
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I went thru the same thing when we were shopping and here is what lead to our decision.

Class A pluses:

Tow a jeep (we like to off-road).
Use the coach amenities while going down the road.
Driving a DP is great!
On average, I felt the DP was of better quality.

5th wheel pluses:

Much cheaper to purchase and maintain (even with truck).
More home like when parked.
Allows you to separate the power from the house ( you can change just the truck or the trailer).
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Old 01-09-2016, 07:22 PM   #12
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For us, we have a Jeep and enjoy off-roading in it. So a Motorhome was natural choice so as to be able to tow. When not on off-roading trips the jeep is just the get around toad.

But even without the Jeep tow requirement I am not sure I would want to connect/disconnect a 5th wheel. Nor drive a large heavy duty pickup truck as the get around vehicle. It's great to be able to stop for the night, push a couple buttons, and be setup.
Vince and Susan
2011 Tiffin Phaeton 40QTH (Cummins ISC/Freightliner)
Flat towing a modified 2005 Jeep (Rubicon Wrangler)
Previously a 2002 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37A and a 1995 Safari Trek 2830.
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Old 01-09-2016, 08:14 PM   #13
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After talking with dozens and dozens of customers, I believe they mostly think like me. If you have a reason to own a Dually truck and use it in business or recreation. (boats, 4 wheeler's, snow mobiles. etc) I would go with a fifth wheel. Otherwise I would opt for the Motorhome. When we go out west, we put 6500 miles on the motorhome. We put about 5000 miles on the Honda Civic. That would be a lot of gas for a dually. Our Civic got 42 mpg for one tank. (high altitude) The bathroom and kitchen rate big with me. (I am a snacker, when travelling)
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32 years mechanic at Delta Air Lines 15 year motorhome service manager. 3 popups....2 travel trailers....5 motorhomes....loved them all.
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Old 01-09-2016, 08:35 PM   #14
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Based on how you intent to use the RV, I would say a motor home would be a better choice. It sounds like you do not stay in the same place for a month at a time. If you are traveling from place to place, I think a motor home is a better fit. If you are staying in one place for a while, a fifth wheel will work well. I like having a small fuel efficient vehicle with me when we stop. I like the big windshield and the driving comfort. Since I drive, I really like that my DH can use the bathroom while we are going down the road.

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5th wheel, diesel

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