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Old 09-02-2012, 08:33 AM   #15
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This 5th wheel was on it's side following a near head-on collision with a large truck, the TV's air bags deployed and the passengers walked away. I wonder what if it had been a Class A with unrestrained passengers roaming around the vehicle?
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Old 09-02-2012, 08:48 AM   #16
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Nothing worst than pulling over so family can take turns using the washroom..... Love the Motorhome option.

Almost like clockwork....10-20 min into the trip my 6yr old daughter has to use the washroom! LOL! Unfortunately, with the rear side bath in our current 5er, the slide has to be deployed to use the restroom! Didn't even think of that one untill we needed it. I haven't liked the layout of the bath since we bought it. You can sit on the toilet wash your feet in the tub and your hands in the sink at the same time! But it'll get us by afew years untill we can spec one like we want.

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Old 09-02-2012, 09:40 AM   #17
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Had a 36' Class A once upon a time. Have the FW now. Which is best is a toss-up for us. I like not having another motor/chassis to have to repair, but we always need a pickup truck in the family for non-RV related purposes. If we had to have a truck dedicated only to pulling a FW then the Class A motor/chassis would be a wash.

I think FW floorplans can be more usable. I have to admit I was in a newer upscale 40' Class A recently and think I like the FWs better. I think the FW is a bit more complicated to set up properly, but DW and I have it down to 15-20 minutes on a fairly level site. So, at least in our view, you almost have to own both types before you can make a decision as to which is best for you.
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:15 AM   #18
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A couple more things about a 5er.

My towing service with a 5er and Tow Vehicle was part of my insurance. No special plan needed. I had a couple of flats and 20 minutes later I was back on the road. Tires were not expensive compared to a MH. For MH you will have to call a service for most every problem.

I never missed a planned camping trip with the 5er in 50000 miles. I have had to cut short or not go with the MH on quite a few occasions.

In high winds my 5er was more stable than the MH.

I will keep my old Diesel Truck just in case the tide turns. I get 10-12 towing and approx 17 driving around locally.
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Old 09-02-2012, 03:21 PM   #19
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I had a 30' front engine puller with a 454 gas-hog engine. One trip from Midland to Denver in a high wind convinced me I didn't want to drive a motorhome again. So I sold it and bought a 5er. The 5er is much better from almost every aspect, except you have to stop for passenger(s) to use the pottie. Now after 11 years enjoying the 5er, Darling Daughter is living in the 5er, and we bought a small TT for just us two old folks and two dogs. If the smaller TT had the same floorplan as the 5er, I'd like it just as good as the 5er. But we compromised to keep the weight down, so the TT is a might crowded with the Border Collie and the Pom wandering around.
Grumpy ole man with over 50 years towing experience. Now my heaviest trailer is a 7,000-pound enclosed cargo trailer, RV is a 5,600 pound Skyline Nomad Joey 196S, and my tow vehicle is a 2012 F-150 3.5L EcoBoost SuperCrew.
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Old 09-02-2012, 08:11 PM   #20
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The right one is the one you like. But there are differences.

Motor homes are not magic. The really do not hook themselves up to all the utilities. They sometimes have issues with retracting their jacks. They are usually quieter to drive if they are a pusher. And some of them have serious handling issues that require a lot of expense to remedy. And some are totally problem free.

Most reports seem to be that RV's don't travel very far very often. Some are taken to the lake an stay there for the season, and some go and return each weekend for the season. The average mileage on a Diesel pusher MH seems to be around 5,000 per year. I doubt the average 5th is any higher.

We have put 11,000 miles on the 5th since March. Set-up is maybe 10 minutes with hydraulic jacks and slides, an internal power management system, and both a 50 amp and 30 amp power cord. We stop every hour or so simply because it is more comfortable.

If you need to tow a jeep for desert adventures, get the motor home. If you can do the desert in a 3/4 ton diesel, get the 5th.

Clearly a motor home of any vintage from new to old will be more costly than a comparable 5th of the same age and condition. For new -to-new it looks like a DP MH would run 2x+ the cost of a comparable 5th. For truly old units this would not be true.

Motor Homes need to preserve a path to the potty and the fridge, so they are limited in what they can do on the floor plan. The 5th tends to have a lot more options and often more and deeper slides. Even so, on the 5th you can access the fridge and the potty without using the slides. But you do have to stop.

The MH loses around 5' of space for driving and dashboard compared to a 5th. Sometimes the size comparison is not really equal.

Some people claim the MH has more storage, and this may be true if you count all the basement space. As for inside space, the 5th may have the edge in the newer models with wrap-around kitchens where cabinets can extend into the central space.

As for fuel mileage, most DP MH figures I have seen are in the range of 6 to 8.5. For 5th's, they center around 10 with a range from around 8.5 to 13 for the lighter models.

Backing up a 5th is fairly simple, as is backing up a MH. However, you must unhook the towed if you have one, and move both vehicles.

Assume both MH and 5th's are 8' wide and 13' tall. It takes more space to turn a 5th than a MH, and a 40' 5th with tow vehicle will be closer to about 56' while a MH will remain at 40', and the trailer for a 5th tracks well to the inside. Electric mirrors are invaluable in threading a 5th thru the trees if you want to avoid collisions.

They both work, sometimes, for some of us. Pick one that is right for you. But spare us the "piddle while traveling" routine. It just calls to mind the old Bill Cosby bus driver routine where he relates 'accelerator, brake, accelerator, brake, you can spin 'em all the way to the back of the bus.' Some of us are not fans of walking around in a moving vehicle that may require a sudden change in speed. The brakes on an airplane are a bit different then those on motor vehicle.
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Old 09-03-2012, 07:31 AM   #21
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Having had a gas and diesel mh, I think the non-drivers prefer the motorhomes because of the freedom of movement, at least my non-driver did. As the driver I prefer the fifth wheel. I put over $3k in improvements in our 39' dp trying to get it to track better and improve stability and never quite got there. Our new combo is solid going down the road, even with stiff side winds. My non-driver also thinks the mh's are prettier with their full body paint, and they are. The driver thinks we spend very little time sitting outside admiring the paint job and much more time in a nicely appointed interior. Plus, we can buy 2 1/2 fivers (or 2 and a new truck) compared to replacing the dp we had with a comparable new one.
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Old 09-03-2012, 10:21 AM   #22
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One additional consideration is what type of "camping" do you do? I do mostly dry camping / boondocking in very remote areas. I tow my FW, much of the time in 4WD into campsites where no Class A would dare go.

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Old 09-03-2012, 10:32 AM   #23
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So many good answers I don't think I can add anything unique. IMHO a major factor in the decision between the MH and 5er is lifestyle preferences. And perhaps age and physical condition. Cost to buy and own?

We own a diesel truck and have had trucks our whole married life. One place where I am lucky is my wife prefers a manual transmission over an automatic hence our Dodge with a cummins and a six speed New Venture. She drove towing our 30 foot Cardinal for around 200 miles to our home in the Sierra. Did a great job.

BTW the truck gets 20 to 22 running empty and if you can believe the computer we got an average of 14.7 after 500 miles of towing. Hard to believe. I do drive the speed limit so I get passed a lot.

We have had both a TT and a now three 5ers. We talked about a MH but did not want to tow a vehicle or deal with some of the issues people here have talked about. And we had/have a truck. And we prefer not too big so more choices with 5ers when it comes to that.

Pulling over to use the head, grab a soda and a sandwich, walk the dog, has never been a big deal for us. Maybe because of the blue roads we travel.

And we get to use the truck for going to Home Depot when not towing. Where do you put 4x8 sheets of plywood and a bunch of 2x4x8 in a MH?

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Old 09-05-2012, 08:32 PM   #24
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Go to some diesel forums. You will find mh folks with dusted engines. $$20,000.00 mostly from poor design of the mh. air intake system. I will stick with the engineers at the big 3. When I bought my 5r and truck 18 yrs ago, engine technology was not what it is today. !0 yrs ago I bought a new TV with new engine technology. Had I bought a MH 18 yrs ago, I would still have an antique engine today.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:50 PM   #25
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We have a fiver, we cannot justify the purchase price and insurance for an mh for the amount of time we use it as I am still tied to the corporate nanny. The tv is my daily driver. Once I cut the umbilical cord and we only need one vehicle that may change, my wife's health will dictate how much we are able to travel.
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Old 09-09-2012, 02:49 PM   #26
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Interesting question. We had a 40' DP and loved it. Just sold it to buy a 31' fw. Fuel economy was probably better on the MH than it is on my F-350 tow vehicle. We towed an Escape Hybrid so driving around and sight seeing was definitely cheaper with the MH. We had an Alpine which didn't seem to suffer from the handling problems other people experience. It was quiet, comfortable and convenient to travel in. We could pull into a rest area or handy flat spot and have lunch without getting out of the coach. The generator was quiet and started with the push of one button. Most 5r's don't even have a generator let alone remote start and quiet. The amount of storage in the MH was awsome (as I saw while unloading it to sell) On the other hand this year alone I put over $10,000 into maintenance and repairs (radiator, charge air cooler and front brakes) for a coach with only 29.000 miles on it. I didn't have the facilities to do the repairs my self on the coach (even and oil change) In the two years we owned it we drove a little over 5,000 miles. Insurance was very high due to the value and liability a 27,000 lb MH represent. And a 31 foot trailer will fit into most campsites where the big motorhome might have to pass by. That said, if I were making long trips or extended stays. The comfort, fuel economy, large tanks and residential convenience of the motorhome win hands down.
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Old 09-09-2012, 02:54 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by hardlylook View Post
The comfort, fuel economy, large tanks and residential convenience of the motorhome win hands down.
FWIW if you were getting better mileage in a 40' DP than a diesel pickup towing a 31' 5th wheel then your experience is most unusual. But then again $10,000 will pay for a lot of fuel...
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Old 09-09-2012, 03:07 PM   #28
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We have had a 5vr for 10 years and I still miss the motorhome. However we have been all over the USA several times and have had acceptable mileage and maintenance cost overall. HOWEVER the roads in our country are unbearable due to potholes, expansion joints, poor road maintenance etc. As you age and the backs go out a nice 8 airbag rig is a dream. But then you have to decide if you really want to spend the money

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