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Old 01-29-2016, 11:25 AM   #1
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From DP to 5'er

After evaluating our usage patterns, and our future intentions, we are considering moving from a DP to a 5'er. We have zoned in on two units based on the floor plans, and would like to hear some pros and cons of each, as well as recommendations on other units.

We like the Sandpiper 365SAQB, the Elkridge 37ULTA, and the Gateway 3650BH.

Anyone care to weigh in on these units?

Other suggestions are welcome. We are looking for something with a bunkhouse, 1.5 baths, king bed, residential refrigerator, and auto leveling as musts. Would like to have a bath tub but not critical. Hoping to stay below 50k.

Thanks in advance.

Edit to add.... We intend to use for a few week long trips and a few long weekends each year. It will be stored indoors when not in use.

Thanks
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Old 01-29-2016, 01:26 PM   #2
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We got our Gateway 3650BH last year and love it so far. It has tons of room (5 slides), great insulation, 12" frame, Hydraulic slides, large Residential fridge, 4 TVs, big bath tub, tons of counter space, and a great outdoor kitchen. The only issue we have had is with the main A/C unit. We have had it replace under warranty 3 times. It's a Dometic so not Heartlands fault. Also be sure to insist on better tires. The ones than come from the factory (TowMax) are junk. I didn't know how bad they were to start with so I had to buy new G rated tires as soon as I got home from the dealer.
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Old 02-03-2016, 03:50 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info on the Gateway.

The CFO is starting to like the Heritage Glen 356QB from FR. It appears that this is a step down in the pecking order from what we have previously looked at, but it is a step down in price too. Over on the FROG forum, it appears to get good reviews with only the typical issues (with some exceptions).

Do any iRV2 members have any input on this unit?

The price point is nice, as is the weight reduction, but I know both of those come with a "price". Our usage intentions are a few 7-10 day outings a year as well as several long weekend outings. Any concerns with the unit considering this usage pattern? As previously mentioned, it will be kept in the garage when not in use.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-03-2016, 06:45 PM   #4
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I can't weigh in on your choice of units. But I do applaud you on your decision to go from DP to FW. Started with a Class C, then FW, then another FW, then a gasser Class A, then a DP, now back where we belong in a FW.

I do know that floorplan is very important. Decide on that first, then everything else should fall into place. (BTW, 1.5 baths sounds like money!!! If I could change one thing in our FW, it would be to have an extra .5 bath)
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Old 02-03-2016, 08:00 PM   #5
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Thanks Lanny! The extra bath doesn't seem that important to me (and I actually like another floor plan better), but the CFO requires it.... Happy wife, happy life.... Right?
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Old 02-03-2016, 08:24 PM   #6
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I didn't think the half bath was a big deal but we really love ours now.
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Old 02-04-2016, 06:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by head gamez View Post
After evaluating our usage patterns, and our future intentions, we are considering moving from a DP to a 5'er. We have zoned in on two units based on the floor plans, and would like to hear some pros and cons of each, as well as recommendations on other units.
I'm not familiar with the brands you're looking at, but I can weigh in on MH vs. 5th wheel since we switched from a 37' MH (gasser) to a 5th wheel last winter.

So far, we're loving the fiver. The MH was great when we were doing lots of moving around, but now that we're getting older, we are slowing down. The fiver is better suited to sitting in one place.

Advantages to MH:
  1. Easier to set up, although this is less significant with 6-point hydraulic auto-level now available on many fivers
  2. Convenient when on the road with passenger access to fridge and bathroom
  3. Toad is more economical to drive than a big pickup once you are at your destination
  4. Easier access to outside storage (numerous individual compartments on MH vs. one large, cavernous basement on 5th wheel
Advantages to 5th wheel:
  1. Feels more residential on the inside
  2. More kitchen counter space
  3. More interior storage (depending on model and floorplan)
  4. Better fuel mileage when towing
Good luck with your decision.
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Old 02-04-2016, 09:02 AM   #8
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This is a nice comparison. I'm not involved in this, but noticed the point about a 5er having better fuel mileage and I have wanted to ask a question about 5th wheels for some time. Since the front cab-over floor has to clear the tow vehicle bed, the resulting roof is much higher than a basement model MH whose floor starts just above the top of it's tires. Looking at big 5ers coming down the road toward me, it looks like they are 3 - 4 ft. taller than motorhomes, so are even more of an aerodynamic barn door than a motorhome due to the increased frontal area. Recognizing this is not an apples-to-apples comparison since engines, driving speed, and other variables apply, but basically it seems like a 5er would then present more wind resistance than a shorter blunt front motorhome; resulting in lesser mileage, and the taller 5er would also be more affected by side winds.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by paz View Post
I'm not familiar with the brands you're looking at, but I can weigh in on MH vs. 5th wheel since we switched from a 37' MH (gasser) to a 5th wheel last winter.

So far, we're loving the fiver. The MH was great when we were doing lots of moving around, but now that we're getting older, we are slowing down. The fiver is better suited to sitting in one place.

Advantages to MH:
  1. Easier to set up, although this is less significant with 6-point hydraulic auto-level now available on many fivers
  2. Convenient when on the road with passenger access to fridge and bathroom
  3. Toad is more economical to drive than a big pickup once you are at your destination
  4. Easier access to outside storage (numerous individual compartments on MH vs. one large, cavernous basement on 5th wheel
Advantages to 5th wheel:
  1. Feels more residential on the inside
  2. More kitchen counter space
  3. More interior storage (depending on model and floorplan)
  4. Better fuel mileage when towing
Good luck with your decision.
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Old 02-04-2016, 10:51 AM   #9
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George I have asked this question(MPG) of several hotshotters -the guys who deliver units from the manufacturers.
what is more efficient travel trailer or 5th wheels?
With out any hesitation they said 5th every time ,even if they are bigger/longer/heavyer.
Measurably better MPG.
The profile has to be imagined in a wind tunnel with the smoke telltales moving over the combination,it will be a smooth flow over the truck and up and other the trailer ,no vortexes.
Thats the reason class 8 units strive to get the trailer as close to the tractor as possible,I have no comparison to motorhomes other then my truck,the engine is comparable to a large DP's but my mileage is around 9mpg (at best) I attribute the efficiency to the 12 speed transmission.
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Old 02-06-2016, 08:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Schweikle View Post
This is a nice comparison. I'm not involved in this, but noticed the point about a 5er having better fuel mileage and I have wanted to ask a question about 5th wheels for some time. Since the front cab-over floor has to clear the tow vehicle bed, the resulting roof is much higher than a basement model MH whose floor starts just above the top of it's tires. Looking at big 5ers coming down the road toward me, it looks like they are 3 - 4 ft. taller than motorhomes, so are even more of an aerodynamic barn door than a motorhome due to the increased frontal area. Recognizing this is not an apples-to-apples comparison since engines, driving speed, and other variables apply, but basically it seems like a 5er would then present more wind resistance than a shorter blunt front motorhome; resulting in lesser mileage, and the taller 5er would also be more affected by side winds.

A dedicated motorhome enthusiast respecting others RV choices
Our fiver is one foot taller than our MH was (13'-6" vs. 12'-6"), but there are also many lower profile fivers available. Fivers may look taller because of the relatively low truck in front. Anything over 13'-6", whether a MH or fiver, will be a problem on the road because that's the minimum clearance on most interstates.

Fuel mileage of the MH we used to have (gasser) averaged around 7mpg. DPs typically run somewhat higher even though they are heavier (around 9mpg?). Our diesel dually typically gets 10mpg pulling our 17,000 lb fiver. Your results may vary.

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Old 02-06-2016, 08:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Schweikle View Post
This is a nice comparison. I'm not involved in this, but noticed the point about a 5er having better fuel mileage and I have wanted to ask a question about 5th wheels for some time. Since the front cab-over floor has to clear the tow vehicle bed, the resulting roof is much higher than a basement model MH whose floor starts just above the top of it's tires. Looking at big 5ers coming down the road toward me, it looks like they are 3 - 4 ft. taller than motorhomes, so are even more of an aerodynamic barn door than a motorhome due to the increased frontal area. Recognizing this is not an apples-to-apples comparison since engines, driving speed, and other variables apply, but basically it seems like a 5er would then present more wind resistance than a shorter blunt front motorhome; resulting in lesser mileage, and the taller 5er would also be more affected by side winds.

A dedicated motorhome enthusiast respecting others RV choices
In my research aerodynamics are the largest factor at highways speeds and weight second. While a 5er is taller it's drag coefficient is probably lower due to the truck shape "stepping up" to the 5er vs your typical MH being basically a flat brick in the front. Ironically some older MH designs were more aerodynamic and the industry has seemed to move away from that probably because interior space is more important to buyers than mileage.

Another thing to consider with 5er vs MH is the engine. Most motorhomes are either going to be a gas Ford V10 or large displacement diesel while most trucks choose to pull 5ers are "small" displacement diesels. There are entry level lighter DP's that run similar small displacement diesels (Cummins 6.7 ISB), and from what I have seen in mileage reports they are getting around 10mpg.

I have a small relatively lightweight new gas MH and it gets 7 mpg consistently, anyone report on what a 5er gets being pulled by a gas v10 Ford truck? I bet it's not much better. Diesels are just much more efficient engines, especially the modern design's that run extremely hot and lean, even more so now with DEF allowing them to open them up without compromising emissions as they did in the past with excessive EGR.
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Old 02-06-2016, 06:41 PM   #12
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I'll give you guys an update on fuel mileage of a Duramax pulling a Sandpiper 5er next Saturday, as we put a deposit on one this morning.

We have went through several "waves" over the last several weeks in our searches. Started looking at the Heartland Elkridge, then the Gateway. Moved from there to the FR Sandpiper and then to the FR Heritage Glen / Salem Hemisphere. After the next round of walk throughs and continuing to review our list of wants and needs, we moved back the the Sandpiper.

Once we decided on the Sandpiper (we had a general idea of Floor Plan), we did more walk throughs. We finally ended up with the 376BHOK....

Heavier Axles - Check
Automatic Leveling - Check
Bunk house - Check
At least 1.5 baths - Check
Outdoor kitchen (although kitchen is used loosely) - Check
Residential Refer - Check
King Bed - Check
Slide Toppers - Check
Plenty of seating in living area - Check


It was a process, but after several hours spent on the web, multiple walk throughs, and final 1.5 hour trip this morning to spend 5 hours deciding, we are happy!

Thanks to everyone for the input!

Oh yeah.... Believe we have the Expedition sold as well.
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Old 02-20-2016, 05:55 PM   #13
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Didn't check fuel mileage, but did bring it home today!

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I'm ready to go camping!
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Old 02-20-2016, 06:43 PM   #14
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WOW, you gotta be excited! Good luck

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