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Old 09-18-2014, 11:22 AM   #1
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Full time rig or not?

Hello to everyone we are new to this forum and appreciate all the great info you have posted. planning on purchasing a 5er next year and doing a bunch of research. we are planning to retire in a couple years and want to travel to see kids and grandkids. Our plan is to spend a couple months in Michigan then travel to Colorado and other destinations in between, then to New Mexico for winter months. Since we are basically following the weather and staying away from the real cold temps, do y'all recommend still going with a "full timing" rig or general style of 5er? I didn't know if with following the weather that going with a trailer that has all the extra insulation, windows, etc. is necessary. What brands do you recommend? We have been looking at the front living style trailers, any pros or cons to them?
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Old 09-18-2014, 11:45 AM   #2
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Floor Plan, Floor Plan, Floor Plan.

Find the unit that you will see fits how you plan to live. Sit in units in the dealership (ditch the salesman) and pretend you are living there. Be honest. Pretend it is raining and you have been in for a couple days while the weather is crappy. Pretend you are trying to work on your hobby or cook or whatever. You will find the layout that seems to work the best for you.

Look at units within your price range that fit your floorplan. Generally the better the model the higher the quality of material. Avoid units that are built with pressed wood. While they will work they tend to require more maintenance and do not last as long. Remember that regardless of whether you buy an entry level or top of the line it likely was built on the same assembly line by the same workers. You will have some to many items to be fixed. It is normal (unfortunately).

Extra insulation and windows are a good thing. They insulate - so they keep your unit warmer when it is cool and cooler when it is warm and help reduce the noise from outside. Lots of folks complain the the A/C is unable to keep the place cool when it is warm. Regardless of where you travel you will be encountering cool and hot days. At that time you will be glad of the extra insulation. Many campgrounds are beside busy roadways or railroads so a bit of insulation to help reduce the noise is sometimes welcome.

I have not seen a front living room yet. One of these days. Friends who have said they are great. Having a back bedroom takes you away from the road when sleeping so is of a benefit. Many parks have workers staying during construction projects so some leave at quite an early hour. Back bedroom is great.

Washer dryer is a must, all electic a bonus. We really like the W/D and the induction burners are great in our minds.

Balance out the size of the 5er with the need for a larger TV. Larger 5er means bigger TV. If you are doing a lot of travelling a smaller 5er may be warranted but it has to be balanced with the space you determined you would like while in residence.

Good luck with your decision. You will make the right decsion no matter what it is. Be prepared to do some customization that will make it your very own.
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Old 09-18-2014, 11:56 AM   #3
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Glad to have you here with us.

Good luck with your search. Congrats on the retirement plans.

Happy Trails!!!
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Old 09-18-2014, 12:04 PM   #4
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Thx for the info. My wife and I really like the FL style that seems to separate the living area from the kitchen area. one concern though is my wife has Rheumatoid Arthritis and the added steps for the FL models is something to think about. Is there a certain range of trailer weight that goes along with a certain TV? IE 15k trailer needs a DRW 3500 or a 12k trailer can be towed by a 3/4 ton 2500? is there a cutoff for each of these in weight limitations?
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Old 09-18-2014, 12:19 PM   #5
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Glad you're aboard. Best of luck in your search and decision. There are pros and cons to any rig. Choose the one you like the floor plan and living space and you'll be happiest. Enjoy your adventures and be safe.
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Old 09-18-2014, 12:21 PM   #6
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My idea of a full time coach is not some other peoples idea of a full time unit. I want something as comfortable as can be, solid built, real wood, residential all I can get. Trouble free as well. This equals heavy and big truck to tow. Others could care less about this and want something light and easy to tow with a 3/4 ton. As far as FL floor plans the ones we looked at we didn't like the consequences of having it. More slides, most had 5, more steps, could not access bathroom or fridge with slides in.
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Old 09-18-2014, 12:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon Dewald View Post
Look at units within your price range that fit your floorplan. Generally the better the model the higher the quality of material. Avoid units that are built with pressed wood. While they will work they tend to require more maintenance and do not last as long. Remember that regardless of whether you buy an entry level or top of the line it likely was built on the same assembly line by the same workers. You will have some to many items to be fixed. It is normal (unfortunately).

Extra insulation and windows are a good thing. They insulate - so they keep your unit warmer when it is cool and cooler when it is warm and help reduce the noise from outside. Lots of folks complain the the A/C is unable to keep the place cool when it is warm. Regardless of where you travel you will be encountering cool and hot days. At that time you will be glad of the extra insulation. Many campgrounds are beside busy roadways or railroads so a bit of insulation to help reduce the noise is sometimes welcome.

I have not seen a front living room yet. One of these days. Friends who have said they are great. Having a back bedroom takes you away from the road when sleeping so is of a benefit. Many parks have workers staying during construction projects so some leave at quite an early hour. Back bedroom is great.

Washer dryer is a must, all electic a bonus. We really like the W/D and the induction burners are great in our minds.

Balance out the size of the 5er with the need for a larger TV. Larger 5er means bigger TV. If you are doing a lot of travelling a smaller 5er may be warranted but it has to be balanced with the space you determined you would like while in residence.

Good luck with your decision. You will make the right decsion no matter what it is. Be prepared to do some customization that will make it your very own.
We bought a '98 Santara MH, seemed like everytime we went out I had to fix a cabinet. Traded it in for a Dutch Star Type A MH and made sure to get the optional (in 2000) hardwood cabinets and dual pane windows. When we ordered the 2002 we did the same thing and added stuff like a storage bay freezer. Want to get a bigger newer MH now but the DW likes the one we have so much that I'm having a hard time even getting her to look at new ones! Guess we did a pretty good job when we ordered it!
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Old 09-18-2014, 12:36 PM   #8
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We bought a '98 Santara MH, seemed like everytime we went out I had to fix a cabinet. Traded it in for a Dutch Star Type A MH and made sure to get the optional (in 2000) hardwood cabinets and dual pane windows. When we ordered the 2002 we did the same thing and added stuff like a storage bay freezer. Want to get a bigger newer MH now but the DW likes the one we have so much that I'm having a hard time even getting her to look at new ones! Guess we did a pretty good job when we ordered it!

You can pay me now or pay me later. Looks like you did a mighty fine job on the last go round. Congratulations.
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Old 09-18-2014, 12:47 PM   #9
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Thx for the info. My wife and I really like the FL style that seems to separate the living area from the kitchen area. one concern though is my wife has Rheumatoid Arthritis and the added steps for the FL models is something to think about. Is there a certain range of trailer weight that goes along with a certain TV? IE 15k trailer needs a DRW 3500 or a 12k trailer can be towed by a 3/4 ton 2500? is there a cutoff for each of these in weight limitations?
Yes there are cutoffs for the various size trucks and trailers. More brand specific for trucks.

Each truck has its own characteristics and towing capacities and they vary from brand to brand, depend upon options ordered, 4x4 vs 2x4.

Trailers are different as well but not as much as a truck. Rule of thumb is take the GVWR of a trailer and muliply by .2 to .25. That would be the anticipated pin weight. Now have to find a truck that will carry the pin weight on the rear axle and GVWR when it is fully loaded with fuel, you, DW and all the stuff you plan to carry.

If the RA is an issue and climbing stairs is a concern a class A may be something you should look at. Once you are in the floors are generally flat except for a small step at the back on some models. Others are completely flat. That and a toad and you would be good to go.

P.S. - travelling with a Cl A is way more fun than a 5er. You can try the "Honey bring me a beer" request. Let me know how it works for you. No luck on my part!! LOL
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Old 09-18-2014, 01:04 PM   #10
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On that note, wished you had not brought motorhome up, if you move a lot motor home good choice. If you tend to stay in one place month or so at a time 5ther better choice. 5thers have more storage. Setup is a wash with newer units. Then again, you can get an HDT, haul Smart car on deck, tow a honking big coach and mama still get you beer out of fridge. Uh oh, we done it now.lol
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Old 09-19-2014, 06:58 AM   #11
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Whatever you end up with, cargo carrying capacity is a very important factor for full-timers. The dry weights you find in the catalogs usually don't include options, so you may need to dig to find the true CCC.

I recommend a minimum of 1000 lbs of CCC per person for full-timing (1500 lbs per person is better), and that's after you have at least some water on board. We travel with 15 or 20 gal of water for hand washing and toilet flushing. Any less, and the pump might not pick up if you're in a rest stop that's on a slope.
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Old 09-19-2014, 09:15 AM   #12
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We are full time and we (DW, me, 2 small dogs) add 3k to coach.
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Old 09-19-2014, 10:19 AM   #13
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I'd go MH to full time. Much easier to pull a small car/SUV to drive around than to have to use a DRW. Will the wife want to drive the DRW to run an errand? Also no steps in the MH. More storage as well.
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Old 09-19-2014, 10:23 AM   #14
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Actually the 5ther has more storage. Not my opinion, established fact. If you move often MH good choice. If you stay put for month(s) at a time DP don't do well. They like to run.
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