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Old 04-21-2012, 07:28 PM   #1
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Me and the wife are getting ready to retire an want to go full timing in a 5th wheel. We currently do not own any TT or 5th wheeler. What are the most important things in a full time rig. We want to be able to stay anywhere anytime. We have looked at a lot of different units, but are so confused. All salesman say their unit is better than the other blah blah blah. I'm sure all have problems of some type from human assembly or just parts breaking. Any info would be so helpful , thanks in advance

Ps : we have looked at drv , Montana , carriage , sanibel, Rushmore that comes to mind
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Old 04-21-2012, 07:34 PM   #2
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Hi and welcome to the forum! Congrats on your upcoming changes too.

It would probably help if you shared a bit more information. Do you see yourself moving on from place to place every week or so... or do you think you'll be setting up some place for a season and stay put? When you say you want to go anyplace anytime do you mean boon docking in the back woods? Obviously that limits the size of rig you can have.

I'm sure you'll get a lot of great advice here. Best of luck to you.

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Old 04-21-2012, 07:49 PM   #3
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I can see us staying in one place maybe a week or month. We want to see the country , we have rode bikes last 15 years around country but never got to spend a lot of time in one location. So maybe even 4 months depending if we really enjoy that area. And yes sometimes we may bone dock , so generator and stuff will be a must. We live on a farm now and have generator back up since we lose power from bad weather. So a generator is a must. We want a large 5th wheel for more space. So may limit to where boon docking
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Old 04-21-2012, 09:16 PM   #4
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What are the most important things in a full time rig.
If it's not a 4-seasons RV, then it's not a full-timer RV. If it doesn't have a washer/dryer, then most full-timers would not consider it a full-timer RV.

Budget plays a big part. If you can afford a Mobile Suites or Excel in a 36' or so 5er, then you're good to go. The biggest Artic Fox 5ers are also 4-seasons insulated with optional washer/dryer. You mentioned the Keystone Montana, and it has
Arctic Insulation Package
and
Washer/dryer prep
so it qualifies as a full-timer 5er if it has the right options. Plus Keystone claims the Montana is the best selling 5er in North America, so a lot of folks liked it enough to buy one.

One aspect is that the manufacturer must certify that the 5er is suitable for full time living. Many are not, and the constant elevated humidity from full time living in a 5er can "melt" the glue that holds it together.

Another requirement is a really-good mattress in the master bedroom. Most standard mattresses in the less-expensive RVs are cheap junk that should be thrown away. You can get an excellent queen-size mattress from Sam's Club or Costco for about half the price a furniture store charges when it's "on sale".

That's the basics. Your taste in floorplan, decor and luxury touches such as cabinet tops is up to you.

One important aspect of full-timing is to be certain your have enough tow vehicle for the weight and hitch weight of your RV. Yoiu never want to be overloaded over the GVWR or GCWR of your tow vehicle. Almost all large full-timing RVs require a minimum of a "one ton dually" tow vehicle, and more and more folks are moving up to the class 4 and 5 trucks (F-450, C5500). And I'm seeing more and more medium duty trucks (MDTs) such as "baby Peterbilt" model 330, "baby Kenworth" model T170,and "baby Freightliner" Business Class single-axle trucks with an aftermarket tow body as tow vehicles.

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Old 04-21-2012, 10:15 PM   #5
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If it's not a 4-seasons RV, then it's not a full-timer RV. If it doesn't have a washer/dryer, then most full-timers would not consider it a full-timer RV.
FWIW, we haven't found either of these critical in our full time experience. It's just a good example of how different folks have different priorities and needs. We don't need four seasons because we never want to be where it's cold... so we don't go there. For our tastes, it's easier to do laundry all at once in the CG laundry room than use the small capacity machines in RVs and give up the storage space... but again, more things to think about before your purchase.

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Old 04-21-2012, 10:59 PM   #6
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That is right, everyone's needs are different. Someone mentioned Keystone and Heartland as full time coaches, however Keystone absolutely is not a full time coach. Heartland has some of their 5ers rated for full time, but both manufacturers do not build coaches that will take the abuse of full time living, especially in all 4 seasons. Sure, some people do it in trailers made from those manufacturers and some of those would say they've had no problems in any season. I used to be one of those folks. But I didn't know what I was missing and how big of a difference a honest to goodness great quality coach makes! After two sub-par 5ers, I got smart and bought an Excel. There are many things I like about Excel over any other manufacturer. Some of those include: no Lippert I-beam frame (they use a box frame), insulated slide out floors, all wood frame (stays cooler inside in the summer and warmer in the winter), don't use RV board foam insulation (they use pink spun fiberglass insulation like in a real home), they build sidewalls all they way down to frame and bolt to frame and not the floor, therefore no decorator tin and no squeaky floors. Those are just a couple of highlights. I was clueless when I bought my first two 5ers, but after five years of full timing I learned a lot about how 5ers are built and was absolutely shocked at the difference between mass-produced trailers vs custom or semi-custom coaches. Take a look at the Excel construction videos and compare to other manufactures. http://www.excelrvs.com/resources/videos

And don't be afraid of price when you hear custom coach. We looked at new Cyclones HD edition and would have spent over 65k, a new Voltage was over 10k more. We let Excel know what our budget was and got a great quality trailer that was in our budget...absolutely worth every penny!!!

One last thing, a couple of things that were important to me for our full time coach was hydraulic leveling, one piece fiberglass shower, w/d, large water heater, largest frig possible, really big pantry, location of electrical outlets, night stands in bedroom, cedar lined closets, room for guests, 2 a/c, insulation insulation insulation, and storage.

With Excel we designed a custom pantry that is floor to ceiling and 3/4 the width of the coach, 12ft booth, I chose where to place electrical outlets, I chose a bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen all from different floor plans they had to come up with my floor plan. And icing on the cake for me was the overhead vent in the bath isn't the type you crank open and turn on, which allows cold air to come back in (we left vent open all the time to prevent moisture buildup). The best way to describe it is take the bathroom vent from your house bathroom and put it in the trailer...nothing to crank open and no way for cold air to come back in.

I've rambled on long enough ! Good luck! And I highly recommend you watch the construction videos from the link I provided and compare for yourself.
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Old 04-22-2012, 01:52 PM   #7
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Just did our second winter in a Keystone Alpine in Michigan and no problems. So keystone for 1/2 the price is a great product.

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Old 04-22-2012, 04:55 PM   #8
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Just did our second winter in a Keystone Alpine in Michigan and no problems. So keystone for 1/2 the price is a great product.
I've never checked the specs for the Alpine before, but it is a 4-seasons RV with washer/dryer provisions. So I guess it qualifies as a full-timer RV by most folks definition. It includes:
Alps Package

North Face Insulation Package:
  • Triple insulated
  • Heated basement
  • Heat ducting to tanks
  • Heated “Water Works” area
But that begs the question: why would anyone in their right mind spend two winters in an RV parked in Michigan?
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Old 04-22-2012, 05:00 PM   #9
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Make sure the floorplan works for you. As stated have a tow vehicle that will do the job. Hope you enjoy the experience. Although we are not on the road fulltime yet in the past year we've been gone 9 months and love the time on the road.
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Old 04-22-2012, 05:24 PM   #10
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A full time unit is HEAVY and will require the use of a F350/3500 or f450/4500. Some of the units require moving up to a Freightliner FL60, a MDT (medium duty truck).

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Old 04-22-2012, 08:30 PM   #11
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Here are a few things you might consider when choosing a 5th wheel for full timing:

1. Your tow vehicle will also be your every day vehicle when not towing; dual rear wheel trucks are more difficult to park than SRW but...
2. A tow vehicle with dual rear wheels will provide added safety as well as a much more comfortable ride while towing as compared to an SRW
3. A full time unit is generally better insulated, something to consider whether you are camping in cold or hot conditions
4. An RV with a few years on it will likely have any "new RV problems" already corrected.
5. A full time unit will be heavy but it will likely have good suspension (no bouncing over the road means no broken dishes and etc.) and it will (likely) be better built and require fewer repairs than less costly 5ers.

If I were going to start full timing and I wanted a truck no bigger than a 1 ton pickup, i'd be looking at a smaller (34 - 36 ft. range) 5er. As previously stated, larger, heavier 5ers will require a medium duty tow vehicle. Regardless of RV length, I would be focused on manufactures that only make/made full time units such as DRV, Carriage, NuWa, etc.
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Old 04-23-2012, 04:47 PM   #12
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Winters in Michigan aren't too bad usually less than 100" of snow and only 2-3 months below freezing. Plus I own the campground and it's open year round and quite busy. Economy is good here lots of people move here to work and camp till they find a house they like
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:11 PM   #13
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Winters in Michigan aren't too bad usually less than 100" of snow and only 2-3 months below freezing. Plus I own the campground and it's open year round and quite busy. Economy is good here lots of people move here to work and camp till they find a house they like
All good points, and it doesn't snow 100inch at one time
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:57 PM   #14
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We purchased a Dutchmen Grand Junction in 2005. I asked the dealer about full-timing, his reply was; " why should we care? We never ask how a customer uses their RV" It appeared to be a "don't ask, don't tell" situation. We decided not to full-time, but we do travel for 3-6 months at a time, and our 5er is still in excellent condition.
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