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Old 09-16-2014, 07:34 AM   #1
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General Construction Infomation

Is there a resource somewhere that will explain the construction process for a fifth wheel with details to CURRENT techniques being used?


Had a lot of terms tossed at me at the Hershey show over the weekend, some made sense and I understand, some however left me puzzled. I've watched videos of factory tours online and get that each manufacture does things their way, I just want to have a better understand of why some methods might be deemed better than others.

Thanks!
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Old 09-16-2014, 08:24 AM   #2
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I am not really aware of any generic venue for general information......other than the resources and personal opinions of members on this forum.

You can contact a manufacturer directly with specific questions and I'm sure they will try their hardest to answer your questions, most all of the mass produced companies have reps available to take your calls. Also factory tours are available where you can see construction methods at arms length.

If you are talking a custom build then those companies will most likely facilitate a personal factory tour before you lay down your hard earned cash on one of their coaches.




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Old 09-16-2014, 10:03 AM   #3
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Someone asked this very same question recently on rv dreams. interesting.
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Old 09-16-2014, 10:22 AM   #4
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The manufacturers brochures are the quickest way without leaving home.
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Old 09-16-2014, 10:37 AM   #5
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When we were researching new units we found some important info we had to call manufacturer to get.
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Old 09-17-2014, 05:48 AM   #6
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No I don't want the information from the people building the particular rv, I got plenty of that at Hershey. I'm looking for information in general on how it's built starting with the framing all the way to the roof. I want to know about the ins and outs of construction so that when a dealer is talking to me about why this frame system is better or this wall style is best, I'll know what he's talking about. Someone trying to sell me a product is going to tell me what works best for them and that may or may not be the truth of the matter. It just amazes me how hard real unbiased information is to come by in this industry.
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Old 09-17-2014, 06:51 AM   #7
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Guess I'm lost; the only way to know what the manufacturer is doing, is to find out from the manufacturer who's doing it?
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Old 09-17-2014, 09:05 AM   #8
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Most of the mass produced units do final assembly in house, thousands of other components are all outsourced and dropped shipped to the manufacturer for final assembly. From frames to water heaters to vinyl flooring....
While there can be substantial differences between a $30,000 trailer and a $100,000 unit you can also expect to see specialized in house built components on coaches that are $300,000 and thats why they have a unique price tag.
At the end of the day these designs are not rocket science, it all depends on how you want to burn your money.

Why don't you tell us what your shopping for or comparing? Then other owners can advise you of their opinions on those particular products.

As far as independent advisors, your SOL.



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Old 09-17-2014, 10:15 AM   #9
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Problem is most technics have their pluses and minus. IMO no way is the best way. All you need to do is go to any of the 5'er forums and read what owners have to say about their problems. Every RV line has issues. Not one is exempt. It really doesn't matter what type of wall you have or how it's fastened to the frame. If you don't do the proper maintenance you'll have trouble with any of them. You can have the best made wall and the best roof material but still have problems with the elec or plumbing and vice versa.

Find the floor plan you like, make sure you have enough cargo capacity and look for high R values in the walls, load it up, go camping and cross your fingers that you didn't get a lemon.
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Old 09-18-2014, 07:52 AM   #10
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Perhaps I'm not articulating myself clearly.

I am not looking for how a specific manufacture builds an RV.

I want to know in general how an RV is built.

It has taken sometime but I've found a few links online that have helped.
RV Construction - RV Buyers Guide
RV-Construction
RV sidewall construction | RVwest


I do not subscribe to the mindset of pick and floorplan and pray or the this is just a toy not an investment and I continue to be amazed that these are the answers that I am given. While some may think that they don't need to know the inner workings and are more concerned with the appearance, I'm not one of those.

I will research and read about the various manufactures and how THEY make their fifth wheel AFTER I understand how one is built in general. It is at that time that I will be able to ask them questions pertaining to why they do something a certain way. Such as I know that Highland Ridge uses Styrofoam instead of fiberglass insulation and they use cables for their slides in lieu of hydraulics. Now because I have a little bit better understanding, I know that they do this for insulation and weight, before it was just something that was told to me.
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Old 09-18-2014, 08:11 AM   #11
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What you are failing to understand is that there are no generic construction techniques. There are coaches built using welded steel or aluminum frames (or combinations of both), 2"x2" wood studs stapled together, and finally, a few different laminated construction methods, built a wall at a time, and fastened in the corners. To confuse further, some manf's use multiple methods, depending on model!

As somebody that's spent a lot of time working on RVs, I think you're absolutely correct seeking more info about construction - but you'll need to be pretty specific regarding which you're considering/asking about. No easy answers here I'm afraid....

Best of luck!
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Old 09-18-2014, 08:22 AM   #12
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Its time to abandon this thread;

We have tried to provide you with reasonable direction. So for the sake of crystal clear articulation - most RVs are built as cheap as possible. Its a bunch of assembly line work where they slap particle board together and keep their fingers crossed that it doesn't fall apart. That goes for everything under say 100,000. If you want to live in units like that full time and lots do then you have to be prepared to continuously support unfavourable construction techniques.

If you want to have a custom built lunar capable RV then meet with a custom builder and bring a cheque for $200,000+

Either way you will need a well equipped tool box to keep the specific construction viable long term. You can see the example of the one I use below.


Good Luck.
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Old 09-18-2014, 10:02 AM   #13
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While many consumers seem to find it fully acceptable to purchase something for $50,000 or more and hope that don't get a lemon, I do not. I'm so tired of people telling me to pick a pretty floorplan and just go with it, that is absolutely absurd!

I am well aware that no two manufactures will build an rv the exact same way. I understand that some are going to use inferior products, cut corners where they can to save weight and that their quality control is sub-par, you have that in any industry. All I wanted was for someone who knew more than I did about the construction of an RV to direct me to a place where I would be able to learn more. Be that a glossary of commonly used terms, soft wall, hard wall, TPO, etc. or a place with pictures that show the difference between framing options, wall construction, roof construction etc.

I thought that people that had previously purchased rv's or even someone looking to purchase might have this information and that an RV forum would be the place to ask a question about general construction. Even if it was just the suggestion of a book on how to build an rv!

You made the choice to post in this thread so if you feel you should abandon it by all means do so.
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Old 09-18-2014, 11:18 AM   #14
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I've never seen a "glossary" of terms. The confusion comes in when you first posted, because no one understood what you meant, but now it makes sense because you clarified yourself.

I've never seen a side x side comparison of walls really either.
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