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Old 07-11-2016, 12:50 PM   #1
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Just Beginning the Search

We are planning to retire next summer and hope to become nomads. We've never gone RVing but it has always been a dream of ours. Our plan is to see the USA but don't want to constantly drive around. We figure we will settle in an area, see what we want to see and then move on.

We are just beginning our search for a Fifth Wheel designed for full-timers. DH wants to keep it around 30'. We want to be able to go boondocking from time to time. We have a budget of 50k for the Fifth Wheel and will buy the truck once we make a decision. We are educating ourselves via the internet and have just started actually looking.

Since I am also new to using a forum, is it better to ask my questions in one post or separately?

Thank you.
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Old 07-11-2016, 09:07 PM   #2
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Hello and Welcome wtmkitty. The wife and I are in the same mode as the both of you. Ive purchased our new truck a Ford F350 drw. Im retired military and the wife is in federal service due to possibly retire at 62. We have searched a few local dealers and come down to three possible manufactures DRV, Heartland Landmark 365, and a Redwood. We like the read living with large windows. TV on kitchen wall and 1 & 1/2 bath's. Problem's we've found are lack of availability to accommodate large rigs of 39 + feet. This could be a major problem as we are looking forward to travel the lower 48 states. So I believe your hunt for a 30 footer will serve you well.

Food for thought: Since I've found this forum and read several threads I like the idea of local rally meeting in our area. We plan to rent a TT and join a rally to meet others and get our feet wet.

Wish you the best hunt for the fun of your lives. Happy trails
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Old 07-12-2016, 01:28 AM   #3
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I think you are approaching this the right way- slow. We bought a used Excel 32' FW a couple of years ago and have been very happy with it. We spend over a year reading on the Internet and visiting dealers across New Mexico and Colorado before we made our selection. We went though a long process of liking many different makes/models before learning something that changed out minds. There is no one best fit for everyone, that's part of why there's so many options out there- don't you love it. Kind of like shopping for shoes... There are so many opinions if you should first select a dealer and then the make/mode or visa-versa. Partially depends if you are inclined and able to do your service work or not. Since it sounds like you intend to leave it parked for the long term, some issues people have about wear and tear may not apply in your case with near zero road milage. I'd be sure to talk with as many other full timers that leave their rigs parked about their unique experiences.

Study hard and learn as much as you can- you'll make the right choice in the end.
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Old 07-12-2016, 04:43 PM   #4
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If you've never lived this life style.... (we've done this our whole life, now close to 40 years of travel) I'd suggest you RENT a unit, either a small Class C and/or borrow a unit from a friend... we love our life style but it has its costs... we started with baby steps... tent, small trailer, small Class C... etc... and we love it and travel 4 months a year between our summer and winter homes...

Past that... I'm sure any of us would be willing to share and answer any specific questions you might have..
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Old 07-12-2016, 04:50 PM   #5
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You are going to have to look at used units if you want a full time capable rig imo. These units are much heavier and better built than a "normal" fifth wheel. I have a 2015 Fuzion toy hauler...what might be considered middle ground for quality...it retailed for 110k and I bought it new for 62....and there is no way it is designed or built for full timing (after 11500 miles on it in 16 months)

Excel and drv are two that I can think of that might work, but excel went out of business earlier this year so parts availability on a used rig(???). Also 30ft is awful small for full timing imo
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Old 07-12-2016, 06:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RKBAR View Post
Hello and Welcome wtmkitty. The wife and I are in the same mode as the both of you. Ive purchased our new truck a Ford F350 drw. Im retired military and the wife is in federal service due to possibly retire at 62. We have searched a few local dealers and come down to three possible manufactures DRV, Heartland Landmark 365, and a Redwood. We like the read living with large windows. TV on kitchen wall and 1 & 1/2 bath's. Problem's we've found are lack of availability to accommodate large rigs of 39 + feet. This could be a major problem as we are looking forward to travel the lower 48 states. So I believe your hunt for a 30 footer will serve you well.

Food for thought: Since I've found this forum and read several threads I like the idea of local rally meeting in our area. We plan to rent a TT and join a rally to meet others and get our feet wet.

Wish you the best hunt for the fun of your lives. Happy trails
I have a 40 ft redwood and have not had an issue in finding places to stay. It could be a problem in some state parks as they were built in the 50s when trailers were 30 ft max
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Old 07-13-2016, 06:22 PM   #7
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Give Grand Design a look too. Decent quality 5ers (better than most new in your price range).
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Old 07-16-2016, 01:38 PM   #8
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Arctic Fox makes some fifth wheels in your size range, but I think they are too small for me for full time living on the road unless you are willing to go up a little in size. We have a TT now and have been looking at the various fivers for some time. There are some nice rigs that are in the 35 foot range. Grand design Solitude 300GK, Cardinal 3250RL and Big Horn 3010re are a few that come to mind and are on my short list of candidates. They are probably a little over your price range, but would have the features and comfort for extended traveling.
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Old 07-16-2016, 02:09 PM   #9
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The most important thing while doing your research is to take your time. We have been RV'ing and boating for 40+ years, and when we finally made the decision to get a MH we spent about two years looking and researching. In the end we got what we wanted at a great price, and bought something we love rather than something to just get buy in or we will want to upgrade in a few years. Don't let a salesman or the bling of a new RV get you to buy something you haven't researched just because you like it. Once you've done your research you will know when you find the right combination of floorplan, quality, and price.

Read up on IRV2 about all the brands, what kind of problems they are having, how they are resolved, customer service, how long they sit in the shop waiting to be repaired, quality of the build, prices ect. Then go out and look at as many as you can. You will soon see what people are talking about as well as defining what is quality to you and what floorplan best meets your needs. Don't expect a salesman to really know the product, some do but many will just tell you whatever you want to hear. If you run into the high pressure tactics, go somewhere else and look. Try to hit any of the RV shows you can.

You will have many suggest you buy used to save money until "you really know what you want", and greatly over exaggerate the depreciation. While they all do depreciate some higher quality brands don't as much as others. If you do your research you can find the best one to fit your needs the first time. We bought new for several reasons and are glad we did. I do all my own maintenance and know exactly how are MH has been taken care of. We were actually able to buy ours new for less than some 1 year older used models were selling for. Most dealers will discount 25%-30%+/- off the MSRP, with a little negotiating, so consider that when looking and prior to talking price with a dealer. I suggest you not talk price while you are in the research phase, and just take notes with pro's-con's and MSRP prices.

Then do your research on the Dealership, that can make a huge difference in how well you like your RV, and how well you will be treated both before and after the sale. After you decide what you really want, don't be afraid to travel to get the best price and customer service, it is always a balance, and you get what you pay for.

Good luck, and remember looking for one is half the fun of buying one.
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Old 07-20-2016, 08:56 AM   #10
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Not many fifth wheels that small. I also recommend arctic fox. Our Lifestyle is 35'. Most 5ers are 35 or bigger. It's easy to drive but as others said state and national parks are not very usable with a fifth wheel due to length, tight corners and low branches.
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Old 07-20-2016, 06:13 PM   #11
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I'm on RV #20 and have been involved with them for over 60 years. Save yourself a lot of $$ and time and get an Arctic Fox 27-5 or 29-5 and any of the Ford, GM, Dodge diesels. Set it up with a B&W companion and a Prodigy brake control along with air bags and an on board compressor. You won't be disappointed and can upgrade later if you want, but you won't need to. Happy camping.
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