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Old 10-28-2005, 11:09 PM   #1
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Hi, we are knew to RVing and are looking for a 36' 5th wheel, 3 slide, 2-7 years old. There sure are a dizzying array of features, options, layouts, etc! We are going to start rving on weekends and holidays with our 2 young sons, as well as living in it shortly as we re-model our home for sale, and then likely for 6 months to a year as we decide what state to move to as we are getting ready to get out of California. I've already done a bunch of research and "lookin", but the esteemed experience and wisdom of seasoned rvers would be greatly appreciated. What should we look out for/look for in a trailer this size? Construction-alum/wood? Brands/models known to be problems or of superior quality? Layouts-rear kitchen/slide kitchen/island kitchen? We will do some dry camping - size of water tanks/size of generator? Suspension/axles/frames/slides? Leaks/plumbing? Insulation/fit/finish? Bunks for the kids, or just the sofa sleeper? Etc. From your collective wisdom, is there a good buyers guide for used RVs/5th wheels that is specific like the questions above, and perhaps even model/brand specific? Sure would be great to find a publication like this that would guide us in our purchase as well as educate us on things to do-not to do/and to pack/equip the RV. Thanks for your assistance!
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Old 10-28-2005, 11:09 PM   #2
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Hi, we are knew to RVing and are looking for a 36' 5th wheel, 3 slide, 2-7 years old. There sure are a dizzying array of features, options, layouts, etc! We are going to start rving on weekends and holidays with our 2 young sons, as well as living in it shortly as we re-model our home for sale, and then likely for 6 months to a year as we decide what state to move to as we are getting ready to get out of California. I've already done a bunch of research and "lookin", but the esteemed experience and wisdom of seasoned rvers would be greatly appreciated. What should we look out for/look for in a trailer this size? Construction-alum/wood? Brands/models known to be problems or of superior quality? Layouts-rear kitchen/slide kitchen/island kitchen? We will do some dry camping - size of water tanks/size of generator? Suspension/axles/frames/slides? Leaks/plumbing? Insulation/fit/finish? Bunks for the kids, or just the sofa sleeper? Etc. From your collective wisdom, is there a good buyers guide for used RVs/5th wheels that is specific like the questions above, and perhaps even model/brand specific? Sure would be great to find a publication like this that would guide us in our purchase as well as educate us on things to do-not to do/and to pack/equip the RV. Thanks for your assistance!
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Old 10-29-2005, 07:21 AM   #3
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First of all....Welcome to the site!

First thing is determine what you are going to tow this dream RV with. A 36 footer with three slides will be a handful for a one ton diesel dually truck to tow. The length of the RV will put you over max limits, it will cause increased wear and tear on your suspension and driveline components. I towed a 32 ft. Cardinal for four years across the country twice and all around the East Coast. I have a F350 dually crewcab. The whole setup was 800 pounds under max with clothes, food and water. Plan carefully or you will be disappointed with the tow vehicle's pulling and stopping capabilities.
Next most important thing is look at floor plans. Keep in mind that you have basically a box. So where is the kitchen? The bathroom? Bunkbeds or two singles for the kids? Where will you sleep? How much storage do you need for food, water and clothes? Go to a lot of RV shows to get an idea of how these things are put together. Keep in mind that there are "entry" level units and "top of the line" units. The difference is in assembly of the unit, materials used, appliances used, accessories that "cost" or those already installed.
Then visit the manufacturer's web sites for floor plans and pictures of the RV. Manufacturer's reputations are based on customer satisfaction and aftermarket sales support. Any they vary from nothing to very supportive.
Used units. Do a google search for used RV's. Most popular sites are:
http://www.rvtraderonline.om
http://www.rvclassified.com
http://www.rvtrader.com
http://www.rvregisrty.com

So there is a start. Do not hesitate to ask more questions. Do not let any saleman tell you that your 1/2 ton "can tow anything that we have on the lot". RV salesmen sell RV's and do not really care what you tow it with. Get to know about GCVW (gross combined vehicle weight), and GVW (gross vehicle weight) and how to manage both.
Chet
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Old 10-29-2005, 08:30 AM   #4
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If I had 2 kids, this is the RV I'd be looking at. I really do like the layout---although the LR is rather small. I do believe you'd be wanting a 1-ton drw truck to tow with.

The best thing for you to do is find what trailer you want then go truck hunting. What's nice about this layout is the fact that you've only got 36 feet behind you.

http://www.glendalerv.com/2006/Titanium/36e41.html
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Old 10-29-2005, 04:46 PM   #5
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With two seven year olds you are asking a lot planning on living in it for a year or longer. You will most likely want to look at the fulltimer rigs. Teton being the "gold standard" and move from there. I'm not sure a mid range could hold up to two seven year olds for that long. Another route you might consider would be to go cheap and just plan on replaceing it two or three time for what you would spend on the quality unit.
You should be told up front that you can spend more than $100K on a top of the line unit.
read Teton = >$80K, mid-range = $25 - $40K, entry level = <$25K.

Kids need their own space, and so do you need them to have it. A bunk house model with closeable door is required, I would think.
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Old 10-30-2005, 06:07 PM   #6
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Amen to what Chet said! Make sure for your own safety and everyone else's that your tow vehicle is up to the job, and legal wts. If you ever have a problem such as an accident and you are over weight they'll own you. That said, We really enjoy our 30 ft. Wildcat bunkhouse with the kids. I pull with a Dodge diesel and it does great. Oh, one other thing don't skimp on trailer tires. Make sure they are rated for the load plus some margin of safety. 16 inch wheels are easier to get good tires for than 15 inch wheels.
Keep grinnin, and enjoy the experience.
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Old 10-31-2005, 04:34 AM   #7
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If you will be spending that much time with two kids living in this trailer, absolutely get a bunkhouse with the bunks in a sepearate room. We camp with 4 kids and take at least 2 extended vacations a year, and the bunk room has become a must for us. I will second the thought that you will need a full time rig. The low end and mid range units are not going to hold up under full time living conditions, especially with 2 young children. While I love our unit, I know it would not last a year full time with kids. But we didn't buy it for that. The other thing I would probably steer away from is the bathroom open to the bedroom. For privacy, you will probably want a seperate bathroom where the shower and toilet are in a seperate room. When you start looking at floor plans you will understand. There are some models that have a seperate half bath in the rear bunk room. That may be a nice floorplan for fulltiming with kids as well. And lastly, if you plan on towing this beast, make sure you do a lot of research here on weight ratings for both trailer and tow vehicles. There is so much information already out there on the site, just do a search and have fun reading for a couple days. Make sure sure to keep asking a ton of questions and gather as much info as you can possible take in, and most of all, have fun with it.
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