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Old 01-10-2015, 10:17 PM   #1
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Looking for a high quality 5th wheel


I plan to full-time beginning in about 9 months. I have been looking at class A motor coaches, but would like now to also consider 5er's. Unfortunately, I have virtually no knowledge of 5th wheelers.

Please help me refine my search. What manufacturers should I investigate while at the Tampa RV Super Show next week? I'm looking for a high quality (mainstream) product.

I'm not saying money is no object, but please give me your feedback as if that were the case.

Much appreciated.

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Old 01-10-2015, 10:24 PM   #2
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Newmar used to make very high quality 5th wheels, unfortunately they quit making them some years ago. Very heavy and they used only two axles but dual wheels on each so four tires to hold the weight.

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Old 01-11-2015, 03:53 AM   #3
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I would suggest Cardinal or Bay Hill. I was at the Tarrant County RV show this week and we looked at a unit made by Cardinal. It was their lower end unit and had some upgrades missing like no TV in the bedroom and no 6 point leveling system but the kitchen was laid out excellent. The unit was 40 feet long and had a washer dryer hookup. I would say the unit is well worth money and might be something to look at.

Best of Luck
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Old 01-11-2015, 05:27 AM   #4
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New Horizon
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Old 01-11-2015, 07:50 AM   #5
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To me price is not what makes a 5er worthy of being a full time unit. Some high price units are not full time rigs but very expensive extended stay 5ers. Although most full time 5ers will be over $80K or higher you may not pay that much for one if it is a show special on sale.

First; a full time unit must be warranted for full time living. Ask the dealer if this unit that you are looking at if the unit is. The structure (frame) should be built for full time living some frames are not structural sound for full time living in the trailer.

Second; the unit must have dual pane windows installed not the signal pane that most trailers come with. This will provide a more improve heat /cooling retention factor in the 5er.

Third; the installation of the under belly should be sufficient to with stand the cold weather the unit will be subject too. The holding tanks should be heated also to prevent freezing of these tanks.

Fourth; the installation of the roof and walls should have a high enough R value to be sufficient to provide a comfort level that is acceptable for you.

Fifth; the unit should have the floor plan that supports your needs and wants some will not have this.

Jim W.
Jim & Jill
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Old 01-11-2015, 09:06 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by rollondown View Post
New Horizon
Also take a look at Lifestyle and Heartland Landmark.
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Old 01-11-2015, 09:16 AM   #7
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Be ready for some work.
Here is what you get for $100.000 in 2006.
Our DoubleTree RV problems. Something to look for.

Axel shock brackets broken. Poor welding. Too small. Shocks bent and had to replace all.
No heat to bedroom. The heat vent wasn't attached together and sent the hot air to basement.
Wood trim attached poorly and fell off.
Outside basement door screws came loose.
Two broken shackle bolts at the lube hole.
Sliding door broke. Fell into basement.
Closet door glass cracked because of poor latch.
Woodworking falling apart around slides.
Cheep faucets broke. All replaced.
Plastic fenders cracked. Replaced both.
Three double glass windows fogged up.
Roof leaked many places.
TV antenna placed on roof seam.
Bath fan vent goes nowhere. Dumb.
Poor insulation. Side insulation falls to bottom.
Plastic cabinet hooks broke. I replaced more then 12.
Hub caps fell off. Bad design. Made in China.
Plastic wire supports under slides broke.
Furnace problems. No Return vent.
Remote heat censer located above light shuts off furnace. Put there by an 8 year old.
Water leak around slide outs.
Black and gray water valves hard to pull.
Plumbing from hot water heater leaked.
Ladder broke. Not fastened well to roof.
Workers broke screw heads then glued heads back in place to cover up.
Cracks in fiberglass around license plate recess.
Spare tire lowering hole does not line up with bolt to lower tire.
Rollers on slides tore up floor.
Slide rollers roll over heat vents. Not a good idea.
Cheep recliners. Chipboard and rags.
Wiring/plumbing a big mess. Looks like the same 8 year old wired it.
All tank levels stopped working from day one.
Workers left sawdust and garbage in places you can't see.
All screws that hold awning toppers too small and broke.
Screws that attach bed shock and motor too small, all broke.
As much as they tried, they never got the slides to come in all the way.
Wall between washer and toilet not screwed to floor.
RCA? The cheapest junk out there. All had to be replaced.
Soft floor in bathroom.
Ice maker? Joke.
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Old 01-11-2015, 10:11 AM   #8
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Whoooaaa… you guys are scaring me.

jimcumminsw - Jim,

So what units would you look at for full-timing?

A lot of comments on iRV2 forums about dual pane windows losing seal & fogging… I’m starting to think single-pane windows would be a smarter long-term choice? The insulation value is not that much worse.

Don’t plan to be in freezing weather very often (if at all), but I do understand the importance of a well insulated unit.

RWeigant -

You paid $100k for a 5er in 2006 & these are the problems you’ve had?? Who was the manufacturer?

I got a bad case of anxiety reading that list!!
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Old 01-11-2015, 10:57 AM   #9
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Heartland Landmark!!!!!!!
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Old 01-11-2015, 12:00 PM   #10
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We have a 2003 Teton. The only warranty item was shimming the fridge. We have all the service records as we were 2nd owners. New roof was installed due to a roof overhang. We have upgraded the tvs, sound system, dvds, vcrs, etc. Replaced washing machine. Upgraded tires. Original owner replaced brakes year before we purchased. This is a 12 year old unit. Really just general maintenance and upkeep. Sadly you can't buy this today without a custom build.
2003 Teton Grand Freedom. 2006 Freightliner Century 120 with Detroit 14L and Ultrashift.. Full time going from job to job. Building and maintaining plants across the USA. Sold 2006 Mobile Suites 32TK3
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Old 01-11-2015, 02:37 PM   #11
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We bought the bottom line full timing trailer that Heartland makes. The Big Country. A 39 ft unit that has double pane windows as one of the only option. Not even an electric awning. Trouble free for 6 years of full timing. Added 2 Led TVs, 200 watt solar system. 2 more batteries. I also added individual hydraulic slide valves that are better then OEM ones for less then $200. Our old W/D is in the hall going to the bedroom and used almost everyday.

The W/D was down for a month while on the way south and I could not believe the extra cost of washing. So for us the space for the W/D was very important with many choices of units. My other choices were the 12 in frame with 7000 lbs axles and G rated tires.

Very important to us was the over 36 ft unit for basement storage space and living room size. We are very active couple and inside room was an important factor along with cupboard space.

I see to many units with W/D in the bedroom, small cupboard space and very low access storage. Also some skip the 7000 lbs axles with heavier pin weight. But Heartland does not on the over 35ft models. It was our only choice around home.

Plus at the show I always check the frame and kick the tires, most show RVs are just for show and that's what sells. Don't get caught in the show.

Big plus for our Big Country is the lighter pin weight that allows me to tow it with my 10 year old SRW 4 x 4 Ford Diesel.
Barbara and Laurent, Hartland Big Country 3500RL. 39 ft long and 15500 GVW.
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Old 01-11-2015, 03:11 PM   #12
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Everyone else has already mentioned the mfgrs. I'd recommend based on my own research. Since you want to full-time, look at their warranties. If their units are not warranted if used full time, then you can cross them off your list. After having been on this and other RV forums for many years, it's rare indeed for any RV to be delivered without having to do some warranty work, although it appears as if RWeigant had more than his fair share of problems, even with a quality unit.
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Old 01-11-2015, 07:30 PM   #13
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Heartland Landmark 365- rated and warranted for full time use. 2/5 year warranty- 2 years bumper to bumper, 5 year frame.
2011 Heartland Landmark Grand Canyon
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Old 01-11-2015, 08:16 PM   #14
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Excel (Peterson Industries) has a -10 warranty and builds their own boxed frames in house for both the lesser priced Winslow and the Limited. Lots of options to choose from. We got the 17.5" wheels with disc brakes and a residential fridge, to name a couple. We ordered ours and they did some custom cabinet work for our rear kitchen model. Dual pane windows are standard and have not had any problems.

This is our 3rd one since the mid 90's and they have all been pretty much trouble free. What little customer service we have needed has been excellent. We have towed our current one about 18K miles and so far so good. We camped in some low teens temps and had no problems keeping it warm. They are a little on the heavy side which is something to keep in mind.

Some of the others mentioned are good also. Just passing along my experience.

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