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Old 04-18-2015, 07:15 PM   #1
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Need help on 5th Wheel purchase.

We are in the market for a 5th wheel. Our first RV was an older class A DP we bought and restored a few ago. We rarely used that unit and when we did my wife was nervous traveling in it on the highway. Last Sept. we traded it in and bought a 31' TT that we bought without getting an education on trailers. At the time we pulled the 31' TT with a Suburban. Our first trip to New Orleans became painfully obvious the Suburban was not the right tow vehicle for the TT so I bought an F350 DRW diesel with the intent of probably upgrading to a 5th wheel. Now its time for the 5th wheel.

We use a rig for work in the state of FL where I spend weeks at a time living out of a trailer either on the Gulf of Mexico for work or S FL. So we need something that can take the stress of being used a lot and moved a lot all year. That being said quality needs to be a factor. I see in our TT that it is an entry level trailer and is not holding up so well to the use. We are shopping used 2009 and up and need to stay $55K and under.

The challenge is there seems to be endless brands and models. Today while at a large dealership in the Tampa area and put a deposit on a Blackwood that is currently being used at a rally and wont be back for 1.5 weeks but based on the pictures looked workable. The salesrep (we bought our TT from her) indicated a Blackwood and a Redwood is the same quality just a bit less fancy inside. I searched the Blackwood and learn it is an entry level brand and seems to have a poor reputation.

Given the information I provided any suggestions would be appreciated so I know what to look for here.
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Old 04-18-2015, 08:07 PM   #2
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I would look for a 2010 to 2013 Montana, Excel, DRV. I even like the Heartland Landmark, Columbus and Solitude.

Can you get out of your Blackwood deal?
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Old 04-18-2015, 08:15 PM   #3
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Also check into the Carriage Cameo (out of business), Lifestyle, and Redwood. Look up the web sites, check reviews and user forums. You can go to RV Trader to get an idea on prices.
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Old 04-18-2015, 08:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuffr2 View Post
I would look for a 2010 to 2013 Montana, Excel, DRV. I even like the Heartland Landmark, Columbus and Solitude.

Can you get out of your Blackwood deal?
Yes, they won't give us grief on the deposit. We had not even seen the unit because it wasn't there. We did look at a few Redwoods, liked them. Another unit we saw today at another RV dealership was a Dutchman Infinity 3870. We liked it, full body paint. We were interested but the salesrep told us it had a bad floor and it was $70,000. I get home and see it was priced at $49,000 not $70,000. I don't know about the floor I didn't pay that much attention to it. We own a company the does yacht and small craft surveys. Surveying an RV is similar just doesn't float. I suspect a thermal camera and moisture meter can determine the validity of the floor claim.
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Old 04-18-2015, 08:41 PM   #5
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I would not get a Dutchman for long-term/lots of moving use...also not sure you are working with the right sales rep.
Lot of good suggestions above--for $55k, you can get a nice DRV/Excel/HitchHiker easily.
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Old 04-19-2015, 08:51 AM   #6
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You will want a 5th wheel that is built for full-time use. One with at least 7,000 lb. axels (8,000 lb. axels are better)., better than 'E' rated tires. Especially if towing in Florida where it is hot, and has at least a 12" I-Beam frame. 15" stacked box frame from DRV or Lifestyle are better.

There are about 15 or so units that stand above the average and can be bought lightly used for 50k ish.
Used NuWa Champagne or Discover America, Excel Limited or Winslow, Carriage Carri-lite, (not the cheaper Cameo or Cashsay), Keystone Montana, Heartland Landmark or Big Horn, Dynamax Trilogy, KZ Stoneridge, Jayco Pinnacle, Palamino Columbus, Augusta Flex, Evergreen Lifestyle or Bayhill, Coachman Brookstone, DRV Mobile Suits (not the Tradition).

I took Forest River units off my list of upper scale units.

Now - you should be able to use your boat surveyor equipment and skills to look at used 5th wheels. Especially the moisture monitor.

So why in an RV and not a boat? Seems you could do this while living in a boat. There are a lot of people in Florida that do live on boats. In your area a slip would cost about the same as an RV Park. (Pete's Pier in Crystal River for example at $500/mo). You probably would need a cat because of a lot of skinny gulf water and trying to get up the rivers to the marina's. Oh....in winter the nights get cold.

Good luck
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:33 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by tuffr2 View Post
You will want a 5th wheel that is built for full-time use. One with at least 7,000 lb. axels (8,000 lb. axels are better)., better than 'E' rated tires. Especially if towing in Florida where it is hot, and has at least a 12" I-Beam frame. 15" stacked box frame from DRV or Lifestyle are better.

There are about 15 or so units that stand above the average and can be bought lightly used for 50k ish.
Used NuWa Champagne or Discover America, Excel Limited or Winslow, Carriage Carri-lite, (not the cheaper Cameo or Cashsay), Keystone Montana, Heartland Landmark or Big Horn, Dynamax Trilogy, KZ Stoneridge, Jayco Pinnacle, Palamino Columbus, Augusta Flex, Evergreen Lifestyle or Bayhill, Coachman Brookstone, DRV Mobile Suits (not the Tradition).

I took Forest River units off my list of upper scale units.

Now - you should be able to use your boat surveyor equipment and skills to look at used 5th wheels. Especially the moisture monitor.

So why in an RV and not a boat? Seems you could do this while living in a boat. There are a lot of people in Florida that do live on boats. In your area a slip would cost about the same as an RV Park. (Pete's Pier in Crystal River for example at $500/mo). You probably would need a cat because of a lot of skinny gulf water and trying to get up the rivers to the marina's. Oh....in winter the nights get cold.

Good luck
Thank you for the information. We use an RV only for when we are in an area for multiple days. We own a home in the central FL area in the western suburbs of Orlando. Most vessels surveyed in the gulf are 1.5 to 2 hrs drive one way. A single job warrants a commute. Generally we do multiple jobs a week and the cost of a camp site is less then what I would pay in fuel to commute and it saves me 3-4 hours of my day to just stay in our current TT. If I am heading to Ft Lauderdale or Miami then the numbers are more then doubled. The current TT has made life much better as I am on the road almost every week and home on the weekends.

Doing this from a boat would not be practical. To travel from Tampa FL for example to Miami would take an estimated 4 days as it would be some 1000 NM and cost probably in excess of $1000 in fuel depending on the vessel. It would be the least effective way of servicing our clients. So far the trailer seems to be getting it done I just need to upgrade units.
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:39 PM   #8
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The search is over, we bought a 2012 Redwood 38' with full body paint, a Onan 5.5 KW genset, satellite dish and washer/dryer. After looking at a number of units today I decided this seemed to be a quality unit. Now I just need to work out the financing aspect which is always a project given we are self employed and the financial audit is always very detailed.
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:50 PM   #9
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Ok...thought your jobs were only on the gulf coast. But getting from Tampa to Miami or worse yet Panama City to Miami in a boat would be tough. Probably would need U.S. Boat towing on your speed dial too to pull you off sand bars...

What is the longest you will be on the road in the RV? My recommendations are more for 3 or 6 months at a time.

For a week or two you don't need the units I listed. You could drop down to the mid level units.
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