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Old 06-12-2016, 10:14 PM   #1
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Need your experience on 5th wheeling

Got the RV bug a 3-4 months ago. First started with telling DW I was thinking about getting a pop up camper, to which she replied, " have a great time with your buddies."
Shortly afterward started watching some RV shows on TV with 4-year old grandson. He loved them. When we rode down the road he would point out ," Look Granna, that's a Class C." He pretty much knew them all which got my DW thinking well maybe this would be something we can do with the grandkids-- except no pop ups.
So we started looking. Grandson loved to shop for RV's. We even rented a Class C and had a great time, but realized that maybe that was a little small. But our finances really couldn't afford anything bigger, and that and other reasons we decided perhaps the Fifth wheel would be best for us.
Still next year will be better for us financially so this has given us time to educate ourselves about TV's and fifth wheels. Honestly, it can be somewhat daunting looking at all phases of this. Fifth wheels, TV's, hitches, oh my!
I'd really like to do this, but wondered if we got into this too late. I turn 65 next year, and DW is older. I have trailered a 22-ft boat before, but nothing like this.
My TV will probably be a 3500 Ram with 4.10 and Aisin tranny. So I should be able to tow most rigs.
Here's where I need some advice.
First advice I did receive very early was go small like around 34-36 ft and 10-12 k in weight. And then after a while go bigger if need be
But at our age, not sure if we have time for " after a while," and it seems we need bigger right away.
Most of the time there will be 4 adults with two young grandkids. Or other times it might be 4-6 adults. So it seems the floorplans that we lean to have an additional bunk room with an additional 1/2 bath. This often results in 40+ length and 14-16k in weight when fully loaded.
So my question, are we too late to get into this? Are we tackling too much? I have no experience with diesels or 5th wheel towing.
And is there a significant difference towing something 35-36 ft, 12k compared with one that might be 40+ ft and 14-16k especially with my inexperience towing fifth wheels. (The TV won't be the issue here though at least.)
That is my dilemma. I'd like to get it figured out to 2-3 choices by the end of the year, but the size that I can manage will of course determine my choices. Any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-13-2016, 05:22 AM   #2
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Larry,

Where floor plans are concerned I really think you need to look at the bigger mid bunk floor plans if you are doing to have 4-6 adults plus kids. The coachmen 371MBRB comes to mind right away as a great option. I don't think u would be happy with that many folks in small coach. As far as towing... as long as you TV is up to it, there really is no difference. Backing is a little harder with the longer lengths, but even that you will pick up.

Enjoy the years you do have and make some memories with those grand kids!
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Old 06-13-2016, 07:16 AM   #3
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Larry: I don't think you are too old to get into this RV'ing thing. You will be able to pick up any skills you need. You don't say what your budget is, but I wouldn't say you have to get a larger unit to start. Some of the best times we had were in our first 5'er, a 76 coachmen non-slide with gaucho beds that turned into a u-dinette that could dine 6 easily. It was 26'. even a rainy weekend with friends (4 adults, 3 teenage girls) sure it was tight, but you can't make memories if you aren't out there together. I've seen a number of used 30-35 footers with bunk houses on the market. sure the second bath would be nice, but you can get by without it. most places we have camped there are bath houses etc. If you don't buy new right away, you won't feel so bad trading in a couple years once you figure out exactly what you want. Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 06-13-2016, 07:52 AM   #4
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At age 56 I jumped in with both feet this year and bought a 40' 5er 16k GVW Cedar Creek. I have never owned a camper before. To say I was nervous about pulling it for the first time would be an understatement. I have had trucks and trailers all my life (largest being an F-650 pulling a 25k GVW equipment trailer) but never pulled a 5er. My concerns went away after about 30 minutes of travel. I have heard it said that handling a 5er is far more stable than a tag along trailer but never experienced it. We have a 27" enclosed snowmobile trailer that gets blown around like crazy when passing a semi or in a good cross wind. It is a pleasure to hold a nice straight path in my lane when next to a semi while pulling the camper! The DW even commented on how comfortable she felt in the passenger seat when towing the 5er in windy conditions compared to the snowmobile trailer. Cornering and backing always comes with a learning curve with any new trailer. With a little practice you will get there...

We purchased a slightly used trailer and went as large as we thought we might want with the thought that it would be easier on the wallet to go smaller, later if we wanted. No regrets with the size of our trailer so far!

When you get the TV, I recommend the factory air rear suspension. I have it in my 2015 Ram 2500 and it really shines when towing. The 3500 system is different than the 2500 but still is reported to work fantastic!
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Old 06-13-2016, 10:56 AM   #5
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Need your experience on 5th wheeling

I appreciate your responses. I didn't mean to imply I was physically unable. Just unsure of the time we had left for the learning curve to take place. Can't think of places in Central Florida to practice the handling of a fifth wheel or do I just jump on Interstate 4 at rush hour? LOL.
Also is there a significant difference in a 34-35 ft 5th wheel at 12k and another at 41 ft and 15k assuming your TV was correct?
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Old 06-13-2016, 11:19 AM   #6
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Find a dealer that will work with you and provide some driving lesson which should include backing up. When we purchased our first 5er back in 2007, the dealer provided driving lessons in his lot. He had me back up and told me how to pull a 5er through a Right hand and Left hand turn. The 5er will track inside as you turn so swing wide and watch the back corner of the 5er. I was 58 when we purchased our first 5er.


Now are you buying a DRW truck or do you already have one? If the truck is a SRW than you can only get a 3:42 differential regardless of transmission with a 6.7L Cummins. Here is a link to the Ram Body Builders web site that provides towing information for each style of truck.
http://www.rambodybuilder.com/2016/ram/2535mo.pdf
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Old 06-13-2016, 12:16 PM   #7
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Need your experience on 5th wheeling

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimcumminsw View Post
Find a dealer that will work with you and provide some driving lesson which should include backing up. When we purchased our first 5er back in 2007, the dealer provided driving lessons in his lot. He had me back up and told me how to pull a 5er through a Right hand and Left hand turn. The 5er will track inside as you turn so swing wide and watch the back corner of the 5er. I was 58 when we purchased our first 5er.


Now are you buying a DRW truck or do you already have one? If the truck is a SRW than you can only get a 3:42 differential regardless of transmission with a 6.7L Cummins. Here is a link to the Ram Body Builders web site that provides towing information for each style of truck.
http://www.rambodybuilder.com/2016/ram/2535mo.pdf

Don't own yet. Looking at this one.
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Old 06-13-2016, 12:27 PM   #8
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Old 06-13-2016, 02:02 PM   #9
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I don't think you are too old to start...if you are active now, this will just be another adventure.

We went from a 26' travel trailer to a 32' fiver...it was not much of a learning curve. The thing that I had to get used to was that the fiver turns inside the truck, which makes it easy to run over curbs and stuff.

Before you get on the highway at rush hour, go to the local school yard parking lot (I use the local ice arena's parking lot - no one there during the week) and practice a bit. In short order you will be fine with towing...

Lots of good advice here as well, so - welcome aboard!

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Old 06-13-2016, 02:04 PM   #10
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That truck will do nicely for sure... it will probably be bored pulling around less that 15k!
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Old 06-13-2016, 02:30 PM   #11
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Don't worry about starting too late in life. As long as you have a good head on your shoulders, you'll do just fine.
As for finding a good floor plan, me and dw have stayed with my folks in there 24' bunk house 5ver for 9 day trips. It's real tight but it's doable. Besides we are outside except for when we are sleeping anyways.
As for what you what, mid bunks with a loft should provide the necessary space you need inside. Yes it only has 1 bath but you have more interior room it weather traps you inside.
Now, I only towed small 16' boats before having the chance to tow my dad's 5ver and if you've tow a large boat you shouldn't have any issues. Just have to ignore the rear view interior mirror. And keep a close eye on you side mirrors. The weight and length are a little nerving at first but it goes away quickly.
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Old 06-13-2016, 06:28 PM   #12
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As all have said, a little practice and you will do fine. Getting used to the trailer turning inside the truck track is the main learning curve...swing wide each turn. I would look for a school with a parking lot or bus drop-off loop to have some practice space. Enjoy!
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Old 06-13-2016, 09:24 PM   #13
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Thanks for the encouragement. And good ideas.
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Old 06-13-2016, 10:25 PM   #14
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We've been doing this for 45 years, still going and bumping 70. We have no plans to quit anytime soon. Have been through several pop-ups, 5th wheels and 2 motorhomes. A fifth wheel is a good choice and I like your selection of a truck. You have opened up a lot of options with the dually. Basically, find the floor plan you like and then visit this or other websites looking for user opinions and evaluations of whatever brand you select. Some will not be as good as others in areas such as quality and customer service.
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