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Old 03-17-2014, 03:54 PM   #1
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New 5ver

Just joined this forum yesterday. Wife and I are retired and seriously considering taking to the road for a few years to see & enjoy the countryside. We just started the exploration/research process to find a 5th wheel & tow vehicle to satisfy this venture. From all I've read so far, no one really wants to recommend any particular brand(s) of trailer. Other than spending a ton on all the ratings books out there....how would one begin to sort through all the salesman hype / print media and choose a quality rig rather than a piece of junk? We just want to purchase a good safe quality unit that will last us several years and not get stung on price - and/or potential pitfalls of any particular brands. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
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Old 03-17-2014, 04:17 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by 14 the road View Post
Just joined this forum yesterday. Wife and I are retired and seriously considering taking to the road for a few years to see & enjoy the countryside. We just started the exploration/research process to find a 5th wheel & tow vehicle to satisfy this venture. From all I've read so far, no one really wants to recommend any particular brand(s) of trailer. Other than spending a ton on all the ratings books out there....how would one begin to sort through all the salesman hype / print media and choose a quality rig rather than a piece of junk? We just want to purchase a good safe quality unit that will last us several years and not get stung on price - and/or potential pitfalls of any particular brands. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
You always need to start with the foundation of which to build your house. Basically start with axles,brakes, frame size , r - factors, roof and floor and slide-out construction OSB or marine grade plywood? Then what do you want to pull a smaller 5vers use a 3/4 ton single wheel drive then some will require 1 ton dually or bigger so understand that. Can you use what you have or do you also need a bigger truck? There are people that will give you certain name brands but I will not. The better built rigs are more costly so you do get what you pay for. Remember that they are all RVs then look at fluff amenities ,don't get caught up in glitz at first. Also their are a whole bunch of salesmen on this site. They track all sites not that their bad just watch model salesmen,now if you want info on a certain model they can give you al kinds of info. I left out a lot I'm sure but hope this helps
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Old 03-17-2014, 04:49 PM   #3
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I would say solid construction and a floorplan that suits YOU. Axles, tires, brakes and pinbox can be upgraded when you custom order (we did anyway). It can cost as much as 10G but it gives you peace of mind. I would choose the truck after the trailer that way you know it will be one that can safely and legally pull and stop the trailer.
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Old 03-17-2014, 05:03 PM   #4
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Well I can give you a neutral oberservation as we're in the motorhome family but we have 4 very close friends that have 5er's.
One couple has an Elite Suites made by DRV and this to me is a top of the line unit. I know they like it a lot and have had the one they have for six years now.
Another couple has the Mobile Suites again made by DRV. Supposed to be a step down from the Elite Suites but from my observation I really don't she a difference. These two units do cost some $$$$$ though
Our next couple has a Cameo made by Carriage which is not made anymore. I guess the closest mfr to this unit now is the Lifestyle 5er's. From the Lifestyle units I've been in at the RV shows they are also an quality unit.
Lastly we have friends that have a Jayco Eagle and are very happy with
The unit they have.
All of them are really nice units. The Elite Suites is towed with a Ford 1 ton dually. The Mobile Suites is being towed by a 3/4 Chevy single which I think is a BIG mistake. Unfortunately they purchased the truck before the trailer and I think it's tonne be a stretch to tow it safely. I hope they rethink there plan and maybe get another truck. The Cameo and Jayco are towed with 1 ton Ford single axle pickups. I should mention they are all diesels.
Well that's mynstorynand I don't know if I helped but at least you can look at those manufactures on your shopping list. Good luck and have fun shopping.
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Old 03-17-2014, 08:22 PM   #5
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General observations from my 5th wheel research.

1. Frames - look for at least a 12" I-Beam.
Trilogy, Presidential, Landmark, are some of my favorite.

Better are Boxed Framed units from DRV, Excel, Lifestyle

2. Axles come in 6,000 7,000 and 8,000 lb. Capacity.

3. Tires - come in 'E', 'G' and 'H' ratings. The 'G' and 'H' rated tires are better than 'E' rated.

The 5ers mentioned above are my favorite for my next rig.

4. Insulation - DRV and Excel are the best followed by Presidential and Landmark. You need dual pane windows for the best insulation.

Mass Produced 5th wheels from manufacturers that make multiple levels from entry level to this, their top level.
Not in any order.

Cross Roads Redwood
Keystone Montana
Forest River Cedar Creek and Cardinal
KZ Stoneridge
Jayco Pinnacle
Heartland Big Horn
CrossRoad Rushmore
Palamino Columbus
Grand Design Solitude
Augusta Flex
Dutchmen Infinity
Coachman Brookstone
Evergreen Bay Hill
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Old 03-17-2014, 08:48 PM   #6
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You don't always have to buy new also. Looking at a late model used highend unit can get you into a really good trailer at a reaonable price that has been spec'd out buy some one who it wasn't their first trailer, so they had a better idea of what theywanted for full timing.
Look at, Kansas rv.com
They have a lot of late model NUWA Champagnes there to see.
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Old 03-17-2014, 08:52 PM   #7
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Rv shows are a good place to look. You can see a ton of different ones from high end on down and get an idea of what you want. We go to all of the ones around where we live and never have had any salesperson pressure us, most will stay back and let you look unless you ask them a question. Prices are normally good also.
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Old 03-17-2014, 11:23 PM   #8
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Look look and look again.
We had a high end we bought used and they went out of business. We could only afford used.
5 years ago we stumbled on a Big Country by Heartland and we could afford it and bought it on the spot.
It has 2 options and was cheap. I chose the frame and wheels and the DW choose the inside layout.

We have been FT in it for 5 years and never once had any issues we could not repair. We made it ours by adding the comfort we needed and voila all setup.

The Big Country is the affordable line that has the same quality as the Landmark without the frills needed for Full Timing.
We are very happy and it's a 15 year investment. After 15 years all trailers are worth the same anyway as I found out with our better then new unit we traded in.
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Old 03-17-2014, 11:32 PM   #9
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:08 AM   #10
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We will be full-timing starting this summer and will be picking up our new Heartland Landmark next week. We spent months sorting through all the different brands of 5th wheels before deciding on a Landmark. What are you going to use it for? Sounds like full-timing for a few years. Where are you going to go? If you go South in the winter and North in the summer, staying out of the cold, you will not need one that is rated for the cold weather. We will, so we got the "Yeti" package that has heat pads for the water and lines and other areas to keep lines from freezing. There are RV brands rated for full-timing such as the high-end Heartland brand, Excel, DRV and a few others. Wishing you the best in your new lifestyle and decision on your purchase.
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:55 AM   #11
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If I read your post correctly you want a quality unit to full time in while you spend 2 to 4 years exploring the country. You want a safe unit.

I would buy a used smaller NuWa that would be easy to tow. They made short units that have 3 slides and open up really nice. I looked at my friends small NuWa and he had good tires on it from the factory. Good tires that will not blow out and damage the trailer are the 'G' and 'H' rated tires.

New - I would stay short, something I could easily pull with a 1 ton single rear wheel diesel truck.

Or - most people will tell you a 5th wheel is better to live in but a motorhome is better to travel in.

You can travel in both but a motorhome would be better if you are only spending 2 or 3 days in one place as you see the country.
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Old 03-18-2014, 12:07 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by 14 the road View Post
Other than spending a ton on all the ratings books out there....how would one begin to sort through all the salesman hype / print media and choose a quality rig rather than a piece of junk?
Thanks!
If you are a "nubee" at RVing, I suggest buying a used rig first. Then you don't have a ton of money tied up in a rig with a floorplan that doesn't work for you.

I also suggest doing what you did - ask for recommendations - AND invest in a rating guide by RV Consumer Group: RV Consumer Group - We Rate RVs. That's what we did, and it steered us in the right direction. Recommendations from owners are good - to a point - most will tell you their rig is the best - it's got to be cuz they spent a ton of money on it and they don't want to be wrong.

We've had our rig for almost 6 years now - moved up from a pop-up. We are retiring (actually semi-retiring as we will both work part-time remotely) this spring and will live out of our current 5er the first year - to make sure this is the lifestyle we want, and to make sure we understand what floorplan is best suited for us. Our full-time rig floorplan will not be the same as our current rig.

In regards to a rig that can withstand cold temps - they will generally also be cooler when it's hot an humid.

First step - learn what you can then dive in. Second step - learn a lot more and decide what floorplan and rig best suit YOU.

Good luck, and enjoy your search.

Jim
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:10 PM   #13
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That's kind of what we plan on doing.......buy a used rig of some quality and see if this is really what we want to do for any extended period of time. There is just so much info out there to try and digest! We had a pop-up also when the kids were little and really enjoyed it! We are going to put the house on the market in the spring and hopefully we'll be on the road soon after! Can't wait.....
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Old 03-19-2014, 11:56 AM   #14
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I'm really glad to see your last comment 14 on the road. This question is asked a lot on rv forums. I always recommend buying a used one first. We bought a 2000 Avion in 2005 and have since purchased 2 new Drv units. Read all the rv forums, go to rv shows, look at many rv's. There are owners forums that you don't have to join to read like www.suitesowners.com. You can see what issues actual owners are having. There's an Excel owners forum and probably many others, just google it. After you spend some time reading owners comments then decide which used model looks liveable to you. You really won't know what is liveable until you actually spend time in it. Like if you have a cat, is there a spot for the cat box? Then choose one, have it inspected and buy it. Use it and keep it for a year, then if you may find the lifestyle isn't for you or you may want to buy a new one. Spring starts tomorrow, get going! Hope to see you on the road
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