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Old 09-20-2013, 11:39 AM   #15
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The dealer should do a walk thru inside and out and make sure you are safely hooked before you drive away. There are a lot of used options out there and that may work out. Good luck an I hope you enjoy it!!

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Old 09-20-2013, 06:47 PM   #16
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The trailer / 5th wheel you want will be "big" for sure. Consider this, have you towed anything that big before, or even anything for that matter?"

I think that if you are over 10,000 GVW on the trailer you should be in a dually truck. Oh sure, a SRW will tow it, but is it going to be safe (not just for you but everyone else on the road. All those that have units over this weight and say "oh, it's just fine", you should question whether or not they have had to really stop quick. We had a Cougar 28K (rated 1/2 ton towable) with a Dodge SRW 2500 (thinking this should be good enough). Well our pin weight was over what the 3/4 ton was rated for by 400 lbs. Now before everyone gets excited here, I know how to properly load a unit and know what weights were not within the range.......ever! Now that being said newer trucks have higher weight ratings, but please do not let this think you will be safe. Try stopping a fully loaded unit as fast as you can......talk about pucker up!!! We truly do feel uneasy when passing all of the those units on the road that are obviously over weight, what if something were to happen. You can't count on "well I've put on xxx number of miles and nothing has ever happened!" Canada seems more strict on these rules and weight ratings than the US. Do not trust your dealer for any information on tow vehicle. They may know about some systems on the trailer but, our last purchase I was far more knowledgeable than they were on the systems of the unit. It seemed to us there were a lot of unanswered questions as to what was what. They did not know their product at all as far as we were concerned.

The OP is asking for advice on what he/she should buy. This is my opinion suggests a very large trailer or 5th wheel. A dually is required. Yes you can pull it with a SRW truck but try having to stop! We have a 35' 5th wheel which weighs in loaded at 15,000 lbs and tow it with an f450 dually. This unit sits the rear end of a 450 down never mind a SRW. We are totally impressed about the difference between a SRW and DRW vehicle. As well the stopping power of the F450 is unmatched to an F350 for example. Everything is built for heavy hauling on our truck.

For all of you in question of this....do not come to BC, Canada, as they are getting very strict on vehicle weights within the max. limits of the tow vehicle. We have been checked a few times but with the 450.....not a problem! I would expect the rest of Canada and the US to soon have the same standards.

Our advice is: know the weights of what you want to buy and ensure your truck will handle it. You may also want to think about a smaller unit if you have never towed before. 30 to 40' feet behind you is quite different for sure. I hope this helps you out some.

2017 Ram 3500 Dually & 2012 Arctic Fox 29-5K Silver Fox Edition 5th wheel
Paul & Sheryl
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Old 10-04-2013, 10:19 AM   #17
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Thank you ALL sooo much for your comments, notes, tips and tricks ... Looks like I have A LOT of homework to do!! I started to already though - hence the gap in my reply.

Here is what I will look into based on your comments ...

1) Chevy Silverado 3500 HD Dually
2) Ford F450 Dually
[these would be great as drive around town vehicles as well and it always helps to have a truck in the family - LOL]

But, for a few dollars more [because i notice that the trucks above - in the configuration and options I would like - are in the $50-70k - whoa!] ... Sheesh. So, I will also look into these:

1) Chevy medium duty truck - "Kodiak C4500"
2) Ford medium duty trucks - "F650 / F750"
and my fave ...
3) Freightliner "M2-106"

If the price difference is not that much between the duallys and Med duty trucks [up to $10k], I might as well make the investment for the latter. I would not drive these around town and mainly use for towing.

I do believe in getting the bigger size truck NOW and then being able to handle anything down the road towing wise.

1) XLR Thunderbolt #395AMP by Forest River
2) Fuzion #395 by Keystone
3) Road Warrior #400 / #418 by Heartland
4) Or ... Have a custom one by Featherlite

Of course I am dreaming of the above to happen, but hey - it's nice to dream!!

I love camping. But am more from the days of when [tent] camping was on a "first come - first served" basis. Now that everything is "by reservation only" - makes it that much more difficult to get the good spots. And I am pretty sure that RV camping is the same.

And ... i'm not even sure if I would RV at campsites [if I had too big of a trailer]. My kind of camping is to be almost secluded. Out in the middle of nowhere, where space is wide open and cost for the site is [a-hem] - Free!!

So, whilst I do my research on the above equipment ... I'd like to ask:

1) Where do you find dump sites online for all of the "bad water,toilet, etc." and fees?
2) How do you find out what size trailers can be accommodated at campgrounds?
3) Is there anything one must do [prepping wise] to the trailer if it will sit stored for the winter?

Thanks again.
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Old 10-04-2013, 12:34 PM   #18
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A good campground directory will give you the info on costs, site dumps, size limits, etc. A couple of the big ones are-
Woodalls directory is good. RV Campgrounds, RV Camping, RV Rentals, RV Parks, RV Resorts - Woodalls
Good Sam Club also has a good directory. Good Sam RV Club

There are a bunch of pretty good winterizing videos on youtube. just do a search for rv winterizing. And don't forget the owners manual of the rig you get. It will have winterizing tips too.
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Old 10-07-2013, 05:50 PM   #19
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As was mentioned before toyhaulers can be a b**** when it comes to weight distribution. It is also very important to stay within all weight ratings for the trailer axles, trailer pin weight, trailer gvwr, truck front and rear weight ratings as well as truck gvwr and combined gvwr. Laws vary between states and provinces, you might loose your insurance coverage in case of an accident or have a tow truck finish your trip when being pulled over it is also important to carry the proper dl. You also want to be able to stay in control when going downhill, uphill is seldom a problem. Minimum requirements might no be always enough when travelling through the mountains. I would probably find the trailer first and then a truck that can handle the rv safely.
I apologize if I'm repeating what others have already said but it drives me nuts every time I see some goofball going down a 7% grade with their 3/4 ton truck pulling a 15000 # plus trailer at 70mph putting everyone at risk.
Sorry for ranting
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:40 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by 87_Fixr View Post
A good campground directory will give you the info on costs, site dumps, size limits, etc. A couple of the big ones are-
Woodalls directory is good. RV Campgrounds, RV Camping, RV Rentals, RV Parks, RV Resorts - Woodalls
Good Sam Club also has a good directory. Good Sam RV Club

There are a bunch of pretty good winterizing videos on youtube. just do a search for rv winterizing. And don't forget the owners manual of the rig you get. It will have winterizing tips too.
Thanks, sounds like a good start ...
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:48 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Cypressloser View Post
As was mentioned before toyhaulers can be a b**** when it comes to weight distribution. It is also very important to stay within all weight ratings for the trailer axles, trailer pin weight, trailer gvwr, truck front and rear weight ratings as well as truck gvwr and combined gvwr.
Ok, good notes. So, once I do get a truck and trailer, where can I go to have them weighed?
Can I/will I be able to pull up to weigh the entire trailer empty as bought?
Will I be able to come back and weigh in as totally loaded?
Partially loaded?
Full with fluids?

I have no idea how all this works. Are the places you can "weigh in" on the freeway scales or that's not what they are for?
Or would I have to go to a "truck stop" for all of this "weighing in"?

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Old 10-16-2013, 11:01 AM   #22
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You can go to any truck stop that advertises CAT (or equivalent) scales. It will cost you around $10 to weigh your rig. You'll get 3 weights (3 platforms on the scales) - truck steer axle weight, truck drive axle weight and trailer axle weight. Before you pick up the trailer, it would be helpful to have a weight for the truck alone loaded as it will be when you hit the road with passengers, accessories (e,g., the hitch, toolbox, etc. that you may add), cargo, and full fuel tanks. With these weights (i.e., the bare truck and the truck/trailer), you'll know if you are overloaded on truck GVWR (where many of the SRW trucks, especially the 3/4 tons, miss the mark), front or rear axle GAWR, truck GCWR, trailer GVWR or axle GAWRs; we'll be glad to help you interpret the numbers versus your ratings if you wish.

If you don't have a tow vehicle yet, it makes sense to me to pick the toyhauler you want to tow, then size the tow vehicle to be sure you can tow it within all the truck's ratings.

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Old 10-17-2013, 08:32 AM   #23
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Do not be afraid of a dually. Here in Texas many of us have them as our daily drivers, just go by any Walmart and you see a few there lol lol.. No they will not fit in a garage but then most 1 ton single wheels won't fit either. But towing will be more enjoyable. But as said if you go BIG you may need a bigger truck then a dually. The dealer will do what is a PDI and they should show you how everything works and make all the systems on the RV do it's thing. That includes filling all tanks to full and running the AC and Heat. When this happens take a notebook and take LOTS of notes. Don't be afaid of making him go slow so you get it down. PDI's can normally take the better part of a day. Also when you figure out which RV you are interested in you can google that manufactor for forums and you will probably find a forum dedicated to that RV. But forums like this are also valuable for information too.
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Old 10-17-2013, 09:01 AM   #24
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As full time RV'ers, we have a dually and it is our ONLY vehicle. We are not the full timer types that only stay in one area for a few days or a week or two. We usually stay for a month or more. That said, we have no issues driving it as a daily driver. Both myself and DW drive it, and park it, all over.

I am in the group that says pick the trailer then figure out the truck to use. To do this easily, use the trailer GVWR and 18% of that # for pin weight (5er) or 10% of GVWR for tongue (ball hitch) weight. Ignore the dry weights that dealers like to throw around as it is a useless number. But one good point brought up is the fact that if you have never towed, you may not like it. You may want to take a 2 step approach. Buy a smaller trailer and if you like it, upgrade to the larger one if all goes OK. Nothing wrong with identifying what you end goal is up front, just start off smaller. Another point; I've talked to people who couldn't wait to get out RV'ing and seeing the world. Once they got out there, they hated it.
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Old 10-17-2013, 09:01 AM   #25
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Welcome to IRV2
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Old 10-17-2013, 06:36 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by N2TheWild View Post
I just joined this forum and I am just warning all of you in advance - I am new to the whole "forums" thing and also new to RVing and towing......
Now, with that being said ... I have a couple of questions on "buying" a 5th wheel.
Others will continue to do a good job of addressing many of your questions, so as a newcomer and newbie RV-owner myself, I will focus on some concepts which perhaps won't be as common in FAQs and the average intro-to-RVing article:

1) Yes, the best dealers will give you a thorough tour and how-to demonstration. But I would make these recommendations so that you can get the most out of that tour:

a) Go to Youtube and enter the model you are buying. There's a very good chance that you will find several videos where video tours are part of either a dealer's advertising of that model RV *or* some owner of that RV model who simply wants to show what he's learned or how he/she have decorated, remodeled, or even repaired various systems of that RV. Whatever you find, the tours will give you additional familiarity with that particular brand and product line and that review may also bring questions to mind which you can then ask the dealer during YOUR RV tour. That's what I did, and it made my walk-through tour/demo all the more informative.

b) Consider video recording or at least audio recording your tour. After all, it can be much less tedious than taking detailed notes during the walk-through.

c) I would also recommend doing a Google search of your RV model---if you didn't already, long before you put your deposit down on your final choice--- and see what owners are saying about it. They may alert you to advantages or disadvantages of your particular RV model which you will want to plan for and which you can ask about during the walk-through.

(For example, if some owners found the leveling process challenging at first, you might want to look at some Youtube videos on that topic and ask your walk-through staffer at the dealership to spend a little extra time on helping you learn to operate the levelers or in understanding the process in general. Another example: Some newbie RV owners with 30amp electrical systems have never had to think about electricity and total amperage before. So those newcomers to RV living might want to read some articles online before their walk-through tour, so they can ask about the particular power consuming devices which might tend to trip their breakers. These are not difficult concepts to learn but some newbies simply haven't thought about these issues before.)

Be sure to tell the staffer at the beginning of your walk through how you are planning to use the RV. He may be able to adapt the tour accordingly. For example, if you plan to spend a lot of time in cold climates, he or she might emphasize how to winterize and protect your RV in below-freezing conditions. If you plan to snowbird in one place, AC maintenance, condensation avoidance, and shading the tires from harsh UV sunlight may get more attention. You are getting (and have paid for) a "customized" tour just for you---so make sure you make the customizing count.

2) You may have to wait several days from when you selected and paid the deposit on your RV and when you come back for your walk-through tour and to take delivery. See if the original RV OWNER'S MANUAL is in a drawer or kitchen cabinet so that you can take it home to study before your final tour. [Obviously, if you bought a new RV or one that is a very recent model year trade-in, you are likely to find it quite easily. But if it is an older model, the previous owner may have lost it years ago. If so, look online, both at the manufacturer's website and various owner's association websites. If you don't find downloadable manuals at those websites, try your luck with general Google searches. If all else fails, you can try posting to various RV owner's association forums and see if someone can tell you where to find the manual online. They might even be willing to scan and post for you a PDF version of their own hard-copy manual.

NOTE: Some manufacturer's create just one "generic" manual for ALL of their models of a particular product line OR EVEN all of their product lines for multiple years. Keep this in mind when doing keyword search in Google and other search engines. For example, I couldn't find a Thor Industries Tahoe Transport Manual for 2003. But I did find online a general manual for that company which had a copyright of 2004. So that means it probably covers my 2003 model year or at least has much of the same information the original 2003 manual had for my RV. (Yes, unfortunately, such generic manuals will cover various options and features which might not apply to your particular model at all. But car manufacturers often produce similar manuals which get you excited about features which you later discover are not to be found in you car! It is the same with some RV manuals.)

3) My general advice to you is to do a LOT of online shopping for the model or models you want and be prepared to act quickly when the right model shows up in a dealer inventory. I got a very good deal by watching dealer inventories for trade-ins which I knew they would want to get rid of quickly. For example, my dealer/reseller is doing tremendous through-put this year on new models. So any older trade-in which comes in takes up precious lot space which COULD be allocated to another new, high-margin RV that just came from the factory. From tracking the inventory I determined that most of their most popular new RVs were being sold within two weekends of arrival. So when I saw a ten year old toy hauler come in, I knew that they would want to move it in a hurry. (I knew that it could take them weeks to sell that trade-in, and even then they would make no more than a few thousand on it---at most. But in that time time frame, the square footage it was taking up in their lot would probably yield several new RV margins of perhaps $15,000 and more each.) Which is why my next piece of advice is:

===> If you have time to shop, be aggressive when you make an offer.

In my case, I had been tracking the NADA Price Guides and new that this model as equipped had a LOW RETAIL of something like $12,500. I figured that the trade-in customer probably got somewhere around $9,500 to perhaps $10,500 for it. So, while also checking on another trade-in which had just arrived (for which I was also prepared to bid), I quizzed the sales rep a bit on the Tahoe. Sure enough, it had arrive so recently they hadn't even had time to clean it up and get it fully prepared for showing. And that meant that they had little or no extra staff hours invested in it. So I made an offer of $9,000 to see how it would go over. It was accepted politely and the rep went to check "the papers" on it so he could see what the numbers looked like. He returned after a while and told me that at that price he'd have to contact one of the owners who was not onsite but that he didn't think that that price would fly. But he concurred that it was the type of model they would want to get rid of quickly. So after looking around at other inventory, I went home and came back the next week. It was still there and I was prepared to make another offer. I bid $9,300 and said that I was willing to get a cashier's check at that moment at the nearby bank branch so that they could save around $300 in merchant fees on the credit card transaction. So essentially, I summarized my offer by saying that I was raising my bid by $600 (even though it was only costing me an extra $300 out of pocket.)

Frankly, I thought they would come back with a counter-offer of around $10,000---but sure enough, when I agreed to get it out of their lot ASAP, the manager approved my offer in about 5 minutes. I went to the bank and picked up the check. I ended up getting the kind of 38' toy-hauler RV I wanted for well under $10,000. [If they had counter-offered at $10,000, I would probably have raised my price somewhat and also try some horse-trading on things like delivery-to-site costs or some miscellaneous extras----extras which they can get at wholesale but I would normally have to pay retail. My philosophy of negotiation is to inch ever closer to an in-between final amount, even if that includes "in-kind" components as well as dollars. In this case, they were anxious to keep inventory moving, and so I got a very good deal.]

4) One other tip to watch out for: Be sure to check which RV furniture and options are not as "portable" or customizable as they might look. That is, some couches and dining booths, for example, actually cover important infrastructure. So you may not be able to remove them and allocate the space to some other purpose. (Sometimes you can; some time you can't.) With the Tahoe, virtually everything in that particular fifth-wheel can be removed with minimal effort without worrying about pipes, wiring, or load-bearing, structural integrity enhancing compromises interfering with my plans. Indeed, I chose the toy-hauler because with the exception of the kitchen and bathroom, there are NO rooms/areas of the RV that I can't turn into free space and use them for something else. That is, even the master bedroom can be turned into a library or keyboards room, the living room can easily give up the booth and couch, and the toy-room in back is now a big 8x10 utility room and my new office and main entrance. Many RVs are far less flexible in space allocation. So look under all such furnishings to see how easily they can be removed.

5) Remember: No trip to a dealer lot or time spent searching the Internet is wasted time. It is valuable research and the investment is well worth the effort. Not only will it lead to better pricing and product knowledge, you are much more likely to be aware of the choices and alternatives and not end up regretting that you missed out on a better solution. Also, expect to be outbid on an RV you really wanted. Sometimes you have last minute competition while bidding and sometimes you don't. Even if your "ideal RV" is involved, if price is important to you, consider waiting for another RV at a place and time where you aren't facing immediate competition. [I was on my way to put down a deposit to hold an RV when someone gave the dealer a credit card over the phone just 10 minutes before I arrived. Sure enough, it was off the lot the next day. But the good news was that they paid $3000 too much for it. So I lost nothing and a week later I found an RV I liked much better.]

6) Don't feel like you need to negotiate price the same way as Grandpa did nor how you read in an Internet article, nor in the way I just described that fit my situation. Every person and SITUATION is different, and all anybody can do is tell you how they happened to do it. Be comfortable with your own personality and how you like to go about the process. Yes, learn what you can and apply the tips as you wish but there is no one "right way" to do it.

I hope these tips provide some ideas which you might not find as easily elsewhere. (My apologies for the typos and grammar errors. My vision is very poor and it is hard to proofread.)

Happy hunting/shopping, N2T. (And keep us posted as to how things go!)

FT'er,38' 5W/ToyHauler but no toys; rural eastern Texas 140mi.from Houston coastline.[On-grid gray/black-water code-compliant.] Interested in feedback re: climate/mold issues, vermin/pests/coyotes, energy-conservation tech & experiments, passive solar, RV security.
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