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Old 07-31-2013, 08:27 AM   #1
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Oh So Confused

Hello. I am pretty new to the world or RVs. My husband and I always wanted a 5 th wheel and dreamed of becoming full timers. After many vacations across the country ( with 3 kids) by plane ( at $600++pp) we have decided that we would be better off if we look into 5 th wheels now. We are looking at purchasing one next spring. Since we are doing this quite a few years sooner than expected we are on a pretty tight budget for our first one. We are trying to keep it under 25k and I would actually prefer lower. I have no idea where to start. I have looked at new ones that are very pretty for 20 and ones that are quite a bit older for the same price. I just don't want to buy a lemon. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:30 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome to the forum.

I'm sure some of our fiver experts will be along soon to provide advice.

Best of luck.


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Old 07-31-2013, 08:38 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum.

Camping is NOT a great way to save money.

YMMV.
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:46 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum.

Camping is NOT a great way to save money.

YMMV.
Thanks for the welcome. We are looking at traveling and camping. Traveling out of Montana by any means of transportation other than a car can bankrupt a person. We love disneyworld. Last year we paid 3700 for airfare and 4000 for our resort. Not including the food our trip was almost 9k. And it was over in 10 days. At least with a 5 th wheel we will have something to show for it.
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:22 AM   #5
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Any time you buy a used vehicle, you run a chance of buying something bad. LEARN a lot before you buy, look at tons of them, and meet tons of dealer personnel that way you can see which ones are good people and which ones aren't.
Good dealers will let you even hook up the trailer to power and water, and test everything out and crawl around in it if you're really serious.
Water is always an issue. They can be clean and still have rot somewhere.

What vehicle are you pulling this with. That can severely limit what size trailer you can buy.

There are also different floor plans. Bunks, rear bath, middle bath, front living room, rear kitchen, etc.
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:42 AM   #6
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Any time you buy a used vehicle, you run a chance of buying something bad. LEARN a lot before you buy, look at tons of them, and meet tons of dealer personnel that way you can see which ones are good people and which ones aren't.
Good dealers will let you even hook up the trailer to power and water, and test everything out and crawl around in it if you're really serious.
Water is always an issue. They can be clean and still have rot somewhere.

What vehicle are you pulling this with. That can severely limit what size trailer you can buy.

There are also different floor plans. Bunks, rear bath, middle bath, front living room, rear kitchen, etc.
Thanks for the reply. We have been doing our research and will continue to do so until we are set to buy. Our kids are getting older 16,13 and 9. So we aren't planning on a bunk house. We want something that can fit all 5 but aren't sure our 16 yo will even go with us. We will pull it with a 2007 dodge ram 3500 HD diesel.
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:06 AM   #7
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Any time you buy a used vehicle, you run a chance of buying something bad.
Let me offer an alternate perspective on this. While I don't disagree that one should be vigilant in inspecting a used RV, the fact is that you're not going to get much quality or content in a new 5th wheel for $25K. You can buy something bad that's brand new and sitting on a dealer's lot - just read through the forums for examples!!! And you have to look beyond the foo-foo gingerbread that's designed to make the unit visually attractive as that won't matter if the tires, axles, frame, appliances, construction materials etc. are compromised to achieve a low price point - the RV will be falling apart in no time.

By looking at a used, higher quality 5th wheel, the original owner has already taken the big depreciation hit that comes with any new RV purchase, and chances are that most, if not all, of the new unit "bugs" have been worked out. In other words, you can get much more bang for your buck with a good, well maintained, higher quality used 5th wheel than you will buying new. This is especially important if this is your first RV as many of us learn what we like and don't like about that first RV and are much wiser when we go shopping for the next one.

Now, higher quality RVs are normally heavier, so as was mentioned, a lot is going to hinge on what you'll be using for a tow vehicle. Is that 2007 Ram 3500 a single rear wheel truck or a dually?

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Old 07-31-2013, 10:14 AM   #8
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Let me offer an alternate perspective on this. While I don't disagree that one should be vigilant in inspecting a used RV, the fact is that you're not going to get much quality or content in a new 5th wheel for $20K. You can buy something bad that's brand new and sitting on a dealer's lot - just read through the forums for examples!!!

By looking at a used, higher quality 5th wheel, the original owner has already taken the big depreciation hit that comes with any new RV purchase, and chances are that most, if not all, of the new unit "bugs" have been worked out. In other words, you can get much more bang for your buck with a good, well maintained, higher quality used 5th wheel than you will buying new. This is especially important if this is your first RV as many of us learn what we like and don't like about that first RV and are much wiser when we go shopping for the next one.

Now, higher quality RVs are normally heavier, so as was mentioned, a lot is going to hinge on what you'll be using for a tow vehicle.

Rusty
Thank you. As we try to learn more about RVs the more we find that the new cheaper ones are very nicely decorated but don't offer as much where it really counts. The older ones do seem to offer more bang for our buck. As of right now we are planning many weekend trips and an average of 1 longer trip per year. We are pulling it with a 2007 dodge ram 3500 hd diesel single rear wheel. There are so many out there but the 1 that seems to offer what we want is a 2005 carriage cameo 32rls. But as I said we are just starting to look.
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:23 AM   #9
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That Carriage will have lots of nice things. There are a few issues with them that are common, but all trailers have that.
Carriage's, Excel's, DRV's, and high end units like that are comparable with very well built frames, very good axles/brakes/tires, and other structural components.
Carriage is out of business, so some things that were made specifically for Carriage aren't readily available, but most things in the trailer were from another company anyway and you won't have an issue obtaining parts.

As for the truck, at least it is a 3500 diesel. You will still be limited on what you can pull, but most trailers will be within your range.
I don't know how the truck is set up for towing, but don't forget you need a fifth wheel hitch, brake controller, and wiring in the bed.
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:24 AM   #10
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There are so many out there but the 1 that seems to offer what we want is a 2005 carriage cameo 32rls. But as I said we are just starting to look.
That's an excellent quality RV and fully in line with what I posted. However, you need to determine IF your single rear wheel truck has enough GVWR capacity to handle the pin weight of that Carriage. That's probably a subject for another thread, though.

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Old 07-31-2013, 12:17 PM   #11
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5 years ago we bought an 05 30-foot HitchHiker LS for under 25K. As many of you know, the HitchHiker is a good quality rig. The LS is in the lower spectrum of their line, but still high quality and well insulated. We use it from April into October mostly on weekends, with a 2-week trip in the summer. We have had very few problems - redid the caulking (should be done on a routine basis with any rig), replaced the converter and batteries, and a few minor things breaking, like the plastic closet door holder.

We tow with an 05 Silverado 3500 diesel, which is at about max for payload - when you include the hitch, tool box, generator, passengers and dog. So your truck should be great for a rig this size.

Buying a higher quality rig won't guarantee that you won't have any problems, but lessens the likelihood considerably.

Good luck hunting,

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Old 07-31-2013, 12:49 PM   #12
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Buying a higher quality rig won't guarantee that you won't have any problems, but lessens the likelihood considerably.

Good luck hunting,

Jim
I'll add to that and say it lessens the likelihood of issues with the trailer iteslf. But the appliances are basically the same from the cheapest trailer to the most expensive.
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:26 PM   #13
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Hi and welcome to the forum. I know your pain at paying for the plane since it's no cheaper out of Missoula. We just moved up to a new to us 06 Excel. As others have said, a older quality rig might cost as much as a new one but you what the roads are like off the beaten path here in Montana. Just a couple of places we go would concern me about build quality. I would not be concerned if the company is out of business since you still see a lot of older Alpenlites still running around our parts. Good luck in your search
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:44 PM   #14
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$25K or a new one will buy you a bucket of troubles. Minimal frame, minimal axles and brakes, lot's a paper glued over 1/4 inch luan, imitation wood vinyl glued over particle board cabinets, everything stapled together and shoved out the door. Good for one use per year, for two weeks, pulled no further than 200 miles away. But that's the reality for many, many people so they keep building them by the thousands.
Dealer want to make $5-10K on that rig, that's doesn't leave much for the manufacturer to put "quality stuff in that rig".
The older rig you buy, the more of a chance of getting a nice unit. Even, $70K, 90K and more units eventually are worth only $25K as they age.
Carriage always made quality units for the money you paid, I own one and I bought it 10 years old (it's big as you can see it in my avatar).
Your limiting factor (besides money) would be your truck, probably limiting you to the 32-34 foot length. As someone said, "you don't save money RVing". RVing is a money pit, as long as you are OK with this, it's a lot of fun.

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