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Old 04-21-2010, 10:54 PM   #1
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Properties of a full time trailer

We are looking to pack up the family for a year or so of full timing in a fifth wheel....In you opinion what properties/aspects of a trailer set it apart as a full time rig? I am looking for insight into the durability of the frame, components, and insides of a trailer at different price points. We are expecting to purchase something in the 34'-38' range, so I guess my question is are they built to any better quality than a smaller trailer that is more appropriate for summer vacationing, etc.?
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Old 04-22-2010, 07:09 AM   #2
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There are a multitude of things that go into a fiver that you would wish to full time in. And, you will get a multitude of ideas of the one to buy. A couple things I looked for was the rating of the rig. There are several books out that can give you that. Second thing I looked for was the frame - - don't buy one with a Lippert. Third thing I looked for was I did not want sandwich walls - - look for aluminum framed walls, built more like a house. Make sure the warranty is not voided if used full time. It must be "four season."

Take a good look at Carriage. They have an entry level unit (the Cameo) that is far better than many of other manufacturer's high end units. They start at 32' and move up. They are heavier (hmmm, could that be better grade materials????) therefore don't chince on your truck. Do all your homework before you buy anything. Good luck.

Take a peak at this thread.

http://www.irv2.com/forums/f50/cameo...age-63245.html

Bob
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Old 04-22-2010, 07:34 AM   #3
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To get an idea of the construction details that go into a high-end full time 5th wheel, check the Mobile Suites construction highlights HERE.

Rusty
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Old 04-22-2010, 08:09 AM   #4
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It is amazing to me how many people consider it something special to have a full time RV, yet how many do you see that full time in "camping" trailers. There is definitely a difference in quality standards between brands, but do not discount one that you like simply because it does not have a "4 season" rating. There are several brands both new and used that would give you good service. And depending on your budget and your truck will determine how much or what brand fiver you will probably get. While a Mobile Suites might be ideal, unless you have a 100 grand to spend it will probably not be in the picture. What sort of budget are you planning on for both the truck and fiver?
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Old 04-22-2010, 08:44 AM   #5
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It is amazing to me how many people consider it something special to have a full time RV.....
I believe the original poster's (OP's) question was basically what differentiates a "full time" 5th wheel from a seasonal or weekend 5th wheel. That's what Bob and I have attempted to answer by providing a direct reference to the construction details of the Carriage and DRV Suites 5th wheels.

At the end of the day, the OP will have to weigh his personal value equation to determine what he's willing to pay for and what he's not. There's at least an element of truth in the old saying that "you get what you pay for." I can't speak for everyone who owns a full time 5th wheel, but as an engineer our purchase decision was driven by an objective analysis of the rig, not some sort of ego trip.

Don't overlook a lightly-used, well-maintained full-time 5th wheel versus a new seasonal or weekend 5th wheel - in many ways, one can get a lot of bang for the buck this way.

Rusty
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:38 AM   #6
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Your budget will be a determining factor, and as said above, more quality costs more. With that said, I'd be looking for these features regardless of mfg:
1. 50 amp
2. 2-ac's
3. Upgraded frig size and water heater size
4. Good kitchen space with room to prepare meals, ie,,counter extension or island
5. And most important, and overall floor plan that meets the needs of my family.

Unless you plan to be in 35 degrees and colder much of the time, I wouldnt worry too much about whether the rig is rated as a full-time rig.
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:56 AM   #7
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Unless you plan to be in 35 degrees and colder much of the time, I wouldnt worry too much about whether the rig is rated as a full-time rig.
Enhanced insulation packages and double-pane windows have other benefits - it's easier to heat and cool the 5th wheel regardless of outside temperature (we can hang meat in ours even on 100+ degF Texas summer days), and our 5th wheel is much, much quieter inside than our previous Jayco Designer XL 3610RLTS.

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Old 04-22-2010, 10:42 AM   #8
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Thanks for the insight, all. It's going to be a bunkhouse as we have three kids. I expect our budget to be about $85k as our upper limit for both truck and trailer, new and/or used. I've got some thoughts in my head already, and keeping an eye on prices, and will phase our purchases over the next four years before we actually head off. Keep your thoughts coming
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Old 04-23-2010, 07:06 AM   #9
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Enhanced insulation packages and double-pane windows have other benefits - it's easier to heat and cool the 5th wheel regardless of outside temperature (we can hang meat in ours even on 100+ degF Texas summer days), and our 5th wheel is much, much quieter inside than our previous Jayco Designer XL 3610RLTS.

Rusty
I bought a rig with wheels on it, so I dont worry too much about being in 35 and below and 100 plus.
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Old 04-23-2010, 07:46 AM   #10
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I bought a rig with wheels on it, so I dont worry too much about being in 35 and below and 100 plus.
Sounds like my wife's window of acceptable conditions for motorcycle riding - 65 degF to 80 degF.

For those of us who live in Texas, if we parked our RVs during hot weather, we'd lose 6 months of RVing per year.

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Old 04-23-2010, 12:48 PM   #11
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Yes I know it can be hot in TX. Lived in Dallas 25 years and am in the RGV right now, but so far this year, its barely broken 90. That's why I listed 2 ac's and 50 amp as a needed option. But even so, I wouldnt expect 100+ temps for 6 months in TX,,maybe 35-45 days tops. On a daily rate, I really dont care how much elec I consume,,now if I was on a monthly plus elec,,I might.

We are going north soon, just waiting for the cold, ice, and snow to be gone in the Rockies.
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Old 04-23-2010, 11:21 PM   #12
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There are many full-timers living in 5ers that are not "approved" for such service.It really depends on what you expect and where you plan to be during temperature extremes. For full-timing I would avoid new entry level 5er's (<$40K) at all cost. Often heavier 5ers are built sturdier, insulated better, and posses better quality workmanship. Cosmetics inside and outside can be deceiving, and may have little connection to quality.
There is an RV rating guide available on CD that you may find useful. I don't have the guide name, sorry.
FWIW, just this past week, on ebay, there was a used 5er(full-time rated) and HDT puller, beginning at $15K. I would seriously consider buying a 4-5 yr old used full-time rated rig before buying a new entry-level 5er any time. Finding one with bunk beds might be futile though.
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Old 04-24-2010, 08:03 AM   #13
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. Second thing I looked for was the frame - - don't buy one with a Lippert.
I'll take it one step further: don't buy a unit with ANY Lippert components. I've had multiple problems with the lift system (replaced) & the suspension systems (replaced all of the spring components).

Eh!
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Old 04-24-2010, 08:52 AM   #14
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I'll take it one step further: don't buy a unit with ANY Lippert components. I've had multiple problems with the lift system (replaced) & the suspension systems (replaced all of the spring components).

Eh!
And yet, 99% of the RV's out there use Lippert components and the owners are very satisfied with them. Me included.
For your budget unless you are buying all used you will have to sacrifice a lot of your wants.
For instance a new Cedar Creek Silverback bunk house will set you back around 40-50 thousand. Add a 1 ton dually of your brand choice for 50-55K and your budget will be blown by a whopping 15-20K.
Incidentially IMHO Cedar Creek makes some really nice fivers at their price point. And offer a lot for the dollar. They offer several bunk house models, but they all are in the 35+ foot long range. So you will definitely need a dually.
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