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Old 10-11-2001, 08:24 AM   #1
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I am beginning to "think" about purchasing a 5th wheel for my family camping needs. Although I know I will have a ton of questions before I buy anything, I have a couple questions to get me started.

1) Bed rail height to 5th. How close can I be and what brands or years are they "4x4 friendly"?

2) I currently pull with a B&W turnover ball. Great hitch and they have a 5th adapter. Anyone use one? Comments?

3) Is there a model I should look for (used) that will offer good reliability and quality?

I appreciate yuor help,

David

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Old 10-11-2001, 08:24 AM   #2
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I am beginning to "think" about purchasing a 5th wheel for my family camping needs. Although I know I will have a ton of questions before I buy anything, I have a couple questions to get me started.

1) Bed rail height to 5th. How close can I be and what brands or years are they "4x4 friendly"?

2) I currently pull with a B&W turnover ball. Great hitch and they have a 5th adapter. Anyone use one? Comments?

3) Is there a model I should look for (used) that will offer good reliability and quality?

I appreciate yuor help,

David

DavidTD
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Old 10-11-2001, 11:22 AM   #3
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Hi DavidTD!

Welcome to the folks at iRV2!

In answer to a couple of your questions:

1) It is recommended that your 5th wheel overhang be no closer than 6 to 8 inches from the truck rails when you are on level ground if, and this is a big "if", you will camping in mostly level campgrounds.

If you are planning on doing a lot of drycamping and/or getting into off road areas, you might want to take that clearance up to 10 inches.

2) I've seen the B&W hitches but haven't ever used one. But if you hang on, I'm sure that someone will give you some input.

3) As far as a pointer on the rig you should get, can you tell us what kind of camping you're planning on doing, ie. Weekending, Snowbirding (6 months) or Fulltiming (Year around)? Different manufacturers build different models for various kinds of camping and obviously the price can vary accordingly. There is a great company that rates different models and you can find them at www.rv.org

We're sure glad you're here and hope to see you often!

Dave George

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[This message was edited by RVrs R US on October 11, 2001 at 03:32 PM.]
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Old 10-11-2001, 12:18 PM   #4
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I appreciate the welcome. I would guess weekend would be what we would start out with. We currently use the LQ area of our horse trailer to camp. This works great for the horse shows but we also found that camping is fun without the horses too. Our family is growing and the need for more space is gonna be required for the non-horse weekends.

I want to investigate what it will take ( $ wise)to buy a quality used 5th, that will clear my 4x4 at least as well as my GN horse trailer which is about 6 inches. All I have found out so far is that there are a ton of brands, many made by the same companies just quality levels.

Salesman said I am asking for too much. I just think I am looking to see if it is possible to start 5th wheeling without spending 20k in a quality used unit?

So far from what I've lurked here and found, this dealer was total BS. Surprise surprise right?

So, treat me as a newbie that knows nothing about campers, some about trucks and towing.

Thanks again for the warm welcome.

DavidTD
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Old 10-11-2001, 02:08 PM   #5
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DavidTD

On trailer height. I have a Dodge 2500 4X4 and my Artic Fox matches up height wise OK. Bro in law has a Ford 1 Ton and his Nash (same co. as Artic Fox) matches his OK. Fivers do differ in how "tall" they are.

On goose neck hitch adaptors.
Some fivers might tollerate an adaptor OK, but from personal experience, I can tell you some do not and I have heard of a number of other experiences like mine; I tore the front King pin loose in my last fiver on just one trip with an adaptor,---came very close to losing the trailer. Fivers just are not stressed like goose neck trailers and many at least will just not stand the added stress.

Vaughn
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Old 10-11-2001, 05:45 PM   #6
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I'd say find the 5er you like then consider having the axels flipped and aligned(couple hundred dollars to do)to give the extra clearence if needed. It's done all the time and any real dealer should know about it. There are plenty of great used units under 20g...heck even under 15g. There are many good quality brands too...Arctic Fox/Nash as mentioned (especially if you're going off road...very well built), Alpenlite, NuWa...many others (we love our Okanagan). I feel the first time buyer is far better off buying high quality used (3~4 years) if you can find one thats mint, and let the first owner pay depreciation instead of a new low end unit that will likely fall apart as you drive down the road. Check VERY CAREFULLY in storage compartments, around doors and floor and ceiling cabinets for signs of water damage(leaks),inspect the roof condition (tears, caulking) test all appliances before signing. Water damage repair and appliance replacement /repair are the biggest cost items.
Most of All .....TAKE YOUR TIME....you'll regret a rushed purchase. See what's out there....the shopping and research is actually a big part of the fun (salesmen aside). We followed the above and just finished our 2nd season in our 5er and we are loving it!

Cheers,
Paul

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Old 10-11-2001, 05:45 PM   #7
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Insist on 16" wheels and tires tall enough to help with clearance.

Many of the new trailers are taking the bed heigth of 4x4s into consideration.

I lowered my Dodge 4x4. The 5" spacer was just too much even when empty. Haven't regretted it for 32,000 miles.
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Old 10-12-2001, 04:27 AM   #8
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by vaughn:
On goose neck hitch adaptors.
Some fivers might tollerate an adaptor OK, but from personal experience, I can tell you some do not and I have heard of a number of other experiences like mine; I tore the front King pin loose in my last fiver on just one trip with an adaptor,---came very close to losing the trailer. Fivers just are not stressed like goose neck trailers and many at least will just not stand the added stress.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The B&W Companion 5th wheel hitch is not a gooseneck adapter that mounts on the 5ver. Rather, it is a double pivot, 18,000 lb rated 5th wheel hitch that attaches to an adapter post that installs in the gooseneck receiver. As far as the 5th wheel is concerned, it doesn't know that it's not hitched to a Reese, DrawTite or other double pivot 5th wheel hitch.

As a mechanical engineer, I would never use one of the gooseneck adapters that attaches to the 5ver's hitch box, thereby extending the moment arm and resultant torques on the front of the 5ver's frame. On the other hand, we have a B&W turnoverball gooseneck hitch with the B&W companion 5th wheel hitch installed in the new truck, and it works just fine.

If you are interested in seeing this hitch arrangement, go to http://www.turnoverball.com and look at the Companion RV Hitch.

Rusty

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Old 10-12-2001, 08:21 AM   #9
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First of all, the Dodge4X4 is the highest riding
truck and therefore the hardest to level a trailer on. But with 16"tires(as already mentioned) and an adjustable "Jake Plate" you should be okay. Jake Plates are where the springs on the trailer are tied into the trailer frame and they have several different holes to you can raise and lower the trailer.

Rusty, is it possible that somehow that hitch combo is the cause of your bouncing? I think you mentioned it and that you appeared to discount it but I still wonder. Did you ask the mfg. if they ever had that problem before?

Mike

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Old 10-12-2001, 08:36 AM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Bills1:
Rusty, is it possible that somehow that hitch combo is the cause of your bouncing? I think you mentioned it and that you appeared to discount it but I still wonder.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Mike, I guess I won't know with absolute certainty until I get the surging problem identified and resolved. As I said in that thread, however, I find no evidence of hitch movement. In fact, I'm frankly impressed that, given the violence of the last fore-and-aft surging episode, the Line-X coating between the bed floor and the gooseneck hitch socket hadn't even cracked (which it would have had the hitch moved fore and aft at all).

So, in retrospect, I'll take your point and give the B&W Companion 5th Wheel Hitch a qualified endorsement until we identify and rectify the surging problem.

Rusty
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Old 10-12-2001, 08:48 AM   #11
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Thanks guys, keep it coming.

Yes, I will be taking my time in doing this. I agree, I would rather buy an already depreciated well built unit to "test the waters" in than buy a new one of less quality and take a bath on it.

The B&W 5th companion hitch is just like all of the others except it uses the GN hole as the mounting point to the truck. Is a 4 way pivot with the side to side movement dampened. Sounds like the best of both worlds and I just wanted to make sure you guys that have it are happy.

I'm trying to stay under 12k gross wet on a trailer. My truck loaded scales at about 8k.

I am not sure about flipping springs. I know it is common but I have two problems with it. I don't like the looks and I am fearfull of shifting the center of gravity up. Comments?

As far as floor plan, I am thinking either one with bunks in the rear or possibly the rear living with the entrance door at the curb side rear of the unit. Don't think I want a rear kitchen. Those that have the experience, what do you think the advantages /disadvantages are?

Thanks again,

DavidTD
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Old 10-13-2001, 08:23 PM   #12
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I have a 3500 4x4 and I had the axles re-located under the springs when I bought it. Rig rides perfectly level with around 10-11 inch clearance (i mean level, the trailer levels are level!).

As far as a used unit,I think this is a great choice. I bought my trailer after it was 9 mos old for around 1/3 of the price it sold for new. The dealer I bought it at didn't sell fleetwood, and they wanted it off the lot.

I think the vast majority of people here rank fleetwood right up there with satan and osama bin laden, but personally, I love the trailer. I've already put about 6000 miles on it in some rought country, and the only problem so far is a bulb went out in the kitchen.

Main thing to do is look that trailer over with a fine-tooth comb, front to back, top to bottom, and make sure everything works on all power sources (gas and electric). When I was looking, I found some 3 yr old "highline" trailers out there (1 alpenlite and 1 holiday rambler) that had some bad roof leaks in the bathroom near the sunroof window or whatever you call it, so that is a definite place to check.

good luck

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Old 10-14-2001, 10:24 AM   #13
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I have no idea, and am not suggesting, that the hitch system you are using is the culprit in the bouncing, but when I had my short and ill-fated experience with the goose neck adapter, I allso experienced significant bouncing and surging. It all went away when I changed back to the standard fiver hitch.

Vaughn
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Old 10-18-2001, 12:15 PM   #14
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DaveTD,
A good web site to learn about TT and 5th wheels (and Motor Homes) is
http://www.rv.org/
You can also join and get one of their ratings books, which will help you weed our some models.
Rule number one: Dealers are not to be trusted. They will say what they think you want to sell you the unit.
Rule number two: Dealers are not to be trusted. etc,
This forum is great and can be trusted :-)

No RV, No TT, No truck
But looking hard
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