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Old 04-01-2013, 11:58 AM   #1
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Shopping for 5er

Thinking about trading in 2012 class C for a luxury fifth wheel. May consider going full time. Any recommendations on best manufacturers to consider. We are in Houston area, so pretty warm summers. Also, is dually better for towing?
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Old 04-01-2013, 12:08 PM   #2
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Wow, This will become an interesting exchange. You left the doors wide open for lots of input.

As for me, we started with a shorter 5er and just upgraded to a 29' Excel. My options were limited by budget and inventory at my local dealerships. I loved the Excel because of the great reputation it has earned based on the input on the Owner's forums.

Looking forward to the volume of feedback that you should get.
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Old 04-01-2013, 12:13 PM   #3
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A dual rear wheel truck makes a more stable tow vehicle.
But don't go for the truck first, find the 5th floor plan, that works for your needs, get all the weight info and size your truck accordingly.
No sense buying a 350 when you need a 450 OR larger to safely tow the 5er of you dreams.
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Old 04-01-2013, 12:19 PM   #4
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Off the top of my head, the "luxury" 5th wheel manufacturers that I would include are New Horizons, DRV Suites, Excel, and if you want to consider those that recently went out of production, Newmar, NuWa (HitchHiker) and Carriage. There may be a few others that I've forgotten.

Pick the 5th wheel, then size the truck to handle it. The weights of these 5th wheels will generally require a dually to handle their heavy pin weights, but the largest ones will have you looking at 450/4500, 550/5500 or MDT tow vehicles.

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Old 04-01-2013, 12:27 PM   #5
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I pull a luxury Heartland Landmark that is rated and warranted for full time use and has a 2/5 year warranty.
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Old 04-01-2013, 03:44 PM   #6
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I tow with a 2012 F-450. I am very please with the way my rig goes down the road. Nice, quiet, lots of power, no fatigue, rides good, 10.3mpg. I am towing a 15,000 lb. 37' luxury wanna-be. SunnyBrook Bristol Bay 3510RE 4 slides W/D stacked, 6 point leveling, 2 A/C's with heat pump, etc. DW and I like it a lot. I plan to keep it for a few years then move up to luxury model.

Top tier - DRV Elite Suites, Excel Limited, New Horizions, Life Styles.

Near Top tier - DRV Mobile Suits, Excel Winslow.

Next level - DRV Tradition, Dynamax Trilogy, Redwood. (Probably HR Presidential)

Next is a slew of 5ers that are the top build of the common manufacturers.

Heartland Landmark, KZ StoneRidge, Palamino Columbus, Grand Design Solitude, Keystone Montana, Jayco Pinnacle, Primetime Sanibel, Coachmen Brookstone, Dutchmen Infinity, Cross Roads Rushmore, Forest River Cedar Creek, Augusta Flex.

The Augusta Flex and Grand Design Solitude are brand new builders. Probably started by guys from other builders that think they can do it better. Maybe they can.

Recently defunct builders of top teir 5ers.
NuWa, and Carriage. These are worth looking at as a used unit.

Things to look for - 7,000 or 8,000lb axles. 'H' or 'G' rated tires, good insulation, at least 12" frame. Boxed frame like Excel, DRV are better.

Full-Timing - if you plan to park the unit or do limited teavel any of the mentioned 5ers will do. If you plan to travel a lot then you probably need to move up to the upper tiers. Also if you plan to spend time in cold temps then upper tier 5ers should be considered.

The 5ers mentioned should be towed by a dually truck. The new trucks 2011 or newer are really much better than pre 2011. If you can hold off for a few months the new Ram 3500 dually will be injected with another dose of steroids and can tow a whopping 30,000lbs. I think they will come out as 2014 models.

Coming from a class 'C' you need to look at all options. Class 'A' gas, diesel pusher, big trailers, big 5th wheels.

Good luck
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Old 04-01-2013, 04:04 PM   #7
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WOW....this info is great! Like 5ers 101 - ha! Seriously, we know very little except that we like the concept of the 5th wheel over owning a diesel pusher, mainly because when not in use, the 5er seems more livable than DP. Also like having a truck (will have to upgrade current F150) and family car instead of buying a toad. Thanks for the wealth of info. Plan on looking at the Drv first since we have a local dealer, then will go from there. Trading a 24 ft. fleetwood Jamboree DSL with 5000 miles will play a major role in our decision. Stay tuned!
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Old 04-01-2013, 04:13 PM   #8
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Throw my 2 cents in I agree with tuffr2 said above except for putting the Trilogy in the 3rd category. I would place it in the top one. It has Excellent build, fiberglass roof and a built in propane tank like motor-homes. Cabinetry is the best I have seen. I put the build up against any one out there. Storage capacity is also the largest I have seen! The cons: Still new on the market, maybe 3-4 years, limited floor plan but the thing is top of the line build. For the third tier I rank the Jayco Pinnacle at the top of that list and also in the mix but closer to that of some of the Thor's would be Jayco's Eagle Premier. I have been reading and looking at these units for a long time and want to move up myself. Would be interesting to hear comments about some of the other "top of the line" 5vers that have recently gone under, any concerns about buying a newer used unit? Like the Carriage Cameo's? or King of the Roads? I sure liked what I saw in Carriage but some of the owner reviews with roof separation is concerning and surprising to me.
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:34 PM   #9
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Additional info.

I saw an old King of the Road. Probably need a F-550 or the 2014 Ram dually. That thing weighed 24,000 lbs.

I have only towed my 5er with a dually so I do not know how a SRW would feel. Here was my experience.

I stayed at an RV park in Florida the winter of 2011/2012 for 5 1/2 months. I was in a small trailer. Smallest in this park. I wanted a used DP. I drove some, rode in some and just could not get over the shake rattle and roll. 70% of the RV'ers were in 5th wheels. So when I opened up to 5th wheels and looked at some I thought wow - very nice. Still worried about towing.

Talked to several people that said towing was easy. They also said a dually truck is the way to go. I bought the 37' 5er 1st. Had it delivered to the park. A lot of people came to see it. I was advised that for that size I needed a dually. Still worried about towing. Bought a 450 - my very 1st tow was from Florida 1,000 miles to Ohio. I was really surprised how nice and easy it was to tow on the highway. When it got dark I had to check to make sure it was still back there. I have a mor-ryde pin box that really makes for smooth towing.

Very surprised how bad it was in parking lots and fuel stations. You have to make wide turns as a 5er will track way inside the path of the truck. It is very easy to run over the curb.

However it is easy to back up. I say I could back into a shoebox in just two tries.

Since you already have a class 'C' you might have noticed all the 5th wheels in the RV Parks. It is hard to pick one. The more You look you will see some cool floorplans. Front living rooms to front bathrooms to front kitchens. The most common floorplan is rear living with front bedroom.
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Old 04-01-2013, 06:22 PM   #10
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Really appreciate all this wonderful info. Of course, my DH I has a huge smirk on his face b'cuz he has wanted a dually forever. LOL!
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:13 AM   #11
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Just saw a post on the NuWa forum that they just completed some HitchHikers and put them in their inventory with 2 Champagnes, 2 Discover America, and 2 LS. Not sure which floor plans these units are. Their after sales service is too notch but you have to be willing to go to Chanute, KS for purchase and factory service.
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:09 PM   #12
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Just got back from looking at Trilogy. I do like their 5ers. Fyi - Specialty RV in Lancaster Ohio has two 2013's for just under 70k. In looking at the standard features for the $$$ they have moved up on my list. I forgot they come with a fiberglass roof.
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Old 04-02-2013, 05:28 PM   #13
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Service is very important also

Appreciate the feedback on RV service and support from factories. NU Wa is one that is at the top of my list also, I just had not yet checked feedback or the support yet.

I also was surprised to hear some negative on the Carriage line as that is one I still am very impressed with. I do not rule it out simply because they went out of business.

I was looking for KZ feedback. There is not a owners forum on irv2. I thought perhaps they might have a parent company but I guess not. I am told they are not owned by anyone else.

I like most of what I have seen in the KZ line except for only having one ventilation panel on the outside for fridge. Most builds have gone to two of them for increased airflow and a longer life of the refrigerator.

At least that is what I am told by folks with higher end units.

They have some floor plans we like but have to check out more information such as decking, I-beams, tires (important stuff huh) So if anyone has input I would like to hear it. Thanks!! Jim
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:12 PM   #14
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As for the true full time RV's look at DRV, New Horizon, Excel, Carriage (out of business in Oct 2011), NuWa (also out of business) and new to the market is the Lifestyle Luxury RV (former management of Carriage). There are a few other that claim full time useby adding an Arctic pac (aluminum foil), and also do not use a heavy frame.

A full time 5er needs a heavy frame and more than a 12" I beam.

Full time rigs are heavier, and require an F350, 450, 550 and even a medium duty truck.

Ken
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