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Old 04-17-2019, 07:47 PM   #1
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Thinking of full time living in a toy hauler

Hi all,
I now find myself forced to make a major life style change. Just made imy 30 years in the carpenters union, and my wife of 32 years wants a divorce. I am 56, but my joints feel closer to 66. I am thinking about a few different states I may want to retire in, so I'm thinking a 5th wheel toy hauler may be the best way for me and the dog spend the next couple years figuring it out. I have been following the best 5th wheel for 2 thread and didn't want t to side track it. I am wanting to know a similar question. I already have a dually I have been hauling a slidin camper on. It's 2001 GMC Duramax, but I only used it for fun so it only has 150,000 miles on it. I always liked the truck camper, but I can't see living through winter in it. What would be a good recommendation for a 36' or longer toy hauler. I seem to see a lot of used momentum grand designs around. I will provably be traveling through Washington, Idaho, Nevada, and Arizona primarily. Probably be in temperatures from 0* to 115* maybe doing 15,000 miles a year. Who makes a good one that holds up well that I might be able to pick up used for around $75,000 or less?
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Old 04-18-2019, 06:38 AM   #2
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Well Bill, sorry to hear about your domestic situation. many of us here have been there. Welcome to this forum, you'll find lots of valuable information here. There are several good higher end THs out there, Grand Design is a good one. You need to look at as many as you can, go look at new ones and see what size will REALISTICALLY work for you. Toy Haulers loose a lot of living space due to the garage so bigger is usually better otherwise after a while you may feel very cramped or like you're living in a box. We had a TH and my wife hated it, it was too short and it lacked lots of windows, gone is the TH. We didn't at the time have a truck to haul a bigger one. Sounds like you have a sufficient truck so your options are open. If you are going to full time for a few or several years you should consider going larger, over 40'. All I can say is Shop Shop Shop, figure out the size and features then use RV Trader to find what you might like to have used. Good Luck in all respects.
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Old 04-18-2019, 07:32 AM   #3
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Got to have a toyhauler? In those temps. Simple find a newmar x-aire and look no more. it will handle those temps easily. a lightweight its not but you have enough truck. If want to sweat a 115 degrees get grand design.
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Old 04-18-2019, 07:51 AM   #4
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We bought the 2019 Heartland Fuel 352. It's 39' and has the 13' garage. We wanted to haul our Harley and still have room for us and our 3 dogs. We looked at the new momentums (which are awesome) but the Fuel was more in our price range. If you can find a used Momentum or Cyclone I'd go for it. You'll save a bunch of $$ off the sticker price. As to our model, I think it has all the features needed for FT living except a W/D. We figured we can add one to the TH room if we decide we really need it.
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Old 04-18-2019, 07:52 AM   #5
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Do you have toys to haul in the toy hauler? If not that space will likely become dead space. A junk room of sorts.

Most toy haulers are huge. Huge means severe limitations on where you can go.

Might be more worthwhile to look for a smaller 5er in the 30-35' range. Even that will seem massive after a TC & will have more living space than the 38-40' toy hauler.
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Old 04-18-2019, 08:00 AM   #6
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I must say I am nervous about a big 5th wheel. We almost always boondocked. The freedom of not having reservations anywhere was very relaxing. I know I need to spend a month at a time in each area, also spending seasons when we typically wouldn't endure, so I can decern if I am cut out for the climate. I have been really spoiled with great weather being in CA. We would go skiing and be back in 50-degree winter weather the next day.
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Old 04-18-2019, 09:00 AM   #7
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What are you putting in the garage? Grand Design also has a floor plan with storage under the bedroom that is big enough for a motorcycle or golf cart. It's the 374 TH.
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Old 04-18-2019, 09:23 AM   #8
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Hello Bill B , sorry about your situation, been there and done it after 50+ yrs.
I didn't want a mortgage, apartment rent , or tax's so I ended up with a 38 ft Monaco 5er . Don't have a dog but have more room and storage space that I need. Been thru 3 winters in eastern Pennsylvania and have been very comfy. Have 2 A/C's but only need one . Did remove my Norcold frig and installed a RF18 Samsung, only big upgrade . Don't know if you need to spend 75K for a unit. Think used and spend some of your budget on a tow vehicle. MHO

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Old 04-18-2019, 10:12 AM   #9
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I have a couple motorcycles and a German shepard. I could see myself getting rid of the bikes, but I think having a separate area for the dog would be great.
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Old 04-18-2019, 10:25 AM   #10
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It's not a market I'm familiar with but I would suggest looking for a toy hauler that could comfortably handle a motorcycle, but not have to be too huge so you have the ability to get into most parks/campgrounds. How much space you need for living comfortably is a personal thing. You may want to make a list(s) of the stuff you will want to take with you, and as you look at a rig, think about the storage space you need. Consider also that if your joints aren't too happy with work, the bigger the rig, the more work it takes for cleaning, waxing, seam sealing, etc. If $$ is no object, you can hire it out, but if you have to do your own work to help with the budget, then consider size.

Good luck in your search and I hope everything works out well for you!
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Old 04-18-2019, 10:45 AM   #11
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You could focus on the 5th without the toy hauler option and then add a bike lift on the rear provided the rear hitch is factory rated for that weight. On some rigs people ignore the hitch and have the full bike rack welded onto the frame. Still check if the frame can handle the weight and stress.

My opinion is that something closer to 30-32 foot would be much better than going to 39 +/- for boon docking. We have a 32 ft 5th and sometimes that gets a little tight getting it into places. I have not had an issue, but others have where they get some where, but getting back out becomes lots more interesting. Best advice with a larger RV is to unhitch and drive the road and back sure you have an acceptable exit option.

Hope all works out for you.
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Old 04-18-2019, 12:06 PM   #12
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We full-timed for three years in a toy hauler. For my situation, it was the best option. The garage provided a lot of versatility to store things that are not usually needed on a short term vacation. We hung some cabinets out there and I stored tools and other things. Also when moving from location to location our extensive outdoor furniture collection was easily stowed in the garage as well. Despite the fact we had so much stuff, I could still be out of the campsite in about an hour and headed down the road.

A couple suggestions that suited us for our selection. First, get one with an east/west bed in the slide out. This usually gives you the maximum closet space in the nose of the coach. Look around the kitchen, checking to make sure there are plenty of electric outlets over the counters. You’d be amazed how many brand new toy haulers have entire areas in the kitchen with zero electric outlets. Grand design was notorious for this. Nowhere to plug in a coffee maker or other item makes a counter useless to me. Also, check that the upper kitchen cabinets do not have posts between the doors. Those can make large cabinets very small by not allowing you to fit items like plates through the openings. I consider six point hydraulic leveling a must. Also, if using a rig for full timing a drop Z frame would be preferred. They are easy to pick out, as the basement storage will have a flat floor from side to side with no hump across the center. Back when you could still get a coach with a Leland frame they were much easier to find. A washer and dryer are nice when full timing. Since we had connections for the washing machine in the garage, we simply purchased an inexpensive Haier portable washer and the 110v Haier wall mount dryer for under $500 and they worked great everyday for 3 years. Electric heat strips in the AC units, or a good electric fireplace will be great for cool nights without using your propane. If possible, I would definitely prefer a manual awning. The new power awnings are convenient, but they are real weaklings and cannot be left set up without extensive bracing. Our old-fashioned carefree awning held up great in all sorts of weather, and when you come home in the pouring rain it is awesome to have an awning to get under when entering your coach.

A little long-winded, but just a few of the must-have‘s we would want if we full timed again.
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Old 04-18-2019, 12:35 PM   #13
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Are you wanting the toy hauler to use the toy room as a shop as well as hauling a bike and for the dog? I've been eyeing the Desert Fox . 100 gal. water tank with heating elements and built to be taken off-road (has shocks too). The 24AS model can carry 3,697 lbs.

There are many advantages of a toy hauler for the hands-on crafty types. I'd much rather give up space of 4 couches and a kitchen center island that I'll never use in order to pursue my hobbies while camping out in the country.

The blocker for you on the Desert Fox might be that it has a bumper hitch and not a 5th wheel hitch. I wonder if the hitch design was intended for better off-road capability? I'm curious if taking a 5er off-road would cause issues from lack of flex or rotation?
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Old 04-18-2019, 01:26 PM   #14
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Thanks, lots of good input from everyone. I would love to be able to get by with a 30'. I am just concern with leaving the dog in my living area if I am gone for the day fishing or hunting. She is pretty melow but if there is alot of activity going on with other animals outside she may cause some damage. I know coming in from the rain would be alot less of a pain with the garage. I could also see trading the bikes in for an ATV so I think a 10' garage would be a good option. I do still like to work with my tools, but I don't think I'll be doing much of that until I buy another property. I think I am going to go check out a 2017 Momentum 395M. Its definetly bigger then I need, but they are only asking $60,000 so that may help with decision.
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