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Old 10-02-2015, 07:31 PM   #1
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Used 5th Wheel Trailer

I am looking into buying a used Fifth Wheel Trailer to live in full time. I can't really afford a brand new one...and what I'm thinking is buying a used one and doing a bit of remodeling on the inside. My question, in being brand new to the whole thing, what to look for in buying a used trailer as opposed to a new.....would it be better to buy from a dealer or private party?? Any input would be greatly appreciated.....I'm not anticipating buying anything until the beginning of next summer....but I'm starting to do all my research now and would appreciate any information anybody would be willing to share...
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:30 PM   #2
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Welcome.

Remodeling gets you into a lot of things, many of which aren't worth your time, in my opinion.

Just look all over for rot, water damage, and make sure all the systems work.
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Old 10-03-2015, 07:45 AM   #3
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A dealer will have more units to look at. By buying used you will save a ton of money. I would look at old Carriage, DRV, NuWa, and Excel rigs because they will be built with better frames, axles, walls etc. NuWa built shorter 5th wheels with 3 slides which provides good space in a shorter rig.

Now these rigs will be heavier and thus a larger truck if you will be towing it.

Good luck
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Old 10-07-2015, 11:12 PM   #4
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Check out Kansas RV Center. It's the former NuWa factory. When they get in a used NuWa on trade, they go through it completely and refurbish any issues they find. We bought ours from them two years ago and love it!

Good luck in your search,

Bob
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Old 10-08-2015, 06:13 PM   #5
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Get it inspected by a professional. Be prepared to walk from any deal no matter how good it sounds.
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Old 10-09-2015, 08:41 PM   #6
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If you start looking now, by next summer you should have figured out what a good unit will look like. To live in it--will you be moving it or leaving it in one place?
Joe
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Old 10-10-2015, 09:34 AM   #7
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Used 5th Wheel Trailer

My suggestion, look at units that have been stored inside fully enclosed buildings. Others may disagree but to me there's no comparison between being stored inside vs. outside. I bought a used Fuzion toy hauler that was stored inside and I kept it inside for the three years I owned it. Still looked new when I sold it a few months ago and never had any issues with it. I sold it within a week from listing it because it was in such outstanding shape. The couple that bought it had been looking all around Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and as soon as they looked at mine they said they wanted it. Lots of junk out there but also some very nice used units.
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Old 10-10-2015, 05:21 PM   #8
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My goal is to travel and live in it full time...so a little of both I guess....I won't be moving it continually...but it won't be in a set spot for a long time....
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Old 10-11-2015, 09:52 PM   #9
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Have a tow vehicle yet? If you want to move around, you need to be sure what you tow with will handle what you buy...
As I mentioned, do a lot of looking and comparing--get some weight numbers off the units you might be interested in so you will know how much truck you will need.
And, as always, be careful of salesmen's promises...
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Old 10-13-2015, 09:16 AM   #10
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First off welcome. I have just started my new hobby also. Although I spent better part of a year looking at first and then narrowing down the units until I decided exactly what I wanted. Look at, then decide on YOUR model that suits YOUR needs. Don't let a salesman pressure you. I would personally look at private owners than dealers but that's a choice I made. There is a lot of junk out there so be weary on them. I bought an 08 Cedar Creek from an individual and knew instantly the unit would be mine. I did due diligence and had it checked out and even then the first time I opened the black tank the valve broke. Easy fix but, Oh well. Just saying enjoy looking and be patient a Great deal will come along. I was amazed at the price I paid for gently used almost new condition RV. Good Luck.
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Old 10-13-2015, 09:33 AM   #11
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Living full time? From your post I assume you intend to park it someplace permanent? If that is the case, depending on what part of the country you live in this could be a very expensive idea. Space rent, electricity, and propane costs can add up big time. All for less than 350 SqFt of living space. You might look instead at park models. More room, better insulation, real toilets.
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Old 10-13-2015, 09:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C130 View Post
My suggestion, look at units that have been stored inside fully enclosed buildings. Others may disagree but to me there's no comparison between being stored inside vs. outside. I bought a used Fuzion toy hauler that was stored inside and I kept it inside for the three years I owned it. Still looked new when I sold it a few months ago and never had any issues with it. I sold it within a week from listing it because it was in such outstanding shape. The couple that bought it had been looking all around Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and as soon as they looked at mine they said they wanted it. Lots of junk out there but also some very nice used units.
I do disagree. A unit that has lived its life indoors will be free of water or damage from the elements, and that is fine if that is where you intend to keep it. Now if your going to be keeping it outdoors then look for one that's been there. This way you will know if its water tight.
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Old 01-02-2016, 01:43 AM   #13
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I know this thread has been open for sometime, but we have been down the buy used route and are very happy with our Excel 5th. Wingnut made a very important point to determine how much truck you need. If you are not already knowledgable in GVW, GCVW, pin weights, hitch ratings, brake controllers, etc. then study these and related terms and understand what they all really mean. We spent a year plus going to RV shows, dealers and Internet study prior to making a decision. We determined our must have and our wants. So far we have been doing long weekends and multiple week trips. However, plan on making multi month trips in the future. We chose a 2007 Excel 30RSO, 32 footer and love this model for our needs. We bought ours from Kay's RV in Moriarty, NM and got an excellent price. Kay's is just 50 miles down the road from us.

I would also spend a great deal of time reading the many fine threads in this forum and also the various Owner Forums for any brands you like. You may understand the good and bad points of each brand. We changed our preferred brand several times in the process. Don't buy something JUST because a friend has one or its the most popular brand this year. Buyer be Ware!

There are some good and not so good checklists for buying used RVs on the Internet, study these and follow their advice. Use a certified RV professional if you are not comfortable in making these inspections. Keep in mind most RV techs work for a dealer. Inquire if the seller has maintenance records for any unit that interests you, ours came with receipts and service orders.

I had missed inspecting the wheel bearings, all four were blown Never Lub sealed types. Inspecting the bearings is a problem prior to the sale. Long story but I upgraded to 7,000 lb. Dexter axles, disk breaks, and all other under carriage components. Just a note, the previous owner just had the springs replaced and all the u-bolt nuts were loose to finger loose when I pulled the old axles off! The work was done by a dealer. I prefer doing my own work and know its done right. Understanding many people are not prepared to do this so ask around in your area and find a good trusted certified RV tech if needed.

Always keep in mind RVs are homes on wheels. Use and motion on the road requires regular upkeep and repairs just as any home does and then some. Do not neglect regular maintenance on the rolling gear, your life depends on it. Study hard about tires to use on 5th wheelers. Again there are good threads about this and interesting holy style wars rage-on.

We love the freedom our RV gives us and its worth the effort. Bottom line to me is to study a lots and then study some more and walk away from any deal if something does not seem right.
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Old 01-02-2016, 08:23 PM   #14
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Great advice here. Spend a LOT of time researching so you know exactly what YOU need and want. From what you said above, it sounds like you are right in looking at a towable rather than a MH. If you already have the truck, take it to the dealer and have them look up the VIN so you know the axle ratings, transmission and drive specs, etc. Then fill the tank with fuel and the bed with old tires, concrete blocks, etc. until you think you have as much weight in it as what you will normally carry when traveling. Now go weigh the truck, with weights for each axle. Compare those numbers to what you got from the dealer and you will know how much additional weight the truck can carry. Figure 25% of the the trailer's weight will be on the pin (hitch), which means the rear axle. Easy way to figure the gross weight of the trailer you can handle is to take the difference between what the rear axle can handle and what it already is carrying and multiply that by 4.

Remember that sales people will tell you the empty weight of the trailer. You want to find the sticker that gives the gross weight. That's the most your trailer can weigh. You may be surprised to find out how little your truck can actually handle.

If you don't have your truck yet, simply start looking at the brands mentioned above. A little bit of research will give you the gross weight of the coaches you are interested in. Simply use the heaviest one as your guide when shopping for a truck. Remember that the sales person will tell you that any F250-class truck will handle any 5'er. DON'T BELIEVE IT!!! Run the numbers. For what you are looking at I think you will want at least an F350, and maybe even an F550. I'm using Ford numbers just because they are easier to type. If you want another brand just get the equivalent model.
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