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Old 01-24-2014, 11:40 AM   #1
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Virgin 5th wheeler questions

We've never had a 5th wheel and are looking into it.
I've had 2 pop ups, 1 motorcycle camping trailer, 1 29' travel trailer, 2 pickup campers, 1 gas motorhome, and our current mid-size diesel pusher.

1. Can you get a residential frig ?
2. Can you get auto leveling ?
3. Can you get built in generator ?
4. Outside TV?
5. Washer/Dryer?
6. Can you pull a bass boat behind a 5th wheel?

Our motorhome is 36' . What are the best built 5th wheels in the 34-38' range? Please give me 4-5 you think are the best. I've heard Montana and Cardinal are nice ones...something like that. We don't have 4 wheelers or a golf cart so I don't think we need a toy box.

I have a 2011 Ford F150 now so I'll be getting a new truck also. What is the best choice (please don't start a brand war) for a pulling vehicle? What kind of MPG should I expect? I do 10-11.5 in my motorhome with a Wrangler Unlimited towed.

We will be spending 2-3 months in it down south in the winter. The rest of the year will be traveling from home on and off with 1-3 week stops all over the US !

Thanks for the info!
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:48 AM   #2
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Excel 5th wheel and Dodge Cummins Turbo diesel and your done never to look back. But Excel is a high end unit but there are good used ones out there. Good luck on your search. Excelrvs.com
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Old 01-24-2014, 12:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Batten54 View Post
1. Can you get a residential frig ?
2. Can you get auto leveling ?
3. Can you get built in generator ?
4. Outside TV?
5. Washer/Dryer?
6. Can you pull a bass boat behind a 5th wheel?


Thanks for the info!
I agree with Chief. Excel is an excellent rig. Also look at NuWa - HitchHiker.

As to your questions - yes to all - depending on the priority of comfort vs. pocketbook. For our full-time rig which we are planning on getting in about a year, we will have your #1,2 and 5; we have a Honda 3000 now and may or may not switch to a built-in genset.

Although 34' - 38' and pulling a bass boat doesn't work in most states. You will have to check your state's laws, but many of them have a combined total length. In Minnesnowta the max length from front bumper to rear when towing 2 vehicles (TV, 5er and boat/trailer etc) is 65'.

As to the truck - any of the big 3 will work well. The important consideration for the tow vehicle isn't only the GCWR, but also the payload capacity, which is often times not easy to find. For most 34' - 38' 5ers you need a minimum of a 350/3500 SRW and a dually is the best bet. When calculating what payload rating you need, you have to consider the pin weight of the 5er while the rig is loaded, hitch weight, weight of passenger and anything else you are carrying in the cab or bed of the truck - and sometimes the weight of the fuel, depending on how the manufacturer rated their truck.

Good luck,
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Old 01-24-2014, 01:54 PM   #4
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Best built - Custom Builders

SpaceCraft, New Horizons, Forks RV.

Next Best - Excel, DRV Mobile Suites, Life Style.

Next - Landmark, Presidential, Trilogy

Then all the others.

You can get all the things you want as up-scale 5th wheels can compete with MH's.

I will add, there is no easy way to do what you want to do. It will be very difficult to have the jeep, bass boat, and 5th wheel down south with you.

Same difficulty as having the Motorhome, jeep, and bass boat.

The DW needs to tow the boat with the F-150 while you drive the Motorhome.

By the time you buy a 5th wheel that you like, hook a bass boat to the back of it, you will need a dually truck. You will not like driving a dually to dinner.

Again - there is no easy way to do what you want to do.
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:13 PM   #5
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1 thru 5 yes 6 maybe
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Batten54 View Post
6. Can you pull a bass boat behind a 5th wheel?

What are the best built 5th wheels in the 34-38' range?

I have a 2011 Ford F150 now so I'll be getting a new truck also. What is the best choice (please don't start a brand war) for a pulling vehicle?
You can physically pull another trailer behind the fifth wheel, but, there are some things to consider if you CAN do it.

The first is, if you're going to tow two trailers, you need to check from your state DMV to find out WHATS allowed. Then you need to make sure you have the correct license to do it. Here in California, if you're going to tow two trailers (doubles), you have to have a commercial license.

If you go with a 38 foot 5th wheel, that's not going Leave you much trailer length behind the fifth wheel.
EXAMPLE: I have a Ford F350 crew cab long bed single rear wheel. My truck measures 17.5' from the front bumper to the rear axle. The rear axle will be exactly below where the fifth wheel hitch will sit. The length of my fishing boat is 15 foot, but, sitting on the boat trailer, The length is 19 feet from the tongue of the trailer to the back of the motor. So the maximum length of my fifth wheel trailer (what I am in search of purchasing) has to be no longer than 28.5'. This will put a physical length between my truck rear bumper and the tongue of the boat to be 24 feet. This is going to put me at the California maximum combined vehicles length 65'.
You will, also, not be able to back up these vehicles while hooked up, so you need to make sure that you know your route or else you will be disconnecting the back trailer just to back up the first trailer. Then you have to disconnect the fifth wheel, go hook up to the other trailer and turn that one around, then re-hook all of them back up.

And finally, any of the big three trucks will do. I suggests go with diesel over gas. They are better on fuel economy while towing, plus, they have more torque to tow. The big three truck makers are all heavy vehicles and the trailers won't push you around as much as the other pickups. Go with the truck that you like. All trucks have quirks, you just have to figure out what they are so you know what to expect. I am very content with my 2000 7.3L.

X2 what Jamvir and tuffr2 say.

Good luck to you,

Rich
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:41 PM   #7
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I had a fifth wheel before they can be a lot more work and more time than a mh to set up and tear down. Something to think about.
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Old 01-24-2014, 07:05 PM   #8
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First thank you for the answers so far!

Next...forget about the idea of towing the bass boat at the same time. In the fall I'll run it down to where we are going to spend the winter and put it in a storage unit. We've managed them for several years so I know how to spot a good safe place...and I have connections down there.

I looked at Excel & DRV on line and liked them. I'll go back and look at the rest of what Tuffr2 mentioned.

How do 5ers drive in the wind? I'm talking 10-20mph. Have any of you driven both 34-38' motorhome and like size 5er...? How do they compare? My motorhome is hard to handle at 10 or so on up...but I see 5ers blow me off the road...?

Good info so far!
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Old 01-24-2014, 07:44 PM   #9
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As far as a great selection of pre-loved Excel's to see, check out and/or visit RV sales New Mexico in Moriarty NM; east of Albuquerque. www.rvsalesnm.com. They've been the top Excel Dealer for at least the last 14 years. Kathy, Ralph, Bryan, and Jill will be up front and honest with you. They have SOBs too. Whatever u select in RV and Truck....enjoy ur travels.
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Old 01-24-2014, 07:54 PM   #10
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I have a newer dually truck. It is comfortable and powerful. Right now I tow a 15,000lb 5er. I do not drive real fast but do try to drive the speed limit or close to it.
In 70mph zones I drive 67ish. I can maintain 65mph going up a Pa. mountian which gains 1,200 feet in elevation.

I pass all single rear axle Motorhomes. But tag axle motorhomes pass me. I am very pleased with the way my rig goes down the highway. The trailer has both a moryde pin box as well as moryde suspension.

Wind - never really noticed any wind in 3,500 miles of towing. Saying that I have not towed out west yet. I get 10.3 mpg while towing and 17 non-towing. One time I got 11mpg so I figured I had a tail wind.

Now - in 2013 Ram has a 3500 dually that can be optioned to tow 30,000 lbs. according to Ram. But be careful as I doubt the truck can carry 20% of 30,000lbs. as pin weight.

This fall Ford will probably match or pass the Ram in possible towing capacity. The Ram can be optioned now with a 850ft lb. of torque engine. I heard the new Ford diesel might be 880ft lbs. torque.

For the 2011 model year all big 3 companies injected their heavy duty trucks with steroids. Any of these trucks will make a very good towing machine.

So if you do the math, a truck and 5th wheel will have a combined weight of 26,000lbs. approx. being towed with a 400hp/800ft lb. torque engine. That is a better ratio than most diesel pusher motorhomes that weigh more and have less powerful engines.

People change both ways. 5th wheel owners will switch to motorhomes if the DW has a bad back or if they have dogs or decide to travel more. Motorhome people will switch to 5th wheels if they want to park for 2 to 4 months at a time.

Good luck.
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:41 AM   #11
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OK...say I'm looking at a 5er on line and it says 40 foot. That's 40' from tip to tip of the trailer right?

And some of it hangs over your truck, so what would be the length from truck bumper to end of 5er? Or in other words...on the average how many feet hang over the truck?

What size truck bed do you need?

What is the best size to have the most living area and still be able to get into Yellowstone, Fed & State parks? I know some will be limited to short trailers...but we want to get into "most" parks.
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Old 01-25-2014, 07:37 AM   #12
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For length you need to read the specs for over all orntotal length. That will include the ladder for example. It is common for a 5th wheel model to be called 3510 but be 37' in overall length.

A model 31IKE Excel is 34' long.

I never measured but I would say 4' to 4.5' stay over the bed and truck bumper.

On a 5th wheel you can go short and still get 3 slides. And an FYI - most 5th wheels you kinda live across the coach as much as front to back.

Not sure how short you need to be to get into most NP's.

I have an 8' bed in my truck. I think with a short bed truck and the modified front caps on some 5th wheels you can still hit the cab with the corner of the trailer. I wanted an 8' bed to really reduce any chance of cab/trailer contact.
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Old 01-25-2014, 10:45 AM   #13
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I never measured but I would say 4' to 4.5' stay over the bed and truck bumper.
^ x2.

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Old 01-25-2014, 06:16 PM   #14
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I would stay under 33-34'
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