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Old 05-06-2014, 11:05 AM   #1
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We Have 6 Weeks to Decide on a FT Fiver!

Well my daughter's house sold (in 4 days) so they will be buying our house and closing on both is about six weeks. So it looks like I need to get serious about finding a full time fifth wheel. After two months of research I have narrowed our search down to three, Heartland Gateway DW3650BH, Heartland Silverado SV38QVS and the Forest River Silverback 37BH. We need a bunkhouse for the three kids traveling with us.
From what I've read cargo capacity, axles, R-factor and frame construction are important for full timers for many reasons. We have chose these for those reasons and we like the floor plans. Here are some specific numbers:

Cargo Capacity:
DW3650BH - 2501 lbs.
SV38QVS - 2755 lbs
37BH - 2791

Axels:
DW3650BH - 2 at 7000 lbs
SV38QVS - 2 at 7000 lbs
37BH - 2 (can't find info)

R-Factor:
DW3650BH - Wall 11, Floor 38, roof 38
SV38QVS - Wall 11, Floor 38, roof 38
37BH - Wall 9, Floor 38, roof 38

We plan on traveling the country moving about every three months or so. Here are my questions. Will these models hold up to full time living? What should I be looking for that I am missing? Where can I get warranty information?

Thank You.
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Old 05-06-2014, 12:07 PM   #2
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I've been f/t'ing only 3 yrs, moving about every week or so. I don't summer or winter in any one place and I've camped my 5'er in snow. I think most 5'ers will hold up fine if you don't overload and have an appropriate tow vehicle. Take care with your axel ratings since most trailer tires are only rated at 3,185 lbs. That means a two axel 5'er shouldn't have a total weight more than 12,740 (4 tires at 3,185 each). I heard there may be a new tire with a slightly higher rating but basically your tires will determine your weight limit. I've also seen lots of folks towing with an under powered truck. It's not only dangerous but in case of accident gives the insurance company a reason not to pay. Check your tow capacity and haul weight (against the pin weight of the 5'er). I have a fair sized solar system and no need for a generator. However, you may want to think about alternate power sources (like generator vs. solar). I like two propane tanks also so I can easily switch over when I need to refill. Look at the 5'ers tank capacity (fresh, gray, & black). Size & number of occupants will determine how long you can go between dumps. You should be able to get warranty info from the manufacturers web site and/or any dealer. Most are one year but some are longer. Glad to answer any other specific questions. Happy camping!
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Old 05-06-2014, 12:07 PM   #3
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IMO none of them have enough CCC. You need 3500+lbs. We put 1500lbs in ours and we are weekenders. Granted we take a few things not always necessary but full timing will have you taking quite a bit more.
If those numbers are brochure/internet then deduct a few 100lbs from them as most units will be heavier when delivered and even heavier after propane and batteries. You'll be maxed on all of them once loaded up.
Heck my 28' Fox Mountain has 4315lbs of CCC. It'll never carry that much but it's nice to have the reserve.
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:16 PM   #4
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Just wife, me, 2 miniature dogs are around 3,000#. The general rule of thumb is 1500# per person. What is your tow vehicle?
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:20 PM   #5
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Buying the TV after the FW so as to not limit myself.
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:23 PM   #6
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Whoa ----
let's step back a second and make sure we are giving good info ... this thread got off track right away

your rv's tires and axles do NOT need to be over sized to handle the full weight of the rv and contents... remember some of that is on the pin of the tow vehicle...

i.e. if you have a 3000 pin weight on a 13,000 rv, then only 10,000 is on the rv's axles and tires...

but, I digress, the OP is asking about an rv,
not about the tow vehicle, so let's help him with that !


Check to make sure those models are warranted for full time living - some companies will void warranty if full time...

Remember the CCC is for a model with the standard features, not with all the options that might be added...
add another ac - less CCC,
add a fireplace if not standard - less CCC,
add 40 lb propane bottle - less CCC,
etc...
good luck and that's a NICE problem to have !
(Your daughter must not have asked enough money for thei house !!! )
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:45 PM   #7
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I am with Glenwest on this. Try to figure out all of the known items you plan to carry with you. How many sets of golf clubs, how many toys, etc plus all of the daily living stuff you would like. Then add about 30% to that number for things you did not think about.

You will be limited space wise because of the number of people you will be full timing with but do not discount the ability of the DW and family to add to the list.

Cargo capacity is reduced by the water, propane so will you travel with full tanks?

Will the trailer have adequate ventilation Will you be staying in hot, cold or temperate areas. If it is cold and you are closed up humidity can become an issue.
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Old 05-06-2014, 05:46 PM   #8
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Have you checked the BigHorn or Landmark Heartland. they are rated for full time usage. I am not promoting them but they are arguably one of the better mass produced units. They seem to have good factory support also. My advise to you would be to buy a used Hitch Hitcher, Excel, Drv, Travel Supreme, Teton. All these will require a minimum hd dually.2012 up due to increased towing capacity. You are in a bit of a rush and I envy you for moving your house so quickly. Buying used you really need to do your homework since any camper can be ruined in a few years if left without maintenance. Most new campers have a time of needed dealership fixing also. Warranty covers this but that is because of mass production. Used, if you do your homework, should be mostly trouble free. My Teton I bought this year. Looked for one in good shape for over a year. Had to replace tv, washing machine, surround sound receiver, one battery (has 4), new tires (my choice). Paid 30,000. Their is some great full time units out there. Just have to find them. Found mine thru rvtrader.com. Did look hard at the Landmark but it was a downgrade from our DRV and did not get it. You must be content with the unit you get.
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Old 05-06-2014, 08:41 PM   #9
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Thank you for your responses. The problem I've had with upper level unites like Hitch Hitcher, Excel, Drv, Travel Supreme, Teton is finding bunkhouse units. They seem to cater to more retired people than those with families. Neither the BigHorn or Landmark offer a bunkhouse model. The Gateway by Heartland is listed in the same "Luxury Fifth Wheel" catagory as the BigHorn or Landmark. That is the way we are leaning.
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Old 05-07-2014, 06:24 AM   #10
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I think you are doing it right with the choices as bunkhouse units are mostly weekenders. But with the 7k axles and thicker walls you will do fine with HL. FR usually is lighter on axles and I am sure 6k axles is what you will have.
There is hardly any difference in manufacturing quality, frame size will possibly differ from the BH to the GW . Basement storage differs but then the bunckhouse offer more space for stuff.
We full time and all the storage compartments in our BC are full and I weighted it at 1300 lbs and it includes the WD.
Where can anyone fit 3500 lbs of stuff in an RV anyway.
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Old 05-07-2014, 08:37 AM   #11
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Big Horn by Heartland is warrantied for full time use and has bunk model. at least they did in 2013
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Old 05-07-2014, 08:51 AM   #12
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We had a 5th wheel while full timing.. ( Cameo) I would not get a full wall slide, and make sure there is a manual slide retract method so if a slide fails you are not stuck somewhere. I would not be at maximum weight while towing. Keep the weight of the unit well below what your truck can handle so you are not pushing the limit. Things will last longer if you're truck is not at its limit all the time. I would also upgrade the tires at time of purchase, they usually put on marginal tires on a lot of rigs.
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:33 AM   #13
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Howdy!

I see Heartland is one you are considering. You may want to also look at the Heartland Cyclone Toy Haulers. We have a new Cyclone 4000 the toy hauler area has two queen beds and also has a loft bed over the kitchen area. Some also have two restrooms. The new Cyclone 4200 also has a restroom and shower in the toy hauler area. Just something to consider. It gets real crowded in a RV with one bathroom and five people even if three are children. Just because they call them toy haulers does not mean you have to carry something back there, it all liveable space.

"Happy Trails"
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Old 05-07-2014, 11:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiefneon View Post
Howdy!

I see Heartland is one you are considering. You may want to also look at the Heartland Cyclone Toy Haulers. We have a new Cyclone 4000 the toy hauler area has two queen beds and also has a loft bed over the kitchen area. Some also have two restrooms. The new Cyclone 4200 also has a restroom and shower in the toy hauler area. Just something to consider. It gets real crowded in a RV with one bathroom and five people even if three are children. Just because they call them toy haulers does not mean you have to carry something back there, it all liveable space.

"Happy Trails"
Chiefneon
But does it have a full timers warranty?
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