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Old 09-13-2015, 04:40 PM   #1
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What to consider when choosing a 5er

Because plans change, we had to put off buying our fifth wheel for at least a year. With my 90 yr old Mom living with us and not wanting to travel, there was no point if making a purchase yet. That gives me lots of time to plan and I am the kind of person who loves planning. I started a spreadsheet so that I can easily compare different fifth wheels that we might like. I wanted to share it here. Of course, this is just planning and we will eventually get more serious and go to see them in person. For now, I think this might help us. I just started looking at light 5ers but I also have another spreadsheet for heavier 5ers. We are still looking at both for right now.

My question is "Are there any other major categories that we should consider?" BTW - Price is not important right now because if we can't afford new, we can always buy used to keep it at a reasonable price level. I am trying to simplify for now but I don't want to miss something really important. Any suggestions?
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Old 09-13-2015, 04:52 PM   #2
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Sorry. When I previewed the message it showed that my attachment was there but when I posted, it was missing. I'll try to attach it again. In case I can't, the categories I have are: Manufacturer, Model Name, Model #, Length, GVWR, UVW, Carrying Weight, Hitch Weight, Height, Fresh Water, Grey Water, Black Water, # slides, Axles, R value wall, R value, Floor, R Value Roof, Type of Roof, Tires, I beam Frame, Furnace BTUs, Air Conditioner.
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Old 09-13-2015, 06:41 PM   #3
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There are many different purposes that we have for an RV. Will it be used mainly weekends and vacations of for extended stay. Will you being using it in cold weather. Will you want to haul motorcycles or other items that might want you to consider a garage. How many people will you want to sleep.
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Old 09-13-2015, 07:34 PM   #4
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Forget 'R' values, they are worthless. Many will say 'calculated R value'. And it will be the best case number, not average or worst case. For example the floor has multiple cross-sections, the area between the frame rails will have extra insulation across the bottom, yet the sides of the I-beams will not be insulated, so that extra insulation is worthless. Also, the floor area outward from the I-beams will have less insulation and it represents 25% of the total floor area. Finally, there are so many holes, gaps and areas w/o insulation in the typical RV, (like slide seals, roof vents, outside shower panel) that allow air to leak in or bypass the insulation, that differences in claimed R value are insignificant.

Dual pane windows is a significant option

Method and accuracy of wall/ roof construction is significant. Rigid foam is probably better than fiberglas insulation, but both can be poorly installed with gaps.
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Old 09-13-2015, 07:53 PM   #5
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Upgraded (G) tires for heavier rigs
6-point levelers
50 amp service
Two ACs if longer than 30'
Moryde or similar pinbox
Moryde or similar spring supports
Wet bolts for spring shackles
Two house batteries if you dry camp
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:03 PM   #6
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For myself things of importance is being able to get into the refrigerator, bathroom, and bedroom without opening a slide is at the top of the list. Next would be having the TV across from the sofa or recliners. I see many where you would need to sit with your head turned. And finally usable storage.
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:16 PM   #7
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I am reading all of your answers and trying to decide how to include some of this in my database.

PostMan. We're not totally sure how we'll use it. Our plan is to travel around the country for about 2 years and then see what happens next. We will probably stay in a combination of private and state/national parks so we don't want anything too big. We might do some cold weather camping but hopefully nothing too extreme. We'd like to escape the New England winters as much as possible.

If there's one thing I've learned, it that plans can and will change frequently. You just have to go with the flow and adjust as needed. We just need somewhere to start and want to make the best decision that we can.
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:24 PM   #8
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Find a floor plan and colors you and the DW likes. Have the mechanics inspected and try to get a fair price.
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Old 09-14-2015, 08:24 AM   #9
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The number one thing to do is check out your dealership for quality of their service department and how fast the turnaround is for service.

We see so many people buy RV's only to find their dealer's service department to be of very poor quality, very slow or a combination of both.

I was fortunate to have bought from a dealer that's on the lists of good RV dealers. I also hear (online) of dealerships and national chains with very, very poor customer service. These are not places you want to buy from--no how close they are to your home.
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Old 09-14-2015, 08:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamaman View Post
The number one thing to do is check out your dealership for quality of their service department and how fast the turnaround is for service.

We see so many people buy RV's only to find their dealer's service department to be of very poor quality, very slow or a combination of both.

I was fortunate to have bought from a dealer that's on the lists of good RV dealers. I also hear (online) of dealerships and national chains with very, very poor customer service. These are not places you want to buy from--no how close they are to your home.
OP's stated plan is to travel around the country for 2 yrs so that at least diminishes the importance of a local dealer.
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Old 09-14-2015, 10:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Gordon Dewald View Post
Find a floor plan and colors you and the DW likes. Have the mechanics inspected and try to get a fair price.
Agreed! Happy wife, happy life! The floorpan is absolutely THE most important part.

I am also in the research phase. I have a list of REQUIRED items, including floor plan features and other difficult to add features. For me , these include washer / dryer hookups, kitchen counter space ( island or peninsula), walk around bed. I also have a list of DESIRABLE items that CAN be added, like washer / dryer, auto leveling system, fireplace, large or residential fridge, recliners (or space for them - i.e. replace a couch)

For my spreadsheet, if the requirements are not met, it is never entered. If requirements are met, then I check off desirable items, then add the cost to add the "missing" items to the price to make a more level pricing comparison.

HAPPY RESEARCH!!
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