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Old 04-16-2014, 07:40 PM   #1
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Which brand would you suggest and why?

As a newbie to real campers (former tent camper who has upgraded to a popup), I am overwhelmed at the choices in 5th wheels. We are a family of five who camp around a half a dozen times a year-all close by (15 minutes to 3 hour travel distance). My wish list includes: bunkhouse and outdoor kitchen are must haves. We are looking at the 32-36 foot length of the "box" so that would be a total length (including the part in the truck bed) of 40 feet. What brand would you recommend I look at and/or which model? Thanks!

Jennifer

p.s. this weekend I plan to look at a Jayco, an Elkridge, a Prime Time, and a Cougar- so any pointers in what to look for in terms of comparison would be great!
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:53 PM   #2
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I dont have much to add but good luck in your search.

Karla
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:55 PM   #3
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Look for a thick 12" I-Beam frame and not 10". Look for 7,000lb. axles and not 6,000lb. axles. The more solid the frame the fewer issues you will have down the road.

Too bad the Palomino Columbus 385BH is a bit larger than you want.

Good luck
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Old 04-16-2014, 08:24 PM   #4
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I'll take a look at it though!
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Old 04-17-2014, 09:21 AM   #5
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My suggestion would to be to look at a used model of a 5er with the features that you think you want. You may find out that this will or will not meet your needs and then you can sell/trade in for what your really want.

This is what I did after getting back into traveling around the country side with a 5er. My wife wanted a class A/B and I did not want to out lay the cash for a diesel pusher/or a diesel in the front of the vehicle. My argument was we needed to tow something so why not buy a truck and tow a camper.

We started looking at TT and than 5erís but where over whelmed with the different styles and features. So we purchased a one year old used 5er that was traded in on a full time model. We had this two years and saw what features we liked and did not like; so we purchased a 5er that meet our needs and have enjoyed this 5er ever since.
You will also need to ensure that you have enough pick-up truck to pull the 5er of your choice. As a minimum this should be a 1 ton single wheel pick-up truck with a diesel engine (they tend to have the highest payload ratings) or you may even need a 1 ton dually truck.


Jim W.
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Old 04-17-2014, 04:10 PM   #6
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Check out the Heartland Elkridge 38ERSRST. I believe it has everything you want.
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Old 04-17-2014, 04:21 PM   #7
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What is your tow vehicle???? It's tow rating should play a big part in "What" you should get and What Size...
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Old 04-17-2014, 05:36 PM   #8
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I think you just opened a whole can of worms
As Jimcumminsw suggested starting with a good used one is what many RVers do. When you buy used the financial pain will be a lot less when you decide that it was the wrong choice and you want something different.
The Jayco and Elkridge seem to be good choices for vacationers and if you don't like a unit at first sight you probably never will.
When buying used have it inspected by someone you trust and warrantied by the dealer. Make sure your truck is legally!!! able to pull the trailer and don't believe what the salesman tells you.
And remember every dealer only wants your best - your money that is.
Good Hunten
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Old 04-17-2014, 06:07 PM   #9
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A good site to look at when shopping is PPL Motorhomes in Texas. They really do a nice presentation of floor plan and photos so you can get more ideas of what features are to be raised higher in the priority list. They sell 5th wheels, tow behind, Class A and diesel pushers.
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Old 04-17-2014, 06:19 PM   #10
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That is good advise in regard to your tow vehicle. Make absolutely certain, it will handle the weight of a "loaded trailer", not just the UVW (unloaded vehicle weight). Don't rely on the dealer's word of "oh ya, sure you can haul it", or on the UVW posted on the unit. I have never found the UVW to be accurate, as these are typically the weight of a base unit and model, and not actual weight of the UVW. You should weigh your tow vehicle, and weigh the unit you wish to purchase, if the dealer will not allow this, walk away and find another dealer.

At any rate, we had a Cougar previously and loved it. It towed good, the height was good, and it seemed to stand up very well.

Now that being said, I'm sure someone will post something they dislike about Keystone or Cougars . But just wait until the others chime in about another "good" model and you will have a bunch more nay sayer's on those too . I am pretty sure you will find someone whose likes, and someone who dislikes any model, brand, or type you choose or recommend. Yes, some are better built than others, but it does not guarantee a problem free unit. Confused yet? No worries, select a model that will be good for you and how you and your family wish to use it. Make certain your tow vehicle is capable of hauling it. Consider how you would load it. Is there enough storage available to you? Do you often need to haul it with a full tank of water to your destination, or do your typical destinations have fresh water available? Hauling with fresh water adds a lot of weight, so you may not be able to haul all the other things you want or need to take with you.

Going by the specs you have listed, and assuming your tow vehicle is capable, then I agree with one of the other posters that you should be looking for a unit with 7k axles as opposed to only 6k as I am sure by the size, and number in the family you have listed, you are going to have a fair bit of belongings to take with you.

Good luck in your search.
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Old 04-17-2014, 06:59 PM   #11
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I realize that everyone has pros and cons on EVERY model. I am just hoping to stear clear of ones with a history of being trouble. I see someone suggested Heartland-this seems to be a "newer" company that offers more high end finishes yet has a lower price point- this makes me nervous as to what they might be doing to cut the costs. Wiring? Plumbing? Insulation? All the things I can't really see when I visit. I am hoping to stay in the 28K-32K price range but do not want to do it at the expense of a troublesome camper.
We will be towing with a Chevrolet 2500 Diesel truck which I think is a 3/4 ton. I'm thinking that will pull a mid sized 5th wheel but need to check.
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Old 04-17-2014, 07:16 PM   #12
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As others have said, make sure of the trucks capacities then look for 5th wheels that don't exceed them. The biggest factor in a 3/4 ton truck is it's payload capacity to handle the pin weight of the trailer. Happy shopping!
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Old 04-17-2014, 07:57 PM   #13
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If you have a 3/4 ton truck, then you are going to have to worry about weight in the size range you have said you would like. Weigh your truck now, then look at how much weight you have left over to the GVW. Also you should weigh it with everyone in the truck, the hitch installed on the truck (or assume about 150lbs for the fifth wheel hitch), and a full tank of fuel. Recommend this should be your first step prior to zeroing in on a brand as not much payload is available after you weigh a loaded 3/4 ton vehicle.
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newtrx View Post
I realize that everyone has pros and cons on EVERY model. I am just hoping to stear clear of ones with a history of being trouble. I see someone suggested Heartland-this seems to be a "newer" company that offers more high end finishes yet has a lower price point- this makes me nervous as to what they might be doing to cut the costs. Wiring? Plumbing? Insulation? All the things I can't really see when I visit. I am hoping to stay in the 28K-32K price range but do not want to do it at the expense of a troublesome camper.
We will be towing with a Chevrolet 2500 Diesel truck which I think is a 3/4 ton. I'm thinking that will pull a mid sized 5th wheel but need to check.
Sorry; but any model can have trouble with the build quality. They are designed and built by humans.

What you need to do is have the unit inspected by yourself and or someone you trust at time of purchase. I call this a pre-delivery audit; I believe there might be a check list on this forum for one or go to a book store and buy book on campers such as this one http://www.amazon.com/Fifth-Wheel-Bible-Jerry-Brown/dp/0741438399 . I have read three different books before buying our first fiver; that is why I went used first.

I purchased a Keystone Cougar in 2010; a 318SAB model this has fit our needs perfectly. The only issue that I have had was with the Chineseís tires on the camper, I have since up-graded to Michelin XPS Ribs LT tires for my unit. (Another story)

Jim W.
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