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Old 01-08-2013, 10:48 PM   #1
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Hi everyone - my wife and I bought a 35' Keystone Sprinter in August of 2012. We like the trailer but are finding it falls short of what we really need. We decided last year to become full time and are wondering what everyone thinks would be the best for us. Trailer, 5th wheel or motor home and any size recommendation? Thanks for your input.
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:14 AM   #2
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That would depend on what you want the RV for... traveling from place to place or settling down in one place. Moving occasionally. What you can afford. How much "stuff" you have, etc. In what area is your Keystone falling short? Knowing that would help.

If we ever decided to go fulltime, we would get a 5th wheel.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:16 AM   #3
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Hi

I dont full time but have had a few 5th wheels and now a DP. If I was going to go full time and be parked most of the time I would go back to a 5th wheel. If on the road a lot I would go with a motorhome. And either way if your living in it 24-7 I would go BIg. Bigger is better in my mind if your in it a lot, but that's just my opinion.

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Old 01-09-2013, 09:39 PM   #4
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Take this FWIW. I work for an RV dealer and live in an RV park (modular home) and I NEVER plan to be a full-timer. If I were though, it would be a 5th wheel. The cash outlay for a sweet setup (trailer & truck) would be less than half that for a big DP and a toad. Also, I see so very many expensive problems with the DP's, especially the high end units. Trailers are simple.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by RanCarr View Post
That would depend on what you want the RV for... traveling from place to place or settling down in one place. Moving occasionally. What you can afford. How much "stuff" you have, etc. In what area is your Keystone falling short? Knowing that would help.

If we ever decided to go fulltime, we would get a 5th wheel.
How do like your Heartland North Trail? Any problems, if so has Heartland stood behind their product? The dealer near me does not carry much of an inventory of the North Trail TT, mostly 5th wheels. We are not full timers and a TT fits our needs the best. We have a 2002 Komfort TS26 TT which suits our needs, but we are wanting a little bit more in the area of bathroom comfort and living area. If we were to go (not going to happen) I would also go with a 5th wheel.

Thanks
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:37 PM   #6
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Keep what you have for a full year. Maybe the answer will come to you. Ask others at the the RV parks, observe, and look at both full time 5th wheels and MH's.

Make sure you do not suffer from the grass is greener syndrome like I do...lol
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:04 AM   #7
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I've never full timed and likely will never have the opportunity and desire to do so (at the same time lol).
But to me if I were moving around a lot and money were no object I would think a diesel pusher to be the way to go for a few reasons. Convenience:
EVERYTHING is self contained- no manual jacks anywhere. Can run the built in generator going down the road and already be warm or cool in living quarters when you arrive. If its raining when you get to destination at 10 pm, realistically you would not need to even get out and be in the weather until the next day, unless you wanted to plug in to shore power real fast. Sure beats trying to manually level the rig and unhooking from truck to do so, all in the rain! I know a lot of 5th wheels have auto power jacks now but that may require unhooking the truck to level it, and your family still has to get drenched to get from truck to trailer. Also, in a motorhome anyone can access any part of the living quarters while going down the road. Not possible with a trailer. Think how much time and fuel that could save not stopping for passengers to use restroom or get a snack etc. To me, I think those are by far the biggest reasons I would want a motorhome over anything else. Also if your hobbies are large you can pull a size able trailer with you, depending on hobby, the trailer may still have room left for a small car to drive around in when you are parked and hooked up. Also the big pushers probably have much larger tanks which means many days and nights could be spent on the road, and stopping only at truck stops or Walmart, save a lot of money not docking at a campground while traveling. I realize any good large 5th wheel can likely accommodate this too but just seems potentially more convenient in a motorhome.

The 5th wheel is probably more cost effective if you are staying in one area for longer periods of time but then instead of a 30 mpg toad, you will be driving a large 3/4 ton or perhaps 1 ton dually diesel truck, likely an extended or crew cab long bed, that may only get 16 mpg at higher fuel cost per gallon. If you're staying in the area for an extended stay, the inconvenience of driving and parking a large truck might be a hassle. There again the overall fuel bill average may be the same as the 7/8 whatever mpg in a pusher split with occasional 30 mpg toad. Both 5'ers and motorhomes seem to offer a lot more "basement" storage than any travel trailer, but with a travel trailer you could have a cap on the truck bed and have a lot of room there, but that would add more weight to the truck as well. A 5th is much easier and quicker to hitch up and handles much better. Also no weight distribution hitch to monkey with.

Having been in the position of arriving to a campsite in triple digit temperatures with two small children, and waiting on the trailers a/c to get comfortable I can attest to the royal pains of that. Also a lot of manual labor and time to level, unhook and stabilize a travel trailer. I've also had to hitch up and unhook in a torrential downpour. Nearly every time we went out in 2012 we battled extreme temps and a big rainstorm as we were already packing up and preparing to go so I have gotten to experience the misery that comes with all of this. Had time been on our side we would have waited the storms out and would have been happy campers lol

You have apparently already been fultiming enough to realize you don't like your current rig, but the real questions are what do you not like about it and what would you do different? What areas would you improve on? How do you spend your time, on the road a lot or parked in one place a lot? When you're parked do you do a lot of sight seeing or hang around camp usually? What is your budget like?

I'm with the technician, motorhomes are extremely expensive to keep on the road. A pickup or even a medium duty truck (4500 or 5500 series truck for example) would be much more affordable. Also everything has a lifespan and campers are definitely no exception. Between water damage, wear and tear, and depreciation, an RV can be a huge money pit potentially. Plus your current tow rig will likely pull a 5'er fine if it handles a 35' TT. If your motorhome has a mechanical problem, you may end up in a hotel while its getting repaired. If your truck needs worked on, you can probably stay in your trailer at or within walking distance of the shop if need be. You certainly wouldn't need to sacrifice the privilege of staying in your own home. If the camper itself needs repair it will often not be such a severe issue that you cannot stay in it overnight and your truck will probably need worked on more often or likely than the camper, it would be more urgent usually.

A lot of my thoughts and opinions but maybe it will help or trigger a thought process for you that helps you find the answers.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:27 AM   #8
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How do like your Heartland North Trail? Any problems, if so has Heartland stood behind their product?
Problems have been minimal. Design flaws can't be fixed. But all in all, we're satisfied with our TT. HL will stand behind it's products.

Quote:
The dealer near me does not carry much of an inventory of the North Trail TT, mostly 5th wheels. We are not full timers and a TT fits our needs the best. We have a 2002 Komfort TS26 TT which suits our needs, but we are wanting a little bit more in the area of bathroom comfort and living area. If we were to go (not going to happen) I would also go with a 5th wheel.

Thanks
Bathrooms always seem to be "too small" in TTs. That is unless you start looking at the really long ones, or those with more than one slideout. The bathroom in the NT is on the small cramped side.

Heartland Big Horn 5th wheels are hugely popular. We see them everywhere. Good quality and popular layouts. You need to shop around and look at different brands and layouts. Craigslist is a good place to find used units but watch out! Those private sellers can be every bit as slimy and slick as some dealers.
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by RanCarr View Post
That would depend on what you want the RV for... traveling from place to place or settling down in one place. Moving occasionally. What you can afford. How much "stuff" you have, etc. In what area is your Keystone falling short? Knowing that would help.

If we ever decided to go fulltime, we would get a 5th wheel.
Due to the high cost of gas, our plans are to hit a RV park and stay for 3-4 weeks to take in the local sites and move on unless the park and the area is really nice. I am pulling the trailer with an 2007 Chevy 2500 HD, crew cab, 6.0l gas w/6 speed transmission.
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:31 AM   #10
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Problems have been minimal. Design flaws can't be fixed. But all in all, we're satisfied with our TT. HL will stand behind it's products.



Bathrooms always seem to be "too small" in TTs. That is unless you start looking at the really long ones, or those with more than one slideout. The bathroom in the NT is on the small cramped side.

Heartland Big Horn 5th wheels are hugely popular. We see them everywhere. Good quality and popular layouts. You need to shop around and look at different brands and layouts. Craigslist is a good place to find used units but watch out! Those private sellers can be every bit as slimy and slick as some dealers.
Thank you for your input, it is always nice to hear from someone who actually has the experience with the company's RV & how the company deals with customer's problems.

We have looked at the Heartland 5th wheels, Heartland has really expanded their market by building an almost identical 5th wheel and renaming it so they can be sold much closer together. Big Horn & Big Country are essentially the same trailer, as are the Sundance & Greystone. The same floor plans are offered in all 4 of these 5th wheels with some interior changes and exterior changes. Heartland seems to have put a lot of effort into their 5th wheels, I am hoping they will do the same with their TTs.
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Old 01-12-2013, 11:14 AM   #11
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We started full-timing with a setup much like yours: Toyota Tundra and 27' TT. It worked pretty well for full-time, but was a little small and didn't have recliners. Being able to relax is important, and that particular floorplan didn't allow for it (all we could do is sit sideways on the dinette bench seats -- not great!).

We were in it for a full year. During that time, we visited every 5th wheel manufacturer and dealer we could find, everywhere we traveled. We had a stack of 5th wheel brochures about 3 inches tall and saw several plants in operation and talked to endless salespeople.

For us, the best quality fifth wheels appeared to be NuWa (Hitchhiker) and Excel...

Heartland has a very impressive plant and a very efficient way of shuttling the trailers through the assembly line as they are being built that it quite different than the other plants (they are shuttled sideways on dollies rather than on their own wheels).

But we spoke at length with a dealer last summer in Colorado who said he had had a lot of trouble getting Heartland to hold up their end of the warranty bargain on units that had problems, so he dropped the line... that's 3rd-hand info, so take it with a grain of salt. The units are beautiful to look at!!

In the end we found we had to upgrade both the truck (to diesel) and the trailer (to a fiver) -- and we are very happy we did.

The nice thing about already having your TT is that you can take your time shopping around -- and have fun doing it!! We still go to showrooms and climb around RVs whenever we get the chance...!!
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:38 PM   #12
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If your going to full time and you plan on staying in some colder areas you will want to make sure you buy a "4 Season" unit of what every style you decide on. I don't know but, have heard good things about the Northwood Manufacturing Arctic Fox.
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Old 01-14-2013, 10:12 PM   #13
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We started full-timing with a setup much like yours: Toyota Tundra and 27' TT. It worked pretty well for full-time, but was a little small and didn't have recliners. Being able to relax is important, and that particular floorplan didn't allow for it (all we could do is sit sideways on the dinette bench seats -- not great!).

We were in it for a full year. During that time, we visited every 5th wheel manufacturer and dealer we could find, everywhere we traveled. We had a stack of 5th wheel brochures about 3 inches tall and saw several plants in operation and talked to endless salespeople.

For us, the best quality fifth wheels appeared to be NuWa (Hitchhiker) and Excel...

Heartland has a very impressive plant and a very efficient way of shuttling the trailers through the assembly line as they are being built that it quite different than the other plants (they are shuttled sideways on dollies rather than on their own wheels).

But we spoke at length with a dealer last summer in Colorado who said he had had a lot of trouble getting Heartland to hold up their end of the warranty bargain on units that had problems, so he dropped the line... that's 3rd-hand info, so take it with a grain of salt. The units are beautiful to look at!!

In the end we found we had to upgrade both the truck (to diesel) and the trailer (to a fiver) -- and we are very happy we did.

The nice thing about already having your TT is that you can take your time shopping around -- and have fun doing it!! We still go to showrooms and climb around RVs whenever we get the chance...!!
Thanks for the post guys. We complain all the time about not having recliners. We like the idea of visiting the manufacturers in your travels and will incorporate that idea into our plans. Thanks again and we hope you guy are having a ball.
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Old 01-14-2013, 10:17 PM   #14
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If your going to full time and you plan on staying in some colder areas you will want to make sure you buy a "4 Season" unit of what every style you decide on. I don't know but, have heard good things about the Northwood Manufacturing Arctic Fox.
Thanks Caveman. The park we are staying in now has an Artic Fox a few sites down from us and my wife and I like the look. We researched Northwood and from the pictures on their site the Fifth wheel looks really nice. My son and grandsons live in Montana so I am sure we will be there sometimes when it is cold so the 4 season option is what we would need. Thanks again.
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