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Old 03-12-2007, 03:59 PM   #1
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I'll tell ya Matt, I would just fix up the puppy and go from there. When and if you decide to switch trucks, then go to a 2500. I will say that most of the bigger trucks will ride almost as good as a 1/2 ton, in fact I tried a 2500 and a 3500 amd I thought the 3500 rode better, figure that out.

Just fix up the camper, go enjoy, and do whatever you have to do from there. A 45 mile trip isn't a big deal, even for a half ton. (overloaded) Just take it easy.
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Old 03-12-2007, 07:49 PM   #2
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Hello all, my name is Matt. I am a newbie to the board and a newbie to travel trailers and a newbie to 5th wheel.

Life is short learn it all I guess.....

As of yesterday I took ownership of a 1978, 36', Fleetwood, Prowler, 5vr/goosneck. (if you want to know more on that I can explain....)
Still not sure what I got myself into.

Story goes, a family's house burnt so this guy let them borrow it. In turn to thank him for the gesture they kept it for a year, he finally sent someone to go get it and they had trashed it. Rather than clean/repair he decided to cut his loss and get rid of it. So I got it fairly cheap. It is alot bigger than we wanted, and really wasn't wanting a 5th wheel yet. My truck isn't set up and it's barely big enough (if it is). 2000 F150, 5.4L, Ext. cab, shortbed. I do have a 5th whl hitch for it, just not installed yet.

The camper is a mess but now that it's cleaned out and started cleaning up, I'm not going to have to do as much as I first thought/feared.

All electrical seems to work including a/c and fridge/freezer, after some minor repairs to get the front of the trailer power.

I am having the gas system checked out by a professional this week as that is the only thing I have absolutely no experience in. (luckily my wife works for a propane company.

The floors are solid and most the walls are too. umm yea....... Guess I get to see how they build these things as the back wall pretty much appears to be gone. Looks like 2x2's and paneling, so should be easy reconstruction.

I look forward to picking the brains of you experienced owners and experts. Hopefully I'll be able to contribute along the way too.

Any suggestions or warnings, things to look at or for, keep on eye on or anything else on this brand or model, please fire away. I'm all ears. I want to know know about it and address it now before it ruins a weekend on the lake.
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Old 03-12-2007, 07:49 PM   #3
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Hello all, my name is Matt. I am a newbie to the board and a newbie to travel trailers and a newbie to 5th wheel.

Life is short learn it all I guess.....

As of yesterday I took ownership of a 1978, 36', Fleetwood, Prowler, 5vr/goosneck. (if you want to know more on that I can explain....)
Still not sure what I got myself into.

Story goes, a family's house burnt so this guy let them borrow it. In turn to thank him for the gesture they kept it for a year, he finally sent someone to go get it and they had trashed it. Rather than clean/repair he decided to cut his loss and get rid of it. So I got it fairly cheap. It is alot bigger than we wanted, and really wasn't wanting a 5th wheel yet. My truck isn't set up and it's barely big enough (if it is). 2000 F150, 5.4L, Ext. cab, shortbed. I do have a 5th whl hitch for it, just not installed yet.

The camper is a mess but now that it's cleaned out and started cleaning up, I'm not going to have to do as much as I first thought/feared.

All electrical seems to work including a/c and fridge/freezer, after some minor repairs to get the front of the trailer power.

I am having the gas system checked out by a professional this week as that is the only thing I have absolutely no experience in. (luckily my wife works for a propane company.

The floors are solid and most the walls are too. umm yea....... Guess I get to see how they build these things as the back wall pretty much appears to be gone. Looks like 2x2's and paneling, so should be easy reconstruction.

I look forward to picking the brains of you experienced owners and experts. Hopefully I'll be able to contribute along the way too.

Any suggestions or warnings, things to look at or for, keep on eye on or anything else on this brand or model, please fire away. I'm all ears. I want to know know about it and address it now before it ruins a weekend on the lake.
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Old 03-12-2007, 08:38 PM   #4
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Well Matt, first of all, welcome to the forum. Sounds like you've picked up quite a project but thats ok, it'll work out. First of all, the wall problem can be fixed as all others can be. You'll have to check out the tires and wheels, bearings and brakes, to get them up in shape and ready to tow. The rest of the stuff is just checking it out and fixing whatever doesn't work. The water system, holding tanks, electrical, and all that kind of stuff.

The next problem you have is the truck, you'll be way overloaded trying to tow this puppy with your truck. Flat answer is, it just isn't enough as you will find out when you hook up.

But anyway, enjoy the experience and continue to learn, thats almost as much fun as using it when you get it done.
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Old 03-12-2007, 09:20 PM   #5
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Thanks Tom,
Yea it's a project, my youngest daughter calles it "The Family Project" I call it Project: White Trash.

Yea I didn't expect this truck to do it with ease. The pin weight alone is likely maxing the springs if not over.

We are hoping to have it ready to use by memorial weekend. In the mean time I am exploring a few options.

Option 1. and most obvious -Keeping my eye open for a 1 ton quad cab. diesel.

Option 2. -We only go 45 miles one way to camp. Thats only once a months for about 4-5 months a year. So 4 or 5 times a year if we are lucky. So hard to justify giving up the ride and comfort of the 1/2 ton for the other 98%+ of driving since I'm not going cross country with it. So maybe add some oveload springs or air bags, a heavier axle with 3.73's or numericlaly higher over my 3.55's, and a bigger trans cooler or 2 with fans. I already have upgraded Bear Brakes pads, rotors and calipers to pull my vintage boat trailer 2500 lb +/- with no brakes on it. Everything else is the same as a 1 ton V8 gas truck.

Option #3 - Rent an annual camp site and have the guy that pulled it to my house with his 1 ton, dually, Duramax, Tow truck, haul it there and just park it.

Option #4 - Buy an older 70's or 80's 1 ton farm truck cheap, don't worry about the looks, just to use for this trailer and leave it hooked up at all times ready to go.

Option #5 - Fix it, get it ready, sell it and buy something around the 25' range, where we originally wanted, so I can pull the boat behind it.

Decisions decisions... I hate deciding when I cant afford to just go buy everything new the way I want it.
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Old 03-13-2007, 05:46 PM   #6
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You're going to have a very short-lived 1/2T pickup! Pulling that weight and hauling that amount of pin weight is grossly over-loading the truck. It is has an automatic transmission that will likely fail first, expecially with your gearing. If you only camp in one place, a permanent setup may work for your family. I don't like to bear bad news for a new member, but that's the way it is.
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Old 03-13-2007, 06:21 PM   #7
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Dont apologize Ray, I tell it straight as it is so I expect and respect the people who shoot me straight too.

I may or may not listen but I like being told straight anyway.

There is probably a better section to post these question but I already have this thread started.

First where can I get 12 volt wall switches?

Second, does anyone know what a Low-Pro crew cab is?

I just called on an 1995 F800 Low-Pro Crew cab, flat bed that I'm going to go look at it this weekend. Like the camper this is MUCH bigger than I wanted but should pull this or any camper or anything else I want just fine. This wont be my daily driver, I'll kep the 1/2 ton for that.

I just dont know what the "Low-Pro" is
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Old 03-14-2007, 09:15 AM   #8
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Not a "crew cab", but it is a 91 f800 with hitch. Probably close to what you are going to look at.
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Old 03-14-2007, 04:17 PM   #9
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Yep, you need to think about getting the trailer towed or borrow a larger truck. It will kill your 1/2 ton ins hort order as well as not being safe in my opinion.

As for a daily driver, I drove an F350 dually Crewcab for 2 years in Oklahoma and no problems other than drive through lanes were out of the picture (except for our bank that had a designated dually lane...gotta love rural Oklahoma). The 7.3L Diesel did as well and better thanmost folks Tahos and my currentdaily truck...Ram 1500 with the 4.7L.

The newer 3/4 and 1 ton trucks ride pretty go, so don't discount them. I would avoid a 6.0L Ford diesel...way too many problems.

Or like you said, fix it up and sell it for a smaller trailer that fits your current truck.

Have fun..

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Old 03-14-2007, 05:08 PM   #10
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Yea I wouldn't get the 6.0L.
I am a member of a ford truck board that has over 100K members strong. Even the true blue, bleed ford blue ford guys say to stay away from the 6.0L. So if I go Ford again then I'd go 2003 or older, I think 2004 is when they went to the 6.0. I wanted a Dodge when I bought this truck they had to twist my arm to test drive it, but it turns out I did indeed like it, so drove it home.

I would like to try for a Dodge again but this 95 3 ton Ford would be handy around the place and towing the camper and is in my price for a work truck. Then I can quit beating my 1/2 ton up hauling my firewood, building materials, metal for projects etc. It spends to much time on the brink if not overloaded now.
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Old 03-18-2007, 09:19 PM   #11
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Matt, the F800 pictured above is a standard version. The "Low Pro" version is a closer to the ground model. A "lowered" F800, if you will. Measure the height of your 5ers king pin from the ground when the 5er is sitting level before you go look at the F800. You should have a minimim of 6" between the 5er and the truck tires/frame or flat-bed if it has one.
A flat-bed will require mitering the bed corners usually, to avoid clearance issues while towing.
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Old 03-19-2007, 08:58 AM   #12
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Thanks Ray that is what we couldn't figure out, it is a few hours away so I shyed away and didnt go look at it because I was concerned about the ride height. It does have a 14' flat bed so I'm not sure where the 5er hitch would mount on that either if I would have enough clearance. I have the next few days off work so I may go look at it now and take some measurments.
On one like that then the 5er hitch ussually mounts slightly infront of the axle dont it?
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Old 03-21-2007, 06:00 PM   #13
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The hitch mounted in my truck is directly above the differential. Some of the guys towing with HDT's actually have the hitch aft of the differential. Any towing hitch should be attached directly to the frame, mounting to the bed is not advised. Most 5er pin heights is 47.5" from level ground, but some new models differ. Flipping the 5er axles(axle under spring) gains about 4"+ in 5er height and pin height. If this is already done the spring mountings may be spaced also. Raising the 5er usually requires 4 or 5 steps to replace the standard 3 steps for wife and kids.
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Old 04-01-2007, 04:54 AM   #14
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Well it was gone when I called on it.
Probably a good thing I don't need anything that big. I'd rather just find a cheap, older 1 ton pick-up.
I agree, in a regular pick-up I'd defiantly mount it directly over the axle centered on the leaf springs for weight distribution and ride comfort. With a truck border line semi like that, then I don't think this camper would even be considered a load for it. It would be about like throwing a couple bales of hay in my pick-up truck.

Well we have been checking around, we only go camping at one lake near the house here to spend the weekend on the water. There are annual lots we can rent for $600 a year, includes free electric and sewer hook ups. I'm guess what ever I tow it with will cost close to $100 in gas each time not counting wear and tear cost. So if we only go 6 times it's paid for it's self.

So I think we are going to make this one our second home and in a couple years when we hopefully have time to go travel some, then have a bigger truck bought and get a smaller, newer, lighter camper to travel with.
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