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Old 02-26-2011, 10:25 PM   #1
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Question 5th wheel or class a...which one

We have a very nice tent trailer at the present time, an 08 Fleetwood Arcadia and we love using it.
Down the road, maybe 3 years or more, I would like to get rid of the pup and get either a 5th wheel or class a. But after reading a lot of posts, I'm still not sure which one to lean for.

I like the idea of a 5th wheel because I could use the truck for other uses as well. A nice used 5ver would be cheaper (although I still need to buy the truck too). Insurance costs are cheaper.

Having a class a would be a large investment (guessing about 60K-125K) for a nice 35+ feet diesel pusher. It would be easier to tow a smaller vehicle than a large 5ver. The mrs could make a sandwich on the go if needed or even use the bathroom.

As much as I would like to tour the country and spend months at time. I dont know if that would happen. Is it worth the investment of a class a if you dont spend more than 2 months in it throughout the year?

Throw me some feedback, thanks for your time.
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Old 02-26-2011, 10:57 PM   #2
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They both have there advantages and draw backs. Do you plan on boondocking way out in the middle of no where, or doing CG's?
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Old 02-26-2011, 11:21 PM   #3
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:36 AM   #4
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I vote 5th wheel. When not in use, no maint issues. The class A is going to cost you good maintenance each time you go to use it so infrequently.
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Old 02-27-2011, 05:30 AM   #5
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We own a DP and love it...if you are only going to take a few trips a year I would suggest the 5th wheel for now as I feel the DP does better if used rather than sitting for months on end. Good luck in which way you chose and keep us informed as Im sure everyone here would love to "help" you shop when it comes time.

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Old 02-27-2011, 08:08 AM   #6
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The 5th wheel would be better for less use, the DP for more use.
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:08 AM   #7
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We went from a class A to a 5th wheel and back to a Class A and our camping style and travel habits were the influence. If you are going to a campground to stay for your vacation then the 5th wheel is probably a better choice but if you like going across country and just staying a night or two in each place the Class A is better. We boondock at ball games and the Class A has an advantage there.

The 5th wheel is cheaper to buy and maintain and just as comfortable when setup. My annual cost for storage, insurance and licenses is just under $5,000 and operational costs must be added to that.

Neither should be allowed to sit for months without some use; we often stop at our MH for lunch or a rest when out and about.
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:15 AM   #8
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I would go for the 5er, If you have a Class A break down your out, of course you will have a toad, but no place to sleep other than a Motel or Hotel while being repaired. If your truck breaks down you at least have a place to stay. We have considered a Class A, but decided against it due to larger maintenance costs, etc. JMO.
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:18 AM   #9
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Please put this in the "whats' it worth" category. We started with a fiver, then graduated to a class A, first gas then diesel. We soon discovered, for us, that the convenience of having the tow vehicle for touring around our destinations far outweighed the luxury etc. of the MH. Just could not bring ourselves into investing in a toad plus the additional expense of the setup to tow it. We now have a TT and look forward to towing and touring again. This is just us of course.
We can relate to the amount of usage needed to justify the MH also. We goofed not once but twice and hopefully have it "right" for us now.
Best of luck for you and your choice.

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Old 02-27-2011, 08:27 AM   #10
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We have had class As, 5ers, class Cs and bumper pulls. The class A is convenient, but is more of a maintenance headache, especially when not used often. In the summer and winter, the large windshield is a major source of heat loss or gain. It needs to either be prepped for storage or driven monthly to keep all of the fluids circulating. Letting it idle in place does not let every thing come up to temperature.
Like Mike noted, if you have a problem with the chassis, the whole hose goes in the shop for repairs. It will take a specialized shop to do the chassis work on the motorhome chassis.

With a 5er, you do have a truck to maintain, but any normal auto shop can do the work. You have a truck to haul stuff.

The 5er is much better suited to longer term use and does not require maintenance.

Hitching up a 5er is as easy as hooking up the dinghy to tow. With a motorhome and a dinghy, you will have the towing and brake arrangement on each vehicle you tow.

Personally, I cannot see us going back to motorhome. We now have a large vintage bumper pull and all we would consider is going to a 5er.

Ken
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:11 AM   #11
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I am now in a Class A and have used it since last June, extensively. We have been in it in Florida for 3 months and also used it on a 5 week 6000 mile trip last summer. Even though it was only in service for 14 months since new and had 8000 miles on it when purchased, I have found it to be in need of repair more often, than several years of owning a 5th wheel and truck. The MH requires the use of a Truck shop instead of a car dealer and therefore tend to be a bit more expensive. You also need to deal with more people even if it is under warranty. The chassis warranty is serviced by someone other than the RV dealer. Sometimes knowing who covers what becomes an issue. ( a little easier to determine if it is truck or trailer related)
I expected that having the other half preparing the sandwich for the noon meal while driving down the road, or having the bathroom available would be an advantage as well, however moving about as one travels is not wise or safe. Staying in the seat and strapped in is needed, so stopping and going into the trailer is not much different, although you do not have to expose yourself to whatever stepping outside may do.
Years ago we purchased a TV, stereo, AM,FM radio combination for the family room. When the TV was trash and the rest still in good working order, the whole thing was replaced anyway. That's how I now look at the MH. One may decide the truck needs replaced but the trailer is still serviceable or vice versa and not have near the expense as replacing a MH.
Of course owning a pickup has its disadvantages as well. We recently replaced our house. I owned an F450. It required the garage to be at least 24 ft deep for the truck to fit. (wife calls it a big Butt truck) It also takes up its share of the garage side to side. I can't tell you how many nice houses we ruled out because the garages were to short! None of the newer developments allowed for storing the trailer or MH beside the house either. At the time I purchased the MH it was a bit of an ego thing. I could easily see myself sitting in the seat of a big macho MH driving down the highways of America, looking good! I just wanted one. Now I am thinking I may have made a mistake and besides that my looking good days are behind me!
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:34 AM   #12
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Hi NorCalCamper,
Because you are at least 3 years away from a decision, the only advice I can provide is for you to save as much as you can toward the purchase. A lot of good thoughts have been posted. The flavor of your decision will be what your plans are when it comes time to make the decision. This is a truly personal decision based on many components that currently do not exist. Save your money, pay attention to the kind of camping you do and want to do as you get older. Based on your ID, also consider the tax situation at the time of your decision.

I have a similar decision coming up in 3 to 4 years. We will be done with our commitment to the Gkids and our RVing will change. Right now, I am understanding what I like and do not like about how we RV and would a different coach make the RV experience any better. This means I am in a data gathering mode and will continue that way until we have completed our commitment with the Gkids.
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:54 AM   #13
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We are sort of leaning toward a mh as we will have to work . Commuting in a big truck may not be practical.
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Old 02-27-2011, 11:01 AM   #14
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All great advice and based on your stated needs I would agree that a 5er would be a better choice. We LOVE our 40' DP but we travel a lot so it works best for us. One big attraction for us is in not having to have a heavy duty truck to tow a trailer. We like our SUV toad rather than firing up a big TV every time we want to run to Walmart.

We're personally not concerned with the issue of losing our place to sleep should the coach "brake down". Maintenance is the best defense and most shops we've been to have facilities to allow you to stay in your rig overnight if necessary.

I've never had to maintain a large TV but I can tell you that maintaining a DP is expensive... and that's if nothing goes wrong. Many forum members reduce the cost by doing much of their own maintenance but it's been a long time since I turned a wrench under the shade tree on my 55 Chevy so I leave that the the pros.

Good luck...

Rick
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