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Old 06-24-2009, 01:06 PM   #1
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Motorhome(MH) vs towable rig as to cost

After reading lots of posts, on many different forums, I'm puzzled as to
why a MH costs a lot more new, than a truck & TT or 5er combo. I can
see buying a used MH, and a consumer thinking it's a good deal. Because
in the used purchase situation, somebody has already taken the big
depreciation hit. But your choice of chassis, is limited to GM & Ford and
I have found, when shopping for a used MH, people try to sell them at retail and dealers will often ask, even more that NADA retail, then act like
they're doing you big favor, dropping the price, to where it should have been in the first place.

I just see a more active market, for 1/2 ton trucks (many now can tow a
large RV) and TT and 5ers. The more active market creating lower prices,
for the consumer. So what am I missing, doesn't a towable & truck rig,
give you more choices and cost less?
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:21 PM   #2
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There is no half ton in the world that can tow a "large" trailer. With a half-ton you'll be limited to somewhere less than 7000 lbs give or take with options, etc. That's not very big. TT's are lighter than fivers for the most part. Once you decide to go with a motor home or a trailer, you should then find the trailer you want, figure out its weights, and then find a truck capable of pulling that trailer when its loaded.

There are plenty of guides on this forum for towing weights and cargo carrying capacities if you do a quick search on the forum.

Good luck!
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:50 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Rob View Post
I just see a more active market, for 1/2 ton trucks (many now can tow a large RV) and TT and 5ers. The more active market creating lower prices, for the consumer. So what am I missing, doesn't a towable & truck rig, give you more choices and cost less?
I agree with the previous post that a 1/2 ton just won't do it for a large towable. As to more choices and less cost with towables, that all comes down to personal preference, imho. If someone really wants a particular type of RV, it doesn't have to make financial sense, they'll justify it to themselves somehow.

Every time we decide to get something new, we look at the MH side of the business but always come back to a fifth wheel because that's what works best for us. Just as many folks will say the same about a MH or TT.
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:08 PM   #4
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The money aspect for us played out like this... I have a company truck, my wife has a small SUV. We have no use for another vehicle like a truck. So when shopping we would have to look at a suitable tow vehicle (25 to 30k??) trailer equal to space and ammenaties to our mh (25 to 30k??) 60k at a minimum. We paid 75k for the MH and are able to tow the SUV. Now if you already have the tow vehicle, that's another story.
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Old 06-24-2009, 11:09 PM   #5
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The first time you are in a raging snowstorm, and you wake up in the middle of the night and think...we have to get out of here...and you climb into the drivers seat and drive away from there out to a plowed highway..... well then you will realize why you have a motorhome, and you will love it.
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Old 06-25-2009, 02:49 PM   #6
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The first time you are in a raging snowstorm, and you wake up in the middle of the night and think...we have to get out of here...and you climb into the drivers seat and drive away from there out to a plowed highway..... well then you will realize why you have a motorhome, and you will love it.
Assume you were boondocking at the time and didn't have to disconnect utilities or hook up the toad. Otherwise, the only advantage seems to be not having to exit the rig and hop into the tow vehicle?
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Old 06-25-2009, 03:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Rob View Post
I have found, when shopping for a used MH, people try to sell them at retail and dealers will often ask, even more that NADA retail, then act like
they're doing you big favor, dropping the price, to where it should have been in the first place.
Don,
Not sure what planet you are on when you price used motorhomes, but here on earth with the economy the way it is, just about anyone can get a great deal right now for nowhere near wholesale, be it private sale or dealer. Of course I stopped looking after I bought my used motorhome last summer, and gas prices being what they were at that time may have also played into why I got such a good deal, but there are plenty of recent posts on this forum where folks are still routinely getting deals of 75% of whosale book value.
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Old 06-25-2009, 04:30 PM   #8
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I pulled a 24 ft Jayco fifth wheel with a superslide with a Chevy 1/2 ton 350 cu 373 gears and a tow package, no way, ok if the wind wasn't blowing and you didn't have any hills. I moved up to a Ford F 350 4x4 srw, 1 ton diesel, now that did the job and then some. Don't let a dealer sell you less than what you really need.
i have moved up to a 2003 Bounder with a 1999 jeep Cherokee , I like it. Buy AMERICAN
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Old 06-25-2009, 04:39 PM   #9
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We've had both towables and motorhomes, we prefer the latter. With small kids, we usually drive late into the night after they've fallen asleep.

When we had the TT, the kids would sometimes wake up when transferring to the TT (think rain, cold), then the TT was too cold/warm to sleep in. Like most kids, once ours are awake it took a while to get them back to sleep.

The motorhome solved those problems, albeit at a higher total cost than a Tow Vehicle/TT combo.

JMHO,
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Old 06-25-2009, 09:26 PM   #10
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Don,
Generally speaking, when you compare the different rigs of similar length and construction quality you will find that the truck and travel trailer are your lowest cost option, truck and 5th wheel are next and then motorhome being the most expensive. Again, comparing like-length and like-quality.

Of course if you are cruising the private sale market you will surely find situations that will defy this rule-of-thumb. My 5th wheel definitely broke the rules. I bought it "used", it had been slept in two nights but priced as if it were years old.

I know you said you have read a lot of information here on this board but I would encourage you to read on. There are so many discussions that take on the 1/2 ton truck towing realities. They are so limited in towing capacity that if you wanted to do a apples-to-apples comparison between towing or a MH, then you should be looking at class B's. I could be wrong but I do not think there are even any class C's built on a 1/2 ton equivelant.
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:36 AM   #11
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My two cents.... have watched folks with travel trailers and 5ers park in campgrounds. Some can do it smoothly and some have difficulty backing. When they do get settled in the site their next move is to disconnect, level the rig when screw jacks, power, water and sewer connections. For some this is quit an ordeal.

For us.. we rough it smoothly.... disconnect the tow, back in the site, press a couple of buttons ... but I do have to get out of the rig to connect, power, water. (dont generally connect the sewer until I need to dump)

For us a motorhome is the way to go!
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Old 06-27-2009, 02:58 PM   #12
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Features like automatic leveling, generators, and other creature comforts that formerly were only found in motorized RVs have made their way into towables. In general, for the price conscious buyer, those features can be had for a lesser total in a towable. As we've gotten older, those features have allowed us to keep going in a well appointed fiver and a nice tow vehicle at much less cost than a similarly equipped DPMH. The debate about MHs vs towables could go on forever, but today it's more about personal preference than features or lack thereof.
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:12 AM   #13
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I'm offering my 2 cents worth based on our personal requirements but hope, someone will benefit from our experience. Except for the Class C which we only kept for 5 weeks, we bought all of our campers used. I mentioned the makes and models for reference. We have owned 2 fifth wheels, 1 pop up, 3 class A's and 1 class C and there are arguments to be made for and against each of them. The pop up (14' Skamper) is obviously the cheapest and easiest to maneuver and least demanding of fuel or requirement for towing vehicle size or design but does lack some living comforts and storage capacity. The 5th wheels (both HR 31') were the best buy for our money when it comes to size and potential luxury of living area but requires a 3/4 ton or larger tow truck and some driving skill when it comes to small sites with tree lined access roads. With a diesel truck which can double as a second daily user car, fuel mileage can be quite good. Again, however, basement storage capacity is not great. Most of our camping is at some of the more primitive governmental campgrounds where parking is a challenge and if it were not for this factor and the storage issues (grandchildren) we would have stuck with the 5th wheel choice. BTW, between the cost of a nice 5th wheel and quality diesel truck, there is not a huge difference between these and gas motorhomes these days. The class C (31' HR and Ford Triton V10) got the best gas mileage of any of our MH's but basement storage is very limited, the driving compartment is smaller than a crew cab type pickup and oblique rear view site angle is restrictive. The class A (34' HR Admiral and Ford Triton V10) gas solves most of the issues mentioned but fuel consumption is fairly high at 5 - 6.5 mpg. Our most recent is a 2005 36' Itasca Meridian which is a diesel pusher is the best driving coach of them all. If we had the same storage capacity as the 34' Admiral, it would be perfect but we are pleased to trade that for the air ride comfort, effortless torque and brakes that we have with the diesel.
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Old 07-10-2009, 06:12 PM   #14
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having owned both, I think a properly match truck and 5er will be less expensive to operate and maintain on the long haul.

Ken
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