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Old 09-18-2016, 08:45 PM   #1
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Trailer vs Class C vs 5th Wheel

Put this in the General forum rather than repeating 3 times in each of the above subject forums (assuming bias of each subject forum.) With pending retirement, plan to travel extensively throughout the US - but not full time. Currently awaiting VW payout for my Passat TDI, and which daily driver I replace it with will determine which RV path I take so it becomes critical. Essentially, I am trying to weigh the various options, so I don't make a wrong decision with the wrong vehicle.

Option 1 - Trailer + 1500 Ram diesel. This was actually my long term thinking when bought the Passat, not that it would tow anything. Rather, enjoy the mileage (work averages 17,000/yr) then in a couple of years upgrade to a Jeep GC diesel/ Touareg TDI and tow an approximately 25' trailer. Leaning more towards a Ram 1500 diesel as I really don't like the 25' floorplans and moving up to 26-30'. I am a photographer and think in terms of light. With the exception of Airstream, those rear baths cut light and interiors dependent on side windows appear like dungeons, especially with dark wood/fabric decor. Why don't other manufacturers copy Airstream's floorplans with rear windowed diner, center living/kitchen, mid bath, front bed in an (actual) 25' package as the closest are rear living but expands to an (actual) 30' length.

Option 2 - approx. 25' Class C + dingy. While wife has Fiat 500, she insisted on automatic so would have to dolly tow. Prefer 4 down and the car narrowed down too is the Ford Fusion Hybrid. There are several light SUV's, but with the same mileage, may as well get the truck/trailer above and the Jeep GC is too heavy for Sprinter class. While I will be renting a Fusion non-hybrid (hopefully Budget cooperates) next month, will know more about the car then. Concern on Class C - another vehicle and presumably higher insurance cost. Also, haven't decided Mercedes Sprinter or similar size F350 chassis with the bigger issue not being gas vs diesel, rather depreciation factors. In other words, given the higher cost of the Sprinter, will it hold value better than the equivalent gas model when trading/selling several years later.

Option 3 - 5th Wheel + 2500/3500 diesel. Considering only because love floorplans with rear living room but don't know if I want a 2500/3500 as a daily driver. Also, wife may have difficulty with entry to any truck, but more so with the 2500/3500 and may consider the air suspension in the Ram 1500 for lowering. She has a blown out knee from an old workmans comp issue following a fall and will probably need knee replacement surgery in a year or so. On our last flight, TSA employee leveled with her why always 'chosen' for additional search - the body scanner shows a grossly deformed knee.

Would appreciate your input and suggestions.
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Old 09-18-2016, 08:56 PM   #2
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Option 4: Get a Class A. Inside flooring will be on one level making it easier on your wife's knee and you will have the big picture window to look out going down the road. You can tow much more with a Class A than you can with most Class C's. We tow a Chevrolet Spark with a manual transmission. I know your wife wouldn't like it but you can step up to the Chevrolet Sonic with an auto trans and tow it 4 down.

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Old 09-18-2016, 08:59 PM   #3
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Get the knee replaced now and see how she can navigate.
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Old 09-19-2016, 06:01 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by jfran304 View Post
Option 4: Get a Class A. Inside flooring will be on one level making it easier on your wife's knee and you will have the big picture window to look out going down the road. You can tow much more with a Class A than you can with most Class C's. We tow a Chevrolet Spark with a manual transmission. I know your wife wouldn't like it but you can step up to the Chevrolet Sonic with an auto trans and tow it 4 down.

Jon
Yes, a Class A would be very doable, particularly if I eliminate the CLass C Sprinter diesel (Ford Transit diesel already ruled out) and limited to gassers in the sub 30' Class A or C. Why they don't put a Powerstroke in place of that V-10 is beyond me as it seems with that low end torque, power and efficiency would be ideal. SO what if would be an $8000 premium (based on Super Duty truck pricing), I would get it in a heartbeat. Rear diesel pushers are too large and expensive.

While I would have no problem with a manual, and would prefer it, the Spark would be too small as a primary driver. Most manuals approved for 4 down that are Chevy Cruze size and above are impossible to find and/or limited to the lowest trim level. That is also why I eliminated the Chevy Malibu - 1.5 engine only, but upgraded trim bumps it to the 2.0 engine which is not approved for 4 down. Likewise with the Ford Fusion gas engines, so limited to hybrid which is OK.
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Old 09-19-2016, 12:37 PM   #5
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I tow a fifth wheel with a Ram 2500 Mega Cab. I put step bars on the truck to assist my wife and myself getting into the truck. This is my daily driver and I get very good fuel mileage with the diesel towing and non-towing. I also have a bad knee from wrestling, playing football and coaching wrestling for over 50 years. It has gotten to the point where I had to have my knee replaced six months ago. This has not stopped me at all in towing our fifth wheel with my bad knee getting into and out of the truck. So my suggestion is get the 2500 or 3500 Ram Diesel engine pick-up truck and buy a fifth wheel.
In fact it's easier to get into the truck with the large door opening versus getting into a car with smaller door opening, you don't have to bend your knee has much to get in. Plus there's room to move your leg to stretch it out when it starts to get stiff in the truck cab.
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Old 09-19-2016, 03:02 PM   #6
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if going 2500-3500 they do make Power Steps to add to truck and to trailer...

also some 5th wheels offer the bedroom AND bathroom on the same level.. no night time trips and stairs...

wife has knee problems... just my research for later..

I have a Fixed steps on F 250.. and extra handles for travel trailer ... wife does OK,, but knee replacements are in her future.


I will add... a friend has a Gas powered 2015 Georgetown , my wife had trouble going up and down there steps.
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Old 09-19-2016, 07:28 PM   #7
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We have a 36' fifth wheel w/4 slides that weighs 11k lbs.--towed with a 3/4 ton diesel crew cab truck. It does a great job, however most of our camping is sitting in one place. We're very spoiled to the square footage.

The Class C's are okay for travel, but not the best for pulling a toad. They're also not particularly inexpensive. If you go with the Mercedes chassis, they're going to be quite expensive.

The Class A's are good for someone that's on the go--from place to place. They tow a toad well, and are you'd probably get more for your money with an entry level gas powered unit vs. a Class B.

I'd suggest anyone wondering what to purchase to catch one of the big RV shows starting in the Fall. Seeing everything under one roof might help you make your buying decision.

My 3/4 ton diesel truck has plastic running boards and is a 2x4. It's actually easy to enter as my wife too is mobility challenged.
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Old 09-19-2016, 07:44 PM   #8
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FWIW the Ford V-10 does well enough that most of us will not spring for the extra money and extra weight of the diesel. If you gave me a Sprinter chassis I'd sell it or trade it.

Your choice really comes down to whether you want to drive a truck all the time or tow a small car. We opted for a 30 ft C and a towed. Enough room for two of us to be comfortable and enough power to tow our Escape on a dolly.
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Old 09-19-2016, 08:22 PM   #9
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I would like to know exactly what you want to do with your rig. Are you planning on short-stop touring or destination stops?

I would think a Class C or A would be the choice for short-stop touring. We have had both - first a B+ and now an A. We have towed 4-down Chevy automatics with both (first a Cavalier; now a Captiva). The car is wonderful for doing the sight-seeing & hook-unhook is a 4 minute task.

I would think (but I have never owned) the fifth-wheel would lend itself more to destination-style (longer stays) travel as there is really more space with more choice of living area and kitchen designs.
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Old 09-20-2016, 06:44 AM   #10
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I would like to know exactly what you want to do with your rig. Are you planning on short-stop touring or destination stops?
Generally this. Short stops, no more than a week, but more realistically 3 days or so then moving on. Historically, that has been my technique when traveling - hotel or cottage rental and spoke out to explore the area. While currently, my photography focuses on real estate and sports, with retirement transition to travel, landscape and wildlife photography. While not critical, since just the two of us even thought about a trailer with a bunk which would convert into an "office" computer/photography room with wide format printer. Could then take orders over web and ship from wherever I happen to be. That is not critical though as can set laptop up anywhere, storing printer til needed but would like more living area than single dinette seating, but want to keep it less than 30'.
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Old 09-20-2016, 07:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck_Hammer View Post
if going 2500-3500 they do make Power Steps to add to truck and to trailer...

also some 5th wheels offer the bedroom AND bathroom on the same level.. no night time trips and stairs...

wife has knee problems... just my research for later..

I have a Fixed steps on F 250.. and extra handles for travel trailer ... wife does OK,, but knee replacements are in her future.


I will add... a friend has a Gas powered 2015 Georgetown , my wife had trouble going up and down there steps.
Yes they make a power step for pick-up trucks, one manufacture is AMP Research: They make a power step to get into and out of the cab; I have attached a link for you. Also they make bed steps which I have two one at the tailgate and the other behind the cab to reach into the box.

Quality AMP Research Powerstep & Truck Running Boards | AMP Research
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Old 09-20-2016, 11:28 AM   #12
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A bunk converted into your 'studio' would be ideal for you. I just Googled each kind of RV and there were quite a few 28-30' w/bunks in every type. It just depends on what vehicle you want to pull it or tow behind.

For instance, I Googled '30' 5th wheel with bunks' and this is one of many that came up. You can search by substituting 5th wheel with Class C or with trailer or with Class A. Try it. You'll probably get a mix of sizes so you'll have to sort through them.

http://www.rvingplanet.com/rvs/fifth-wheel/bunkhouse
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Old 09-21-2016, 07:55 AM   #13
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FWIW we drive a 28 ft classed C that is 30 ft long. Couch, dinette, usable bathroom and queen bed in the back. Often set up a folding rocker or bag chair in the aisle when parked. Look around. You have options in that size and they are a lot more comfortable than a 24 ft unit.

We went C because we really don't want a big P/U as a daily driver. Don't like fivers because of the steps and loss of the P/U for hauling things like canoes that will go on the towed. Town an Escape with ours. Works fine with my two new knees and two hip replacements. There are a lot of comfortable smaller vehicles out there to use as a towed. Particularly so if you are willing to use a tow dolly.
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