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Old 09-13-2013, 06:27 PM   #15
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I haven't read all of the posts but most of them and this has not been mentioned yet. I've had experience with 3TT's and 3 MH's over the last30+ years.

I will speak in general terms and before someone tells me there are always exceptions to what I'm going to say.

Many have already mentioned the differences between the two modes of travel, self-contained MH and the pull behind TT or 5-th wheel. Once you determine which mode interests you then consider what I'm going to add to the mix.

Motor Homes are built on a truck frame. That means that the frame company does have a vested interest in what is going to be built on their chassis. In fact I've been told that chassis representatives may be part of the MH factory make-up. The building of a MH frame is somewhat controlled by the DOT just like your car or truck. The DOT evaluates the braking system on your car/truck/MH because it will travel down U.S. highways. There are probably more areas that are involved but you get my drift.

Travel Trailers (TT's) are independently built and there are few controls concerning their over all quality and safety. Most TT's are built on the edge of disaster. WHY? Because they can. You won't believe this but I don't believe that the TT industry really cares about your safety. Here's one simple task for you to perform. Find a TT that has a set of tires and a suspension that is rated for 10% more than the maximum weight the suspension and tires will be expected to carry.

We had a TT that was supposed to weigh no more than 7,000 LBS. That was water, and cargo. There were two axles and each was rated at 3,000 LBS. That's 6,000 LBS of axle for a 7,000 lb TT. I don't remember the exact numbers but the tires were rated to carry close to 7,000 LBS of weight. To me that's no margin for error.

Most TT companies will tell you to travel with your holding tanks empty. They know the tanks can't usually carry the weight and the support system is marginal plus the extra weight will max out your capacities. I don't usually carry a lot of liquids in our MH but I would not hesitate to travel with all tanks full. With a TT I would not even consider it. Our first TT had a tank that dropped 7" and it was only 1/3 full and we had not even used it camping. We just brought it home from the dealer with the water that they left in the tank.

Our MH is rated to carry 18,000 LBS. The 6 tires are rated to carry about 4,000 LBS each when inflated to 110 LBS for a total of 24,000 LBS. To me that's a good margin of safety. We will run with about 86 LBS in each tire but you can see the margin for safety is very good.

I have read many a post where the owner spends $3,000 to $4,000 and more to upgrade rims, tires springs etc so they can travel with a better margin of safety and some piece of mind.

There are a lot of good TT units out there and many, many families have camped and traveled all over this country. Approach and of these choices with an open mind.

My last comment is concerned with the braking systems on TT's. They are very marginal at best. Because of the cost involved they are still using drum brakes and not disc. Almost no vehicles are built today with drums all around. That concept went out in the late 60's or early 70's.

JM2CW
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Old 09-13-2013, 06:38 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeJay View Post
I haven't read all of the posts but most of them and this has not been mentioned yet. I've had experience with 3TT's and 3 MH's over the last30+ years.

I will speak in general terms and before someone tells me there are always exceptions to what I'm going to say.

Many have already mentioned the differences between the two modes of travel, self-contained MH and the pull behind TT or 5-th wheel. Once you determine which mode interests you then consider what I'm going to add to the mix.

Motor Homes are built on a truck frame. That means that the frame company does have a vested interest in what is going to be built on their chassis. In fact I've been told that chassis representatives may be part of the MH factory make-up. The building of a MH frame is somewhat controlled by the DOT just like your car or truck. The DOT evaluates the braking system on your car/truck/MH because it will travel down U.S. highways. There are probably more areas that are involved but you get my drift.

Travel Trailers (TT's) are independently built and there are few controls concerning their over all quality and safety. Most TT's are built on the edge of disaster. WHY? Because they can. You won't believe this but I don't believe that the TT industry really cares about your safety. Here's one simple task for you to perform. Find a TT that has a set of tires and a suspension that is rated for 10% more than the maximum weight the suspension and tires will be expected to carry.

We had a TT that was supposed to weigh no more than 7,000 LBS. That was water, and cargo. There were two axles and each was rated at 3,000 LBS. That's 6,000 LBS of axle for a 7,000 lb TT. I don't remember the exact numbers but the tires were rated to carry close to 7,000 LBS of weight. To me that's no margin for error.

Most TT companies will tell you to travel with your holding tanks empty. They know the tanks can't usually carry the weight and the support system is marginal plus the extra weight will max out your capacities. I don't usually carry a lot of liquids in our MH but I would not hesitate to travel with all tanks full. With a TT I would not even consider it. Our first TT had a tank that dropped 7" and it was only 1/3 full and we had not even used it camping. We just brought it home from the dealer with the water that they left in the tank.

Our MH is rated to carry 18,000 LBS. The 6 tires are rated to carry about 4,000 LBS each when inflated to 110 LBS for a total of 24,000 LBS. To me that's a good margin of safety. We will run with about 86 LBS in each tire but you can see the margin for safety is very good.

I have read many a post where the owner spends $3,000 to $4,000 and more to upgrade rims, tires springs etc so they can travel with a better margin of safety and some piece of mind.

There are a lot of good TT units out there and many, many families have camped and traveled all over this country. Approach and of these choices with an open mind.

My last comment is concerned with the braking systems on TT's. They are very marginal at best. Because of the cost involved they are still using drum brakes and not disc. Almost no vehicles are built today with drums all around. That concept went out in the late 60's or early 70's.

JM2CW
TeJay
TeJay,
Very good write up and response. I agreed with just about every thing you stated with the exception of the very last line. "That concept went out in the late 60's and 70's". Well, I agree with your thinking on the disc vs. drum but, our 2004 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the C-7 330HP CAT and the Allision 3000MH trans has drums all the way around. And this coach, is a top of the line rig, for that manufacturer, in its day. Now, I certainly don't want to get off track of the OPs post here, it's not mine so, I won't veer too much. But, I don't know what's being put on todays heavier, diesel units so, it could be disc all the way around now. But, the rest of what you stated is good info.
Scott
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Old 09-14-2013, 08:48 AM   #17
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TeJay,
Very good write up and response. I agreed with just about every thing you stated with the exception of the very last line. "That concept went out in the late 60's and 70's". Well, I agree with your thinking on the disc vs. drum but, our 2004 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the C-7 330HP CAT and the Allision 3000MH trans has drums all the way around. And this coach, is a top of the line rig, for that manufacturer, in its day. Now, I certainly don't want to get off track of the OPs post here, it's not mine so, I won't veer too much. But, I don't know what's being put on todays heavier, diesel units so, it could be disc all the way around now. But, the rest of what you stated is good info.
Scott
Very good analysis. Even between motorhome chassis there is a huge difference. Our Spartan Mountain Master built with our Entegra rides as solid as a tank and as smooth as a Cadillac Seville. Let me tell you when I apply those air brakes, I stop!
I have three video cameras helping my views on all sides and excellent mirrors.
It has large 22 inch tires and a tag for stability.
I would not trust a trailer in the wind , rain or snow. We travel with our pets and they are right next to us safe and comfortable. We have a toilet facilities and sleep quarters whenever we pull over. That big generator and fridge are close at hand.
If you have the funds there is no comparisons for comfort, convenience and safety.
Drive a motorhome and see what feels solid. The F53 chassis does not instill confidence when loaded with 35 foot or greater coach.It rattles and shakes.
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Old 09-14-2013, 08:56 AM   #18
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TeJay,

You have the exact same problems with some of the motorhome manufacturers. They will be overloaded if you travel with one or more tanks full. So you need to carefully watch the weights on any motorhomd or trailer chassis.

Ken
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Old 09-14-2013, 10:18 PM   #19
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We've owned our MH for about 6 months. Previously we owned a 40' 5er. Our present 40' MH has perhaps 2/3 the interior storage space of our 5er, my wife really misses the storage space. We have the MH basement storage areas nearly full, interior full, and still have a pile of stuff in the garage that was removed from the 5er that will not fit in the MH.
We decided to change from a 5er to a MH because we are at the age where the 5er setup and packing up became a real chore when moving daily or in 2-3 days. That is not true when one has hydraulic leveling jacks on the 5er though, ours did not. We put about 72,000 miles on that 5er in 8 years.
With a towable RV there are the same appliances a MH to maintain. The axles and wheels are the other major concerns. With a pickup to tow a 5er, it may be repaired at most any competent repair facility.
A MH chassis can often be repaired at a HDT shop, as most of the running gear, steering, and suspension are HDT or bus parts. The coach/house part becomes vastly more complicated because both living area and motive chassis are melded into one vehicle, with many components constantly "talking" to each other by many means from several sources.
From our brief experience, I will say maintenance for a MH is about twice that of a towable and tow vehicle; for the above reasons.
Good luck with your decision, ours was difficult, but was best for our circumstances.
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Old 09-14-2013, 10:54 PM   #20
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Our thoughts are, our toad gets better mpg than our diesel pusher and I presume it gets better mpg than a tow vehicle pulling most travel trailers/fifth wheelers. For us, it makes better sense to drive the more economical vehicle when we are sightseeing, running errands etc.

Just our humble opinion <g>

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Old 09-15-2013, 09:32 AM   #21
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Towing our 38' Cameo with the 6.7L diesel, we get about 10 to 11mpg at 65 mph. The truck running solo around town gets 14 to 15 mpg.

The folks with large diesel pushers get Around 7 mpg at 65 mph.

Ken
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Old 09-15-2013, 10:02 AM   #22
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The MPG thing is all over the map no matter which way you go. I have seen good and lousy MPG in both formats.

Pre-purchase research is critical. Weight, power, torque, gearing, etc. And ever believe the sales folks.

BTW, I get 10.5 to 12.5 with my 33ft FRED MH with Wrangler toad. Honest!
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Old 09-15-2013, 10:07 AM   #23
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As mentioned earlier it depends on what kind of experience you're looking for. With us it wasn't a hard choice. We like to go to some out of the way places and really enjoy off roading. The best combination we've found is a motorhome pulling a Jeep. We can setup in a few minutes and be off to the trails.

The Jeep is a hard core off road machine. We don't push things to the maximum, but then again the Jeep probably has as been driven as many miles off the pavement as as it has on the pavement. We've seen a few 3/4 ton and 1 ton trucks out on the trails, but few and far between for good reason. Driving your 8' wide dually on a 5'wide trail has complications and we've seen enough sheet metal damage on them to convince us to stick with the Jeep.

You have your choice. Either you can drive your house and tow your grocery getter, or tow your house and drive your grocery getter.
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Old 09-15-2013, 11:12 AM   #24
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As mentioned earlier it depends on what kind of experience you're looking for. With us it wasn't a hard choice. We like to go to some out of the way places and really enjoy off roading. The best combination we've found is a motorhome pulling a Jeep. We can setup in a few minutes and be off to the trails.

The Jeep is a hard core off road machine. We don't push things to the maximum, but then again the Jeep probably has as been driven as many miles off the pavement as as it has on the pavement. We've seen a few 3/4 ton and 1 ton trucks out on the trails, but few and far between for good reason. Driving your 8' wide dually on a 5'wide trail has complications and we've seen enough sheet metal damage on them to convince us to stick with the Jeep.

You have your choice. Either you can drive your house and tow your grocery getter, or tow your house and drive your grocery getter.
You put it so succinctly. First thoughts and priorities are not what is best or perfect for some or most. I guess we all asked ourselves what we want from our experience.
I cannot use airports due to medical supplies I have to have on hand and I need facilities on hand always. So for us we want a mobile home we can have with us while sight seeing and going to different places.
I am not going to rough it in a tent and doubt I can manipulate a travel trailer hook up.
We call Enterprise and a vehicle appears except when too far from one of their offices.
For others they can lower their TT and go on their merry way with their truck and return to their trailer. I think having pets also dictates the sort of vehicle as they need space and a safe place for their journey with us.
The refrigerator has to be efficient and capable of running off batteries or propane for my meds so there again everyone's needs vary when traveling.
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Old 09-15-2013, 12:03 PM   #25
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There really is no better choice. Both choices are bad. For some people one choice is slightly less bad than another.

It all depends on what you will be doing.

I am now in a dually truck that I like. It carries stone, firewood, kayaks, lumber and basically anything I want to carry. We are in the eastern USA. No real off roading as all the land is private land.

When we go out west we may end up switching to a MH and jeep toad because we may like riding the back county trails.

You can buy a nice TT and nice diesel truck for a lot less $$$ than a nice MH.

You can also buy a nice 5er and dually diesel truck for less $$$ than a nice MH. Especially a Diesel MH even 5 years old.

To me the simpler you can make it and still be comfortabe the better.
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:02 PM   #26
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the joys of owning a 5th wheel or tt is that you've got 2x the licience and insurance. you've also got to go outside and hook and unhook every time you move.

a motorhome just hit the lift leveler button and if all is ok then off you go.

think 2x and be smart.
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Old 09-15-2013, 11:54 PM   #27
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We have pulled a pop-up, TT, 5er and now have had the DP MH the last year and a half. We will not go back to pulling anything but a car behind us. The MH just fits us better and we feel it is just a personal thing. Less storage yes but we had way to much junk in the 5er anyway....
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Old 09-22-2013, 07:39 AM   #28
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Or you can do like I plan to do. Replace the living ropm couch with a poer recliner like my late sister's. It had massauge and heat plus cup holder and tablet or small tv ho lder. The extra room will give me the seven by three space I need to park my three wheel scooter. I'm instaling a ramp anyway for my walker I can use it for my scooter to plus the scooter has as much truck space as a Nissan Sentra and gets 65mpg and can still hit 75mph on the high way. It's the perfect touring vehicle. Just me and my girl.
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