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Old 04-19-2015, 08:40 AM   #1
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5er vs DP

Hi,Im in the final stag of count down to retirerment. 2mths to go. We have been planning to go FT. We are not sure what to FT in. We had originally thought a Diesel pusher MH was the only way to go.Friends of ours own 5er and love it.We have been looking at them now.LOts of room on the inside,and have everything a DP has.I wonder how hard it is to set up and take down.Also is driving a large truck around town and site seeing a problem.You FTers out there can you give me opinions,and maybe advice on models we should be looking at.P.S We will be spending 7-8 Month a yr on the sunshine coast of BC canada,and hopefully traveling around northamerica for the remainder of the yr. Staying warm in the winters.
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Old 04-19-2015, 08:54 AM   #2
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Having had both, full timed in the 5th wheel and then stick & brick with a motor home. For us we prefer the 5th wheel. More room and storage, and easier to work on yourself. Things seemed to be easier to get to when needed than the motor home. When we had the 5th wheel we also had a 1 ton dually and over all never had to much of a problem getting around town. You may have to park further away that you want to from a store etc. It just takes a little getting used to. As far as set up, you have to do the same, makes no difference between the two. Now for the motor home the bathroom is always available to your co-pilot and the fridge is right there too so you don't have to find a place to stop. It all boils down to preference. For us it is the 5th wheel.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:23 AM   #3
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We're not full time, but went DP with the thought that we might be more adventurous in new places if we were driving a toad. Mountain roads and congested cities navigated as easily as possible. The thought that we would be getting over 20mpg while doing that encouraged local adventure as well (get off your butt!). For us, this turned out to be a great plan. We look for a nice park near sights we'd like to see, and take day trips that might be a hundred miles each way, in as many different directions as possible!

IF we were able to justify a big pickup somehow while not on the road (or at a destination?), things may have turned out differently. That's us anyway.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:23 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by mdunner View Post
Hi,Im in the final stag of count down to retirerment. 2mths to go.
Oh boy did you ever ask a loaded question!!!!!!!!!!!

We are on our 3rd 5er and the next last one. We so far really like that 5er as a 'touring/living' vehicle. It's plenty big, has 4 slides and pulls like a dream. There are bunches of pluses for both ways to travel. I've been driving a large pickup since 1977, so getting around for me, not a problem. Yes, occasionally you will need to make a long trek from the North 40 parking lot and yes, that grocery store parking lot may have too narrow passage ways - but you learn to cope with it pretty quickly. Additionally, that pick up, if a crew cab, has a lot more travel space then many are aware and as many 'luxury gadgets' as you would ever want. It is also capable of normal maintenance in any small town with a dealership or even a garage. That DP motor home - well that ain't quite as easy. As far as a pickup brand name - any of the Big Three are worthy of consideration and your choice depends on your personal like. With a MH, you almost have to tow a car for ease of local transport. Some campgrounds have roads and/or sites that will require that you unhitch your toad from the MH to maneuver. Then there are the costs of ownership for each.

Others will chime in, but you will have to make the final decision. For that final decision, can I suggest that you put together a tally sheet of pros and cons for each and then spend your hard earned bucks (loonies?) to YOUR best advantage because both are great ways to see and travel North America
Dave W
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:35 AM   #5
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In a very similar decision making process. My wife and I are in our mid-30's and after my wife barreling cancer and winning 5 years ago, we are setting out next summer for a 12-24 month trip with our two kids.

We've looked at DP and Fifth Wheels. We'll be buying a truck if we go fifth wheel and a toad if we go DP. While I really want a DP, I think our stage of life lends itself to the fifth wheel. I grew up on acreage with horses and cattle, so the plan is to come back at the end of our trip, buy acreage and build our home and farm for our family while living in the fifth wheel or DP. For us, we know our travels will continue but won't be open ended for many years to come. The difference between a new crew cab dually and a full time quality fifth wheel (we are leaning toward DRV Manhatten) and a DP and toad (Leaning toward Discovery 40G and Wrangler Unlimited) is about $65k, that's a lot of coin that could be used toward the down payment on the 30 acres that we would like to buy.

For me, and I've only read this forum and others for lots of research, start with the end in mind. I've driven flat bed diesel trucks hauling hay and around the city, and it's not really an issue. For us, the ability to have the truck to tow our home and then to have to tow horse trailers and use around the property is double value for us.

Additionally, we plan on living in whatever we choose while our sticks and bricks is being built, the fifth wheel just seems to lend itself better to that with four people and two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Happy shopping.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:43 AM   #6
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This is a very apples to oranges comparison, not to mention the price difference.

There are cheap and crappy models of both. Not really a true comparison if you look at the low end of one and the high end of the other. A high end fiver (that can be pulled by a one ton pickup) will run into 6 digits. DP high end can run into 7 digits.

On average 5th wheels are better insulated then most class A coaches. The few class A exceptions are: Entegra, Newmar, Foretravel, Newell and most anything on a Prevost shell.

Floorplans very a great deal on each. When buying new a very few manufactures of each type allow for custom building.

We choose the DP, it's what we liked and how we wanted to travel.
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Old 04-19-2015, 11:18 AM   #7
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I was looking for a DP 4 years ago. I had a 150k budget. I could buy a 4 or 5 year old DP. I did not look at 5th wheels until someone at the RV park invited me in. I thought humm. Pretty nice.

In the Florida snowbird RV park that I am in, there are 70% 5th wheels, 20% motorhomes, 10% travel trailers.

I bought a new 5th wheel and new dually truck for 110k. No way can you get a nice new DP for that price.

A good 5th wheel and new dually truck will now cost 130k. 60k for the truck and 70k for the 5th wheel. The MSRP will be much higher for both.

The new trucks are extra nice with a ton of torque and power. Yep, the technical term 'a ton'. Any of the three Ford, Ram Chevy all very nice. Does not matter which one you pick.

When I tow it is relaxed and I pass all gas motorhomes and all single axle DP. The only rig that is probably better going down the road is a tag axle DP.

Set-up with auto leveling on 5th wheels now makes it easier and closer to set up of a DP. What I do is mix driving the dually to sight see and renting a car for longer trips. I rent a car when I want to drive a few hundred miles.

If I had to do it knowing what I know now. I would buy both truck and 5th wheel used. I would buy a used Excel Limited, or DRV Mobile Suits.
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Old 04-19-2015, 11:25 AM   #8
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We do off-roading with a jeep. So need to be able to take it along. MH is therefore the choice.
Vince and Susan
2011 Tiffin Phaeton 40QTH (Cummins ISC/Freightliner)
Flat towing a modified 2005 Jeep (Rubicon Wrangler)
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Old 04-19-2015, 11:57 AM   #9
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We started our full time lifestyle over 9 years ago. We started out with a used 32 ft, 3 slide fifth wheel pulled by a Ram 3500 crew cab long bed truck. We did not have auto levelers etc. We lived the space configuration etc. Other than off road travel pur dually was an easy daily driver.
When it was time to change up we could not find a 5th wheel with a floor plan and quality build that we wanted without breaking the bank. . After 2 years of looking we found our current MH.
We love our DP but if we did it over we would have probable stayed with the 5th wheel
Adding an onboard Genny, large invertor, some solar panels and auto level.
No matter what you chose be sure you pull in all the slides and determine what your maneuverability is. Those islands in mind kitchen are nice but usually prevent you from teaching the living areas
Ron & Linda
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Old 04-19-2015, 01:31 PM   #10
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We do not full time but we do spend a lot of time on the road and next winter we will be at Golf Shores for a month. So we do have some experience with RV's.
What everyone has posted is very good so far for what to look for.

Now sit down and figure out your budget how much are you willing to spend on a MH/5er and tow vehicle; either a toad or towing vehicle. Than see what vehicle /trailer meets your budget needs. Do not even look at anything on the low end of the price scale since you will be upgrading in a year if you do.

The MH/5er should have as a minimum enough installation to winter/summer in; some don't. The windows should be dual pane and tinted with night shades. The frame should be strong enough to allow for extend travel such as a 12" I-beam or a decent box section thickness. Hydraulic /Electric level up system is a must; for ease of set-up. Axles should be at least 7,000 LBS with 8 lug G-rated tires on a 5er. For a 5er two A/C units are a must along with a heat pump option and a minimum of a 50 AMP service with a 65 AMP power convert. You should also insure that the unit has a washer/dryer prep in case you want to have this feature.

This will put you in the area of a one ton SRW truck; but preferably in a DRW truck for first timers if you purchase a 5er.

Also you will need to look at your driver licenses requirements depending on the state you live in. For as an example in IL. if your combined vehicle and trailer are over 26,001 LBS. You need a non CDL class A licenses to drive this combination but under 26,000 LBS a class D licenses is adequate.

Good Luck.

Jim W.
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Old 04-19-2015, 01:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by mdunner View Post
Hi,Im in the final stag of count down to retirerment. 2mths to go. We have been planning to go FT. We are not sure what to FT in. We had originally thought a Diesel pusher MH was the only way to go.Friends of ours own 5er and love it.We have been looking at them now.LOts of room on the inside,and have everything a DP has.I wonder how hard it is to set up and take down.Also is driving a large truck around town and site seeing a problem.You FTers out there can you give me opinions,and maybe advice on models we should be looking at.P.S We will be spending 7-8 Month a yr on the sunshine coast of BC canada,and hopefully traveling around northamerica for the remainder of the yr. Staying warm in the winters.

This is one of those question with no right answer. My answer is it depends. Both work well and have different strengths and weaknesses. If you travel fairly often and like to over night at Walmart or truck stops and do quick lunch stops in rest areas and you need frequent bathroom breaks, a DP will be very convenient. If you tend to stay longer in a spot then a FW is very apartment like.

This is a highly individual choice and you will need to do lots of thinking about your wants and needs.

My wife & I have been full time for 8 years and all has been in a DP.

Steve Ownby
Full time since '07
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Old 04-19-2015, 02:00 PM   #12
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I have two kids 8/11 and came from a class C. Now after 3 years in the 5ver, I'm looking at a class A. I wouldn't let towing be a concern, it's pretty easy and hooking up is no big deal.

I think it's about preference and for me, quite possibly just thinking the grass is always greener on the other side. We're planning a cross country trip this summer and part of me wishes we had the A so the DW and kids could watch TV and lounge around...

Having the truck to drive IS a bonus as with the C, I didn't have the toad, but you can most definitely have a toad or in my case, a motorcycle.

Cheers and happy shopping. I'm sure after this year's trip, I'll get that A, but life is short, why not try more? You can always sell stuff....
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Old 04-19-2015, 03:52 PM   #13
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Back in the 70s, I was introduced to the Kepner-Tregoe Decision Analysis approach. Originally designed for business and government applications, it's good for any big decision. It provides a framework where you list features/desires you're looking for, then give each one a weight. Once you do that, then start ranking your alternatives as to how much they meet each of the features on your list. The total of weights times ranks is the score for each alternative. While the results are quantitative, I learned over the years the process allows a group (or couple) to focus on organizing their thoughts toward what is truly important in making a decision.

The fifth wheel vs. MH/DP is an ideal application and the result will be based on one's own needs. It sounds tedious and it may be, but it sure gets conversations going and keeps the focus where it belongs. I looked for a link and found this one if you want more information. It seems to be one of the few business 'fads' from a previous era that has stood the test of time.

Good luck with your decision, no matter how you make it!
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2008 HitchHiker Champagne 35LKRSB | 2011 F350 Lariat 6.7PSD | Many great memories!
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Old 04-20-2015, 05:28 PM   #14
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If you plan to spend a lot of time on the road, Class A is best. If you are going to sit in one spot for several months 5th wheel is better. Driving a big truck around town is no serious problem. Finding parking spot sometimes is a challenge

Leonard Boyer
Retired US Army, traveling this old country I spent over half my life serving
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