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Old 09-18-2015, 07:48 AM   #1
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Other than luxury and quality, what makes a 5'er "full-time?"

I am considering "full-time" living in a 5'er but don't need a luxury RV. Other than the obvious build quality and customer support, what features, specs, etc. should I be looking for?

Since I've seen so many requests for advice with too little background information provided, I've tried to be specific. My wife and I have owned and used our Kountry Star MH for 10 years and have done extensive traveling. We have, however, realized that our use of the MH has changed. It is parked for 5 1/2 months of the year while we winter at one resort in the Keys and we are considering selling our condo in NJ (we're there less than 5 months a year), finding a CG to stay put in for that time, and leisurely travel between Fl and NJ.

I understand that many full-timers are constantly traveling and need certain structural worthiness, but with our potential low annual mileage (5000 miles)
do I really need to go to a heavy, luxurious New Horizons, DRV, or something similar? The truck will be our only vehicle so I'd like it to be as light (3/4 ton?) as possible which makes 5'er weight a consideration.
'04 Kountry Star 3740, '09 VW Eos (6 speed)
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Old 09-18-2015, 10:11 AM   #2
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Not too sure you will find a "full time" rated RV that you can safely pull with a 250/2500.

We have full times for almost 4 years and our daily driver is a RAM Dually.
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Old 09-18-2015, 10:22 AM   #3
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I would not be happy going back to a 5er. But if you are serious, one thing that would be on my list would be one with the Artic package, full insulation etc. You will be hard pressed to find something worth full timing in if you go with a 250 truck or lower.
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Old 09-18-2015, 10:30 AM   #4
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All full timers do not need nor require a 5th wheel certified as good for full time living. Everyone's standards and expectations are different. This may or may not be brought on from the financial ability but just there own wants and desires as to their own personal needs. To often people get wrapped up with the thought of is this trailer or that trailer certified for full time living. I have seen many cheaper older trailers on the road and in the camp grounds so the cheaper models do hang together and don't just fall apart for the lack of being certified for full time. I bet many of them have had a much harder life than the top of the line "full timers" elite trailers.
I would find the trailer that fits your needs that does have adequate insulation. Whether it be 30 ft long or 40 ft long. A 250/2500 can very easily handle trailers up to 14,000 lbs if they have the diesel engine. Too many people are caught up in the get the biggest and heaviest trailer club. It is a club of a minority. Most of us can not afford that luxury but yet want the full time lifestyle. To each his own.
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Old 09-18-2015, 10:33 AM   #5
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It's not the 250/350 size that matters it's single or dual rear wheels that matter. An F350 has the same or even lower limits than F250 unless you get dual rear wheels.

I have an 2015 F250, I'm currently pulling a TT and plan to fulltime in a few years so I've been faced with deciding to go with a MH or 5th. After extensive research and running numbers only the smallest of light weight 5th wheel would work without upgrading the truck to dually.
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Old 09-18-2015, 10:34 AM   #6
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It may depend on the expected extreme high and low temps you plan to encounter. If it will be over 100 or below freezing for any length of time a better insulated RV will be more comfortable.

This doesn't mean you can't live in a cheaper, less insulated model, it just means you will not be as comfortable in the summer, and will have to do extra work to keep lines from freezing in the winter.
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Old 09-18-2015, 10:34 AM   #7
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Thanks to both of you, I appreciate your responses. I guess what I'm asking is other than luxury features (e.g. solid wood cabinets) and build quality (e.g 8,000 lb axles) what gives a full-time rating to a 5'er.
'04 Kountry Star 3740, '09 VW Eos (6 speed)
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Old 09-18-2015, 11:03 AM   #8
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I agree with the vfox, insulation and a heavy frame are very important. We had a 2000 Avion that we bought in 2005. It had really nice oak cabinets and was a good floorplan, however, it had little to no insulation. We had to put a roll of that silver insulation around the bed, it was very cold. We bought a 2007 Drv Select Suite and the difference was night and day with 3 1/4" walls.
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Old 09-18-2015, 11:34 AM   #9
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Depends on what you want to do. Will you travel south in the winter and north in the summer? Will you stay in the north in the winter or south in the summer?

If you plan to follow the sun then you can get by with a 3 season rig. If not...then you need to look at plus add insulation. Staying in any rig in the north during winter will require additional insulation.

Good luck
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Old 09-18-2015, 12:31 PM   #10
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Ken, the general rule of thumb is that a motorized coach needs to be driven 30-50 miles at a stretch at least once a month to keep all seals properly lubricated. Staying in one place for several months at a time doesn't do that. However, when you are parked at that resort, can you take your coach out for some exercise once a month? Drive up the road for an hour, have lunch, and then head back. Run your generator to power the a/c and refrigerator so it gets exercise under load, too.

Now, if you are ready to trade coaches anyway, switching to a 5'er may be smart. I'd suggest, though, that you give serious thought to an F450 rather than the F250. I don't know about the other brands, but I've been told that the F450 actually has a smaller turning radius than the F250.

As was said above, you may be able to get by with the typical RV insulation, but for my money I'd get something that has decent insulation. Yes, a full-time coach will be heavier than others. Quality has weight. That doesn't mean that you can just look at the weight of a coach and make a decision on quality, but go look at a DRV and then a Jayco. I'm NOT knocking Jayco, just pointing out that they aren't competing with DRV.

If you are looking at a new coach, go find some 5-10 year-old examples of any brands you are considering. How do they stand up? Some friends of ours bought a brand new popular brand of DP as they set out on their full-time journey. Less than a year later they traded it even-up for a 10-year-old Foretravel. Why? They could see that their new coach wouldn't stand up to full-time use.

A full-timer is opening doors and drawers several times each and every day. The plumbing is used several times each day. The couch and chairs are used daily. You get the idea. A full-timer may well use the coach more in a month than a weekender or vacationer will in a year.
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Old 09-18-2015, 07:59 PM   #11
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We full time now going on 10 years. We owned a 10 year old 33 ft 5th wheel for the first 5 years. The unit was like new still when traded for this 39ft new 5 th wheel. The new unit is now 5 year old and like new inside because we love nature and live outside in the sun.
We travel 2000 milles one way south every year and do not plan on changing unit soon. Our units get about 7000 milles per year and survive quite well. Tires last up to 7 years and the units needs constant outside attention.
All models are built similarly outside with all the bling inside to impress the customer.
For us a basic no frills unit was very important. Some better units exist but they would be heavier and need a duelie.
We are 15500 lbs Max with full 70imp gallon water tank and we tow with the tried and true 2005 Ford F250 4x4.
We carry lots of fun stuff with us and enjoy every minute of RVing. I own 5 guitars and associated music equipment, and it all fits in the basement. We carry all our kayak equipment the 16ft tandem kayak and the 2 bikes. Plus we volunteer with Habitat, so I carry all my tools and mechanics repair tools.
We carry much more then average retired couple and we do not need an expensive RV or new truck. We do it for fun and in return meet very interesting people by being modest.
Thanks for reading my story.
Barbara and Laurent, Hartland Big Country 3500RL. 39 ft long and 15500 GVW.
2005 Ford F250 SD, XL F250 4x4, Long Box, 6.0L Diesel, 6 Speed Stick, Hypertech Max Energy for Fuel mileage of 21 MPusG empty, 12.6 MPusG pulling the BC. ScangaugeII for display..
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Old 09-18-2015, 09:05 PM   #12
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"...what gives a full-time rating to a 5'er. "

like many other meaningless labels, its usually the marketing dept who decides it would be a good sales pitch to label this unit as a fulltimer. Sometimes its just an excuse to ask for a higher price.
The truth is that people fulltime in all types, sizes & quality of vehicles, from station wagons to box vans to class B, C, A. You're the only one who gets to say whats required for your fulltimer unit. Where you travel, what seasons you travel in, how far you travel, where you camp and what your minimum personal needs require is what determines the appropriate fulltime rig for you. luxury furnishings, heavy duty structural members, arctic packages and such have nothing to do with whether it fits your style of fulltime living & travel. My first fulltime rig was a 1978 Dodge Tradesman Van and I was just as comfortable in that rig as my current class A diesel pusher.
forget the BS labels and concentrate on what features make you happy & comfortable
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Old 09-23-2015, 05:57 AM   #13
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Having read some of the replies I would have to reject what a 5er must be. Find the coach you want with the floor plan and bucket list requirements. We have a 30ft true four seasons coach which loaded, weighs in a 9,800 pounds via CAT Scale and we tow it very easily with a 1/2 ton Ford F150 with an Ecoboost engine. As a norm I pass transport trucks going up 7 degree inclines with very little effort. So when you say it must be a 3/4 or 1 ton truck, I say NUTS!
Mike & Nancy Full Time RVers 07/15
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Old 09-23-2015, 07:05 AM   #14
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As you can see, everyone has there own opinions of what it is. The best thing to do is if you only want a 3/4 ton truck, then find a truck you want then look for campers that that TV can handle. As others have said as well, I drive a 1 ton dually as a daily driver. After a month or two you get used to driving and parking it. I find its easier to just back into parking spots. I can fit mine into a normal spot.
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