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Old 04-20-2018, 07:08 AM   #15
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Be aware some units have a single control that opens all slides automatically and don't necessarily let you operate a single slide.
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Old 04-20-2018, 07:10 AM   #16
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This is just my humble opinion but we have had three TT's and three MH's. As V3600 stated quality in the 5ver or TT industry is almost non existent. There's little oversight regarding quality from outside the TT industry so they are not required to provide a quality product.

Consider the number of units that one observes setting on the side of or behind barns, etc not being used. The newness often wears off after a few years. The TT industry knows this so they make them as cheaply as possible and quality suffers.

Then we have those who really want to and use their RV's but the quality is still missing.

We had a Heartland product and I often read about owners who spent $10,000 to $15,000 to upgrade their axles, tires, and rims so they felt safe traveling down the road.

We had a 27' TT in one trip from AR to FL and back, about 2,000 miles, the axle leaf springs bushings (plastic) were completely worn out. The two axles were rated at 3,000 lbs and the TT had a max capacity of 7,000 lbs. Yes I realized that the tongue weight is being carried by my tow vehicle. So if max loaded we were only 400 lbs over weight for the axles.

Our thinking was simple. If we are starting in the hole as far as quality why not go back to a MH with truck tires, rims and a heavy duty frame with leaf springs designed to carry the weight?

Yes there are many, many happy 5ver and TT owners traveling down our roads. They make many adjustments/compromises so they can own and use their units. Just be aware that you will have to do that because the quality is just not there.

Two years ago while visiting ME we met a lovely couple from AL. They had a new 5ver 40' and while traveling to ME their large front cabinet fell off the wall and they were planning a stop back in IN at the factory to have it fixed.
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Old 04-20-2018, 07:26 AM   #17
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There are some great, quality manufacturers today that put out very good products. For the 2% that actually complain a legitimate gripe, there are thousands of others that are very happy with their products. From DP's all the way to pop-ups, they all have their issues. Buy the best you can possibly afford, go to the factories and do the tours, read the reviews, go to RV shows and pull the trigger on what best works for you. Many problems with "campers" are generated by the loose nut behind the wheel, second only to abuse and overloading. I've had 7 campers in my life from a pop-up, truck camper, several TT's to now a Super C. All of them have been trouble free for the most part. Don't buy an RV if you're not ready to start addressing minor issues when you drive off the lot.
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Old 04-20-2018, 07:45 AM   #18
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Good input! We were in FL over the winter (got a trailer w/o wheels down there) and began the search by looking at MHs. I liked the fact that EVERYTHING was accessible on the road. Then I realized we'd have another engine to maintain that will probably be parked 50% of the time (we're not full timers) plus we'd need a tow vehicle. Husband cannot live without a pickup truck anyway, so a FW seemed to be the answer. Just trade in the 2013 Tundra 1/2 ton for a BIG truck (and make him happy) and move on. Ya got me wondering now.
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Old 04-20-2018, 08:07 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by OHMikeandKay View Post
I'm doing my research for the first RV, a 5er. We're retired, will not be full timers but may be out for 2-3 weeks at a time. 1. I want to limit the length to 35' (or a couple more inches) in order to take advantage of National Park campgrounds. Is this logical or is 35' too long for most anyway? I only looked at Yellowstone and Teton. You folks have the experience.
2. Must be able to access bathroom and fridge when slides are in - not ever gonna use a Rest Area bathroom again! But fridge access is limiting my selection, especially with islands. Is it reasonable to open a slide a few inches when stopped for lunch or is that not recommended? (Those buttons make it look REAL easy.)
3. King bed. Just because...
4. Good sized shower.
5. This is likely to be the one and only RV so quality is a concern. What are your opinions of Northwood Arctic Fox, GD Solitude or Heartland BH? Others I should explore? The length has limited many models but maybe that's a good thing. We're looking at msrp ~$90k but dealers seem to discount like crazy. I've never seen such amazing sales!

Thanks for the help!
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Just thought I would throw our my thoughts (remember you asked). We have been full timing for over 8 years and rving since 2001. We are on our 2nd 5er. Here is what I have learned.
1) BUY USED. The first one is a learning unit. What you think you need and what you actually need when you start using it will PROBABLY be very different. Don't get caught up in analysis paralysis.
2) We have a 35 model Hitch Hiker so it is approx. 37 feet long. This PLENTY big enough for us. We also tow with a converted semi tractor. We have plenty of power and more importantly plenty of brakes.
3) Now interior (and lots of this is my opinion). Make sure you can get to bathroom and fridge WITHOUT moving slides. (especially the bathroom). We were once in a big traffic jam and had to use the bathroom. Can't open slides on the highway.
4) Try doing things. Do you have counter space, Get in the shower and pretend to take a shower. Is there room? Do you want a washer / dryer? My wife says that if you need the WD closet for storage you have to much crap.
5) The king size bed is a massive waste of space. JMHO.

Get something you can use and start enjoying. Unless you completely give up RVing THIS WILL NOT BE YOUR ONLY UNIT.

Have fun.

Brad
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Old 04-20-2018, 08:27 AM   #20
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Half the fun of RVing is paying so much for something you don't need then realizing there is something out there that you don't need even more and you can't live without it. Living the accomplished life is fun!! Thus..."Funding Fun".
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Old 04-20-2018, 08:52 AM   #21
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Half the fun of RVing is paying so much for something you don't need then realizing there is something out there that you don't need even more and you can't live without it. Living the accomplished life is fun!! Thus..."Funding Fun".
Perfectly stated. 😄
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Old 04-20-2018, 09:14 AM   #22
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I just upgraded from a travel trailer I had for 3 years to a fifth wheel. I'm not full time and solo when I do go somewhere. I wanted less than 35 feet as well. LOVE my new fifth wheel: Open Range (Mesa Ridge) 337RLS. It's 33'8" long. Has 3 slides, but you can access everything with all slides in because the island is on casters is out of the way when traveling. People even will watch tv and sit on love seat with slides in if stopped at rest area. Big shower, much better than my old corner shower. The only thing is a king bed isn't an option. I've got a F350 SRW CCLB and should be more than adequate. The fiver has over 4,000 pound CCC but I'll never approach this. I can't imagine a better floorplan for my needs.
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Old 04-20-2018, 09:28 AM   #23
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Open Range is one I spoke of as high end with great customer service. I ordered a new 323RLS in 2015 and was very pleased. We had zero issues and build quality was impressive. Only problem was wife wanted a MH when I bought it. Traded her (not the wife) for the Chateau recently and very pleased with it as well. I lost $1,000 on trade but had 2 years of fun with the Open Range. The TT turned out to be a lot of work as it was so long. I had to Google Map everything to make sure I could get into and out of places, plus the OAL blocked up the campground when landing. I reached a campground in Asheville at 9PM one night in pouring rain. One hour later, hooked up and drowning, she reminded me how much nicer it would be "if we had one of those" as she pointed to a MH across the drive. The auto leveling now with push button everything else is great. Happy Wife...Happy Life.
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Old 04-20-2018, 11:04 AM   #24
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Our trailer is everything you described except for the length. The Cedar Creek model we have is 36ckts. "36" yet it measures 39'10". The new models have an even nicer bathroom than ours (2 sinks). We can access the fridge, bathroom and bedroom (comfy king) without extending a slide and you can open slides individually if desired. We have done that when stopping for lunch in order to access seating.

On our trip to Yellowstone we camped outside the east entrance and drove the truck in to tour.

We use our trailer as our own little apartment throughout the spring summer and fall when we head to a family owned lake house that has become overcrowded as the family has grown. Once or twice a year we will travel with it.
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Old 04-20-2018, 01:11 PM   #25
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Open Range is one I spoke of as high end with great customer service. I ordered a new 323RLS in 2015 and was very pleased. We had zero issues and build quality was impressive. Only problem was wife wanted a MH when I bought it. Traded her (not the wife) for the Chateau recently and very pleased with it as well. I lost $1,000 on trade but had 2 years of fun with the Open Range. The TT turned out to be a lot of work as it was so long. I had to Google Map everything to make sure I could get into and out of places, plus the OAL blocked up the campground when landing. I reached a campground in Asheville at 9PM one night in pouring rain. One hour later, hooked up and drowning, she reminded me how much nicer it would be "if we had one of those" as she pointed to a MH across the drive. The auto leveling now with push button everything else is great. Happy Wife...Happy Life.
Yeah, my travel trailer was an Open Range as well. It was a Light 272. I loved it, but it was actually longer than the new fiver at 35 feet and you couldn't get to the fridge when it had it's slides closed. Now that I've got the new fiver, I'm totally in love with autolevel. What a convenience! Personally, I prefer the incredible roominess that fifth wheels provide and I like having a truck to drive. Planning on going to Alaska with my rig next summer.
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Old 04-21-2018, 04:47 AM   #26
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If you have time take a trip to Indiana to where a lot of campers are built, no better way to see them except at one of the LARGER RV Shows. From where you are about a 4+ hour trip plus lots of sites to see in the area so could make a nice vacation.
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Old 04-21-2018, 05:38 AM   #27
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90k will buy a 5th wheel with a MSRP of 125k or 135k. That will buy a very nice one and only trailer.

I would look at the higher quality 5th wheels shortest model. DRV, and Luxe to start with but all manufacturer have their top tier trailer. Like Jayco top tier is the Pinnacle, Heartland is Landmark.

Now interesting you say for only 2 - 3 weeks at a time. In a 5th wheel it is easy to go 2 - 3 months at a time. Oh, typically if you get a King bed you do not get any nightstand or shelf.

Thumbs up on a dually truck. Makes towing a none event.
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Old 04-21-2018, 07:57 AM   #28
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Why is this? I ask because we routinely open a slide part way on a lunch or bathroom stop and close it without any problems (so far). Are we causing a potential problem?
This typically refers to Schwintek slides as you have to fully extend/retract to keep motors in sync. Hydraulic and other "traditional" gear electric slides don't have that issue.

We have access to the restroom, but have to open hydraulic main slides to access Fridge. Never an issue for us. If stopped in busy rest area, we can partially extend hydraulic slide and access Fridge without creating an issue for the person parked next to us. Usually a couple of inches is all it takes. If we are in the open (ex. Open Walmart parking lot, or large rest area), no issues opening slide and having lunch.
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