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Old 08-24-2018, 11:47 AM   #1
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5th Wheel vs. Diesel Pusher

We are struggling, trying to decide between a 5th wheel or a diesel motorhome.

This will be our first RV. We are contemplating going full time but for sure will be traveling for several weeks at a time.

What are your thoughts?
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Old 08-24-2018, 11:55 AM   #2
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Do you currently have a truck that will pull a 5th wheel? Have you found a Motorhome that you think is sized correctly to fit all the stuff you *think* you will need? Have you allowed enough Cargo Capacity margin to add on all the stuff you forgot that you will need?


Renting a 5th wheel is nigh impossible, however, renting a motorhome is easy. Start there. Go rent, A) find out if you really like it. B) will help you nail down your *requirements*.


Some people just prefer the driving experience of a truck. This will limit you to Class C, Class B and 5th wheel with truck. Have you ever driven a vehicle with the steering wheels behind the driver?
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Old 08-24-2018, 12:00 PM   #3
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5th Wheel vs. Diesel Pusher

You need to think about how you want to travel. A motorized RV works better if your the type who likes to move around a lot (frequently). If you’re more the type who likes to get to the destination, set up, relax and enjoy the view, a towable might be best choice.
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Old 08-24-2018, 12:02 PM   #4
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Keep in mind..
Your 1st coach is a learning tool..
When You tour/view "In Person" any perspective coach..
View it First with all slides retracted,
If the coach is fully usable without the slides extended, then give it a second look.
(Think wally-docking,rest areas,truckstops...any where that you cannot/do not have room for the slides to be extended)

BUY USED! & buy one with everything you "think" you want and will need..
As You will make mistakes and have booboo's We all have.....(sometimes more than twice..)
Within a year or two you will discover..about the RV

What you love about the RV...
What you can kinda-sorta tolerate with the RV..
And what you absolutely hate about that !@#$%^%$#@! RV.
Then you can go get what you should have gotten in the first place..
Happy Hunting
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Old 08-24-2018, 12:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saddlesore View Post
Keep in mind..
Your 1st coach is a learning tool..
When You tour/view "In Person" any perspective coach..
View it First with all slides retracted,
If the coach is fully usable without the slides extended, then give it a second look.
(Think wally-docking,rest areas,truckstops...any where that you cannot/do not have room for the slides to be extended)

BUY USED! & buy one with everything you "think" you want and will need..
As You will make mistakes and have booboo's We all have.....(sometimes more than twice..)
Within a year or two you will discover..about the RV

What you love about the RV...
What you can kinda-sorta tolerate with the RV..
And what you absolutely hate about that !@#$%^%$#@! RV.
Then you can go get what you should have gotten in the first place..
Happy Hunting

LOL do you have this saved in a Word doc? I seriously don't blame you if you do.
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Old 08-24-2018, 12:19 PM   #6
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My thoughts (I have owned a Class A and now have a 5th wheel):

1. Everything is more expensive on a motorhome. Pickup truck repair is more available and lower cost.
2. You can upgrade half of your "rig" with a 5th wheel, whether for changes in lifestyle or age/wear. We purchased a "starter" 5th wheel our first year to find out what we wanted. Sold it a year later for more than we paid for it (I put some elbow grease into it over the year, but still...) and bought exactly what we wanted.
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Old 08-24-2018, 12:26 PM   #7
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A lot depends on how much you want to drive a truck. If you want your muscle truck as a daily driver/sightseeing vehicle then consider a fiver. If you would rather move the truck from place to place then drive a reasonably smaller and possibly more comfortable vehicle then buy a motor home. The second approach gives better overall fuel economy if you park for a few days at a time. ;-)
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Old 08-24-2018, 12:51 PM   #8
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

We pulled a 5er for 12 years before getting the MH. Back then we were still working and it was mostly weekend camping with a 2-week vacation trip. I could use the F250 diesel pickup in my business. We absolutely loved the 5th wheel and didn't think we would ever want a MH!

After we retired our wants and needs changed. We wanted to do a lot of extensive traveling around the country, and quickly realized that a MH would be far more suitable for us. We could stop along the way and have lunch or stay for the night at WalMart with the generator powering both A/C units keeping us comfortable. We feel much safer in the MH, whether one the road, at a campground, or at WalMart. There's no comparison in the comfort while driving. With the F250 and 5er, we could drive all day and be worn out. With the MH, it's like we are home in our recliners!

You also need to consider the downside of a MH. You will probably spend a lot more money for the initial purchase, assuming you get about the same age unit. There is the potential for a LOT more maintenance cost. If you get a diesel pusher and the engine or tranny blows up, you better have deep pockets or a good extended warranty, and extended warranties aren't cheap! We have been very lucky and have never had any serious engine or tranny problems.

You just have to consider all the facts and decide what's best for you.

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 08-24-2018, 01:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dkelley View Post
We are struggling, trying to decide between a 5th wheel or a diesel motorhome.

This will be our first RV.
Backup a second. The first step is finding out if you actually like traveling by RV. It is not for everyone. I was hooked the first trip using a little special services that the navy loaned out.

The advice about renting is sound. You may also know someone with a RV that will set it up locally and let you spend a few nights in it. That how we hooked extended family.

Step two is understanding physics. Since you are asking about a 5th wheel or diesel pusher you are talking about a lot of weight. That means lots of very expensive tires no matter how you do it.

Four years ago I was asking the same question. DW made it very clear that she was interested in sleeping in anything that I could pull with a F150 not that I had any truck at that point.

What I discovered was that is that I could find 32' gasser MH with low miles for a quarter of the cost of a used truck.

So after two years of being full time in our first MH we went to a slightly bigger diesel pusher. I love how it drives.

Recently got a tow dolly with surge brakes. I can not tell the difference. Again it is physics thing. Big tow vehicle, little toad.
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Old 08-24-2018, 02:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavenger View Post
LOL do you have this saved in a Word doc? I seriously don't blame you if you do.
Naa just a notepad file on the desktop..
It is something that those who are just getting their feet wet in RV'n need to be aware of..ie: look for substance and usability over the shiny bling..
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Old 08-24-2018, 02:29 PM   #11
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The shortest answer can be determined by how many miles a year you would travel?


I prefer to be on the road in my class A diesel because it is easy to see in traffic and have a supple ride. Not a lot of driver fatigue for me in this. We typically drive for 12 hours and overnight in a parking lot, so we can just stop and call it a night. If we were retired and had the luxury of time, and able to drive 6 hours and stop that could make things different for me as the driver and a 5th wheel would be fine. I would love a toy hauler.



Big 5th wheels with multi slides can be unusable while underway, and sliding them out may get you noticed on an overnight stealth camp... But, they have so much room once you are set up it can make the choice hard, but in reality it's more of a lifestyle choice than a product choice. If you already have a heavy truck the 5th wheel is the cheaper way to go, both short and long term.
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Old 08-24-2018, 03:27 PM   #12
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Something worth mentioning-are any kids involved?

If the answer is no, I believe a MH is a viable full time option.

If the answer is yes, then only a fiver will do, as split sleeping areas are a must (unless you’re a monk). We full timed with a family of 5 so I speak from some experience.

I don’t care how big a class A is, as far as I’m concerned it only COMFORTABLY sleeps 2
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Old 08-24-2018, 04:59 PM   #13
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We began full timing in a fifth wheel 6 years ago because I already had a chevy dually truck, but our plan was to eventually upgrade into a motor home as time goes on. However, we recently bought a new truck and now plan to up grade the FW in a couple of years since this set up seems to be working good for us. I like having a truck and we usually park for a month or longer when we reach our destination, which is were the FW shines. Best plans are always subject to change.
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Old 08-24-2018, 05:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dkelley View Post
We are struggling, trying to decide between a 5th wheel or a diesel motorhome.

This will be our first RV. We are contemplating going full time but for sure will be traveling for several weeks at a time.

What are your thoughts?
We're in about the same boat. I have been lurking long enough to know this is a very often asked question.

For me, it boils down to this.

On the one hand, I like the floor plans of 5th wheels lots better, but I hate the idea of driving an F350 dually around while I'm camped.

On the other hand, I love the idea of a Class A towing a Miata to drive while camped even while I generally hate the interior layout of anything I can actually afford.

On the gripping hand, I'm leaning toward the 5er because I think it'll be better to live in, and like you we are aiming to full-time after a year break in period.
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